Page 1

THE WEEKEND

1

Weekend

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

PUBLISHED SINCE OCTOBER 6, 1990 • Vol.XI NO.3,227• SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014 • N100.00 INSIGHT Nigeria’s Centenary

PERSPECTIVE

Celebrating 100 Years Of Darkness!

A National Insult Rejected -

Pages 16-17

Pages 10 -11

Benin Monarch Clocks 35 On Throne ’morrow By HENRY BALOGUN/RICHARD EWEKA

HIS Royal Majesty Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolopolo, Oba Erediauwa , the Oba of Benin marks another milestone, as he celebrates 35 years on the throne of his ancestors, all has been very quite at the palace. celebrate the Oba for A visit to the palace of his effort to maintain the Oba of Benin shows peace, unity and love in no sign of celebration as the kingdom. cars and people were Though this years seen moving in and out anniversary is being of the palace an marked on a very indication that only sombre note, the fact normal palace activities cannot however be were on. But it is certain disputed that over the that the people of the past decades our Royal kingdom, the subjects of Father has continued to the Oba, and business demonstrate uncommon associates of the knowledge, wisdom, kingdom will certainly

ALL SET FOR EDO TEACHERS’ ASSESSMENT TEST THIS is to inform teachers in public Primary and Secondary Schools in Edo State that adequate arrangements have been made to ensure a hitch-free assessment test scheduled for Saturday, March 22. We have received firm assurances from the Teachers Assessment Committee under the leadership of Professor Dennis Agbonlahor that various test batteries to be administered on the teachers are ready. The exercise will hold simultaneously at three locations across the state: Auchi Polytechnic (Edo North); Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma (Edo Central) and University of Benin (Edo South). Teachers are to be tested only in their respective area of training. Also, adequate security arrangement has been made to ensure the exercise holds in a conducive atmosphere devoid of intimidation or molestation. For the avoidance of doubt, the Edo State Government encourages our teachers to make themselves available for the assessment exercise as failure to do so will deny the government an objective criteria to establish their suitability to remain to teach in our classrooms. Teachers will be admitted into the halls only on presentation of their biometric slips. Accreditation starts 8 a.m, please. Signed: LOUIS ODION Commissioner for Information & Orientation

understanding and commitment in addressing issues that concern particularly his people of Edo state and Nigerians in general. He has also demonstrated through his kind disposition towards the less privileged, his passion for philanthropy and humanitarianism. In tackling the issues of good governance and societal development His Royal Majesty has proved that his words of wisdom can be relied upon as he wades into resolution of conflict in the state and the kingdom whenever the

EDSG Inaugurates Task Force on Illegal Structure, Building Dev Control

need arises. He has been decisive in carrying all and sundry along in his kingdom hence his reign has been marked by an epoch of peace and prosperity in the land. The Oba has stood his ground and distinguished himself as one among the very few incorruptible Royal fathers and traditional leaders in the history of Nigeria as he has been able to surmount and overcome the corrupt nature of Nigerian government especially during dictatorial era when most traditional leaders were bought

over to support such corrupt government to loot the treasury of the nation. His reign over the years has seen stability, peace, unity, oneness and co-existence in the Kingdom as he is always there to give his fatherly advise when the need arises and also settling disputes amicably without taken sides all in a bid to ensure that justice and peace prevailed at all times in the land, state and nation at large. Looking back at the achievement of the Oba, this year’s

celebration will mark another epoch making event in the life and

history of the people of the Kingdom who

Continued on page 4

His Royal Majesty Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolopolo, Oba Erediauwa

By QUEENNETH A OROBEDO

EDO state government has inaugurated a taskforce on illegal structures and building development control. At the inauguration which took place yesterday at government house, secretary to the state government, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere said that the taskforce was saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that order is brought to bare on the development of cities in the state. A d d r e s s i n g members of the taskforce, Prof. Ihonvbere charged them to carry out their Continued on page 4

VISIT: L-R: Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Hon. Razaq Bello-Osagie, member, House of Representatives and Dr. Festus Asikhia, Chairman, Festrut Group of Companies during the latter’s visit to the Governor in his office yesterday.


THE WEEKEND

2

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

e

N ws

CRIME

Woman, 36 Arraigned Over Alleged Indecent Abuse Of Minor A 36-year-old, Titilayo Abejide, has appeared before an Iyaganku Chief Magistrates’ Court in Ibadan over alleged indecent assault on a three-year-old girl. Abejide, who was the teacher of the girl, was charged with indecently assaulting the minor. The Prosecutor, Mr Oluyemi Eyiaromi, said that Abejide unlawfully and indecently poked and inserted her finger inside the minor’s private part. Eyiaromi said the offence was committed on March 5, at Ilupeju, in Apata area of

Ibadan. The prosecutor said that the offence contravened Section 360 of the Criminal Code Cap38, Vol. 11, Laws of Oyo State 2000. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge. The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Kehinde Durosaro- Tijani, granted the accused bail with one surety. She ordered the accused to deposit N50, 000 with the registrar ’s office or government purse. She adjourned the case until April 3 for mention.

Court Fixes March 31 To Hear Suit Seeking To Stop Confab A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed March 31 to begin hearing in a suit filed by a constitutional lawyer, Dr Tunji Abayomi, seeking to stop the National Conference. Justice Abdul Kafarati fixed the date after listening to the plaintiff who represented himself and Mr Femi Falana, SAN, counsel to the Federal Government. Joined as defendants in the suit are President Goodluck Jonathan, the Attorney-General of the Federation, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. When the case came up Abayomi informed the court that the third and fourth defendants were not represented and he was also seeking leave of court to amend the processes which he filed before the court. This, he said, became necessary so that he could join those leading the national conference as parties in the suit because the government had already inaugurated the conference. Falana said he was not objecting to the motion and Kafarati, in a short ruling, granted the plaintiffís prayer. Kafarati, therefore, joined Justice Idris Kutigi, Prof Bolaji Akinyemi and Mrs Valarie Azinge, conference chairman, vice-chairman and secretary, respectively, as fifth, sixth and seventh defendants in the suit. He also ordered that hearing notices be served on all parties to reflect the fresh amendments. Reports say that Abayomi had challenged the constitutionality of the National Conference and prayed the court to stop the government from proceeding with it. He had via an originating summons dated March 3 in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/ 167/204 argued that the President lacked the powers to convoke or convene a national conference without an authorising legislation from the National Assembly. Abayomi had, therefore, prayed the court to determine

whether a national conference could be convened by the President and/or Federal Government of Nigeria without an enabling law made by the National Assembly. He said the Federal Government was planning to spend about N8 billions of public money to fund the conference despite the absence of any law enabling the President to convoke the conference. According to him, if the national conference was not stopped, billions of tax payers money would be spent unconstitutionally. “The President is working with deliberate speed to convene the conference,î Abayomi had submitted, and urged the court to expedite hearing on the suit. President Goodluck had on Monday inaugurated the 492 delegates to the confab.

Concerned Electricity Consumers Protection Forum protesting over non availability of light and crazy bill at Oke Ira, Ogba in Lagos recently.

Court Remands Bizwoman Over Alleged Shielding An Offender AN Upper Area Court in Mararraba, Nasarawa State, has ordered that a 27-year-old business woman, Patience Iorchir, be remanded in Keffi Prison, until March 31. Iorchir, of Mammy Mararaba, is charged with alleged criminal conspiracy, abating and screening of an offender. The Presiding Judge, Mr Vincent Gwahemba,

refused to grant the accused bail. Gwahemba refused the bail after the Prosecutor, Mr Jospeh Ahua, prayed the court not to grant the accused bail because the police is still investigating. Gwahemba adjourned the case until March 31 for ruling on the application for bail. Ahua had told the court that, on March 20, some

suspected cultists, known as the ‘Arrow Fraternity,’ were arrested in Kabayi. He said one Stephen Isah; alias ‘Bishop,’ was one of the brains behind the gang’s operations in the area. During police investigations, he said, it was discovered that the accused was a girlfriend to Isah. He said that the police

Farmer, 47, Remanded For Alleged Culpable Homicide

A farmer, Orngu Nyiekaa, of Mbayongo village in Benue, have been remanded in prison by a Makurdi Magistrates’ Court for alleged culpable homicide. Nyiekaa, 47, is facing two count-count charge of mischief and culpable homicide. The Magistrate, Mr Austin Ityonyiman, could not take the plea of the accused for want of jurisdiction. Ityonyiman, however, remanded the accused pending the advice from the state Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), and adjourned the matter until April 17 for further mention. The Prosecutor, Mr Moses Akor, had told the court that two brothers, Aernyi Wuese and

Tarnande Wuese, reported the matter to the Divisional Police Headquarters in Vandeikya. Akor said that the accused had, on February 7, set their two thatched

houses ablaze. He said that Tarnande’s two year old son, was trapped in the fire and burnt to death. The prosecutor said that properties yet to be

estimated were also burnt in the fire. Akor said that the accused was arrested in connection with the crime during police investigation. He explained that the offences contravened sections 338 and 222 of the Penal Code.

also discovered that the accused had been shielding Isah and his gang. The prosecutor said that when the accused was arrested, she lied to the police that she had separated from Isah. Ahua said that she refused to give the police any vital information about Isah. The prosecutor said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 97, 83c and 167 of the Penal Code. If convicted, she is liable to five years in prison or with fine or with both. Counsel to the accused, Mr Collins Ato, had prayed the court to admit his client to bail, stressing that she has a reasonable and reliable surety.

Clamping: Court Adjourns Case Against

Parking Firm AN FCT High Court have adjourned till May 5, hearing of a suit filed against Platinum Parking Management Limited by one Mr Austin Uzendu for allegedly impounding his vehicle. Justice Abubakar Umar fixed the date to enable both parties to file their

final written addressees. However, counsel to the plaintiff, Christian Nwakocha, told the court that the incidence occurred in June 2013. Nwakocha said that the plaintiff parked his car on Aguiyi Ironsi St., Maitama, Abuja, and paid N100 for one-hour

service. He said that the plaintiff exceeded the time by two hours which necessitated additional N200. “Instead, the defendant locked the plaintiff tyre and asked him to pay N5,000 as fine for exceeding the period of one hour,” he said. It would be recalled that the plaintiff instituted the

case in July 2013, challenging the action of the defendant. He prayed the court to make an order directing the defendant to release the plaintiff’s vehicle unconditionally. The plaintiff also sought for an order of the court mandating the defendants to pay N50,000 as damage.


THE WEEKEND

3

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

ALL SET FOR EDO TEACHERS’ ASSESSMENT TEST THIS is to inform teachers in public Primary and Secondary Schools in Edo State that adequate arrangements have been made to ensure a hitch-free assessment test scheduled for Saturday, March 22. We have received firm assurances from the Teachers Assessment Committee under the leadership of Professor Dennis Agbonlahor that various test batteries to be administered on the teachers are ready. The exercise will hold simultaneously at three locations across the state: Auchi Polytechnic (Edo North); Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma (Edo Central) and University of Benin (Edo South). Teachers are to be tested only in their respective area of training. Also, adequate security arrangement has been made to ensure the exercise holds in a conducive atmosphere devoid of intimidation or molestation. For the avoidance of doubt, the Edo State Government encourages our teachers to make themselves available for the assessment exercise as failure to do so will deny the government an objective criteria to establish their suitability to remain to teach in our classrooms. Teachers will be admitted into the halls only on presentation of their biometric slips. Accreditation starts 8 a.m, please. Signed: LOUIS ODION Commissioner for Information & Orientation


THE WEEKEND

4

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

e

N ws Benin Monarch Clocks 35 On Throne Continued from page 1 various issues that may ’morrow onaffect society, such as everence, respect and

r

adore their Oba who they see as the representative of God and the ancestors on earth. It will interest you to note that Benin Kingdom is the only place in the world where the culture of the land has adopted prayers as a form of salutation to the Oba, (Oba gha to kpere, ise!) and every point in time when you are greeting the Oba you are equally praying for his peaceful reign and longevity. Whether he is present or not all reverence the Oba and don’t speak evil of his person. Oba Erediauwa has stood out from the crowd of traditional leaders in Nigeria and he is known to be a voice to the

voiceless, oppressed, down trodden in the society and nation at large. He is equally, a moral, ethical, political, traditional and spiritual voice. He also takes stand

opposition to slavery, prostitution, corruption, suppression and oppression of the people, dictatorial regimes, terrorism, and a host of other negative aberrations

in the society, state and nation at large. As we mark another landmark in the annals of our Royal Majesty, we wish the Omo N’Oba long reign on the throne of his ancestors. The Monarch ascended the throne as the 38th Oba of Benin Kingdom on March 23rd 1979. Oba gha to kpere ise!

EDSG Inaugurates Task Force on Illegal Structure, Building Dev Control

Continued from page 1

duties with integrity and professionalism, stressing that “it is not an avenue to make money or witch hunt”. Against this backdrop, the SSG warned that “any taskforce member caught engaging in unwholesome practice will be prosecuted” , adding that government has made provisions for them to work with architect, surveyors, town planners, structural engineers, who are professionals in their fields. Prof Ihonvbere explained

that the exercise would help potable water provided get to houses, control erosion, make it easier for people to access social services in case of emergency. The SSG who decried the alarming rate at which government properties are being defaced and reserved areas encroached upon, said illegal conversion of building will equally be looked into, just as he encourage the reintroduction of tree planting. Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development,

Hon. Francis Evbuomwan said the short fall of capacity at the administrative level in the ministry necessitated the formation of the taskforce made up of credible and educated men to help bring sanity to the urban environment in Edo State. This he remarked will instill some level of discipline in the process. Also present at the inauguration was the commissioner for Budget and Planning, Hon. Lawrence Aghedo.

Confab Secretariat Releases Draft Rules To Be Adopted Monday

THE Secretariat of the National Conference, has in Abuja, released the Draft Rules of Proceedings to guide the conduct of the delegates to the conference. Mr Akpandem James, Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications of the Conference, told newsmen that the Rules would be adopted by the delegates on Monday. “The Draft Rules and the 1999 Constitution have been ready since and we have made them available to the delegates to study. “However, it is only a draft; it is going to be debated clause by clause by the delegates on Monday. If they (delegates) adopt it, then it becomes the Rules guiding the conference. “But if there is any clause they feel should be amended or rejected, then they will decide at the plenary on Monday. “What we are trying to do as a secretariat is to make the delegates as comfortable as possible to ensure smooth proceedings throughout the conference,” James said.

Reports state that some of the delegates had already collected copies of the Draft Rules and the 1999 Constitution. They also said that they had begun studying the “voluminous” Reports of previous conferences that were given to them at their inaugural meeting on Tuesday. Former Plateau Governor, Chief Fidelis Tapgun, who is a delegate to the conference, told journalist that delegates were already studying copies

of the rules of procedures for the plenary and the constitution. Tapgun said that the procedures would have to be debated and adopted first before the plenary could really commence business on Monday. “The documents are the Report of the Political Bureau and the past Constitutional Conferences set up by Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida and (Sani) Abacha. “We often see that

committees are set up and nothing is done with their reports. “But we think that this time around, the President is determined that we would look at all the past reports and put them in one paper that will be useful to this country,” Tapgun said. According to him, the documents are needed by the delegates as references that will guide them in their proceedings. “We are going to continue making references to them so that we are properly guided and not work at cross purposes.

Reps To Probe Alleged Non-Remittance Of Revenue To NLNG THE House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Gas to investigate the alleged non-remittance of funds from the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, Bonny, to the Federation Account. The committee, which would investigate the nonremittance from 2004 till date, had three weeks to summit its report. This resolution was sequel to a motion by Rep. Aminu Suleiman (APC- Kano) which was unanimously adopted without debate when put to vote by the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal. Suleiman said that NLNG Bonny had breached Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which makes it mandatory for all ‘revenue’ collected by the government of the federation to be remitted into the Federation Account. He said the NLNG Bonny in flagrant disobedience and breach of Section 162 (1) of the 1999 Constitution had not remitted funds accruing to it to the Federation Account from 2004 till date. Suleiman said that the nonremittance of funds accruing to NLNG Bonny from 2004 till date had adversely affected the Federation Account to the detriment of Federal, States and Local Governments. “The unpatriotic actions of those in charge of the NLNG Bonny from 2004 till date has resulted in loss of huge revenue. “That ought to be shared to all tiers of the government from the Federation Accounts for both recurrent and capital development,’’ he said.

Property Dispute: Ex-Police Officer Seeks

Royal Intervention

AN indigene of Benin Kingdom and a retired Police Officer (ASP) has appealed to the Benin Monarch, Omo N’Oba Nedo Uku Akpolokpolor, Oba Erediauwa to intervene in the lingering family crisis within the Egbe-Nuhe family in Ogbe quarters in Benin City. According to a statement signed by the retired ASP, James Isoken Ovbiogbe as

custom demands should inherit the house built by his late grand mother whose house is presently under contention and is located at No. 4 Isekpoke Lane, off Forestry Road, Benin City. He stated that since the death

The statement said that Danagogo specially congratulated Ihuoma Onyebuchi, who was voted the best player of the match. “Our prayers and best wishes are with you. Be rest assured that “Goodluck’’ will continue to follow your dedication and enthusiasm,’’ he added. Flamingoes came from behind to beat Columbia 2-1 to earn a quarter-final berth alongside Mexico and at the same time end the hopes of the South Americans. Colombia burst out of the blocks with a third minute goal as Angie Rodriguez looped a header from a perfect Nancy Acosta cross

over the head of stranded goalkeeper, Onyinyechukwu Okeke. Nigeria drew level just past the midway point of the opening half with Joy Bokiri, curling in a perfectly taken free-kick from the edge of the penalty area. Nigeria took the lead for the first time approaching the hour mark, as some sloppy marking from a corner allowed Uchenna Kanu to nod the ball in unchallenged at the back of the post. The win leaves Nigeria sharing top spot with Mexico, while Colombia will now tackle China with each seeking their maiden points of the competition. Nigeria’s next game is against Mexico on Sunday.

of his father, he has been hunted consistently by members of his family for taking over his rightful inheritance and that of his late grand mother. The embattled James Isoken Ovbiogbe said that since the crisis started, members of his

family have refused to follow the customs and tradition of Benin Kingdom and insisted on having their way. He also said that he is against the sharing formular of the two houses which belongs to his father and grand mother and therefore called for justice from both the palace of the Benin Monarch and the Edo State Police Commissioner.

He said the non-remittance of funds that accrued to NLNG Bonny to the account from 2004 till date had “badly” affected all critical sectors of the Nigerian economy and constitute an economic crime.

Forum Wants End To Polytechnics Strike THE Forum of State Commissioners for Education in Nigeria has called for resolution of the ongoing strike by Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and Colleges of Education. The commissioners made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of their meeting in Calabar yesterday. They decried the near collapse of education in the north-eastern part of the country due to the activities of Boko Haram sect. The communique said there was need for the Federal Government to protect education in the North East. It expressed deep concern over the fate of education in the north-east geo-political zone and called on stakeholders to rise to the challenges. The communiqué, signed by Chairman of the forum, Prof. Offiong Offiong, Commissioner for Education in Cross River, said the north east zone currently had the highest number of out-ofschool children in Nigeria. The communiqué condemned the gruesome murder of students and teachers at Federal Government College, BuniYadi in Yobe by the terrorist group. “The forum assessed the state of education across the country and expressed deep concern over the fate of education in the north-east geo-political zone. “It particularly condemned the gruesome murder of several pupils and teachers at the Federal Government College, Buni-Yadi, Yobe by suspected Boko Haram terrorist group.

Minister Congratulates Flamingoes For Contribute To The Development Of The Benin Race - Prince Eheneden Exploits In Costa Rica

THE Minister of Sports, Dr Tammy Danagogo, yesterday congratulated the U-17 women team, the Flamingoes, for booking a quarter-final ticket at the ongoing FIFA U-17 Women World Cup in Costa Rica. A statement signed by Taye Akinyemi, the Chief Press Secretary to the Minister, said Danagogo was elated with Nigeria’s win over Columbia. “On behalf of our President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, the NSC and an appreciative nation, I congratulate our players, the technical crew and the NFA on this fantastic achievement,’’ the statement quoted Danagogo as saying.

