S U N D A Y
E D I T I O N
Coal City, CITYFILE 8
SPECIAL REPORT 28
In Need Of Overhaul
Amaechi/ NJC Face-off Deepens
BUSINESS 37 PAAR Regime
Confusion In Goods Clearance
TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Vol. 30, No. 12,883
Omisore Wins Osun Guber Ticket
From Tunji Omofoye, Osogbo ENATOR Iyiola Omisore has Sthebeen declared winner in Osun State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary election held in Osogbo, the Osun State capital yesterday. Omisore, who had been touted as a leading contestant among four others who showed interest in the ticket of the party, scored 1,128 votes out of 1,280 delegates accredited for the election from the 30 local government areas of the state. Coming far behind Omisore in the keenly contested election was a former Minister of Youth Development, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi, who scored 35 votes and a former chairman of the House Committee on Defence in the House of Representatives, Hon. Oluwole Oke, who scored five votes. The fourth aspirant, Senator CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
From right, former Abia State Governor, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu; Governor Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; his Deputy, Mrs. Titi Loaye-Tomori; Deputy Speaker Osun State House of Assembly, Honourable Akintunde Adegboye and others, during the 15th edition of Walk to Live at Origbo Community High School, Ipetumodu, Osun State… yesterday.
Poor Logistics, Controversies Mar APC’s Ward Congresses By Kamal Tayo Oropo (Lagos), Abiodun Fagbemi (Ilorin) and Charles Coffie Gyamfi (Abeokuta) with Agency Report
• Exercise Postponed In Adamawa, Plateau, FCT, Others • Contention In Ogun, Lagos • Kwara, Kano Adopt Consensus Deal
F yesterday’s planned Iofnationwide ward congress the All Progressive
First, it was a “rumour” that the congress would not hold. This was dispelled by interim National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. Then followed postponement in several
Congress (APC) held any symbolism, it could suggest the party needs to work harder to get things right.
states due to problems of logistics. As a result, the exercise did not go ahead as planned in Adamawa, Plateau, Katsina, Bauchi States, and in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Mohammed said there was no truth to rumours that the party’s congress, scheduled to hold nationwide yesterday had been postponed. In a statement issued in London, yesterday, he said the con-
gress would go nationwide, as planned. He said: “We urge our members to ignore the wild rumours on the postponement, which is another attempt by the enemies of democracy to sabotage the party’s monumental progress.” The party, in Adamawa, how-
ever, postponed the congresses due to late arrival of materials. The interim state Committee Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Salihu BabaAhmed, made this known in an interview with NAN in Yola, yesterday. “Materials were brought CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
2 | NEWS Sunday, April 6, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
NEWS ECONOMY: Nigeria Overtakes South Africa Today By Marcel Mbamalu and Geoff Iyatse
• No, It’s Not Real, Say Experts
IGERIA emerging as the N biggest economy in Africa is eliciting reactions from dif-
price index, retail price index and wholesale price index, while rebasing its real GPD. Henry Boyo, a foremost economist and financial analyst, also frowned at the celebration of the process, which will place Nigeria above its continental rival. He said the World Bank’s revelation that Nigeria is among the poorest countries in the world is the most valid indication of Nigeria’s economy, a classification, he said, should be worrisome. Another financial expert, Bismarck Rewane, said if rebasing will not increase the money in the pockets of Nigerians, give jobs to millions of unemployed citizens and reduce the inflation rate, there is no reason anybody should celebrate it. However, lead consultant to the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), Dr. Ken Ife, said the new status would make Nigerian market more attractive to international investors. He described the step as quantum leap in efforts to reposition the domestic market and highlight its potentials. Also, a South Africa-based tourism expert, Mr. Azu Oparaugo, said rebasing GDP would attract more investments into the country, as investors will now have more confidence in the market. He, however, explained that the mathematical approach does not make the average Nigerian happier that his South African counterpart. According to him, the rebasing makes Nigerian economy bigger on paper but not healthier, even though it has been growing in recent years. Recall that Nigeria, despite the economic realities has
ferent quarters. The country, beginning from today, has rebased its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) t beat South Africa to the first position. Meanwhile, professor of political economy, Pat Utomi, yesterday, warned Nigerians not to be overtly excited at the process of becoming the biggest economy. He said, although investors might find it important in decision-making, but the fact that the World Bank described the country as one of the poorest in the world should give the leadership a cause for concern. According to him, South Africa will remain the most competitive economy, even as Mauritius and Uganda are still ahead of Nigeria. He explained that it will be difficult to understand Nigeria’s economic size in the absence of relevant impacts on citizens. In the same vein, former President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Okechukwu Unegbu, described the development as relevant only in figures, as the standard of living of South Africans is higher than that of Nigeria. He explained that an average South African could go to the car shop and pull out a mortgage, while Nigerians do not have access to such privilege. He emphasised the need to diversify the economy and makes it less dependent on oil. The lawyer and former banker advised that government should reconsider important indices such as foreign exchange, consumer
been recording so many growth numbers. The suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, recently reeled out fig-
ures to the effect that the economy has been performing well despite complaints from citizens. At that point, Nigeria Bureau of Statistic was buoyed to rebase the real GDP. Already, those who should know have raised the red flag. The real GDP — the
total outputs of goods and services produced in an economy at the prices of a particular year (1990 in Nigerian case) often referred to as the base year — ass opposed to nominal GDP — reflects the real value of goods and services produced in a given year.
The governorship candidate of the PDP in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, addressing party members, after his victory at the gubernatorial primary election, held in Osogbo, Osun State… yesterday.
Omisore Wins Osun Guber Ticket CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Isiaka Adeleke, boycotted the election on excuse that the ward congresses leading to the governorship primaries was riddled with irregularities and threat to his life by supporters of one of the contestants. The Chairman, Osun 2014 Gubernatorial Primaries Election Committee and former governor of Kebbi state, Alhaji Muhammed Adamu Aliero, who announced the result at the GMT Event Centre, at the end of the exercise, noted that the election was not only transparent but was free, fair and credible. Aliero lauded the State Working Committee (SWC) of the party for preparation made for the exercise, saying that the committee was also impressed by the level of discipline and maturity exhibited by the aspirants. He said the election which was held under a peaceful atmosphere had set the pace for other parties to emulate, adding that the spirit of fair play and promise by the aspirants to support the winner of the primaries before the election started was a further demonstration of PDP’s “belief in internal democracy”. In his speech, Omisore saluted the courage and dedication of other aspirants and urged them to join hands with him to ensure that the PDP regain power in Osun State in the August election. “I see this victory as not a victory for Omisore but for the PDP which is determined to chase away the ruling Progressives Congress of Nigeria (APC) through the ballot box,” he said.
APC Ward Congresses Postponed In Adamawa, Plateau, FCT, Others CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 yesterday (Friday) which is late. We have scheduled a meeting of stakeholders by 4pm today to fix a new date for the congresses. I want to use this opportunity to further urge our party members to
continue to bear with us and remain calm, as everything possible will be done to ensure a hitch free exercise,” BabaAhmed said. A former chairman of the defunct CPC, Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri, who spoke on the development, said that with late arrival of materials, the congress was not feasible. He stressed that this was also because people that paid for forms to participate in the congress were yet to obtain the forms. “Those that paid for forms are yet to obtain the forms. We need about two to three days to enable them obtain the forms, fill and return them. We will use the meeting of stakeholders today to fix an appropriate date for the congress,” he said. The APC also postponed its
congress in Katsina and Plateau States. In Katsina, APC Interim Management Committee Chairman, Alhaji Ahmad Dangiwa, announced that the exercise would now hold on Wednesday. Dangiwa told NAN, yesterday, in Katsina that the shift became necessary due to delay in the arrival of materials from the party national headquarters. “We have completed every necessary arrangement for the congress, but it cannot hold today as earlier scheduled due to non-arrival of candidate registration forms,” Dangiwa said. Dangiwa explained that as soon as the forms arrived they would be given out to contestants to fill and return before Wednesday. He promised that the party would conduct a free and fair congress “in accordance with the party’s constitution”. In Ogun State, the party held its congresses throughout the 236 wards in the 20 local council areas of the state with some of the candidates emerging by either consensus, affirmation or adoption of the lists which had earlier been agreed upon by party faithful. There were logistics challenges in some areas, as electoral materials did not arrive at voting centres on time. The exercise was monitored by officials of the Independent
National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the party’s national leaders. Officers of the Nigeria Police and the State Security Service (SSS) maintained security at the various venues. There were some areas where last minute change of venue resulted in sharp disagreements among party faithful. For instance at Igbore /Oba ward 13 in Abeokuta South local government area of the state where the former state governor and the national leader of the party, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, went to exercise his franchise, there was a little disturbance due to a last minute change of venue, but governor Ibikunle Amosun and Osoba resolved it. There were also some areas where due to some disagreements on some issues, parallel congresses were held. Reports from Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu, Ago-Iwoye, Ijebu-Igbo, Ago-Iwoye, Ijebu-Ife, IjebuImushin, Itele and some towns in Ijebu North, Ijebu East, Ijebu North-East and Odogbolu local government areas in the state indicated that change of venues also caused some confusion. But generally the congresses were peacefully conducted. In Jos, APC State Organising Secretary, Mr. David Joseph, announced the postponement of the ward congresses. Joseph said that the exercise could no longer hold because
of the non-arrival of party officials from the national headquarters. “The officials are in custody of materials for the conduct of the congress. As I speak, their arrival is still being awaited,” he said, adding: “When they arrive, we will have to meet with the stakeholders to agree on a new date.” He said: “We are told that their take-off was delayed due to the late release of materials to them. When they arrive, we will convene a meeting of all the stakeholders to work out a new date for the congress.” Meanwhile, the APC ward congress in Gombe went hitch-free. The party conducted its ward congresses in Gombe and Kwami Local Government Areas with large turnout by party members. The congresses were peaceful at Herwagana, Nasarawo, Shamaki and Jeka da fari wards of Gombe metropolis, as members elected their leaders without rancour. The newly elected chairman of Shamaki ward, Malam Salisu Mohammed, expressed happiness over his victory and promised to deliver on the mandate given to him. One of the electoral officers, Malam Babangida Babayo, said the members conducted themselves peacefully. In Kwami, Komfulata and Gadam wards of Kwami Local Government Area of Gombe,
members also conducted themselves in an orderly manner. A supervisor for the congress, Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed, commended the party members for exhibiting maturity and patience during the exercise. He also called on the elected leaders and members of the party to ensure justice and fairness in their dealings. According to him, this will help in promoting democracy, peace and unity in the party from the ward, local government, state and national level. Malam Muhammadu Baballe, the newly elected chairman of Kwami ward, commended his supporters for the mandate, and promised that he would carry everybody along. The interim chairman of APC in the state, Mr. Magaji Doho, who spoke to NAN, said the peaceful conduct of the congresses showed that the people have accepted the party in the state. In Lagos, the party disowned one Emi Abata, for allegedly parading himself as the chairman of the APC in Lagos State. The party said since the process that will culminate in the election of its leaders at various levels has just begun today (yesterday) with the ward congress, no one can claim to have been elected a leader at any level.
Sunday, April 6, 2014 3
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
NEWS Police Bust Baby Factory In Delta From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba HOUSE of horror where pregnant young girls are nurtured before delivery for onward sales have been busted by the Delta State Police. Located at the small town of Oko, Oshimili South Local Council of the state, the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Celestina Kalu, who took journalists round the small house yesterday, explained that the suspected human trafficker, a lady Chienlo Ezeugo and five pregnant women were arrested while four children were rescued. She gave the pregnant women who are cramped into before delivery as Ibrahim Usman, 5, Usman Mohammed, 2, Chidera Okechukwu, 5, and Abigail Ezeugo, 1. Acting on a tip off, the police spokeswoman said that the law enforcement agents swooped on them and arrested Ezeugo who is reported to be in her forties, alleging that the suspect recruited unknown pregnant women and deliver them of their babies for sales. She further alleged that Ezeugo kept some trafficked children and pregnant women who she kept for the duration of nine months pregnancy and then sell off the offspring even before they are weaned. Kalu lamented the spate at which baby factories being discovered across the country, saying that “we have discovered one in Delta State today,” and solicited the cooperation of members of the public in the area of information volunteering. She said: “You can imagine this kind of dilapidated place. Nobody could suspect that such act would be happening here. So, people should be vigilant and observant and when they see things that are not right in the society, they should inform the police.”
From left, the groom, Godswill Edward; the bride, Faith Sakwe; father of the groom, His Royal Highness, Elder Solomon Edward, and President Goodluck Jonathan at the traditional marriage ceremony of the president’s daughter in Yenegoa... yesterday.
Army Kills 10 Insurgents In Nasarawa, As Benue Lives In Fear Of Fulani Marauders From Msugh Ityokura (Lafia) and aimed at frustrating the military’s efforts of to comb out inJoseph Wantu (Makurdi) surgents. HE military deployed to Alumaga said the Tivs, who Nasarawa State, on Friday, have been on the receiving end allegedly, crushed to since the up rising began, have death, no fewer than 10 insur- been cleared from the area and gents while on patrol in Awe wondered why the Fulani still reLocal Council of the state. The mained behind. Guardian learnt that the solThe former magistrate, who diers ran into one of the insur- held the governor responsible gents’ hideouts in Baure and for the violence bedeviling the Tunga areas, which are state, said, “the case of the renowned settlements for the killings of police officers and opattackers, who allegedly eratives of the SSS has not been opened fire on sighting the resolved and Al-Makura is still fopresidential task force, code- menting trouble by shielding innamed ‘Operation Restore surgents.” Peace’. While raising the need for the It was reliably gathered that Tiv to return to their ancestral five AK 47 riffles were recovered homes to avoid famine, called on from the felled insurgents President Jonathan to act fast bewhile the operation continued fore Nasarawa becomes a breedto fish out more of the criminal ing ground for terrorists. elements. Meanwhile, both indigenes and The state governor, Tanko Al- residents of crisis-prone comMakura, who visited Keana munities in Benue State are still Local Council, the first port of living in fears of another possible call for the troops, since their attack by the Fulani mercenaries, deployment, where they have as many are not sure of the much killed no fewer than 50 insur- talked about return of peace to gents in their operations, said, the devastated and deserted Tiv/ while addressing the people Agatu communities. including the traditional head Listing out statistics of local of Keana, Emmanuel Elayo, councils worst hit by the Fulani that there were no insurgents herdsmen invasion to The in his domain, insisting that Guardian, the state’s Executive they are in the forest and in the Secretary of SEMA, Adikpo AgBenue valley. batse, said Guma Local Council A legal adviser to the prayer has nine wards deserted while group, Ombatse, Zamani Za- Gwer-West has five. Other local kari Alumaga, at the weekend, Governments are Makurdi with queried the governor’s visit to four, Logo three, Agatu four, Keana, which he alleged was Kwande one and Katsina -Ala
one, just as Gwer-East Local Council also has its fair share of displacement. Agbatse said in such an overwhelming situation, government has found it difficult to create official camps, more particularly, when the security of such facilities was very dicey. According to him, SEMA’s stand on non creation of camps is also in tune with Governor Gabriel Suswam’s earlier deci-
sion, insisting that those fleeing from their ancestral homes should be made to stay back to protect them. However, during a recent peace meeting and resolution of crises between the Tiv/ Agatu and the Fulani herdsmen at the Government House, Makurdi, the aggrieved parties signed a peace accord to mark the beginning of the return of peace among the warring parties.
The peace accord had DIG operation, Michael Zoukumor, and his delegation signing on behalf of government, General Atom Atom Kpera and members of his delegation signed on behalf of the Tiv people, while Miyetti Allah president, Alhaji Bello Abdullahi Bodejo, signed on behalf of the Fulani, while Agatu traditional ruler signed for his people.
Armed Youths Disrupt Ondo Bye-election From Niyi Bello, Akure XCEPT for Arogbo Ward 1 of Ese-Odo local council where suspected ex-militants prevented voting materials from being distributed, yesterday’s bye-election to fill the vacant seat of Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency was conducted without major hitches. Reports also indicated that voters registered at the New Jerusalem unit, one of the 16 in the ward, were disenfranchised amid allegations that the register was filled with underage voters and fictitious names. Materials for Arogbo Ward 1 were said to have been seized by the ex-militants who were said to be protesting their noninclusion in the list of beneficiaries of the Federal Government Amnesty Programme.
The armed youths were said to have arrived at the ward distribution centre as early as 6am at the time that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and ad-hoc personnel recruited for the exercise, were beginning to commence the process of distribution. Security personnel attached to the team, which had been deployed the previous day to avert the problem of lateness of materials to polling centres, were said to have been chased away by the ex-militants who insisted that the election would not take place in the ward. When reports of the distruption was made to INEC, the commission, through the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Akin Orebiyi, announced the
cancellation of the exercise in the area. Although everything went smoothly during the accreditation and the commencement of voting proper at the riverine community of Arogbo-Ibe, reports later indicated that a band of armed youths were moving around towards the close of the exercise to destroy ballot boxes and cause general confusion especially at Ojogo ward where ballot papers were scattered into the creeks. Speaking to The Guardian at RMC unit where he voted in Arogbo, Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku, expressed satisfaction on the conduct of the poll.
Cult Clash In Ekpoma Over SUG Election, One Feared Killed From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City HERE is tension in the university town of Ekpoma; as one student of Ambrose Alli University was feared dead as a result of clash between suspected cultists believed to be members of Maphites and Black Axe. The student was said to have been shot dead as a result of clashes arising from
Students Union Government (SUG) elections. A suspected cultist was reported to have taken over the campus gate yesterday evening shooting sporadically into the air, while he was said to have gallantly moved around the campus gate with some of his colleagues. Battle ready policemen as at yesterday have reportedly taken over the campus gate even as Edo State Police Com-
missioner, Folunso Adebanjo, confirmed that one person was shot dead and added that about seven persons have been arrested and vowed to crack down on the perpetrators of the violence. The Guardian gathered that the crisis was as a result of the battle by rival cult groups in the university to impose their members as leaders of the SUG. Some armed students were said to have
started the shooting at about 5pm Friday at the university gate. The fight was said to have later moved toward the university town as members of the rival cult groups commence house-to-house search of their targets. It was in that process that one student was shot dead. The shooting continued yesterday prompting the Edo state CP to deploy more policemen to the area.
“I am only aware that one person was killed during the SUG election. But we are investigating the matter, some students have been arrested and we are going to ensure that all those involved in the violence are brought to book. Their action is unacceptable. My men are there right now to ensure law and order and anybody causing crisis will be dealt with,” Adebanjo said yesterday.
LASWA Recovers Missing Body In Ikorodu Boat Mishap RESCUE team from A the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), at the weekend, recovered the body of a man declared missing after the tragic boat mishap on Majidun River in Ikorodu, near Lagos on April 2. The Managing Director of LASWA, Mr. Olayinka Marinho, confirmed the recovery of the body. He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the rescue team recovered the lifeless body of the 38-year-old shipping company executive, identified as Mr. Isaac Akere, at 7am. It was learnt that Akere was working with CMA CGM Delmas Nigeria Ltd., based in Apapa, Lagos. “Our search team discovered the wreck of the boat mishap that happened on Wednesday evening at Majidun in Ikorodu on Friday. Another team went in search of the missing body and it was recovered this morning (yesterday).
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, April 6, 2014
NEWS ‘Wada Will Not Abandon Inherited Projects’ From John Akubo, Lokoja HE Kogi State government T under Governor Idris Wada will complete all projects it in-
Engr. Tuoyo Omatsuli, Executive Director Projects (left); Sir Barr. Dan-Abia, Managing Director/ C.E.O; Dr Henry Ogiri, Executive Director Finance and Administration; Dr Princewill Ekanim; Director Bayelsa State office with NYSC group leader, Mr. Hamzat Olajide, during the inspection of an ultra modern corps’ lodge built by the NDDC at Otuake in Ogbia LGA of Bayelsa State.
Police IG Must Create Anti-cattle Rustling Squad - Breeders • Nyako Applauds FG’s Proposal On Grazing Reserves ATTLE Breeders Association, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, has appealed to the Inspector General of Police to establish an anti-cattle rustling unit to check cases of cattle theft in the country, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). National Secretary of the group, Alhaji Sale Bayari, made the plea when he spoke with newsmen in Jalingo yesterday. Bayari said that cattle theft is the root of most violent clashes involving herdsmen. According to him, “We have, several times, called on the police to establish an anti-cat-
tle rustling squad because we have been at the receiving end of cattle theft for 12 years in this country. It is worrisome to see the frequent invasion of herdsmen’s villages and their cattle stolen and converted to personal use. When criminal activity of this nature becomes the order of the day, there is need for stiffer measures against it.” Bayari said cattle were not only a sacred gift from God to the herdsmen, but also a source of livelihood. According to him, “A Fulani is sensitive to cattle, because they are his generational and ancestral wealth. Therefore, tam-
pering with them amounts to tampering with a generation of Fulani yet unborn. But in spite of all these, we always call on our people not to take the laws into their hands in cases of cattle rustling but report matters to constituted authorities.” Bayari added that the association is in support of measures against law offenders’ whether they are herdsmen or not. “We have said that anyone who violates the law, Fulani or farmer, the law should take its course. We have already told the All Farmers Association of Nigeria that any Fulani man found encroaching farmers’ land should be re-
ported to us. Miyetti Allah will trace, discipline and compel him to pay compensation.” Meanwhile, Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa yesterday said that the federal government’s proposal to create additional grazing reserves would reduce clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria. Nyako told reporters in Yola that grazing reserves and ranching were in line with standard best practices that ensured maximum benefit to nomads. “Moving around with cattle in search of pasture is old fashion. You have to fence your cattle for security and
better returns as obtained in developed countries. In USA for instance, this policy was introduced since 1872,” Nyako said. He urged state governments to ensure the protection of existing grazing reserves against encroachment by fencing them and providing dams or boreholes and other facilities. He also stressed the need for dialogue in resolving problem between herdsmen and farmers. Nyako said when a herd destroys crops; the owner of the herd should pay for the crops after evaluation by relevant authorities, instead of resorting to violence.
UN Chief Advocates Green Economy, As Report Tasks Africa On Industrialisation By Kamal Tayo Oropo NITED Nations under-secretary and executive director of Economic Commission for Africa, Mr. Carlos Lopes, has tasked governments to pay heed to enhancing “green economy”. This comes amid recommendations by this year’s edition of the Economic Report on Africa, jointly produced by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union Commission (AUC)
urging African countries to introduce credible industrial policies and promote effective industrial policy organisations to enhance the structural transformation of the continent. In a correspondence with The Guardian, the UN chief said time has come for Africa to make the switch to a green economy. “Natural resources are the backbone of the continent’s recent economic growth, among the strongest in the world.”
Noting that in 2011, for instance, raw and semiprocessed goods accounted for about 80 per cent of African export products, compared with 60 per cent in Brazil, 40 per cent in India and 14 per cent in China, Lopes pointed out that, conversely, agricultural commodities, timber, metals and minerals, and hydrocarbons combined have accounted for approximately 35 per cent of Africa’s growth since 2000. He said: “We are at a juncture
where most of the world has already been industrialised. Now, it’s Africa’s turn. But we have to admit that it is not easy to be a latecomer. Africa’s structural transformation towards more value-added activities and modern jobs is closely linked to a strong natural-resource sector,” he said. Meanwhile, transforming Africa’s industrial landscape has failed partly because countries used industrial blueprints characterised by lack of dynamism and high-level co-
ordination, as well as inadequate consultations with stakeholders, says this year’s Economic Report on Africa. “Indeed, weak institutional structures and poor policy design have been at the root of Africa’s industrial policy problem throughout its post-independence history,” the report states. The theme of this year’s report is “Dynamic industrial policy in Africa: innovative institutions, effective processes and flexible mechanisms.”
herited from the previous administration the state’s deputy governor, Yomi Awoniyi, has said. The deputy governor who spoke over the weekend when he received the newly elected officials of the Nigeria Union of journalists, Kogi State council, said the Wada administration has in the last two years adhered to the policy of ensuring that projects inherited are not abandoned. He said the administration has put in place institutional framework for good governance. Awoniyi disclosed that the administration is predicated on due process for the advancement of its transformation agenda. The deputy governor described as novel and enduring the policies of the administration, even as he called on the people to be patient because the policies will take the state to greater heights. He disclosed that projects initiated under the SURE- P Programme of the state would touch the lives of the people positively. He also assured the citizens of the state that despite dwindling resources occasioned by huge overhead in salaries, government would continue to meet its obligation to the people. He explained that paucity of funds led the state government to access funds in the capital market, adding that the funds would be properly managed for value to be added to the people.
35 New Allottees Emerge At Second Draw Of Lagos HOMS By Kamal Tayo Oropo ITH200 new homes on the W offer, the second draw under the Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (HOMS) was conducted in Lagos at the weekend with state governor, Babatunde Fashola, imploring those who have engaged with the process and have seen the transparency and efficiency to become ambassadors for the scheme. The governor who spoke after the draws that took place at Agidingbi, Ikeja and which produced another set of 35 successful allottees, urged them to go out and tell other people to do the same. He explained that a prospective allotee does not have to know anyone but only needs to engage with the website of the Lagos HOMS scheme, apply, show necessary records and hopefully become a winner at the next draw. “We have committed to providing a minimum of 200 homes every month. This is the second month that we have kept our promise. And as the secretary of the board has already indicated that in another 30 days or thereabout, we would be ready again to put 200 homes on the market. From very modest beginning, our people have started to demonstrate that this is possible,” he said.
Sunday, April 6, 2014 5
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
At Retreat, Speakers Chart Roadmap For Urhobo Nation PROFESSOR of law at the University of Lagos, Joseph Abugu, has urged the Urhobo people to commit themselves to selfless projects aimed at developing their land. In a related development, Editor of The Guardian (Sunday), Abraham Ogbodo, identified the institution of transformational leadership as way out of the challenges confronting the Urhobo people. Abugu, who spoke at the Second Annual Retreat of Atamu Social Club of Nigeria, a Lagosbased pan-Urhobo group of professionals, also blamed the
problem of restiveness among Urhobo youths on the inability of parents to positively impact their families. The professor of Law, who spoke on: “How to Impact Life, Society and Urhobo Nation”, asked Urhobo parents to do a self-assessment of how well they have been able to impact their children in the areas of education, family interaction and value communication. “We need a re-awakening that our children must be educated. The state of our youths today is a sign of our collective
DELTA failure to positively impact on the Urhobo nation,” he said. Abugu advocated the setting up of cottage industries by well-placed Urhobo people in their communities to address the challenges of youth restlessness and joblessness. He commended Atamu for sponsoring different projects, including award of scholarships to Urhobo indigenes. On his part, Ogbodo stressed the need for Urhobo leaders to move away from managerial
and transactional styles of leadership to a transformational one if they hope to turn things around for their people. Development of vision statements alone, the editor said, would not take the Urhobo people to the heights they have set for themselves. Urging the Urhobo people to generate workable strategies to deliver on their aspirations, Ogbodo noted that true leaders must possess adequate emotional intelligence to command the following re-
quired to succeed in whatever project they embark upon. Earlier, president of Atamu, Johnson Agagbo, challenged members of the club to do a review of events since the first retreat of the group in February 2012 to determine how far they have been able to run with the vision of the club to champion the development of the Urhobo nation. Also, chairman of Atamu Board of Trustees, Chief David Akoro, urged members of the club to leverage on the opportunity provided by the retreat
“During the Adebayo administration that was in power for four years, the state enjoyed peace and harmony and even won an award as the most peaceful state in the country. But during the next seven and half years of this other party in power, it was looting, fraud, violence, killing, impunity and brigandage. “Ask our students what Ekiti State University looked like in
2010 and what it looks like now. Ask our students at College of Education, Ikere, what it looked like in 2010 and what it looks like now.” The governor had earlier visited the palace of the Alaaye of Efon, Oba Emmanuel Adesanya Aladejare, who said all the achievements recorded in the last three and half years will speak for him.
Fayemi Hits Campaign Trail From Muyiwa Adeyemi, Ado Ekiti
Warns Voters: ‘Don’t Put Ekiti In Reverse Gear’
KITI State governor, KayE ode Fayemi, on Friday took his re-election campaign to
Governor Adeniyi Adebayo; Speaker of the House of Assembly, Dr. Wale Omirin; state APC chairman, Chief Olajide Awe; commissioners and other government officials and party leaders. The governor noted that the support for him by teachers in Efon shows he has nothing against them, contrary to rumours being peddled in some quarters. He maintained that teachers have enjoyed salary increment thrice since he came to office. He added that teachers of core subjects and those teaching in rural areas receive special allowances besides their regular salaries. Fayemi explained also that there is no part of the state that is not linked by good roads. According to him, “Our party loves the masses but the other party doesn’t value old men; they don’t value old
parts of the state, urging the electorate to avoid a reversal of fortune in the gubernatorial poll slated for June 21, 2014. The governor, who is contesting on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC), stressed that his achievements in the last three and half years will earn him re-election. At Efon Alaye, Fayemi reminded the people of what he described as unsavoury moments when the PDP ruled the state, and called for their support. He also campaigned in adjoining settlements including Itawure, Ita Ido and Iwaji where he urged the people to vote for progress, which he said the APC represents. The governor was accompanied by his wife, Bisi; former
EKITI people, they don’t take care for the aged and they don’t respect the youth. Our government will not misbehave if you vote us in. And we are different from any party that steals votes to get to power and never respects anybody.
FRSC To Re-introduce Vehicle ReflecFrom Abosede Musari, Abuja
Holds Training On Defensive Driving
HE Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) is set to re-introduce vehicle reflectors in the country. Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of the FRSC, Osita Chidoka, gave this information in Abuja on Friday at a ceremony held to flag off series of training on defensive driving. Chidoka said the aim of the
re-introduction is to serve as protection for those driving at night, to avoid crashes. He challenged the National Union of Road Transport Workers to let the corps know how the reflector has helped them and come up with opinions on how the reflector policy can be improved upon. Speaking at the event, organ-
Voters at Ward 8, Ode-Ugbo Bye Election into Ilaje / Ese Odo Federal Constituency in Ondo State…yesterday.
Photo by Najjem Raheem
ised by Transgeria Consulting Ltd in collaboration with the FRSC and the Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO), chairman of Transgeria, Mr. Emmanuel Osora, noted that driving on Nigerian roads presents a lot of challenges. “Some of these include drivers’ behaviour, vehicle maintenance culture, road infrastructure etc. In order to combat these challenges, we need practice techniques,” he said. According to him, it is not enough to know how to drive; people must drive defensively by planning ahead and keeping an eye out for trouble in order to avoid crashes. “No matter where you are, there is one golden rule of defensive driving and that is stay alert and plan ahead, which if more people followed, there would be fewer accidents on our highways,” he said. The training, targeted at reducing accidents, also has other objectives such as ensuring proper use of road; knowledge and application of traffic rules and regulations; administration of first aid treatment; insurance cover and rights; understanding traffic laws and enforcements, as well as drivers’ rights and liabilities. National Coordinator, Heavy Trucks Abuja, Mal. Suleiman A. Danzaki, in a goodwill message, appealed to the FRSC and VIO to collaborate with them from time to time on how to change the mindset and consciousness of drivers to avoid road crashes, and that such collaborations should not be limited to festive periods only. He commended FRSC’s vehicle reflector policy.
APGA Vows To Review Anambra LG Poll From Chuks Collins, Awka T is not yet over on the troubled January 4, 2014 Anambra State council poll, as the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), led by Chief Maxi Okwu, has indicated readiness to cancel the entire process for a fresh and transparent one. Also, the party is reaching out to members keen on contesting offices in the forthcoming
ANAMBRA 2015 general elections in the c o u n t r y . Okwu said that all members, especially the aggrieved, the robbed and the sidelined during January 4, election should not lose hope, as his office would revisit the process, having been inundated by complaints. The national chairman dis-
closed these during a stakeholders’ meeting at Col Jeff Onyejegbu’s (rtd) country home, Ichi, Ekwusigo LGA of Anambra State yesterday. In his state of the union address to party faithful, Okwu said: “I say to all those who were aggrieved and had their nominations forcefully and unjustifiably taken away from them, please take things coolly, as we are surely going to
revisit the whole election.” He listed some of the councils where chairmanship candidates who won primaries were robbed – Ihiala, Oyi, Anaocha and Awka North. It was also revealed that some councils fielded nonAPGA members. Okwu appealed to the stakeholders that henceforth the party will only field popular candidates and
would not be guided by riches, as was the case in the recent past. He said the party stands for fairness and justice and would always carry all members along as much as possible. He noted that the stakeholders’ meeting, a platform he created for briefing and disseminating information on developments in the party, would be organised in other states.
NEWS ‘Subject Outcome Of Confab To Referendum’ HE Executive Director of T The Resource Centre For Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Ibrahim Zikirullahi, has echoed the need for the outcome of the ongoing national conference to be subjected to a national referendum for validation. Zikirullahi said this while giving account of his organisation’s projects in Kano. He however commended President Jonathan for organising the conference. Commenting on the 2015 general election, he said that the electorate must not allow itself to be used for sinister acts while civil societies must make conscious effort to re-educate, sensitise and re-orientate Nigerians about the inherent dangers of being used by politicians and other opinion leaders for purposes that undermine the national project. He said: “Democracy is by nature very complex and sometimes its outcomes are unpredictable.
433 Women Get N39m Micro Credit Loan From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri HE authorities of Addax PeT troleum Nigeria Limited have begun disbursement of N39m micro- credit loan scheme to 433 rural women selected from the seven communities where the company operates in Imo State. Commencing the disbursement at the All Seasons Hotel, Owerri, capital of Imo State yesterday, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the company, Cornelis Zegelaar, represented by Deputy Managing Director, Corporate Services, Mr. Tunji Mayaji, disclosed the host communities as Eziorsu, Umuamaka, Ndioko, Ugbele, Orsu Obodo, Amakpu in Oguta Local Council and Ofeakatta, in Mbaitoli Local Council, adding that the beneficiaries were selected from about 30 cooperative societies. “The entire scheme is costing us some N39m out of which the sum of N27.6m will be disbursed today to the first batch of beneficiaries.
Ogbomoso Recreation Club Marks 25th Anniversary HE Ogbomoso Recreation T Club (ORC) will mark its 25 anniversary with a series th
of activities. In a statement by the Social Secretary, Adebayo Babatunde, the event will kick off with a Golf Tournament at 7am, April 12, 2014. This will be teed off by the president of the club, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, the immediate past governor of Oyo State. According to Babatunde, this “will be followed by the commissioning of projects signifying the completion of the original master plan of the club, while a book chronicling the evolution of the club over the last 25 years will be presented to the public.” The Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, is the Special Guest of Honour while Engr. A.K Amadu of Ahmak Engineering Company Ltd is the chairman.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, April 6, 2014 7
CITYFILE From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City and Yinka Ogunjobi (Lagos) OR many people, ban by government on use of commercial Ftended motorcycles, popularly known as Okada, is a bad policy into punish the poor and those who don’t have vehicles. But views about the issue, as for many other policies, depend on who is talking. “It was a motorbike accident in July 17 2010. I was going to 3rd East Circular when a car hit me. I had a severe fracture in my ankle. I was rushed to a hospital where I had the first surgery after two months. I lost so much blood. Things have not been easy for me. I don’t work. I can’t walk properly. I have been surviving on goodwill from church members, family and friends,” said Osamudiame, victim of an Okada accident. In April 2013, the Lagos State government released figures of road accidents collated over a 15-month period. According to state officials, “While vehicles accident were 7,267, Okada recorded 6,131 in the last 15 months. For Okada, the peak was in February 2012 and August 2012. In August, we recorded 646 Okada accidents, while in February, 696. Since August, we have experienced a steady decline in the number of road traffic accidents. In March, it has declined to 126 due to the introduction of the road traffic law in August last year (2012). From January 2012 to March 2013, we recorded 148 deaths from Okada-related accidents.” The Guardian in February 2011 did a story on 21-year-old Emilia George from Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State who for over eight months was at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH). She was rushed there June 5, 2010 after a tipper ran over her while she was atop an Okada. Following that report, public-spirited individuals and groups came to her aide. She was eventually discharged with some helpers offering support for further treatment. Osamudiame Akorofua, from Ubiaja, Esan South East local government council, shared the same ward with young Emilia. Almost three years later, The Guardian ran into Osamudiame, this time a member of the National Youth Service Corps during the Passing Out ceremony at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium. But she was not happy. Her dreams about the future had taken a hard knock, as a result of multiple fractures she suffered. According to her, “The doctor said my cells were dead and the bones were weak, and that I needed to be moved to UBTH for further examination and treatment. I was moved to UBTH September 1, 2010 where they operated on me twice. They took bones from my waist for the surgery but later on the entire thing failed. And after a third surgery, it failed again. They took me to another private hospital at Uwasota on February 14, 2011 and I had two surgeries. Ever since, the ankle has been stiff. I have not been able to bend it. The leg became shorter and there are scars all over it.” Her doctor, Moin Mobash-Shir, said: “She had infection of the bone following the accident. We can work on the knee and the ankle joint to stabilise her so that she will be able to stand for a long period of time but the veins supplying that leg have also been injured and she will need plastic surgery. She may choose to do that here and she can also go abroad for special cosmetic surgery. She will need between N2.5m to N3m.” A graduate of Science Laboratory Technology from the Uni-
While many Nigerians will greet such bans with scorn because of inconveniences they would face, those who have experienced the grim realities of being knocked down in motorcycle related accidents may think otherwise, like Osamudiame.
‘May These Okadas Be Banned… Everywhere’
Friends Or Foes... Okada riders waiting for their ‘prey’ at Ajao Estate, Lagos
versity of Benin, Osamudiame said: “I want people to help me. I am appealing to members of the public, the government and everybody, so that I can regain the use of my feet again and have my life back.” Following the new traffic law in Lagos state, there has reportedly been a reduction in incidences of Okada accidents. Speaking to the media on the development, Head of Emergency Department, National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, Dr. Osita Obianyor, said: “It has generally reduced in terms of statistics. Before the ban, between January and August 2012, we saw 423 patients that had Okada accidents. In a similar eight month period, from September 2012 to April 2013, we saw 379 patients involved in Okada-related accidents.” While many Nigerians will greet such bans with scorn because of inconveniences they would face, those who have experienced the grim realities of being knocked down in motorcycle related accidents may think otherwise, like Osamudiame.
SON To Rid Rivers Of Substandard Products contribute to the growing cases of substandard products due to crave for cheap prodHE Standards Organisation of Nigeria ucts. He urged consumers to always insist on (SON) says no stones would be left unquality in order to save their lives and propturned to rid Rivers State of substandard erty. products. He regretted that several persons have lost To achieve the target, the state’s head of SON, their lives as a result of consuming fake prodMr. Papaye Don-Pedro, has begun fresh alucts, while some buildings have been razed liance with security agencies in the state, inby fire due to substandard electric products. cluding the police and the Nigerian Security On her part, the state’s commandant of Civil Defence Corps among others. NSCDC, Abiakam Omanu Christiana, noted Don-Pedro disclosed that the distance bethat humans are the most critical infrastructween Port Harcourt and Aba has further inture whose lives need not be toyed with. Increased the influx of substandard and fake stancing canned drinks, bottled water and products in the state thereby posing a serious canned foods, she regretted that substandard challenge to its economy. forms of these products have sent some peoHe warned marketers to desist from selling ple to early graves. substandard products or be ready to face the Represented by the deputy commandant, wrath of the law, stressing that the regulatory Mr. Ogu Vicent, the NSCDC boss described the agency’s campaign for zero tolerance of subsynergy as a welcomed development, assurstandard products has taken a new turn. ing that the command would continue to do He said, “We are determined to rid the state its best at unravelling vital information that of fake products, but to achieve this, all hands would stem the menace in the state. must be on deck. That’s why we are seeking She disclosed that the command is making the support of security agencies and the pub- progress in the fight against illegal oil bunkerlic. ing, adding that some of the suspects handed “We will not hesitate to penalise those found over to NSCDC have been convicted while guilty because we are really prepared for the some cases are still in court. fight, and to that end, we are improving our It would be recalled that last month, the Nalevel of monitoring and investigations. It is tional Agency for Food and Drug Administraour desire to make the society free of fake tion and Control (NAFDAC) destroyed fish products.” unfit for human consumption worth N2.2m Don-Pedro frowned at some consumers who in the state.
From Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt
Sunset At Ladipo Int’l Market, Lagos... Hundreds of heads returning to their homes after the day’s business.
Osamudiame (Inset: Her damaged limb )
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Gbanjo Clothes: Some Undergraduates Do ‘Ave ‘Em By Yinka Ogunjobi Gbanjo cloth wey dem buy yesterday, na him dey wan take make shakara for me… Dem go dey pose, dem go dey denge denge… (Baba Fryo - Musician)
EJUOSHO market is a big shopping place T for Lagosians on the Mainland, and especially university students. It is one of the biggest clothes market in the state. It boasts of many traders who sell different kinds of items like jeans, tops, footwear, bags, etc. One interesting discovery about many of the items on display in the market is that they are fairly used. Another is that many of the people who patronise the stalls are university students. While some of these constitute the regular ‘go-easy’ campus boys and girls, others, however, belong to the classy echelon of the fashionistas. While the former group may not really care a hoot about being seen ‘bending down’ to pick up some used pair of jeans or shirt, the latter are wary of being caught. Chi Boy, a jeans seller in the market told The Guardian: “Most of the people that come to buy goods from us are students from the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and Yabatech. This is because our items are cheaper than what might be found in any other place. The market has good clothes and accessories. That is what attracts students. People come to shop here because they believe we have quality materials.” Kenechukwu, a trader, explained that students prefer secondhand clothes because they are cheaper and durable. According to him: “We sell secondhand clothes from the US or the UK. People prefer these instead of buying new things from China or Turkey, because they last longer. “But what baffles me is that even as cheap as these clothes are, you still find students who haggle over prices. A first grade material sells for N500-N2,000, while a second grade clothe goes for N200, yet you will still find people who will negotiate the price with you.” Kenechukwu, however, expressed surprise that students from reputable institutions of learning could opt for fairly used clothes. He said: “I have a customer from Covenant University who comes to buy skirts and blazers from me whenever she is on holiday. She doesn’t like staying around for long. She is usually afraid of getting caught shopping in an environment like this instead of at a boutique. She would call me on phone to make the clothes ready for her, because I had an idea the kinds of things she liked. She would then come and pick them up. But there are some who don’t care about anybody seeing them. “Our market days are Wednesdays and Fridays. These are times when you find students flocking in and out of the market in search of something good to buy.” Damilola, a student of the University of Lagos, said that she has been shopping in the market since she gained admission into the institution. According to her, the experience is worth it because the market is close to the school and it also sells cheap goods. According to her, “I can’t live above my means. Some other students can afford to buy clothes from expensive boutiques. I will not lie to myself that I can afford such. I can’t. It’s better to make do with what I am able to afford. I can’t pretend to be what I am not. Unfortunately, that is what a lot of students do. They go to the market to shop and then claim their aunties or uncles sent the goods to them from America or Dubai. I don’t live in that world.
I can’t live above my means. Some other students can afford to buy clothes from expensive boutiques. I will not lie to myself that I can afford such. I can’t. It’s better to make do with what I am able to afford. I can’t pretend to be what I am not. Unfortunately, that is what a lot of students do. They go to the market to shop and then claim their aunties or uncles sent the goods to them from America or Dubai. I don’t live in that world.
Buyers and a seller of fairly used clothes at Tejuosho market, Lagos
“Some of them have only been worn a number of times, as a result, you just don’t buy and wear them right away. I wash them well before putting them on, especially bras. After that, I am good to go. People see them on me and say: ‘Oh! Damilola, your top is nice! Where did you get it from?’ I am not shy to tell them I bought it from Tejuosho market. At this point, you hear views from some of them about not ever going there to shop, because they buy things from big boutiques and the likes.” Chinenye, another student of the University of Lagos, also buys clothes at the market. She said: “At times, I just become broke and run out of school wears. That is when Tejuosho comes handy because of its proximity. I am usually not comfortable shopping there, however, because of the crowd milling around. The place is usually congested. But besides that they have nice stuff there. That’s, of course, if you look well and you know where to go to. “Majority of the people that go there to buy things are females. I think they sell more of female clothes. When you visit a market like this, you could catch the trading bug. Some people buy clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, etc. at cheap rates and resell them in the hostels. And that is where lazy students who cannot take a N50 ride to the market come in. The market is a place of many opportunities.” Mariah, also a student of UNILAG, however, said she has never been to Yaba market to purchase things before. According to her, she doesn’t like items sold there because of health concerns. She said: “I don’t have plans to ever go there. I am a very cautious person. Shopping is supposed to be pleasurable, not annoying. And that is what the market is. You have all those boys literally pulling you here and there to buy things from them. “I don’t believe that secondhand clothes are more durable than new ones. People say that because they don’t know the right places to shop. Many students go after quantity rather than quality, so they prefer to buy cheap things. I wonder why students lack shame and go to such a place. It is embarrassing.” Patience, a Yabatech student, narrated an
I wash them well before putting them on, especially bras. After that, I am good to go. People see them on me and say: ‘Oh! Damilola, your top is nice! Where did you get it from?’ I am not shy to tell them I bought it from Tejuosho market. unpleasant ordeal. “I bought a pair of jeans at the market, last year. I wore it once and it tore at the sides. They don’t sell original stuff there and yet people claim that their goods are durable. That is a big lie. Those people buy materials, sew them and claim they are foreign. They would attach popular labels on them and make buyers think that they are de-
Waiting to be picked up... Assorted bras and others at display
signer products.” Uzo, a trader, said Yaba market is the best place to shop because buyers, unsatisfied with the goods they have bought, can return them. “Some of my customers usually come back to return goods they don’t like. But when you buy from ‘bend down and select’, you are doing so at your own risk because those people don’t have stalls where they sell
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, April 6, 2014 9
Why A Unitary System Is Best Option For Nigeria By Moses O. Ihonde T is a most welcome development that the Igratulate National Conference has at last taken off. I conour President and his Advisers for their determination. I also congratulate the delegates for the honor of being among those selected for this historic assignment. There are millions of knowledgeable Nigerians who were not fortunate enough to be among the few so appointed. So the appointment to the conference should not only be regarded as a privilege; it should be seen as sacred. If I understand the purpose of the conference well, its ultimate goal is to fashion a constitution that all of us, nationals of Nigeria, will be able to live with and be proud of. This presupposes our willingness to accept a draft constitution that will accommodate the interests of all stakeholders. It is in this spirit that I respectfully wish to request the delegates to consider postulations in two areas so far not considered in contributions that have been publicly advertised. The two areas of my postulation are inter-related. The first is in the official name of the country and the second is in the structure of the government to emerge. I am thankful that neither falls in the category of items declared as no-go areas. In this regard, let us look again at the historical factors involved in the creation of Nigeria and examine their relevance to the purpose of the on going National Conference. In January 1914, the two protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria were merged into one to form one large entity. Before the amalgamation, the two Protectorates were administered as two separate units. The amalgamation, so to say, merged the two separate Administrations and brought them under one control. From 1914 to 1954 when Regional Self Government was introduced, Nigeria was administered under a unitary system of government. In other words, for 40 years, the government of Nigeria was a unitary or unification government. Those who have recollections of those years confirm that they fall within what some of our discerning elders have referred to as golden or glorious years, which many refer to with nostalgia as among our best years. Although those years fall within the period of the Colonial Administration of Nigeria, yet there is no denying the fact that it was a period in which justice was enthroned all over the country. It was a period in which merit had pride of place in appointment of persons to positions in the public service and elsewhere. It was a period in which ethnic and religious affiliations were not made to override fairness and justice. Indeed, corruption and corrupt practices were strange or unknown! The forty years of unitary government from 1914 to 1954 fostered a sense of oneness and unity; the centripetal nature (i.e. tending to look to the centre for its identity) of the structure of government helped to develop a mentality that was uniquely Nigerian; and the application of principles of equity and fairness built a mind-set that was proudly Nigerian. Two distinguished pioneer and foremost diplomats of Nigeria, Ambassador Olujimi Jolaoso in his classic memoir, “In The Shadows” and Ambassador John Mamman Garba (now late) in his inspirational biography, “ The Time has Come”, captured, in their memoirs, the beauty, essence, glory and pride of life in Nigeria in the forty years under that unitary government. Ambassador Jolaoso pointed out that when he and his colleagues left the shores of Nigeria to begin their diplomatic training in the United Kingdom, they left as Nigerians with a Nigerian mentality and mindset, which made them proud. He stated that soon after the introduction of regional self-government in Nigeria, he received letters from the Western Region Agent General Office in the UK driving it home that he was then a ‘Westerner’. The Ambassador’s memoir described succinctly the psychological trauma or confusion that the political development at home created in the minds of these otherwise patriotic pioneer diplomats of Nigeria. The point to make here is that a system that allows the principles of justice, equity, transparency and fairness to thrive consistently as was the testimony of the 40 years of governance during the first 40 years of the amalgamation is a system that can promote unity and an acceptable mind-set and mentality that the target people can identify with and embrace. It is instructive that for the period 1954 to date, that is, a period of 60 years, Nigeria has been administered under a federal system of government. The official name of Nigeria then at Independence in 1960, became the Federal Republic of Nigeria or the Nigerian Federation. I find something insidious in the use of ‘Federal or Federation’ used in describing the nation of Nigeria. Federal or federation connotes divisive-
ness and so it is prophetically or psychologically inadvisable as name for a country that aims at being united or being one. Let us take note that Nigeria is not a classic federation as the United States or Canada or even the Russian Federation. The American Union was formed first by the coming together of 13 separate colonies mutually agreeing to submerge their identities into a Union to establish a new nation in which they would all be stakeholders and citizens of. They set down the criteria or parameters by which other intending colonies or groups could join the Union. They rejected the use of Federal or Federation as official name or title of their new union, I guess, because somebody there understood the fact that no one can rise above his name. The American Union has grown progressively from the original 13 states to 51 states making up the American Union. It is not the same with the Nigerian Union. The truth is that the earliest attempt to make us one country was when the amalgamation took place in January 1914. From then until 40 years after, we were administered as a country called Nigeria. For the convenience of the British Administrators, Nigeria was centrally administered. Again for ease of governance, the country was divided into 22 units called provinces of which eleven were in the North and eleven in the South. In essence, Nigeria was administered as one ‘indivisible’ whole until 40 years after, i.e. in 1954 when the country was deliberately divided into three regions, namely Northern, Eastern and Western. This structure was further amended in 1963 when the Mid-West region was carved out of the old Western region to bring the existing regions to four. These four regions became the units or component parts of the federation when the new federal constitution was adopted. Nigeria thereby had the unique position of being the first federation that was established by divid-
Since what we want is a constitution that will give us a nation of our dreams, the only logical way to go is for the Conference to also consider a return to a country with a strong central government with a number of administrative units which I dare to suggest should be 44 i.e. double the number of component parts, or provinces we had in the earliest (i.e. from 1914 to 1954) unitary government. The Conference will agree on structures to be put in place to ensure that the system functions as it should
ing one ‘united’ country into four parts to form a federal government. Where the unitary system breeds centripetal tendencies and allegiances, our federal system encourages centrifugalism. By this, I mean that whereas a unitary system tends to encourage tendencies towards unity or unification, federalism tends towards division and divisiveness. Our operation of a federal system in the last 60 years, I dare say, does not leave us with much to write home about. Some have claimed that we have not practiced pure federalism. I do not believe that Federalism can be purer than what we have at the moment. Federalism purer than what is practiced now can only be recipe for brinkmanship. What some have openly and strongly canvassed is adoption of a geo political zoning system. It is based on the same ‘federating’ root. This zoning principle mixed with the ambitions of strong politicians can drive us inexorably into adopting Con-federalism with all its consequences for a nation that has not disciplined itself to be law abiding! Since what we want is a constitution that will give us a nation of our dreams, the only logical way to go is for the Conference to also consider a return to a country with a strong central government with a number of administrative units which I dare to suggest should be 44 i.e. double the number of component parts, or provinces we had in the earliest (i.e. from 1914 to 1954) unitary government. The Conference will agree on structures to be put in place to ensure that the system functions as it should. Zoning is a glorified name for confederating. The centrifugal character of federalism expects representatives to owe their allegiance to their sending states or provinces or communities rather than to the national or central government. Under such a system, Nigeria will ever remain a geographical expression as many see it today. Let me draw an analogy from the Holy Bible which my Muslim compatriots can easily appreciate and identify with. In the book of Mark, chapter 10 and from verse 46 to 51, a blind roadside beggar called Blind Bartimaeus who heard that Jesus was passing by, called on Jesus to have mercy on him and open his blind eyes. When Jesus stopped and asked that the blind man be called, Bartimaeus by faith cast away his beggar’s uniform and approached Jesus. He got his healing. The point here is that there are times you give up the good to get the better! The Hausa Fulanis, the Igbos, the Yorubas, the Edos and other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria had their glorious past at one time or the other. Good as such past had been, I believe that God who put us all in the geographical enclave called Nigeria must have a purpose that is beyond the glory of the past. No one can make progress who keeps on holding to past glory. Some may point to some experience during our military era when one of our early military Administrations attempted to establish a unitary government through military fiat and the success or lack of success that greeted that
effort. With all sense of responsibility, I wish, from my perception of that vision, to state that the timing of the introduction was wrong; and the circumstances surrounding the attempt to implement the vision at the time were inauspicious. This could not vitiate the potentiality of the enduring principle which succeeding military Administrations adopted in their style of governance without acknowledging to the name of Unitary! The Solomon Asemota Ethnic Nationalities Committee has thankfully confirmed from their painstaking research efforts that we have over 400 ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. A number of those nationalities like mine could not be included in the National Conference. While some of the other small nationalities not included were inadvertently excluded, I believe these nationalities like mine which could not be accommodated or nominated for the conference, will be satisfied if their interest which is largely hinged on equality of opportunities is taken into consideration in the final outcome of the exercise. What can better protect the interest of small or large ethnic nationalities if not a unitary system with a strong central government? Only one day after the opening of the conference, the Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), led by the revered Sultan of Sokoto, raised an alarm about Muslims not having a fair deal in the number of Muslims nominated to the conference. This is the spirit of federalism at work and it is missing the point. There certainly will be other criticisms of either the composition of the conference or of the terms of reference or some other issues. The Federal Government will do well to take note of such points, which can be addressed in due course; but Government should not allow itself to be distracted. It is gratifying that Christians have not raised any objection to the appointment of the Hon. Alhaji Idris Kutiji, former Chief Justice of Nigeria as chairman of this historic Conference! Since he is eminently qualified for the position let all give him all the support necessary. Speaking for the ethnic minorities not included in the nominations like mine, let me emphasize that freedom of religious worship must be one of the human rights to be enshrined in our new constitution if it is to be acceptable. Religion is a very personal matter and every body should have access to freedom of worship. Fundamentalism that seeks to deprive others of freedom to worship, like the Boko Haram, must be proscribed. Today we all have an opportunity to revisit our past, objectively assess our present and plan for our future. Let the delegates come into this assignment therefore with an open heart. I call on all well meaning Nigerians including those of ethnic nationalities like mine, not included in the nominations to pray for the success of the National Conference. May God bless the United Peoples of Nigeria (or whatever name the Conference may come up with)!
Ihonde, former ambassador lives in Lagos
Sunday, April 6, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Backlash Abraham Ogbodo
08055328079 (Sms only) firstname.lastname@example.org
Obasanjo’s Season Of Forgiveness ORMER President Olusegun Aremu Matthew Fderstand Obasanjo is an enigma of sorts. Getting to unhim thoroughly is a whole lot of effort. Most times, he is incapable of sounding serious even when he is treating extremely serious matters. He combines so well comedy with the very serious task of being an elder statesman. The other time when a range of options were put on the table out of which Option A4 was needed to drive the Ibrahim Babangida’s transition to civil rule, Obasanjo refused to be carried along even when all genuine elders agreed that the choice was the best in the circumstance. He said the only area of life where A4 was an option was in stenography or printing and not in Nigeria’s general elections. Obasanjo called the electoral model which the chairman of the then National Electoral Commission (NEC), Humphrey Nwosu, a professor of political science had laboured so hard to invent, a typing sheet, good only for the typewriter. The General did not stop there. He wrote off the winner of that election, Chief MKO Abiola. Not long after, some people had besieged him in South: ‘Tell us Baba, is Chief MKO Abiola he that is to come or should Nigerians wait for another?’ He said Abiola, was not the Messiah and urged Nigerians to sustain their vigil for the coming of the true Messiah. Like joke, OBJ’s prophesy was fulfilled when Abiola was incarcerated by the military and prevented from assuming the presidency of Nigeria. The man died in custody, putting final paid on any remote hope of the OBJ’s prophesy changing character for something positive. From hindsight, it did appear that Baba had held back vital information about the subject matter. He only said that Chief Abiola was not the Messiah but failed to add that the prophesy of the Messiah in the Nigerian story would be fulfilled in himself in 1999. Whereas Abiola could not even breath the air HERE is hardly one issue that enjoys bipartiT san treatment by our politicians, except when it is about sharing resources. The only time we don’t find sharp disagreements is when politicians debate their emoluments in the National Assembly. Till date, one of the best-kept secrets in the legislature is how much members take home. They are very united in keeping that secret, irrespective of party differences. Apart from that and perhaps, legislations that could secure their tenure, bipartisanship is difficult to achieve. And that is the basic problem with securing the country from terrorists and their supporters. You could hardly get the political class to reach consensus on who are the terrorists and how to combat them. This is the age-long frustration resulting from trying to force a unitary system upon federating units with very diverse capacities. Those who have the capacity to fly cannot, because those who are not ready to fly bog them down. Take the argument on whether or not to let states have their own police for instance. When the Governors’ Forum had not been fragmented, one of the knotty subjects they attempted to work at is the issue of state police. At a point, the governors all agreed that states should be allowed to own and manage their own police, because as chief security officers in their respective states, they should have under their control a force that they could call upon during emergencies. Even though there was stiff opposition out there that the kind of governors in this part of the globe would thoroughly abuse state police if they were licensed to own such, they still managed to conspire to reach some kind of verbal understanding on the matter. The next challenge was for them to mobilise their representatives in the NASS to push a bill and instigate a debate on state police. On face value, that appeared like a consensus among governors who are from different political parties. But the truth is that it was a dubious understanding. At that time, the governors were united in their quest to get the federal government to review the revenue sharing formula and release more money to states. They were against the federal government’s initiative to institute the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) and to stop sundry deductions at source from states’ allocations. In their newfound ‘unity’ they now thought they could add the idea of state policing, to acquire more authority and reduce from the overbearing influence of Abuja. It did not take long for the fraud in the idea to expose itself. Whereas, Rotimi Amaechi, who was the undis-
of full freedom before he died on July 8 1998, Obasanjo survived his travails to become the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 1999 general elections. He won and that was how he got packaged from prison into the Presidency on May 29, 1999 just like that. Instead of him, it was General Sani Abacha, his and Abiola’s jailer who had wanted him dead by fire and by thunder, that eventually died. A feverish search for a living Messiah in the Southwest to move Nigeria beyond the June 12 and Abiola debacle returned only one name – Obasanjo. He was literally begged to transform from prisoner to president. To be fair, Obasanjo has a way of being always there for Nigeria and Nigerians at every crossroad. When the 3rd Marine Commando under Brigadier Benjamin Adekunle (The Black Scorpion) was not doing exactly what was required to bring the Biafran rebels to their knees, Obasanjo was called in and he became the game changer. Thus for the second time in his eventful life, Obasanjo was literally begged in 1999 to become head of state. The first, according to chroniclers of the Nigerian history, was in 1976 after the violent death of then head of state, General Murtala Mohammed in a failed military coup on February 13 of that year. According to the story, Obasanjo was frightened by the event of the day and was ready to let the cup pass by him, but that General Theophilus Danjuma insisted the cup must stay with OBJ. He is the only Yoruba man till date that has won a presidential election in Nigeria. The legendary Papa Obafemi Awolowo died without attaining the feat. Yet Obasanjo is not well liked by his people. Perhaps, they see him as a better Nigerian than he is a Yoruba man. His ostentatious claim to pan-Nigerianism has continued to shrink his place in the Oduduwa enclave. In comparison, he worked for Nigeria while Pa Awo worked for
the Yoruba race. And this is the dilemma of OBJ. In strict politics, Nigeria is an undefined constituency and not too many people love claiming it. In fact, very few people have become real heroes claiming Nigeria as a constituency. The heroism of Awo and Sir Ahmadu Bello derived largely from the fact that they both worked more for their people than they worked for Nigeria. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe who worked for Nigeria, till date, does not enjoy the same space in the Southeast as Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, who, although rebelled against the Nigerian state, worked well for his Igbo people. Those who work for Nigeria have no clear labour to show because Nigeria is still dilapidated. The question is, where is the evidence of their so-called hard work? They might have done their best which however amounted to very little or nothing. It is the reason why the national worker is not as celebrated as his regional counterpart. It is precisely why OBJ is almost without honour at home in the Southwest. Maybe he came on board far ahead of his time. He should have waited patiently behind in his mother’s womb for a Nigerian nation to be invented first, probably after the ongoing national dialogue, before asking to be born to become a pan-Nigerian leader. The result of his premature entry onto the leadership stage is the pain of being permanently misunderstood by everybody around. He alone understands his mission. No other person in the whole vast Nigeria appears to understand OBJ very well. Even his own children namely Gbenga and Iyabo have joined outsiders to misunderstand their father. As civilian president between 1999 and 2007, Obasanjo was misunderstood by no other than his own deputy, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Obasanjo saw the hopelessness ahead and he had wanted to stay on for a while at the presidency after the eight years that the 1999 Constitution allows to put things right. But Atiku misunderstood him and mobilised all critical segments including the National Assembly to stop Obasanjo from staying beyond the statutory time. That was very bad. People should think of tomorrow when they are doing certain things today. We should not forget that Obasanjo is like the Charles de Gaulle of Nigeria who is always on hand to show the way forward at national crossroads. From the way he was embarrassed in 2007, I for one, do not think the man will be ready to stick out his neck again if something goes wrong today and we run back to him to package a rescue plan.
SUNDAY NARRATIVE Alabi Williams email@example.com 08116759790 (Sms only)
Jonathan And His ‘12 Northern Governors’ puted leader of the forum, was categorical that it had unanimously resolved to demand state police, the Northern Governors Forum quickly backed out. Niger State Governor, Muazu Babangida-Aliyu was to explain later that it would be better to encourage the NASS to amend the Constitution to put commissioners of police in states under the control of governors. Even when Amaechi insisted, that there was no dissension on the issue when 31 governors met, a disagreement had been incubated, which is what they now have today. No consensus. The point is that, the governors’ romance, which seemed to hold good prospects for bipartisanship collapsed before it could even take off. Apparently, when the Northern governors got back home and reviewed the matter of state police with their constituents, they were warned to back off. If state police were to hold the magic wand to address security challenges, our political class bungled it. At the time governors were disagreeing on whether or not to have state police, Boko Haram had not attained today’s level of complexity. Those who kicked against the idea are the ones now championing it. The heat is on everyone and they no longer trust the federal police. When the pressure of Boko Haram attacks were centred around Abuja, state governors did not see the need to throw their weight behind the federal government. The opposition did not demonstrate sympathy for a beleaguered federal government. What we heard most of the time was that Boko Haram was the outcome of clueless leadership. After the federal government managed to beat the terrorists to the Northeast, the opposition still did not see it as a national calamity. Instead, every attempt was made to coalesce and segregate. There was a time opposition parties and their governors saw the Northeast challenge as an opportunity to make some gains. Opposition governors visited Maiduguri, Borno State, to give Kashim Shetima their solidarity. Instead of a united
Governors’ Forum going to Abuja to express solidarity with Jonathan, they went to Borno to demonstrate bravado. After all, they did what the President could not do. Even the idea to impose a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa did not enjoy bipartisan support. Since Borno and Yobe were clearly opposition states, while Adamawa under Murtala Nyako had begun to show signs of defection, the opposition was not and is still not comfortable with the idea of partial emergency. The point again is whether the political class should not join hands to support full emergency if that is what Boko Haram requires? Just the same way Obasanjo did not waste time before he sent Joshua Dariye, a PDP governor home when Plateau was on fire. He did not waste time to set aside the government of Ayo Fayose in Ekiti, when the rule of law seemed to have departed that state. Now, 12 Northern governors visited Washington DC, United States, recently at the invitation of White House, to spill some beans about the security challenges in the North. Those on that trip were; Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Kashim Shetima (Borno), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Babangida aliyu (Niger), Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Idris Wada (Kogi) and Usman Dakingari (Kebbi). Nigeria’s ambassador to the US, Ade Adefuyi was present. On the US side were; Johnnie Carson, Adviser (US Institute of Peace), Grant Harris, Special Adviser to President Obama on Africa, John Mohr, Senior Staff Member, National Security Council, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Linda Thomas-Greenfield and US National Security Adviser, Susan Rice. From the accounts, some of the governors went there to wash Nigeria’s dirty linen for the whole world to see. But they forgot that in the United States, there is only one federal government on issues of terrorism. What would have been a
But there is hope. As a practising Christian (his baptismal name is Matthew), OBJ is ready to forgive his offenders seventy times seven times in a single day. And the emerging signals are most encouraging. He has since forgiven Rotimi Amaechi for his (Amaechi’s) stubbornness. The boy had gone ahead to use all means within his power to become the governor of Rivers State in South-south Nigeria in spite of Baba. Baba had decreed that Amaechi’s quest for the governorship had become K-legged and accordingly advised him as a father to back off but Amaechi would not hear of it. What kind of rudeness was that? When Baba was prosecuting the civil war on the Port Harcourt flank as commander of the Third Marine Commando, Rotimi probably was still in his mother’s womb as a foetus or at best a year old baby. It is good that OBJ as a true elder statesman forgave Amaechi and visited Port Harcourt to issue a generous endorsement of the governor’s achievements. Both men ate, drank and dance together on the occasion of the visit to mark formally the end of hostility between. The season of forgiveness had continued beyond Port Harcourt and it was Atiku’s turn to be forgiven last week. Some group by the name Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) had met Baba in Abeokuta to make case for Atiku’s forgiveness and Baba generously obliged. And in a further show of magnanimity, he offered to forgive even those who had not formally solicited his forgiveness. These should include Ayo Fayose former governor of Ekiti State. As a small boy, Fayose was bitter when Baba declared a state of emergency in Ekiti State and removed him as governor. Joshua Dariye, former governor of Plateau who had the kind of Fayose treatment should be among the many beneficiaries of this forgiveness as well as Dipreye Solomon Peter (DSP) Alameyeseigha, the one they called Governor General of the Ijaw Nation. Dr Chris Ngige is also forgiven for stubbornly holding on to the governorship of Anambra State when Baba felt otherwise. From whom much is expected, much should be given too. Now that Baba is forgiving all his enemies without conditions, I am also asking that all the persons to whom Baba is an enemy should forgive him. And that should start from the Southwest so that Baba can truly transform to a prophet who has honour both at home and outside home. Atiku himself has duly acknowledged that if make ‘an eye for an eye,’ we shall all get blind in no time. We therefore hail Baba for his forgiving spirit.
good opportunity to discuss Nigeria’s security challenges was turned into a political campaign ground. They made it sound as if the US was mediating in a dispute between the Federal Government and 12 Northern States. They made it sound like an exhausted John Kerry, trying to mediate in the Middle East, where Israeli versus Palestinian leaders keep pointing accusing fingers at one another. Murtala Nyako was said to have been particularly vitriolic. He accused Jonathan of escalating the insurgency in the Northeast. For those who have listened to the man on security matters, he is angry that President Jonathan did not take his suggestions into reckoning. As a former naval chief, Nyako thinks he has an understanding of the security challenges, which according to him, the President has little or no regard for. That could be the immediate cause of his anger and it is good enough reason to be angry if proven to be true. The remote cause of his anger, no doubt, is the politics of 2015. Those Northern governors who had fallen out with Jonathan have explained that the man signed an undertaken not to contest in 2015. But is that enough reason to talk recklessly on a global stage over matters that require utmost discretion? Then Jonathan hit back at the governors during the recent PDP rally in Bauchi. He said it is a big shame on those Northern governors who have failed to put children in primary and secondary schools in their states. According to him, it is these same vagrant children who wander into forests in the Northeast, where they are recruited into sects such as Boko Haram, which turn out to be a headache for the Federal Government. Beyond being a subtle campaign statement, it is a fact that states are the ones vested with the responsibility for primary and secondary education. It is a fact that millions of children in Nigeria, particularly in the Northeast are out of school. It is a fact that the Federal Government has ventured into Almajiri schools in order to intervene in that critical sector. But at the end of the day, the buck still stops at Mr. President’s table, because when state governments fail woefully and it manifests in kidnapping or militancy, it is Abuja that carries the blame and liability. Beyond the politics of trying to score cheap points, it is Nigeria that is at the receiving end of every dubious policy the political class foist on the polity. That is why those who do not like the idea of a restructured Nigeria should have a rethink. This is the time to go seriously bipartisan and shop for solutions that will drastically downsize the centre. That is the best way to disperse the responsibilities and redistribute the li-
Sunday, April 6, 2014 11
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Outlook The Big War: Attack Cancer Together, ACT By Abia Nzelu HE big war against Cancer in Nigeria was declared on February 4, 2014 (World Cancer Day) by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP-Nigeria), an initiative co-promoted by the Institute of Directors (IoD), Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture (NACCIMA), Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) and Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The event was hosted by the Hotel and Personal Services Employers’ Association (HOPESEA). The war target is simple: “Take Cancer Prevention to the Grassroots” with the specific goal of acquiring 37 Mobile Cancer Centres (MCCs), one for each State and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, taking advantage of the scientific evidence that most cancer deaths are preventable. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one-third of cancer is preventable, another one-third is curable and the last third can have good quality of life with appropriate care. Thus there is absolutely no reason for the current situation where ten Nigerians die every hour from cancer, or why the cancer death ratio in Nigeria should be among the worst in the world (4 in 5). However, according to Nobel Prize Winner Otto Warburg, “Nobody today can say that one does not know what cancer and its prime cause is. On the contrary, there is no disease whose prime cause is better known, so that today ignorance is no longer an excuse that one cannot do more about prevention. In the meantime, millions must die of cancer unnecessarily. How can we fold our arms and watch the already medically defeated cankerworm called cancer cruelly snatch our loved ones prematurely? We will be failing our beloved ones if we don’t ACT (Attack Cancer Today. Attack Cancer Together. Attack Cancer Totally). This is why the CECP-Nigeria is calling on all Nigerians to support the move to take cancer prevention to the grassroots by donating towards the acquisition of the thirty-seven (37) Mobile Cancer Centres (MCCs). A Mobile Cancer Centre is not the same as a Mobile Mammogram. It is a clinic on wheels in which screening, follow-up and several forms of treatment (including surgeries), can take place. It includes facilities for mammography, sonology, colonoscopy, colposcopy and cryotherapy. It also has a theatre as well as a laboratory for preventive screening against cancer and other common diseases, which are known to increase the risk of cancer. These include malaria, diabetes, hepatitis, kidney disease, hypertension and HIV/AIDS. Thus the MCC would tackle the double burden of disease i.e. Communicable & NonCommunicable Diseases. One may ask, why mobile centres instead of fixed centres? Why don’t we combine the resources required for the 37 MCCs to establish a first- class fixed cancer centre? The truth is that, to adequately tackle the cancer scourge and take advantage of all levels of cancer care, we need at least 37 Mobile Cancer Centres (MCCs); one fixed Comprehensive Cancer Centre (CCC) in each of the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria as well as a
Minister of Health, Prof. Christian Chukwu National Cancer Institute. A Comprehensive Cancer Centre is a tertiary health institution focused exclusively on cancer care. Nigeria with a population of 167 million neither has a CCC nor a full-fledged MCC. Meanwhile, India has over 120 Comprehensive Cancer Centres, mostly established with private sector support; Bangalore, an Indian city with a population of eight million has four Comprehensive Cancer Centres. Given the fact that Nigeria does not have adequate infrastructure to treat advanced cases of cancer, it is important to focus first and foremost on prevention, which is better and cheaper. This is where the idea of one Mobile Cancer Centres (MCCs) in each State and the FCT-Abuja comes in. There are so many advantages of mobile over fixed centres; only a few can be highlighted here, namely: •Accessibility: The mobile cancer centres will facilitate access to the remote areas of Nigeria. They are tropicalized and customized to operate in our difficult terrains. •Equity: Unlike a fixed centre which will be utilized mainly by those in its locality, the use of mobile centres will help to ensure that no community is left out. This is in line with the declaration of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) that all peoples and populations (including rural-dwelling Nigerians) have the inalienable right to access proven and effective cancer care on equal terms, and without suffering hardship as a consequence. When we have a mobile centre in any state, the state will be sub-divided into smaller areas and scheduled such that every part of the state will be reached at least once a year. •Compliance: People are far more likely to comply with their screening and follow-up if these are carried out using mobile centres. This can be illustrated with the experience of the National Cancer Prevention Programme (NCPP), a non-governmental initiative. The NCPP carries out cancer preventive services both in its fixed centres and in the communities. However, statistics show that over 90% of the beneficiaries were reached during the community- based programmes. This significant number of peo-
ple would not have benefited from the programme if the NCPP did not reach out to the community. This reminds me of a case I once encountered. Mrs. Jumoke Bello (not her real name) was a widow who presented at Baptist Medical Centre in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, with profuse vaginal bleeding. She was later diagnosed of advanced cervical cancer and referred to University College Hospital, Ibadan, also in Oyo State. Surprisingly, the woman and her family opted for her to go home and await her death because they could not afford the journey to Ibadan. If we had MCCs, this widow would have been reached much earlier, when she would have been picked up in the pre-cancer stage. At that early stage, a 15-minutes procedure known as cryotherapy might have cured her and saved her the agony of cervical cancer. Because each Mobile Cancer Centre has an inbuilt theatre, those that are found to have abnormal screening result are treated on the spot, thereby improving compliance. The mobile centres can also directly transport-referred cases to the referral health centres. •Utility: The service life of a mobile centre is about 20 years. Therefore, a mobile centre would reach more persons per year of service life than a fixed health facility. With the MCC, up to one thousand (1, 000) people can be screened/ treated per day in a given locality. It is important to point out that the suppliers of the MCCs are also responsible for its maintenance and manpower development. •Cost-Effectiveness: According to a study by the Harvard Medical School in the United States of America, the estimated savings of mobile clinics is staggering. The study found that for every dollar invested in the operation of the mobile clinic, 36 U.S dollars was saved in terms of management of chronic illnesses, avoided hospital visits, and prevention of diseases. Now, let’s compare the cost of a mobile centre to that of a fixed centre. Each Mobile Cancer Centre (MCC) costs about $600, 000 (N95 million). The total cost of the 37 MCC is $22.2 million (N3.5 billion) whilst an average Comprehensive Cancer Centre (CCC) costs $63 million (10 billion naira). Obviously, the cost of all the mobile units is not up to the required sum for establishment of one CCC (10 billion naira) i.e. the 37 MCC is just one-third the cost of an average CCC. Given our scarce resources, it stands to reason that we should start with the MCC, which also has a wider reach and utility. Another angle from which we could appreciate the cost- effectiveness of the MCC is the amount of Nigeria’s scarce fund that is spent on medical tourism. According to Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Nigerians spend $200 million annually on treatment abroad. With 200 million dollars, Nigeria can afford to acquire 333 MCCs per year or establish three (3) CCCs every year! Yet Nigeria does not have any of these facilities! •Individual Convenience: the mobile cancer centres would minimize time away from jobs and family responsibilities. •Corporate Convenience: Private, religious, professional, governmental, civic and social organizations may utilize the MCC for the health maintenance of their workers or members,
with far less cost in terms of time out of work and/or disruption of schedule. •Accuracy of data and statistics: The populationbased data and statistics gathered through the MCCs will be superior to the hospital-based data available at the fixed centres. The importance of research to the fight against cancer cannot be overemphasized. It is a major contributor to the improved cancer survivorship in countries with better survival rates. For instance, out of every 30 Nigerians that have leukemia, only one survives. On the other hand, the Tata Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Mumbai (India) has achieved a 99% survival for leukemia, as a direct result of their heavy investment on leukemia research at the Tata centre. •Integrated Healthcare: The same mobile centre used for Cancer Screening could also deliver general health maintenance and preventive services for the aforementioned common diseases. •Manpower rationalization: Unlike a CCC, which is highly manpower- intensive, by using the mobile units, the same group of specialists may serve vastly distant places. This is very important given the scarcity of cancer experts in Nigeria. •World-class technical support: Through telemedicine, the mobile units will have a realtime connection to experts all over the world. •Tried and Tested model: The use of mobile units has been successfully tried and tested in several countries. There are about 2,000 mobile health clinics across the United States of America i.e. an average of 40 per state. In Africa, Egypt is an important example of a nation where mobile units have been used successfully. So, we are not reinventing the wheels. There is no doubt that the Mobile Cancer Centre (MCC) is the most cost-effective means of making awareness, early and accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment of cancer accessible to all Nigerians irrespective of where they live. As we know, to prevent cancer death, awareness is good, screening is important but treatment after diagnosis is paramount; all of these are provided through the MCCs. Once acquired, the MCC would be operated by the National Cancer Prevention Programme (NCPP). As the first and foremost national effort towards the control of cancer in Nigeria, the NCPP has acquired immense experience in community-based cancer preventive services over the years. In spite of its limited resources, the NCPP has been carrying out nation-wide cancer awareness/ screening/ treatment campaigns in Nigeria since 2007. So far, over 100,000 Nigerian males and females have been directly screened/ treated for various cancers, and through the awareness being created; the NCPP is helping to protect millions of Nigerians from the cancer scourge. These life-saving campaigns would be facilitated by the use of the Mobile Cancer Centres, which is CECPNigeria’s current focal cause. The BIG WAR against Cancer in Nigeria will be formally declared during the National Cancer Week. This will be marked by a series of activities beginning from Sunday, June 1, 2014 (International Cancer Survivors Day). •Dr Nzelu, Executive Secretary of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP-Nigeria)
By Obe Ess
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Editorial On Review Of Outdated Education Policy RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan’s challenge at the just concluded Nigerian Economic Summit to the group and other experts to review the nation’s education policy was and remains mere rhetoric over a matter that is crucial to the future of the country. This is a disappointment that must not go unremarked. From the President’s exalted office, after all, is expected concrete plans or mandate for drawing up one. Not sweet talk for its own sake. Tasking the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), to review the nation’s outdated education policy merely exposed an inept leadership and a certain lack of seriousness that have been the lot of the country for decades. That a 45-year old policy, formulated at the dawn of independence, attuned towards colonial needs and not contemporary national development, has not been reviewed ever since speaks volumes of a nation at sea without rudder. That moribund education policy explains Nigeria’s prostrate state, one where graduates at different levels of the country’s education system are unproductive, as they can’t help themselves or the society because they are hardly exposed to functional learning. The system of course, is to blame. Vice President Namadi Sambo who represented Jonathan at the 20th economic summit with the theme: “Transforming Education through Partnerships for Global Competiveness”, joined participants in taking a look at the country’s failed education delivery system. The Vice President explained that the obsolete policy was responsible for the disarray in the sector Nigeria. After more than 40 years, he asserted, the Nigerian education policy foundation was ripe for review, to determine its relevance in the 21st century. While bemoaning gross underfunding of education, especially, at the basic primary level, stakeholders at the meeting took the position that primary education, which currently is under the jurisdiction of the local governments, should be transferred to the Federal Government for proper funding and better quality. Sambo also reiterated the high premium the Jonathan government places on education, which he appropriately said is the key to accelerated national transformation and development. Citing such initiatives as the boy-girl child education, the Almajiri system, teacher training and retraining, among others, he called for more partnership between the three tiers of government, the private sector and international development partners in designing credible accountability frameworks that will impact positively on the sector. That debate on education at the economic summit is not the first of its kind. The issue has been discussed at different fora in the past without results. Panels had been set up by government and recommendations made but all to no avail. So, it is pertinent to ask what exactly Nigeria’s education policy it today? Upon which plank is the education system founded and funded? What determines who gets what? How committed is the government towards education funding? Apparently, there is no effective policy in place. Everything is done on ad-hoc basis. Which is why systems change from one minister to another or at the whim of each administration. That is why money meant for all levels, especially, primary education, doesn’t reach the desired tier, especially the local governments where as the state governments confiscate such funds and dish out tokens to the councils. The solution, however, is not in transferring primary school administration to the Federal Government. That would be misplaced and burdensome because, indeed, the schools under the Federal Government are not faring any better. Federal tertiary institutions are frequently on strike over gross underfunding. The Federal Unity Schools are underfunded and to add the primary schools to the Federal Government would cause more confusion. The problem is a certain visionlessness on the part of leaders at all levels. And nothing will change until a genuine culture of service is imbibed by these political leaders. Certainly, the local government councils are in a better position to administer primary school education. There would be a change, however, only if enough money is voted for education and the funds meant for the local governments get there. How to make this possible and monitored for effective use is what should be addressed in any new policy design. While the traditional purpose of education is to develop the knowledge, skill and character of the learner, utility lies in employing the acquired knowledge and skills to solve personal and society’s problems. Any educational system that is unable to achieve this purpose is therefore empty. Unfortunately, Nigeria’s education system is in that situation, as it has not shifted from its moribund state to one meant to produce enough in different fields for national development. Not until the nation’s educational curriculum is tailored to local needs can Nigeria develop. This is what any new policy on education should address and the time to do so is now.
A Country In Need Of Heroes IR: My worry is my country, Sruption, Nigeria. Tribalism, like corhas eaten deep into the fabrics of the society. Many of us disapprove of corruption, but we always tend to forgive or even support the perpetrator if he/she is of our own stock. I recall a heartrending outburst from a certain group asking the president to ‘forget votes’ from the southeast if he fired the aviation minister in the wake of 255m car purchase scandal. In Nigeria, it is an unwritten rule that requires the president would carefully select ministers who shall supervise key areas of our national life in such manner that would reflect the diverse ethnicity of the country. Of what importance is the aviation minister’s origin if we can have safe skies for aeroplanes? As it were, Nigeria has lost so much in growth and development potentials to corruption, tribalism, greed, lack of visionary leaders, governance by trial and error, and selfishness — all of which have come to define us as a people. The country is in need of heroes. Nigeria is in need of people who have genuine desire to steer us away from the retrogressive path we are treading. Anyone who puts to past our shameful experience in epileptic power supply shall be a hero. Anyone who fights corruption without fear or favour shall be a hero. That man/woman who makes Nigeria an industrialized nation producing goods for her large population ranging from simple basic items such as underwear, fabrics, perfumes,
tires to complex items like cars, steel, equipment, thereby providing jobs for millions of jobless Nigerians shall be regarded a hero. That leader who inspires us to be the best we can and upholds the rule of law at all times shall be accorded a hero’s recognition. Anyone who puts a stop to oil swap or refining of crude oil abroad, repairing and improving existing refine4ries shall be called a hero.