By FRIDAY OBANOR

CROWN Prince Eheneden Erediauwa has called on indegenes of Edo State irrespective of their religious and political affiliations to see how best they can contribute to the development of the Benn race. Speaking while receiving in audience members of the film 1897 invasion of Benin Empire produced and directed by ace Nollywood guru Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, the Crown Prince commended the initiator of the film Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen for his contributions to the promotion and upliftment of the Benin race through his language and English films about the Benin Kingdom and race. The Crown Prince further stated that when Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen informed him of his proposed intention to produce a film on the 1897

invasion of Benin Kingdom by the Europeans then he was still an ambassador in Rome, Italy” I told him to ensure that he use the real while people who can really speak the Queen’s English”. Continuing the Crown Prince said although people doubted his capability to do such film as at that time, he was of the believe that he can do it having seen his previous worms in the Nollywood Industry. While soliciting for royal blessings from the chiefs for the Nollywood star for a job well done, Prince Eheneden however advised the film producer to always give credit to Igun people as they are the original owners as well as recognised bronze makers in Benin Kingdom. Earlier, the initiator and producer of the film, Lancelot

Oduwa Imasuen said they were at the palace of the Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa to thank him for his support towards the successful production of the film as well as to intimate him that the film is ready for premiere in Benin City in may this year. Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen further told the Prince that over $1 million (one million dollar) was expended on the film, adding that over 1,000 (one thousand) cast (actors/ actresses) participated in the movie just as the film was acted according to the directive of the Crown Prince. He also commended the Crown Prince for the confidence reposed on him just as he stressed that the production of the film lasted for three (3) years before it got to its final stage of premiere.


THE WEEKEND

5

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

“It revealed that all the so-called developmental effort of the past fifty three or so years that spawned socio-economic, political, cultural, and educational spheres have all been nothing but a huge disaster. Realistically, the leaders have failed woefully over their inability to establish a planned and sustainable economic policies that would have galvanized growth over these years.” LAST Saturday March 15, 2014 was another sad day in the annals of Nigeria as a nation state. It was a day of mourning and bereavement as news filtered in from various parts of the country of the out come of the Nigeria Immigration Aptitude test that had been scheduled to take place on the fateful day. Several people had lost their lives, and never returned home, while many others were injured, all in an effort to secure a job, that never was. The poorly organised aptitude test was a show of incompetent that was shrouded in mystery and the macabre. Ironically, the disastrous outcome of that day portrays Nigeria as a devilish nation, a god forsaken entity and people. A wicked and wasted generation of those that hates God. Indeed, Nigeria is the hardest place to live on earth. Nigeria as a nation is certainly in dire need of salvation. Last Saturday’s event revealed that all is not well with this beleaguered nation. It revealed that all the socalled developmental effort of the past fifty three or so years that spawned socio-economic, political, cultural, and educational spheres have all been nothing but a huge disaster.

Unemployment Woes Realistically, the leaders have failed woefully over their inability to establish a planned and sustainable economic policies that would have galvanized growth over these years. But today, the economy of the nation is near collapse, with quantum of the unemployed drifting aimlessly across the length and breath of this nation. And the government doesn’t seem to have any solution. Even the government at various tiers are also hell beat on pruning their workforce. Many factories and industries have since closed down inflation rate is ever spiraling, cost of power on the increase, fuel prices on the rise, low incentive, financials institutions are fraudulent and bankrupt, the naira has been eroded, high cost of raw materials and poor economic policies as mentioned earlier has lead to the rear collapse of the economy. This nothing less than a revolutionary solution can usher in the much needed economic liberation and stability that is needed at this time. The monetarist economic policy which was adopted by the federal government over

the past two decades have unleashed untold suffering on the lives of the subdued people who in eternal endurance have continued to embrace the

youths are living below the poverty line, being rendered fruitless, marginalized and voiceless. The nations wrong

reduction of unemployment. They are government’s insincere attempt to formulate policy for tackling unemployment and

economic policies that is heavily hinged on the IMF conditionality has created this endemic national trauma that has brought only pain and suffering to the masses of this nation, while leaving the elites secured. The creation of such bodies as NDE, NEEDS, SEEDS, etc have not in anyway impacted on the

reduction of poverty. In tackling unemployment, government leadership is the key. In fighting unemployment a broader and more effective strategy can be adopted by “facilitating the empowerment of poor people, by making state and social institutions more responsive to them.

President Goodluck Jonathan

worse of fate. How many educated, skilled and unskilled Nigerians would have thought today that they would be living without employment, without any means of livelihood, in a land that had earlier promised so much abundance, and prosperity. Today, thousand of millions of educated

Interestingly, there is a growing consensus, especially in the developed parts of the world that tackling unemployment or reducing poverty is a complex undertaking that requires government interventions which may include investment in infrastructural development and strong anti-corruption policies. But with the way things are in today’s Nigeria, the present administration seems to lack all sense of direction in fine tuning its economic policies An economic policy that is tilted only towards the macro economy and not the micro economy, must create unemployment in the land. Surprisingly over the years, the various tiers of government especially the federal government, has woefully failed to provide the financial needs that is needed to carry through those type of policies that would help reduce unemployment in aiding industrial growth, large scale infrastructural development, education, health care delivery, status of women and youth, micro-credit, all these can have multiplier effect on human progress, thereby reducing unemployment. But as we speaks the government remain tongue-tied in its guiltiness Don’t quote me.

“In tackling unemployment, government leadership is the key. In fighting unemployment a broader and more effective strategy can be adopted by “facilitating the empowerment of poor people, by making state and social institutions more responsive to them.”


THE WEEKEND

6

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

s Sincerely, Who suspended I sues

IN a palace coup reminiscent of the ouster of Generals Yakubu Gowon and Muhammadu Buhari, erstwhile Governor of Central Bank,

press is that of ‘witchhunting’. Few weeks ago the outspoken Mallam was reported to have uncovered a record-

By ADEKOYA BOLADALE

Sanusi, in fact I may never forgive him for the role he played in 2011-2012 Occupy Nigeria. He, like

‘balls’ to wholeheartedly sanction any member of his cabinet on allegation of financial misappropriation. Totally different from how the world view it, I do not think the decision to

to have sacked Sanusi at this point in time. Elementary politics would even deem counterproductive to sink a man perceived around the world to be championing a crusade against corruption especially at this level in a similar hole of corruption at a time he is receiving public encomium. There are no two definitions to how the world will view it other than witch-hunting. It shows that the army of Advisers around Mr. President are bunch of bootlickers who lack the needed intellectual capacity to advise the president accordingly, but even if they fail to do the needful or are bunch of yes-men, is it not believed that the president should be capable enough to take proper decision at such point in time? All said and done, I do not believe the same Goodluck Jonathan who has ruled Nigeria for the past three years has the

handcuff the apex bank chief was one taken after deep thoughts on some reports. It is my believe that Mallam Sanusi has inflicted upon himself far away from the NNPC revelation some enemies who may have been directly responsible for his suspension. In my inquisitive state I ask, who is/are the unseen hand(s) that influenced the suspension of Mallam Sanusi? Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s Connection To say the relationship between Mallam Sanusi and Mrs Okonjo Iweala of the Ministry of Finance has been cordial will be an understatement. Over the past few weeks, Sanusi has continued to openly criticize not just the economic policy of the Finance Minister but have severally accused her of aiding and abetting corruption and monumental fraud. Few days before the suspension of the

Sanusi Lamido

President Goodluck Jonathan

Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was unceremoniously suspended from the apex bank not too long. Mallam Sanusi, like the two former heads of State was out of the country when the adjudged ‘clueless’ but now ‘ruthless’ President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (JP) announced his suspension on allegations of fraud and financial recklessness. There have been accusations and counteraccusations on the motive behind the suspension of the awaiting Emir of Kano but the general consensus of a sizeable number of local and international

people. In spite of this, I still strongly feel Sanusi’s suspension was illconceived.

acknowledge that these are substantial reasons to necessitate a suspension and even trial, I find it politically stupid and suicidal for the President

breaking, governmentbacked financial fraud alleged to be in the realm of about twenty billion United States dollars ($20,000,000,000). This amount was discovered to have developed wings ‘flying’ from NNPC’s office to CBN’s office. Though, NNPC claimed to have used the said billions as subsidy on Kerosene, the average Nigerian will not have this. The said subsidized product sells for N180-N200 per litre at local filling stations and at higher price in other designated areas and markets. Let me state categorically that I am not a big fan of Mallam

many more of his likes in government stood firm with Jonathan in shortchanging the people of Nigeria. Like his Minister for Petroleum counterpart who doesn’t believe some Nigerians still make use of Kerosene Stove when the people in my village still arch their fanning embers to generate flame for cooking purposes, Sanusi was taken aback when we mentioned ‘I better pass, my neigbhour’ (the small power generating set) to him. It shows how disconnected people like him who are saddled with the responsibility of making policies that will impact on the lives of the common man are from the

I have read the reports of the Financial Reporting Council on which Mr. President claim to be acting. As much as I find the report revealing, with the exposure of how the suspended CBN governor claimed to have spent a whopping 1.257billion naira on mere lunch, some unverifiable 38.233billion naira on printing bank notes, 2billion naira on distributing currency nationwide through airlines that unfortunately do not operate in Nigeria, facility management expenses put above 7billon naira among others, I feel Mr. President took the right step at the wrong time. While I

“Sanusi was taken aback when we mentioned ‘I better pass, my neigbhour’ (the small power generating set) to him. It shows how disconnected people like him who are saddled with the responsibility of making policies that will impact on the lives of the common man are from the people.”


THE WEEKEND

7

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

s

I sues

Sanusi Lamido? Governor, ‘The Will’ reported that the former World Bank chief stormed the office of the president to tender her resignation letter over what she

country will not bow to international pressure on domestic policies and not even one coming from the IMF. However, Nigerians who follow international

elevation of the judge handling the case to the Court of Appeal. Most Christians felt insulted by the accusation of Mallam and accused him of

the brain is more asleep than awake? Beyond all these however, the issue of Sanusi’s sainthood and personal credibility should be less debated. I strongly feel what Nigerians; either black or light skinned, tall or short in height, slim or fat in size, straight or bisexual should be more

Mallam Sanusi doesn’t seems to be in her good book either. The suspended CBN Governor have severally had cause(s) to link the fraud at the NNPC to her. In fact in the now famous open letter to Mr. President, Sanusi brought her to the cleaner on evidence of linkages between her ministry and the missing billions. So was the decision to suspend Mallam taken after a nice time with Mr. President or during one of those midnight ‘wake-up, I want to talk to you’ calls, when

concerned about is the whereabouts of the $20billion. Sanusi is gone and never coming back no matter what the court says. But will we all sit down, cross our legs and watch this revelation take the issue on the path of case closed? If you ask me, I don’t really care who have influenced Sanusi’s removal, the price here is getting back the $20billion and putting the culprit(s) in jail. Sincerely, there is an urgent need to reawaken the January 2012 spirit again.

Allison Maduekwe

Okonjo Iweala

likened to ‘defiling’ of her office by the CBN governor with a scripted plot to drag her goodwill in the mud. The report said she was very angry and her body language was evidently clear that Mr. President only has one choice; either she leaves or Sanusi leaves. I think the choice made by the president on that day is crystal clear to all. But let us believe the self styled woman had nothing to do with Mallam’s suspension, is it possible some other individuals may have triggered it? International Monetary Fund (IMF) For a while, the international monetary fund have been on the neck of Mallam Sanusi to devalue the country’s currency as they believe it is being overpriced at the stock market. Sanusi was reported to have shunned the IMF chief stating confidently that the

mismanagement and cooking up shares and stocks. This single act saw big names like Ibru, Akingbola, Atuche, Adigwe handcuffed and tried.

have been nicknamed by many as the ‘oil demon’. Her influence in the seat of power arguably now tallies with the same influence which Madam Patience, the first lady has. Some reports have connected the possibility of a more than public affair between her and Mr. President. Unfortunately

financial scene and are very familiar with the IMFinfluenced Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) and how they choked the subsidy removal plan down the throat of African leaders will never underestimate the power and might of these guys. To say they cannot influence the removal of a public officer is an understatement. Pastor Adeboye Mallam Sanusi’s verbal diarrhoea manifested recently at the annual TEDX Talk in Abuja where he accused the General Overseer of the Redeemed Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye of aiding corruption and defending rogues like Erasmus Akingbola who was accused of siphoning depositors’ funds and influencing stock fraud. Sanusi claimed the pastor’s influence on the case saw to the sudden

blasphemy and partiality as they claimed the Emir of Kano also solicited for a soft landing for the subsidy bribery syndicate, Farouk Lawan but Sanusi turned a blind eye on that. As God would have it, President Jonathan recently visited the G.O where various state issues were discussed. Though it is not clear if Sanusi’s issue came up for dialogue and may just be a coincidence or divine manifestation of the scripture …’touch not my anointed’. Nothing much has been said after that. The Bank Mafias In the first few months of assuming office, Mallam Sanusi effected the biggest shakeup in the history of the Nigeria banking industry. The major players of the industry which were before then tagged ‘lions’ were dragged to court for allegations bordering on financial fraud,

Curiously, these set of individuals who have helped in cash and kind to effect the emergence of Governors and Presidents are being disgraced publicly. It is not impossible that these set of mafia decided to serve their tea of vengeance while cold. Alison Madueke If there is one person who can make the president declare a war on any country, look no further than the ever gorgeous and dazzling Ms Alison Madueke, the Petroleum Minister who

“Sanusi is gone and never coming back no matter what the court says. But will we all sit down, cross our legs and watch this revelation take the issue on the path of case closed? If you ask me, I don’t really care who have influenced Sanusi’s removal, the price here is getting back the $20billion and putting the culprit(s) in jail.”


THE WEEKEND

8

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

s

I sues

If The Western World Must Condemn Our Action Against Homosexuality Let Them Legalize Polygamy First

RECENTLY we have been hearing news about western countries openly condemning the decision of the Nigerian government to ban homosexuality. The United States has even gone to the extent of threatening to impose sanctions on Nigeria and top officials of the United Nations have aired their disapproval of the anti-gay bill. Now I personally have nothing against homosexuality, for all I care it is none of my business what two adults choose to do in the comfort of their privacy. I don’t even have a problem with other countries trying to pressure a government violating the human rights of it’s people, but what I do have a problem with is the concept of human rights and the hypocrisy of the Western world in their definition and usage of the term. What exactly are human rights? Human rights are the fundamental rights all humans are entitled to. According to the Declaration of Human Rights in the United Nations website, all humans are entitled to the right to expression, peaceful association, consensual marriage, privacy and nondiscrimination. This obviously means Nigeria is violating the basic globally accepted human rights that is meant to be protected, but it also means America and other western countries are violating it too. How? By illegalizing polygamy. Yes! Criminalizing polygamous marriages is a violation of the rights of those who want to engage in it. It is a violation of their rights to expression, peaceful association, consensual marriage, privacy and nondiscrimination. Tell me, why should it be a crime to marry multiple partners or a partner who is already married as long as all spouses involved consent to it? It makes absolutely no sense to criminalize it. But those who say it does justify their stance by saying it violates the institution of marriage, they say marriage should be an act between two people. In all sincerity, who are we to define the institution of marriage? Is there any universal law or belief

system which says it should be between only two people? Were we not the same people who said it should be an act between a man and woman only? It would be sheer hypocrisy to revoke laws which have oppressed a minority and set other laws which further oppress another minority. In all honesty, the institution of marriage need not have such strict guidelines, it is an act of love and commitment between two people. Numbers do not have to be involved as much as popular culture now agrees that gender should not be involved. Therefore, whether you like it or not, saying polygamy violates the sacredness of marriage is oppressive as saying homosexuality violates the sacredness of marriage. Another argument against polygamy is that it violates the dignity and honour of the spouses involved, i.e., the spouses sharing a partner. First and foremost, the violation of human dignity is a very subjective concept, it varies through cultures. Those involved in consensual polygamous marriages do not think it is degrading and some even find it refreshing and uplifting. Because you think a particular practice is degrading does not mean all others should conform to your definition of the term. In the same line some might say that being scantily clad is degrading, but those involved in the act do not think so, and infact some of them are celebrated in the western world. Even more importantly, polygamy is a form of marriage which should be consensual, as any other marriage should be. Those entering into it are doing so with full knowledge of the system of marriage it is, likewise those already involved will show consent (legal verified consent) before an extra spouse is brought in. It is not something which is forced on anyone, it is totally consensual and hence should be made legal. In addition, those in favour of criminalizing polygamy justify their stance with the argument that it creates a bad oppressive culture, an example being the Mormon communities in the US

By AKUOMA JOSHUA

where young uninformed girls are made to marry adult men. First of all, I will like to point out that that is not polygamy, it is child abuse. Polygamy should be an act between consenting adults well informed of what they are doing and mentally capable of making their own decisions, just like in any other marriage. Even if monogamy was the only accepted and practiced type of marriage in the Mormon culture but

Besides, these communities still manage to get around the law criminalizing polygamous marriages by legally marrying only the first wife and marrying the subsequent wives in church. Therefore looking at it practically nothing is really solved. And so the solution to solving the problem of child abuse in the Mormon communities and others like it is not

promotes gender inequality fail to understand the definition of the term polygamy. Apparently they think it means polygyny or bigamy. They fail to understand polygamy does not just entail one man and multiple women, but one woman and multiple men, it encompasses all genders. As much as a man should have the right to have multiple spouses, a woman should likewise have the right to have multiple spouses of her own. There

• President Goodluck Jonathan

• President Barack Obama

underage girls were still being made to get married, it would still be child abuse; the same way it would be child abuse if an adult was engaging in sexual activity with a minor, whether of the same sex or not. It is not homosexuality or polygamy that is the crime, but the abuse of the child.

is clearly no gender inequality here and those who say there is, have closed their eyes to this fact and are themselves sexist. This is because they limit polygamy to polygyny, they see it as something only a man is capable of doing, when in reality it is a broad term which calls for the

criminalizing polygamy, as it is not the cause, neither does criminalizing it solve the problem. And here comes one of the most popularly used yet unsound arguments by the anti-polygamy crew, that it promotes gender inequality. But here is the problem, these people who say it

liberation of all. And so at the end of the day they are part of the problem they are protesting against. These are the main arguments against the legalization of polygamy, arguments which I have proven are all fallacious. I believe it all goes to show that the ban on polygamous marriage is an act of sentiment rather than an act of logic, just like the western countries might say about our ban on homosexuality. But my advice to our more liberal

brothers is that they clear the log from their eyes before they clear those in others. It is pure hypocrisy to condemn others of what you are also guilty of doing. Legalize polygamous marriage and only then will you be justified to condemn the actions of the Nigerian government.

“ I believe it all goes to show that the ban on polygamous marriage is an act of sentiment rather than an act of logic, just like the western countries might say about our ban on homosexuality.”


THE WEEKEND

9

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

s

I sues

Another Look At The Report That Nailed Sanusi

SINCE he ordered the suspension from office of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, President Goodluck Jonathan has come under serious criticisms from two opposing quarters. From one quarter has come the criticism that the action was simply to punish the man for his public criticism of financial operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and to divert attention from his allegation that the oil giant short-changed the Federation Account by a whopping $20 billion. From the other is a diametrically opposed view that Jonathan delayed, for too long, the CBN Governor’s removal with its collateral damage to the institution in particular, and the Nigerian economy in general. Those who hold the latter view say if the President had acted on receipt of the damning report prepared by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) on the operations of the CBN under Sanusi, the nation would have been saved the huge sums of money he recklessly expended on all manner of projects. The 13-page report which made farreaching allegations of financial impropriety against the suspended CBN governor, frowned seriously at his unbecoming conduct as well as the humongous spending on areas that are inconsistent with the vision of the regulatory bank. Although government had been reviewing –prior to his suspension –a number of reports relating to the CBN, especially

following the audit of the bank by international accounting firms, the enormity of his unwholesome practices became the last straw that broke the Carmel’s back. With Sanusi’s suspension, it becomes compelling to revisit that report, not only because it led to his immediate troubles but because it has the potential for more revelations about the man. From the reports of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and other investigating bodies, it is clear that Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s tenure was characterized by acts that negate the core values of focused economic management and financial discipline. Not only did the man dabble too often into the murky waters of politics, an issue that distracted the Central Bank from the pursuit and achievement of its statutory mandate, his reign at the CBN was marked by a glaring lack of prudence and transparency. Those who say the President was slow in acting, cite Sanusi’s response to the query issued him by the President over his spending spree. Sanusi was queried by President Jonathan alongside former chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Dr Festus Odimegwu, in 2013. While Odumegwu was queried for his provocative utterances, that of the CBN Governor stemmed from the initial reports gathered

By MUSTAPHA ABDULLAHI

from the forensic audit of the CBN. While Odimegwu had since left without any hullaballoo, Sanusi whose response neither addressed the issue raised by the President nor slowed down his flagrant abuse of due process in financial management,

highlight the abuse of due process that generally characterised his administration of the apex bank. For instance, Mr. Sanusi is alleged to have spent a whopping N1.257 billion for lunch for policemen and private guards in 2012 alone, and

Sanusi

remained in office. It took the Council’s report to arrive at the conclusion that his response to that query was “a clear display of incompetence, nonchalance, fraud, wastefulness and deliberate efforts to misrepresent facts.” While some of the allegations in the report had indicted Sanusi personally, putting his integrity and competence to question, others

made bogus payments to airlines for currency distribution across Nigeria. Curiously, for a man who gives the impression that he thrives on moral rectitude, Sanusi has held an account with a balance of N1.423 billion for an unidentified customer since 2008. Even though he became governor in 2009, he should have done the needful in this circumstance. He never did.