The protection of lives and properties of Nigerians should ordinarily be a basic responsibility of the government, the discharge of which should not elicit exceptional accolade or be described as heroic. Not anymore! Any president who can guarantee lives and property in the midst of senseless killings is a hero. From deficient education to poverty, infrastructure lack, massive unemployment to inadequate housing, this is a country in need of heroes. •Afeez Balogun Lagos
Imo 2015 And The Options Former President Shehu SoldIR:Shagari, on a visit to the then Imo State in the 1980s, referred to Sam Mbakwe, the former governor of the state as “the weeping governor”, euphemism for one who was always asking for more support from the Federal Government for projects that would uplift the life of Imo State people. He was loved by the people of the old Imo State for his landmark achievements. Some of them include the Amaraku Power Station, the construction and dualisation of Umuahia, Aba and Owerri township roads, the multi-campus Imo State University with affiliation to Nebraska University in America and the Five Star Concorde Hotel, Owerri. Add these to rural electrification projects and provision of potable water across the
state and the novel free refuse disposal system by a company then known as Sulo, then you begin to get an idea of what being an action governor means. By the way, all these were achieved within a period of four years. Not these days when a governor would spend eight years in office with little or nothing to show for it. His achievements were so sterling that once, a student of the state polytechnic tried to pick holes in his policies, an angry Mbakwe retorted, “If I’m not governing Imo well, is it your parents that will govern it well?” If you thought that Imo people would call Mbakwe to order, you are mistaken. The reverse was the case. Imo people are already seeing a political re-incarnation of Mbakwe in Emeka Ihedioha. •Aham Njoku, Lagos.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, April 6,
Fish, one of the cheapest source of protein threatened by poor storage, (Inset): Dr Adesina with ‘rotten fish’ in Lagos ...last week
disorder manifested as severe pain, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. As expected with all foods, fresh is best, Mrs. Tijani told The Guardian as she asserts that the identification of spoiled fish is usually from the gills. According to her, “the gills turn gray when the fish is spoiled instead of the usual red or pink, and they also have terrible smell. Even smoking a spoiled fish doesn’t mean that it is good for consumption and safe for cooking By Fabian Odum and Adeyinka Ogunjobi would not be easy, “If you come in here (the im• Smoking cannot turn bad fish good as that amounts to masking the spoilage. She plicated coldrooms) and buy, you wouldn’t added that the spoiled smoked fish is equally T took the arrival of the Minister of Agriculeven know, you won’t smell it because it is He said this matter should not be treated in ture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi frozen. It is only when you take it away that you dangerous to the health. When a spoiled fish is smoked, it can be identified. She describes it as the manner of ‘business as usual’ but there Adesina from Abuja to Satellite town in Lagos begin to perceive the smell. People buy it and should be a proper investigation and appropri- take home, after frying, they think they are eat- ‘brownish, dusty and mouldy inner part, which about a week ago, acting on executive fiat, to ate sanctions meted out to the culprits. close a number of cold storage facilities and ing good fish without knowing that this is can- is carcinogenous,’ a threat to healthy living. According to Tijani, “no processing method save the consuming public the health hazard of There could be numerous cases of importation cerous stuff. It’s a very serious crime.” can convert a spoiled fish into a good fish.” and distribution of poor products, which may eating rotten fish. A visibly displeased Adewumi said, “governLike Prof. Odeyemi, she also points to the fatalhave escaped the eyes of government and its The minister had ordered the closure of cold ment would not allow these importers to agencies in the estimation of Prof. Odeyemi, rooms of Premium Foods Limited and Bexolac dump fish on our market and kill our own peo- ity that could result if the food poisoning is not quickly resolved. who blames poverty on the kind of products Foods Limited, two Lagos-based frozen fish ple.” Checking all cold storage facilities dealers on Old Ojo Road, which intended to let consumed in the country. However, on a more professional level, AssisAkinwumi directed that an inventory of every This stems from the many mouths to feed in a tant Head, Dietetics Department, Lagos Univerthe bad products end up on the dinning tables single cold room in the country be taken to aspopulous country like Nigeria; he also blames sity Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Mrs. Bola Tijani of Nigerians. certain what stock they hold, when the product the shortage in the number of quality control The discovery of the rotten fishes was as a reaffirmed, “You can usually tell if a fish is sult of spot checks embarked upon facilities in officers for some of the lapses recorded in the spoiled. But judging just how fresh a fish is can was brought in, and what the status of the fish is. He declared that anybody caught with bad ‘Rotten Fish’ saga. Lagos by the Federal Department of Fisheries be tricky unless you catch it yourself. Since fish product, would have the cold room sealed He said the nation does not have a proper under the Ministry of Agriculture. most of us rely on the supermarket for our and products confiscated. quality control regime and culture citing that The result of the check is the public uproar fol“catch of the day,” here are ways to check for He added that the fish will be burnt while the only after the arrival of the ship with toxic lowing the most unpleasant finding by the freshness: No one can get past the smell of waste in Koko, Delta state in the eighties that ministry of what some unscrupulous foreign spoiled fish. It also gets slimy when it goes bad. offending companies would bear the cost of dethe nation commenced the setting up of Envi- You will want to seal it in a bag when you throw stroying the products and banned from further businessmen involved in the fisheries subsecronmental protection bodies. tor have been involved to the deteriment of it out but some people still ignore the fact that importation into the country. Odeyemi said the rate of recruitment of qualIdentifying bad fish public health. fish is spoiled and still go ahead to do the cookity control personnel should be on the increase Even the Minister offered ways to differentiate ing.” Olu Odeyemi, professor of Microbiology and as Nigeria’s population continues to go up; to environment expert of Obafemi Awolowo Uni- between rotten fish and the good ones. He said The LUTH dietitian, Mrs. Tijani said eating serve 150million people requires more officers, a physical look at a properly frozen product versity, Ile Ife told The Guardian the health imspoiled fish is a guarantee for gastro intestinal plications of eating such unwholesome food. “The immediate effect of the rotten fish is that it causes considerable discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract because of the chemicals that come out of it. Some of such chemicals like mercaptans among others and organic acids By Moji Solanke Christianity and its lost element of healing’. It being is spiritual, individual, inseparable are implicated as causative factors. insists with practical proof, that the healing HE answer to this question depends prima- from the perfect Maker of all spiritual creStudies have shown that there is poison resultworks of Christ Jesus are repeatable today. In the ation, and real existence. Such prayer has ing from the reactions of chemicals in the rily on what prayer is, and what it does. first chapter of Science and Health with key to the intellectualscholasticism, with do to nothing spoilt product such that not only discomfort Mouthing lofty words that have divine, spiriism, academic brilliance or human reasoning. Scriptures titled: ‘Prayer’, written by the founder could follow but even death if the health condi- tual or holy connotations, cannot really of of the church, Mary Baker Eddy defines healing tion of the victim is not properly managed. themselves heal. Many would also admit, from It is the effect of God realised humanly. It is prayer thus: ‘The habitual struggle to be always through manifested grace, His of evidence the “More than this, other things such as typhoid personal experience, that pleading in desperagood is unceasing prayer, the longing to be betabilthe in individual the of faith absolute the could manifest on the ingestion of rotten fish tion to a humanly mighty deity who plays ter and holier, expressed in daily watchfulness ity and reality of God’s presence. It is combut of more worrisome nature is that, when favourites and must be pestered to gain any and in striving to emulate more of the divine munion, which is more listening than certain interactions of chemicals take place, kind of attention, does not particularly yield character.’ She opens that chapter on prayer more pleading, than gratitude more talking, there could be production of nitrosomes and the fruit of healing. Parroting familiar words of with the confident statement that prayer, It desperation. helpless than assurance calm nitrites,” he asserted. inspiration originally provided by inspired inwatching and working, combined with self-imis not man bribing God with promises not This, the microbiologist with a strong bias for dividuals can certainly not be the measure of molation, are God’s gracious means for accomeasily kept, but keying into the promise that the environment said could trigger cancer, a the prayer that has the ability to heal. Using plishing whatever has been successfully done heartThis man. for love unutterable God’s is situation considered very grave by any stanprayer as a confessional to absolve guilt, cancel for the Christianization and health of mankind. it and words, transcends desire sincere felt, dard. sin and regenerate the body, is also not healing The prayer that heals is the sincere, usually heals. Entry of bad product prayer. Yet there is growing and indisputable Before this is dismissed as mere highfaluting silent longing, which inexorably brings the indiOdeyemi wondered how the spoiled fish evidence, even acknowledged by doctors and it is wise to remember that there vidual to the spiritual place of what is true — the hypothesis, found its way into the country and whether physical scientists, that prayer actually does demonstration of what God knows about man of the beneficial practievidence growing is there was any supervision by regulatory agenheal physical as well as mental disease. cality of prayer even in medical circles. There made in His image. This spiritual conviction cies. Ordinarily, quality control should not stop So what is this prayer that heals? Experience where faith becomes practical, is the highest at the port of lading or the processing factory shows that it is the knowing, the responding to is also growing emphasis in religious circles but QC officers from agencies like NAFDAC and the ideas that God is constantly giving man. It is for spiritual healing. The Church of Christ, sci- form of prayer; and it is proving through the entist, is one of them. Indeed one of its found- centuries that it has the power to heal. SON should take charge of handling to ensure the actual realisation that the truth of man’s ing principles is ‘To reinstate primitive wholesomeness of what goes to the dinning table.
SPOILED FISH:Consumption Could Lead To Bowel Disorder, Cancer I
Can Prayer Actually Heal?
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
14 | Sunday, April 6, 2014
Diezani: The Turning Point By Armsfree Ajanaku HOSE who take more than a passing interT est in ancient philosophy would recall some of the polemics of Greek philosopher, Aristotle. In one of those seminal postulations, the sage laid the theoretical basis for understanding the exertions, travails and eventual fall of the tragic hero. In the Aristotelian worldview, therefore, the tragic hero is complete, except for a little blemish. The implication is that in the somewhat inevitable fall of the tragic character, what the philosopher calls the tragic flaw becomes the greatest undoing of the figure in question. Ironically, by the time the hero of tragic proportions is on the verge of crashing down from his Olympian heights, the spotlight doesn’t focus on whatever good that may have come through his works. The hero’s tragic flaws resonate so loudly, eclipsing any positive impact his exertions may have made on society. Within the context of the Nigerian polity, one figure who cuts something close to the classic Aristotelian sense is Diezani Allison Madueke. She abandoned her professional cum career comfort zone at Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and jumped on board the public ship at a time when the debate favoured the presence of more professionals and technocrats to help the Federal Government deliver on the so called dividends of democracy to an impatient nation. And we can comfortably trace that tradition of seeking efficiency in public administration to President Olusegun Obasanjo who, in his second term, from 2003 to 2007, favoured the coming into government of proven technocrats. His own crowd included Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (who is still very tenable), Oby Ezekwesili, Nasir el-Rufai among others. He made these fellows to remain at the heart of his Economic Management team. When President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua came, he saw wisdom in sustaining that tradition. He also had great brain boxes that would not only give the government the image of a willing performer, but equally help to deliver the actual goods and in time too. It is under this firmament that Diezani burst into national consciousness in 2007, when she was appointed Minister of Works by President Yar’Adua. And she got off the block with the spic and span image of a woman who had come to government with her sleeves rolled up to get the job done. Within a few months, she cut for herself a somewhat different public image by generally appearing at project inspection sites, not in the gaudy apparels typical of the Nigerian political class, but in crisp overalls, with helmets for effect. The Shell tradition of efficient service delivery was all over her and she was itching greatly to prove a point. One of her very first actions as minister was to jolt the nation using an approach rarely used by government officials: undiluted empathy and emotional identification with the task of governance. She wept at seeing what public administration had become in Nigeria. It was during a tour of the Benin-Ore Highway, which had become so dilapidated that it could better be described as a long stretch of gullies than it could be described as a motorable highway in the 21st century. Diezani was so moved by what she saw that her eyes began to produce rivulets of tears. Those historic tears shed by a minister, connecting and mourning with the people over the sorry state of national affairs rightly put Diezani on the radar as a government official to watch out for. Her emotional outburst also elicited reactions from bemused Nigerians who were not used to seeing such degree of official empathy. The usual thing was for psychologically distant leaders to convert every case of decadence to an opportunity to grandstand and play politics. Other citizens sneered at the ministerial catharsis, insisting that a sea of tears would not bring back the lives, property and man hours that had forever been lost to the failure of government to maintain and ensure a critical national infrastructure was in good
shape. A section accused the minister of shedding crocodile tears. Some said she was naïve, which actually best described the situation because coming fresh from Shell, Diezani was uncontaminated and expressed it as it was without make-ups. Perhaps to show that neither by tears nor other extreme expression of emotions are great problems of the nation resolved, several years after Diezani wept over the Shagamu – Benin Road, it has remained largely in its decrepit state, serving as a reference point for those who used that incident to take potshots at her. All that notwithstanding, Diezani moved on through the Ministry of Mines and Steel development to the Ministry of Petroleum where she has continued to grapple with one of the most slippery ministerial portfolios. With her experience as one of the brightest Nigerians stars at the Anglo Dutch giant, Shell, putting Diezani at the helm of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources was reckoned by many stakeholders to be a nice fit. So compelling was the reasoning that the talk focused on how the super minister would put to use her experience from a frontline oil major to revamp the fortunes of the petroleum industry in Nigeria. The thematic issues to grapple with were manifold; local content, investments, more revenue for gov-
ernment and exploring options for an efficient running of the national oil behemoth, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation. As things stand today, there is a frenetic pace of activities all geared towards revamping the petroleum industry in Nigeria. A local content policy governing, and providing a framework for action in areas of the industry that would provide jobs and boost businesses for Nigerians is already in place. A comprehensive legislation, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), with all its imperfections and the reservations of several stakeholders, is being processed through the slowly grinding mills of the National Assembly. The bill has started to impact even when it has not been passed. There is no denying the fact that the arising debates of the PIB have served to mirror the realities of the current dispensation of the oil and gas industry to a generality of Nigerians. Among industry players and experts, there is a consensus of sort that things must change in the ways the nation’s oil and gas sector is managed. Although controversial and painful due to its multiplier effects, the partial removal of fuel subsidy in January 2012 has generated a new stream of revenue for the government even though the cases of those who engaged in sharp practices, claim subsidy for fuel not imported, are taking too long to be determined in the courts. Nigerians have been serially duped by
Patriots and enemies alike are bailing for her blood and the fear is that if Diezani ‘dies’ in this crossfire, history might not remember that she did try to reshape an industry that was defined more by its many cases of breaches than it was known for the level of compliance with the rules of engagement
crooks with the active connivance of government officials and nobody would be sad if a handful public criminals are stoned to death or at least put out of circulation via an efficient judicial process. Now, some of these bold steps of this Niger Delta amazon are not what is in the news. Like most heroes or heroine, Diezani is finding herself in a slippery terrain, which promises to test the strength of the totality of her character. She is in the news for the wrong reason and every step and speech, henceforth, requires calculation to avoid the untoward. And her fate is not too different from other public figures destined to ride high and write their names in gold, but who soon found themselves incapacitated by the most likely problem of poor quality advice. In a nutshell, the minister is having to deal with a brewing crisis of credibility. This time, it is not about an alleged $50 billion that the national oil company, NNPC, refused to put in the Federal coffers. It is about the same tragic flaws that have led many bright professionals into an early exit from a system they could have successfully changed; something close to personal aggrandizement. The House of Representatives recently mandated its Committee on Public Accounts to investigate the alleged spending of N10 billion over a two-year period on the charter and maintenance of a Challenger 850 aircraft for unofficial use by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison Madueke. Even in a country where people have become inured to shock occasioned by the excesses of government officials, many of her admirers would hope that the latest allegations against the minister should somehow prove to be incorrect in the end. Already, stark contrasts are being drawn with a country like Britain where the Prime Minister flies commercial on British Airways whenever he has reason to travel out of the country. It is these sorts of prudent examples that Nigerians want to see being demonstrated by their leaders, especially those who have come into public service after stints in big corporations where nothing is taken with levity. Others have, however, maintained that the seemingly huge spending is within industry specifications. One commentator actually argued on national television that movement in the oil sector is key to operations and that it is industry practice for Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the various Joint Ventures (and that should include the NNPC and by extension the Petroleum Ministry) to hop about in private or chartered jets to meet up with extremely tight schedules. If this is taken, it narrows the debate to just one question and that is the wisdom in spending so much to accommodate that operational exigency. In other words, it is the near absence of quality advice that has put an otherwise beautiful minister in this tight situation of having to explain the spending of billions on operational movements in a country where many look up to the skies for their next meal. Patriots and enemies alike are bailing for her blood and the fear is that if Diezani ‘dies’ in this crossfire, history might not remember that she did try to reshape an industry that was defined more by its many cases of breaches than it was known for the level of compliance with the rules of engagement. Born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on December 6, 1960, the year of Nigeria’s independence, Diezani studied architecture in England and then at Howard University in the United States. She returned to Nigeria and joined Shell Petroleum Development Corporation in 1992. In 2002, she attended Cambridge University for her MBA, and in April 2006, she became Shell’s first female Executive Director in Nigeria. She mounted the saddle as Federal Minister of Transport on July 27, 2007, a position she held until December 17, 2008. She held sway at the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development from December 23, 2008 to March 17, 2010. On April 6, 2010, she became the Minister for Petroleum Resources.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
COVER P/17 Dead-end In Rivers As Amaechi/NJC Face-off Deepens
Launch Into Medical Marijuana, Nations Watch Cautiously
YOUNG: Preventing Fire Outbreaks Through Safety Measures
Herbal, Herbal, Herbal Everywhere
NIMPAR: The Judge With Depth
Sunday, April 6, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
NEWSPEOPLE By Ijeoma Opara
The Judge With Depth Justice Yargata Nimpar is from Gombe State by birth though married to a Plateau State indigene. She is one of the 25 High Court Judges approved for elevation to the Court of Appeal by President Goodluck Jonathan on March 17 and sworn in on March 24. Born on September 19, 1959, Yargata finished her law studies at the University of Jos between 1979 and 1983, where she obtained her Bachelor of Law (LL.B). She attended the Nigerian Law School between 1983 and 1984. She equally attended the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies from February to April 1989 as well as the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London from January to July 1989. She also obtained the commonwealth Lawyer’s Certificate in 1993. She was a state counsel, Ministry of Justice, Plateau State and rose to become a senior state counsel. She spent six weeks with Essex Court, Commercial Chamber, Middle Temple, London, as a private legal practitioner and was the Managing counsel with A.G. Yaro and Co. from 1991 to 1997. She was elected state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice from June 1997 to November 1998. Justice Nimpar was at one time appointed the sole judge of the local government election petitions tribunal from April to June1996 from where she rose to become a High Court judge in the Plateau State Judiciary in November 1998 till date before her recent elevation. She was designated judge for Corruption and Financial Crimes Cases and also a member of election tribunals in Sokoto and Ondo States between 2007 and 2008. She was chairman, Plateau State Local Government Election Petition Appeal Tribunal from 2008 to 2009. She was also the chairman Borno and Osun States election petition tribunal in 2011. In this interview, she told ISA ABDULSALAMI AHOVI in Jos that she has no regret whatsoever as a legal luminary and that in spite of the heavy work load as a High Court Judge, she still reserves some time to play with her family. What inspired you to read Law? WENT to the university with the desire to read medicine even though I would say it was more of an emotional thing because I had lost an elder brother, who was a medical doctor. He died in an accident and it was like we should have a medical doctor in the family and I was reading sciences. So, they did not admit me to read Medicine as a course, but they gave me zoology with a promise that I could transfer. After two years, I couldn’t get the transfer and I was feeling somewhat frustrated. But then one of my brother’s friends, who was a lawyer then, said, ‘you are good in social science subjects, why don’t you go and read Law?’ I was like, ‘Law? How? Where? They told me that though it is challenging, but that I would enjoy it. We made the move to transfer and it was approved. So I moved to the Law class in the University of Jos in 1979. I spent three years reading the course. I joined the Law Faculty in my second year. How are you able to combine your busy career with raising a family? Somehow I was able to do it with the help of family members, who came in to assist and looked after the children when I travelled or went on training. The children also stayed with family members, so I was able to do what needed to be done. Somehow also, God helped me. Do you have any regret reading Law? Not at all. When I look back, I see it as destiny, as divinely directed because I can’t say I regret one moment as a lawyer or judge looking back in all my years of practice and being on the Bench. What would you say has been your greatest achievement on the Bench? People should assess me. I can’t say but I know
BOSEDE Adeola Oyeleye is the Executive Director of Children Emergency Relief Foundation (CERF), a non-governmental organisation that is passionate about helping abused young children and those affected with HIV/AIDS. CERF, in collaboration with UPS Foundation, has embarked on a project tagged ‘Protect yourself’ to mitigate child abuse and reduce the number of children at the risk of contracting HIV/AIDs. The idea is to sensitise children and teenagers between the ages of three and 18 years on the dangers of child abuse and the prevention of HIV/AIDS. “We have started the first phase of the programme in 10 public primary schools in Ikorodu Local Government Area of Lagos State, where we trained 200 pupils on how to protect themselves against child abuse and HIV/AIDS. Schoolteachers were also trained on how to identify signs of abuse in children to enable them help such children. Abosede realised from a very tender age that she derived joy and satisfaction from supporting vulnerable people without expecting anything in return. The turning point for her was after attending a seminar and the resource person shared with her a picture that won the Pulitzer Prize— a vulture following a child that had been reduced to a bag of bones, obviously due to the war ravaging the area. The interpretation easily was that the vulture was waiting for the child to drop dead so it could feed on her dead body. “That did it,” she recalls. “I could not stop crying during the seminar and I immediately set out afterwards to do something and we have been on now for the past nine years. “The Foundation has so far supported more than 3, 000 vulnerable children and teenagers, as well as their caregivers since inception. This we do through educational, health and nutritional support, as well as empowerment and sensitisation of caregivers to reduce the burden of street and vulnerable children in our society. From experience, the parents’ role in a child becoming vulnerable is greater than any other factor. To her, child protection is one major area of her organisation’s functionality. “I have zero tolerance for abuse of children, especially physical abuse. Sometimes, abuse is not just physical; it can also be emotional or neglect, which is equally as devastating. Child marriage is child abuse, so also is child trafficking. We handle cases of abused children all the time,” she says.
as a fact that I did my best. I would also say that my oath of office guided me. With regards to achievements in office, someone else should judge my work. Were you at any time under pressure from outside on some issues in your court? Pressure would come basically because of the ignorance of members of the society. Most people don’t seem to understand the workings of the judge or court. So, in ignorance, they may want to put you under pressure, but I think in all, it is who you are and your integrity that will, at the end of the day, determine whether you will bow to pressure or not. How did you feel about the promotion? I was full of gratitude to the Lord. I saw it as divinely directed again because I least expected it at this time. But God in His own way and wisdom determines our path and He has made it possible. So, I am full of gratitude to Him. I also see it as God giving me a new mission to go and serve Him again in a different capacity. So, I go into it knowing fully well that the ultimate thing is to please God and glorify Him in the new office. It is not for me, but purely for Him. I should go there and do as He expects me to. Your nomination to the court of Appeal came from Gombe State, your state of birth and not from Plateau State, your state by marriage. Why? This is due to the Federal Character Law or Regulation that says a married woman should join the Federal Service from her state of birth and not from her marital state. So, I have to go back to Gombe. What is the feeling of the Plateau State government concerning your nomination? I don’t know how they feel. They should be in a better position to tell you that.
OYELEYE: For The Advancement Of Abused Children A typical case of child abuse handled by her foundation was that of a six-year-old girl, whose father burnt her two legs and abandoned her in the house. “Her eldest sister living in Lagos got wind of it through a good Samaritan. She took the girl to a general hospital, where due to the state of her legs, the medical personnel asked the sister to get police report before they would attend to her. That was when we took up the case, and she was eventually admitted at the General Hospital in Gbagada for two months. There, she underwent surgery and today, she is back on her feet. We also put her in a school and she is doing very well, while her father is cooling his heels in police cell.” So, what advice does she have for parents in this regard? “I would like to tell Nigerian parents to stop venting their frustrations on children. Adults should not look the other way, when bad and harmful things are happening to children; they should try to a take positive action. There is a strong tendency for those that have been abused to abuse others eventually. So, what future are we laying down for this nation if this cycle of abuse continues,” she queries. One of the things that give her joy is seeing children that have benefitted from her organisation’s educational support graduate. “It gives me great delight to know that children, who prior to when we provided support, did not have opportunity to access quality education, and would thereby have ended on the streets were able to become a success academically. However, our support is from primary to secondary level. “People don’t know that illiteracy is an issue in Lagos and Ogun States. They think it exists only in the far North. But the stark reality on ground is that it is rife in certain communities in the West also. A number of widows and caregivers, who could not sustain themselves not to mention their children, have been empowered by our organisation. You will be amazed how so little can actually improve lives. “From inception, our activities have cut across both Lagos and Ogun States. This has been
in Shagamu local government area of Ogun State and Ikorodu local government in Lagos State, which is made up of three local community development areas. “Over time though, we hope to be able to spread throughout Lagos State and beyond. Child trafficking cuts across borders, and for our efforts to be effective, it has to go beyond Lagos and Ogun States. Concerning challenges she and her team are facing, Abosede says funding has been the greatest of them. “As the Executive Director, it’s not been easy raising support for the kind of thing we do, but we praise the efforts of organisations that have supported us so far. “Another challenge is the caregivers of these children, who sometimes frustrate our efforts. We have, however, devised a strategy to curb this through increased sensitisation for the caregivers. By all means, we want Nigerian children to be safe and live hazard free lives”. In her view, the role of parents and guardians (caregivers) can never be overestimated. The scourge of street children, increased cases of abused children, juvenile delinquency and general vulnerability of children are traceable to dysfunctional families and caregivers not playing their roles adequately, as the primary agents of protection of the children. “Can you imagine that in our bid to get some children to go to school instead of being drawn into child labour, some parents asked for what we can give them as an incentive to allow them release their children? They eventually refused to release the children. We hope that with proper collaboration, such caregivers can be brought to book. “A child that is neglected now will be everybody’s problem in the nearest future. A couple of years and a child is grown. The efforts and sacrifices being put in now will ensure rest and peace in future. All children, one way or the other, are vulnerable in the sense that they are easy prey for abuse. So, we all have to play our roles to prevent their becoming victims.” On how she is able to combine her career and family, she says: “I am married to a pastor and I am also involved in pastoral work, which makes it quite demanding. My husband believes in what I do, so, he supports me, which makes it easier. He actually says that whatever I have made up my mind to do, I always get it done even against all odds. I manage all the different aspects of my life very well.” How does she relax? “I enjoy reading certain magazines and newspapers. I also love having fun with my children and praying,” she says. Born to the late Justice Emmanuel Adeyemo Adewuyi, a one-time acting Benue state Chief Judge and Mrs. Comfort Olaitan Adewuyi, a retired teacher and headmistress some 40 something years ago, Abosede hails from Offa in Kwara State. She had her primary education at St Marks Primary School, Offa before proceeding to the Federal Government Girls College in New-Bussa.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Gov. Amaechi watches as Agumaju takes oath
Dead-end In Rivers As Amaechi/NJC Face-off Deepens From Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt HE appointment of Justice Peter N. Agumagu as the Chief Judge of Rivers State seems to have hit a dead-end, following his suspension by the National Judicial Council, which has differed with the state government on who should fill the post. Serious controversy has arisen between the Rivers State government and the NJC since August last year, first, regarding the appointment of an acting Chief Judge, and then, a substantive Chief Judge of the state. The crisis plaguing the Rivers state judiciary started shortly after the retirement of Justice Ichechi Nwenenda Ndu as the Chief Justice of the State in August 2013. Lots of the persons who attended Justice Ndu’s valedictory ceremony in Port Harcourt, which was shunned by state government officials, had anticipated that Governor Chibuike Amaechi, based on NJC recommendation, was going to announce Justice Daisy Okocha, as the acting Chief Judge of the state. But, their expectation was cut short, when on the next day, the governor announced Justice Agumagu, who was then the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, to fill the position. The decision of Governor Amaechi to brush aside the NJC recommendation of Justice Daisy Okocha, to appoint Justice Agumagu, as the acting Chief Judge of Rivers State and later in substantive capacity, was predicated on the fact that the government considers
Justice as not only senior to Justice Daisy Okocha, but that the 1999 Constitution prescribes only 10 years’ Post Call as qualification to the office of the Chief Judge. The State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Worgu Boms, said from the outset of the crisis, which has left the judiciary in limbo, the NJC has always preferred the doctrine of the Most Senior Judge of the High Court, in the appointment of the Chief Judge of Rivers State and in particular, the Hon Justice Daisy Okocha, as its candidate for the position. He said the NJC, in its single-minded pursuit of the actualisation of this doctrine and preference, it enunciated further the doctrine that only a Judge of the
State High Court is qualified for consideration for the office and that the Hon Justice Agumagu, then, President of the State’s Customary Court of Appeal, could not be allowed to cross over to become the State Chief Judge. “For the records, Justice Agumagu is senior in Biology, at the Bar and on the Bench to Justice Okocha. Following Advice from the State Judicial Service Commission to the NJC listing Justice Agumagu as No 1 and Justice Okocha No 2 as persons for possible consideration for recommendation for the appointment, to the substantive position of Chief Judge, the NJC wrote to His Excellency, the Governor of the state, that of the two candidates recommended to it by
The decision of Governor Amaechi to brush aside the NJC recommendation of Justice Daisy Okocha, to appoint Justice Agumagu, as the acting Chief Judge of Rivers State and later in substantive capacity, was predicated on the fact that the government considers Justice as not only senior to Justice Daisy Okocha, but that the 1999 Constitution prescribes only 10 years’ Post Call as qualification to the office of the Chief Judge.The State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Worgu Boms, said from the outset of the crisis, which has left the judiciary in limbo, the NJC has always preferred the doctrine of the Most Senior Judge of the High Court, in the appointment of the Chief Judge of Rivers State and in particular, the Hon Justice Daisy Okocha, as its candidate for the position.
the State Judicial Service Commission, that even though Justice Agumagu is first on the list, that he was being rejected because His Lordship was not the most Senior Judge of the High Court and could not cross over from the Customary Court of Appeal to become the Chief Judge. Only Justice D.W Okocha could thus be qualified for appointment based on the NJC’s twin doctrine of Seniority and Non Crossing over. Needless to say, these Twin Qualification of Most Senior Judge and Non Crossing Over are creations, not of the Constitution that prescribes only 10 years’ Post Call as qualification to the office of the Chief Judge, but of the NJC, which sadly, has now transmogrified from being a recommending Body to a law making Body” he said. Boms insisted that what is happening in Rivers State with respect to filling the vacancy in the position of Chief Judge of the state, is not peculiar to Rivers State as other states have passed and some are still passing through the process and in none of these did the NJC, as it is doing now in Rivers State, write to their Judges to intimidate them on the matter and to fetter their conscience. He argued that if the appointment of Chief Judge of the state were to begin and end with the NJC, then perhaps, there would be no problems with its preferred candidate. He added that Unfortunately, the CONTINUED ON PAGE 18
18 Sunday, April 6, 2014
There Is Nothing Peculiar In What Is Happening In Rivers — BOMS the governor to appoint a Chief Judge and rest it somewhere else and I was wondering Constitution provides that four institutions if there was no need to ask for the interpreta— the State Judicial Service Commission, the tion of the constitution.” He continued: “I would, on behalf of Rivers NJC, the Governor and the State House of State, thank the Federal High Court for helpAssembly — must all participate for a candiing us out of this bondage. I would say to the date to become the Chief Judge. Federal High Court that our brothers who by In retrospect, a team of lawyers under the aegis of Kengema Unity Forum led by Boma privilege of their position in high office should not abuse their office again. They GoodHead had filed a suit at the Federal should learn to treat such things on merit High Court, Port Harcourt presided by not based on cronyism and hope that this Justice Lambo Akanbi, to seek a declaration that the appointment of Justice will settle once and for all the challenges and disagreements in the judiciary. I pray that Agumagu as Acting Chief Judge was illegal since he was a judge of the customary court political interference will not come in any more.” and Justice Okocha should be declared the However, the reprieve the Federal High acting CJ. Delivering his verdict on the matter, Justice Court granted the state government was Akanbi ordered that the Rivers State govern- short lived, as the NJC proceeded to suspend ment should appoint the most senior judge Justice Agumagu nine days after he was of the High Court as the acting CJ according sworn-in as substantive chief judge of Rivers State. to the provisions of the 1999 constitution. The NJC during its 10th emergency meeting, He insisted that the Constitution was clear on March 26, 2014, under the Chairmanship on who should be appointed the acting of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice chief judge of the state. Aloma Mariam Mukta, had resolved to susHowever, the judge declined to grant the pend and issue Justice Agumagu a query for prayer of the lawyers that he declared accepting the position of chief judge of Justice Daisy Okocha as the acting chief Rivers State without the recommendation of judge of the state. The Judge ruled that the NJC. The Rivers state government has doing so would amount to overriding the described the suspension as illegal and powers of the governor and the National Judicial Commission to pick a judge for the unconstitutional. Justice Agumagu has also filed a suit at a Federal High Court, Abuja to said position. challenge his suspension without fair hearThe refusal of Justice Akanbi not to grant ing by the NJC. This new twist in the the relief sought by the Kengema Unity NJC/Rivers State government saga Forum, requesting him to compel the state has plunged the judiciary into an unpreceGovernor to appoint and swear in Justice dented prolonged crisis that has swayed the Daisy Okocha as the Acting Chief Judge, public opinion. according to the State Commissioner of A lawyer, Mr. Nnamdi Wuchi, told The Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, is apt because such a decla- Guardian that this was not the first time the ration would amount to usurping the pow- state judiciary had been enmeshed in succession of a Chief Judge crisis. He cited the case ers of the governor. of the appointment of Justice Donald “By his pronouncement, the Justice Akanbi has strengthened the position of the Graham Douglas and Justice Ichechi Ndu as some of the recent succession crisis in the Rivers State Government that the governor of a state cannot be stampeded to appoint a state judiciary. particular candidate as Chief Judge,” she said. Meanwhile, the Governor of Rivers State, the Rivers State Judicial Service Commission and the Attorney General as plaintiffs, had, on October 29, 2013, commenced action against the National Judicial Council in SUIT NO. FHC/PH/CS/421/2013 before the Federal High Court, whereby they have sought, inter alia, to declare as unconstitutional, incompetent, null and void, the recommendation made to the Governor of Rivers State by the National Judicial Council. Delivering judgment on the suit on March 18, 2014, Justice Akanbi ruled that the letter of the NJC of July 2, 2013, and received on July 30, by Governor Amaechi recommending Justice Daisy Okocha in preference to Agumagu, because he was not the most senior judge of the High Court is wrong, null and void. He argued that the criteria used by the NJC to disqualify Justice Agumagu were null and void. According to him: “What the constitution recommends is 10 years of legal practice and we are in a dynamic world. And, so, the issue of most senior judge can no longer be the only criteria of appointing someone to such an important and exalted position.” Armed with this judicial pronouncement, Governor Amaechi same day forwarded Justice Agumagu’s name to the House of Assembly for confirmation, as the substantive Chief Judge of the State following the expiration of his tenure as Acting CJ in November, 2013. Seventeen lawmakers of the House, including the Speaker, Otelemaba Dan Amachree, unanimously approved Agumagu’s appointment. While swearing in Agumagu, Governor Amaechi a bit worried with the way people in the judiciary fought over who would be the Chief Judge of the State. According to him: “I was more than worried when there was an attempt to take away the power of CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17
“Justice Iche Ndu, who was the last Chief Judge, at the time he was appointed, was the seventh on the list. At that time, people like Elizabeth Menbere were the second, and Justice Sotonye Denton-West was the first, but she was not appointed. All they did was to take her to Court of Appeal. They appointed Justice Ndu who was seventh on the list. So why is this one causing a lot of problem and that is why we are saying there is politics. It is only now that they are taking the first. Even at that, the most senior judge in Rivers state is Justice Agumagu. So, the issue there is, was he supposed to be the acting chief judge of Rivers State, which the court said he is not supposed to be? The second question is, was he supposed to be substantive chief judge, the court said he is qualified. And he was so appointed,” said Wuchi. Wuchi acknowledged that in the past crisis, the NJC did not overtly engage the state government in legal confrontation as in the present situation. He, however, expressed concern that the NJC had set a very dangerous precedent by issuing threat letters to judges not to accept the
appointment of as acting Chief Judge of the state while the faceoff with the state government continues. He described the situation as unfortunate and argued that the process has been politicized. “It is not government not wanting Daisy. Is it appropriate for government to appoint Daisy? That is the first issue. If she is appropriate, why has she not been appointed? If it is not appropriate, why is the clamour for Daisy’s appointment? I think that it is unfair. I see politics in it. If the governor had appointed Peter Agumagu as the acting chief judge, and the NJC said no that it was not supposed to be and the court gave judgment that Peter Agumagu is ably qualified. At the time the recommendation was made by NJC, Peter Agumagu’s name was top on that list, Daisy Okocha’s name was not on that list but how her name was smuggled into the list became a mystery. But assuming, not conceding that her name was there, assuming her name was there, was the NJC recommendation binding on the governor, the court has said no to that effect,” he added. But another lawyer, Mr. Idaye Opi, has
Delivering his verdict on the matter, Justice Akanbi ordered that the Rivers State government should appoint the most senior judge of the High Court as the acting CJ according to the provisions of the 1999 constitution. He insisted that the Constitution was clear on who should be appointed the acting chief judge of the state. However, the judge declined to grant the prayer of the lawyers that he declared Justice Daisy Okocha as the acting chief judge of the state. The Judge ruled that doing so would amount to overriding the powers of the governor and the National Judicial Commission to pick a judge for the said position.
Sunday, April 6, 2014 19
COVER blamed both the Rivers State government and the NJC for what he described as avoidable crisis in the state’s judiciary. Opi said the Rivers State government erred in because the constitution is very clear that no state can appoint a Chief Justice without the involvement of the NJC. He noted that there are three people who must be involved in the appointment of a Chief Justice according to the constitution, namely, the governor, who does the appointment; the NJC, which does the recommendation, and the House of Assembly that does the approval. According to him, for anybody to say that the NJC cannot make an input in the appointment of a CJ is wrong and would be tantamount to standing the constitution on its head. He warned that the office of the CJ is not an appendage of the executive because it is a distinct arm of government. To that extent, he insisted that the governor must allow the NJC to play its statutory role of making recommendation in the appointment of the state CJ. “Rivers state government cannot appoint a CJ without NJC. There is no way that can be done. Perhaps, what the governor could have done was send another person to NJC or present Daisy Okocha that was recommended by NJC to the House of Assembly and let the House reject her. And then he can send another name to NJC to make another recommendation. But to say you can appoint without NJC is wrong. You cannot do that. For this, the government of Rivers state is wrong,” he said. Opi also castigated the NJC for hastily suspending Justice Agumagu. He observed that Governor Amaechi had said he swore in Justice Agumagu as Chief Judge in pursuant to an order by Justice Lambo Akanbi wherein he said the NJC cannot dictate to the governor who to make a chief judge. He emphasised that if the state governor had purportedly acted on that judgment, the NJC ought to realise that it couldn’t cure one illegality with another. “Why will the NJC go and suspend a CJ when the matter is before a Court of Appeal. That is wrong. We all know that it is kindergarten law that when a case is before a court, you stay action. There is a difference between a judicial pronouncement and an administrative pronouncement. The NJC, no matter how powerful the individuals are, only constitute an administrative body. And so, their decisions and actions are purely administrative. You cannot quash the decision of a court. Justice Akanbi who gave that judgment was acting in judicial capacity. That is totally above the whole of NJC because NJC is totally administrative. If a court has given a judgment, which the NJC does not like, and that judgment is being implemented, and the case is on appeal, the best the NJC can do is to wait patiently. When the judgment is given and it is favourable to the NJC, you take it from there by suspending whosoever you want to suspend. But to do so when the action is in court to me is not good. I don’t expect NJC to do that. The NJC is too big for this,” he said. Opi, however, said it suspects political undercurrent for the faceoff between the Governor Amaechi, who is interested in Justice Agumagu, and the NJC, which is interested in Justice Daisy Okocha. He noted that irrespective of the political interest of the forces at play, there has become imperative for all everybody to sheath their sword. According to him, right now, people are suffering because they cannot go to court to seek redress. “The only conclusion anybody can read from this is that when you restrict people from access to court, you are inviting anarchy. You are simply asking people to take the law into their hand. If I cannot go court to seek redress, what are you asking me to do? I will find a way to seek redress. That is what he should understand. He is the governor of Rivers State, it is not nice for us to have the kind of situation we are having in our hand. In the interest of the state and whatever rule of law we have, it is not right,” he said. Another lawyer, Dike Godson told The Guardian that the crisis left the state with President of the Customary Court of Appeal and a Chief Judge. As a result of this, cases cannot be assigned; letters of administration cannot be signed and new matters cannot be
Gov. Amaechi (right), and Agumagu
It Is An Attempt To Take Away My Powers — Gov. AMAeChI filed, staff cannot be promoted. “What we expected the government to do was to ask for another nominee that will pass through the recommendation of the NJC. The problem we have now is that Justice Agumagu as at when he was sworn in never went through the recommendation of NJC. What I expected the government to do was if you don’t want Justice Daisy Okocha, you call for another nomination. If NJC says no, that is a different thing. But we had expected him to go through the normal recommendation whether good or bad, because the governor is not tied to the recommendation of the NJC. It is just a path that you have to follow. While I am not aware that NJC can suspend a Chief Judge, I am aware that NJC has the power to punish, dismiss and enforce discipline of errant judges,” he said. The Rivers State government has blamed the decisions of NJC in the matter on the influence of one of its member, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Onueze C Okocha, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN), who is Justice Daisy Okocha’s biological brother. But, the SAN denied the allegation. Okocha explained that he specifically asked to be allowed to leave the meeting of the NJC when the matter of a new chief judge for Rivers State was mentioned during the 10th emergency of the NJC and this
was granted. He claimed that he did not have the privilege to participate in the deliberations that took place after he left. “I read of the NJC’s recommendation like every other person. It is clear that I have a personal interest in the matter because of our filial relationship. With that in my mind, how then can I sit among other members of the NJC to deliberate on a matter where my personal interest becomes an issue? How can a small Okocha here in the city of Port Harcourt influence members of the NJC? The NJC that has the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN as the chairman; eminent serving and retired justices of the Supreme Court; five state chief judges and some of the best legal minds in the country,” he said. He added: “Most of these retired justices are above 70 years old, so, what sort of politics will any of such eminent persons be keen in playing? Does anyone really expect the Chief Justice of Nigeria to be involved in any sort of politics? To say that the NJC is playing politics with the appointment of a chief judge in Rivers State is hogwash, balderdash, and sheer nonsense.” He said that Justice Agumagu was suspended to enable the NJC investigate the events that led to his appointment as the Chief Judge of Rivers State. Okocha explained that the NJC’s investigation of Justice Agumagu is predicated on the grounds that he accepted to be sworn-
Most of these retired justices are above 70 years old, so, what sort of politics will any of such eminent persons be keen in playing? Does anyone really expect the Chief Justice of Nigeria to be involved in any sort of politics? To say that the NJC is playing politics with the appointment of a chief judge in Rivers State is hogwash, balderdash, and sheer nonsense.
in by Governor Amaechi as the chief judge of Rivers State without the recommendation of the NJC, thereby breaching his oath of office as a judicial officer and secondly, whether Justice Agumagu in going through the process of being swornin as chief judge of Rivers State had breached the code of professional ethics for judicial officers. Boms, on his part, said the Rivers State government rejects the NJC’s unconstitutional and contemptuous stance on this matter and states categorically that only a Court of Competent Jurisdiction can declare its actions and activities unconstitutional and certainly not a Council, a Committee, a Commission etc, howsoever described when such Bodies, no matter their nomenclature and the eminence of their membership, are subject to the Law of the land and the Court. “Finally, we urge the NJC to disallow the personal sentiments and entrenched interests of some of its members in the Rivers Chief Judge matter, and treat the Rivers State Judiciary and its Judges as it treats other states’ and federal judiciaries and their Judges and as provided for under the Constitution, as the issue is not a family affair or succession to a family stool in which case members of a particular lineage are the only persons qualified for consideration for succession. This is public office with constitutionally provided statements on qualification for succession and provides no room for any one or persons to use their membership of the exalted Body to lend a hand to a relation or a friend outside the clear Provisions of the Constitution as now confirmed by the Court”, he added. Meanwhile, Rivers state Commissioner for Land and Survey, Ezemoye Ezekiel-Amadi, has vowed that Justice Daisy Okocha can never be Chief Judge of the state until Governor Amaechi leaves office next year. With this stance, the feud between the state and NJC is long from being over.
sunday, april 6,
THe GuarDian www.ngrguardiannews.com
GrowinG DruG usaGe: Launch into Medical Marijuana, nations watch Cautiously
Processed marijuana on display, intended for medical purposes (Inset: the weed farm)
By Fabian Odum n alagbado, a Lagos suburb, there are pockets of marijuana (indian hemp)-smoking joints in different areas, usually adjoining residential neighborhood, while other convergence points for smokers are isolated. as early as 5.30am, in one of the residential estates’ play ground at ijaiye, young men and older adults, including lay-abouts take the lead, but other ‘respectable’ people come around, too. They poke their fingers into crevices in a nearby carpenter’s shed and makeshift kiosks, where wraps of the weed had been hidden for the next morning round. Lighters and match boxes are never in short supply, but if sellers of these items hope to make money from these class of consumers, they are mistaken; once one is lit, others take the fire to their cold stubs and on it goes. and all through the city, exists an army of indian hemp smokers, who even dare law
Weed smoking, reaching for the highs
enforcement authorities by smoking in the open and public places, like bus stop rain shelters and rail tracks. uncompleted buildings or abandoned properties, even vehicles hold prime place in the choice of smoking hubs. This is akin to what the state of Colorado, united states calls ‘recreational marijuana’ for which an industry has recently been opened, the first in the united states and washington, also. The dealing in ‘pot’ is still a no-go area federally in the us except for states that have given its use by the public a legal approval. For such states as alaska, arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, new Mexico, new Hampshire and eight others, users can have it administered as medical marijuana while it has been decriminalised in 14 states. uruguay, a country of 3.3million people, was the first to legalise the drug, by allowing citizens to grow six marijuana plants in their
homes per year, or as much as 480 grams and forming smoking clubs of 15 to 45 members that can grow up to 99 plants per year. The Guardian inquiry revealed that in the netherlands, india, spain, switzerland, iran, Cambodia, Portugal and russia, it is a more liberalised environment for users.
from some severe health conditions, olatunji said. while many worry themselves sore, justifiably so, about the negative sides of the deal, drugs manufacturers and researchers are extracting medically active ingredients for inclusion in the various world pharmacopeia. in the formulation of some drugs, experts say iKe the gradual creeping into the society of certain chemicals that have similar attributes as same sex marriage, legalising of marijuana those that exist in marijuana plant have been is gradually inching its way to communities, used. states and countries of the world. Biochemically, drugs have particular pathways it is huge business for wheelers and dealers, in the Kreb Cycle (of the human body metabobut the money generated have been linked to lism) and that is to say even marijuana has a several crime rings, gunrunners and even terspecific way in which the brain processes it. rorism, according to reports by notable world Pharmaceutical drugs based on marijuana are organisations. already in existence though some are yet to be a nigerian medic, academic and a deputy approved and undergoing clinical trials. They commissioner of police, Dr. wilson akhiwu include: says there are two sides of medic marijuana, • sativex, direct marijuana extract used as the positive and negative, and care must be mouth spray, whose chemical compound is exercised in its administration. derived from natural extracts of the plant. Doctors know marijuana is generally harmful, Medical use: quite so, he stressed, adding that it is more used in treatment of neuropathic pain and addictive than cigarette and there are many spasticity in patients with Multiple sclerosis problems associated with it. (Ms); analgesic treatment in adult patients with it is quite understood by medical experts that advanced cancer, who experience moderate to being so, many people cannot leave it. “it caus- severe pain. es psychiatric problems for people who are its current standing is that: the uK, since June pre-disposed,” akhiwu held. 21, 2010, has made it the first cannabis-based The regulatory capacity of the agencies of gov- prescription medicine in the world. approved ernment in the country is in doubt as the sen- for use in spain, Canada, Czech republic, ior cop puts it: “The problem is that we will not Denmark (June 8, 2011), Germany (July 4, 2011), be able to regulate the use in nigeria, things sweden (December 22, 2011), austria (February 7, are hardly ever properly regulated. if people 2012), italy (May 7, 2013), and switzerland now know that it has some uses, there would (november 27, 2013). it is also approved in be an abuse for an already abused drug - that is Finland, israel, norway, and Poland. •Dronabinol/Marinol has found medical use in the big issue.” it is different strokes for different folks. while treatment of nausea and vomiting for patients activists and marijuana advocates think legali- in cancer treatment; appetite stimulant for sation would cut down the cost on americanaiDs patients and analgesic to ease neuropathic led war on drugs, and sales would generate pain in multiple sclerosis patients. revenue for the state, cynics have their conof its status, this drug is FDa-approved in cerns. They say the stuff would find their way united states for appetite stimulation (1992) to teens, though legally, only those above 21 and for nausea (1985); also in Denmark for mulmay make purchases. tiple sclerosis (september 2003), Canada for Mr. Koolchap olatunji, national secretary of aiDs-related anorexia (april 2000) and for nauthe association of Community Pharmacists of sea and vomiting associated with cancer nigeria (aCPn) and researcher in the field chemotherapy (1988). observed that marijuana gives narcotic effect; a some of the drugs (made from synthetic chemfeeling of “getting high,” elated and performicals that have semblance to that in the plant) ance booster. have not been approved by regulatory agencies Marijuana can be smoked, just like cigarette to give the desired effect, providing a fast relief CONTINUED ON PAGE...
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, April 6,
The Other Side Of Marijuana (Cannabis) By Wole Oyebade OOLCHAP Olatunji, scribe of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria added that marijuana could also be prepared as a tea and the medicinal extract is used. Cannabis tea is made by first adding a saturated fat to hot water with a small amount of cannabis. Marijuana vending machines for selling or dispensing cannabis extracts are in use in the United States and planned to be used in Canada. It could also be used as cream. “Today, we have several cream products labeled with Indian hemp, as vitality for hair growth,” Olatunji said. He added that marijuana’s narcotic effect has made it something that should not be freely used by anyone, unless it is prescribed. This is the case all over the world, not just Nigeria.” Both the leaf and the seed of the much controversial herb could also be a vaporizer or burn, which heats the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient, until it becomes a vapor, allowing it to be inhaled. It causes the same narcotic effect on the nervous system. Vaporising is often the recommended method for inhaling medical marijuana to minimise harmful elements associated with smoking. Besides, cannabis seeds can be used as a grain or nut. The seeds can also be pressed to get hemp seed oil, which is well balanced in
Omega3 and Omega6 fatty acids. Olatunji explains that marijuana is classified as narcotic analgesic, in the class of morphine and cocaine, “which relieve the pains of very serious conditions like cancer.” On why marijuana is still a no-no in local medical practices, Olatunji said it is for reasons not unconnected with poor medical research, especially in the field of herbal medicine. Continuing, he said: “We are not yet advanced in medical sciences like the Americans and some parts of Asia. That is why our understanding of the herb is limited to some people growing it illegally and miscreants using it just anyhow. “It is now NDLEA is trying to control its planting, but there is very little we can boast of in terms of research. It is good to bring it under control, but more beneficial if we know the more positive ways it can be used.” He added that there is need to make medical and herbal research popular, especially given the abundance of medicinal plants. “Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime promoted integration between orthodox and alternative (including herbal) medicine. Current administration has not done anything like that, except for a state like Lagos that already has traditional medicine board and they are working,” he said. Bundles of marijuana seized from traffickers
CONTINUED FROM PAGE...
With The Loose Legal Infrastructure Available, More People Would Have Access To It — Elemo
of the home countries in which they were manufactured. They include CT-3 (ajulemic acid) for the treatment of spasticity and neuropathic pain in MS patients; anti-inflammatory properties may help relieve pain from arthritis; Cannabinor, anti-inflammatory agent and used in treatment of chronic pain with an emphasis on neuropathic (nerve) pain; also for bladder control; HU 308 (licensed from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) for treatment of hypertension and as anti-inflammatory. There is also Rimonabant/Acomplia for anti-obesity (an appetite reducer) among others. Are nations tactically backing out of enforcement? Latching on the inherent and enhanced properties in the plant, which may add more to the list of prescription drugs and perhaps, what has been the astronomical cost of enforcement of ban on use of marijuana, nations are gradually relaxing the laws. South Africa While it may not really be a snowball effect yet for the adoption of public sales of medical marijuana, countries like South Africa is considering a bill to legalise it. Even presently, people abuse alcohol in Nigeria, believing ‘sorA member of the country’s parliament, Mario Orianirow’ can be drowned in drinks only to find that those challenges Ambrosini, who is suffering from cancer put the bill up for still stare them in the face when the effect wears off. consideration urging the house to support it. He said it would help patients like him suffering from the life-threatening ailITH the loose legal infrastructure available, more people ment to douse the usually terrible pains that accompany the would have access to the drug. medical condition. Elemo recalled that some of his students, at a time were abusing the laboratory grade alcohol, which is about 98 per cent pure. ABAJIDE ELEMO, professor of Biochemistry of the Lagos State According to him, students tempered the power 50/50 to bring University, Ojo, Lagos observed that marijuana has been in it to the level of something like ‘schnapp’ in order to consume it use for thousands of years for medical purposes, but there is but to halt this tendency, it had to be dosed with a tincture of phenot ample empirical evidence or data to back up the efficacy of nolphthalein, a laboratory chemical indicator, which can render the drug. the human liver useless in a week, to colour it. This was a ploy to But of the abuse, he said, “It is the general malaise that is discourage them as addiction was knocking at the door for these afflicting the human race. We are fast losing our humanism students if they were not checked. even with issue of homosexuality. Even in the U.S, where relaMedical marijuana, he said have excipients or extract from the tively speaking, there is freedom, it is only in a few states that plant, and when put in bottle, it is even easier to abuse, because it there is backing of medical marijuana.” would not smell like the one people smoke. Elemo argued marijuana is one of the strong addictive subElemo argued that societies that advocate legalisation of medical stances, that is why there is a lot of caution about it. “You don’t want to treat a patient, who is suffering the side effect of chemotherapy from cancer treatment, and then up with, perhaps 20 more people, who become addicted to cannabis (marijuana) because of accessibility.” A country like Nigeria, with the level of our economy and development should not even contemplate legalising it, Elemo said. Ordinarily, the spirit of the average Nigerian, in the midst of hardship, is still waxing strong. This may be the reason there was a report some time ago that Nigerians are ‘the happiest people’ on earth. With this hindsight, Nigerians do not need more ‘highs’ from usage of cannabis. “If we don’t have the problem of drugs and we are killing ourselves by the hundreds, what will happen when marijuana is legalised.” He agrees that the clamour for the legalisation is not a new phenomenon and people have agitated for it in the past. However, he does not think Nigeria is ripe for it, not even under the cloak of medical or recreational marijuana.
…Addictive like morphine He narrated that when he had a bone surgery here in Nigeria, the ache was indescribable, extremely excruciating that jabs were occasionally given to kill the pain. The sweet relief lasted for only about one hour after which the pains returned. Asking for more jabs became a regular request but he was told that the instruction is to have it (morphine) twice in three days. That steady request was a route to addiction. “It is a fantastic pain reliever but very addictive and ordinarily, people tend to abuse the use,” he admitted. He was not given more doses because the doctors did not want a case of being dependent on the drug. And he thinks many will heavily abuse marijuana if it is made freely available in whatever guise.
Impounded marijuana being set on fire by drug law agents
marijuana are most likely those also involved in the push for gay rights/same sex marriage or they are reactionary to those who say no to gay marriage. ‘We are fast losing our humanism,’ he emphasised. On whether the US is getting weary of the huge cost of enforcing the prohibition, Elemo does not hold that perspective. Perhaps, the approach, he thinks could be that the US government or other European countries took the stance to see if people would relax the crave for it. The illegal business and drug money behind dope deals would likely lose the fire since the channels would be more open and banks, like US President, Barack Obama announced recently, would be encouraged to do business with outlets of either medical or social marijuana. Social scientists say the average person wants to hit out at something when depressed; and economic frustration lead to abuse of rights, persons, and substances regarded as psychotropic and dangerous. The biochemistry academic however, thinks ‘medical marijuana’ is a coinage to allow it to be accessible to more people. Analysts postulate that the consequences of abuse could be well managed by the developed nations, where facilities for rehabilitation are available. The reverse is likely the case in many developing nations like Nigeria. In consonance with the opinion expressed by Prof. Elemo, the Deputy Police Commissioner-medic, Akhiwu said the economic benefits aside, there are consequences, but is Nigeria ready for it? This is because there would be spike in psychiatric cases when it is liberalised, he argued. Though it is found useful in the treatment of some medical conditions, he clarifies that medical cannabis is not for everybody to get as an off-the-counter (OTC) drug, where available. It is principally going to be prescription item even if government legislates in the favour of its usage. On cost of enforcement of the ban, it may be that it has been left to the discretion of the users like has been done on cigarette used at their own risk. In any care, regulatory authorities in countries where governments have given a go-ahead would still make money from it.
THE guARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, April 7, 2014
ENTERPRISE By Gbenga Salau N spite of the fact that many Nigerians have lost properties worth millions of naira to fire incidences, more often than not, those who suffered this loss or witnessed it, do nothing concrete to prevent such occurrence in future. But while it is good to appropriately fight fire when it occurs, Femi Young, Executive Director, Safety Consultants and Solution Providers Ltd., says it is also good to put in place measures that can prevent and easily detect fire to minimise loss. “The reality is this: we do not take fire and safety very seriously in Nigeria. Though people always mourn and sympathise whenever there is a loss due to fire incidents, yet no step is taken to avert a repeat. For example, when building a residential house, different consultants should be involved in the design and construction, but in most cases, a safety engineer is not considered. Fire incidents in Nigeria are mostly caused by electrical faults. “Trouble often starts, when people decide to do electrical extension in their houses. So, another socket needs to be installed, but they often employ unqualified electricians to do the electrical extension. These quacks, who do not understand the intricacies and technical aspect of electrical wiring, undertake the exercise in a very dangerous way. The moment there is surge in power, the weak area ignites. “Nearly everybody knows somebody whose house or houses caught fire, but we do not ask ourselves why. Ask 10 people if they are aware of the fact that fire extinguisher is an important item to have in a building or not. It will interest you to know that nine of them will answer ‘yes, of course.’ Proceed to ask if they have one and six of them will reply ‘no.’ If you ask the rest how long they have had the extinguisher, three of the four won’t know.” He told The Guardian that while many Nigerians are very quick to refill their generators, when they run out of diesel or petrol, many do not seem to care much, when it comes to their safety. “This is because they believe god will protect them. They will tell you, ‘it is not my portion.’ But it was ‘never the portion’ of all that have suffered loss of not just their houses, but also loved ones to fire outbreaks.” According to Young, with fire extinguishers in the house, some of the fire incidents could easily have been dealt with before they degenerate. “So the public should be educated on the importance of fire extinguisher. Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) insists that individuals carry fire extinguishers in their cars. Many do so mainly because they do not want to be stopped and fined. But their houses, arguably their greatest asset, are not protected. “Extinguisher helps to fight fire as soon as it starts. But beyond this, how about detecting the fire on time? People need to know when fire starts. Some people buy N5, 000 recharge cards for their phones every week, but with just N3, 500, they can buy a smoke detector, which can be fixed in a strategic place within the building. With this, they get alerted when the alarm goes off. That is at the domestic level. “At Idumota, Oke-Arin, sometimes ago, there was fire, but when the Fire Brigade got there, they did not know where to start from. Perhaps they had no water or could not access the building easily. We have dedicated lanes for buses, but what about emergency vehicles? When constructing new roads, why are we not putting fire hydrants across these roads so that if there is a fire, the Fire Brigade can attack and fight it with the hydrant?” He also feels that as new estates are springing up, fire hydrants should be laid round roads so that if there is fire outbreak, it can be fought easily. “But we just do not care as a people. We say it is not our portion because there is god. So, those that have experienced fire outbreaks have no god? It is advisable to have some safety measures in place.” He laments the fact that though there are laws that compel Nigerians to take some precautionary measures in this regard, they are, however, not enforced. “A commercial building, by law, is supposed to have a certification from Fire Service men, who should come around to see that the required number of fire extinguishers are put in place after which they issue a certificate of compliance. But what typically happens is that though these officers go to do these checks, there is an aspect of it that is neglected. This is training. “For instance, the major duty of a Fire Marshal is to ensure that whenever there is a fire, people are informed and that the fire exits are
YOuNg: Preventing Fire Outbreaks Through Safety Measures properly marked through where people are taken out. It used to be a routine training in offices.” About his organisation, he said: “As the name suggests, we are into ensuring security and safety of our clients. We realise that accident can happen, but there are certain measures, which should be put in place to at least avert some of these accidents. “These measures or readiness to avert some of the consequences, therefore, reduce loss, especially in the forms of lives and properties. So, we strive to provide service to the public, government and private companies. “We are three years old and my partner, Mrs. Anthonia, a Chemical Engineer, has been involved in fire and safety for some 20 years, while I have been involved in safety from electrical standpoint, design, consultancy in fire and protection services for 20 years also. “In the last four years, when the company was formed, the concentration has been on averting hazards, fire detection, protection, suppression and CCTV surveillance, because these things add to security and safety. If somebody is watching the camera, he’ll see if somebody is performing his duty in an unsafe manner so that a potential accident is averted in time.” He informs that his outfit provides systems for fighting different types of fire in offices and residential buildings. “We come to design fire protection and detection modes and we ensure that the designs are up to international standards. We do everything to specification. “We also ensure that the water pressure is sufficient to fight fire in a large building, which
Nearly everybody knows somebody whose house or houses caught fire, but we do not ask ourselves why. Ask 10 people if they are aware of the fact that fire extinguisher is an important item to have in a building or not. It will interest you to know that nine of them will answer ‘yes, of course.’ Proceed to ask if they have one and six of them will reply ‘no.’ If you ask the rest how long they have had the extinguisher, three of the four won’t know.
means there should be specially designed pumps to create not just a pressure but that, which can provide so many litres of water per minutes to quench that fire. We also have gas fire fighting system because people might need to put out a fire in very sensitive areas such as a data centre, a bank or library, where the documents in the building which are about being burnt do not get wet either or a museum, where there are some lifeless artifacts that should not get stained. “The gas system is a non-toxic gas device, which leaves no residue or water that may damage some of these things when it is quenching the fire. What it does is to starve the fire of oxygen without damaging anything. “These are some of the things we would be talking about in our upcoming exhibition. It is a very safe method of fighting fire. We also sit down with the Architect to look at the safety aspect of the design, not to criticise the design per se but to evaluate it from the beginning to the end, so as to look at the potential hazards that could happen and provide solutions. “I believe that the construction industry in Nigeria should revisit how some things are done. Now, in Europe, America and South Africa, when a building is being designed, and the architect is done with the design and the quantity surveyor, mechanical engineer and other professionals have done their bits, the safety engineer is also invited. “The structural engineer is ensuring that the building is going to stand strongly and that the foundation is solid enough to carry it. He
is not concerned about the aesthetic aspect, as much as the architect is. The mechanical engineer is worried about the sewage, drainage and plumbing, while the quantity surveyor is concerned about working within budget. But there is an important area, where I think things should be looked at and that is the area of fire safety and security. “Safety consultants, who specialise in that aspect of design should be invited to check the building. After all the other professionals have made their input, then the safety consultant looks at what type of fire protection and suppression systems are needed for that very building. That is a very specialised area and we must treat it as such in Nigeria. I would like to suggest to our architects and project managers that it should be taken out of the contract and given to organisations and specialists such as ours to do that design so that proper systems are put in place for safety.” And the upcoming exhibition? “We are going to invite project managers and top management members of organisations such as CEOs and MDs to come and have understanding of current trends and insights on issues of safety and how they are complying or could comply with new trends. So, we are going to have seminars, two days in Lagos and two days in Abuja. “We are expecting international speakers to give talks and it is going to be a very informative session to let people know how they can avert these hazards. “The exhibition is educative. Some organisations have not been able to keep up with safety and security measures because the information has not been made available to them.”
Sunday, April 6, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
BUSINESS EXTRA Access Bank Reignite Savings Culture Among School Children By Daniel Anazia S part of activities to commemorate the Financial Literacy Day and Global Money Week, an initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Access Bank Plc, visited Command Secondary School Makurdi, Benue State to help inculcate and reignite the savings culture, especially among in the mind of young people. Enlightening the students on basic principles of money management and elementary financial education, the Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, represented by the Zonal Head North-Central Banking, Kingsley Ilawagbon, urged the students to imbibe savings culture as part of their lifestyle. According Wigwe, the seminar was part of the bank’s commitment of specifically promoting financial literacy amongst youths and children in the country, and the hallmark of this year’s commemorative initiatives by the bank was its adoption of Command Secondary School, Makurdi for the impartation of the financial literacy module. Wigwe said the Bankers Committee’s agenda for this year’s celebration of the Money Week was a solid testament to the dedication of the Nigerian banking sector to inclusive and sustainable banking. “The Bankers Committee through its SubCommittee on Financial Literacy has evolved a programme that would ensure that the Nigerian banking sector makes meaningful contribution to the attainment of this year’s goal of involving more than one million people in the exercise which was expected to take place in over 80 countries across the world,” he said. He noted the bank in conjunction with the CBN and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), had as part of its plan to take students on tour to the floor of the NSE, where the students will interact with the stockbrokers and also ask questions that will provide them adequate knowledge on the operations of the Stock Exchange. Speaking after the seminar and on the lessons
learned, a student of the school, Esther James, said she is now aware of the relevance of financial literacy. “I learnt about the best way to use our money and how we can invest. When we invest, we get back returns. I also learnt that the aim of this financial literacy is to help students know how to spend money. The initiative is good and life changing; I want to thank Access Bank for their contributions to making our tomorrow better,” she said. Asked how she would spend one thousand naira, Esther, while drawing from what she learnt said, she is going to first, draw up a budget, separate her needs from her wants, and prudently allocate the money to solve her needs, knowing quite well that she can do without her needs. The school’s Financial Accounting teacher, who preferred anonymity, noted he could only draw positive inferences from what had transpired during the seminar. He remarked: “Honestly, the students from their questions and responses to the lecture, I believe have benefited so much, and have gained knowledge of financial literacy; what it is all about, why Global Money Week was introduced not only in Nigeria, Makurdi, and Command Secondary School, but everywhere in the world. He added, “They have come to understand that it is very relevant that every person knows how to manage every resource, no matter how small, given to him or her. The lecture was very interactive and impacting.” He, however, pointed out that more can still be done to better the program. “I suggest that more schools should be visited; I think the child and youth financial empowerment should be done more regularly rather than once in a year,” he stated. To continue the financial literacy education process in the youths, parents were hosted at the bank’s corporate head office in Lagos, where they were sensitised on the need to groom their wards early on financial literacy, knowing well that this teaching should not end in the
24 | Sunday, April 6, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, April 6, 2014 | 25
26 | Sunday, April 6, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, April 6, 2014 | 27
28 Sunday, April 6, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
The reign of the herb hawkers
Herbal, Herbal, Herbal Everywhere By Gregory Austin Nwakunor
proach as rational phytotherapy. sort to trying different types of treatment, inThe second type entails consulting an herbal cluding the use of paraga. HE room was dark and dingy, with everypractitioner, who takes a history, makes a diagbody sweating. It was craggy and forested nosis and prescribes a mixture of several Healthy Scepticism with different kinds of roots. Bottles and empty herbal remedies tailor-made to the characterEYOND the use of herbs to improve the containers were everywhere. The room buzzed istics of his patient. health, however, many now use herbs to solve with flies tasting as many drinks as possible. sexual problems. However, this is not new in the Outside, a growing crowd milled around, en- The Other Side Of Paradise Nigerian society. Body energiser or action pill joying their drink. The crowd continued to ERBAL bitters had been used for medicinal have always been with Nigerians from the time, grow with many seated young ones enjoying purposes long before recorded history. In- when some Shuwa women went about with caltheir pepper soup, fish, meat and cowhide pop- digenous cultures in Africa and Native Ameri- abash on their heads, selling powdery substance ularly called Ponmo. cas used herbs in their healing rituals, to to enhance manhood, to when some Hausa/FuAs they sat, some of the young ones were reduce inflammation, control pain, relax mus- lani men went about with different roots called drinking and telling crude stories and diacles and improve digestion and elimination, ‘burantanshi’ or ‘ogun aleko’ by the Yoruba herbal logues about the potency of the drink and its li- as well as boost appetite in some cases. sellers of western Nigeria. Aphrodisiac, otherbidinal prowess. Everybody was filled with But with the evolution of innovations, wise called libido boosters, are getting increasbuoyant spirit of optimism in the era. tablets, syrups and capsules, offspring of ingly popular amongst young adults and For many young ones, the hour is godsend for chemical analysis extracted from herbs took sexually active men to boost their sexual ‘wine o’clock’ in Nigeria. And the bell is tolling the place of bitters. Despite the oversight, prowess. for youths in dire need of assistance for failing which occurred partly due to fear of bitter The growing influx of sellers indicates that the libido. taste, those who recognised the wealth of sale of libido enhancers is an emerging booming The world over, the ancient tradition of herbal sweetness embedded in bitterness prevented business in Nigeria, with users increasing in remedy is making a resurgence and finding its its extinction. bounds by the day. way back not only into the market, but more es- Herbal medicines are one type of dietary sup- Just as there are local variants of aphrodisiacs pecially into the hearts of many people, who, plement. They are sold as tablets, capsules, such as a mixture of local gin and herbs, which despite the plethora of sophisticated medipowders, teas, extracts, and fresh or dried come in forms called Agbo Gbogbonise, Sepe and cines, are reintegrating their healthcare soluplants. Many people turn to bitters for differ- Paraga, Opa eyin, jedi, Sapele water, afato, opelebe, tion needs to the raw provision of nature. ent reasons: to maintain or improve their dagrin, kainkain and karaole among others, there From the herbal bitters to the herbal soap, health. are the imported version such as Viagra, etc. toothpaste, cream and even tea, the use of Understandably too, for chronic illnesses So, are there well packaged industrially made herbal medicines in the world is becoming such as back pain or coping with stress related variants in packets of pills, or tablet such as Spanwidespread. In this league comes the now om- conditions, which may appear very difficult to ish fly, Enpulse, Vimax, Virillis, M-Energex, High nipresent array of brands of bitters, paraga, manage. The driver that sits for long periods of T, Male X and those in liquid forms like Alomo which enjoys wide patronage and acceptance the day takes bitters in the form of ‘paraga’ for bitters to mention a few? in Nigeria. back pain, boosting appetite, alertness, as an While the likes of Sepe and Paraga have their There are at least two different kinds of herbal energiser and to ward off colds. For instance, target consumers made up of the mass of not so medicine. The first type is supported by some chronic back pain, which is an occupational educated persons such as bus drivers, mechanreasonably sound evidence and essentially uses disease of the factory worker, who is permaics, labourers and the likes, the packaged variwell-tested herbal remedies against specific nently standing up, can also be very difficult to ants reach to the elite and upwardly mobile conditions; some experts have called this aptreat satisfactorily and thus, many people re-
individuals across sections of the society of the working class professionals. A traditional herb seller in Oyingbo Market, Iya Ibeji, told The Guardian, “we have all these herbs around us and the use is derived as part of our own culture.” The mother of eight grown up children claims to treat everything from curses to impotence through the use of herbs. According to her, “we use a combination of these herbs such as agbo to treat many ailments, but now, people selling all sorts of things as agbo, all in the name of making money, are bringing disrepute to the business.” Ukpebor Ogizien, the Ada of Ewohimi Kingdom, Esan, Edo State, who is also the president of Edo State Herbal Medicine Practitioners in Lagos, said, “there are a lot of charlatans doing it in the name of money. They lie to people that paraga cures so many sicknesses. I have even seen people hawk it. Traditional medicine practitioners have been complaining about this set of people, even to point of getting to the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), because some of the concoctions they sell are dangerous.” He noted that instead of these mixtures relieving the problems they are meant to cure, they aggravate them. “They are dangerous and could damage internal organs such as the kidney, liver and even the lungs,” he pointed out. For him, “no one medicine can cure all sicknesses, for there are different preparations for different illness.” Ogizien said, “most of the hawkers you see around selling agbo at the bus stops and
CONTINUED ON 30
Sunday, April 6, 2014 29
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
OGIZIEN: God Gave Herbs To Cure Sickness, Keep Life Going Ukpebor Ogizien (JP) is the Ada of Ewohimi Kingdom, Esan, Edo State. He is also the president of Edo State Herbal Medicine Practitioners in Lagos. He spoke with OMIKO AWA on traditional medicine. which is more effective? What is traditional medicine? You cannot cook all roots; there are some T is the original medicine designed by God, Almighty, for us to heal our diseases leaves we cook while there are some we just squeeze to get the fluid. There are some leaves and make life worth living. It has both for headache that you do not even need to good and bad effects, so the user needs to squeeze or cook, all you need to do is put it on follow the prescription of those who prethe person’s head and make some incantation pared and prescribed it to achieve maxiand the headache will go. You cook some and mum result. use some raw. Are traditional and herbal medicines the Are roots products good for consumption? same? If they are from genuine practitioners, I They are not exactly the same. Though, they are both made from roots, leaves, tree would say yes, but if not, my answer is obvious. Some of these street herbal medicine bark and others, we aim at the same hawkers use original roots, but the exception thing — healing the user and saving life. However, I must let you know that there is a there, is that they combine different roots into very thin line that differentiates them; for one to make their preparation a cure-all mixture. A traditional medicine practitioner must while herbal medicine is purely based on concoctions made from plants, the real tra- have an area of specialisation; he is usually ditional medicine has an aspect of spiritu- certified by the State Traditional Medicine Board after proving that he is capable of healality associated to it. For traditional medicine to be effective, it must be backed ing the sicknesses he claims he could heal. A practitioner is usually made to undergo some with incantations that will draw powers scrutiny to authenticate his claims and failure from the metaphysical realm. to prove ones ability means there will be no So, aside from the herbs, do these medicines depend on other powers for their po- certificate, and anything you do will then be tagged fake. tency? For instance, if you claim you can heal someYes, and this is the reason the practice is not open to everybody. Practitioners of tra- one who suffer from stroke, a stroke patient will be brought to you to heal and you would ditional medicine are either called, initibe allowed to use your said prescriptions on ated into it or they inherited the powers the patient. This is done under the supervision from their forbearers. This is to empower the person, make him or her have authority of seasoned practitioners and if under the specified time, usually three months and the and power generally referred to as ase or awase from God. Without the ase no tradi- patient is certified healed, you will be instructed to go ahead and produce your pretional medicine will have the potency to scriptions for sale. These are the bottled heal. So, having it would enable the tradiherbal medicines you find in such places like tional medicine practitioner to prepare Ewu Monastery, Yaba Traditional Herbal cenconcoctions that heal people. Is paraga or agbo part of traditional medi- tre and others. Do traditional or herbal medicines have cine? Yes, but there are a lot of charlatans doing dosages? Yes, they do. They have dosage depending on it in the name of money. They lie to people the seriousness of the illness. But many people that paraga cures so many sicknesses. I have even seen people hawk it. Traditional believe you can just wake up and take agbo or any other traditional medicine for the cleansmedicine practitioners have been coming (washing and setting) of the body for the plaining about this set of people, even to point of getting to the National Agency for day. In fact, agbo is of the two types: there are agbo iba for malaria and agbo typhoid for tyFood, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), because some of the concoctions phoid. A pregnant woman cannot take agbo typhoid and if she does, she will have a they sell are dangerous. Instead of these miscarriage. It is to be taken twice a day, full mixtures relieving the problems they are glass without blood tonic, but as time goes on meant to cure, they aggravate them. They are dangerous and could damage internal with the sickness going away you reduce to a glass per day. The mixture has a special root organs such as the kidney, liver and even the lungs. In fact, no one medicine can cure that would make anybody taking it to eat well. all sicknesses, for there are different prepa- There is another, you can just bath with. Anyrations for different illness. Another thing thing outside these prescriptions becomes an overdose. All medicines have dosages. about these street paraga is that they do It is a common belief that herbal medicine not have dosage and as such they make helps men’s libido, how true is this? buyers take them as much as they could, What causes weak erection is dysentery (jedi which dangerous. But some of the pagara sellers in the street jedi) and all one needs to do is take Jedi jedi claim they have their own registered body medicine. It is usually purgative, but it will clear the system and make you hard. Jedi jedi and are certificated to prepare and sell could be caused by too much intake of sweet their concoction? things or sugar based products. Other things They may be right because there are different organisations out there claiming to that could cause erectile problem are infecbe for traditional medicine practitioners. I tion, which could be contacted from public toilet or poor hygiene, diabetes, stroke and know we all have different bodies, but nerves related illness. Any man suffering from there are some fraudsters that are masquerading under one or two organisations weak erection should first find out if he has jedi jedi or other infections before thinking of to sell their mixtures. using sex-enhancing drugs. This is to avoid the How effective are these medicines when long-term negative effect of sex-enhancing they are put inside gin? drugs. It is always good for anybody with erecThey still perform the same thing; they still have the same potency. There are some tile problem to go for comprehensive medical roots you cannot cook, traditional healers check up to know the real cause and how to treat it, instead of going for aphrodisiac that use gin to make them ferment for those that take alcohol. Gin makes the root to fer- will later endanger one’s life. The side effects of these drugs are dangerous. ment on time. It makes the herbs to steep faster and good for those that love alcohol. What do you suggest for men using libido drugs? Moreso, gin takes less than eight hours It’s bad, they should rather go for check up to while water takes 10 to 24 hours to steep find out if their problem is associated to infecand they are good for people that do not like alcohol. One thing herbs do to alcohol tions such as sexually transmitted disease that is to make it lose its flavour; the herbs usu- was not well treated in the past or jedi jedi, so that they would know what to eat or take. ally take over the power of alcohol. However, we advise anybody mixing herbs with Supposing it is associated to age Age will never make any man lose interest in alcohol to use the local brew, the original gin and not ethanol. Ethanol has long time sex. My late father had a child when he was 120 effect on human internal organs; it is dan- years old. It is only women that lose the urge for sex with age, especially when menopause gerous to health and should not be consets in. Men do not suffer menopause, so, they sumed. Some say roots should be better consumed keep on kicking. Secondly, erection is a thing cooked than taken raw, so, raw and cooked, of the mind, when the mind is not settled no
Ogizien matter the woman’s beauty, you can never have erection. Can a woman take herbs to enhance performance? There are no special herbs for that, rather, most women are inflicted by spiritual husbands. After satisfying themselves in the spiritual realm, they wake up to deny their physical husbands sex, which is really the major cause of most broken home. Some say traditional medicine is the same as voodoo practice or witchcraft? We have two types of traditional medicine practitioners or native doctors. There are two types of witches or wizards. The white witches or wizards are those initiated with ordinary kolanut, while the black ones are initiated with fish or meat. The black witches are for destruction or evil and they are dangerous. But the white witches or wizards are like the military police to the soldiers: military police arrest soldiers who misbehave. So, the white witches destroy the bad ones. There are some bad native doctors, we cannot rule that out, they destroy and enjoy doing that, so, we call them witchcraft native doctors. But there are those that use their power for good. God gave us herbs to cure
our sicknesses and to keep life going. If you go to Ezekiel 47:12 you see that. Prophet Ezekiel was the first native doctor in the Bible. He told us how to use herbs: that is the reason he said ‘blessed are those that do His will,’ the will of God is always good, and never bad. The spiritual power that follows is that most sickness are not natural, there are a lot of hatred, jealousy and the urge to eliminate one and take over his or her position, so most of this will lead to those wanting to achieve their inordinate ambition to inflict harm on others. So, what most native doctors do, especially those called, are to set loose those inflicted by all manner of affliction by the wicked ones. You need to be called to do this; it is like the pastors too. How long are you in practice? I was initiated into it at the age of seven; in short, it runs in my family, my grandfather and father were both native doctors. But despite that, I attend Trado-medical School in Ghana and have been practicing since 1985. I have many titles and high profile men including commissioners, traditional rulers and ministers as clients.
30 Sunday, April 6, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
SPECIALREPORT ADEBAYO:They Are Yet To Pass Standardisation Test By Daniel Anazia OVERTY is said to be one of the factors reP sponsible for killer diseases and ailments ravaging underdeveloped countries of the world. Therefore, primary healthcare services delivery has become an issue of serious concern in Africa, where most of the least developed countries (LDC) are found. Orthodox medicine alone, many say, cannot provide all the solutions to these ailments; hence, the upsurge in alternative or herbal medicine, especially, in the area of primary healthcare needs of the people. To this end, alternative medicine is exploited as a veritable aspect of general medicare that could best complement the efforts of orthodox practice. Recent research and development have proved the efficacy of alternative medicine as acceptable, and somewhat reliable. Therefore, the question is no longer whether herbal medicine is good and reliable, rather the check is in the process of its administration and the sustainability of the practical knowledge transfer or impartation. Though, there are some gifted people in the herbal medical trade and many have excelled in the field given the degree of acceptance and proven efficacy; however, the influx of people who take to the activities of herbalism, tradotherapy, and trado-pharmacy across the country has become a major concern. Many have argued that herbal medicare, as a complementary medical practice to the orthodox or conventional medicare, is not actually a bad idea. One fundamental issue that has posed a challenge to the process of integrating herbal medicine, as an adequate healthcare services delivery, is the unrestrained and nonharmonised entry of people into the practice, as well as the actual regulation and control of its administration process, the uncertainty of dosage and prescription and many other shortcomings of the trade. Adebayo According to the National President, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria Western drugs.” (ACPN), Pharmacist Olufemi Ismail Adebayo, Factors responsible for the shift to herbal there are so many factors responsible for the medicine are listed by Adebayo to include paradigm shift from orthodox to herbal medi- cost. Pharmacy, being a part of science, entails cine by many Nigerians. research and development, which is cost effecSaid he: “As scientists, we base our argument tive. “Year-in, year-out, drugs are produced and conclusions on figures after a complete re- and this costs a lot. As a result of this cost, the search work must have been done regarding prices of most drugs are high considering the issue in focus. As you know, science deals Nigeria’s economic situation, where the stanwith the study of animal and plants, and it dard of living is very high. must be noted that the Western or orthodox “The economic factor may be adducible to medicines are developed from both animals the trend because people look for alternative, and plants. where the orthodox drug is expensive. Any“Such drugs are developed over a period of body that is sick wants to get well, but because time after undergoing series of tests and trials, the orthodox medicine or drugs are somefirstly, on animals before the trial on human what expensive, affordability becomes a major beings commences. So many things are inchallenge and the individual look for alternavolved vis-à-vis toxicity, efficacy and the tive,” Adebayo said. dosage, which are standardised requirements. According to him, another factor responsible Part of the study includes how long the drug for the bandwagon trend in herbal medicare stays in the body after taking it. That is why we is the peoples’ culture or belief system. He exhave different doses, which could be once a plained that some people believe that when day, twice or three times daily. There are some and where the orthodox medicine is ineffecthat are administered weekly, and by virtue of tive, the traditional or herbal medicare should this, the standardisation processes have been be consulted. “For instance, if an individual is conducted, which are mostly associated with having some difficulty and it is spiritually in-
clined, they may be advised to seek tradiOn how healthy the continuous taking of the tional medicine.” He blamed government for the shift. “What herbal medicines are to the body without due observation of the dosage, Adebayo said, “That is one is the standard of living, the per capita inof the shortcomings of the herbal medicine. Most come of Nigerians? How many people are gainfully employed in this country? If what is herbal medicines have not been able to meet the meant for one person is being shared by six standard development requirement such as conor eight people, definitely people will look tents, dosage, expiry date and toxicity. What are the contents of these herbal medicines? for alternative. “There is one they call gbogbonise, which is “Another thing is the issue of quacks and claimed to have cure for all diseases; this looks quackery, substandard and fake drugs. In medical practice, there are quacks. You can’t and sound ridiculous. How could a particular get the right prescription, if you don’t go to medicine provide solution to several ailments? the appropriate professionals for complaint And like I said, these are part of the shortcomings and diagnosis. Even if you go to the appropri- of herbal medicine. The standard dosage and toxicity have not been determined. What I mean by ate professionals and actual diagnosis is done, improper administration of drug will toxicity is the side effects they have to the body, which conventional drugs always deal with and surely be a problem. “So, people will look for alternative. And for usually state in a leaflet with the drug.” He noted also that orthodox medicines are usume, everything starts and stops on the desk ally in capsules, syrup and tablet forms, which of government. Our borders are porous and all manner of things are brought in without help the drugs, stay through the period before exchecks. Government should be serious and piration. He questioned the dosage form for leave professional practices in the hands of herbal medicines, but explained that herbals like professionals. The handling of drugs should the orthodox drugs are developed from plants and animals. be handled by pharmacists.”