“Sanusi used his discretion most impudently. He single-handed approved over N150 billion for the execution of over 63 ‘intervention projects’ across Nigeria. Not only were the projects commenced without any appropriation, there is no yardstick for determining the choice of projects and their locations. He was one of the first to respond by donating a whopping N100 million to victims of Boko Haram attacks in his native Kano state and to several other communities and institutions in mainly the Northern part of Nigeria without adherence to due process.”

The Council’s report alleges that Sanusi approved billions of naira in ambiguous payments to invoices referred to as “Contribution to Internal National Security” and “Centre of Excellence”, fuelling speculations that they were routed to states controlled by the All Progressives Congress. This is in addition to his donation of N1 billion to the party for it to open offices across the country. There is also the claim by Sanusi that the CBN paid N38.233 billion to the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Plc in 2011 for the “printing of bank notes” whereas the turnover of the entire printing and minting company group is N29.370 billion, far less than what Sanusi claimed the company earned from the CBN alone. Sanusi used his discretion most impudently. He singlehanded approved over N150 billion for the execution of over 63 ‘intervention projects’ across Nigeria. Not only were the projects commenced without any appropriation, there is no yardstick for determining the choice of projects and their locations. He was one of the first to respond by donating a whopping N100 million to victims of Boko Haram attacks in his native Kano state and to several other communities and institutions in mainly the Northern part of Nigeria without adherence to due process. Some of the questionable donations include N4 billion to Bayero University, Kano; N10 billion to Uthman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto; N500 million to the University of Benin. The violation of financial regulations had dire financial implications on the CBN’s operations since many of the projects captured in the report are not related to the CBN’s mandate. The summary of the Council’s recommendation was that the President

should exercise the powers conferred on him by Section 11 (2) (f) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 or invoke Section 11 (2) (c) of the said Act and cause the Governor and the Deputy Governors to cease from holding office in the CBN. President Jonathan took as many as 8 months in taking that step, which many people criticize, considering the damage that was being done to that regulatory institution. Indeed, the rot in the bank is staggering but it is understandable why Jonathan consulted widely before letting the hammer fall, government had to be careful in dealing with the issue so as not to upset the stability of the country’s financial sector with a growth rate in double digits. When he did eventually, he also directed the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria to carry out a full investigation of the activities of the CBN. Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana who blamed Sanusi for his downfall, “having regard to his irreconcilable differences with the Jonathan administration”, said he ought to have voluntarily resigned his appointment. While he arrived at the conclusion that “Mr Sanusi has himself to blame for his suspension from office on account of alleged financial recklessness”, he called on the Federal Government to allow the Auditor-General of the Federation to audit the accounts of the CBN and the NNPC by virtue of section 85 of the Constitution. The FRCN report may have done so much to bring sanity to the CBN but those who know Sanusi and how he held sway in the apex bank say the findings are yet a tip of a large iceberg. The new probe to be undertaken on other periods of his tempestuous tenure may yet reveal a lot more sordid indiscretions and malfeasances.


THE WEEKEND

10

e

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

P rspective FOR those unaware of its source, I might as well state from the outset that the title of this column is not original. It’s adapted from a statement released last week by Wole Soyinka. The statement, which bore the Nobel Laureate’s stamp of revulsion at moral impunity, chastised the Goodluck Jonathan administration for its

A National Insult of Nigeria”—including Queen Elizabeth 11 of England and Lord Frederick Lugard, first British overseer of the forcibly amalgamated territory—with such

By OKEY NDIBE

Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Dagogo Fubara, and Moshood Kashimawo Abiola into the same tent as Sani Abacha. In an

Nigerians are ever grateful to the coalition of British merchants, bureaucrats, adventurers and royals who cobbled their country together—and named it Nigeria. But the deeper truth lies elsewhere. There were two sets of memory

speculations that the legal instruments of amalgamation stipulated one hundred years as the event’s expiry date. With a great sense of expectancy, many looked forward to the formal cessation of the tragic, nightmarish, and blood-soaked experiment called Nigeria. Was the

provoking a resolve of “Never again!” Not in Nigeria, a place where a human life is worth far less than a chicken. How did N i g e r i a ’ s “transformational” leadership respond to this latest callousness by Boko Haram? It responded in its accustomed soft,

Jonathan administration unaware of this swell of hope that Nigeria should cease? In the build-up to the centenary, the band of Islamist extremists known as Boko Haram carried out one of their most savage and outrageous attacks yet. They stormed a secondary school in Yobe under the cover of darkness, slaughtered 60 boys, and set their victims’ dorms on fire. In any serious country, one such act would forever scar the collective conscience,

indifferent manner. It issued the same tiresome, obligatory condemnation of the carnage, nothing more. The Presidency did not consider the shocking abbreviation of so many innocent lives an occasion to devise and announce a bold, effective plan to assure the safety of all citizens, especially school children, in the Boko Haram-plagued, terrorinfested areas. It was, as usual, a do-nothing stance. But then the government did something even worse than habitual abdication.

Jonathan

bizarre line-up of 100 personalities worthy of honor at a ceremony marking the centenary of Nigeria’s amalgamation. The centenary list, typical of such rolls in Nigeria, was a hodgepodge. It bracketed imperial personages, so-called “contributors to the making

notable nationalist fighters as Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, and Anthony Enahoro. It squeezed Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Michael Imoudu, Aminu Kano, Kenneth Onwuka Dike, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, John Pepper Clark, Chike Obi, Chinua

“How did we quickly forget that Abacha’s looting of public funds from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria was a patriotic act? Or that he gave his cronies licenses to import toxic fuel into Nigeria because he so fiercely loved Nigerians and fervently desired their development? Or that Babangida’s annulment of the June 12 presidential election was a recipe for Nigeria’s unity?”

even weirder development, Mr. Abacha shows up—along with Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida—under the category of “Outstanding Promoters of Unity, Patriotism and National Development”. How did we quickly forget that Abacha’s looting of public funds from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria was a patriotic act? Or that he gave his cronies licenses to import toxic fuel into Nigeria because he so fiercely loved Nigerians and fervently desired their development? Or that Babangida’s annulment of the June 12 presidential election was a recipe for Nigeria’s unity? Anybody who only followed the Aso Rock version of the centenary could have run away with the impression that

Soyinka

at play last week, two attitudes to Nigeria—a socalled nation bereft of a national spirit, a space that is unformed, ill-formed and malformed. Those who preside today over the looting of billions of dollars of Nigeria’s resources may deceive themselves that the 100th anniversary of the amalgamation of Nigeria is an occasion for celebration. Many—I’d argue, most—Nigerians think otherwise. For several months, the Internet was abuzz with


THE WEEKEND

11

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

e

P rspective

Rejected Apparently, Reno Omokri, Mr. Jonathan’s point man on social media, orchestrated a release that sought to link Nigeria’s suspended Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, with a spike in Boko Haram’s gruesome activities, including the Yobe slaughter. Apparently Mr. Omokri did not reckon with the fact that many Nigerians are quite adept at cyber intelligence, deft at the kind of detective work that can unmask those who exploit the seeming anonymity of the Internet to slander others. Mr. Sanusi is the Jonathan administration’s Public Enemy Number One. The sacked CBN Governor committed the unpardonable sin of telling the world that a major agency of the Nigerian state had failed to deposit $20 billion earned from crude oil exports. In response, the government accused Mr. Sanusi of squandering the funds of the bank he ran, awarding contracts without following requisite laws, and dispensing Nigeria’s funds as if they were his private treasury. If Mr. Sanusi committed these crimes, I’d like to see him prosecuted, convicted and punished. I’d also like to see the administration account fully for the funds that Mr. Sanusi alleged to be missing. Here’s what the government doesn’t have a right to do: sending Mr. Omokri, its cyber warrior-in-chief, to concoct and disseminate horrific lies against Mr. Sanusi or any Nigerian. Unless Mr. Omokri can demonstrate that he did not mastermind the craven forgery, he ought to resign immediately. Or be fired.

It’s tragic that the Nigerian government, from the president to his aides, continues to fiddle while the country burns. It’s shameful that President Jonathan and Nigerian legislators prioritize a phantom war—going after gays—when the country is besieged by mindless, well-armed zealots who see unarmed Nigerians, including children, as fair game. How does the targeting of gays solve Nigeria’s infrastructural problems? Are gays the reason elections are massively rigged in Nigeria; public funds looted with depraved greed; our educational system a shambles; our healthcare system ghastly? Nigeria fought a civil war that claimed anything from one to three million lives. It was a war to defend a British-made idea, to uphold the sanctity of a space wrought by British imperial fiat. The mantra was: To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done. To their credit, the British had an excellent reason for keeping Nigeria one. Nigeria was their largest holding in Africa (and their second largest anywhere, after India). It was a prodigious source of raw materials for British firms as well as a huge dumping ground for British-made goods. It made sound sense, from the British point of view, to keep Nigeria one. As British rule ended, the Nigerian elite who inherited the spoils of the state adopted as an article of faith the idea that Nigeria must remain one entity. But they shied away from asking the hard questions. What’s so

sacred about Nigeria? Why should we remain one? What ends are

served by remaining one? What does Nigeria represent? And—if unity was not negotiable—then what must be the irreducible terms of our engagement? I’ve argued before that a central part of Nigeria’s tragedy arises from the fact that the country fought

a costly war, but has never permitted the lessons of that war to inform its conduct, to shape its ethos. It’s as if we went to war to defend the right of a few to continue to plunder, to continue to feed fat at the expense of the rest of us, to perpetually rig themselves into power,

Sanusi

Abacha

“It’s tragic that the Nigerian government, from the president to his aides, continues to fiddle while the country burns. It’s shameful that President Jonathan and Nigerian legislators prioritize a phantom war—going after gays—when the country is besieged by mindless, well-armed zealots who see unarmed Nigerians, including children, as fair game.”

and to add their contemptible names to every roll of honor, even though they refrain from doing anything that is remotely honorable. As Mr. Jonathan feted the so-called giants of Nigeria’s centenary, a different, oppositional narrative played itself out. The collective memory of the vast majority of Nigerians beheld Nigeria, not as a splendid monument, but as a sordid, wretched edifice. They saw what Mr. Jonathan and his ilk refuse to see: that the Nigerian state is a provocation, a moral affront, a failed, misery-dispensing state. Soyinka captured part of the spirit of that deep split in the way Nigeria is regarded. He acted bravely by excusing himself from the insouciant official ritual that amounted to an insult to the outraged sensibilities of the majority of Nigerians. In a statement of renunciation titled “Canonization of Terror,” Mr. Soyinka called attention to the wasted lives of the students in Yobe. He drew our attention to “the entire ethical landscape into which this nation has been forced by insensate leadership.” He would not succumb to the summons to collective amnesia, the only condition under which an ogre like Sani Abacha would be invited to arise, ghost-like, to accept national veneration as a patriotic champion of Nigerian “unity and national development.” Stated Mr. Soyinka: “Under that ruler, torture and other forms of barbarism were enthroned as the norm of governance. To round up, nine Nigerian citizens, including the writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa, were hanged after a trial that was stomach churning even by the most primitive standards of judicial trial, and in defiance of the intervention of world leadership.” In the end, Soyinka spoke for me—and I suggest, for many other enlightened people— when he stated, “I reject my share of this national insult.”


THE WEEKEND

12

e

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

R flection

The Power Of Passion And The Spirit Of The Warrior

UNTIL you hear the Scotsman play the bagpipes in the early morning mist of the Scottish highlands, you have heard nothing. Until you hear the Irish maiden sing ”O Danny Boy” on the lush green fields of the Emerald Isle, you know nothing. Until you hear the Welshman sing ”Men of Harlech” in the beautiful valleys of Pontypool and Pontyprid, you have heard nothing. Until you see the English rose blossom and bloom in early spring and you hear the British Grenadiers sing ”God Save The Queen”, you have seen nothing. Until you see the ”Charge of the Light Brigade” and witness the courage of ”the famous 600”, you know nothing. Until you see the Zulu warrior dance his battle dance on the hills of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, you know nothing. Until you hear the Ashanti and the Yoruba sing songs of praise to the Living God, you have heard nothing. Until you see the Frenchman sing ”La Marseillaise” and ”Je Ne Regrette Rien”, you know nothing. Until you see brave men fight, suffer and die for a noble and just cause, you know nothing. Until you hear the cries, see the tears, read the words and feel the pain of a wounded, tormented and broken soul, you have seen nothing. Until you feel the passion of the wounded Messiah on the cross at Calvary, you know nothing. All these unseen things inspire, they stir the spirit and move the soul. They breath and bleed passion. They ARE passion itself. And passion is the essence

of life. It is the food of the compassionate and the sensitive spirit. It is the fuel of noble and courageous souls. It is the stuff of which gods and immortals are made. It is our passport to posterity- our key to future glory. Yet nothing and no-one epitomises the power of passion

more than the spirit of the warrior. The warrior is noble and strong. His resolve is firm and his commitment is total. His is to kill, to shed blood and to be killed. His is to die for his king and for a worthy cause. His is to protect and lay down his life for his faith, his nation, his people and his loved ones. What manner of men are these whose spirit speak of such valour and nobility? Consider the ancient Spartans and the Roman warriors of old. Consider the fearsome Vikings who believed that it was a curse to die a peaceful death and that the only way to heaven was to die violently and

By FEMI FANI-KAYODE

heroically in fearsome battle. Consider the greatest of all warriors that ever lived, the noble and gallant Achilles. Consider Alexander the Great who conquered the world with his sword. Consider King David, the greatest of all the

the very end. Consider their gallant captain, the mighty Joab and the others, Abishai, Asahel, Eleazer, the Ta c h o m o n i t e , Shammah, Benaiah, Eliam, Igal and Uriah the Hittite. These were David’s ”strongmen”: all great

kings of Israel, who was a man of blood and war and yet whom God so loved and who loved God more than any other. Consider David’s “strongmen” who stood with him through thick and thin and who fought for and protected him to

and valient men of war whose courage was legendary and whose loyalty to their God and their king was unflinching and unquestionable. Consider Shaka the Zulu, Beowulf the Nordic king and William Wallace the liberator of

Scotland. Consider King Henry V of England who routed the French at the battle of Agincourt even though he was outnumbered by three men to one. Consider Julius Caesar who came, who saw and who conquered. Consider the great Heracles who was a descendant of the mighty Hercules himself. Consider Spartacus, who turned slaves into men. Consider Samson, who slew a troop with the jaw bone of an ass and yet who fell at the touch of a woman. Consider Gideon who slew the Midianites, Jeptha who sacrificed his own daughter, Joshua who brought down the walls of Jericho and Jehu, who drove his chariot like a madman, who slew the witch-Queen Jezebel and who fulfilled prophesy by ensuring that the dogs ate her flesh and licked her blood in the fields of Jezreel. Consider those that laid down their lives for our great and noble faith: Paul of Tarsus, the greatest of all the apostles, who brought the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the gentiles and to the wider world. Peter the disciple,

who became the rock on whom the Church of God was built. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, Stephen, Isaiah, Elijah, Daniel, John and all the other disciples and prophets of old. For martyrs and heroes that lived and died for God are also gallant warriors who feared not death and who stood firm to the end in defence of their faith. Consider George Washington who led his troops into battle and whose battle cry was “victory or death”. Consider the charge of the Light Brigade, the sheer courage and discipline of the famous 600, at the battle of Balaclava in the fields of the Crimea. Consider General Lee at the battle of Gettysberg, Oliver Cromwell at the battle of Nasby, Horatio Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar and King Leonides, with his gallant ”300”, at the battle of Thermopalye. Consider Generals Marshal, Patton, Eisenhower, Rommel and MacArthur in the great battles of the Second World war. Consider the ”Black Scorpion”, General Benjamin Adekunle, with his 3rd Marine Commando at the Continues on pg. 13

“What manner of men are these whose spirit speak of such valour and nobility? Consider the ancient Spartans and the Roman warriors of old. Consider the fearsome Vikings who believed that it was a curse to die a peaceful death and that the only way to heaven was to die violently and heroically in fearsome battle.”


THE WEEKEND

13

e

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

R flection Continued from pg. 12

Battle of Ore. Consider Olusegun Obasanjo in the battle for Owerri. Consider Murtala Mohammed in the liberation of Benin City. Consider Zhukov at the siege of Leningrad and his courageous exploits at the battle of Moscow. Consider Bernard Montgomery, with his fearless ”Desert Rats”, at the battle of Alamein, Charles De Gaulle at the siege of Paris and Chiang KaiShek in the war against Japan. Consider Attila the Hun, Ghengis Khan, Peter the Great, Richard the Lionheart, Salahudeen the Compassionate, Katsumoto the Samurai, Hannibal of Carthage and Hector of Troy. Consider our gallant amazons and female warriors of old- Boudica of East Anglia, Joan D’Arc of France, Elizabeth 1 of England, Amina of Zaria, Moremi of Ife, Golda Meir of the State Of Israel, Margret Thatcher of Great Britain, Indira Ghandi of India, Queen Idia of Benin, Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, Queen Esther of the Medes and Persians, Cleopatra of the Blue Nile and Egypt and Yaa Asantewaa of the Ashanti Kingdom. Consider Generals Foche and Hague at the battle of the Somme. Consider George Armstrong Custer at the battle of the Little Big Horn, the Duke of Wellington at the battle of Waterloo and

. . . The Spirit Of The Warrior

Napolean Bonaparte, in his full glory and power, at the battle of Marengo. Consider Aragorn of Gondor, who won the battle for Middle Earth and who broke the power of the ring. Consider Cyrus of Persia, whose compassion knew no bounds and who allowed Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Consider Lancelot of the Round Table, the most handsome and courageous of all King Arthur’s knights, who was unbeatable in battle and who captured the heart of the queen. Consider Aslan, the

great Lion of Narnia, whose roar filled the land, whose power drove away the winter and who crushed the white witch in battle. Consider Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North and General of the Felix Legions, who fought with strength and honour, who slew the wicked Emperor and who delivered the City of Rome. Consider Uthman Dan Fodio who spread his faith with zeal and valour and who built a formidable empire. Consider Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the exploits of his

”all black” 54th Massachusetts regiment at the battle for Fort Wagner. Consider General Mohammadu Buhari at the war in Chad when he drove the enemy from our borders and almost took the City of Ndjamena. Consider Brigadier Halilu Akilu who crushed the Maitatsine and who saved the ancient City of Kano. Consider General Fajuyi who laid down his life for his brother. Consider Colonel Isa Mohammed who secured our eastern borders and who threw the Camerounians out of the Bakassi Peninsular. Had these great men

“They lived and died for the sake of others and asked for only one thing in return: that their names should live forever and that we should never forget their noble deeds and their worthy sacrifices. And we must not forget, nay we dare not forget, for as Martin Luther King once said “if a man is not ready to die for something, then he is not worthy of living for anything”. The warrior is prepared to die for his cause. That is what makes him so noble and that is why he will always have a special place in our hearts.”

and women all not stood their ground and had they all not played their role in our collective history, where would the world be today? They sacrificed their today so that we may have our tomorrow. They lived and died for the sake of others and asked for only one thing in return: that their names should live forever and that we should never forget their noble deeds and their worthy sacrifices. And we must not forget, nay we dare not forget, for as Martin Luther King once said “if a man is not ready to die for something, then he is not worthy of living for anything”. The warrior is prepared to die for his cause. That is what makes him so noble and that is why he will always have a special place in our hearts. May the spirit of the warrior and selfless courage fill us all and, like the true warriors that we are meant to be, when the angel of death comes may the Lord give us the strength and boldness to look at him

fearlessly in the face and treat him with the contempt and disdain that he deservesknowing that he has lost his sting and that, by the power of Christ Jesus, he has been conquered and crushed. When the dark angel comes, as come he must for us all, let us be men and let us die a good death, not cringing and crying like puppies, but like true warriors, fighting to the bitter end. For it is never for the warrior to ask the why: it is only for the warrior to do or die. The warrior does not vanish into the night. The warrior will not go down without a fight. Permit me to end this contribution with the following counsel. Courage is the greatest of all the virtues and it is the best defence. Regardless of whatever challenges we may face today, like the warrior, we must show courage. We must stay the course, steel our hearts, fortify our faith, shed our fears and march on in the strength and power of the Lord. We must stand firm, refuse to bow, refuse to flinch and we must defy the enemy. We must stand and we must fight. We must ensure that the good in our land prevails over the evil and that the light overcomes the darkness. That is our hope and that is the challenge before every self-respecting Nigerian today- to scale the obstacles in our land and to bring hope to the hopeless, the vulnerable, the weak, the poor, the deprived and the less privilaged. That is what warriors are meant to do and my prayer is that the Lord grants each and every one of us the presence of mind and the fortitude to do it. May God bless and defend our nation.