... The Return Of Herbal Medicine CONTINUED FROM 28 parks are actually selling slow poison because most of them do not know the history, use or origin of the herbs they sell, especially those people that sell it with mixtures of Ogogoro or kain kain (local dry gin). What is Sepe or Paraga? They are all the same but with different names to lure people, using Ogogoro as bait. They just get some herbs mixed with Ogogoro and sell and when you take it, your head swells and you feel high. But actually, what they are taking is pure alcoholic spirits, which is harmful to the body.” The traditional medicine practitioner said, “we, however, advise anybody mixing herbs with alcohol to use the local brew, the original gin and not ethanol. Ethanol has long time effect on human internal organs; it is dangerous to health and should not be consumed.” According to another herb seller in Isheri Olofin, “elewe omo” (tradition herb sellers or trado-medicals or alternative medical practitioners) do not sell mixture-like concoctions. “We also do research and have names for different herbs and each herbal plant have their specific uses. The knowledge of herbs is ancient and is passed down from generation to generation and what we do when people come to us is to prescribe herbs (of relevant tree barks, plant leaves or roots), depending on the ailment to be treated. The patient then goes home and prepares the mixture himself/herself in measured quantity that we prescribe, which is mostly with water and not ogogoro.”
The woman continued, “we have a registered association and we have guidelines for the operations of our members. Most of these people selling agbo mixtures at bus stops are quacks, who just get some herbs, mix them with ogogoro to sell and the people that buy such, take it mostly for the sake of the ogogoro in it, not because of the herb.”
Not Without My Sepe
HOUGH many people have argued that herbal medicines T do not have to go through the testing that drugs do, some herbs, such as comfrey and ephedra, can cause serious harm. Some other herbs can interact with prescription or over-thecounter medicines. If you are thinking of taking herbal medicine, it is imperative to first get information on it from reliable sources. Be sure to tell your health care provider about any herbal medicines you are taking for proper and professional advice. A number of factors make the assessment of adverse effects associated with these products more complex than with pharmaceuticals. And problems have often resulted from contamination and adulteration. This, however, has no bearing on the actual practice of herbalism, which is based on thousands of clinical studies of botanicals, a solid pharmacological research base outlining multiple confirmed mechanisms of action, and a traditional use record that complements, rather than contradicts modern literature. For many, who have championed the cause of alternative
medicine, a classification is also proposed for adverse effects associated with herbal medicines, and medical practitioners are encouraged to include use of these preparations in a patient’s drug history and in reports of suspected adverse drug reactions. Practitioners should be able to advise their patients appropriately about the potential of the herb to cause a change in blood pressure. According to them, patients with hypertension are cautioned by their doctors on the need to be very careful about keeping their blood pressure within acceptable limits. This is often accomplished with drug treatments, as well as control of the diet and sufficient exercise. Sometimes, herbs are held responsible for hypertensive actions as a result of unusual dosing patterns. When people with hypertension are given herbs, a high blood pressure reading after the start of the regimen may bring suspicion that the herb therapy provoked a reaction. As another example, ginseng, which lowers blood pressure at normal dosages of about 3-4 grammes per day, is used in China to treat shock (a sudden drop of blood pressure) given at 30 grammes for a dose or through injection. The reference to the treatment method for shock, where very high-dose ginseng restores normal blood pressure, should not deter the ordinary use of ginseng as a healthpromoting tonic.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Mixtures Across Border Stories by Omiko Awa S some people are of the view that African herbal medicine, especially the Nigerian herbal mixture, should be avoided, saying they are crude and that the practitioners carry out their trade in a manner akin to rituals, a handful of the practitioners believe that such thinking is petty and won’t let it deter them back from advancing the cause of Nigerian herbal medicine. This group has not only upped the standard of herbal medicine practice by introducing innovations such as putting them in capsules, prescribing dosages, ensuring their formula pass through clinical examination and even putting expiring dates and others, it has taken its trade beyond the shores of Nigeria to countries in Europe and America, which before now would have nothing to do with African traditional medicine. Commenting on this development, Olosunde Oluwatoyin, General Manager, YemKem International Centre for Alternative Therapy, Lagos, said: “before now, people avoided herbal medicine because it had no dosage and the composition of the drugs were not known, but all that are now a thing of the past, as the innovation introduced in herbal medicine has made it possible for practitioners to overcome these limitations. “We embarked on research to improve on our local medicine, and we discovered a lot of ways of doing this and then went ahead to do them. As you can see, we have redefined herbal medicine, repackaged it with the literature that enable the user know what he is taking and how to take it.” With his company blazing the trail in the Owolabi herbal medicine business for almost 35 he said. years of practice, Oluwatoyin informed These innovations have given leverage to that putting herbal medicine into capsules does not make it lose its potency, as African herbal medicine within Africa and abroad, especially in countries, where before it does not undergo any industrial processing, where addictive or toxic mixture now they have been referred to as mere concoctions. could be added. To this, Oluwatoyin said: “People have just re“We only ground the herbs into powder and put them into gelatin capsules. Gela- alised that it is good to take natural products, tin is harmless to the body, but would en- so they are coming home to ask for our products. There is a massive switching over from able a user swallow the drug easily. The orthodox to natural medicine and this is putherbs in capsules have no added chemiting pressure and demand on us outside cals; they are still the same herbs and as Nigeria, especially in the Europe and USA. In potent as ever.” But did the herbal mixtures undergo any fact, Osomo, which is one of our new products, clinical analysis to determine the dosage is already in Europe and the demand for it is to be taken? Oluwatoyin answered in the high.” Differentiating herbal medicine from its traaffirmative. “The National Agency for Food and Drug ditional counterpart, the Yemkem boss said: Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has “traditional medicine is being practised in a crude way, has poor packaging and is based tested the toxicity of these products and approved them for human consumption. on spiritualism and rituals, while herbal medicine is done in a pure scientific way. So, we are not just packaging and selling them without passing through NAFDAC, ” “Practitioners of herbal medicine have disen-
gaged themselves from spiritualism by basing their findings on research, clinical analyses and laboratory tests. They have even gone a step further to document their composition for future use and the next generation. “As part of the innovation and redefining of African herbal medicine, we now have two types of drugs — the over-the-counter drugs and those that cannot be bought over the counter. So, our herbal doctors usually recommend those drugs that cannot be bought over the counter. We have clinics, where trained herbal practitioners examine patients to know the exact drug to recommend based on the nature of the illness. No mysticism or spiritualism but purely scientific. On the notion that herbal practitioners often claim that one mixture can cure all illness, Alhaji Gafar Owolabi, Managing Director, Nured Industry and Commercial Company, makers of Oroki Herbal mixture said it is not true. He disclosed that no singular drug could
cure all illness at once, adding that practitioners recommend drugs based on the illness and that there are different drugs for different illnesses. On how local herbal mixtures generally referred to, as agbo is different from any of the refined herbal medicines, Owolabi said the difference is very little. According to him the generic name for herbal medicine is agbo and to be sure it is, it must not be mixed with any preservatives. “Original agbo is made of 100 per cent herbs; no preservatives or chemicals. The moment you add ethanol and other chemicals to it, you have deviated from the original agbo mixture,” he said. Cautioning practitioners against using alcohol or ethanol as ingredients for their herbal mixture, Owolabi informed that these two elements have long-term effects on the health of consumers and as such, practitioners should desist from using them. He explained that adding these two into herbal mixture could damage the liver, kidney and other internal organs. With over 30 years of producing Oroki Herbal Mixture, Owolabi informed that he has patrons from different countries including South Africa, USA and Italy. On how these drugs get to the countries, he said that some of their foreign distributors became aware of them through the Internet and came to Nigeria to verify their facts and took samples to their countries and got approvals for them to be used and sold. “ It is only in Nigeria that we are not recognised. Overseas, our products are highly appreciated,” he said. Speaking on some of the challenges, they face, Owolabi, just like Oluwatoyin said practitioners need the support of government at all levels to further advance the cause of traditional medicine, thereby, making it to be at par with their counterparts from China and other Asian countries. They would also like agencies such as the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to relax their rules on advertising of local herbal medicines to enable them reach out to larger number of people within Nigeria and provide solutions to their health problems. NBC has a lot of rules that are inhibiting the advertisement of herbal medicines on radio and television in Nigeria. Curiously, there are many herbal medicines from China, America and India that are flooding our markets. “Government should encourage us to project our local herbs. In fact, findings have shown that our herbs are more potent than those imported into the country,” he said. And both men agreed.
... The Search For Better Health S early as 7am, a host of adult males gather at a joint on Karounwi Street, Itire, Surulere, Lagos. As they settle down, they demand for cups from the lady standing behind a kiosk, taking orders from the men. She shakes a plastic container, which has different colours of concoctions — black, brown green … the colours are varied — then pours the content in a cup before her, and then returns it to her customer. This scene is the same across many locations in Lagos, where herbal medicines are sold. Different people come to buy this herbal mixture, generally referred to agbo in Yoruba language or mgburogwu in Igbo. It is not surprising to see men and women clutching different containers containing these mixtures. All over the country the message is the same, people have formed the habit to use herbal medicines and sellers are multiplying in bounds. Owing to the belief that herbal medicine is good for the body and a remedy for many illness, many practitioners have sprung up and like any uncontrolled business, the fear of abuse is now on the minds of many, including orthodox health practitioners. According to Akindele Moshood, a bricklayer, agbo caters to all manner of sickness, ranging from common cold to the more serious diseases. “I take agbo before work in the day and after work; it keeps me going in the day and strong at night. The morning agbo serves as cleanser, it enables me to empty my bowl and gives me energy to work,” he said. Corraborating Akindele’s opinion, Lasis Adekunle revealed that he patronises herbal medicine because he cannot afford high hospital bills. “Agbo cures all diseases, our great grandfathers used them to
remain youthful and to make their young wives pregnant. I use agbo to enhance my libido and to cure general aches and pains in my body.” It is as a result of this that some medics are raising the alarm of the danger of indiscriminate sale and use of herbal concoctions, especially the libido enhancing mixtures. They have linked the consumption of some of these concoctions to the increasing mal-functioning of some human internal organs such as the kidney and liver in the country. Speaking on the consumption of these unverified herbal concoctions, Dr. Christopher Olukole, a pharmacist with Firstaids Stores, said government should discourage individuals from taking herbal concoctions because they contain harmful chemicals that could corrode the liver and harm the kidney. When you keep drinking herbs that are not good, the liver and kidney keep working to eradicate them; they leave dangerous components in these sensitive organs aside from over labouring them. According to him, many of the concoctions, which are taken raw, contain substances that have not been analysed to know their effects in the body. He added that some raw herbs contain very toxic chemicals that could only be removed pharmaceutically from the body. “When you take something that has not been analysed to know whether it is useful or not, then you are exposed to danger. Some herbal preparations are not even useful when you analyse them. They are as good as drinking water while some are as potent as any poison you can think of.” Not seeing the possibility of herbal medicine practitioners closing shop, Olukole revealed that the people would continue to use herbal medicines as far as income is low,
the health sector is in a near comatose state, there is high level of illiteracy and the unorthodox medicine practitioners are laying claims to curing all diseases without any scientific proof. Sympathising with the people, especially those in the rural areas, Olukole noted that abuse of herbal medicine is rampant in the rural areas because of lack of healthcare facilities and medical professionals and called for proper government regulation. The pharmacist urged government to set up regulatory bodies that would not only issues licenses to the herbalists, but must make sure that they live up to laid down regulations. He said: “Imagine at this level of our development, there are still villages where no pharmacy or pharmacist, chemist, or clinic could be found, but you are sure to find herbalist or traditional medicine man in every village. People in these places fall sick and need to get well, so, they go to places — orthodox or otherwise — where they can be treated. “So, if government is serious about the health of Nigerians, it must provide healthcare facilities for her citizens irrespective of where they are living or what they do. It must also regulate herbal medicine practice from the crude method presently used to prepare it to a more scientific way, where all the component of the chemicals used can be analysed. “If we must be serious with our health sector, it is inevitable that government should look into the traditional practice,” he said.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Junior Guardian At Ronik’s Debate, Pupils Discuss Nation’s Future HE Principal, Ronik ComT prehensive School, Ejigbo, Lagos, Mrs. M.O.A. Ejirinde has condemned the federal government’s inability to provide adequate security of lives and property in the country, saying it needs to wake-up to its responsibility. Ejirinde made the call recently during the school’s Literary and Debating Day event held at its premises in honour of the nation’s centenary ceremony. Tagged: ‘Nigeria in the next Century,’ the Principal took a swipe at the Nigerian government, agencies and authorities saddled with the responsibility of securing lives and properties, citing the recent gruesome killing of innocent students who, in her view, were prospective leaders of the next generation by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram. She called for a more holistic and proactive approach in confronting the menace
Students of Ronik Comprehensive School at the Literary and Debating Day tagged: ‘Nigeria in the next hundred years.’
BIRTHDAY GREETING Oluwasekemi Esther Templer-Olaiya is two
SOLUTIONS TO BRAIN TEASER (25)
WORD POWER GAME Gurgle a) coo b) murmur c) babble d) burble Phantom a) ghost b) spirit c) spectre d) spook
to stop the prolonged agony the killings and varied degrees of poor governance has brought on the entire citizenry. Earlier in her opening address, the Principal had given a poser to get the debaters in the mood for what was to come. “How safe were we in the last 100 years and how safe are we likely to be in the next 100 years?” she asked. Ejirinde reminded the debating students of the gains and losses of the last 100 years of amalgamation by Lord Luggard and challenged them to critically think of the possibilities the next 100 years of indigenous governance could bring. The event, held at the school’s multipurpose hall, had in attendance representatives of Ronik, West Minster Secondary School, Grand Mate Secondary School and a host of others. —Olawunmi Ojo
Pout a) frown b) scowl c) glower d) pucker Scourge a) bane b) plague c) blight d) curse Wanton a) cruel b) vicious c) nasty d) malicious Creepy a) scary b) eerie c) disturbing d) uncanny Winding a) zigzagging b) coiling c) snaky d) curving Sanction a) authorisation b) support c) approval d) consent Whirl a) rotation b) flurry c) spin d) twirl
Mum and Dad wish her happy birthday
PROVERBS A bad workman quarrels with his tools A wild goose never lays a tame egg A fool and his money are soon parted Absence makes the heart grow fonder A drowning man will clutch at any straw Great minds think alike By Adeoye Oreitan Ibadan
JOKES Inventions Physics teacher: “Isaac Newton was sitting under a tree, when an apple fell on his head, and he discovered gravity. Isn’t that wonderful?” Student: “Yes, sir. If he had been sitting in class looking at books like us, he wouldn’t have discovered anything.” By Olalekan Bakare
COMPILED BY KIKELOLA OYEBOLA
Students of Havana College, Igando, Lagos celebrating their Cultural Day in the school premises.
Students of Sambeth Schools (Ogunrun), Mowe, Ogun State with their teachers during their excursion to Multi-Trex Integrated Foods Plc, Wawa, Ogun State.
Sunday, April 6, 2014 33
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
National Confab Delegates
You Are Not There To Create Rancour, Bitterness — Religious Leaders Since the National Conference kicked off on March 17, 2014, Nigerians have observed some negative attitudes of some delegates and their utterances. For instance, there was a disagreement on how prayer should be conducted. Delegates, who arrived early, were asked to vacate their seats for elder statesmen and monarchs that came late. Some even complained that their aides, including security, drivers and other personal assistants were not paid allowances. There was also a threat to pull out of the conference and become part of Cameroun, including a protest to the Presidency to complain that one religion was not fully represented among others. But is this type of bickering what Nigerians expect from the delegates chosen from different states to represent their people on a national assignment? Before now, President Goodluck Jonathan had, in a television broadcast to mark Nigerian’s 100 years, pleaded with Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the National Conference to build a country that would, in due season, lead the great reawakening of Africa. Said he: “The coming National Conference should not be about a few, privileged persons dictating the terms of debate, but an opportunity for all Nigerians to take part in a comprehensive dialogue to further strengthen our union. “I am hopeful that the Conference will not result in parochial bargaining between competing regions, ethnic, religious and other interest groups, but in an objective dialogue about the way forward for our nation and how to ensure a more harmonious balance among our three tiers of government.” Weighing the implication of their behaviour viz-a-viz the President’s plea, should Nigerians expect the best from the Conference? CHRIS IREKAMBA took the matter to some religious leaders, who were forthright in their advice. ‘Delegates Should Approach Each Matter With Open Minds’ (His Grace, Most Rev. Emmanuel Josiah Udofia, Primate of the African Church and President, Christian Council of Nigeria) AM sure no one is in doubt about the fact that ItoNigeria is a secular state, which gives respect the religion of the individual. Whatever reli-
‘They Shouldn’t Be Talking About Things That Will Divide Us’ (His Eminence, Dr. Samuel ’Emeka Kanu Uche, Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria) HOSE were not the reasons they were sent T there. It’s a matter of leadership and the National Conference chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi and his Vice, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi should arrange the place well. For instance, on order of protocol, there must be tagged seats, where people can sit. I believe that there should be respect for elder statesmen. I support that. On the issue of prayer, there are two major religions in Nigeria — Christianity and Islam. So, if a Christian starts the opening prayer, a Muslim should say the closing prayer and vice versa. For those that are neither Christians nor Muslims, they should join one. Everything should be conducted in an atmosphere of love, togetherness, good rapport and not bitterness or rancour. Sharia should only apply to the Muslims and not be made a general law. There should be penal code for everybody, which has been there, right from the time of colonial masters. They shouldn’t be talking about or emphasising on sharia or the rule of the Bible. I advocate that Nigeria should remain a secular state for us to live together in peace. We will feel free and relate well with one another. Delegates should not be talking about things that will divide us. They shouldn’t be parochial or myopic; rather they should adopt magnanimity in everything they do, so that our country will move forward. The protest by Sultan of Sokoto is human; he is asking for his fundamental human rights. That is how I see it. We respect the Sultan because when he went to the Presidential Villa, the President took time to explain things to him; he behaved as a mature man. Delegates should take care of their aides from their own allowances because N12 million is enough for three months. Let them contribute something to Nigeria, rather than asking for what they will receive. What are they giving to Nigeria? Nigeria is not to be polarised or milked to death. Delegates should contribute their own quota for its advancement. After all, some of us do things for Nigeria without asking for reward. Do they think we are stupid? After studying in the university and getting all the degrees, we still go to the church to be paid pittance. We are not stupid. But they are not better than some of us. When we appear in public, they are not better both physically and otherwise.
gion is being practised by anyone, experience over the years has made it clear that when it comes to state functions at whatever level of governance, two main religions have been given recognition, Christianity and Islam. I want to believe that members of the National Conference also recognise this. The only thing is that the Chairman should effectively manage the order of prayer by allowing Christians and Muslims to render prayers at different times. The monetisation of every benefit by government is what we have witnessed with a bloated monthly sitting allowance of N4 million per delegate. The Federal Government has considered the comfort of each delegate in approving such huge allowance believing that each of them is well endowed enough to make meaningful contributions on the floor of the Confab to issues of discussion. Also, I believe the delegates are Nigerians with patriotic zeal to make Nigeria, work without any untoward effort to further milk the lean and ailing cow. My advice to the delegates is that whatever assistance that is needed from their side, they should be magnanimous enough to pay from their allowances. After all, how many Nigerians earn a whopping N4million every month, and tax free, too? If we were in a classroom sitting in a school, each of us will take a chair and locker at a particular section of the classroom on resumption for a new session. But this is a bit different. I will say I am uncomfortable with someone asking the younger ones to take the back seats, while the older ones take the front seat. The age of Methuselah cannot be compared with the Wisdom of Solomon. This is clearly demonstrated in the Bible. I would have recommended a mixed blend of age and sex. But thanks to Aremo Olusegun Osoba, who proposed that seats in the front row be occupied in alphabetical order of their surnames starting from A to Z. This has laid the matter to rest but I admonish everyone not to determine contribution of individuals by age, even when issues are being discussed on the floor of the Confab. Maturity is a gift from God and knowledge is not a reserve of a particular age bracket. Nigeria should not be considered as a state in slavery. God sent Moses to liberate the children of Israel at that time. In this present day and age, both the Bible and the Holy Qur’an preaches one thing, which is love. This urges us to “love our neighbour as ourselves.”
‘Conference Of This Magnitude Requires Respect, Understanding And Tolerance’ (Professor Is-haq Akintola, Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) HAVE noted the now very common phenomeItional non of Islamophobia at the venue of the NaConference. Some people just don’t want to see the faces or hear the voices of Muslims. Pastor Tunde Bakare, a Southwest delegate, criticised the conference Chairman, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi for starting his speech with a prayer in Arabic. Tunde Bakare’s attack is rather unfortunate. His criticism was premeditated. It is known all over the world that Muslims start speeches with a short Arabic phrase in which they seek Allah’s guidance in their utterances and Justice Kutigi did not do more than that. Uttering short Arabic phrases is part of a Muslim’s life. Too bad if some people can’t stand it. Tunde Bakare’s outburst was a manifestation of pathological hatred for Muslims and their faith. His behaviour smacked of a gross lack of tolerance for the faith of others and portrays the pastor as an enforcer. Attempting to stop the chairman from using his faith to guide him is an encroachment on the latter’s Allah-given and fundamental human right. I expect Pastor Tunde Bakare to understand that
‘They Should Say Their Prayers Silently In Line With Their Respective Faiths’ (Imam Abdul Rahman Bello) ET me begin from the opening prayer. NigeLsayria is a secular state and so, delegates should their prayers silently individually in line with their respective faiths. The demand for payment of allowances to personal aides and drivers by some delegates is not proper. One expects people of that calibre to make sacrifice for Nigeria. As regards complaint on shortage of representation by Muslims, the facts are there for all to see. Whether it was planned or not, Allah knows best. The aggrieved party has demonstrated maturity by lodging its complaint with Mr. President, who promised to look into the matter and we are waiting to see how he will resolve it. Let nobody or group teaches the President what to do or what not to do. On the order of seating, I opine that every delegate is important as each represents one institution or the other. Therefore, delegates should sit as they arrive. However, if a seated delegate, on moral
a conference of this magnitude requires, first and foremost, mutual respect, understanding and tolerance of the highest order; not suspicion, rancour and ill-feeling. Delegates need to guard their tongues and watch their language because a rancorous body language emerging from the national conference is capable of sending this country up in flames. He has now found excuses. He claims to have Muslim relations, cooks and drivers working for him. Of course, we all do. I have very senior Christian clerics in my family too. But Tunde Bakare’s outburst at the national conference exposes his true character. All I know is that Bakare has been rude to the chairman. Rudeness is the cancer that devours love. Respect begets respect. Rudeness breeds hatred. Tunde Bakare’s request that religion should not be brought into the national conference is unrealistic, deceitful and hypocritical. Nigerians are religious people and this should reflect in our deliberations unless we want to deceive ourselves. This is the right time to address issues objectively. It is not the time for sentimentalities. On delegates who arrived early and were asked to vacate their seats for elder statesmen, that is no big deal. We are Nigerians, so we are Africans. Should we forget our culture of respect for elders because we want to mimic the West and its moribund culture? My religion (Islam) also commands respect for those older than me. Just imagine I am in a group of people, who are comfortably seated and an elderly person walks in with no place to sit. What do you think I would do? Of course, I will vacate my seat for him even if he is a pastor, Hausa or Igbo, as long as he is older than me. Another example. Imagine if someone such as General Gowon is in the same room with me and there is no empty seat for him. He is a Christian and a former head of state. He is older than me. I don’t need anyone to prompt me before I give him my seat. People should stop displaying arrogance. Humility takes you farther than you can ever imagine. The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:10-14 is enough lesson in humility. In Mathew 23:11-12 Jesus (peace be upon him) said: “…whoever exalts himself shall be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” grounds, feels like offering his seat to an elder in the house, there is nothing bad in it provided doing so would not disrupt the proceedings of the conference. On a final note, Nigerians expect delegates to show seriousness in this national assignment. They should remove all vested interests and get down to business with all sincerity.
34 | Sunday, April 6, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday School Destiny Destroyers Memory Verse: “And the LORD answered me, and said, write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” Habakkuk 2:2.
• Vanity If we examine and compare the lives of David and Solomon, we will find that one was successful while the other was full of regret, Ps. 23:1; Eccl. 12:8. Solomon pursued vanity until he became a complete backslider. A deadly combination of pleasures of the flesh and wealth and lack of self-control ruined his destiny, Eccl.2:10-11, 1 Kgs 11:1-10. He did not have to end up where he did. • Ignorance: This is a destiny destroyer, Hos. 4:6; Prov. 29:18. We need to seek God’s will for our life, Amos 3:7; Prov. 25:2; Matt. 7:7-8; Dan. 2:22. The Holy Spirit’s help is pivotal, I Cor. 2:10; Rom. 8:26-27. If we have an idea of our destiny, we will be focused and succeed like some biblical characters, John. 8:32; Isa. 6:1-9; Heb.
Bible Passage: I Kings 11:1-11. Introduction God has an eternal life- purpose for everyone. However we have roles to play for the fulfilment of His purpose. Destiny This is a simple word for God’s purpose for a persons’ life. It is divinely pre-planned. It is subject to our attitude, conduct, obedience and choices, Jer. 29:11, Jer.1:5, John 14:2-3, 1 Cor.2:9, Rom.8:28-3, Josh 1:8. Destiny Destroyers
It Is Time To Pray Again
RETHREN, having seen the impact of our collective prayers in the country so far B viz-a-viz the hope of the new dawn, we should intensify our prayers because the situation still demands by its merit a more fervent and passionate prayer. We should not faint or murmur if our desired result has not been realised; rather we are to pray and give Him no rest until He answers us. God’s professing people must be a praying people. He is not displeased with us for being earnest, as men commonly are because He bids us to cry after Him, and give Him no rest when in distress, because that is a sign that God is coming to a people in mercy, when He pours out a spirit of prayer upon them. We must, therefore, delight in attending the courts of the Lord, that we may enjoy the consolations of His Spirit. Since circumstances of events of the history of our country have brought stress to bear
... With Pastor Enoch Adeboye
upon us, our only option now is to call, pray and supplicate to the Almighty God to intervene in our plight and give answers to our prayers. Our consolation is that our God is a prayer answering God and we totally rely on Him to give answer to our prayers. Jer. 29:12-14 says,“12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.” When God designs mercy, He puts it into the hearts of His people to pray for the mercy designed. When such a spirit of prayer is poured out, the mercy that it evokes prevails against
any judgment meted for it, thus answer is given to the prayer. The people of the Bible wonderfully prevailed on God in prayer and obtained answers of peace. No matter our condition, situation, bondage, etc, the same God that answered Moses and the apostles of old is still alive to answer our prayers in Jesus name. As we pray, let us never forget that He is holy, and that He answers not sinners. John 9:31 says, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth”. We must pray in charity; without wrath, malice, anger or any form of sin. We must pray in faith, without doubting, and without disputing. If we can repent from sin and cry to God today, He will answer us. 1Tim. 2:8 says, “I will, therefore, that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting”. Prayer is not to be confined to any one particular in the house of prayer, but
God’s Anger At Sin (2) By S.K Abiara ATAN is the enemy of mankind. He will do anything to get people to follow his evil, deadly path. He specialises in tempting his victims to give in to his kind of life and give up on God’s kind of life. Satan tempted Eve and succeeded in getting her to sin. Ever since then, he’s been busy getting people to sin. He even tempted Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11). But Jesus did not sin! That’s why Apostle Paul alerts us, “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victims to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith”I Pet. 5:8&9a. The serpent, Satan, tempted Eve by getting her to doubt God’s goodness. He implied
that God was strict, stingy, and selfish for not wanting Eve to share his knowledge of good and evil. Satan made Eve forget all that God had given her and, instead, focus on the one thing she couldn’t have. We fall into trouble, too, when we dwell on the few things we don’t have rather than on the countless things God has given us. The next time you are feeling sorry for yourself and what you don’t have, consider all you do have and thank God. Then your doubts won’t lead you into sin. Adam and Eve failed to heed God’s warning recorded in 2:1617. They did not understand the reasons for His command, so they chose to act in another way that looked better to them. All of God’s commands are for our own good, but we may not always understand the reasons behind them. People that trust
N fulfilment of the prophetic word spoIRedeemed ken through the General Overseer of the Christian Church of God, Pas-
tor Enoch Adeboye, that “for some persons this year, on account of what God would do, they would go from prayer to praising God,” the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Province 39 (aka King’s Court), has organised a family praise worship to mark end of the 100 days of prayer and fasting programme embarked upon by RCCG churches nationwide. Titled: “From Prayer to Praise” and scheduled for April 13, at the church premise in Victoria Island is also designed to form a family album for the church, as the per-
Living Waters By Pastor Lazarus Muoka
men must pray everywhere. We must pray in our closets, our families, at our meals, pray when we are on journeys, and pray in the solemn assemblies, whether in public or private. Remember we must appear before God with holy hands devoid of any atom of wickedness and doubting. This is because heartiness and sincerity in seeking God indemnify a gracious answer. James 5:15 says, “And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him”. The Lord answers prayers made with true faith in Him. In the above, the Scripture shows the good effects of prayer. The Bible did not ascribe the sick man’s recovery to the oil, but to the prayer. The prayer of faith shall save the sick. Let’s, therefore, pray again for our great country so that it shall be well with us. Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore, I say unto you, whatsoever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
Challenges Of Life (5) God obey because God asks them to, whether or not they understand why He commands it. Adam and Eve chose their course of action (disobedience), and then God chose His. As a holy God, He could respond only in a way consistent with His perfect moral nature. He could not allow sin to go unchecked; He had to punish it. If the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin seem extreme, remember that their sin set in motion the world’s tendency toward disobeying God. That is why we sin today: Every human being ever born, with the exception of Jesus, has inherited the sinful nature of Adam and Eve (Romans 5:12-21). Adam and Eve’s punishment reflects how seriously God views sin of any kind. Adam and Eve learned through
King’s Court Holds Family Praise By Kenechukwu Ezeonyejiaku
11:13. • Faithlessness Lack of faith is also a destiny destroyer, Heb. 4:2; I Tim. 1:19. Faith will banish fear help us take the right steps, Heb. 11:1; Isa 28:16; Jam 2:18; Lk. 17:12-14; Hab. 2:2. People who had faith in the Bible possessed their possessions, Josh 14:12; I Sam. 17:37; Heb. 11:33-38. Unbelief ends in failure and destruction, Num. 14:2224; Matt. 17:19-20. Whatever is not done in faith is sin. Conclusion God will always back you up and ensure your assignment on earth will be profitable. He is more interested in our living a fulfilled, impactful and meaningful life than we can imagine. His plan for your life will come to pass in the mighty name of Jesus.
formances will be recorded life. At a press conference to announce the programme, the Provincial Pastor, RCCG Province 39, Pastor Ben Akabueze said that the church believes God will do some awesome things that will cause His people to praise Him in an outstanding way, more than previously done. He said: “We of the Redeemed Christian Church of God have been engaged in a 100day prayer and fasting programme. As we get to the end of the fast, we now want to move on to praise. At the beginning of this year, there was a prophetic word spoken through our General Overseer, Pastor Enoch A. Adeboye, to the effect that ‘for some persons this year, on account of what God would do, they would go from prayer
painful experience that because God is holy and hates sin, He must punish sinners. The rest of the book of Genesis recounts painful stories of lives ruined as a result of the Fall. Disobedience is sin, and it breaks our fellowship with God. But, fortunately, when we disobey, God is willing to forgive us and to restore our relationship with Him. Adam and Eve’s disobedience and fall from God’s gracious presence affected all creation, including the environment. Imagine Cain the first son of Adam and Eve born after the Fall. He was a farmer while his brother, Abel, was a shepherd. Cain’s murder of Abel became the example of other similar violent and destructive sins (Jude 1:11). Prophet Abiara, General Evangelist, CAC Worldwide. firstname.lastname@example.org
to praising God.’ “And so, as we come towards the end of the 100-day fasting, which is itself part of God’s prophetic agenda for the church, we are having this special programme. That pre-supposes the fact that we believe God to move in mighty ways in the lives of individuals and families in the church, so that they will have cause to praise Him because they have answers. When you get answers to what you have been praying for, you don’t continue praying, rather you switch to praise. Whichever way you look at it, we will indeed have answers to lots of prayers.” Akabueze further said that before one can go from prayer to praise, he must have been praying but noted that the shift does not indicate that prayers will be stopped and neither does it mean that one has not been praising God previously.
By Gabriel Agbo God’s promises NOWING, reminding and depending upon God’s promises at the time of challenges are indeed very crucial to our victory. We must strive to know His words, promises and plans for us. You must always read and meditate on the written word of God (the Bible). You must be able to extract Rhema from there and from the other points of receiving the word. You must know and walk on God’s personal, collective and specific promises to you and your people. When you operate on this level, then, no situation in this life will ever take you unawares or overwhelm you. Fortunately, this was where Jehoshaphat operated from and God never disappointed him. I remember once God had to mysteriously, without rain, wind or streams provide drinking water for the troops and horses in the desert just to honour this man. Here, he was reminding God of His faithfulness, dealings and promises to the nation of Israel. He knew how faithful God was to their ancestors; he knew His promises and was very sure He has not changed. Listen to him, “O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the +30descendants of your
friend Abraham? Your people settled here and built this Temple for you. They said, ‘whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, disease, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple, where your name is honoured” 2 Chronicles 20:7-9. Yes, no matter what you are facing now, it is still located within the above – war, disease and famine. True! If you are going through seen and unseen forces against you, your family, job, marriage, your nation or destiny, it is war. If it is any form of sickness, it is located in disease. Then, if you are going through economic, financial, business problems, unemployment, lack of harvest or lack of prosperity, you are going through famine. War, diseases and famine! Jehoshaphat knelt down and reminded God of His promises covering these situations. Have you reminded God of His promises for you on what you are presently going through? Have you? Stand on that and you will definitely get your solution. God’s words and promises cannot fail! Nothing, I repeat, nothing can stop the word of God. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but It will remain. Rev Agbo is a minister with the Assemblies of God Nigeria. email@example.com
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, April 6, 2014 | 35
Spend Quality Time With God By Gabriel Osu
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the doorand pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Fatherwho sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6) E live in a world full of distraction. W From the break of the day to the setting of the sun, there is hardly a dull moment for most. Indeed, many claim that they barely have enough time to accomplish all that they have set for themselves each day. If they have their way, they would readily wish more hours are added to the day. Aside the hurly burly that comes with the struggle for daily bread, there is also much entertainment to keep our minds pre-occupied. Have you observed the way and manner people flock to viewing centres to watch premier league matches, foreign flicks and other forms of entertainment? Have you also noticed that, in Europe and America, while the stadia and cinemas are often jam-packed with funseekers, such is hardly the case in churches, many of which are now closing down? Why is this so? It is because many people today hardly have time for God. Rather, they are so weighed down by the struggles of life to the detriment of their spiritual well being. Our Lord Jesus Christ gives us a very good example of why we should create time for
God. Indeed, before he carries out any major assignment, He usually goes into a quiet place where He communes with God to fortify Himself for the challenges of life. Have you ever wondered why He was able to accomplish so much during his short stay on earth! It is because He was able to tune into the power of the divine. He realised that left for Himself alone, He can accomplish little, but with God, He can do all things. How much time do we have for God? How much time do we take out to pray and seek the face of God over the challenges of life? How many of us create time to listen to God? Does God even hears our prayers? Jesus was able to accomplish much because He was quick to discover that the secret to life’s success lies with doing the will of God. “And it was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: (Luke 6: 1213). Here, we see the secret of Jesus success. He realised the importance of first spending time in prayer before picking the twelve disciples. He had to know the will of God. He had to know which of the men would be suitable for the mission ahead. What does this tell us? Before we take up any major assignment in life, we must first discuss it with our Father in heaven who knows the beginning from the end. Many at times, when we fail in a project, we begin to wonder why this is so. But the
truth is that in most cases, we start projects for selfish reasons. Even when we pray to God for direction, we don’t wait to hear from Him before setting out on them. We always want our will to be done. And when we place our will above that of God, we are bound to fail. That was why when Gideon was told by an angel to “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian…” he was very careful to seek for confirmation. He knew the implication of acting without getting the full approval of the Almighty.’ So my brothers and sisters, as we move towards the tail end of this Lenten season, I want to challenge you all to endeavour to find more time for God. Do not allow world distraction to make you lose sight of the power of being united with God through prayer and reading of the scriptures. When you stay in tune with God, He would order the ways of your life beyond your imagination. After we have entered our secret place and shut the door, the most difficult thing to do is to pray. We cannot seem to get our minds into good working order, and the first thing we have to fight is wandering thoughts. The great battle in private prayer is overcoming this problem of our idle and wandering thinking. We have to learn to discipline our minds and concentrate on willful, deliberate prayer. • Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.
Lagos Mainland Diocesan PRO, Methodist Church Nigeria, Sister Cessy Ogunnaike (left) presents a souvenir to Gov. Fashola’s representative, Lagos State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructures, Dr. Femi Hamzat, during the 2014 annual Synod of the Diocese hosted by the Yaba Circuit at Hoares Memorial Methodist Cathedral, Yaba, Lagos. With them are: Host Bishop, Rt. Rev. Isaac Ayobami Olawuyi (second right) and Lay President, Sir Olatunde Okesola, at the occasion.
Spiritual Revival (1) By Seyi Ogunorunyinka
2 Chronicles 7:14. “If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” T is not just enough to call Ipeople yourself a Christian or for to regard you as a child of God. If you continue in sin, fail to humble yourself and seek the face of the Lord, then you will be called a child of God for nothing. A lot of people are calling the name of God, but do not know Whom the God is that they are calling. They have no understanding of the way He works and are taking Him for granted. Many people are
wondering why their lives do not seem to be moving forward; they go to church, pray and consider themselves to be children of God, yet there is no evidence of God’s wonders in their lives. But the secret to this is found in 2 Chronicles 7: 14, which is quoted above. From your outward appearance, people may say that you are a good Christian, but they cannot see what you do in your secret places. You cry to God and wonder why He is not answering your prayers; you believe that you chase after God more than those who He seems to be blessing; yet the results cannot be seen in your life. You compare yourself to others around you, who are doing well and you do not see why they should be blessed and you should not. If you are in such a situation,
then you have forgotten that God is a just God. In your own eyes, you have rated yourself very highly, but God sees you very differently. Your problem is that you lack spiritual revelation; you have eyes, yet cannot see. In Ezekiel 8:7-10, the Lord showed Ezekiel the abominable things that the supposed elders of the children of Israel, the ones to whom all the others looked up to, were doing in their secret places. In the same way, to outward appearances, some people you see in church seem to be very holy and you may be thinking that if God were a just God, then their lives should be filled with abundance. However, you are only judging them based on what you see from the outside. If you dig into their hearts, you will find
all forms of abominable, unimaginable things, taking place in the lives of these people who seem to be so holy. God does not bless by the external but by the internal. He sees the things that go on in men’s hearts; evil, wickedness, anger, envy, jealousy and pride. When God opened Ezekiel’s eyes in Ezekiel’s 8 and revealed to him the things that the children of Israel were doing, Ezekiel witnessed the group of elders burning incense and worshipping idols. Be assured that God is not moved by your outward appearance of devotion to Him. • Pastor Ogunorunyinka, General Overseer, The Promisedland Restoration Ministries, Surulere, Lagos. pastorseyiogunorunyinka@gm ail.com
Springs Of Wisdom By Pastor W. F. Kumuyi
Hallmarks Of Integrity (1) HE only thing permanent about life is change. Indeed, change T in human affairs is inevitable. Crowns, thrones and kingdoms may rise and wane, nations may rise and fall but God’s Kingdom is from generation to generation, and His dominion is everlasting. God reigns on high and rules uninterrupted in the affairs of men. Believers must, therefore, continue to trust in God and live for His glory whatever the changing circumstances around them. Alteration in the economic conditions of nations and of the world should not affect the faith of God’s children in His promises. Similarly, the church of Jesus Christ must remain constant in conviction and commitment to God’s Word. This was the example of Daniel in the great empire of Babylon that fell and it’s king Belshazzar killed. Although the new Medo-Persian king, Darius, appointed an entirely new administration, he retained just one man, Daniel, from Belshazzar’s regime. This was because of Daniel’s excellent character, integrity, wisdom, selfless devotion and impressive experience. At that time, Daniel had become an old man approaching 90 years of age. Yet, he was still active in service. As his days were, so was his strength. The older he became, the stronger he grew in faith, knowledge, wisdom, leadership skill and ability, courage and steadfastness, spiritual insight and revelation, and usefulness to the kingdom of God. He gave no consideration to the thought of retiring to a life of ease and idleness. Faithful and devoted to God, righteous and trustworthy before men, Daniel was even in old age, considered for greater responsibility by the new king. Although envy led others to plot against him, he continued quietly in prayerful devotion to God. Neither the favour of the king nor the frown of the presidents and the princes of the kingdom could change his conviction, consecration and commitment to God. Men who aspire to ascend to positions of greater responsibility and usefulness must be willing to pay the price of purity, integrity, accountability and dependability, even in times of difficulty. It is always the highway of self-denial, the way of self-forgetfulness in service that leads to success and promotion. Those who intend to wear the crown must be willing to bear the cross. Daniel did not seek recognition or greatness. His only desire was to serve God and man. He, therefore, saw promotion as an opportunity to do good and a larger opening for greater usefulness. If we have such attitude as Daniel, God will put us where we ought to be. But he did not reach this high position by any sudden spring. He moved up gradually through various levels of service and usefulness. His “excellent spirit” won for him extraordinary success, his truthfulness won trust, his faithfulness won him favour, and his integrity won the interest of kings. “This Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes BECAUSE AN EXCELLENT SPIRIT WAS IN HIM; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” Scripturally, sound convictions, high and holy principles of living, integrity and transparent righteousness will not go unnoticed. The eyes of the King of heaven are on such people as Daniel to set them over soul-saving ministries so that the Kingdom of God will “have no damage.” Even earthly leaders seek men like Daniel to occupy strategic positions so that “the king should have no damage.” An excellent spirit of genuine piety, a clear conscience in all actions relating to God and man, made Daniel a man of uncompromising integrity that he was. The spirit, not the flesh; godly behaviour, not goodly beauty, is the principal thing. Daniel’s clarity of purpose, commitment to purity, constancy in prayer, courage during persecution and contentment without pretence set him apart as a unique man, whose only reason for living was to seek God’s glory. The power of God’s transforming grace revealed itself in the virtuous character of Daniel. “He was faithful.” His faithfulness attracted the favour of God and the commendation of the king. But his envious colleagues construed this same faithfulness as a crime. Envy will paint a saint as a sinner or regard the righteous as a rebel. Daniel was faithful to his God and to the king. “Neither was there any error or fault found in him.” That was a great testimony to the uprightness of his character. His life and actions were above reproach. Yet his jealous colleagues “sought to find occasion against Daniel.” Why? The king was planning to promote him above the presidents. They sought to discredit and destroy his character so as to disgrace and degrade him. He who God favours, the world frowns at. The promotion of the righteous excites the envy of unrighteous men. Base and envious men always seek the ruin of good and righteous men. The observation of these determined enemies of Daniel is the highest testimony to his godly character. They noted: “We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” They conceived an evil plot through which, they intended to destroy Daniel. They flattered the king and for 30 days, exalted him to the position of a god. During that period, all requests would be directed to the king. Daniel was not consulted about this decree, yet they said, “all the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes… have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree.” Flattery blinded the king’s eyes to wise decision. There is a great deal of evil in the decree. If a child wanted bread he could not ask the parents or he would be cast into the lions’ den! If anyone needed divine help, which could not be rendered by the king, he must not pray to God, otherwise he would be cast into the den of lions. It was an unrighteous law, a satanic statute, a wicked ordinance, a despotic decree. Men in responsible positions must always consider the consequences of any law or edict before they give their consent or assent to it. Daniel’s life of devotion was marked with conviction, consecration, communion, courage and consistency. References: Daniel 6:1-10; Exodus 18:19-23; Daniel 5:12-14; Psalm 101:27; Acts 6:3-8; 1 Corinthians 4:1,2; 2 Timothy 2:19-22; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Daniel 2:48; Psalm 75:4-7; Psalm 37:12,13, 32-37; Jeremiah 18:18; 20:10,11; Proverbs 27:4; Isaiah 10:1; 26:11; etc, (All scriptures are from Kings James Version).
36| Sunday, April 6, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
IBRUCENTRE By Ernest Onuoha
‘Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them,’ Prov. 24:1. AY Andrew insists: unlike jealously, envy is not R an attribute of God. Rather, it is a product of a sinful nature found only in man. Long before it ever manifests itself to the eye of man, it first devises its plan within the heart (Mark 7:21-23.) Unfortunately, it is not a problem that plagues only the wicked of men, it also frustrates the righteous. Therefore, it makes sense that Solomon would warn his son to guard his heart against the dangers of envy. Job was quick to add, envy slays (Job 5:2) and it often slays both the victim and the participant. Therefore, the believer must battle each day to keep envy from overtaking his heart and defiling him. At the surface, the wicked looks glamorous in his attitude to things. There is ceaseless bubbling, yes, call it pomp and pageantry to the effect that everything seems to be at his beck and call: wealth, connection, women, wine, etc. Often, the wicked wishes that such a merry-go-round will never cease, but he will soon discover to his chagrin that all is vanity and has a calamitous end attendant to such unbridled life style. The warning of Solomon to his son is still relevant today. Many believers are trapped already by envy and this, to all intent and purposes, should be dealt with before it eats somebody up. Joseph’s brothers envied him. They wanted to kill him, but
From The Rector Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor
Do Not Envy The Wicked decided to sell him as a slave (Genesis 37:11, 18, 20, 26-27). He spent 13 years as a slave. He did not envy his brothers who were at home but served God where he was. When he saw his brothers again, he helped them (Genesis 50:21). But should it be so, your own blood brother? Do you find yourself envying others? Why do you envy them? Don’t you know that life is not about competition? The Bible passage is real when God says: ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end,’ Jer. 29v11. God is really concerned about our situation and us and that should bring a great consolation to us. This means envy is not the solution, but turning to Him, Who has already promised to give us hope and a better tomorrow. Today may not be pleasant, but do we
Diocese Of Nnewi Holds Retreat At Ibru Centre By Rev. Canon Gabriel Kpagban GAINST the backdrop of hustles and bustles of life, the need for men of God to access serene facilities, where they can withdraw for spiritual refreshment becomes pertinent. The Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre not only offered the required serene environment, but also played host to the Diocese of Nnewi. The theme of the retreat is Making Full Proof of Your Ministry in Contemporary Times (2 Timothy 4: 5). The bishop of the diocese, Rt. Rev. Prof. Godwin I. N. Okpala, JP, OON, presided over the event, which was attended by 116 clergymen. The facilitator was the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Kaduna and Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Kebbi, the Most Rev. Edmund Akanya. Some topics discussed during the retreat include: Making the full proof of your ministry in contemporary times; Ministers of God in our contemporary times; Let’s go across to the other side and Let’s settle the matter. Others are; If you return; Lessons from Ants as we
make full proof of our ministry; Be strong; Exposition on the second epistle to Timothy, and a Health Talk. The retreat called on all clergy to acknowledge the spiritual and ministerial gifts, which God has given to them for the purpose of evangelising the world, equipping the saints and building up the body of Christ. The retreat agreed that the ministry is our mission, which is the task God has given to His ministers. And if clergy were not able to identify their ministry and calling, they would not be able to make full proof of it either. The retreat admonished ministers not to be discouraged, when faced with challenges in the course of fulfilling their God given ministries. No matter the hurdles one faces in life, he should not waver in his resolve to make full proof of his calling. The clergymen were called upon to return to God in repentance and abstain from things, which would infringe upon their ministries, such as pride, enmity, carelessness, immorality, selfishness and corruption among others. The clergy were also encouraged to settle every matter with God. The scrip-
ture shows very clearly that men should settle their matters with God through prayers and reading the word of God. The retreat urged the clergymen to be rooted in the Holy Scriptures, as this will enable them to be relevant in their local congregations, and also to help checkmate false teachings that lure people into syncretism. The retreat enjoined the clergy to create time to be alone with God, as there is need for renewal of strength and commitment in the service of the Lord. Since Jesus Christ went on a retreat with His disciples, it is now very necessary to emulate such spiritual journey, which will enable us to be closer with God. All clergy were enjoined to take matters of their health seriously. In this regard, regular health checks and exercise become a sine qua non. The clergy appreciated the President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for kick starting the second Niger Bridge. They also commended their Bishop for bringing them to the Centre, as well as the management and staff of the Ibru Centre for their care.
Experiencing Divine Nature Is Possible, Says Ezekiel By Chris Irekamba HE General Overseer of Christian Pentecostal T Mission International, Rev. Dr. Obiora Ezekiel has appealed to pastors and ministers of the gospel to always insist that divine nature is a precondition for any one to make heaven. Speaking to participants recently at the yearly event of the church tagged: “Back to Bible” with the theme: “Glorious Divine Nature,” the General Overseer, who quoted copiously from the Bible, lamented that some men of God are only interested in gathering crowds. A situation he described as very unhealthy for the souls of members, who come to church without knowing why they are there. “We only gather people without teaching them that divine nature is a condition for heaven, living a life that is pleasing to God, he said, noting that the trouble in the church today was as a result of man’s ejection of Christ as the author of truth. Man dismissed the truth of Divine Nature and choose their own way. And that is the trouble of the church of God today. Jesus said because of the hardness of your heart, Moses gave
you letter of divorce but in the beginning it was not so. This nature of man is not the original will of God. But because the son of disobedience divorced God from their lives hence we have this unnatural life.” Dr. Ezekiel reminded his audience that the multitudes in the church today are sick spiritually and called on them to teach their members the need to experience divine nature, which is only in Christ. “May we have the mind of Christ to see these people with diverse sicknesses as God is seeing them. I challenge you as pastors, I encourage you to develop yourself so that you will not be in the condition of these people.” Rev. Ken Kayode and his wife, who are always at the yearly programmme, described Dr. Ezekiel as a mighty bird in the Spirit. Urging the participants to covet the gifts of God in Dr. Ezekiel, Rev. Kayode, said: “Without divine nature, you can’t sit on the throne of God. When you please Him heaven will open for you. Endeavour to make the Spirit of God happy, become an instrument that will please God at all times,” he counseled.
know what He is planning for our future? The wicked is destined for destruction. His agenda is not that of God but self alone. He can tell his soul, ‘you have enough to wine and dine,’ but he does not think seriously about tomorrow or the eternity of his soul. In short, his attitude is that of now, pleasures of the moment, even with the epicurean spirit; let us eat for tomorrow we die. Yet, there are some, who call themselves Christians and yet they are desperate and desirous of the lifestyle of the wicked. Any candidate of heaven should see that envying such people is not good since their end is known. It is worthy of note that Job in his distress, the Bible recorded he did not sin against God with his mouth, Job 1v22. Rather, he was confident and that should be the attitude of the Christian today, he said: ‘but as for me I know that my Re-
deemer liveth and at last he will stand up upon the earth,’ Job 19v25. Therefore, all energy should not be directed to envy but should be redirected to creative and productive things. Think about it: Will the things for which you envy people help or hurt you on the Day of Judgment? Child of God, do not envy the wicked. Let us pray: • Ask God to help you guard your heart against envy. • Ask the Lord to help you be satisfied with His will for you in this life. Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State www.ibrucentre.org
Methodist Church Holds Lagos City Wide Crusade HE Methodist Church NigeT ria has concluded plans to hold its Lagos City-wide Crusade beginning from April 10 to 11, at Ile-Pako, Amoo Playing Ground, Amoo-Agege, Lagos, at 5pm daily. Disclosing this at a press conference in Lagos, last Wednesday, Prelate of the Church, His Eminence, Dr. Samuel ’Emeka Kanu Uche, said: “Upon my elevation as Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, I articulated a four-point agenda such as: growing the church spiritually; growing the church numerically; growing the church financially and growing the church infrastructurally. To achieve these objectives, we have prayerfully chosen a theme of conference for the year 2014, which captures our desire to move forward: “Let my people move forward” taken from Exodus 14:15. We have identified
City-wide evangelistic outreaches, as one of the effective methodologies of growing our church of 16 Archdioceses and 72 Dioceses. I have accordingly directed that City-wide Crusade be held by the 16 Archdioceses in the Conference Area in the course of this year. I have decided to take the lead by attending and ministering in each of these crusades. Since the beginning of the year, I have ministered in the City-wide crusades organised by the Igbobini, Aba, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Benue and Abuja Archdioceses. “I testify to the Lord’s faithfulness in the life of our church. Evidence abounds everywhere we have visited that the Lord is quickening and reawakening Methodist people to our primary assignment of witnessing Christ everywhere and making the
“whole world our parish.” “We are poised to actualise the vision of our church, which is: “to be one of the largest and spiritually vibrant churches in Nigeria and fulfill our mission, which is: “to consistently win more souls for Christ, develop spiritually and fulfilled members and remain very active in serving humanity. I am addressing you today to let you know that the ‘train’ of spiritual reawakening and growth has moved to the Archdiocese of Lagos.” Members of the public with different ailments will be screened by experienced medical doctors at the venue of the crusade from 2pm daily. The church has also planned to empower the unemployed, indigent, widows, orphans, prisoners, among others, sponsored by the Prelate’s family NGO, Care and Touch Foundation.
When TBS Hosted The Small And Mighty By Emma Eke INCE four years ago, an inStianterdenominational Chrisgroup, the Manna Prayer Mountain (MPM), has been rolling out the drums for its allnight programme in Nigeria in the first quarter of the year. But this year’s event was spectacular in many respects, ranging from the quality of personalities that graced the occasion and choice of the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos, as venue. However, what was said to have added more pep to this year’s event was the official presentation of Our Daily Manna (ODM), a devotional booklet for prayers at the arena. The various activities, which later dovetailed into special anointing service, with joyful outpouring from a cross section of attendees, including exchanging banters and dancing to music from a life band. Dignitaries at the event included Senator Uche Chukwumerije, the First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Abimbola Fashola. There were other participants from outside the country, including guests
from Zambia, Ghana, South Africa, and USA among others. American evangelist, John Fair and his wife, Debi, of Miracle Life Worldwide, Texas, were also in attendance with both ministering in sermon and prayer sessions to the delight of participants. Also, Nigeria’s iconic musician and gospel singer, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey, thrilled participants with moving songs, which got them dancing excitedly. Some participants claimed they were thus dancing away their pains and sufferings, while other said they were using the occasion to thank the Lord for His mercies. The array of activities in the allnight event was such that there was no room for rest. The occasion tagged: “World Anointing Turning Point Night,” was described by MPM General Overseer, Bishop Chris Kwakpovwe, as having been widely embraced in the past years, which results in the reputation its organisers enjoyed at each outing. “This year is not an exception,” enthused the visibly excited co-ordinator of the body, stating that the programme tasked members, as it
was heralded by a 21-day fasting and prayers and with anointing service being part of its grand finale. Some participants told The Guardian they were attending the programme for the umpteenth time while some were attending for the first time. Mrs. Ranke One, a participant said: “It served as a solution programme, going by countless number of solutions to problems at previous ones.” To Bishop Kwakpovwe, “participants are from different denominations and witnessed live miracles such that the deaf and dumb were able to speak, while the lame walked and the blind regained their sights. Others got healed of cancer, stroke, epilepsy and diverse sicknesses and diseases.” According to him, “The success of the event is attributable to the presence of the Holy Trinity (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit),” whom he believed were the pivotal anchors and secrets of the unusual successes and miracles the revival brings to the people yearly.
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Sunday, April 6, 2014 37
Business Confusion, As PAAR Regime Causes Delay In Goods Clearance At Ports By David Ogah N the past 15 years, goods coming into Nigeria have been subjected to a vagaries of inspection regimes, each with its peculiar feature and teething problems. The first was pre-shipment inspection, which came with the appointment of inspection agents overseas to inspect Nigeria bound goods before shipment. The idea then was to prevent shipment of items under prohibition list, including dangerous drugs and arms. Thereafter came destination inspection regime, a direct opposite of the former, under which goods were subjected to 100 per cent physical inspection on arrival at the ports to ensure the same items were not let out of the ports. The problem that followed its introduction was phenomenal, as it orchestrated periodic port congestion due to delay in goods clearing process. The associated problems of that regime made the government to contract out goods inspection services to some private concerns, including Cotecna and Global Scan Services Ltd, which introduced Risk Assessment Report (RAR) regime. Under this arrangement, importers were asked to submit their import documents to their banks and other relevant government agencies for evaluation and eventual issuance of RAR by the service providers. The RAR determined the inspection method to be adopted during the final arrival of the consignment. The goods were either scanned and released or subjected to 100 per cent examination, depending on the nature of the goods and their country of origin. But before the expiration of the seven-year contract, the Nigeria Customs Service had declared its readiness to render the service more effectively and efficiently, assuring Nigerians that it had acquired the required capacity to provide all inspection services, even the maintenance of the scanning equipment installed by the private service providers. Despite the assurance from the service, the contract was extended by one year because of doubts expressed by the Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the economy over the claims of capacity acquisition by the Customs Service. Last year, when the service providers eventually gave way for the Nigeria Customs Service, the inspection regime changed again as the Customs claimed the better way to carry out inspection of goods was by the introduction of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) on all imported items. In the ne order, all importers are being made to submit import documents, including Form M and invoices to their banks for onward transfer to the Nigeria Customs Service for the issuance of the all- important PAAR before the arrival of the consignment. Today, the Nigeria Customs Service has made it mandatory for importers to present the PAAR before commencing the processes that could lead to the final release of their goods at the ports. A visit to the ports in Lagos few days ago revealed an unprecedented visit by importers, who had before now relied on licensed customs agents to get their goods cleared from the ports. They now troop to the port with enquiries on why their consignments have not been delivered to them at specified destination. But these agents have all blamed the situation on the Nigeria Customs Service, which they claimed has been ineffective in the issuance of PAAR it introduced in goods clearing process since it took over the provision of scanning services from the private providers last year. The visit also revealed that importers are getting frustrated by the day over the matter, as they continued to pay demurrage and other charges, which they are not supposed to be paying if they had cleared their goods from the ports on time. One of the importers, who preferred anonymity, said he was already contending with a bill of N1.9 million as demurrage and other charges on six containers that arrived since January. He said he would be happy if his containers could be given a conditional release to avoid further accumulated demurrage and other overtime charges. ‘‘My containers arrived early January and I immediately put in my papers through my clearing agent, who later told me the containers could
Tin Can Wharf. not be released because of PAAR. Since then, I have been going to the bank to see if it is out. The things are not coming and I don’t know why. Nobody is telling us anything and only yesterday they told me my demurrage has risen to N1.9 million. I am here today to lobby for my container to be released conditionally since it is not my fault that the PAAR has not come.’’ Since December, only few containers have been cleared from the ports, as containerised goods without the all-important document cannot be removed from the port. PAAR is an assessment document on imported items. By Customs arrangement, it should be issued to the importers days before the arrival of all consignments to fast track the process of goods clearance at the nations gateways. ADLY, however, the PAAR is delivering negStion,ative result, contrary to the original intenas goods now arrive the ports weeks, and in some cases months before the issuance of the vital documents, which is said to be causing delays in goods clearing process. The results of the avoidable delay have been accumulated demurrages and other charges by the shipping companies and terminal handlers, which are smiling to the bank everyday. On the other hand, importers are groaning under increasing demurrage and other charges. So to say, they are made to suffer for what they did not cause. All concerned stakeholders have started reacting to the situation, which is said to be hiking the cost of doing business at the nation’s ports. The phenomenon has raised doubt over the capacity of the Nigeria Customs Service in the effective handling of the inspection service it inherited from Cotecna, Global Scan and other service providers that rendered the scanning services for about eight years on behalf of the Nigerian government. The first to cast the capacity doubt was the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which recently called on the government to address issues relating to lack of capacity by the Nigerian Customs Service in the process of goods clearing at the gateways. The chamber in its recent statement, expressed concern over the ‘long delay in the
release of cargoes in the Lagos Ports following the introduction of PAAR.’ It said: “The new arrangement being managed by the Nigerian Customs Service is evidently fraught with capacity challenges. The PAAR, which was originally programmed to be issued within six hours now takes weeks to be released and without the PAAR, other cargo clearance procedures cannot progress.’’ According to the chambers, the delay in processing PAAR has a lot of consequences on importers and manufacturers. It enumerated such consequences as: • High demurrage charges imposed by the shipping companies and terminal operators; • High interest charges on fund used to finance the imports; • Delay in the delivery of raw materials to various factories, which disrupts production time lines. • Inability to meet contractual time lines by logistic providers. • High premium charges by shipping lines on Nigerian bound vessels because of expectations of delay in the discharge of cargo. The chamber, in a statement by its president, Mr. Remi Bello, few days ago, said the situation was becoming unbearable for importers, adding that it has numerous negative impacts on the country’s economy. ‘‘These capacity issues need to be urgently addressed by the Nigerian Customs Service in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Finance,’’ he said. Some of the port users, who are directly feeling the impact of the delay in goods clearing process at the ports condemned the high charges and demurrages on goods and called on the government to waive for them the accumulated demurrage since the phenomenon was not their making. They said the delay, if not quickly addressed, could shut the Nigerian economy in the next few months. The Managing Director of the council of Managing Director of Customs licensed agents, Mr. Eyis Lucky Amiwero said in Lagos few days ago that the PAAR palava has already led to port congestion, as only few goods have been cleared since its introduction. He said PAAR is not working. ‘‘People can’t get it. Some people put in for it since December, some since January and up till now, they have not received it. The PAAR was taken politically, they are not ready for it.’’
The president of a section of the clearing agents has since petitioned the Presidency, which he urged to prevail on the coordinating minister of economy to use her position to waive all demurrages and other accumulated rents in accordance with Section 152 of Customs and Excise management Act (CEMA). ‘‘We wish to appeal to the coordinating Minister of the economy to exercise her powers under the provision of section 152 of CEMA, which allows waiver for goods deposited in customs area and government warehouse, as a result of delay that is caused by Customs.’’ Amiwero also called for a monitoring and evaluation committee to address grey areas of PAAR regime that is militating against free trade. ‘‘The government, as a matter of urgency, should set up a monitoring and evaluation committee made up of experts in trade procedures, to evaluate the process and resolve the implementation difficulties that are creating confusion and delays in the ports.’’ Besides the institution of a committee, the NCMLCA boss urged the government to conduct professional integrity test of the process of PAAR in order to solve all associated challenges, even as he maintained that the regime was fraught with a lot of discrepancies. Customs image-maker, Wale Adeniyi, who reacted to complaints from stakeholders few days ago, was unable to give reasons for the Customs inability to issue the document on time as expected. He only said: “We understand the complaints in some quarters regarding delays. Sometimes, when you undertake a change process of this magnitude, we expect such implementation glitches. They are, however, being confronted head on. Our process has been slow but very steady. We started with less than 20 PAARs in the first week to a daily average of 200 by the end of December 2013. Now, we are doing a daily average of over 1, 000 PAARs. While we are constantly trying to improve on this, we are not unaware that some elements, who benefitted from the old order, see PAAR as an obstacle. We would like to assure them that there is no turning back. We will continue to improve the process until it fully stabilises,” he said. Containerised cargoes are pilling up now up to seven layers in some terminals, because their owners have not been able to clear them from the ports, as a result of the Customs inability to generate the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), which it introduced into goods clearing process recently.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
BUSINESS Access Bank flags Off e-branch Operations By Chijioke Nelson CCESS Bank Plc has opened A a self-service electronic branch in Ikota, a sub-urb in Lagos State, as part of its efforts towards inclusive banking and cash-less policy. The opening marks the beginning of its ebranch operations. According to the bank, the ebranch model will be expanded to 50 across the country as part of innovative response to smart-banking revolution craved by customers in the technology age and simplify banking as well. The e-branch, codenamed Access Express, is predominantly a self-service electronic channel requiring minimal human interface and an integration of the bank’s electronic channels into an application, to provide quality financial services, leveraging on seamless technology. The Bank’s Group Managing Director, Herbert Wigwe, said: “Access Express is an intelligent response to customers’ needs and is ahead in terms of value delivery. Our self-service electronic branch is a one-stop cen-
tre where customers are able to do banking transactions, which ordinarily would have taken them to the banking halls. Specifically, Access Express branch offers 24/7 cash withdrawal service to Access Bank card holders and other Banks’ cardholders”. Wigwe pointed out that customers can access their account balance, deposit cash into their accounts without using cards, access their statements and previous transactions, receipt and transfer of funds without the cards, payment for pre-booked airline tickets, airtime purchase for mobile phones through PIN vending and virtual top Ups and settlement of utility bills such as DSTV subscription and GSM postpaid bills.
Market Gains 380 Points, As Capitalisation Hits N12.435t By Geoff Iyatse
38,712.76. The market capitalisation HE All-Share Index of the Nigerian also increased from the N122.313 trilStock Exchange (NSE) advanced by lion it opened the week with to close at N12.435 trillion, recording 0.99 per 380.98 basic points to close at cent appreciation. Apart from the industrial goods sub Apart from the industrial goods sector, all market indices appreciated sub sector, all market indices ap- during the week. A total of 1.937 bilshares worth N21.264 billion preciated during the week. A total lion changed hands in 21,641 deals comof 1.937 billion shares worth pared with 1.870 billion shares valued N26.811billion that were traded in N21.264 billion changed hands in at 21,632 deals the previous week. 21,641 deals compared with 1.870 Like the preceding week, the financial sector, measured by volume, led billion shares valued at activity chart with 1.683 billion N26.811billion that were traded in the shares valued at N12.689 billion that 21,632 deals the previous week traded in 12,631 deals. The sector con-
tributed 86.88 per cent and 59.67 per cent to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively. The consumer goods followed with a turnover of 74.112 million shares worth N5.325 billion in 3,439 deals while the third most active sector was the conglomerates industry with 63.863 million shares worth N576.140 million in 1,167 deals. The top three equities in terms of volume were Sterling Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc. They accounted for 751.520 million shares worth N6.282 billion in 3,500 deals, contributing 38.80 per cent and 29.54 per cent to the total turnover volume and value respectively.
Ozulku Emerges EMP’s CEO By Daniel Anazia AN-AfRICAN and Middle Eastern payments company, Emerging Markets Payments (EMP), has announced the appointment of Murat Ozulku as the Chief Executive Officer of its Bank Processing Division, replacing Hoda Shoukry who has retired after an illustrious career. following the appointment, Murat will be responsible for all EMP’s bank processing operations including payment platforms in Nigeria, Egypt and Jordan, as well as sales and service operations in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates. EMP’s bank processing division provides outsourced payments solutions, ranging from card procurement and personalization, and card hosting through to ATM and POS driving; mobile payments and advisory services to 130 banks in 35 countries. The group hosts over 11 million accounts and processes more than 100 million transactions per annum. According to Executive Chairman of EMP, Paul Edwards, the group is delighted to welcome Murat Ozulku as the new CEO of Bank Processing. “Murat has had a stellar career at Citibank covering two decades. In that time, he has worked in many countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa in a variety of senior roles.
President/ Chairman in Council, the Nigerian Institute of Management(NIM), Dr Nelson Uwaga (middle; Past President, Dr Lugard Aimiuwu (left); and Executive Director, Zenith Bank Plc, Ebenezer Onyeagwu during the special membership induction of staff of Zenith Bank in Lagos... yesterday. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU
firm Offers Visa-free Travel Opportunities To Big Investors O ease visa hurdles faced T by many Nigerians, a new outfit, Monarch and Co International, is offering a visafree travel opportunities to over 115 countries in the world through its Gredana programme.
Speaking during a media chat, president of Monarch, Mr. James Bowling, said the firm offers investors the opportunity to make a substantial investment in a country that runs residence for citizenship programme.
“Traveling with a Nigerian passport can be very cumbersome with lots of visa requirements. We have tried to solve this dilemma through our Citizenship by Investment initiative. Through the platform, subscribers are
able to acquire residence or citizenship in other countries. “We observed that traveling with an African passport is a costly exercise, especially with the inconvenience of getting a visa. But by having a
DSTAN Passes Vote Of Confidence In Oil Reforms By Geoff Iyatse EEPWATER Survival Trainers Association of Nigeria (DSTAN) has passed a vote of confidence in the reforms in oil and gas sector championed by the Petroleum Minister, Deziani Allison-Madueke. According to President of the association, Sir Emmanuel Onyekwena, the oil and gas industry has witnessed tremendous growth under the watch of Allison-Maduake development. Onyekwena, who is also the managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of TOLMANN Allied Services Company Ltd, said: “The major development that the industry has
As Nigeria Gets Deepwater Stimulation Theatre continued to celebrate is the Local Content Law, which is empowering Nigerians. Before the Minister came on board, only a few Nigerians could access oil and gas contracts. Look at the difference since she took over. Today, Nigerians are given the right of first refusal; they are considered first for jobs in the industry.” He made the observation during a chat with the media ahead the commissioning of the Deep-water Simulation Theatre (DST), which was built by TOLMANN, a leading offshore safety training company in the oil and gas sector. first of its kind in Africa, the theatre
will be commissioned under the Chairmanship Alison-Madueke, April 14, at Trans Amadi Industrial Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The DSTAN President insisted that the passion of the minister is to have young Nigerians employed in the industry and, by extension, boost wealth creation. “Imagine if you are coming to the industry to do business, you must comply with the Nigerian Content Policy. This means that beyond just appointing Nigerians to be ‘paper directors’ as was the case before now, you have to ensure that they have visible stakes in the business. An-
other great point about this is the fact that the policy opens window for Nigerians to be trained to acquire competence in areas they don’t have the technical knowhow,” he continued. He said DSTAN would continue to support the minister because her policies have created enormous opportunities for members of the association. He attributed the successful construction of the DST, which is ready for use, to the opportunities created by the oil and gas reforms, saying: “This could not have happened had she turned a deaf ear to numerous complaints by Nigerians operating in the industry.”
second passport, you are able to by-pass all of that hurdles because you don’t need visas for the affected countries when you are visiting. This is a maximum benefit for any businessman or high-networked individuals, who travels a lot,” he said. Monarch, which is new in Lagos, started marketing residency and citizenship programme in 2008. “Authorities in the countries you travel to want to do due diligence to ensure that when you get in, you also get out because there are a lot of refugees and people seeking asylum from African countries. So, they put up a lot of measures to keep people out,” Bowling said. Gerald Lebechi, who manages the West Africa operations of the firm, explained further: “We not just focus on people that want citizenship, but also on people that want value for their money. We do counseling to help people invest in countries where they can get high yields.
CAREER / 43
When Motivation Seems So Far Away
SUNDAY, April 6, 2014
National Assembly Set To Increase Penalties For Exam Malpractices a bid to stem the tide of ItheNexamination malpractice in country, especially in the West African Examination Council (WAEC), a bill seeking to revise upward the penalties for examination malpractices has passed the second reading stage in the House of Representatives at the National Assembly, Abuja. The Executive Bill which was brought before the House by the Majority Leader, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, seeks to amend the entire Section 19 of the Principal Law to include more penalties. It was referred to the House Committee on Education after it was passed on Thursday. While presenting the import of the bill before members, Akande said the bill is to act as further deterrent to examination cheats and help reduce the
TWO WORDS /40
Find It CAREER /27
Youth & Graduate Jobs Powered by Jobberman.com
high incidences of examination malpractices. According to her, WAEC has thought it fit to amend the Section by providing the offences constituting such malpractices to include: Illegal possession of examination papers; Having fore-knowledge of the contents of an examination paper; Making use of an examination paper or the contents of it/ in any manner whatsoever without lawful authority. “The Bill also provides for the amendment of Sections 20 and 21of the principal Act, a stiffer penalty of N200,000 fine instead of N2,000 and of course provision for disqualification and prohibition of a candidate, notwithstanding criminal prosecution of such cheaters,” she said. She added, “The passage of this bill will further guarantee the standard of examination, which is at its abysmal level at this point in time. There will be examination standardisation in Nigeria through the effective supervision by WAEC, which hitherto had been eroded.” Speaking further, the House Leader said, though Nigeria is a heavy contributor of fund to the Council with considerable number of representatives on its board, it is yet to domesticate the 2003 convention. “Notwithstanding the fact that Nigeria has ratified the convention, Nigeria is the only country out of the five countries constituting the Council membership that has not domesticated the convention.”
CARTOON SERIES /40
Members of the Internatioanl Conference of Nigerian Students (ICONS) Committee in Diaspora in UK.
Nigeria’s Education Sector Will Breed Criminals And Prostitutes By 2020 — Ezekwesili Stories By Daniel Anazia OLLOWING the incessant strikes by tertiary institutions in the country, there is palpable fear that Nigeria’s education sector will breed criminals and prostitutes by 2020. This was made known by the former Minister of Education, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili. Ezekwesili, dropped the bombshell while bemoaning the dwindling fortunes of the nation’s education sector, and predicted that by year 2020, the sector will breed highly trained criminals and girls of easy virtue across the globe. She regretted that seven years after she left the sector, it was still bedeviled with crisis. The former World Bank Chief, who addressed participants at the 2014 Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in Abuja, also noted that the terti-
ary education model is ridden with what is technically known as the funnel syndrome. “We are assimilating and educating only a fraction of the critical mass of society while neglecting a larger uneducated mass. We are producing less and less of the leaders of tomorrow, the managers, the entrepreneurial class, the teachers, the doctors, the policy makers, the law enforcement officers and the professionals,” she said. On the way out the decadence in the sector, Ezekwesili, advised that the Ministry of Education, should look into what she described as personality mix by focusing on quality leadership from the top down to the gate of the ministry. “The ministry should look at the school curriculum, institutions and teachers to frontally address the issue,” she noted. The former ministry also stressed the need for organised
training and retraining of teachers and a cost-sharing arrangement between the Federal Government and states. She expressed fear that given what is on ground, the Federal Government would definitely not achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on education, saying the pessimism on the MDGs was based on the fact that many Nigerians do not have access to education, a problem she placed on the doorstep of the Federal Government. She warned that the country’s education sector is in a precarious situation, given the present education policy, where only a few had access to tertiary education. “Nigeria would be producing more girls of easy virtue by 2020, and the country would be a breeding ground for motivated and very mature criminals.”
Davido Set To Star In Nollywood Movie creator, David Sas EKELEWU Adeleke, popularly known Davido is spreading his tentacles in the, entertainment industry as he is set to feature in a Nollywood movie which is to be produced by his cousin, Ikechukwu Ojeogwu, himself an actor cum producer. Gist around town is that the Omo Baba Olowo, would be working under the directions of veteran movie director, Teco Benson.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
40 Sunday, April 6, 2014
Experience is the best teacher, but the tuition fee is very high. I am Uki Dare, C.E.O of Poise’ Graduate Finishing Academy, mother of two and wife of one. I will share with you lessons I have learnt from my experiences around transforming from a young lady with big dreams to a young C.E.O with massive goals. I won’t bore you with long prose and philosophical arguments I promise to be real and answer all your questions in just TWO WORDS. Hello friends, Lyrikal Let me just say thank you for your emails. It has been amazing reading your thoughts on ‘Two Words’ and responding to your questions. I am going to be talking about myself today. If you are doing something you love, studying a course you enjoy or if your job is in line with your passion, I am happy for you because that is the best situation to be in. If you are not, then I have two words for you… Find It. I love my job to pieces. I work with some of the most amazing people I have ever met and we’re like a family. As for my job itself, I can hardly think of a job I would rather be doing at this time of my life. I train people in the job market and help them get jobs. What could be more fulfilling? I enjoy my job because it is in line with my passion. GUESS WHAT! As much as I love my job, sometimes I don’t feel like doing it. After many trips away from my family, spending my days and nights working myself to the bone, sometimes I just wake up and ask myself why I have to get out of bed. On those stressful days, I close my eyes for 2 minutes, take a deep breath and I remind myself of all the things I wrote above, in the second paragraph of this article. By the time I open my eyes, I feel revived and ready to move mountains. My passion drives my life. Do you know what makes you tick? Many people who are successful say that they are successful because they are getting paid for doing their hobby. Do you know what you wouldn’t mind doing for the rest of your life, even if you wouldn’t get paid?... If you don’t, you have to Find It. The job I do could make someone else miserable because everyone has something different that is their thing. I am not referring to a profession right now, I am referring to your passion. You could be a customer service agent who is passionate about singing, or a brand manager who gets fulfillment from teaching. There is nothing wrong with that, just Find It. Whatever your IT is, when you find it, you can chart a course from where you are, to where you are going and all of a sudden there is a purpose to everyday because with each new day, you are one day closer to your dream. Don’t loose sight of your passion or purpose: Remember It Don’t loose hope in your dreams: Chase Them If you don’t know the thing that can spur you on every day: Find It Please remember that even when you are doing something you love you can get tired, how much more when you are doing something just for the sake of doing it. Don’t wait for life to hand you your dream: Find it! Lets discuss: How can you Find Your Dream? Drop a comment on my blog poisegfs.blogspot.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Lyrikal Steps Out With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder From Behind Bars By Daniel Anazia duced with SpontaneousBeatz, AppER, Lyrikal, (real name, R Jesse James), has released his Leriq, Flux and Kay X, it features mixtape for 2014. The mixtape is vocals from Eva, Shank, Jazzy, titled OCD (short for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). According to the port Harcourt based rapper who is currently signed to Xcel Music, “the mixtape in many ways is a reflection of my personal battles as a musician who is never satisfied with his own work. There are aspects that reflect our general lives as people, and how sometimes, we are unable to stop ourselves from repeating frustrating habits, even when we mean to change.” The new mixtape was co-pro-
Korkormikor, KO, The Veteran, Young Stunna, and samples from Davido, 9ice, Mafikizolo, Jay Z, Drake, 2 Chainz and Eminem. The 30 year old rapper, at the beginning of the year, released some photos of himself behind prison bars. The concept driven photos, he said are part of his personal campaign to communicate the challenges of the average young person living in Nigeria today. According to him, “Hip hop is a form of self-expression that
tries to challenge or merely evoke the mood of the circumstances of an environment. The bars are a metaphorical play on the musical jargon, where they represent a point in a verse which contains the punchline for a rap —this is why we used sixteen photos. But most importantly, the bars represent the physical oppression, mental captivity and creative limitations facing the Nigerian youth today.” He borrows quotes from William Glasser, Musiq Soulchild and Nelson Mandela in the expression of his call to freedom.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, April 6, 2014 41
42 Sunday, April 6, 2014
JOBS & CAREERS
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
44 Sunday, April 6, 2014
JOBS & CAREERS
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
42 Sunday, April 6, 2014
JOBS & CAREERS
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, April 6, 2014 45
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
YOUTHMAGAZINE powered by
National Development Strategy Series
NICHOLAS OKOYE, Founder EMPOWER NIGERIA Initiative,
FROM THE DESK OF THE CEO PILLAR TWO :
ACCESS TO CAPITAL Paper 6 CCESS TO CAPITAL cannot be over emphasized, we need capital to drive development and we need development for citizens to pursue happiness. So whereas we need as much capital as we can attract, we need to make sure that that capital is going to the right places. We must have capital for infrastructure such as power, roads and bridges however in cases where this infrastructure has been privatized such as the case of power, then we must make sure that the Federal Government takes extra steps to ensure that the private owners get access to the capital they need to drive the industry forward. Having said that there are several strategies on increasing the access to capital in Nigeria that have not been explored yet and I will outline them here for the benefit of our industry leaders, captains of industry and public officials. For the young ones that read this column, you too can learn a few things here and if our hard headed leaders have not implemented these strategies by the time you get to your own positions of power and authority then you have a good head start.
Private Sector solutions In Lagos, Abuja and all over the country many companies are sitting on assets and listing these assets on their balance sheets but they have not figured out a way to monetize these assets. The best any company in Nigeria has been able to do in recent time is to provide these assets as collateral for the conclusion of a banking loan. Banking loans in Nigeria are very high so this is not always the preferred option for companies
looking to raise capital. Asset Backed securities and Securitization has not been fully explored in Nigeria, and we need to unveil the monster and let its good parts provide for the Nigerian economy the capital it needs to drive development. Asset Backed Securities are defined in lay manâ€™s terms as the art of providing investors with the access to the cash flows or revenue that flows from an asset such as a building or a power plant, by the investors paying a present day value/ price for the asset and then the manager of the asset such as the company looking to raise money, will pass on the revenues to the investors directly. So in the terms of the process I can securitize a bridge such as the lekki /ikoyi link bridge, sell securities to investors and provide the investors with the cash flow generated by the tolls being paid by the users of the bridge. The Lagos State Government can easily recover its investment in that bridge using this approach. In addition many office blocks, pipe lines and even shopping malls can also be securitized in this way allowing the owners to recover the funds used in developing the asset, especially if those assets were borrowed at high interest rates. Municipality Finance Community development has been at the fore front of many administrations in Nigeria. When have had such programs as the Directorate of roads and rural infrastructure, we have rural electrification, rural communication and so on. All in effort to stop the rural to urban migration which is leaving many
communities across Nigeria decimated, and without an economic base. However other countries around the world have used very innovative strategies to ensure investment is provided to the communities through financial instruments that are listed on a securities exchange. In the United States for instance the bonds that are issued by the Local Government Authorities (municipal authorities) are known as triple tax exempt. That means that any investment in a bond issued by a municipal authority will have its proceeds exempt from Federal Government, State and local taxes. These investments are known as tax advantaged securities and many investment funds in the United States make sure that every balanced portfolio contains a good allocation of municipal bonds to ensure their clients are investing tax efficiently. This strategy has made sure that investment has poured into the communities and has ensured that communities developed alongside the urban areas all across the United States. As at the last time I checked no local Government in Nigeria has even taken the initiative to issue bonds not to talk of drive development at the same pace of the urban areas. There are many reasons for this one being that the Local Governments in Nigeria are not fully independent from the State Governments. And in Many states we hear about Governors that dissolve the local councils and appoint care taker committees. We also hear about a joint account between the States and the local authorities so even the local government financing coming from the Federal distributions are tied to the state governments and their Governors. In order for us to really drive the development of the rural communities we must separate the adminis-
EMBROIDERY MACHINES Each time I look at embroidery, I still get fascinated repeatedly at how Technology can be so advanced. Embroidery is one of the most fascinating and beautiful forms of sewing. In ancient times, and scarcely now, embroideries were done manually, using needles and threads often making it quite a tedious task and thereby making them almost unaffordable. But thanks to Technology, Embroidery machines have now been made available in virtually all parts of the world. The Textile Industry has made great advancements in the recent era. Sewing and Embroidery are done in different patterns on almost everything, ranging from bags to shoes, clothes, head accessories, beads, e.t.c. This huge development has shown that there is a huge market in Embroidery and Sewing. Mechanised embroidery on saris and other garments is all set to touch a new high and is expected to become the future of textile industry here. According to an estimate, this year the embroidery business is expected to put the city on international map for high exports of embroidered material. Embroidery machines work through an outstanding process. They are of two types; Manual and Computerized machines. The machine
tration of the Local Authorities from the State Governments. In this way Local councils can negotiate funding for development directly with the financial professionals of the Nigerian Capital Market and maybe some Nigerian Local Government Bonds can be issued to support the development of the local communities. We will also need to ensure that we also make it attractive or investors to invest in the local communities either through tax incentives or other strategic incentives. The people that made this mistake of tying the hands of the Local Officials and preventing independent development have really caused this Nation a great disservice. I hope and pray the on going National Conference will address this issue. Many Local Governments in Nigeria are much more viable then the States that hold them to ransom and if the chained are broken we can unleash monumental investment in these areas. Communities such as Ogbodo in Cross River State, Nnewi in Anambra State, Aba in Abia State, Keffi in Nasarawa State, Suleja in Niger State, Ijebuode in Ogun State will all do very well on their own as Local Municipal Authorities, if they were allowed to operate independently in the way Local Governments were designed to operate. However the military that wrote our present constitution got it wrong when they created the local authorities but also created structures that ensured that these authorities could not function on their own. The State and Local joint account, the state electoral commission and so on have totally made it impossible for the local authorities to operate. And as such all the local Governments in Nigeria are currently operating as departments of the State Government in which they find themselves. We can NEVER make progress in this way. Private Sector Funding The Private sector has several options open to it to raise funding some of these options are well developed in Nigeria and some are still developing. However the normal progression for fund raising in terms of equity goes like these. Family and friends Angel Investors Venture Capital Private Placement Public Market or the Initial Public Offering
dery problems. Polyester thread is generally more color-safe and durable. works at wonderful speed thereby cresting the patterns on the fabric.. Almost any type of fabric can be embroidered, given the proper stabilizer. Base materials include paper, fabric, and lightweight balsa wood. Machine embroidery commonly uses polyester, rayon, or metallic embroidery thread, though other thread types are available. 40 wt thread is the most commonly used embroidery thread weight. Bobbin thread is usually either 60 wt or 90 wt. The quality of thread used can greatly affect the number of thread breaks and other embroi-
In terms of debt also goes like this Family and Friends
To find out about this and other business ideas, Government Grants and soft loans visit our showroom at W2, THE ARENA Army Shopping complex, Bolade Bustop, Oshodi, Lagos. Development Banks You could also contact our sales representative at Commercial Banks +234 1 277 1388 OR Email us on email@example.com Corporate Bonds In paper 7 I will define how business people can use any of these capital structures to access capital for a start up or a growing business.