THE WEEKEND

s

14

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

I sues DOROTHY Moses, a 13-year-old girl, resides with her foster parents in Dei-dei, one of the satellite towns of the Federal

regulations in the country, cases of child abuse and neglect have been on the increase. Dr Oluwole Agbabiaka, a

domestic servants or street hawkers. “These children sometimes engage in other activities that are

nurtured, as specified in the Child’s Right Act,’’ Odumakin says. Mrs Veronica Umar, the National Coordinator,

way in promoting the interests of the Nigerian child. However, Prof. Christiana Okojie of the

children,’’ she says. Mrs. Beatrice JedyAgba, the Executive Secretary of National Agency for Prohibition of

Drawing A Line Between Child Fostering And Child Labour

Capital Territory (FCT). Dorothy relocated from a rural community in Nasarawa State to Dei-dei when she was three years’ old because of her parents’ death. Living with her uncle, a poor farmer with two wives and seven children; has been a harrowing experience for Dorothy. After attending school each day, she is bogged down with a lot of house chores and she usually goes to bed around 11 p.m. Dorothy’s case typifies the experience of several children who live in foster homes, as such children are often victims of child abuse or child labour. A content analysis of media reports often reveals instances of child abuse, child abandonment, sexual abuse, child neglect, vagrancy, kidnapping and hawking, as these constitute the most reported forms of child abuse and neglect. In many instances, young girls and boys from rural areas are sent to families in cities, where they serve as housemaids and houseboys. A study on house-helps and child fostering, conducted by the Child Protection Network in Nigeria in 2012, found that such hapless children had lower intelligence than those children who were well-nurtured. The study attributed the development to the breakdown of the traditional foster culture, which had gradually transformed into child labour. Observers say that children, who work as house-helps, may also be required to sell food, snacks and clothing, among other wares, on the streets. They, therefore, wonder if there is a clear demarcation between child labour and child fostering in the Nigerian context. The observers note that in spite of the existence of protective laws and

By TOSIN KOLADE

medical doctor, says that child fostering has been an ancient practice in many parts of the world. He says that child fostering is particularly acceptable in many African countries because in the traditional African society,

harmful to them and the society, as they are also exposed to all sorts of vices,’’ he adds. Nevertheless, Dr Joe Odumakin, a human rights activist, says that the importance of children in the society cannot be over-

Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation, says that sustained rural-urban migration and increasing level of poverty in the country promote child labour, particularly in foster homes.

University of Benin explains that 50 per cent of the children in developing nations, particularly those in SubSaharan Africa, live without rights. “Children need to be recognised as citizens and

it is believed that children belong to the entire community, not only to their biological parents. Agbabiaka says that parents and communities in the African setting are supposed to play significant and complementary roles in the children’s upbringing. He, however, says that many individuals and families take undue advantage of the culture of child fostering by becoming perpetrators of child abuse. Agbabiaka insists that in many instances, the children in foster homes do not receive any formal education, adding that instead, they are compelled to serve as

emphasised. She underscores the need to make concerted efforts to treasure and look after children because they are the future leaders of the country. “Children, therefore need to be safeguarded; their rights to education, self-expression and freedom from exploitation need to be upheld. “Many countries and societies in the developed world expend a lot of resources on child development; why is Nigeria different? “Yet, it has been observed that many Nigerian children are being used for economic activities, whereas they ought to be properly

She bemoans a situation in which rural people are getting poorer, while the country’s economy is not picking up. Umar, nonetheless, stresses the need for states to pass or domesticate the Child Rights Act 2003 into law. She emphasises that this would really go a long

human beings, with personal rights to protection against neglect, abuse and violence. “Nigeria performs poorly on the international level when it comes to access to education and health care. “Tangible attention needs to be paid to efforts to improve the lives of all

Traffic in Persons and other Related Matters (NAPTIP), says that child abuse and child labour constitute a lot of danger to the society. “We find that in spite of the passage of the Child Rights Act by some states in the country, millions of children are still out of school, working to support their families. “Experience has shown that the abuse of our traditional and cultural values also foster child trafficking and child abuse in our society. “This is, no doubt, a major cause for concern, as it induces cyclical poverty, illiteracy and increase in the crime rate,’’ she adds. Jedy-Agba stresses the need to adopt a robust and renewed intervention mechanism, which will lead to the enlightenment of the vulnerable sections of the population. All the same, analysts insist that tangible efforts should be made to initiate community sensitisation campaigns on the adverse effects of child abuse and neglect on the child, the family and the society at large. They also urge the government to strengthen institutions that are providing family welfare services, while improving on its family economic e m p o w e r m e n t programmes. This, they add, will enhance household incomes and prevent children from becoming victims of child abuse under inappropriate foster care systems.

“Observers say that children, who work as house-helps, may also be required to sell food, snacks and clothing, among other wares, on the streets. They, therefore, wonder if there is a clear demarcation between child labour and child fostering in the Nigerian context.”


THE WEEKEND

15

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

n

I sight

FERMA’S Fraud In Lagos

“FERMA is now putting signposts on areas and roads where we have worked, deceiving its employer in Abuja that it is working. I have taken photographs of the area and sent to the Minister of Works, to note that I hope FERMA is accounting for its budget because all the works they claim that they did, the state government did them. That is the fraud that is going on now. They use money from SURE-P and they are moving about deceiving people in Abuja that they are using it to work in Lagos. To their minds, that is what they will use to win elections here by next year, but the people of Lagos are no fools.” – Governor Fashola These are very interesting times in Nigeria. As 2015 Presidential elections draws near hell has been let loose in Nigeria. For the ruling party PDP, it is a do or die affair. If they have to empty the entire treasury to achieve their inordinate ambition, so be it. All over Nigeria money is being deployed massively for the sole purpose of remaining in power at all cost beyond 2015. Scandals, scams, financial misappropriation, stealing are brewing everywhere at the Nigerian federal sector in a way never experienced since our flag independence in 1960, Friends across Nigeria, various organizations, markets, churches etc continue to give graphic details of how the President’s men and women have infiltrated their groups throwing millions and billions at them for 2015. One dares to ask; is this all it takes to win elections in Nigeria? Where are the common people and their welfare for which governments exist and for which election of leaders happen on periodic basis?

The missing 20 billion US dollars, the kerosene subsidy scandal, the oil subsidy scam, the SURE-P looting, and all sundry leakages within the system are all meant to stash trillions of naira for 2015 elections. Not that these would be devoted to projects that would remove the shackle of poverty, disease and want from which Nigerians suffer and die in their tens of thousands everyday. Not that these monies are ploughed into the worsening power sector to rescue what is left of Nigeria’s formal sector from total annihilation. Not that these huge monies are invested in our woeful health, educational and welfare sectors to rescue the 120 million Nigerians who, by World Bank statistics are living below the poverty line. Not that these trillions of naira that develop wings everyday in Nigeria are moved into the industrial sector to create jobs for the millions of hopeless Nigerian youths who are moved into crime by the absence of jobs even after graduating from the universities. Not that these trillions are used to improve the worsening security crisis Nigeria faces at present. Sure, Boko Haram can continue to kill college students, our mothers, our fathers, Nigeria can continue to be in darkness, let unemployment take care of itself, let our schools continue to go down, let our hospitals remain mere Consulting clinics, let the infrastructure continue to decay, let the economy continue to nose-dive, so long as we remain in power. These trillions of Naira are being looted and part of it saved for politics. Yes, politics of poverty where Nigerians are exposed to mass poverty and wait for morsels at election time.

By JOE IGBOKWE

Yes, morsels that flow from the profligate table of politicians who are so adept at the politics of poverty-the type PDP has been unleashing on Nigeria for the past fifteen years. It is what is in vogue today, as President Jonathan’s government battles for reelection after a woeful showing for the nearly five years he had been in power. In Lagos, PDP members are working so hard so they will not be left out in this vicious game plan to continue to decimate and plunder Nigeria. Last year

(Subsidy Re-Investment and Employment Programme) at hand to fund anything that will help them, Lagos PDP went back to resuscitate the dead FERMA foot soldiers who terrorized Lagosians in the days of Adeseye Ogunlewe as Federal Minister for Works. For record purposes the SURE-P fund is the money made from removal of Petroleum Subsidy from January 2012 which President Jonathan promised to use in building

• Mike Onolememen

Chief Bode George gathered them somewhere in the metropolis and told them that time has come for PDP to leverage on 200 Federal Roads for election purposes in Lagos since Lagos State can set up KAI and LASTMA and ‘use them for the same purpose’ .With a cash cow like SURE-P

our Refineries, build Railways, build Hospitals, rebuild schools, roads, establish industries and generate employment, create jobs, build our woeful power sector, flood Nigerian roads with affordable mass transit buses, etc. Today SURE-P funds are used mainly to service PDP. Today SURE-P has become a sluch

“The projects the governments of Tinubu and Fashola has been painstakingly doing for the past eight years are now being claimed by hoodlums deployed to cause mayhem and brigandage in Lagos for the political interests of those who do not believe in performance in public office. The green lawns and gardens Tinubu and Fashola built to make Lagos not only livable but beautiful are now being dented with FERMA signposts and spurious claims that they were done overnight by FERMA.”

fund for the recruitment of PDP thugs and hoodlums who are given peanuts as monthly allowances. Nigerians who suffered the extortion of N32 from each liter of fuel they buy since January 2012, are left high and dry as their standard of lives plummet. We all recall that recently, SURE-P was hit by a financial scandal where over N500 billion was stolen from the fund and this led to the resignation of its Chairman, Dr. Christopher Kolade. That is what PDP is using to train the so-called FERMA Road Officers in Lagos. Lagos has close to 10,000 roads. Out of this, federal government owns about 200 roads. Now tell me where Chief Bode George and his co-travelers in PDP will deploy these officers to? What will they be doing? To control traffic in Lagos? We all saw the tragic results on Lagos roads when they were deployed by Chief Adeseye Ogunlewe few years back. It was a fierce battle between them and LASTMA/KAI Officers in Lagos and many lost their lives, some maimed and disfigured. Is this what PDP wants to reenact for its elusive pipe dream of gaining a foothold in Lagos? There can never be another state for PDP in Lagos. There is only one state led by Governor Fashola of APC. Any attempt therefore by the Lagos PDP to put spanners in the works to jeopardize the relative peace Lagosians have been enjoying for years now will be met with stiff resistance. The projects the governments of Tinubu and Fashola has been painstakingly doing for the past eight years are now being claimed by hoodlums deployed to cause mayhem and brigandage in Lagos for the political interests of those who do not believe in performance in public office. The green lawns and gardens Tinubu and Fashola built to make Lagos not only livable but beautiful are now being dented with FERMA signposts and spurious claims that they were done overnight by FERMA. The bad federal roads the Tinubu and Fashola governments rebuilt are now being claimed by FERMA, possibly as a way of generating non existent achievements of a failed government and fool Nigerians as the critical 2015 election approaches.

Lagos PDP cannot reap where it did not sow. Lagos PDP cannot leverage the good works of Governor Fashola of APC just to impress Abuja. It is a primitive, 21st century fraud that will not stand. The other day I saw a road grader scrapping a bad portion on Ikorodu Road and probably to resurface it and I saw about three young men each holding cameras or video machines, recording what is going on. Now for what purpose will you deploy three men to take pictures of a small repair job on Ikorodu road? Does this represent federal intervention on dilapidated federal roads in Lagos at this very age? God have mercy! This is absurd and reprehensible. It is scam, a horrible trick on the intelligence of not only the sophisticated people of Lagos but Nigerians as a whole. PDP, whether in Abuja or Lagos is deficit in creativity, deficit in character, deficit in planning and execution of ideas, deficit in robust thinking and debates. In a mad house full of subhuman mongrels, dolts, brainless nitwits and rapacious greedy lots, it is hard to expect anything that is good, bright and beautiful. Let no right thinking Nigerians ever hope that PDP still has anything to offer Nigeria now and in future. Give them another 20years they will still be dillydallying and hopelessly looking for roads where there are no roads. They are neither innovators nor are they influencers. They are clueless and classless leaders. I want the Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen to call what is known as Lagos FERMA to order. Is FERMA a Lagos agency? The Minister must act now before it is too late. May the people I saw being trained at old Toll Gate Lagos never be deployed on the streets of Lagos for any reason, whatsoever. Do not let Chief Bode George and company deceive you. Playing politics with the lives of Nigerians can backfire. We have seen it before, with its tragic consequences and may we never repeat this ugly history. I want the National Assembly to take more than a passive interest in the gale of annoying illegalities being sponsored by the PDP in Lagos before it snowballs into another national crisis.


THE WEEKEND

16

n

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

I sight THE ignorance inherent in our political elites is once again manifesting itself in the planned celebration of our 100 years of existence as a Nation. It is a popular belief that the most tragic paradox of our time is to be found in the corridors of those perpetually living in failure and who thus, celebrate failure in a grand style. I think one of the problems with our political class is that they do not have the basic understanding of what it means to be referred to as a “failed state” or a “third world Nation”; otherwise they would have been preoccupied, figuring out lasting solutions to our decaying infrastructure, fight monumental

Nigeria’s Centenary: Celebrating

100 Years Of Darkness!

Owing to the aforementioned, I beg to be brutally honest here that our leaders have sight but no vision. They clearly exhibit dullness in intellect and are deficient in achievement, hence their penchant to celebrate mediocrity. Leadership is not about titles, positions or owning private jets as we have seen in our structure. Leadership is about learning to know the people’s needs, and you have to live with God to

By KEXTER E. A. DONALD JNR

path lead? We cannot continue to wander aimlessly with brainless leaders at the helm of affairs. Celebrating our 100 years of existence as a Nation at this critical regime of BOKO HARAM and the deplorable situation of our infrastructure is the commonest form of stupidity and the message that our celebration of mediocrity will send out to the civilized world is simply “misplaced

• Chief Olusegun Obasanjo

corruption head-on and intensify the war on terrorism, which is currently the bane of our society, rather than shamelessly celebrating failure in the code name of centenary. Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. is quoted to have said: “May I stress the need for courageous, intelligent and dedicated leadership… leaders of sound integrity. Leaders not interested in publicity but in love with justice. Leaders not in love with money but in love with humanity. Leaders who can subject their particular egos to the greatness of the cause”. Consequently, one will be compelled to state categorically here that none of our leaders falls in that picture and none of the registered or unregistered political parties in Nigeria represents what Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. delineated herein.

population of 167 million Nigerians; whereas Ghana with a population of almost 25 million people has 3,600 megawatts while South Africa with a population of 51.8 million people has 35,200 megawatts. I am sure that many idiots in our political stratum would argue that South Africa was entirely built by the colonial masters. And so what? After all, Nigerian politicians are more skillful at stealing and looting our

of our population and fewer Universities commensurate with our population? For 100 years, Nigeria has no good schools, no good hospitals and no good road network. It is a fact that 70 percent of University students in Ghana are from Nigeria and 85 percent of our leaders travel to Europe and America for medical checkup and treatment. The worst road in Europe and America today is better than the best road in Nigeria. Indeed, if there was a law

of at least 100 BILLION naira annually from ‘Oversea Medical Treatment Approval Account. (OMTA – ACCOUNT). Again, if there was a law that states: any public servant or politician in public office who wishes to send their children abroad to obtain qualitative education at any given time MUST pay TWENTY MILLION NAIRA (20m) into the account of the poor masses under the supervision of the Federal

• Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd)

know how to solve them. In essence, one life influencing another. Unfortunately, our leaders have a desire to look for the exception instead of the desire to become exceptional. The Nigerian project could be likened to a child who at fifty-four, still refuses to grow. He has no job, no wife, no child, and all he does is to trick or steal from his siblings to celebrate his birthday annually. Yet, he cannot take responsibility for his actions; rather, he would blame his failure on spiritual forces or his siblings. Based on that, his friends tagged him as NFA – “NO Future Ambition”. Such a child of course epitomizes failure. One does not need to be told that something is wrong with such a Big Child. Where are we going in this country? Where does our

priority”. It may interest everyone to learn that no one commands the genuine respect and attention of the world by being stupid. It is a shame to learn that for 100 years, we cannot boast of stable electricity or even 30,000 megawatts of energy which is even insufficient to serve a

country’s treasury but foolishly export their loots to their white counterparts for safe keeping. With these disclosures, one cannot help but agree that we have senseless, selfish and laidback leaders who have no shame. In view of this naked gargantuan failure, do we go ahead to party the explosion

compelling any public servant who wishes to go for medical treatment abroad should pay TEN MILLION NAIRA (N10m) into the account of the poor masses and under the supervision of the Federal Government to get approval for such, I am sure that this country would be making a whopping sum

Government to get approval for such; I am sure that this country would be making a whopping sum of at least 200 BILLION naira annually from ‘oversea Qualitative Education Approval Account. (OQEA – ACCOUNT). I am not through with those brainless leaders yet.

“The Nigerian project could be likened to a child who at fifty-four, still refuses to grow. He has no job, no wife, no child, and all he does is to trick or steal from his siblings to celebrate his birthday annually. Yet, he cannot take responsibility for his actions; rather, he would blame his failure on spiritual forces or his siblings. Based on that, his friends tagged him as NFA – “NO Future Ambition.”


THE WEEKEND

17

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

n. . . Celebrating 100 Years Of Darkness!

I sight If there was a law that states: all public servants MUST pay 5% of the worth of their cars and private jets annually into the account of the poor masses under the supervision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to get approval for such; I am sure that this country would be making a whopping sum of at least 10 TRILLION naira annually from ‘Exotic Cars/Private Jet approval Account. (ECPJ – ACCOUNT). It is important that we take from the super rich who want to enjoy their affluence to enrich the lives of the very poor as it is done in Singapore and with this system in place, Nigeria will have minimal security challenge. But the One Million Dollar question remains: who is fooling who in this country and what are we actually celebrating? And using this broad measure, you will agree with me that this is a legitimate area of concern that must be looked into by our government if actually they are genuine and serving the interest of the poor. One does not need a prophet to tell Nigerians that it is only this type of laws that would put our leaders on their toes and get them to start doing the right thing at the right time and living uprightly rather than fooling around. If our leaders are not self-serving, I challenge them to as a matter of urgency to introduce these types of laws into our constitution and with special emphasis that such funds would be used to better the lives of the hapless in our society like the physically challenged and the orphans. This could be best achieved by way of setting up (SPECIAL CONTINGENCY FUND ACCOUNT FOR THE HAPLESS – SCFAH). A good critic is one who criticizes and suggests a workable and implementable alternative and I think the laws I have proposed herein can help a great deal in that regard. With these laws in place, Nigerians will have the best hospitals and the best schools in the world as our public servants will never ever want to pay such amount to get approval from government – because our leaders are egocentric, unrealistic, wicked and irrational; they are guilty of intransigence, cowardice

• Vice President Namadi Sambo

and stupidity. But somehow, they have ended up with significant power over us and something needs to be done. Every single individual reading this article needs to quickly get active in correcting these problems. What then are we celebrating? Are we celebrating an incoherent, inconsistent, irrational and half-baked Government who oftentimes promise to build bridges where there are no rivers? Are we celebrating a culture of impunity, a culture in which the powerful silence the powerless without consequences? Are we celebrating the fact that the more revenue our government makes, the more Nigerians become impoverished? Are we celebrating what I would rather call ‘witchcraft politicking’? Are we actually celebrating the insurgence of terrorism and incessant kidnap of foreigners in our country? Or are we celebrating the looting syndrome and the monumental corruption that permeates our public office holders? Are we celebrating the numerous inconclusive cases by the EFCC? Are we celebrating the fact that Nigeria is the largest oil producing country in Africa, yet one of the poorest countries in the world? Are we celebrating the

fact that the United States President also realized that there is corruption in every sector of our government, yet President Jonathan is putting on a dark ‘sunshade-at-night’ hence he cannot see what President Barak Obama saw, but rather argued that corruption in Nigeria is blown out of proportion by the United State government? Are we celebrating the Osun state judiciary that sentenced Kelvin Ighodalo to 45 years imprisonment without any option of fine and no opportunity for the so-called plea-bargain for stealing the Osun state governor ’s mobile phone, whereas the owner of the phone cannot spend one night in jail even if he converts the entire state funds to his personal property? What a mockery of our nation’s judiciary. The judge has only succeeded in discouraging petty thieves, but encourages massive fraud where legal jargons like plea bargain, option of fine, interlocutory injunction and perpetual injunction e.t.c would be used to shield the offenders. Sincerely, I think the judge that sentenced that poor guy should be immediately arrested and sentenced to 90 years jail term without option of fine for ridiculing our nation’s judiciary once again in a manner that mirrors professional

• Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker, House of Reps

misconduct. It is a shame that our leaders or political class copies almost everything from America but brutally refused to copy that which makes America great and that is “The American Dream” which is essentially an idea that suggests that anyone in America can succeed through hard work and has the potential to lead a happy, successful life. In my own personal view, The American Dream is for one to have acceptance, be respected, find love, live in peace and not in pieces, have a home and family, and overall, to be rewarded for hard work and not given undue honour to those that acquired illicit wealth. That is The American Dream. Luckily enough for Nigeria, Nollywood Industry has successfully created their own version of ‘The Nigerian Dream’, everyone in Nollywood believes in the dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement. It is not a dream of exotic cars and high wages nor a dream for private jet, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest figure of which they are essentially capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of

the unexpected circumstances of birth or position. ‘The Nigerian Dream’ is obviously modeled after the American Dream that have shaped America to be a great country today. Nollywood Industry has proved beyond reasonable doubt that ‘The Nigerian Dream’ is a dream of being able to grow to fullest development as man and woman, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in the older civilizations, unrepressed by social orders which had developed for the benefit of classes rather than for the simple human being of any and every class. It is important that we get our precedence right and put away all form of foolish acquisition of instant wealth, artificial barriers that prevent others from benefiting from the precise dividends of democracy. Unfortunately, our leaders have a hard time doing that, but if they could at least key into the ‘Nigerian Dream’ as demonstrated by Nollywood Industry, I believe that Nigeria would be a better and safer place and the ‘Oyinbos’ worldwide will be visiting Nigeria for medical checkup. It may interest my audience to learn that the harmful consequences of the aforementioned

corruption and injustices done to the good people of Nigeria by our past and present leaders is what resulted to the emergence of Boko Haram, the kidnap of innocent people in Nigeria and other numerous social vices in the country today. If urgent steps are not taken to improve the lives of the common man on the street, I foresee more of these social vices sprouting from every nook and cranny of Nigeria which will mature into a more damaging and devastating situation. If preventive measures are not put in place, this will undoubtedly have an unpleasant side effect on our economy as it would result to loss of confidence in the local financial market, thereby developing into capital flight on the part of investors that will look for safer havens to transfer their investment. Otherwise, the Nigerian government should be prepared to give amnesty to several other future faceless terrorists (FFT) because what is good for the goose …is equally good for the gander. Sincerely, I tried to figure out the basis for the celebration of our centenary and found no possible justification. Nothing, absolutely nothing that is morally wrong can be politically right. • To be continued


THE WEEKEND

18

e

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

R lationship

Teens Dating Violence By CHELSON

ITOHAN was only 17, when she was allowed to have boyfriend and invite him home. But soon after, her boyfriend of just a few months struck her for the first time. She was afraid to tell anyone about the incident, even her mother, according to Itohan, she didn’t see it as abuse and didn’t equate it with the abuse that her father led inflicted on her mother. She said “I feel that my mother suspected it but because of the silence and the shame connected with abuse in our family, we never really talked about it. My mother didn’t know how to address it or how to really get me to open up and talk about it. I was afraid to tell her because I thought that she would stop my boyfriend from coming”. She was willing to overlook the senseless beating by her boy friend, just like most women, Itohan had difficulty understanding domestic violence or dating abuse which is

now very common among teenagers. Relationship abuse, also known as partner violence can begin as young as age 11, when friendship actually starts and in most developed country the age that children begin to date. And the abuse doesn’t discriminate, it transcends age, race, religion, culture and socio economic class, it happens everywhere, at home, workplace, in school. (Secondary and the universities). Study has show that 90 percent of all relationship abuse victims are women, right now the number for teenage girls is even more disturbing, alarming, increasing day by day. One in three teenagers reports knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, kicked, slapped, choked or physically hurt by their boyfriends, some eventually get pregnant and continued to be abused. Dating abuse victims

often experience the backlash of blame, where teenagers feel that abuse is justified due to the media culture which promote disrespect, including a lot of music they are listening to, music videos, reality television, video games and even testing. Experts say that signs of domestic or dating abuse are not always black and blue. Controlling be haviours by abusers

aren’t always visible to the human eye and they include verbal and psychological abuse, social isolation, economic abuse (financial control) and forced sexual contact. Many boys who grow up to be abusers often experience violent behaviour in their homes. Most times, this behaviour seems a normal way of coping with anger. As he watched these abuses, he may have even been horrified by it, however, it sort of becomes a default

when he is stressed or disappointed or feels that things are out of his control. This is why you see a young boy from an abusive home displaying abusive behaviour towards his mother and other women as he grows older. Parents often time didn’t recognised the signs. Parent should pay special attention if a teenage daughter begins to wear unusual heavy makeup which is used to conceal bruises,

dress differently, as if concealing something and which is often the case. Isolate herself from friends, withdraw from family, school activities, social activities and functions, then know it there is a problem, which can lead to mental health problems, eating disorder, depression and physical conditions. These teenage girls do usually decide to stay with an abuser, due to lack of confidence, fear, support and money.

“Relationship abuse, also known as partner violence can begin as young as age 11, when friendship actually starts and in most developed country the age that children begin to date. And the abuse doesn’t discriminate, it transcends age, race, religion, culture and socio economic class, it happens everywhere, at home, workplace, in school. (Secondary and the universities)”


THE WEEKEND

19

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

s

I sues

The Albani’s Case And The Doubting Thomases

WITHIN a week many developments occurred in a jiffy. From the arrest of the suspected killers of Islamic Cleric, Sheik Adam Albani to attacks in NorthEastern states and now to the recent warning signals from the Defence Headquarters on alleged sympathizers and backers of terrorist groups. It is not funny especially for some of us who have relatives including spouses serving in the security agencies in the country. When members of the security forces are deployed to the dangerous zones, we wonder if they would return alive and in whole. On the other hand if they are in safer zones, the fear of anticipated redeployment can run shiver in our spines. Going through some social media, one could easily read doubting Thomases on every actions of the security personnel on ground. Reports quoting eyewitnesses are more regarded than statements from official spokespersons. When the Department of States Security Service (SSS) in Abuja paraded seven arrested members of ‘Boko Haram’ over the killing of popular Zaria based Islamic cleric Sheik Adam Albani, yet some postings in social media expressed too much doubts. It could be recalled that Sheik Albani along with his wife and son were killed in Zaria, Kaduna State, while

returning from a preaching session at Markaz Salafiya Centre, Tudun Wada Zaria. The spokesperson of the SSS, Marilyn Oga, not only announced the arrest, she gave permission to journalists at the head office of the service to ask the suspects questions. From the countenances of some of the suspect one could easily read lack of remorse apart from the fact that most of them confessed to planning and killing their victims. Among the suspects was a graduate of English literature and a subregional commander of the sect in Kaduna/Niger states axis. Meanwhile in another story, the Chief of Air Staff was reported to have led assaults against Boko Haram in North-East. It was reported that incensed by the rising number of deaths and galvanized by the barbaric acts of the insurgents and the need to lead by example Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, personally entered the battle zone when he flew one of the Alpha jets of the 75 Strike Group of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to conduct air strikes against enemy positions along Borno-Adamawa axis. As refreshing as the report was, surprisingly some still doubted the veracity of the courageous efforts of Air Marshal Adesola Amosu by claiming that his aide must have flown the fighter jet. Despite the air and ground assault by the

By FATIMA GONI

military, the sect’s onslaught on Northeastern Nigeria continued unabated, while politicians and unknown eyewitnesses were busy dishing out gory tales about the inability of security forces to do

General Chris Olukolade issued a statement to caution those causing disaffection by their utterance on the security situations. General Olukolade disclosed that the Defence Headquarters has noted

anything to curtail the excesses of the insurgents. Concerned about the rising verbal attacks on the security personnel on the operation and some sensational angle from various credible and notcredible sources, the Director Defence Information, Major

with grave concern the i n f l a m m a t o r y pronouncements by some highly placed persons in government and some apparently sponsored commentators in and outside the country who have consistently given false and misleading remarks to describe the

“General Olukolade disclosed that the Defence Headquarters has noted with grave concern the inflammatory pronouncements by some highly placed persons in government and some apparently sponsored commentators in and outside the country who have consistently given false and misleading remarks to describe the disposition of troops in the ongoing operations. He therefore pointed out that it has become clear that the sustained campaign is intended to demoralize the troops and give impression that the military is overwhelmed by the terrorist group.”

disposition of troops in the ongoing operations. He therefore pointed out that it has become clear that the sustained campaign is intended to demoralize the troops and give impression that the military is overwhelmed by the terrorist group. “This tendency,” he echoed, “is unfortunate to say the

and operation in apprehending the suspects. He added that since the suspects claimed to be Muslims and that they allegedly carried out the act in the name of Islam, the SSS should take them to the Shari’ah Court where they could receive what they deserve.

least.” So far the Defence Headquarters has restated that the Nigerian military cannot by any standard be overwhelmed by the insurgents neither will the devious antics of their sympathizers and sponsors demoralize the fighting spirit of troops. Before the arrest of the suspected killers of Sheik Albani, some of the students of the late cleric were skeptical about the possibility and sincerity of security agencies to unravel the mystery and arrest the culprits. It is heartwarming that the students are now singing new tunes over the arrest. Dr. Abdulganiyu Abdulrafi’u, one of the frontline students of late Sheikh Adam Albani commended the security agencies for the speedy investigation

While we should encourage our security personnel to abide by the rules of engagement where necessary, they should also be transparent and sincere in relaying information to the public. We should be receptive and responsive to official positions, especially from the designated and p r o f e s s i o n a l spokespersons who don’t play propaganda. We should discountenance the propaganda messages of the terrorists and their conscious and unconscious backers alleging the inability of Nigerians troops to handle the insurgency. By the way, I always ask this question: Are our security personnel not like everyone of us who are human and deserves our support to put in their best?


THE WEEKEND

n A Govt That Steals From Unemployed 20

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

A alysis

WHEN we first read the unbelievable article in DailyTrust on February 8th this year, which described allocations in the 2014 budget that were tantamount to “stealing from Almajiri’s;” classrooms to be built at 20 times the cost. We thought we had seen the worst. But after witnessing the tragedy in Nigeria this Saturday, we realized with this administration there must be “worstest.” M. U Ndagi had described that in the 2014 budget, almost a billion naira, N950 million was accorded for the construction of a single block of three classrooms. This, compared to the 2012 budget for instance, where for 102 Almajiri boarding schools proposed, if you divided the total budgeted N5 billion by the 102 schools, it gave you about N49 million per school, which was to provide fifteen blocks of c l a s s r o o m s , dormitories, a clinic, workshops, a dining hall and teachers’ quarters in each of the 102 Almajiri boarding schools; 2014 in contrast was a

By DR. PEREGRINO BRIMAH

whopping at least 20 times more than budgeted in 2012. A

stampede tragedy in which up to 23 job aspirants died and

• President Goodluck Jonathan

shameless path to stealing huge from the Almajiri in the so-called Almajiri Education programme. March 15th: Unemployment Day On Saturday, March 15th, recklessness, insensitivity, greed, misrule and a policy of extortion and exploitation of the poorest masses and nation’s youth culminated in the

hundreds of Nigeria’s unemployed youth were injured. This Saturday, March 15th was a day of national tragedy and a day we are declaring the nation’s “Unemployment day.” This was no ordinary tragedy. It was a scam, pure and simple. One more in an unlimited series of scams by a government that promotes get rich by any and all means of

looting from the nation’s coffers and pockets of the poor, across all federal departments and in conspiracy with their billionaire private sector “businessmen” cabal partners. Apart from the process of inviting all millions of candidates on the same day, being criminally ludicrous; according to Leadership today, Nigeria’s Immigration department billed each candidate N1000 ($6) for the application. A total of 6.5 million victims applied, which brings the yield to N6.5 billion, about $40 million to the immigration ministry. The cost for the stadia used was FREE. The stadia and fields are government owned. Each sheet of paper given to each candidate was without-a-doubt, copied on tax-payers money. And for the 4000 jobs these 6.5 million victims applied for, it is well recognized that the 6.5 million papers will be tossed and never graded, and family, friends and friends of family of immigration workers will bag the jobs. Even if the papers are to be graded and recorded, all processes

Youths cannot cost more than $1/candidate and oil rich Nigeria which fails to provide its youth a single benefit should have shouldered the cost of this application process at least. But rather the leadership steals billions of dollars in so many exposed scams, and then employs its various departments to fend for themselves by plotting ponzi scams to steal billions, as was done with a few dollars ripped off each head for up to 7 million heads. A very similar scam still operational is the NNPC –Diezani kerosene

insensitivity, the freeing of convicted criminals and appraisal of dead looters. This is the presentation of a serious curse. Stealing from beggars and scamming unemployed youth; these are abominations, these are acts of those possessed, under evil spirits. These things are things you see when people inherited and advanced in leadership positions after making ritual sacrifices; after burying cows and even sacrificing humans. In addition to a youth uprising, this nation needs urgent aggressive prayers. May the souls of the cheated youth including

• Abba Moro, Interior Minister

subsidy scam where N100 is stolen from each mother and kerosene burner, per liter for 10 million liters of kerosene sold daily to the tune of $4.5 million/ day. We are beginning to realize that Nigeria is under a curse. These events, these tragedies, the spilling of blood, the pain, the hurt, the cheating, the corruption, the scandals, the wickedness, the Injured applicants being taken away from the NIS aptitude test last Saturday.

the pregnant wives/ mothers, who departed as a result of this meaningless tragedy rest in peace; and may God give their families the strength to bear and the patience to endure. A little bit, a little while, very soon God will do something radical and great to rescue and transform this nation. He has promised that after hardship and wickedness comes relief and respite.


THE WEEKEND

21

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

n National Conference And Delusion Of A alysis

THE leaders of the north, or those who say that they are leaders of the vast north, that supposedly includes the Igala, Tiv, Idoma, Nupe, Gbagyi, etc, gathered recently in Kano and indulged in what can best be described as an exercise in deception all n a desperate attempt to get power to return to a region, which has been balkanized because of the natural tendency of some people to think that power belongs to them. Now that power has slipped from the hands of these few people, they want to remember that an Igala like me is one of them. For record purposes, there are people from what is described as the north today who do not share this delusive position. The so-called northern leaders are mobilizing northerners to perceive President Goodluck Jonathan in bad light as part of the grand strategy to ensure power returns to the north in 2015. There is no doubt that this agenda is evil. Validation: the days are replete with battles among northerners from Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Benue, Plateau, and Katsina. Those fighting in this region are not southerners, but northerners slaughtering northerners and these elders who cannot put the north in order are alleging a secret agenda with the national conference. But in the deception dance that went on in Kano, there was a ray of hope when Nuhu Ribadu mounted the rostrum. His words: “At a time global development moves in supersonic (speed), we trail behind on this path of progress. We give birth in record number and often end up throwing the kids on the streets, leaving them to their own devices. The parents shy away from their responsibilities of upbringing while the

By MATTHEW ADEJOH

governments abandon their own bits of provision of basic social amenities

the conference in other words, continues in his sinister agenda: “This conference will not find

• Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto

from healthcare to education. “It is a little wonder that we have one of the highest mortality rates, out-of-school children, dropouts and social misfits. Some of these children, who managed to escape the harsh formative years, end up on the streets as urchins. On reaching adulthood, frustration and lack of opportunities would dawn on them making them the victims that now give us sleepless nights.” Former Federal Permanent Secretary, who wants to be the unsolicited voice for the north and seeks political relevance, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, believes that the national conference has been “deliberately designed to cause havoc to northern unity and deepen its problems,” adding that it will make it “easier for President Jonathan to exploit the fallout for his re-election campaigns.” The reason why this will happen is because there is no longer a monolithic north and there will never be any longer. Baba-Ahmed, who suggested a sabotage of

answers to the decaying infrastructure in the North, or solutions to the millions of young uneducated, unskilled and unemployed citizens, or solutions to the dangerous trend which sheds so much northern blood every time elections come. The North will participate at this conference at best as a spectator or at worst a helpless victim of a conspiracy to exploit its weakness. [Therefore] every northerner who walks out robs the conference of more of the very little credibility it has. The more of you (delegates) that walk out, the less likely it will be that they will claim that

Northern Elders

they held a national conference.” But another northern

means groping for the ropes to a better future

• Gov. Babangida Aliyu, Niger State

politician, Buba Galadima, also slightly toed the general line of argument by lamenters like Baba-Ahmed, Ango Abdulahi and Professor Awwalu Yadudu. According to him, the fragmented north should articulate an agenda that enables it use its large number to determine who will become the next president. What a beguiling motive! Indeed, it is Nuhu Ribadu that stole the show and the hearts of a vast number of unselfish northerners. Read him: “The story of the North’s deterioration is a replica of the Nigeria’s story. Searching solutions to these challenges also

for our dear country. I am a believer in the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria, under which we are a federating unit with 72 percent of the total landmass and more than half of the population, according to the 2006 headcount. “As such, we have to first situate ourselves within the larger prism of the country. As part of a federal system, the North can legitimately articulate its own philosophy and tools for development as some people within the nation have done…to achieve whatever agenda is for the North, we must first integrate ourselves fully into the Nigerian entity

and the world as it is in this 21st century. In this journey we are making, we have to continue to evaluate and from time to time, shake up or shake off practices, norms and dogmas that hinder our progress.” Ribadu continued: “… Putting this house (or the north) in order means getting our acts together; it means cleaning ourselves of the quicklime that keeps us in a standing position without any movement…. Yes, we are in difficult times but I see opportunities in our difficulty. A lot of places have gone under such difficulties but with much introspection and selfcleansing, they emerged out of it stronger. Hard time, it is said, is like the washing machine; it twists, turns and knocks you around but it makes you come out clean. Nothing ever goes without teaching us something to learn.” If the northern leaders will listen to men like Ribadu, they will win our hearts rather combust energy on inanities. If we spend the next five years, there is no way anyone from any of the other regions can ever get and hold on to power again. And we must not pursue power just to have it, because if that is done, that power will slip away again, and conferences to abuse other Jonathans of the future will be held.

“As such, we have to first situate ourselves within the larger prism of the country. As part of a federal system, the North can legitimately articulate its own philosophy and tools for development as some people within the nation have done…to achieve whatever agenda is for the North, we must first integrate ourselves fully into the Nigerian entity and the world as it is in this 21st century. In this journey we are making, we have to continue to evaluate and from time to time, shake up or shake off practices, norms and dogmas that hinder our progress.”