46 Sunday, April 6, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
EMPOWERNIGERIA CASE STUDY
GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURAL LEADER
Guide to Personal Development By Nicholas Okoye
PEAK PERFORMANCE HAVE been talking about peak performance for a while now and many people will wonder why do I put so much emphasis on Peak Performance. Well the truth of the matter is that everybody wants to be Rich but nobody wants to do the hard work that is required to get there. If you want to stand out in any field whether as a doctor, lawyer, sports man, politician, and entrepreneur whatever it is that you do, it is only when you attain Peak Performance that you will be known, respected and legendary. The Greeks have told the story of Achilles for thousands of years, why we are still talking about him. He died as a young man but the entire World in the twenty first century over three thousand years after he died, is still talking about Achilles, Movies have been made about him and songs have been designed with his name. Why? Achilles was a Peak performer. He could be depended upon by the Kings of the era to deliver on any battle field time and time again. He was always at 100% in terms of his performance never 85 or 95% always 100%. And when the time came for many of the Greek City States to assembly an army to take on Troy one of the greatest Cities of the Ancient World with Prince Hector one of the most feared Generals of that time. It was Achilles the fighting machine that took on Hector and defeated him and led the ground work to the eventual down fall of Troy.
THE BILLIONAIRE WHO RAN FOR PRESIDENT ENRY ROSS PEROT was born in Texarkana, Texas, on June 27, 1930, and he became one of the country’s leading businessmen and later a political force to be reckoned with. He got some of his charm and business acumen from his father Gabriel Ross Perot. His father ran a cotton wholesaling company and had other ventures. Perot was the couple’s third child, but his older brother, Gabriel Ross Perot Jr., died as a toddler. He also had an older sister named Bette.
Originally named Henry Ray Perot, he changed his name to Henry Ross Perot in his early teens. Perot was close to his father, and their trips to cattle auctions served as lessons in salesmanship. According to Ken Gross’s Ross Perot: The Man Behind the Myth, he started out buy and selling saddles and other equipment, and later, animals themselves. Perot also worked as a newspaper delivery boy. In 1949, Perot enrolled at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. There he thrived, serving as class president in both his junior and senior years. During this time, Perot met his wife Margot. The pair married in 1956, and eventually had five children together. After leaving the U.S. Navy in 1957, Perot returned to Texas with his wife. He soon put his strong sales skills to work as an employee for IBM. Perot decided to branch out on his own after a few years, forming Electronic Data Systems in 1962. This new company provided other businesses with data processing systems and services. What started out as a one-person operation grew into a thriving business. In 1968, Perot became a millionaire when he took EDS public. The values of his shares grew substantially, eventually making him a billionaire. Outside of business, Perot was active in issues relating to prisoners of war
and soldiers missing in action in the Vietnam War. He also orchestrated a daring rescue when two of his own employees were taken hostage in Iran in 1979. The operation to free these prisoners later became the basis for the Ken Follett book On Wings of Eagles.
Carolyn before her wedding.
Perot returned to the race in October with only weeks left before the election. Despite this setback, he managed to garner nearly 19 percent of the popular vote. Perot was the first independent candidate since Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 to receive this large of a share of the popular vote. Still the In 1984, General Motors bought a controlling lion’s share of voters chose Democrat Bill interest in EDS. The initial deal provided Perot with cash and GM shares, and he became a vocal Clinton. Perot faced off against Clinton again in critic of his new business partners. Two years lat- 1996, but his campaign failed to win over much er, Perot sold his GM stock back to the company at public support. their request. He soon started a new business Perot retired from the day-to-day operations of enterprise called Perot Systems. Perot Systems in 2000, but he stayed on as the company’s chairman. His son, Ross Jr., took the Always politically outspoken, Perot decided to step off the sidelines and get into the action in the reins of the business. The business was later sold spring of 1992. He was disappointed in President to Dell in 2009. George Bush and didn’t like any of the potential Democratic candidates. Positioning himself as a In his retirement, Perot has written a number of political outsider, Perot wrote about his ideas for books. He shared some of business philosophies rebuilding a troubled America in United We Stand: in 2002’s Ross Perot: My Life & The Principles for How We Can Take Back Our Country. He also broad- Success. In 2008, Perot contributed a forward to Governor Rick Perry’s On My Honor: Why the casted his political views in infomercials, using American Values of the Boy Scouts Are his substantial wealth to buy Worth Fighting For. He air time across the country. delved into his life for his Perot had a down-home style 2013 autobiography Ross and a habit for speaking in Perot: My Life. Perot hasn’t snappy sound-bites, which stayed out of politics comappealed to many members pletely, however. In 2012, he of the voting public. His camthrew his support behind paign seemed to gather Republican candidate Mitt momentum as the political Romney in the presidential race heated up. Perot promotrace. ed himself as a reformer, building on his success with the Texas Public Education Perot is listed 446 in billionsystem in the 1980s. But, in aires, 152 richest people in July, he dropped out of the the US, 384 richest people in race, later claiming that the the world in 2013 and 134 0n Republican Party had plans Forbes 400. to embarrass his daughter
Why are we in 2014 watching movies of Leonidas, King of Sparta? And what he did in 480BC with the brave 300 men of Sparta? Well once again because of Peak Performance, nothing beats peak performance. If you will live forever, then write things that are worth reading or do things that are worth writing about. I guess in another one thousand years people will still be talking about Leonidas and the brave 300 men of Sparta. By far one of the most famous Gladiators of Ancient Rome was Spartacus. In 72BC Spartacus led a slave army to take on the might of Rome and he defeated the Romans many times. He was a peak performer extraordinary, and we will be talking and studying his story for many thousands of years to come. Peak Performers are usually the winners, they win in History and they win in present time. Become a peak Performer and they will be celebrating your achievements and accomplishments for many years to come.
Sunday, April 6, 2014 47
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
BY BENSON IDONIJE firstname.lastname@example.org
All That Jazz
Mahogany, A Throwback To The Great Vocalists HE Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary describes ‘mahogany’ as the hard reddish – brown wood of a tropical tree, used for making furniture. Ironically, it is the name of today’s leading male jazz singer. Since Joe Williams and Jimmy Rushing of the Count Basie Orchestra, including Ray Charles and Lou Rawls, male jazz singing has experienced a lull. But for the commitment of jazz men like Kevin Mahogany, who emerged in the 90s, to bring about an unprecedented resurgence, male jazz singing would since have been forgotten where the female scene has continued to thrive with such vocalists as Cassandra Wilson, Dee Dee Bridge Water, Nigeria’s Yinka Davies and others. On stage, Mahogany captures the glamorous aura of the shots used to advertise Hollywood movies and nightclub appearances. Maintaining the old jazz tradition of singers, he is a throwback to the great vocalists Joe Williams, Billy Eckstein, Johnny Hartman, Oscar Brown Junior and Lou Rawls. This is as far as his appearance and mode of dressing go; but musically, he evokes the memories of legendary jazz vocalists. Besides, Mahogany is a truly entertaining artist. He has a strong link with the veterans and first catches the attention of his admirer with the way he dresses and the manner in which he carries himself, a phenomenon which characterised jazz singing and even West African highlife in the 50s and 60s: Jimmy Rushing who was also called Mr. “Five by Five” was always in the best of suits, massive as his frame was. Ray Charles often doubled on vocals and keyboards; and was seen always in some of the best- tailored suits. Lou Rawls made Tobacco Road and Stormy Monday Blues popular in the 60s as he combined an admirable appearance with a vocal delivery that was bluesy. Even Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. who were on the fringes — sounding more like popular musicians than jazz exponents — had large wardrobes of suits. Some of the singers that projected the best of highlife in West Africa in the 50s and 60s had good carriage, and were very well dressed — all because the bands were seen through the eyes of their personalities. Up till his death
a few years ago, Joe Mensah of Bonsue fame dressed well, singing within the context of Chief Bill Friday’s Ambassador Down beats and the Stargazers Dance Band. The same goes for Dan Aquaye who sang for the Tempos Band led by E. T. Mensah: he adorned the stage in some of the most fashionable jackets of that period. Trumpeter-band leaders often doubled on vocals but one of the singers whose main preoccupation was vocalisation was Godwin Omabuwa who was loved by all the girls because of his appearance: he wore designer clothes. Another typical vocalist was Stephen Osita Osadebe who sang with Stephen Amechi and His Empire Rhythm Skies, E.C.Arinze and later, Eric Onugha and the Central Dance Band: he always looked gorgeously dressed. They all had the music to match their appearances like Mahogany who has released over 10 albums as a leader, each enjoying rave reviews and critical acclaim. Some of Mahogany’s solo albums include My Romance; Another time, another place; Kevin Mahogany; You Got What It Takes; Songs and Moments. But perhaps the involvement that has helped to shoot up his popularity and fame is Robert Altman’s film, Kansas City. He really fit the role he played. The songs he sang and the way he looked helped to create those old time images of Kansas City: “Oh yes, I enjoyed my part in the movie, and I would love to do more if the opportunity came,’’ Mahogany explains with forthrightness and professional poise. “I don’t really consider myself an actor, but I would sure have fun trying. Taking part in the movie was probably better than most of our regular performances because of the caliber of all the musicians all the way around. I’m not saying the bands we play with are bad, but this is a veritable ‘Who’s who’ of musicians. And, of course, you play up to the level of the other artists. And when you’ve got arguably the world’s best musicians on stage, it’s going to make you sound probably better than you are.” The lifestyle of a jazz musician is difficult in terms of the amount of time you are on the road; living out of a suitcase puts a lot of toll on the jazz musician. Mahogany who has gone through a lot of it on the road admits: “It’s a physical toll. It wears you down physically as
Mahogany well as mentally. It’s not easy at all. It can be pretty tiresome. But at the same time, you have to realise that if this is the life you choose, then you have to be prepared to accept those consequences, and that’s just part of the consequences, of course, being on the road and travelling.” There is a jazz museum in Kansas City, which is helping to educate the public in the same way that Lagos, Nigeria could establish a museum where highlife music of the vintage type could be heard, plus live performances by surviving veterans of the music. Mahogany has a high opinion of the museum, especially as he himself has benefited from it. His words: “Yes, the museum is getting a lot of traffic through there, and it’s helping to educate the public. They do a lot of clinics and seminars with professional musicians, so in that sense, it helps because those are artists you would not usually have access to. And for a lot of kids, you
get to see them free of charge. That’s one of the things I think we all had when we were younger – meaning musicians my age – had some clinic or something we went to and got to hear those you usually would have access to. I remember a clinic I got to go to and hear Cannonball Adderley, and that, of course, was the only time I got to hear Cannonball.” Some of the younger artists whose music Mahogany enjoys listening to include Nicholas Payton whom he considers an incredible musician. Others are Javon Jackson, Russell Malone, a guitarist in his forties who was a sideman with Jimmy Smith. Mahogany also enjoys listening to Joshua Redman and Mark Whitfield. Indeed, Kevin Mahogany’s sudden prominence is a relief to the jazz world, which hitherto, had thought that male jazz singing was on its way out, particularly because, for decades, it did not enjoy patronage from any singer under the age of 60.
OFAAC To Host 2014 Anioma Cultural Festival In Asaba lenge, fashion display, arts and crafts exhibition, raffle draws with loads of exciting prizes and a royal banquet amongst othOME Easter Monday, April 21, the Arcade Ground, Asaba, ers. Delta State, is where to be, as the Organisation For the Best performing groups from different categories will be Advancement of Anioma Culture (OFAAC) will once awarded cash prizes of different sum and interesting gifts from again bring together sons and daughters of Anioma, friends, the major sponsors of Anioma festival. arts and culture enthusiasts for a beautiful display of the “Our goal is to help preserve, promote and advance the apprepeople’s cultural heritage at the 11th Anioma Cultural ciation and development of the rich cultural heritage of Festival. Anioma people and Nigeria in general,” said Ifeadi. There are so Already, preparations have reached conclusion stages for many exciting ideas turning into a reality because of the vision the showcase of dance, music, fashion and other creative arts and enthusiasm people at the grassroots including monarchs of historical values have continued to serve as a rallying continue to have for ensuring their communities are part of point for cultural renaissance and the unification of Delta’s OFAAC’s activities and ultimately get the attention they diverse population. The festival, which has become a canopy of events for the people and stakeholders with collective shared sense of responsibilities in the development of arts and culture, is gradually evolving into an oak. In a statement, Arc. Kester Ifeadi, President, OFAAC, said that this year’s festival is significant because it marks the beginning of a new phase in the life of OFAAC. After 11 years of existence, “we remain focused, despite numerous challenges, drawing strength from God, the creator, and from relevant stakeholders, who have remained resolute in their supports and encouragement for OFAAC and its cultural activities. Today, Anioma Cultural Festival, now in its 11th year, has continued to attract interest from far and near, we give thanks to God.” The theme of this year’s feast is, The Values that Unite us, Ifeadi stated, is apt, “as a time like this, there is need to bring to fore, the many values that unite us as a people. No doubt, Anioma is noted for its peaceful disposition with so many value systems and as such people need to co-exist in love for the common good of all.” MTN and Grand Oaks Nigeria Limited makers of Seaman’s Schnapps are sponsoring this year’s event. And over 180 dance groups, along with other performing arts and exhibitors from the various communities in the nine local council areas of Delta North Senatorial districts and beyond are billed for this year’s even, while the Asagba of Asaba, Obi (Prof.) Chike Edozien will lead the crème de la crème of over 80 royal monarchs in Anioma and outside Anioma land to the festival. The categories of dance to be competed for this year fiesta include Egwu-Ajah (maidens dance), Agwuba (royal dance), the vibrant Uloko dance and the scintillating dance arts of Anioma kids in primary and secondary school category. Other activities lined up include traditional wrestling chalA scene from last year’s dance contest
By Gregory Austin Nwakunor
deserve. According to him, “the festiva l is deeply rooted in communities in Anioma land and the people take pride in their legendary traditional attires, dance, music, historical artifacts/crafts and cuisine.” He added, “the fiesta, which is usually presented as an avenue to entertain diverse audience of culture enthusiasts and music lovers, more importantly, exposes the rich heritage of the Afrocentric nature of Anioma dance art.” The festival is today reputed as the finest cultural event in Delta State attracting sons and daughters of Anioma both at home and in the Diasporas in addition to thousands of festival attendees each year.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
48 Sunday, April 6, 2014
YOUTHMAGAZINE BY SHAIBU HUSSEINI
Around and about...
AMAA 2014: Nigeria, South Africa Battle For Supremacy HOUGH other African countries such as T Mauritius, Ghana, Gabon, Mali and Kenya featured on the nomination list of the Africa Movie Academy Awards recently released, going by the number of nominations Nigerian and South African movie industries received that the battle for ‘supremacy’ is between the two countries. Both movie industries led on the nomination grid announced by the AMAA Jurors at a well-attended gala night, which held at the Emperor Palace Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa on Wednesday. Nollywood practitioners and those from South Africa, Ghana and Kenya led the pack in the race to win the coveted film awards at the 10th anniversary of the AMAA, which has been scheduled for Yenegoa, Bayelsa State, in May. Hailed as Africa’s Oscars, the event attracted celebrities from Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, Gabon, Sierra Leone, Namibia and South Africa, including representatives of governments of South Africa and Namibia while the delegation from Malawi was led by the daughter of President Joyce Banda, Mrs. Edith Akridge. However, it was films from South Africa that clearly dominated. For instance, one of their films Of Good Report garnered 13 nominations including the best film and best director. South Africa’s other entries, The Forgotten Kingdom, Felix and Once Upon a Road Trip, equally had impressive showing on the nomination grid, while Nigeria’s Apaye, Omo Elemosho, B for Boy and Teco Benson’s crime thriller placed the Nollywood in a strong position on the nomination grid. Ghana’s Good Old Days, Potomanto and Northern Affairs also put Ghana in the lead in terms of nominations. Other countries that had good nominations were Kenya, Mali, Cameroun, Mauritius, and Malawi. The award also attracted entries from countries such as Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Venezuela and Cuba all of which are competing in the Diaspora category. Over 48 countries reportedly sent in entries for this edition of the festival. Speaking at the gala night, Chief Executive Officer of the AMAA’s, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, enjoined filmmakers in the continent to unite and promote the best in Africa through their works. She charged Nigerian and South African government, as two giants in Africa, to forge better economic and cultural co-operation. “Our leaders should invest in our future and creative energy of the young people be it in music, film, fashion and other areas through appropriate funding and regulatory framework that will the creative industry viable just as the governments in India and United States did for their creative entrepreneurs,” she said. Also speaking, the Director General of Bayelsa State Tourism Development Agency, Mrs. Ebizi Brown, called on filmmakers in Africa and beyond to come and shoot their movies in Bayelsa adding that the state is ready to host a great 10th anniversary edition of AMAA. “We have beautiful and exotic locations that are good for shooting of your films. Come and experience Bayelsa and we have incentives and talents that will make your work very smooth. We have stayed with AMAA in the last 10 years and we will continue as a state,” she said. Earlier, the President of the Jury of the 2014 of the AMAA’s, Steve Ayorinde, had disclosed that there won’t be award for films by an African living abroad, due to quality of films received in the category, which the Jurors found inadequate. The main award where winners will be announced will come up in Bayelsa State. The event attracted celebrities such as Ramsey Nouah, Funso Adeolu, Fathia Balogun, Fred Amata, Paul Obazele, Segun Arinze, Fidelis Duker and Lydia Forson.
Half Of A Yellow Sun To Open In Cinemas On April 25 ILMONE Distributors, the company hanFbudget dling the Nigerian distribution of the big film, Half of a Yellow Sun, have said that the film will begin its cinema run across the country as from April 25. The company led by Kene Mkparor, who is also managing director of FilmHouse Cinemas, has also said that there is ‘no truth’ in the tale in some quarters that the official screening date has been pushed forward. The news making the rounds was that the
Editor of The Guardian, Martin Oloja; actor Paul Obazele; AMAA CEO, Peace Osigwe; AMAA Jury President, Steve Ayorinde; and Editor Punch Newspapers, Martins Ayankola cinema run has been pushed forward by another month. Mkparor, who spoke to Moviedom from Kano, where he had gone to firm up arrangement for the northern run of the movie, maintained that the film would screen as scheduled. “Nothing has changed,” Mkparor said, adding, “we are working with Shareman Media, the Nigerian producer to have the much anticipated movie released in all Nigerian cinemas on Friday, April 25 and like we also said the Nigerian premiere is sponsored by Etisalat, the Wheatbaker Hotel and Arik Air.” Half of a Yellow Sun, a film adaptation of the international bestselling novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Canada to great applause, and subsequently premiered in Europe at the BFI London Film Festival, London. The film has been released in cinemas in Australia and would be released in the UK on April 11, and in the US in the early summer. Directed by the Nigerian playwright, Biyi Bandele and shot at various locations in Cross Rivers State, Half of a Yellow Sun stars the BAFTA Awardwinning and Oscar-nominated actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), and BAFTA Award-winning actor Thandie Newton. Genevieve Nnaji, Onyeka Onwenu, O. C. Ukeje, and Zack Orji led the supporting cast of the epic love story.
Applications Open For 7th Talents Durban HE 35th Durban International Film Festival T (DIFF), hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts, University of KwaZulu-Natal, with support from Berlinale Talents, has announced the opening of applications for 7th Talents Durban holding from July 18 to 22. This year’s
Funsho Adeolu, Peace Osigwe, Segun Arinze, Tope Ajayi and Fathia Balogun at the AMAA Nomination Party Talents Durban’ theme, Continent of long tradition of storytelling. This year’s Contrast/ de Contrastes, is an ode to the god- edition will highlight the truth that the father of African cinema, Djibril Diop African continent is home to a myriad of Mambéty’s first film, Contras’city (City of cultures, colours, and stories. Also, the 7th Contrast). Celebrating the 45th anniverTalents Durban is programmed to create a sary of the film, the 7th Talents Durban culture of Africans telling their own stolooks to bring filmmakers from across the ries. The film event looks to continue its continent draw inspiration from Africa’s history of acting as a launching pad for filmmakers from Africa. Also, the programme provides the selected participants with a unique opportunity to meet with international industry professionals, experts and mentors in various aspects of daughter’s graduation party. This case of mis- the filmmaking business through particitaken identity would certainly destroy Debra’s pation in a 5-day programme of master marriage if Dunn’s daughter Jasmine finds classes, workshops and industry networkout. Despite all attempts to keep a secret, ing events. Running in parallel to the Jasmine still finds out. Jasmine results to main festival programme, this year’s blackmail as the tool to force Debra and her Talent Campus Durban will offer three Mekky out of the company etc. hands-on training programmes: Doc The programme will hit homes on a 30 min- Station which will focus on documentaryutes primetime belt and parade star artists making, Talent Press which is dedicated like Bella Nickole, Gigi Koustan, Chucks Etuole, to film criticism and Script Station which Bisi Fagbohun and Manfred Tambe. will supports story development. For According to the Managing Director of Mind those interested in participating, applicaPictures Limited, Mrs. Maureen Odeja, plans tions for the 7th Talents Durban are comare in top gear for theBeautiful Liarsto storm pleted through an online application top TV stations in Nigeria. process. Applicants are expected to meet Mind Pictures Limited is a 21st century com- the criteria found on website while sucpliant Entertainment Company incorporated cessful applicants will be informed via in Nigeria with the primary focus on email and the website by 21 April 2014. Consultancy, Production and Marketing of Application forms and full regulations highly creative broadcast contents to mention available at www.durbanfilmfest.co.za but a few.
Beautiful Liars Coming Soon D ELIVERING topnotch Television content capable of keeping viewers glued to their TV sets is one of the focal goals ofMind Pictures Limitedas they partner with Majic Digital Communications in bringing an out-of-the-box soap opera to your screen from this quarter (April 2014). Beautiful Liars, written and produced by Chucks Etolue, is a soap exclusively shot in America with a blend of Nigerian and American actors featuring in this mind-blowing soap opera. It has a larger than life storyline, which tries to portray the live style of the wealthy with special focus on glamour, greed and excesses. The story is set in the Garden City, centred on the wealthy, but troubled Emego family, headed by the powerful Oil tycoon- Dunn Emego. In the premiere episode, Dunn’s wife Debra mistaking her daughter’s boyfriend Kingsley for her husband and had sex with him at her
Sunday, April 6, 2014 49
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
CSRFiles Digest TM
50 Sunday, April 6, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Birthdays DANIEL, Otunba Just Olugbenga, politician, administrator and former governor of Ogun State will be 58 on Sunday, April 6, 2014. He was born on April 6, 1956 into the family of late Rt. Rev. Adebola Daniel of Makin, Sagamu and Madam Olaitan Daniel of Omu Ijebu, Ogun State. He was educated at Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta, 1963-73, The Polytechnic, Ibadan and the school of Engineering of the University of Lagos and later became a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. Deputy Managing Director, Metal Construction (W.A) Limited, Lagos. In 1990, he founded Kresta Laurel, an engineering firm specialising in elevators, overhead travelling cranes and hoists. He was elected governor of Ogun State in April 2003, running on the PDP plat-
madu Bellows University, Zaria; commissioned into the Nigerian Army Corps of Signals and promoted Lieutenant, 1970; Signal Brigade Officer, Corps of Signal, Nigerian Army, 1970-71; promoted Captain, 1971; served as Officer,
form, and was re-elected on April 2007. He holds the traditional titles of Fesojoye of IleIfe, 1993; Otunba Rojogbuwa of Sagamu 1999; Aare Asoludero of Makun Sagamu, 2002; Okoesisi of Obinugwu, Imo State, 2003; Bobagunwa of Ghagra, Abeokuta, 2004; Basorun of Erland, 2004 and Gbobaniyi of Oke-Ona, Egba, 2004.
MARK, Colonel David Bonadventure Alachenu (rtd), administrator, politician and Senate President will be 66 on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Born in Otukpo, Benue State, he was educated at St. Francis Practising School, Otukpo, 1955-61; Nigerian Military School, Zaria, 1962-70; Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna; Ah-
3 Marine Commando Signal Regiment, Nigerian Army, 1971; promoted Major, 1974; former director, Telecommunications, Nigerian Army, Headquarters, Lagos; military governor, Niger State, 1984-86; member, defunct Armed
Forces Ruling Council, 198689; minister of communications, 1987; retired from the Army, 1993; senator-elect, 1999; member, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and currently the Senate President. Compiled by Gbenga Akinfenwa,
Mrs. S.O. Ebebeinwe (mother of the bride); the couple, Oromena D. Orogun and Peace Orogun, Mr. S.O. Ebebeinwe (father of the bride).
Msgr. Jerome Oduntan, (fourth from right) Administrator of St Finbarrs College, Akoka, recently buried his mother at Epe. He is surrounded here by friends, including Msgr. Gabriel Osu and Chief Molade Okoya Thomas (fifth from right) Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson (left) assisted by Dr. Gabriel Okara unveiling the remodeled former Glory Land Cultural Centre, now renamed Dr. Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre shortly after it was commissioned.
Snr Supt F.A. Alao (left); Elder (Dr) Israel Akinadewo; Elder (Prof.)Joseph Otubu; Special Apostle J.A.Akande at the Christian wake keep For the late Snr Lady Superintendent Comfort Akinadewo at Bishop’s Court, Oke Iwosan, Ondo, Ondo State. Head, Dentistry Division, Federal Ministry of Health Dr (Mrs.) Bimpe Adebiyi (left); Representative of Senate President, Anthony George Manzo; Brand Building Director, Unilever Nig. Plc, David Okeme and Minister of State for Health, Dr Khaliru Alhassan, during the National Oral Health Dinner commemorating the World Oral Health Day 2014 in Abuja.
Corporate and Public Affairs Manager, Nestle, Sam Adenekan(left); MD/CEO, Nestle Nigeria, Dharnesh Gordhon; Category Business Manager Culinary, Guy Kellaway, Executive Director, Marketing Services, Iquo Ukoh during Maggi Chicken press launch in Lagos Lions Bamidele Apapo (left), Chris Ashimolowo (Agodi Lions Club); Folorunso Olusegun (President, Ibadan Metropolitan Lions Club), representative of the Prisons officials, Lion Owolabi (1st Vice President); Adekunle Babayemi, and Christopher Mimiola during the club’s presentation of materials and cash to the immates of Nigerian Prisons, Agodi, Ibadan.
Host Pastor and Mrs Gideon Olatunde (3rd, left) flanked on the left by Pst. Adekunle Muraiana, Rev. Mrs. J. A. Adesina and other guests during the Foursquare Gospel Church, Ajibade Ogudu/Ojota, Lagos maiden anniversay and thanksgiving service.
Chairman, Lagos Island Local Government, Wasiu Eshilokun Sanni (left); former chairman, Lagos Mainland and APC chieftain, Otunba Tayo Oyemade present cash and food items to Alhaji Shittu Kosoko, one of the beneficiaries during the social security for the aged at the council secretariat… at the weekend.
52 Sunday, April 6, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, April 6, 2014 53
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Opinion Is There A Conspiracy Against Nigeria? I MAGINE a world in which, one morning, the United States and the United Kingdom announced a visa and travel ban on…let’s say 1000 members of Nigeria’s political class and their families. Imagine if they were defined as people who have enjoyed political power at any point in…let’s say the past 30 years, in connection with stolen public funds. Imagine also, if the ban included the freezing of the assets of those individuals and their families. Now, if you have followed the crisis in Ukraine, you probably heard the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, say the following of his country on March 5: “We have already taken some important steps in terms of the Ukrainian corrupt oligarchs and making sure their assets are properly dealt with here in the U.K if that’s the case…and I’ll be speaking to President (Barack) Obama this afternoon and meeting with Chancellor (Angela) Merkel and President Hollande before the European Council tomorrow – agree with them what further steps should be taken as well…” Making a similar announcement on the other side of the Atlantic the following day, U.S President Barack Obama said: “This morning, I signed an executive order that authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine or for stealing the assets of Ukrainian people. According to my guidance, the State Department has also put in place restrictions on the travels of certain individuals and officials…We took these steps in cooperation with our European allies…” In the weeks that followed, the entire world has seen how seriously the U.S and the U.K have taken the situation in Crimea, including inflicting direct sanctions on several Russian officials. Do sanctions work? Sanctions always do, the real issue is: who do they hurt? The answer concealed in the unfolding policy of the U.S and the U.K in Ukraine is that the sanctions must be targeted at specific people and sec-
tors. In this particular conflict, the U.S, the U.K and other members of the international community are upholding the principles of international law, and that is how it should be. Those principles seek to regulate the relations between nations, and to guarantee peace and security. My concern is that for a country such as Nigeria, the definition of what constitutes peace and security and what can guarantee it have been lost in the rhetoric. The principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of States are of great importance, but the time has come when the principles of good and responsible governance of States must receive the same attention, which is what the Millennium Declaration (2000) sought to accomplish. If this re-focussing does not happen, there may not be much oxygen left for peace and security to flourish. This is what is at stake in some increasingly volatile spots of the world. Think about it: in the era of globalization and the Internet, large populations in poverty, and large populations of the unemployed are an incongruous and dangerous picture. It is no longer possible to hide the ugly image of wealth and poverty side by side, nor the hypocrisy that sustains rather than respond to it. This is where the U.S and the U.K, as leaders of the theory of a better world, come in. These powerful countries are forever talking about what it would take for Nigeria to move forward and emerge as a powerful economy. The question is not whether they know the answer, but whether they really mean it when they advocate Nigeria’s advancement. In their response to the situation in Ukraine, these countries struck early and decisive blows at the heart of specific persons in the Ukrainian and Russian political and economic machines, aiming to paralyze. The U.S specifically cited persons “stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people”. More than anyone else, these countries know exactly what is behind the atrocious gover-
nance in Nigeria, and why we find it difficult to develop. Mr. Obama has for this reason refused to visit Nigeria. To be clear, these powerful countries routinely provide aid to Nigeria. Put in a little research and it is amazing how much they have done in this regard in the past 15 years alone. But it is curious that none of them has advocated, let alone implemented a policy of identifying, let alone grounding the legion of thieves who make Nigeria impossible to govern. Worse still, they “aid” Nigeria knowing full well that the country’s powerful kleptocrats, present and voting, are certain to gobble it up mercilessly. That is not democracy working for the people. The key problem is that much of the funds being fleeced from Nigeria’s public purse are warmly welcomed, or perhaps even encouraged, in the U.S and the U.K. For instance, Nigerian governors are known for their love of property in the U.K, which is where a few of them have run into trouble in recent times. Beyond those officials, all three of them, it is simply untrue that the U.K is unaware of the legion of former officials who have bought choice properties with stolen funds in the past 15 years alone. When the U.S recently announced the freezing of $458 million new funds looted by Sani Abacha and his accomplices, I argued that the interests of the Nigerian people are best served through new policies that would ensure that resources actually go into the development process. “The place to begin is to help identify, while they live, those who have looted blind the poor people of Nigeria, and to freeze their assets, and deny them travel visas and opportunities,” I said in a published comment. The U.S claims to be interested in whether Africa lives or dies, but it is yet lift a finger to expose African thieves who are openly hiding their fortunes and families in the country, notably in the Washington DC and Maryland areas. Let me go back to the Millennium
Private Jets And Public Swindles By Chuks Iloegbunam GUY studied in the United States. Upon returning to Nigeria, he didn’t let people forget for one minute where he had sojourned. He spoke like an American. He walked with the kind of swagger usually associated with the young of that country. His hair was “permed”. His clothes were designer classics. Of course, he cruised on the streets in a sports car – a Porsche no less. He was a toff. Those were the sins he committed. Other than that, he acquitted himself creditably in the office. Friends and close associates confessed that he was generous, even to a fault. But a good work ethic and a kind heart did not constitute extenuating circumstances. One day it occurred to the young man to take a stroll. The day was far spent and the evening breeze was cool. There was nothing wrong with his hitting the corner shop, buying a soda, exchanging a few pleasantries with the folks around, and then heading home to watch a late game of the English Premier League. The young man hadn’t reckoned with the down side of being successful in Nigeria. He didn’t know that, of the large number that hailed him each time he passed by, there were some who thought he deserved to die – for being more successful than they ever thought possible. Whereas some of his detractors managed a shirt a week, he sometimes sported two in a single day. He wore Brazilian and Italian shoes while folks, some of whom were much older than he was, frequented the shoemaker’s shop to patch-up leaking soles and scruffy leather. He jetted about, while multitudes made do with the Foot-Wagen. Yet, he thought things were normal. Wrong. As he left the corner shop and strolled back home, he suddenly heard the shouts and screams of “Ole!”, “Ole!” He looked around him, wondering who the thief was that the cacophony was drawing attention to. The body hears better than the ears, so says a proverb often heard in some parts of the country. A mob materialised. A huge piece of rock hit him on the head, instantly drawing blood. Other missiles homed in with merciless precision. He got a few very hard slaps and punches. Soon he was feeling like the blows were not raining on him. His clothes turned crimson; he was all gashes and gore. Down, out and unconscious, disused tyres were pulled together to complete the rout. A bonfire was made or, more appropriately, a
funeral pyre. The innocent young man got lynched, together with his dreams, his professionalism, his generosity, his all – simply because there were characters in the neighborhood who didn’t like his face. You would think that we have got to a point in this country where circumspection would give way to irrationality. But the lynching of suspects continues unabated. A variant of this lynch mentality has taken centre stage in the nation’s political arena. Without any iota of proof, fellow Nigerians are tarred with all sorts of guilt and pronounced guilty without any form of investigation, let alone trial. And yet, we are all devout Christians and Muslims. A cardinal principle of law is that no one is guilty until so pronounced by some competent authority, especially the law court. Not in Nigeria. Not in this country because political partisanship operates with the guiding principle that all is fair in war. A Federal Minister, whatever his or her portfolio, is already guilty of monumental fraud and graft because they are in President Jonathan’s Cabinet. If there be people who are other than in the ruling political party, they are a priori epitomes of intrinsic virtue and impeccable moral rectitude. That is why Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Honorable Minister of Petroleum Resources, is in the dock of partisan opinion today. But we must start from the beginning. Vast volumes of nonsense started being written about this woman from when she was nominated for a ministerial appointment. Of course, she is guilty for being a woman. She is also guilty for coming from a minority ethnic group. And her guilt is compounded by the fact that she happens to be in the administration of someone not qualified by opposition thinking to direct the affairs of this nation. The fact that Mrs. Alison-Madueke is doubly qualified to hold down the oil portfolio does not count in the court of her traducers. The fact that a good deal of the oil in question, the mainstay of the national economy, comes from around her father’s compound does not matter either. The added fact that she has achieved specific results, as Oil Minister – growth in local content, indigenous companies participating at par with international players, the generation of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) – cannot be registered in her credit. What they are saying instead is that she flies about in pri-
email@example.com Twitter: @Sonala.Olumhense
Declaration, which the U.S and the U.K championed in 2000, and in which Heads of State and Government focused on the demands of a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. “We recognize…we have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level,” they said. “As leaders we have a duty therefore to all the world’s people, especially the most vulnerable and, in particular, the children of the world, to whom the future belongs.” They identified certain fundamental values to be essential to international relations in the 21stcentury, including freedom: “Men and women have the right to live their lives and raise their children in dignity, free from hunger and from the fear of violence, oppression or injustice.” Specifically, the world leaders pledged “to support the consolidation of democracy in Africa and assist Africans in their struggle for lasting peace, poverty eradication and sustainable development, thereby bringing Africa into the mainstream of the world economy.” Fifteen years on, these appear to be simply politically-correct words. Now, imagine if millions of hungry, unemployed, and disillusioned citizens were to empty into the streets of States where a couple of looters are richer than the entire commonwealth, and across borders into States of fragile territorial integrity…
vate jets! A broad section of the media took this up and branded it a scandal. How can an uninvestigated allegation conceivably be a scandal? Champions of this witch-hunt in the House of Representatives branded it a scandal. Yet, no one has yet described as a scandal the allegation that the National Assembly - a body of less than 500 politicians -eats up something in the neighborhood of 30 percent of the annual national budget! The NNPC put out a press statement to the effect that they have no private jets. But hardly anyone wants to listen to such a statement in Nigeria. The NNPC stated that they hire jets for executive functions because it is cheaper than owning aircraft. Why, really, should the NNPC not hire airplanes? Why should the Oil Minister not fly in chartered aircraft? As Oil minister in this country not too long ago, Rilwan Lukman flew in chartered aircraft in the course of his official functions. Yet the heavens didn’t fall because he comes from the right flank of the country. Since the inception of the Jonathan administration, partisan politicians and sectional media (including the social media) have homed in on three women – Ngozi OkonjoIweala, Diezani Allison-Madueke and Stella Adaeze Oduah – doing nothing but mud-raking and witch-hunting. The three women must be incessantly and mordantly lampooned and lambasted for reasons that are not altruistic, for reasons that are partisan, and for the sole purpose of destabilising the Jonathan administration. The three women are repeatedly found guilty in kangaroo courts because of their gender, their origins and the person they work for. This trend is clearly beyond toleration because it is nothing to do with democracy. It is not democracy to brand and crucify public functionaries simply because the instruments of open and clandestine journalism are readily available. It is not politic to level accusations without the intention of lending credence to them. It is eternally backward to propose that an Oil minister is in breach of any law for flying in hired aircraft when the act establishing their range of responsibilities justifies such usage. It is a national swindle to employ the “Ole!”, “Ole!!” or lynch mentality in the course of playing politics. It is time for Nigerians to hold their ground and declare that enough is enough. Iloegbunam is a commentator on national issues.
54 | Sunday, April 6, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Opinion Trouble Curses Lawmakers Who Break Law ELL, may you say that you will not obey the ruling of a Nigerian court and that the court is not even competent to give judgment on what you wish and desire and will not give up. So, you want to change your party and the constitution says, yes you can change your party but go back to those who voted you in (or those in whose name you rigged yourself into the National Assembly) and let them endorse you for another party. No, you do not wish it although you took an oath to obey the laws of Nigeria and to defend and protect the constitution of Nigeria. Now you are ready and heady to defile the same laws and the same constitution. A curse on you, like those that have been placed on all those before you who take oaths only to break them, who promise to but betray their trust, who swear to do but lack the moral courage to simply obey. But, why do you curse them Mr. Trouble? Why should they not break the laws they make? What examples do they have behind them? Where are they coming from and who do they take after? Don’t you remember when the man who is the first law protector and constitution defender swore at Nigerians recently when he said he would not declare his assets as demanded by the constitution that he took an oath to defend and protect, and that he did not give a damn’d! Did anybody bat an eyelid? Did anybody ask him why? Did the Chief Justice ask him for an explanation? Did the president of the Senate ask him why? Did any Naijirian go on the streets to demand that he obey the constitution? So, why should these opportunists not defy the Nigerian judge and abuse him to boot?
Is this not the same country where lawyers, the very best of Nigerian lawyers, the Senior Advocates of Nigeria, conspire with crooks and persons accused of defrauding banks and governments to take the easy way out by seeking that the charges against them be quashed before the commencement of a trial. And they go from High Court to Court of Appeal and finally to the Supreme Court. The effect as Dr. Akinola Omigbodun says is “that the defendant’s trial would not start for a number of years.” During those years the witnesses become ill and die, evidence wilts and files are lost and at the end of it all “the ideals of moral justice, fairness and equal treatment before the law for all is being abandoned.” Nobody, not the Nigerian Bar Association, not the cult of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria has found this behaviour deplorable. So, why should these lawmakers, angling for new offices do things differently? Alaba looked at Mr. Trouble and laughed into his face. This is Nigeria, my friend. Wake up and taste the pap, if you can find any! This is not Nigeria! For me this is Naijiria where things have to be different, where these characters who belong to the APC have promised change. That single word Change is blazoned on their placards and their billboards. Change, the below! They even actually go to the local markets and buy up all the brooms (of the palm frond midrib bunches used locally to sweep the homestead). They would sweep away rot of the past and bring in change. So you think! Have you looked at the instru-
ment with which they are going to sweep out the rot? Traditional brooms? Do they use such brooms in their houses? Are their houses not swept with mops and brushes and, what is that thing that uses electricity and you just follow around the house and office and picks up the dirt as you follow it around? Why would you choose as ancient an instrument as a common, archaic broom if you were really interested in bringing in change? Vacuum cleaner? Steam cleaner? Exactly! Local brooms, I beg. I bet they never use these brooms. Maybe they use them as tooth picks! Or give them to their rural constituencies! If all we have is 100 years of people, men and women, avoiding responsibility, dodging the consequences of their actions and lack of visions, where are the examples by which these law makers can avoid being law breakers, common criminals? Any of them anytime would mention Mandela and say how great his name is in Africa and in the world. But his name was built on Mandela obeying the rules and defending the constitution which he swore to obey and protect. When he was pres-
ident, some rugby official sued the president and it was necessary for Mandela to go to court to defend himself. Members of the African National Congress said it was infra dig for Mandela to go to court to defend himself against some white man. Mandela, like a moral leader that he was, called the members of the African National Congress to order. He told them in unambiguous words that if we who make the laws break the laws, then we are cursed to be the negative image Africans that every culture outside of Africa believes us to be. He would not be a negative African. He would not be the cursed African law maker who breaks his laws. He went to court. He defended himself. And he won his case. He did his duty and showed others how they too must do their duties to their country, to Africa, to humanity, African humanity. But the people who went to court against them did nothing when the crossing was in their favour? Why now? Well, those who say they will bring change must not continue to do what others did: make laws and break them. It is a curse that must be broken.