THE WEEKEND

22

o Nature Of Man And Counselling C unselling

Intervention ROGERS, unlike Freud does not see man as antisocial, anti-cultural, carnal or innately evil and destructive. He sees man as being naturally good and that any badness is generally the result of the influence of his society or environment. It is Rogers’ view that man is always driving towards growth, health and adjustment and that man possesses the capacity to experience awareness of himself in the society in which he belongs. Rogers believes that if obstacles such as poverty, ignorance, illiteracy and superstition, which are all common in Nigeria are reduced to a minimal, man will find socialized and mature answers to his problems. It is on this hypothesis that Rogers builds his approach. It is expressed that if certain conditions exist, then a process will occur which includes certain characteristic elements. If this process excurse then certain personality and behavioural changes will occur. It seems that Rogers sums up the nature of man as: That every individual possesses the capacity to experience in awareness the factors in his psychological maladjustment, namely, the in congruencies between his self-concept and the totality of his experience. That every individual possesses the capacity and has the tendency to reorganise his self-concept in such away as to make I more congruent with the totality of his experience. These capacities and tendencies, which are latent and not evident will be released in any interpersonal relationship in which the other person is congruent, empathic, experiences, unconditional positive regarded and is ready to communicate or listen. Rogers assumptions that every individual is uniquely different from one and another. Every individual is capable of dealing constructively with his problems provided that he is made aware of them. Every individual has the basic tendency to actualize his potentialities. As individual

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

With

O.C. Madu

interacts with the environment in his perceptual field, the self concept in him starts developing. So, the counseling intervention should include: making the client become more realistic in his self perception. To enable the client feel confident and self directive. Ensuring that the client is more matured, socialized and adaptive, in his behaviour. Making the client

assistance of helping others to achieve competence and that man is required to shoulder responsibilities and accomplish tasks. Research studies carried out by Mankinde (1974), Repo (1974), Fabunmi (1975), Abimbola (1968) Mume (1979), Akinsanya (1972) have demonstrated that the training, methods and philosophy of indigenous counseling have much in common with Western Psychotherapy, especially, Rogerian client – centred

learnt and are using these sounds and words effectively. Mankinde opined that it was the counseling functions of the Babalawo such as information – giving, consultation with one’s “ori” and the careful diagnosis of problems that have led them to the more intricate and sophisticated methods of telepathy, divination and hyperesthesia. It is believed that the mysterious word and phrases in the corpus employed by any babalawo are inspired by

behaviour from numerous ethnic groups in developing countries requires further research. It is enough to say at this point, that whatever counseling goes on, the personality of the counselor or therapist is very important. The words and utterances of the babalawo are irresistibly effective.

to be more flexible and less rigid in his perceptions. Ensuring that the client recognizes his personal qualities and sees himself differently from others. So, the client – centered therapist can achieve his goal through a variety of techniques such as questioning, reassurance, encouragements, suggestions, acceptance, reflection, respects for the client and active listening. Indigenous approach of basic assumptions about the nature of man. Indigenous practice is based on the assumption that man is rational as well as social, that, he does not exist alone in the world, that he needs the

therapy and existentialism. Beside, the perpetuation and creation of an extended family atmosphere to relieve feelings of loneliness and helplessness, indigenous practice is a sound psychological check and balance which also, maintains psychic-homeostasis or a normal internal stability. Makinde, (1972) stated that the generically titled “Babalawo”. Presents in indigenous counseling is able to help clients achieve consciousness with the use of esoteric devices, incantations, wonder-working words and music. Knowing that certain sounds are linked with creative principles of nature, the practitioner have

a god-head. The typical practitioner realizes that, he should be on good relations with that ‘sacred’ power by conforming strictly to the ethics of the profession and by seeking directives on an approval for any venture, thus, making his practice resourceful, efficacious and successful. Throughout the period, the client interacts with the babalawo on his problems and difficulties; the babalawo employs many phrases and verses to ease a process of self. Realisation or self actualization or to reduce tension (Mankinde, 1970). The role that the words, music or climate play in bringing about a change of

These phrases, words or parables, totems and lyrics, myths and legends, odes and sonnets constitute what Mankinde said is the quintessence of family and community counseling and guidance. Such a compendium of knowledge borne out of experience and gathered from successful practice cannot be brushed aside as inappropriate to Western counseling. In conclusion, Ola Mankinde said the age-old system of counseling in Africa with its thought – provoking verses and lyrics can no longer be set aside as unscientific and unorthodox. It is established, it is based on theory and it works. An attempt to impose

GSM: 08056379608

“These phrases, words or parables, totems and lyrics, myths and legends, odes and sonnets constitute what Mankinde said is the quintessence of family and community counseling and guidance. Such a compendium of knowledge borne out of experience and gathered from successful practice cannot be brushed aside as inappropriate to Western counseling.”

cultural imperatives from western tradition on the developing countries have been fraught with heralds and failure. In the instances of isolation, poor adjustment, sleeplessness, nervous disorders, excessive worries and suicidal tendencies, traditional counseling has worked. If counseling and guidance are to take their place in schools, clinics and industries, it is useful to adopt local practitioners stores of experience and wisdom and use them methodically with western approaches (Mankinde, 1990). The indigenous approach holds that man is rational as well as irrational. In contribution to the belief that each person is an organised, unique pattern of capabilities and that we live at a public level of doing and at a private level of thinking, it also, holds that, there are usually limitations and uncertainties that may not allow the full utilisation of person’s potentialities, hence, the need to consult the god-head or the practitioner attached to that head. If the approach complements the western relationship techniques of rapport, active participation and reinforcement techniques and if the approach could eliminate fear, anxiety and loneliness, then, the approach is yet a further significant system of therapy. Traditional counseling which is also, referred to as indigenous counseling theory is an African development based on the beliefs and respects for traditional institutions and their power of purification, good health and echoism. The major practitioners of this theory according to late Egbule (2004) include tradition at priest, soothsayers, elders in the community and parents. The chief exponent of the indigenous counseling theory is Professor Olu Mankinde who is also, regarded as the father of modern counseling in Nigeria. The use of several techniques in indigenous counseling approach have made it scientific and universally acceptable. The indigenous counselor works on the principle that man is the architect of his own future and misfortune. Thanks for reading.


THE WEEKEND

23

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

e Addressing Nigeria’s Energy Challenges P rspective

ON many occasions, economists have stressed that the energy sector is cardinal to Nigeria’s efforts to actualise its vision of becoming one of the top 20 economies of the world by 2020. They note that the erratic power supply across the country has stifled the economic growth of the country and made the citizens’ livelihoods somewhat difficult. They also raise concerns that Nigeria currently generates approximately 4,500 megawatts of electricity, while it needs about 200,000 megawatts to efficiently meet the energy needs of its population. The experts, however, commend the Federal Government’s efforts to construct and inaugurate nine dams in line with its Transformation Agenda, underscoring the need for the optimal utilisation of the hydroelectricity component of the dams. Although tangible efforts have been made to boost the country’s energy production capacity through alternatives such as solar power, biomass, biogas reactors, wind turbines and coal, the experts stress the need to place considerable emphasis on hydroelectricity generation as well. Water experts particularly argue that the 2014 World Water Day, which will be celebrated on March 22 with the theme: “Water and Energy’’, should be viewed as a platform for renewing commitment to utilising dams for improved power generation. The experts point at Inyishi and Amauzari Dams in Imo, Ibiono Ibom Dam in Akwa Ibom, Mgbowo Dam in Enugu State, Owena

Via Optimum Dam Utilisation By MAGDALENE UKUEDOJOR

Dam in Ondo State, Galma Dam in Kaduna State, Sulma, Dutsi and Mashi dams in Katsina State as some of the dams that could be used to generate power. They argue that while all

electricity generation. “We have examples of some large dams that had been completed for over 20 years and their level of utilisation, in some cases,

In an attempt to reinvigorate the power sector, the Federal Government in 2011, selected 20 medium and large dams for hydropower

the dams could be used for water supply and irrigation, two of them — Mashi and Galma dams — have the capacity to generate six megawatts of electricity. Mr Razaq Jimoh, the immediate past Coordinating Director, Nigerian Integrated Water Resources Management Commission, said that most of the dams with irrigation, water supply and hydropower generation components are underutilised due to paucity of funds. Jimoh stressed that efforts should be made to revive the varying components of the dams to boost water supply and

is not more than 30 per cent. “If you have a dam that is for four purposes and you are only enjoying one purpose, such a dam has not been maximally utilised. “If you are enjoying the four benefits for which the dam was designed, you will derive more benefits from the dam for the community,’’ he said. Jimoh noted that Kainji Dam, one of the country’s major hydropower generating dams, was designed to generate 960 megawatts, adding, however, that it could generate 760 megawatts because only eight of its 12 turbines had been installed.

generation and produced a roadmap for the development of the critical infrastructure in the water and power sectors. In the same vein, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources said that it would achieve a 95-percent development of its hydropower potential capable of producing up to 10,000 megawatts of electricity by 2015. These efforts notwithstanding, stakeholders insist that paucity of funds, inadequate technical staff and synergy among the federal and state governments are some of the major constraints to efficient electricity

“These efforts notwithstanding, stakeholders insist that paucity of funds, inadequate technical staff and synergy among the federal and state governments are some of the major constraints to efficient electricity generation in the country. However, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, said that “the Federal Government is indeed conscious of the fact that globally, there is a relationship between the number of dams and hydropower generation for the socio-economic benefit.”

generation in the country. However, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, said that “the Federal Government is indeed conscious of the fact that globally, there is a relationship between the

number of dams and hydropower generation for the socio-economic benefit. “As part of measures to improve electricity supply, the installation of 30 megawatts electromechanical turbines for the Gurara Dam has been completed. “Besides, the Bureau of Public Procurement has given a no-objection right to the Federal Ministry of Power to harness the 40megawatt hydropower component of Kashimbilla Dam in Taraba. “It’s a multi-purpose dam; we have the dam, the airstrip, irrigation, potable water and electricity; this dam will be completed this year,’’ Ochekpe added. Moreover, Mr Yusuf Ismail, the Deputy Project Site Engineer, Bokolori Dam in Sokoto State, said that the dam had the potential to serve the residents of Sokoto State much better if its hydropower component was developed and duly utilised. He called on Federal Government to harness the hydropower potential of the dam, recalling that the dam was constructed in 1978 and equipped with three megawatts hydropower

and seven megawatts diesel engines for power generation. To boost the Federal Government’s efforts to improve power generation, Gov. Rabi’u Kwankwaso of Kano State pledged in 2013 to finance the installation of the hydropower component of Tiga and Challawa dams at the cost N14.2 billion to produce 35 megawatts of electricity for the state. He said that although the venture ought to have been captured in the Federal Government’s budget, the delay in harnessing the hydropower potential of the dams for the benefit of the state prompted his administration’s intervention. “The dams had been completed but the hydropower component has not been utilised; it has been difficult to get both the Federal Government and development partners to install turbines for the generation of electricity. “For this reason, the state government has taken the bull by the horns and will now take up the project 100 per cent and finance it,’’ he said at a recent forum. Expressing reservations about the condition of dams across the country, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Water, said that the components of many dams, particularly those in the northern parts of the country, had not been utilised. “It is one thing is to construct the dams, it is another thing to see how the state government and local government would be able to tap into them and utilise them optimally. “The dams are completed, Federal Government has done its own but the state governments need to come in and partner with it so as to ensure the benefits are taken to the door steps of the end users,’’ he said at a recent meeting of the committee. All in all, stakeholders in the water sector agree that advocacy for partnerships on expanding the use of dams across the country should be given priority attention during the celebration of this year’s World Water Day.


THE WEEKEND

24

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

o

P litics

Jonathan’s Wet Blanket Appointees THESE days, some news in the media elicit so much angst that you cannot help but laugh at the ineptitude that passes off as ministerial duties. On the other hand, one wonders why some public officers think that some of us are so daft we have to be fed a daily dose of annoying materials. Even sacked ministers do the same, because one cannot understand why former Minister of Housing, Ms Amma Pepple, scored herself high, but believed she was removed from office because she was associated with Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State. That was needless bellyaching for a person who rose to the rank of a Permanent Secretary, and serving in critical areas of the polity, and yet not knowing that in matters like hers, once her sponsor became a blackleg, she was deemed to be one and should be kept far at bay. And why did she score herself high? Only her examiner, the President, could determine how well she performed. Or the ludicrous attempt by Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed, to do what one of his predecessors in office, Nasir el-Rufai, did by employing consultants. However, he chose to hide under the fact that civil servants were liars. All over the world, civil

servants lie, especially when their principal are dunderheads; or when the principals play the ostrich looking downwards when they should be stretching out their necks, using them for what they are meant to do. Read this from a man who has been in charge of Abuja for four years: “A city like Abuja cannot be allowed to degenerate into what it is today. And you (journalists) have seen things for yourself. I have shown the directors that all the information they have been giving me were lies. They told me that the city is clean, which is not true. And we have gone round with you (journalists); it is not true. “They told me that there are no street traders, but there are, everywhere. They told me there are no beggars, and we saw them everywhere. They told me there are no Okada riders, but in fact, the Okadas are even more than vehicles. So, definitely, we can see, what they have told you and I, they are not true. That is why it is good to always go on inspection.” This man had the temerity to tell us that he was considering taking consultants to do the work of paid government officials for which Nigerians are being taxed. By his own admission, he went on the tour with journalists because of a reprimand from President Jonathan. Is that so? Did he need a nudge from his boss to simply do his job?

By MATTHEW ADEJOH Read him further: “It is either they (civil servants) resigned honourably or we show them the way out…This has become

jungle.” In the same Abuja, the Minister of State in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Olajumoke Akinjide,

an arrangement by a media consultant, the rest of us would be fooled. It doesn’t matter if it is a world reputed newspaper, the same unethical conducts that prevail in Nigeria prevail the world

funds being spent on the National Assembly annually? Or the mess that most directors and others know he was involved at the CBN that is being kept quiet? It is ministers like

over in journalism, where a newspaper like the New York Times will run an obviously biased story, without adequate reference to the man’s own damning financial sins. Is it because Ernst & Young, the world class auditing firm is involved? Time will soon tell how these much-trumpeted firms of questionable repute that connived to cause the mortgage market collapse that brought opprobrium to the financial markets are operating out there and here in Nigeria. If not his sins, has it occurred to the international media that if the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank or the Governor of the Bank of England, were to be as inconsistent with figures running into billions of dollars as Sanusi, they would be forced to resign. What about that gaffe about 25% of the federal

Mohammed and men like Sanusi and others in the cabinet that make the President look like the bad guy. It is obvious he is surrounded by crooks more interested in lining their pockets than doing their jobs. One minister kept attending the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and running a ministry when his political godfather was running around the country making nonsense of his boss’ image, and yet he did not resign honourably until he was booted out shamefully from the Sports Ministry and the cabinet. May be it is about time the President took another combing look at his cabinet; investigate his ministers; send nonperforming ones home; while the corrupt ones should be made to face the music from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). It is time for needful action.

Jonathan

necessary because we have been talking and talking. I felt highly disgusted and so, we have to go on this inspection. I was becoming disillusioned and disgruntled. I’ve read the riot act to all directors. We are sending notices to all those who love to flout our bye laws. We won’t allow Abuja to become a

“It is ministers like Mohammed and men like Sanusi and others in the cabinet that make the President look like the bad guy. It is obvious he is surrounded by crooks more interested in lining their pockets than doing their jobs. One minister kept attending the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and running a ministry when his political godfather was running around the country making nonsense of his boss’ image, and yet he did not resign honourably until he was booted out shamefully from the Sports Ministry and the cabinet.”

took on the Director of Sports in the Social Development Secretariat of the FCTA, Musa Halim, because six months after she approved membership of the associations, nothing had been done about it. That is her story, and we know that Halim would dare not tell his side in public. But if she is to be believed, what manner of persons work with the President? The ministry where the minister operated was made to look incompetent, and she kept quiet for a whole six months, and she thinks she should be retained for not causing the director of sports to be fired. Wonders will never end. Take the suspended Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who thinks because he goes to speak to the international media and feed them onesided stories, because of


THE WEEKEND

25

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

e

D velopment Second Niger Bridge: THE jinx that has bedeviled the NB2, otherwise called the Second Niger Bridge, is finally broken. Last Monday (March 10, 2014), President Goodluck Jonathan performed the historic ground-breaking ceremony for the second bridge across the Niger to link the eastern flank of the country with their compatriots in the West. It was the crystallization of the hope and aspirations of the people on both sides of the Niger and it comes after several failed promises by successive federal administrations in Nigeria. To say that the ground-breaking ceremony is historic is to state the obvious. The case has severally been made for a second bridge at Onitsha to ease the perennial traffic congestion in that famous city that has become a nightmare for travelers. All seemed to agree that it was as much an economic imperative as it was politically expedient. The snag was that successive administrations at the federal level were not as convinced as their assurances sounded. With the bold initiative by President Jonathan the project which has been on the drawing board for ages, finally got underway. The event is significant in many ways and it can better be appreciated not as a fulfillment of the 2011 campaign promise by Jonathan but on the premise that previous administrations made similar promises on the second Niger Bridge without fulfilling them. Former Presidents –from Ibrahim Babangida to Olusegun Obasanjo and his successor, the late President Umaru Yar ‘Adua, the project had always been touted as national priority with little done in concrete terms to actualize it. Obasanjo even went a step further in the last days of his administration by performing the foundation stone laying ceremony in May 2007, but it was a ceremony that was full of symbolism but lacking in substance.

By SYLVESTER OKORO At the ground-breaking ceremony by Jonathan, the crème-de-la-crème of Igboland turned out in their numbers to witness the event in the city of Onitsha. It is a project that is dear to the heart of the average Igboman, coming only second to the Akanu Ibiam

Jonathan As Jinx Breaker

commend the President for his forthrightness and his commitment in fulfilling his 2011 campaign promises, while the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, said the award of the contract to a competent construction firm was enough indication

Jonathan International Airport which was also actualized during this present administration. It brings a big sigh of relief for people of the South East who have, over time, cited the government’s unwillingness to commence the bridge as a clear case of marginalization of that part of the country as well as insensitivity by successive governments to the provision of critical infrastructure across the country. Former governor Peter Obi who has been pivotal in reviving the project, never fails to

all these parameters in place, the President has demonstrated that he is not lacking in political will. The Federal Government had, in recent times, mobilised about N300bn from private investors under Public Private Partnership for the construction of the bridge, the reconstruction of the

become too small for the volume of traffic it handles almost on a 24-hourly basis, a clear departure from its original design. The experiences of commuters who use the

Mike Onolememi, Minister for Works of government’s sincerity. Twelve months ago, Works Minister, Mike Onolememen, had fired up their expectation on the project when he announced that the work would start before the third quarter of 2014 and would be completed during Jonathan’s administration. As the President explained, the delay in starting off the project was simply to ensure that all financial and other logistics arrangements were in place before the groundbreaking ceremony to avoid abandonment. With

Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the approach route of the Murtala Muhammad International Airport. Already, construction giant, Julius Berger Nigeria Ltd has since begun work on the six-kilometer road between the bridge head and Oko-Amakom community where the company plans to use as its base for the bridge project. The existing Niger Bridge which was commissioned in 1965 has dilapidated so much, raising concerns about the safety of those who use it. It has also

bridge are better imagined, with the infamous traffic gridlocks on either side of the bridge or its approaches. Those traumatic experiences get worse each time an accident occurs on or near the bridge, and for a nation in a hurry for economic development, nothing can be more retarding. Over the years, the much that was done was to award contracts for the restrengthening of the existing bridge which was on two occasions at the point of total collapse. At a point, the eastern part of

“The existing Niger Bridge which was commissioned in 1965 has dilapidated so much, raising concerns about the safety of those who use it. It has also become too small for the volume of traffic it handles almost on a 24-hourly basis, a clear departure from its original design. The experiences of commuters who use the bridge are better imagined, with the infamous traffic gridlocks on either side of the bridge or its approaches.”

the country faced the dire threat of being cut off from the rest of the country. The N60billion contract allegedly awarded during the Obasanjo tenure for the project was clearly a big ruse. As expected, it was roundly denounced with former governor Peter Obi of Anambra State saying the supposed contract was allegedly awarded without any drawing or a clear financing plan. Governors of the adjourning states of Anambra and Delta which were supposed to co-fund it with the people’s money had claimed they were not privy to the contract agreement. It was the height of deception, for never before in Nigeria was a PPP arrangement used to build such a strategic infrastructure. With President Jonathan, the federal government’s seriousness on the project is apparent. It has taken practical steps to demonstrate its commitment by producing the drawing, completing the bidding process won by Julius Berger PLC and awarding the contract. The N117 billion project, which will span Oko in Delta State up to Ozubulu and Ogbaru areas of Anambra State will involve 12.4 kilometres of approach road while the bridge alone will span a length of 1.8 kilometres. The positive impact of the NB2 will surely go beyond Anambra to other states like Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Abia, and the SouthSouth states of Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers which will follow the new route. The economic importance is better imagined and the fact of its political expediency is obvious. It is a project whose relevance and national importance will continue to unfold in the years and decades to come. For President Jonathan as a leader, Monday’s ground-breaking event is definitely a defining moment.


THE WEEKEND

26

o

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

M therhood FOLIC acid a Bvitamin found in foods like asparagus, lentils, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, fortified breakfast cereals and other grain products, as well as in orange and tomato juice,

know they’re pregnant. Intake of daily recommended dose, from at least one month before conception and during the first trimester reduces your baby’s risk of having NTDs

intestinal problems. Researchers say taking folic acid supplement a year before getting pregnant reduces the risk of having a preterm delivery between 20 - 28 weeks and 28

Folic Acid Intake:

Pregnancy vitamin supplements, and so on, plays an active role in cell production, division, production of red blood cells and some chemical components of the nervous system. Its intake is particularly obligatory for women before and during pregnancy to safeguard their health and their baby’s regular consumption of foods that contain folates as well as daily intake of 400 mcg of folic acid supplement before conception, and a prenatal vitamin with 600 mcg of folk acid once pregnancy is confirmed is recommended for these salient reasons: Neural Tube Defects ( N T D s ) Without folic acid, the neural tube, which develops into the baby’s brain and spinal cord, may be deformed and the baby may develop spina bifida or anencephaly. This implies that the baby’s brain will not develop fully as the largest part of the brain consisting of the cerebrum will be missing. Babies with anencephaly usually do not live long, and those with spina bifida may be permanently disabled. These defects occur in the early stage of pregnancy, usually before most women

up to 70%. Risk Of Oral Clefts Oral clefts happen very early in pregnancy. The baby’s lips and palate or both fails to develop fully, resulting in a deformation of the organs. Folic acid reduces your unborn child’s risk of having deformed lips and/or p a l a t e . Congenital Heart D e f e c t A congenital heart defect is an abnormality in any part of the baby’s heart present at birth, They spring up in the early weeks of pregnancy when the baby’s heart is forming. Folic acid helps to curb the incidence of this’ d e f e c t . P r e g n a n c y Complications Studies suggest that women who took folic acid supplements during the second trimester had a reduced risk of having pregnancy-induced high blood pressure; a complex disorder called preeclampsia, which adversely affects the mother and baby’s health. Premature Birth The earlier a baby is delivered, the greater the risk of serious complications, including bleeding in the brain, infection, delayed growth and

risk of having a child with autism; a neuro developmental disorder characterized by impairments in social interaction, communication deficits and repetitive behaviours, often

a n a e m i a characterised by a reduction in the number of red blood c e l l s . Rapid Development. Folic acid is essential for the production, repair and proper

by a doctor, you should not take more than 1,000 mcg of folic acid per day. If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, too much folic acid can mask a condition called ‘pernicious anaemia’.

Why It Matters During

- 32weeks of gestation by seventy and fifty percent respectively. A u t i s m A recent study by

accompanied by intellectual disability. Red Blood Cell F o r m a t i o n Adequate intake of

functioning of DNAthe body’s genetic map and a basic building block of cells. Without adequate

Also, if you are obese, diabetic taking antiseizure medications, had a previous pregnancy affected by

researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute suggests that women who consume the recommended daily dosage of folic acid during the first month of pregnancy cut their

folic acid throughout pregnancy plays a vital role in producing the additional red blood cells your body needs during pregnancy, reducing your risk of having

amounts, cell division could be impaired, leading to poor cell growth in the placenta and your developing baby. Note that unless otherwise prescribed

NTD or taking drugs for epilepsy, you should see your doctor at least a month before trying to conceive to find out the appropriate folic acid dose f or you.

“Studies suggest that women who took folic acid supplements during the second trimester had a reduced risk of having pregnancy-induced high blood pressure; a complex disorder called preeclampsia, which adversely affects the mother and baby’s health.”


THE WEEKEND

27

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014 PUBLIC NOTICE

Today’s Diet With Pastor E. A. Adeboye

God’s Remembrance And Deliverance Memorise: And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me - when thou comest into thy kingdom. Luke 23:42 Read: Luke 23:40-43 WHEN God remembers a sinner for good, He forgives that sinner, forgets his past sins and delivers him or her completely from the power of sin that has enslaved him or her for a long time. When God remembered the mercies He promised His people Luke 1:72-75, He forgave the woman caught in adultery and empowered her to “go and sin no more” (John 8:10-11). A very important thing to note here is that two different types of divine remembrance cannot clash in an individual’s life. It is either God remembers the sins of an individual, closes the door of mercy and gets the individual punished, or He remembers His mercies and forgets the sins the individual has committed after genuine repentance (Ezekiel 33:13-16). The robber in our Bible reading was remembered and was saved. There are lessons to be learnt from the robber on the right hand of the Cross. One of such lessons is that God is not only capable to save but is ever ready to save.

The robber said: “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom”, and Jesus responded immediately: “Today you will be with me in paradise”. It was as if Jesus was waiting for the robber to speak. Certainly Jesus wanted to rubbish the devil who might have been rejoicing that he was about to receive one more soul into the kingdom of hell. Jesus however snatched that soul from hell at the last minute. The good thing was that the One who paid the price in full was also the One who appropriated the benefit of the atonement on the robber. So there was nothing the devil could do. Another good thing about divine remembrance for salvation is that the process is simple. Genuine turn-around from wickedness to godliness (i.e. repentance) will earn earnest seekers of salvation divine remembrance. Zacchaeus was one of such seekers who genuinely repented after meeting the Lord. As a mark of repentance, on his own volition, he said to the Lord in Luke 19:8b: “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold!’

“It is either God remembers the sins of an individual, closes the door of mercy and gets the individual punished, or He remembers His mercies and forgets the sins the individual has committed after genuine repentance (Ezekiel 33:13-16).”

JEHOVAH JESUS SOLUTION CHURCH The General Public is hereby notified that the above named Church with it’s Headquarters in Benin City has applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission for Registration in accordance with the Provisions of Companies and Allied Matters Act No. 1 of 1999. THE TRUSTEES ARE: 1) Pastor James Osadebamwen Osunde - Chairman 2) Senior Apostle Adams Sunday Peter Osunde 3) Mrs. Irene Ibeh - Secretary 4) Eki Ikponmwosa Obayagbona AIMS AND OBJECTIVES (1) To preach and print the gospel of Jesus Christ in all part of the world. (2) To be involved in social and community development. 3. To liase with all Bible believing churches as united front against the devil. Any Objection to the above, should be forwarded to the Registrar, General, C.A.C. Maltama District Abuja within 28 days of this publication. Signed Ikponmwosa Osunde Esq Tel: No. 08050482259

Immediately the Lord in Luke 19:9-10 replied: “…This day is salvation come to this house, for-somuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” How pleasant it would be, if as many as are reading this devotional, who are yet to experience salvation through Christ, would cry to Jesus today and say, “Lord remember me for your salvation”. No doubt, there would be joy in heaven today (Luke 15:7)! Prayer Point: Pray that the Almighty God will touch all members of your family for genuine salvation today. RECONCILIATION OF NAME I, Audu Adamu wish to bring for the information of the general public that Audu Adamu and Ibrahim Adamu are one and the same person. Henceforth, I am now properly known and addressed as Audu Adamu. All former documents bearing the aforementioned names remain valid. Concerned authorities and the general public should please take note.

CHANGE OF NAME

EMEODI – I formerly called Miss Claire O. Emeodi is now known and called Mrs. Claire O. Nnaji. All former documents remain valid. Concerned authorities and the general public should please take note.

CHANGE OF NAME

NWAGBOGWU – I formerly called Miss Diana Nwagbogwu now wish to be called Mrs. Diana Aganmwonyi. All former documents remain valid. All concerned authorities and the general public take note. CHANGE OF NAME

MICHEAL – I formerly called Miss Micheal Esewi Beatrice is now known and called Mrs. Ihiese Esewi Beatrice. All former documents remain valid. Concerned authorities and the general public should please take note.

DANLELLE

Weds FRANCIS The solemnization of marriage between former Miss Danlelle Wilson (based in Japan) and Mr. Francis Igbinosa (A Businessman) took place on Friday 21st March, 2014 at the Oredo Local Government Council marriage registry in Benin City. Amongst those present were Mr. Christopher Igbinosa, Mrs Monica Ogbeidi, family members, relations, friends and well wishers. Picture shows the couple at the Registry Congratulations. Photo Sonnie. E

CHANGE OF NAME

ONYILO – I formerly called Rita Onyilo is now known and called Onyilo Awe Roland. All former documents remain valid. Concerned authorities and the general public should please take note.

CHANGE OF NAME ETSEGBE – I formerly known and addressed as Mrs. Aminat Onokha Etsegbe now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Aminat Oshorenoya Onokha. All former documents remain valid. Local Government Service Commission, concerned authorities and the general public should please take note.

CHANGE OF NAME AKPEDE – I formerly Mrs. Victoria Osairereomwan Akpede now wish to be known and addressed as Madam Victoria O s a i r e r e o m w a n Omoroghomwan. All former documents remain valid. Concerned authorities, Edo State Pensions Board, Edo State Pensioners Board, Federal Government Pensions Board and general public should please take note. CHANGE OF NAME ONAWOLE – I formerly known and addressed as Miss Doris Ronke Onawole now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Doris Ronke Aguebor. All former documents remain valid. Concerned authorities, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and general public should please take note. CHANGE OF NAME

EUNICE Weds DENIS The solemnization of marriage between former Miss Eunice Idehen (A Make Up Artist) and Mr. Denis Bachcovanov (based in Europe) took place on Friday 21st March, 2014 at the Oredo Local Government Council marriage registry in Benin City. Amongst those present were Mr. Stanis Lar Kopacha, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Idehen (Bride’s parents) Mr. and Mrs. David Mc Phee, Mr. Avanrenren Osadolor James, Mr. and Mrs. Edosa Kelly Isaac, family members, relations, friends and well wishers. Picture shows the couple at the Registry Congratulations. Photo Sonnie. E.

IGBINOBA – I formerly Osasere Igbinoba now wish to be called and addressed as Madona Igbinoba. All former documents remain valid. Concerned authorities and the general public should please take note. CHANGE OF NAME

LINUS – I formerly known and addressed as Miss Mbuk Blessing Linus now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Blessing Idah. All former documents remain valid. Concerned authorities and the general public should please take note.


THE WEEKEND

28

p

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

O inion

Open Letter To Mr President

DEAR SIR, There are lots of questions Nigeria’s president, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan need to give answers to while in office or out of office. On this piece, I would want Mr. President to answer the following questions. Why have you not sacked Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke, Minister of Petroleum, despite the cries from all and sundry over the misappropriation of billions of dollars in the petroleum sector? Who are the receivers of the daily withdrawers of (seven N700m hundred million naira) of kerosene subsidy? Why have you not labored to find out who is responsible for the alleged stolen amount of $20 billion from NNPC account instead of your advice that the NNPC officials and Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank (that is on suspension) to shield sword and take precaution in their war of words? Why did you not sanction Stella Odua, former Aviation Minister even when it

was discovered that she illegally purchased 2 BMW cars for 500 million naira almost a year ago? Is Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke not your sister? Why did you have to appoint AIhaji Tukur as National Railway chairman? Is Nigeria government run as a personal enterprise? What happened to the National ruling party leader’s children that were involved in defrauding Nigeria of several billions of dollars in the illegal petroleum subsidy in 2012? Where are the petroleum subsidy reinvestment promised Nigerians such as refineries, good roads, employment of youths and resuscitation? Why did you promise that the price of a bag of cement will be N1, 000 before January. 2012? How much is it today? What have you done with the sale of the entire public parastatals since four years especially the PHCN? What has happened to the refund of Abacha loot? I ask

• President Goodluck Jonathan

this because you have been either number one or two citizen of Nigeria since 1999. Why are the security agents especially the EFCC always after those politicians and activists who refuse to sing songs of praise of your administration? E.g. Sokoto State Officials. Are you aware that there is no electricity supply in Nigeria? Despite your privatization. Can you remember that you have promised stable

electricity supply for the country even during your 2011 presidential election campaign? Are you not aware that more than 98% of Nigerians cannot afford one square meal a day? Are you aware that there are more Nigerians in refugee camps all over the world? Is it not a shame for our colonial fathers, UK to slam a deposit of £3,000 pounds sterling on any Nigeria visitor to UK before a visa could be

“Is the president not aware that the insurgence of Boko Haram in the Northern Nigeria, the kidnappers and robbers in the south is as a result of the corruption of most Government official resulting to unemployment combined with failed economic and social development? Mr. President, is Nigeria still the giant of Africa?”

granted? Do you not think that this have further proved Nigeria to be failed Nation? Is Nigeria not the world 5 largest oil producing country in the world? Is the president not aware that the insurgence of Boko Haram in the Northern Nigeria, the kidnappers and robbers in the south is as a result of the corruption of most Government official resulting to unemployment combined with failed economic and social development? Mr. President, is Nigeria still the giant of Africa? Oga Goodluck Ebele Jonathan; are you saving all these money alleged to be missing from NNPC, and other avenues for your anticipated 2015 presidential ambition? I ask these because

you are always annoyed with anybody challenging your henchmen and women accuse of sharp practices, e.g. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Do you ever realize that if 1% of the illegality happening in Nigeria happens in any other country that there would have been war? Who should be sacked first, is it the person alleging fraud or the person accused of fraud? Finally Mr. president, can you tell your compatriots, what you shall be remembered for, as Obj could be remembered for the invention of mobile telephone enjoyed by all Nigerians today even though our tariff are the highest in the world? • Comrade Imuagbonhen Johnson


THE WEEKEND

29

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

Osasuna Targeting On-Form Sevilla

Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo

Real, Barca Set For Crucial ‘Clasics’ REAL Madrid and Barcelona will be targeting maximum points when they meet in a crucial La Liga encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday night. The Whites are the form team going into this game as they are currently occupying top spot with 70 points from 28 matches and are unbeaten in the league since October last year. Carlo Ancelotti’s men earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over Malaga in their last league outing and winger Gareth Bale says they have to be at their best on Sunday in order to maintain or increase their four-point lead over Barcelona. “I think confidence is obviously a massive thing. The team is playing well and everything is coming together nicely for the whole team,” said Bale. “We just need to keep

performing very well, keep working hard and hopefully the rewards are there at the end. “Barcelona is a direct rival and we are going to try and put in a good performance and take the three points. “They have very good players, but we are focused on our game and on our team because we also have very good players.” The Catalans have not been as consistent in La Liga by their own standards but are still in the title race in third place with 66 points. Gerardo Martino’s side will take a lot of confidence to the Spanish capital on Sunday having thrashed Osasuna 7-0 in

their last league outing. However, fullback Jordi Alba admits that his side will face a tough challenge as Real have been in top form this season. “On the counter-attack, they’re very difficult to stop,” said Alba. “We have to get back well when defending and in attack, play the way we know. I don’t think we need to change the way we play. “Real Madrid have also shown they like having the ball this season. They’re not only a team that plays on the counter. They don’t need much to score a goal against you. “I’m certain it’s going to be a very difficult game. There are no favourites in a Clásico. “Our only intention is to win. We know that this is a very important game. If we lose, then we’ll be a lot of points behind,

Schalke Look To Continue Winning Streak Against Eintracht SCHALKE will be eager to continue their form in the German Bundesliga after being knocked out of this season’s Champions League. The Royal Blues were dumped out of Europe’s premium competition, following a 9-2 aggregate humiliation at the hands of Real Madrid. Jens Keller’s men, though, have been in fine form in the league since the turn of the year and will be eager to keep the heat on second-placed Borussia Dortmund when they welcome bottom-placed Eintracht Braunschweig to the VeltinsArena in Gelsenkirchen today. Kick-off at 16:30 CAT. Having accumulated 19 points since the winter break, Schalke are one of the form teams in the Bundesliga this

year. Since the turn of the year, Schalke have won six games, lost one while also playing to a goalless draw at home to Mainz. The Blues’ only loss in 2014 came at runaway leaders Bayern Munich. A key attributor the Schalke’s success over the past few months has been Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who has scored eight goals in nine games since returning from a long injury lay-off. The Dutch forward scored a brace in the 2-1 win over Augsburg last time out, adding to his hat-trick against Hoffenheim the week before. Eintracht, on the other hand, held Wolfsburg to a 1-1 draw at home in matchday 25. The stalemate was the Lions’ third in succession and despite

looking a better team in the past few weeks, Sebastian Ebel’s men look a sure bet for relegation. The Lions currently prop up the table and are five points from safety. Benedikt Höwedes won’t be available for the weekend’s game, the Schalke skipper picked up an injury in the loss to Los Blancos in Madrid on Tuesdayevening. “Benedikt’s injury is frustrating. We don’t have a clear diagnosis yet and will have to wait on an MRI scan,” Keller told the club’s official website. “It is something muscular; he probably won’t be able to play against Eintracht.” The reverse fixture earlier this season ended in a 3-2 win for Schalke, who twice came from behind before Roman Neustädter secured the win with

but you never know.” The first meeting between the two sides at the Camp Nou ended 2-1 in favour of Barcelona with Neymar Junior and Alexis Sanchez finding the back of the net before Jese Rodriguez scored a late consolation.

OSASUNA midfielder Patxi Punal is hopeful that his side will end their losing streak in La Liga when they face Sevilla at the El Sadar Stadium on Sunday. Los Rojillos lost to Levante and Malaga before suffering a heavy 7-0 loss at the hands of Barcelona in their last outing. “We lacked a lot of things and they were all over us,” said Punal. “They were precise with almost all their chances. “We’re in a delicate and complicated stage of the season. Now is the time though, that we must all show what we are about and that we’re strong.” Javi Garcia’s side are placed 15th on the log standings with 29 from 28 matches and Punal says they have restore their pride when they host the on-form Sevilla. “We know that this is in our own hands and what we’ve got to play for,” he added.

“Sunday’s game is one that we’ve got underlined. “We have to wipe the slate clean and start afresh. There’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves. “Against Sevilla we have to be animated and play very well, because we’re going to need it. We must prepare ourselves thoroughly for the game.” Osasuna will have their work cut out as Sevilla go into this clash on the back of a fourmatch winning streak, including the most recent 4-1 victory over Real Valladolid. However, Unai Emery’s side will play a crucial Europa League last 16 second leg tie against city rivals Real Betis on Thursday night, which may affect their readiness for Sunday’s clash. When the two sides met at the Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan earlier this season the match ended 2-1 in favour of Sevilla

Embarrassed Milan Head To Rome

AS the pressure amounts on Milan off the field, they will have to shift their focus back to footballing action when they take on Lazio on Sunday evening at the Stadio Olimpico. Kick-off is at 21h45 (CAT). If losing three consecutive domestic matches wasn’t bad enough for the Rossoneri, their dismal run of results and failure to win has seen them publically lambasted by past players and coaches of the club. Arrigo Sacchi gave his opinion on the crisis at Milan, while Rossonero legend Paolo Maldini hit out the club in an exclusive interview in La Gazzetta dello Sport. The former left-back, who retired from playing at the age

Clarence Seedorf

of 41, claimed that the team he helped build had been ‘destroyed’ and added weight onto the already-gaining criticism on Mario Balotelli’s shoulders. This all erupted shortly after Milan’s 4-2 defeat at home to Parma on Sunday afternoon, just four days after having been torn to shreds by Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League. “We have to start from scratch, by taking to the pitch with an even more determined attitude and to avoid making things difficult,” said goalkeeper Marco Amelia, who stood in for

Christian Abbiati after his sending off against Parma. “Unfortunately some of these difficulties have been with us for a long time and even from last summer. They haven’t been resolved and they’ve remained for the whole season. The current atmosphere isn’t an ideal one and that’s an issue. “It’s normal that we’re criticised, but it’s down to us to change those opinions. Milan are a team with values. It’s down to us to show how much we’re worth from now until May.” And the embarrassing onslaught of criticism in front of the public eye should be an overwhelming catalyst of motivation to Clarence Seedorf and his charges, when they host a Lazio who are improving. Edy Reja’s men have taken wins over Cagliari, Fiorentina and Sassuolo in their last four domestic matches, but couldn’t prevent a narrow defeat to Lazio in Week 27. It is a much improved side form the team which struggled under Vladmir Petkovic at the start of the season and they will be boosted by the possibility of debuting Helder Postiga on Sunday. The Portuguese international joined the club in January but is yet to feature for Lazio after suffering a series of injuries that kept him sidelined for two months. His presence will be warmly welcomes and they will be hoping to inflict further pain on the Rossoneri.


THE WEEKEND

30

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

Champions League

Man United To Face Bayern, Chelsea Draw PSG MANCHESTER United League quarter-finals will face holders Bayern while Chelsea drew PSG. Munich in the Champions Spain are guaranteed

Obasi

one team in the semi-final after Barcelona were drawn against Atletico Madrid while, in a repeat of one of last season’s semi-finals, Real Madrid will face Borussia Dortmund. The first legs of the ties are set to be played on April 1-2 with the return legs on April 8-9, with this year’s final to be held at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz in Lisbon on May 24. Bayern Munich are favourites to retain their crown at 2-1, with Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona priced at 4-1. Draw in full Barcelona v Atletico Madrid Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund Paris Saint-Germain v Chelsea Manchester United v Bayern Munich

HILDERALDO Bellini, Brazil’s captain when they won their first World Cup in 1958, died on Thursday from complications following a heart attack. He was 83. The Hospital 9 de Julho confirmed Bellini’s death in a statement. The central defender became widely known for being the first captain to raise the World Cup trophy above his head as a symbol of triumph. The gesture became immortalised with a statue

Brazil Legend Bellini Dies At 83 of Bellini in front of Maracana Stadium. He had a heart attack on Tuesday and had been hospitalised since then. Local media said he had also been suffering from Alzheimer’s. Bellini also won the 1962 World Cup and appeared in the 1966 tournament. He played for

Romario, Ronaldo Deepen Cup Rift BRAZILIAN legends Ronaldo and Romario on Thursday deepened their World Cup rift by indulging in a second slanging match in four days. Having Monday accused his fellow world champion of being to blame for the absence to date of promised free tickets for handicapped fans, Romario this time opened up with both barrels on the cost of renovating the Maracana. “In relation especially to the World Cup, we are on opposite sides” of the debate, said Romario, now a lawmaker whereas Ronaldo is on the event’s Local Organization Committee (LOC). “If for you it’s normal to spend a billion reais ($434 million) on renovating the Maracana (stadium), when all around hospitals and schools are

crumbling, and public transport is poor then I guess you don’t care what I say,” Romario blasted. Romario repeated his jibe about the nonappearance of 32,000 tickets — 500 per match — which were promised in 2011 on behalf of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF). Ronaldo, on the LOC since 2011, said he was on the committee on a voluntary, unpaid basis given that “the Cup is for and belongs to the people and not to FIFA or the CBF or any other institution.” The 2002 World Cup winner added in a Facebook posting: “It is to be regretted that Romario, once again, comes out and publicly blames me for things which are not within my remit.” And he urged Romario:

“If you want my help, be more educated next time.”

Hilderaldo Bellini

Obasi Won’t Back Real Madrid For CL

REAL Madrid may have smashed past Chinedu Obasi’s Schalke, but the Nigeria forward will not back them to win the Champions League. Real dumped Schalke 6-1 in Germany, before they again beat them 3-1 at home to qualify for the quarterfinals of the competition on a 9-2 aggregate. But Obasi would rather tip holders Bayern Munich and Barcelona to win this season’s competition. “With the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona still in the tournament, I think it’s going to be tough for Madrid to win it, but who knows? All teams do have bad days,” Obasi rated. The Champions League

quarterfinalas draw will be staged on Friday. And despite going down scandalously to Real, the Nigeria star has described as “amazing” his experience in the competition. “We knew it was going to be tough, especially after the 61 loss in the first leg. We did our best. It was amazing to play at the Santiago Bernabéu,” he told UEFA.com. “The pitch was great and the atmosphere was special. I really appreciated being able to play in such an atmosphere and with other players like Cristiano Ronaldo. “Our coach wanted us to play according to his tactics

and to give a good account of ourselves. Considering the injuries we have and the young players coming in, I think we did a good job.” The Nigeria star who hopes to gate crash Eagles World Cup party, said his best memory in the champions league was his comeback game in Romania as Steaua Bucharest. “My best memory from the tournament was my comeback game in Romania against FC Steaua Bucuresti last November. That was my first match after being out for a long time with a serious injury. I really appreciated the fact that I still have the opportunity to play at the highest level of football,’’he revealed.

World Cup Stadium Cost Add-Ons Pile Up In Brazil

THE cost of Brazil’s World Cup is edging ever higher, amid new estimates indicating Rio and Sao Paulo authorities must find more cash for temporary installations. installations has been a Rio’s state government thorny issue in the run-up to earlier this week revealed in the tournament starting in Sao Brazil’s Official Journal that it Paulo on June 12. expected to spend 33.7 Only last month, FIFA said million reais ($14 million) on the Rio Grande do Sul state temporary structures around government, Porto Alegre’s World Cup final venue, the city hall and local club Maracana stadium. Internacional had reached Such installations include agreement on sharing the sponsor and media areas, but reported 30 million reais cost Globo daily reported of “complementary Thursday the figure was an structures” required at the estimate based on last year’s southern city’s venue. Confederations Cup and that The owners of the Beira Rio the final extra spend would be stadium, Porto Alegre side nearer 50 million reais. Internacional, said they could Who pays for such not afford the cash and said it

should not have to pay for structures which will be taken down after the event, bringing the club no long term benefit. The issue has also caused ructions in Sao Paulo, which will host the opening game of the Cup between Brazil and Croatia, with temporary facilities such as VIP and commercial spaces set to cost around 60 million reais. Stadium owners Corinthians club are currently seeking partnerships to meet the cost with the local authorities insisting the

stadium agreement excludes public contributions. UEFA chairman and World Cup organizing committee member Michel Platini noted on Tuesday in Zurich that “nobody wants to pay” for the additional structures. The estimated $11 billion cost of hosting the event has sparked public anger in recent months with many Brazilians complaining the cash would have been better spent on upgrading poor quality public services. A further headache for

Brazil is where some of its clubs will play league matches after the stadiums are handed over to FIFA in May ahead of the World Cup. A schedule published by the Brazilian football Confederation Wednesday left question marks against venues for 28 matches with seven top flight grounds hosting World Cup games. The Brazilian league season is due to break from June 1, in time for the World Cup, before resuming two days after the July 13 final.

Brazilian clubs Vasco da Gama, Sao Paulo and Atletico Paranaense.

2018 Vote Sorted In Advance BRITISH Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed doubts that the 2018 World Cup bidding process was conducted fairly. Cameron led England’s bid to host the tournament along with David Beckham and Prince William in 2010, which ended in frustration when Russia won. FIFA has opened an investigation into the process which saw Russia and Qatar awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Nine members of the decision-making committee have resigned, but 13 remain in office, including FIFA president Sepp Blatter. One of the members who resigned, Jack Warner, denied fresh allegations of corruption that were levelled at him this week. Speaking to The Sun, Cameron claims the result was “sorted” in advance and that a number of promised votes did not materialise. He said: “I would be very careful what I say … It was a mad 24 hours of intensive lobbying which David Beckham and Prince William and I were doing together. We thought we were making progress. I think the whole thing was … You choose your words carefully. I would say ‘sorted’ before we went into it. All I can tell you is there are a lot of people who promised they were going to vote for me. And in the end, I think we got one vote.” Cameron also said that despite frustrations at his experience, he will be happy to be involved in the bidding process to host matches at Euro 2020. He said: “I am going to try to help the authorities in Scotland, Wales and England who want to bid for packages. Since the Olympics we have a great record of competitions coming here. I think they are brilliant for your economy … They are a great advert for Britain.”

David Cameron


THE WEEKEND

31

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

We’ll Beat 3SC, Says Abia Comet Coach THE Team Manager, Abia Comets FC of Umuahia, John Onuoha, on Friday said the team would beat 3SC of Ibadan in their Week 7 encounter at the ongoing 2013/2014 Nigeria National League (NNL). Abia Comets is currently 5th on the Division B table of the league with six points after six matches. Onuoha, however, said that defeating 3SC on March 23 would not be an easy task because of the wealth of experience of their opponents. “We are preparing well and

will try to focus our minds on winning them, in spite of their quality of play. “I am quite sure we are clinching our three points come Sunday. “We know a victory will shoot us up in the table, which is our desire, in order for us to be among the top four,” he said. 3SC is currently in the second position of the Division B table with 10 points after six matches and would be playing away against the Comets. 3SC was relegated to the NNL after the 2012/2013 Glo Premier League season.

ALL is now set for the 3rd edition of the Iluleha Annual Football festival for youth clubs in Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State. The tournament billed to run from March 24 – 29, 2014 will hold at the famous Uzebba Grammar School sports ground, Uzebba. Speaking with journalists in Benin City, tournament director, Prince Harrison Eghosa Iyonmana said this year’s edition comes with a lot of goodies. “We have added invitational match to this year’s edition which will serve as a curtain raiser for the final, while all the teams will get a

All Now Set For Iluleha Football Fiesta

token for participating outside what will be given to

winners. We also have jerseys for the best three teams, amongst others”, he

added.

Iran Will Beat Nigeria Boasts Fulham Star

IRAN striker Ashkan Dejagah has boasted his country will beat African champions Nigeria in their first match at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Iran have been drawn against Nigeria, Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina in Group F of the competition. Iran will play Nigeria in Curitiba on June 16 and Fulham forward Ashkan Dejagah said he believes his team will over power the

Super Eagles. “All three matches in group stage are important, but we have to defeat Nigeria since it’s our opening match,” Ashkan Dejagah told his club’s official website. Nigeria and Iran have not clashed at full international level. Dejagah scored a crucial winner to help Fulham to a

Sports Festival

Enugu Fears Exodus of Athletes

THE Head Athletics Coach at the Enugu State Sports Council, Ephraim Ochomma, has expressed concern with the looming exodus of athletes from the state for greener pastures. Ochomma expressed the fears while speaking with newsmen in Enugu on Thursday on the sidelines of preparations for the forthcoming 19th National Sports Festival in Calabar. He regretted that athletics, which was the state’s strongest point in national and international competitions, were not given proper attention by the council. “Athletes from Enugu State have done well in several national and international competitions. “For instance, at the last National Youth Games in Abuja, we won three gold, five silver and five bronze medals. “This was the best performance from any state in the South East. “While other states received their athletes who participated in the event, no such reception was organised for our all-conquering athletes,” he said. According to him, most athletes are thinking of competing for other states

where the welfare of sportsmen and women was given priority. “If the imminent exodus happens, there will be a disaster in this state because we will be losing our best,” he said. Ochomma said that though the athletes were illmotivated, the council was training seriously for the forthcoming festival. “We are waiting for the government to release funds to enable us go into closed camping. “If not, we will be preparing to fail because of the mood we have on ground among the athletes. “Athletes from Enugu have done well in javelin, discuss and the track events like 100 metres, 200m and 400m and relay races. “We grow with athletics and if these athletes can be taken care of, they will excel in all competitions,” Ochomma said. He said that it was necessary to expose the athletes to modern techniques that would make them excel and compete favourably with other states.

much-needed win over Newcastle United on Saturday. However, Fulham remain rooted to the bottom of the EPL.

Chris Okaeben, Edo State Commissioner for Sports

Onazi Urges Self-Belief At Brazil 2014

OGENYI Onazi has told MTNFootball.com Nigeria must go to the World Cup armed with an unshaken self-belief if they are to shine in Brazil. vourites, but he has insisted The Lazio midfielder has the Super Eagles will take it picked two-time champions a game at a time. Argentina as Group F faThe interview:

MTNFootball.com: How will you rate your performance so far this season with Lazio? Ogenyi Onazi: I give glory to God. I am growing and getting matured game after

O n a z i celebrates with team mates

AJTC: Team Nigeria To Battle Egypt In Semis THE national junior tennis coach, Ubale Mohammed on Thursday said Team Nigeria had qualified for the semifinals of male Under 16 doubles at the ongoing Africa Junior Tennis Championship (AJTC), in Kenya. Mohammed told newsmen

on telephone from Kenya that the boys scaled through after defeating their South Africa counterparts at the quarterfinals of the male doubles. He said Sylvester Emmanuel and Michael Michael represented Nigeria in the male U-16 doubles.

The Iluleha Annual Football Festival which has been dubbed the biggest youth soccer tournament is sponsored by veteran Sports journalists Frank Ilaboya, who hails from Uzebba in Owan West Local Government Area. It will be recalled that Frank Ilaboya has been the sole financier of the tournament since inception and according to the soft speaking Edo State FA vice chairman who spoke through the tournament director; “this is his own little way of contributing to grassroots football development in the state and Nigeria at large”. He also called on wellmeaning sons and daughters of Owan West Local Government Area to support the annual event. Super stars FC Uzebba are the defending champions of the tournament.

According to him, the eight Nigerian players have been eliminated from the singles championship. Our correspondent recalls that eight players participated in the first round of the championship, in both U-14 and U-16 with only two of

them making it to the quarterfinals of the event. The coach said Nigeria defeated South Africa 6-4, 67,12-10 in the quarter-finals to enter the semi-final match against Egypt scheduled for Friday, March 21. “We are looking forward to

the next game and they will hopefully play well to defeat Egypt and I believe if we make it to the finals, we will have the day”, he said. The AJTC championship which kicked off on March 17 will end on March 22.

game. I can only get better. People are always scared of the Italian Serie A, saying that it is too physical, how are you coping? Scared? Probably an exaggeration. Although, I do understand the perception. There is a lot more emphasis on tactics and discipline in the league. But then, I have only played here, so the basis for my comparison may be flawed. As per how I cope, itís all thanks to God and my lovely fans who have been supportive. What are your targets with Lazio this season? We have had some difficult run of games. We hope to end the season as high up the table as possible. Do you dream of playing in English Premier League at some point in your career? I dreamt about becoming a professional footballer, and here I am. I have learnt to appreciate today. Dreams are important but one has to keep his feet on the ground and worry about now. Brazil 2014 is drawing ever closer, what are your targets with the Eagles? No matter how small, we have to accept the fact that all the countries who have qualified to play at the World Cup do have some a chance. Football is an interesting and dicey game. We have to go out with the belief that we can do it. Eagles are in same first round group with Argentina, Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina, do you see Eagles going through? We are going to take it one game at a time. For now, we have some preparatory matches to look forward to before the World Cup. When we get to Brazil, we will worry about Iran, Bosnia and Argentina in that order.


CMYK

THE WEEKEND

32

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014

English Premier League...English Premier League...English Premier League...

United’s Jones Wants Premier League Bounce MANCHESTER United defender Phil Jones hopes their Champions League comeback against Olympiakos will revive the team’s stuttering Premier League campaign. Faltering champions United will be 15 points adrift of the top four by the time they kick-off against West Ham on Saturday if Arsenal and Manchester City win their games earlier in the day. But United will go into the match on the back of a morale-boosting 3-0 home win over Olympiakos on Wednesday that secured a 3-2 aggregate victory over the Greek side that took the English giants into the quarter-finals of

Ferguson and Wenger

Ferguson Hails Old Rival Wenger

SIR Alex Ferguson has praised old rival Arsene Wenger ahead of the Frenchman’s 1,000th match as Arsenal manager and believes his achievement is proof that stability at a club is vital. Wenger will become match Ferguson’s feat, just the fourth manager - the Scot was quick to pay after Sir Matt Busby, tribute to a peer who had Dario Gradi and “survived together” with Ferguson himself - to him. reach the historic “I congratulate Arsene landmark when the in reaching this Gunners take on Chelsea momentous landmark,” in the Premier League on Ferguson said in a Saturday. League Managers The 64-year-old first Association statement. took charge of the north “Having also reached London club on October the same milestone at 1, 1996 and has overseen one club, I cannot one of the best periods in emphasise enough the their history, winning level of dedication, three Premier League resilience as well as titles and four FA Cups. sacrifice required and for His success with that I have for the utmost Arsenal often led to admiration. several run-ins with “Over the years we former Manchester enjoyed some fantastic United boss Ferguson battles and you could say and although the pair we had survived together often traded barbs, there and respected each has been mutual respect other ’s efforts to play shown from both sides, good football. I always with tensions cooling in enjoy watching Arsene’s recent years. sides - Arsenal play the With Wenger now set to right way.

“Playing against them always presented special challenges that I burned many hours over the years thinking about. He has always been a conscientious member of our trade who makes it his business to help other managers. “Perhaps the biggest compliment I could give Arsene is that I could never be anything other than competitive with my rival for 17 years.” Ferguson, perhaps with a nod in the direction of his former club United, also believes the landmark is further proof that stability at a club is crucial to success. His successor David Moyes has struggled since taking charge in the summer, with the Red Devils in seventh in the Premier League, although they did overturn a two-goal deficit to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League

David Silva Eyes Third Win At Old Manchester. DAVID Silva has set But Silva added: “It’s a his sights on securing a Traford derby but the powers hat trick of derby wins at Old Trafford when Manchester City visit their local rivals on Tuesday. The Spain international starred in City’s 6-1 victory at Old Trafford in October 2011 and their 2-1 win in April 2013. City, who are 12 points ahead of Manchester United, beat their neighbours 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium in September and will be going for a double this season and a third

successive victory on enemy territory. And Silva, speaking at an event to promote the Anfi Group, said: “We have won the last two years, and hopefully this will be the third one. It’s a very important game obviously because it’s a derby.” City’s prowess this season and United’s decline has prompted suggestions that the balance of power has swung to the blue half of

don’t shift in derbies. At the moment we are better but in any derby anything can happen. So we just have to go out and win the matches.” City are Capital One Cup winners and are in fourth place in the title race but were knocked out of the FA Cup by Championship club Wigan and were eliminated from the Champions League by Barcelona.

earlier this week. Ferguson added: “Overall this achievement once again shows what stability can bring to a football club and without doubt he has created a permanent legacy during his 1,000 matches with the club.” LMA chairman Howard Wilkinson also lauded Wenger’s achievement as well as praising former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein for his decision to appoint a man who had won a Ligue 1 title with Monaco but was not widely regarded in England. “David Dein’s decision to recommend this relative unknown to the Arsenal board in September 1996 was a stroke of genius,” said the former Leeds boss.

“I salute Arsene on his extraordinary level of performance and all that he has brought to our game. “I congratulate him and Arsenal Football Club for proving that doing things the ‘right way’ can be rewarded by sustained achievement at the highest level both on and off the field of play.” LMA chief executive Richard Bevan added: “This achievement is a remarkable celebration of success and longevity. “In a profession where time can often be an all too rare commodity, 1,000 matches at one club exhibits an enduring quality, which can only serve as an inspiration to all current as well as all aspiring managers and coaches.”

the Champions League. “I think the Olympiakos game has got to be a springboard for us,” Jones said. “It was a huge night. We have to use this as an impetus to go and prove that we can win game after game. “We let ourselves down on Sunday so it was good to get the win for us and the fans,” he added. “They have something to smile about now and hopefully we can kick on.” United’s win was timely after a shock 2-0 loss in Greece that shone a harsh spotlight on manager David Moyes and then suffered the embarrassment of a 3-0 defeat by arch-rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford last weekend. “We have all had criticism and we’re in it together,” England centre-back Jones said. “We’re a team, the manager and the staff, and we’ve got to band together and come through this difficult period, and we will do.” United are in a Champions League last eight also featuring Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Borussia

Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Paris St Germain and English rivals Chelsea. However, Jones said United had no preference for their next opponents in the Champions League, the last tournament they have a realistic chance of winning this season, “We’re just happy to be in the next round,” he added. “We left ourselves with a difficult task after the first leg but we came through the test with flying colours and we are excited about the next round.” However, the one downside in Wednesday’s win that hat-trick hero Robin van Persie was carried off on a stretcher with a knee injury. Moyes said after the game that van Persie’s injury was “hopefully not too bad” and Jones added: “Hopefully he (van Persie) will be fit for Saturday and he can score a few more (goals at West Ham). “He is terrific. He pops up with important goals in big matches and he did that again (against Olympiakos).”

Ben Arfa Back For Palace HATEM Ben Arfa is set for a Newcastle United return this weekend as the Magpies’ take on Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace at St James’s Park. The Frenchman has been missing from the Geordies’ line-up for more than a month but

Alan Pardew confirmed that the 27-year old would make a return to first team action on Saturday. Pardew seemed to be impressed with the attacking midfielder’s performances in training this week and as a result will throw him straight back into the mix.

Match Fixtures SATURDAY MARCH 22

Chelsea v Arsenal Norwich City v Sunderland Newcastle United v Crystal Palace Manchester City v Fulham Hull City v West Brom. Albion v Swansea City PTS Everton Cardiff City v Liverpool 66 West Ham United v Manchester United 62 SUNDAY MARCH 23 62 Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton 60 53 Aston Villa v Stoke City 51 LA LIGA FIXTURES 48 SATURDAY MARCH 22 45 Granada CF v Elche CF 43 RCD Espanyol v Levante UD 34 Real Valladolid v Rayo Vallecano 34 Athletic Club v Getafe CF 31 SUNDAY MARCH 23 30 Osasuna v Sevilla FC 29 29 Real Betis v Atlético Madrid 28 Valencia CF v Villarreal CF 28 Real Madrid v FC Barcelona 25 MONDAY MARCH 24 25 UD Almería v Real Sociedad 24

Premier League Table P Chelsea 30 Liverpool 29 Arsenal 29 Man City 27 Tottenham 30 Everton 28 Man Utd 29 Southampton 30 Newcastle 29 Aston Villa 29 Stoke 30 West Ham 29 Hull 29 Swansea 29 Norwich 30 West Brom 29 C Palace 29 Sunderland 27 Cardiff 30 Fulham 30

W 20 19 19 19 16 14 14 12 13 9 8 8 8 7 7 5 8 6 6 7

D 6 5 5 3 5 9 6 9 4 7 10 7 6 8 8 13 4 7 7 3

L 4 5 5 5 9 5 9 9 12 13 12 14 15 14 15 11 17 14 17 20

GD 33 41 25 44 -1 12 12 6 -3 -6 -12 -6 -7 -5 -24 -10 -19 -16 -29 -35

Printed and published by Bendel Newspapers Company Limited, 24, Airport Road, P.M.B. 1334 Benin City. Telephone; Lagos: 01 4930929, Benin: 052 257492, 257531 Editor: HENRY BALOGUN- (08058767088). Lagos Office: 3/4, Amode Close, Kudirat Abiola Way, By Olushosun Bus Stop, Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos. Abuja Office: Floor 1, Edo House, 75 Ralph Shodeinde Street, Central Business District Abuja. Tel/Fax: 09-5237631. All correspondence to: 24 Airport Road, Benin City. E-mail: nigerianobserver@yahoo.com (ISSN 0331-2674)

Weekend observer 22 03 2014  

Weekend Observer E-Digital Edition

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you