Lamido’s ‘Irredentist’ Threat By Aderemi Oyewumi RREDENTISM derives from the Italian word irredento, which means ‘’unredeemed’’. The term gained currency in the late 19th century and early 20th century among Italians agitating for the reunification of the Italian speaking parts of the AustroHungarian empire. Since then, irredentist claims have occurred all over the world usually between contiguous states with common ethnic affinities. Such claims have been the cause of wars between countries. For instance, India and Pakistan have fought many wars over Kashmir. In Europe, irredentism was a driving force that led Nazi Germany to embark on an expansionist trajectory. In the run-up to the Second World War, Hitler annexed his native Austria in what is called Anschluss and also the German speaking Sudetenland in the former Czechoslovakia in 1938, sending alarm bells ringing across the continent. Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea was partly based on the fact that it is populated mostly by Russian speaking people. Not long after independence, the OAU saw the danger in allowing countries to revise colonial boundaries with the potential for instability on the continent. It is no surprise that respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each African country is one of the cardinal principles of the OAU and its successor, African Union. The Lamido of Adamawa, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Muhammadu Barkindo Mustapha’s irredentist bombshell at the national conference came as a shock to many. He said if push came to shove, he would vote with his feet, carrying his people along to join their kith and kin - the Fulani, in northern Cameroon. He was quoted as saying that: “There is a state in Cameroon called Adamawa and if I run to that place, I can easily be assimilated…The larger part of my kingdom is in Cameroun”. Those ethnic champions who had dominated the airwaves for so long threatening brimstone and fire if they weren’t allowed to go their separate ways now know that they don’t have a monopoly over ‘’jingoism’’ as the Lamido put it. I believe that the Lamido outburst was not premeditated but was made on the spur of the moment in a fit of pique. Not surprisingly, critics have accused him of having a hidden agenda. In a country obsessed with hidden agendas, wherever those agendas are hidden must be bursting at the seams by now.
JAW JAW By Didi Onu
I don’t intend to join issues with the Lamido, I am more interested in the historical import of the monarch’ statement. As a member of a royal family myself, I cannot commit lese majeste against an exalted traditional ruler of Lamido’s standing. For me, the Lamido statement provided a rare but timely glimpse into Nigeria’s history, a subject that is tragically no longer on the curriculum of our schools. This year, Nigeria celebrated the centenary of the amalgamation of the north and south in 1914. At a time when a national conference is underway with a view to charting a brighter future for the country, it is necessary to remind ourselves of what was there before the advent of colonial rule. It is a welcome reminder of the history of the ancient kingdoms, found mainly in the north and southwestern parts of Nigeria. Of particular interest is the impact of colonial boundaries in partitioning various ethnic groups, especially the ubiquitous Fulani who are all over west and central Africa. Two of Nigeria’s eminent historians, Professor Anthony Asiwaju and Professor Bawuro Barkindo have carried out studies and published widely on the impact of colonial boundaries. Nigeria’s boundaries were delimited and demarcated between the late 19th century and early 20th century. Cameroon is unique among Nigeria’s immediate neighbours as having a triple colonial heritage. Initially colonized by Germany, it was later split into two administered, by Britain and France, as a League of Nations mandate territories after the First World War and later under UN trusteeship after the Second World War. Southern Cameroon was a province of the former Eastern region of Nigeria while northern Cameroon was a province of the former northern region until the plebiscite of February 1961 when northern Cameroon voted to remain in Nigeria while southern Cameroon voted to join the republic of Cameroon. In demarcating Nigeria’s northern boundary with Niger, Cameroon and Chad, Adamawa and Borno kingdoms and the Sokoto Caliphate lost some of their territories to the neighbouring countries. In the case of Adamawa, the Lamido at the time the boundary was demarcated in 1904 lamented that the ‘’Europeans had cut off the body of his kingdom and left him with only the head’’ a fact which the reigning Lamido alluded to in his statement. Today, Fulani rulers of Cameroonian towns such as Ngaoundere,
capital of Adamawa region, are also known as Lamido. The colonial powers imposed and deposed traditional rulers of the ancient kingdoms at will. One bizarre situation occurred in Borno where two colonial powers Germany and Britain installed two rulers. Shehu Garbai was installed by the British in the part of Borno under their control while his cousin Shehu Sanda was installed in the German controlled part of Borno. This anomaly was later rectified during a boundary revision of 1919 after Germany was knocked out of the colonial race. Today, parts of the ancient kingdom of Borno can be found in Chad, Cameroon and Niger with the Kanuri among their citizens. An example of how the colonial powers played fast and loose with the African territories under their control was shown in the revision of the boundary between Nigeria and Niger in 1904. Britain ceded parts of Sokoto to France in return for concessions on fishing in Newfoundland, a province in Canada which was then under French rule. Border towns in Niger such as Birnin Nkonni and Maradi were formerly parts of Sokoto. Hausa is the dominant language spoken in Niger. In the southwest, Oyo Empire was the preeminent entity holding sway over most of the kingdoms in Yorubaland. Oyo lost some of its territory to the kingdom of Dahomey as Benin was then called, following the Anglo-French demarcation of the boundary and the partition of the Yoruba. Ketu and Sabe were two Yoruba kingdoms that ended up in Benin Republic. Today their traditional rulers Alaketu of Ketu and Onisabe of Sabe are known to make occasional visits across the border to commune with their kith and kin in Nigeria. In other parts of Africa, other groups were similarly partitioned. For instance the Ewe people of Togo have their kith and kin across the border in the Volta region of Ghana. The case of Somalia is even more significant in this regard especially given the fact that it refused to acknowledge the sanctity of its colonial boundaries and sought to redraw them. The Somali are to be found in neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia. Somalia’s territorial claims against its neighbours on behalf of Somali speaking populations have complicated interstate relations between them since independence. Kenya and Somalia have had border clashes over the years. Ethiopia and Somalia have fought wars over the Somali populated Ogaden region in Ethiopia. •Dr. Oyewumi lives in Abuja.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday April 6, 2014 | 55
BUSINESSAGRO FG’s Rice Policy Has Done Well, Says Agric Minister By Fabian Odum HE Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina says Federal Government’s policy on rice, a core strategy under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) has succeeded beyond all expectations and that the proposed tariff regime on the commodity is needed to protect local investors in rice, including farmers and millers, as well as create jobs and wealth for Nigerians, according to FMARD release. The Minister made the assertion recently during his presentation at the National Assembly public hearing on rice policy. Adesina posited that Nigeria had the capacity to become not only self-sufficient, but a net exporter of rice and that the Federal Government and forward looking stakeholders in the rice sector are determined to reduce the ridiculously high foreign exchange of over N365 billion being spent annually on rice import. According to the Minister, it made no sense at all that Nigeria, with an arable land area of 84 million of arable land, is the second largest importer of rice in the world. The country, he said, definitely can grow rice and end the decades of dependence on rice imports from India and Thailand, as they don’t have anything that we do not have to produce rice. He said it is time we realized that the more Nigeria imported food items that can be grown locally, the less local production and the high level of unemployment and the worse our national insecurity. That, Adesina said, is why President Jonathan’s government is driving a major import substitution drive on rice and other commodities under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda. He said Nigerians needed to frown upon the heavy flow of import of low quality and sometimes very unsafe foods, including rice and fish, wondering why some citizens are vigorously campaigning and taking sides with importers, wondering why we must import what we can produce, a situation he called “prodigal economics.” According to Adesina, international trade experts say the only option for Thailand and India to get rid of their excess rice stockpile of 18 and 14 million metric tonnes respectively is to dump it on foreign markets at a loss. Thailand, he said, subsidized its farmers paying them 200 per cent price above the market price, costing the Thai government $15 billion this year. If allowed to happen, rice import has a potential of scuttling the bold drive of the government to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice. The rice importers, Adesina argued, simply want to take advantage of huge profits they would make from the cheap rice imports to harp on the need to lower rice tariffs.
Cassava-Wheat composite flour bread on display at the forum… law on inclusion will ensure sustainability, create jobs
Cassava Bread: Hope Alive, New Bill For National Assembly By Fabian Odum HE Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Adewumi Adesina has said there is need for sustainability of the High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) inclusion in bread therefore, stakeholders have to work together to ensure the passage of the Cassava Bread bill into law. Conveying this intention to participants at the one-day stakeholders forum on the draft Cassava Flour bill, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, representing the Agriculture minister said it has become necessary due to insinuations that it had abandoned the cassava bread project.
In spite of the hitches, twists and turns over the past months, there is silver lining in the sky for the cassava value chain, and sorghum, too, by this move of the ministry. Mrs. Odusote revealed a number of small and large bakers are already adopting the use of cassava/wheat composite flour. Stakeholders met in Abuja on Thursday, not only to get updates on the state of the N10bn Cassava Development Fund but also to finetune the Draft Bill on Cassava Inclusion in bread for onward transmission to the National Assembly for due consideration and passage to law. The Permanent secretary said President
Ogun To Launch Private-Sector Owned Cassava Farm HE agricultural transformation policy of the T Ogun State government will get a major boost next week when the state governor, Ibikunle Amosun launches a 10-hectare cassava pilot farm promoted by Caterina de’ Medici Africa Projects Ltd (CDMA) at at Ikenne, Ikenne local government of the state on April 9. The pilot farm, which will serve as a prelude to a bigger 4,000 hectare cassava farm to be supported by Thai Farms International Ltd and other investors, is buoyed up by the USAID- Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport Program (NEXTT) and several local banks. Foluke Michael, Principal Partner of CDMA said
the project will adopt modern farming methods, conduct training for local farmers, supply the farmers with agro-chemical to improve farm yield, and provide other extension services to all its partners. “The partnership with the State will also help to build public infrastructure changes in agricultural policy,” she said. The Ogun State government is supporting the programme with a total of 4,000 hectares of land, which it has allocated to CDMA, in the belief that the large population of smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs in the state will benefit directly from the programme.
Jonathan approved N10bn Cassava Bread Fund and put an Oversight Committee on the initiative to ensure transparency in the administration of the fund. The committee members, according to Mrs. Odusote, are drawn from such organisations as Nigerian Cassava Growers Association (NCGA), National Cassava Processors and Marketers Association (NCAPMA), National Association of Mater Bakers and Confectioners of Nigeria, NAFDAC, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry (BoI), FIIRO, National Institute of Food Science and Technology, FMARD among a few others. It would be observed that the Bank of Agriculture would oversee the primary production in which small-scale farmers would be supported to cultivate 29,500ha of cassava for production of 590,000 metric tonnes of tubers for HQCF. Towards this, she said a list of farmers cultivating between 24 ha each is being compiled by the NCGA to ensure sustainable supply of roots to SMEs. For BoI, the equipment support to the Master bakers and SMEs is its domain. It will ensure low interest loans for their working capital. For now, according to the Permanent Secretary, letters of offer are currently being distributed to beneficiaries. For now, it expected that the actualisation of 20 per cent cassava flour inclusion in wheat for bread would save about N127Bn and create 1.3 million jobs in the sector. Meanwhile, the draft bill is yet to be completed and the time of submission to the National Assembly committees on Agriculture is yet to be determined, according to a member of the legal committee at the technical session during the forum.
GES: Ogun Urges Farmers To Register Now in Ogun State, FforARMERS who have not registered Growth Enhancement Support (GES) Scheme of the Federal Government, have been asked to do so now to benefit from the package. In flagging off the 2014 edition of the scheme at the Eweje Farm Institute in Odeda Local Government Area of the State, State Agriculture Commissioner, Mrs. Ronke Sokefun said farmers can have access to inputs such as seedlings and fertilizer at subsidised rates. She added that the federal government driven scheme was capable of enhancing farmers’ productivity, income and quality of life. Mrs. Sokefun urged registered farmers, who had benefited from the scheme in the past but had not done the needful to do so immediately as maize and rice would be priority crops this season. “ This year’s commodity roll-
out will be executed concurrently by starting with the generic, which involves maize or rice seed with fertilizer within a period of sixeight weeks while other commodity roll-out will last for two weeks each in a quick succession,” she said. State Director for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muyiwa Akinsola recalled the GES scheme was introduced in 2011 to transform small-scale farmers from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture. Akinsola noted that there was provision for both small and large-scale farmers to improve on their practices so as to increase agricultural produce in the country. President, Ogun State chapter, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr. Segun Dasaolu thanked both the Federal and State Governments for the sub-
Sunday, April 6, 2014
DILEMMA OF DEFECTING LEGISLATORS
ADEDIPE:They Have A Difficult Task To Prove Division In PDP Ifedayo Adams Adedipe, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is an expert in constitutional law. He told KELVIN EBIRI that unless the 37 defected Representatives could show by credible, legally admissible and convincing proof that their defection is as a result of a division in the Peoples Democratic Party, they might have herculean task to remain on their seats.
What is the implication of the court judgment on the defected representatives? HE relief sort by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as we read in the newspapers, was that the All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers should not be allowed to effect a change in the leadership of the House of Representatives. So, I do not think the issue is whether by the virtue of their defection, they had automatically lost their respective seats or not. That said, if the claim before the Federal High is to the effect that having been elected on the platform of the PDP, and they defected to another political party, then, they stand to lose their seat in line with the provisions of the constitution, except the defecting lawmakers can show by credible, legally admissible and convincing proof that their defection is as a result of a division in the PDP. Now, there might be difficulty there. What is the type of division envisaged? You could say that, one, during the PDP mini-convention, some members walked out. You could see that as division, while other could see that as disagreement not amounting to division. On the other hand, when some of them said they now belong to New PDP, you could say that is a division or not a division. It is all a question of evidence. And then, it depends on the judge who is hearing you. One judge might thing what happened is a division; another might think it is not a division, but intra-party disagreement. An intra-party disagreement may not necessarily amount to a division. You may disagree with the policy of the party and you do not attend their meetings by staying away. It could amount to division, and by reason of that, the party is polarised. But when you look at the circumstances of the PDP in the last one year, or so, it is quite tempting to think that there was a division that is capable of permitting people to leave and join a rival party. Some people will see that way; some might think it is not sufficient. For instance, when you say there is a division, some will say where is the division. You have only one chairman and not two. You have only one party secretary, you don’t have two. You have only one national secretariat and not two. When you say I am the authentic chairman of the party and someone else says no, I am the authentic. If you have that kind of a situation where you said the party’s secretariat is N0 10 Wadada and someone else said it is No11, then people are bound to say there is division. But when you don’t have that kind of a situation, you might come to the conclusion that there is no division. I cannot close my eyes to the fact that some senators and governors actually moved to another party. If that is not evidence of divi-
sion in the party, I will wonder what is division. But the layman’s opinion of division is different from the law’s opinion of division. So, as for the lawmakers, they have herculean task of showing that there was division that led them to move from PDP to APC. The chief executives have a leeway because the constitution does not say that they will lose their seat, but for the lawmakers, the constitution expects them to lose their seats. The onus is on them to say we ought not to lose our seats because there was a division. But police had sealed off offices of the New PDP in Abuja and Port Harcourt? It is a question of evidence. If the lawmakers wish to argue that there was a division, they will bring the evidence and present it to a judge. Will this judgment prevent politicians from cross carpeting? Ordinarily, it should, but you know Nigerians, we argue over everything and we disagree with every decision that we think is not in our favour. I am not in a position to know whether it will moderate the conduct of politicians. If I were to contest under the PDP, for instance, and if for any reason I want to cross over to another party, I will resign, because I should be sure that I could win. Let’s not forget that some of them get to their post by virtue of the force of the party. So, if you are leaving, you are probably going with the goodwill of the party to the other. But, if you think it is your person that won an election, then you can resign and still go ahead and win another election. But you that our political party system is still at infancy. I once described the political parties as mere platforms. They are yet to give us their ideological difference. What is the difference between PDP and APC? I do not see any. Should the lawmakers vacate their seats as demanded by the PDP?
I don’t think that that was the case before the court. The case that went to court is that you should not change the leadership. As to the issue of vacating their seats, I think that a substantive suit should be filed for a declaration that having changed party, they automatically lose their seats. I think there should be a case like that. It appears the leadership of the House is not prepared to declare those seats vacant? The party that stands to gain, mainly the party that received the new members, will oppose it. The party that lost has a duty to get a court by order of mandamus to compel the Speaker to give effect to the constitution. In any event, if you ask me, this thing should not detain us in this country if we are serious people. If you elected under a platform and you leaving and the constitution says you lose your seat, if you are sure you can win, lose it and go for fresh election. If you are popular, you will still win. Why are they afraid if they can win? In this country, we always want the law to favour us all the time; it does not work that way. Is it legal for a court to bar lawmakers from participating in leadership change in the House? My view is this. That is an internal affair of the National Assembly. It is a legislative thing and they have their own rules and procedures but subject to the provisions of the constitution. What they the PDP should do if they have not done so, is to go and seek a declaration whether having left; these people do not automatically lost their seat. That is the relief they should b seeking to wish a judge would make a pronouncement. Until you have that, you cannot say they should leave. The 37 Reps have appealed the judgment, which means the matter will drag on. Why can’t matters like this end at the lower court?
A man goes to a bank to seek for a loan, and he is given the loan. A few months to the expiration of when he is due to repay, he goes to a court to say that the bank should not be allowed to reclaim the money. And then, another 10 to 15 years they are in court. We need to amend our laws. But let me say that the role of Court of Appeal in gubernatorial cases in the past led to some people advocating for gubernatorial matters to go to Supreme Court. I have been uncomfortable with some decisions of the Court of Appeal in election matters were at best controversial and tendered to erode confidence.
We make a mess of eating our egg in this country. The process of judicial relief in this country is painfully so slow and expensive. It shouldn’t be so. For instance, if you have a settled principle of law applied over the years, maybe by the Supreme Court and if such case happens, why should you allow it to go through the whole legal process up to the Supreme Court to repeat what has been said again and again and again? In other words, there really ought to be a check on the nature of cases that will eventually get to the Supreme Court. You will find some cases on the face of it there is no merit for appeal, yet people will say the constitution permits me to appeal. What the statue ought to be is to impose stiffer penalty to say if you lose an appeal, you pay the legal fees of your opponent. Because, sometimes, some cases are really unreasonable. A man goes to a bank to seek for a loan, and he is given the loan. A few months to the expiration of when he is due to repay, he goes to a court to say that the bank should not be allowed to reclaim the money. And then, another 10 to 15 years they are in court. We need to amend our laws. But let me say that the role of Court of Appeal in gubernatorial cases in the past led to some people advocating for gubernatorial matters to go to Supreme Court. I have been uncomfortable with some decisions of the Court of Appeal in election matters were at best controversial and tendered to erode confidence. But then again, you will find that in every human endeavour, mistakes will be made and we need to correct those mistakes. Amendment to the constitution that now permits appeal to the Supreme Court in election matters involving governors is geared towards that. But I think there ought to come a time when certain decision ought not to go beyond the Court of Appeal. Will this judgment affect the governors who have defected from PDP to APC? I do not think so. I have said it that the Supreme Court has decided that point in Abubakar against INEC wherein President Obasanjo sort to remove from office Vice President Atiku Abubakar. The Supreme Court said sorry, even though Atiku has crossed over as Vice president elected on the platform of the PDP to the Action Congress as it then was, the Supreme Court said the only way to remove a chief executive is provided for in the constitution and it is either by resignation; impeachment, death, a declaration of mental incapacity. Unless you do that, you cannot remove a chief executive. Despite the fact that they have decamped, they will not lose their seat.
THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, April 6,
DILEMMA OF DEFECTING LEGISLATORS Ferdinand Orbih is a Senor Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). He spoke to ALEMMA-OZIORUVA ALIU on the High Court ruling that stopped defecting lawmakers from atualising their dreams. hat is your position on the recent court declaration saying that defecting lawmakers in the House of Representatives should first vacate their seats? MY humble view is that the ruling is in line with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The problem we have in this country is that when people know the right thing, they prefer to do the wrong thing. To understand why we have that provision in the Constitution, we must remember that in 1952, the late Nnamdi Azikiwe under the banner of the NCNC won election into the Western Region House of Assembly and was poised to form the government of that region. At the first sitting of parliament, as a result of the crossing over of the NCNC members to the Action Group (AG), Zik that was expecting to form the government as Premier with majority members of the NCNC and its allies in the House, woke up and found himself in the minority. That created its own problems for the country. Again in Western Region, when the AG broke into two factions and initially, Chief SLA Akintola’s faction was in the minority, but with a lot of deft political manoeuvres, persuasions and other things that went on behind the scene, he got members of the Awolowo faction of the AG to defect to his own faction and before you know it, Akintola was in a position to form the government of Western Region, even though it appeared to be a rebellion of the mainstream of the AG. These and many other incidents in the Nigerian political history informed the framers of the 1999 constitution to put that clause there that should you desire to cross over from the party whose platform you use to win election to, either the National Assembly or a state House of Assembly as the case may be, you must first of all resign from the House before you can cross carpet and when you lose the membership of the house by resigning, it means before you will come back to the House, you must go back to the electorate. This makes a lot of sense because the Supreme Court held in Amaechi’s case that when Nigerians vote, they are not voting for an individual, they are voting for a political party. So where is the moral justification for you to use a platform to get a particular political position and then you abandon that platform without reference to the people that gave you their mandate? You must seek a fresh mandate; so I don’t know what all these controversies are about, if the people are sure of their popularity, they should go back and seek a fresh mandate. If you are popular in your constituency and the people agree that your new party is where to go, you don’t have any problem, they will still vote for you and you will still come back to the House, but don’t take the mandate that was given to you by one political party for another. You do not have the right under the Constitution to abandon that mandate or hijack it and go and deliver it to another party that did not know the mindset of your people that sent you to go and represent them. Don’t forget, we are operating a representative democracy. That is what some of our legislators forget, they didn’t put themselves there, the people voted for them to go and represent their interest in the various houses of parliament. We must know where we are coming from and the mischief the constitutions were designed to cure. But between 1999 and now, we have had several defections and there have never been any such court order; so why now? The fact that a people have been doing the wrong thing and even if they keep repeating
Defecting Lawmakers Are Bound To Obey Court Order, Orbih
that thing over a thousand times, it will not make that wrong thing to be right. What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. Secondly, the fact that nobody in the past has taken a decision to ignite this particular section of the Constitution does not mean that the Constitution means something different. But why have they not used it? I suspect that before now, the parties lacked the political will to enforce that provision of the Constitution, so it was taken for granted that it was more-or-less a toothless bulldog meant to decorate the Constitution and which can only back but will never bite. But this time around, the stakes are very high, 2015 will mark a watershed in the political history of this country, everybody is at alert and conscious so any move that will give an undue political advantage to your opponent, it is in your interest to resist it. Maybe if these defections have happened about three or two years ago or maybe at the infancy of the tenure of this National Assembly, nobody could have bothered, but Nigeria is at a threshold of monumental political development, whether we like or not. That is why you are seeing what you are seeing now and it is good and I hope and pray that a speedy interpretation will be given to this particular provision of the Constitution and the issue will be taken further to the Court of Appeal and thereafter to the Supreme Court and thereafter we can have a final word on this because it will help us. You cannot behave as if there are no rules governing the game you are playing. The rules are there and you must obey them. What baffles me is that if we are in a country where people have conscience, you don’t even need a constitutional provision to know that if you went to the House on one platform that is no longer useful to you, you ought to resign your membership of
You cannot behave as if there are no rules governing the game you are playing. The rules are there and you must obey them. What baffles me is that if we are in a country where people have conscience, you don’t even need a constitutional provision to know that if you went to the House on one platform that is no longer useful to you, you ought to resign your membership of that House and test the popularity of your new platform; so I don’t know why they are complaining. that House and test the popularity of your new platform; so I don’t know why they are complaining. But they have insisted they would not abide by the order saying they have left the PDP. What is the implication of this? You see, that is the tragedy of the Nigerian setting, it is very unfortunate that those that are supposed to show example are the ones setting bad example, because as a legislator, you swore an oath to abide by, defend and protect and uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that Constitution has been interpreted by the court, which is a creation of the constitution and you open your mouth shamelessly to say that you will not abide by the pronouncement of the court? It is a sad commentary on the way we are as a people live, we have a duty, all of us to remember that if we overthrow the rule of law, then the rule of anarchy will be enthroned to the detriment of everybody and we will be go back to the Hopkins law of nature, where life was nasty, brutish and short and where nobody will have right, obligation or responsibility. I believe that it will be in the interest of the country for them to have a rethink and abide by the court judgment unless of course, they take steps to go back to that court or the Court of Appeal as the case may be to ask for a stay of execution of the order asking them to vacate their seat. Nobody is
above the law and nobody is below the law, we all have a duty to comply with the pronouncement of the court. But why is not possible to implement a court order or judgment immediately instead of waiting till it gets to the Supreme Court? Each case has its own character, there are some categories of cases where the pronouncement of the court is merely declaratory, in that case, there are no orders to execute and there are no orders to stay execution. So, even an application of stay of execution for such a judgment or ruling will be of no meaning. There are some other cases where positive orders are made, if you appeal without seeking an order for stay of execution of such orders, you have a duty to comply with those orders and the judgment of the court even when you are on appeal. There are yet another category of cases where you appeal and ask for stay of execution of the orders made by the court, when that is done, it means you have somehow put the execution of that judgment in abeyance until the appeal is determined so the status quo before the judgment can be maintained. In the eyes of the law, you are not disobeying the order of the court because you have appealed and you have asked the court to suspend the effect of that judgment until the Court of Appeal says the judgment was right or wrong.
Notice Of Appeal, Is A Notice Of Stay Of Execution From John Akubo, Lokoja
ARRISTER Williams Aliwo, former chairman of Nigeria Bar Association, Kogi State chapter, has said the provision that the lawmakers were to vacate their seats before actualising their defection has been there, but has not been explored because the ruling party has been the major beneficiary. According to him, “without going into the substance of the judgment, the implication is that, if the lawmakers did not appeal, they cease to be members of the House, however, the electoral act makes provision that says every elected office holder from the implication of any judgment that nullifies his position, if the person appeals (because it provides that any appeal filed by an elective office holder) will enforce a stay automatically of execution of that judgment,
and so, we are not likely to see the implementation of that judgment until we probably get to Supreme Court.” He said the electoral act saves them from vacating their seats if they appeal adding that their notice of appeal automatically acts as a stay of execution. On the over zealousness of the judge in declaring their seats vacant when the prayer does not include that, he said, “if what they prayed for simplicita was to restrain the National Assembly from effecting any leadership change and the judge went beyond that to award the relief that were not asked for. The higher court certainly will determine that because courts are not Father Christmas, and they don’t operate like Father Christmas, and even with Father Christmas, you need to approach it before it gives you what you want. “So, if they did not approach the court for what the court
gave them, the Court Of Appeal will look at it in detail and certainly you will see a different thing.” He said the provision was made to forestall the kind of experiences whereby politicians behaved like prostitutes in the past civilian governments. “It was meant to tame politicians from jumping in and out of one party to another, but it had always been dormant for as long as the ruling party enjoyed the cross-carpeting. “It was activated when the ruling party was already losing grip of its leadership. I think that was when it became obvious otherwise people have been cross-carpeting from other parties to PDP it never raised any dust.” He said they are political matters but the legal aspect of it would be treated in the law court. He said at the end what will come out would be the best adding that the provision is good for our system.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
58 | Sunday, April 6, 2014
EKITI 2014 GOVERNORSHIP COUNTDOWN
FAYOSE/ADEYEYE PACT: Major Upset In Opposition Camps From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head South West Bureau Ado Ekiti)
HE reconciliation between the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State and former governor of the state, Mr. Ayodele Fayose and a leading aspirant, Prince Adedayo Adeyeye, has not only put the party in a good pedestal to contest the June 21 governorship election, but has affected and changed the political calculation in the state. For some of the political parties that had been waiting to benefit from the crisis, it was a big disappointment, causing them to go back to the drawing board. The two PDP leaders last week made a dramatic U-turn and decided to put their grievances behind and work for the progress of the party. But the agreement was not without a condition: Adeyeye is to be nominated as a minister. In a joint letter of agreement dated March 30, this year, signed by the duo and addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan, they agreed to work together and Adeyeye to be appointed a minister. The letter, which was obtained by The Guardian reads; “We, Mr. Ayo Fayose and Prince Dayo Adeyeye, who are principal players in the just concluded PDP Primaries have come together to form a common front in the 2014 Ekiti State Gubernatorial election. “As a result, he (Prince Dayo Adeyeye) has agreed to accept Ekiti ministerial appointment at the pleasure of Mr. President. I, Ayo Fayose, have no objection and plead with the President to accede to our request and please give same immediate effect to allow us both move to the field together as a team. “We also agreed to give Fayose free hand to pick his running mate due to its sensitivity, however from the south senatorial district. “We will both appreciate an immediate audience with Mr. President and the national chairman on this and other related matters concerning the 2014 elections.” Without delay, the President was said to have met them last Monday, where Fayose reiterated the importance of considering Adeyeye for the ministerial appointment as soon as possible. Former Police Affairs Minister, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade, who is yet to come to terms with the reality of losing the ticket to Fayose was the only Ekiti nominee in the cabinet. And, if the President accedes to the request of the two gladiators, Adeyeye will replace Olubolade in the federal cabinet. And to carry along their supporters in the new political deal, Fayose was at Adeyeye’s campaign office at Ajilosun in Ado Ekiti on Thursday, where he addressed Adeyeye’s supporters and pledged to carry the group along in all his policies and committees to be formed for the campaign. Fayose told the party faithful that he had impressed it on Mr. President and party leaders that it was important for Adeyeye to become a minister before the June 21 election, as that will greatly assist the party in winning the election. Fayose, who was still basking in the euphoria of the large turn-out of party faithful that received him on his return from Abuja on Wednesday, where he had gone to collect his certificate of returns said, “I and Adeyeye met with Mr. President on the wee hours of Monday and he asked me the obstacle I had to win the election. And I told him Adeyeye was the only obstacle because he is equally strong in the party. And I told the President our agreement that if he could be appointed as minister, the PDP will win the state. And with the body language of the President, I am sure, he would consider our request.” Speaking about his resolve to remain in the PDP despite his loss at the primaries, Adeyeye said; “Nobody can be more aggrieved than me among the aspirants on the conduct of the primaries. But as a party man, I have to forget the past and work for the emergence of our candidate in the poll. “I was one of the aspirants who fought vigorously for zoning of the governorship to the South, but the authorities, I mean the powers that be didn’t see it that way. But despite this, I promised that I will not join other parties because I believe if we come together and win the election, everybody will be brought on board. So to me, there is no victor, no vanquished.”
Adeyeye, Fayose and Director General of Prince Adedayo Adeyeye Movement (PAAM), Bisi Kolawole after the meeting in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State
Sources disclosed that the party leaders will soon meet with other aggrieved aspirants like Senator Gbenga Aluko, Chief Biodun Aluko, Ambassador Dare Bejide and Olubolade to make them see reasons why they should toe the party line and forget the past. Though, the political realignment between the two major contenders for the PDP ticket has not only weakened the camp of other aggrieved aspirants, but has affected the political calculation of both the APC and the Labour Party that waited to harvest from the crisis that will follow the PDP primaries. Worst hit was the LP, whose members had already been waiting for the decampment of Adeyeye and his group, Prince Adedayo Adeyeye Movement (PAAM) to the party because of the political relationship of the leadership of the party with Adeyeye. PAAM is said to be the second largest political group within the PDP in Ekiti State and also believed to have structure in almost all the 177 wards in the state. For LP to have such a group joining it could have been a good advantage to penetrate the grassroots. Indeed, it had been rumoured that Adeyeye has been penciled down to be the running mate of Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele for the LP to have a strong presence in the south senatorial district. The chairman of the LP in Ekiti State, Akin Omole and Adeyeye are staunch members of Irewolede group, the political family, headed by the former governor of the state, chief Olusegun Oni. The group was in firm control of the PDP until the state congress of 2011 when Fayose and Olubolade joined forces to defeat the Irewolede Group. The group fielded Akin Omole and lost by just eight votes to Makanjuola Ogundipe, fielded by Fayose/Olubolade group. After losing the congress election, the group vigorously canvassed for the harmonization of the executive, but failed to achieve it as the national leadership of the
party stood by those that won the primaries. Also, the attempt by the group to form a splinter faction of the PDP, headed by Omole was smashed by the then Bamangar Tukur-led executive of the party. It was also at that period that Oni was removed as the Southwest zonal chairman of the party via a court order that faulted the zonal congress that produced him. The case was instituted by Ogun State businessman turned politician, Prince Kashamu Buruji. Perhaps, it was that frustration that divided Irewolede group into two. While some had decamped to the Labour Party where Omole is the chairman, some stayed with Adeyeye in the PDP. But the position of the leader of the group, Oni was yet to be ascertained. To some analysts, Oni is still in the wilderness of uncertainty, the reason why he has refrained to make any presence in the public or make comments. About two months ago, it was rumoured that Oni wanted to join the APC, and the party was already planning to receive him. Though Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi who also did not confirm the rumour simply said he would not be surprised if Oni had decided to come to his party because Oni started his politics as a progressive. He also traced the yeoman’s job of Oni in E11, a formidable political group in Ekiti that was instrumental to the impeachment of Fayose in 2006. The deal was that the APC was said to be dangling Senate ticket at Oni, whose group had suffered great defeat in the PDP. But Oni kept quiet and has not said anything, even his Media aide, Lere Olayinka at that time could not confirm or deny whether Oni planned to join APC or not. He simply said, “I cannot speak for him on that because we never discussed anything of such nature, I can only speak for myself and I remain in the PDP.” Last week was a moment of decision for some members of Oni’s political family
Though, the political realignment between the two major contenders for the PDP ticket has not only weakened the camp of other aggrieved aspirants, but has affected the political calculation of both the APC and the Labour Party that waited to harvest from the crisis that will follow the PDP primaries. Worst hit was the LP, whose members had already been waiting for the decampment of Adeyeye and his group, Prince Adedayo Adeyeye Movement (PAAM) to the party because of the political relationship of the leadership of the party with Adeyeye.
members who had been regular faces at Labour Party secretariat, as they seem to be returning to the PDP. The bait is the ministerial slot being considered for Adeyeye. To the surprise of many, some of them who were supposed to be at the LP rally at IgedeEkiti on Thursday abandoned the rally to be at Adeyeye’s campaign office, when Fayose came visiting. A source close to Irewolede group on Friday said that until now, Oni had left members of the group to take decisions on their own as the group is yet to take any definite decision on the political situation in the state. The source said the group, will in the next few weeks make its decision known whether it wants to remain in the PDP. Asked what happened to those in executive position of LP, the source said, “the truth is that a careful study of the political situation in the state shows that the battle is between the PDP and APC, though nobody can predict the outcome of this election because it is too early, but Irewolede group will remain in the PDP because that is our natural habitat.” On the rumour making the rounds that Oni may join the APC, the source said, “People can peddle any rumour, we cannot control it, but Asiwaju Ifaki remains a force to be reckoned with in the PDP and he will remain in the PDP. But we can’t force our members in the LP to quit, but they have a choice to come back home or stay there, but our leader is in PDP. And to further confirm that for you, some PDP wards in Ifaki are now holding meetings in his house.” But some members of the group led by Otunba Femi Olanrewaju, popularly known as Ija Ikoko had joined APC; so also at Aiyede Ekiti, another PDP chieftain Maxwell Bamisile also led some members to join the APC. The decampees said they joined the APC because of Fayemi’s achievements, which they described as “unprecedented.” However, an LP source said there was no time the party was banking on people from other parties. The source described LP as a movement comprising politicians of different political lineages, but with the same goal of getting Ekiti out of the doldrums. He said since LP is the largest party in the state, they are not bothered about aggrieved aspirants of the LP. But he quickly added that they, like any other person, are welcome if they decided to join the movement to liberate Ekiti people. And in a tone to seal the hope of any party expecting exodus of PDP members into its fold, Adeyeye said; “Any political party that is expecting mass exodus of aggrieved PDP members to its fold will wait till eternity.”
Sunday, April 6, 2014 | 59
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Lessons From The Islamic Brotherhood In Egypt And Ukraine Watch
By Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs Editor HERE are many lessons in nationhood coming out of Egypt, the land of the pharaohs, the fabled starting point of humanity’s civilisation! The world has witnessed a variegated type of people power on the streets of Egypt. We have seen executive power defaced and a power game that keeps throwing up new centres and levers, forcing many students of international affairs to turn in new pages of script upon script. Such that now, there seems to be a festering struggle for the soul of the country’s judiciary, between what can be regarded as the old brigade and the Muslim Brotherhood. Does this scenario really create more layers of pessimism about the country’s future as felt by many? And what lessons of statehood come to the mind at this point in time? Reconstruction. Redefinition. Realignment. These three would come up at some point after the dust of penultimate week’s death sentence handed to some 528 Islamic Brotherhood supporters of the ousted President Mohammed Morsi, would have settled. Add this to the fact that overall, there are about 1,200 Muslim Brotherhood supporters on trial, then more fire over some iron to should be expected. The 528 persons were convicted with dispatch, of charges that included murdering a policeman and attacks on people and property! The struggle that has turned so much heat on the Muslim Brotherhood, has to do with how that state is grappling with the idea of citizen’s restitution, justice and social cohesion in a manner that goes beyond mere political resolution of the country’s crisis. In terms of redefinition, Egypt’s National Democratic Party, which held sway under fallen Hosni Mubarak, was never really a political party, at least in the sense of Western democracy. It was merely a vast collection of interest groups with no real ideology. You could call these, Socialists, Islamists, capitalists and as usual, opportunists happily resided in the same body. What emerges at the end of the current struggle in terms of ideology? Now, authorities have cracked down harshly on Islamists since Morsi was removed by the country’s military last July. But who is going to account for the lives of hundreds that have been killed even with the arrest of thousands?
Whenever there is a popular movement, even a peoples’ revolt, there are costs. The thing to ask at the end of the day is whether the costs and sacrifices were well worth it? And whether other nations like Nigeria can learn the requisite lessons from happenings in our global village? At least in Turkey and Pakistan, the sacrifices had proven to be well worth it. What happened in Pakistan? Former President Pervez Musharraf ���merely” sacked the country’s most senior judge, Iftikhar Chaudhry and all hell was let lose. The government said an inquiry would investigate “numerous complaints and serious allegations” against him, including alleged misuse of authority. But the people demanded Supreme Court Judge Chaudhry’s reinstatement. In the end, it was Musharraf who lost out and could not escape a trial. As for Turkey, the people demanded that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan rescinded its decision to build a mosque in a public square, the Taksim. The fuss in Ankara is worth closing up on. Turkey is a secular state with nearly 99 percent Muslim population! The mosque plans had then been contentious because the people felt it would further shrink the green spaces in Istanbul’s city centre. Prime Minister Erdogan had declared: “I am not going to seek the permission of the (the opposition) or a handful of plunderers.” But after sustained exuberant protests in Taksim Square, in the end, Erdogan’s government backed down. The people won. What is happening in Egypt may however, not be without blemish. A spokesman for the banned Muslim Brotherhood said the verdict (to convict 528 persons) came from a “Kangaroo court”. And a human rights campaigner said judges had become a tool for taking revenge. As the verdict now goes to Egypt’s supreme religious authority, the Grand Mufti (a senior Islamic scholar), for approval or rejection, a second group of 700 Morsi supporters is due to go on trial. More lessons would however be learnt when the sentences are upheld or quashed. Already, there are concerns being raised in the international arena. A western ally of Egypt, the United States (US) has already questioned how the defendants could have
had a fair trial in just two court sessions. Deputy US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in this regard that, “It may be just a threat message and there will be appeals to the court... but this is the new Egypt after the coup. This is the new dictatorship that [former army chief and defence minister, Field Marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is trying to establish.” And just last week, British prime minister David Cameron vowed to ‘challenge the extremist narrative’ of some Islamic organisations as he ordered an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood to check whether it is planning attacks in the Middle East from Britain. The Prime Minister said he wanted to establish a ‘complete picture’ of the group’s ‘philosophy and activities’, with information being gathered by both MI5 and MI6. The review was prompted by evidence received by the Government that Brotherhood leaders met in London last year to plot their response to events in Egypt. In looking at the ‘philosophy and activities’ of the Muslim Brotherhood, the MI6 will assess whether the organisation was behind recent attacks in Egypt, while MI5 will look into how many senior leaders of the body are based in the UK, etc. But as the US and the UK and some others out there try to clear any fog arising from extremism in Egypt and to protect their citizens, how much of such collaborations with extremist forces in the Sahel is being felt in Nigeria at a time when the war against such internationally affiliated group such as Boko Haram is proving seemingly intractable? That is subject for another time. It has not escaped the view of diplomatic watchers that in a case centred on the killing of a single police officer, more than 520 defendants have been sentenced to death in Egypt. Now, how many policemen have been killed in the course of duty in Nigeria without a single person being brought to book? It is not about a crackdown on suspects and masterminds, but people being brought to public book, being tried and then justice administered!
AST week, the North Atlantic Treaty LOrganisation (NATO)’s military
chief Gen. Philip Breedlove, warned that Russian troops could begin moving on Ukraine within 12 hours of being given an order, amid fears that Moscow could seek to invade its troubled eastern region. Penultimate week, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly approved a resolution describing the Moscow-backed referendum that led to Russia’s annexation of Crimea as illegal. All of these came after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to a loan deal with Ukraine worth $14-18bn. The US Congress had also now passed legislation backing a $1bn loan guarantee for Ukraine. News cables have been beaming to the rest of the world how with its 40,000 troops massed near the border, Russia has all the components necessary to move on Ukraine. It is instructive to note that Ukraine is not a NATO member, but many countries that are members – such Poland and the Baltic states – have voiced their increasing anxiety about Russia’s recent actions. And this is understandable. But tensions remain high between Russia and the West after pro-Russian troops annexed Ukraine’s southern peninsula. According to reports, Russia had continued, post Crimea referendum, to take over one Ukraine military base after another. Now, the West has widely condemned the move, with US President Barack Obama warning of “deeper” EU and US sanctions against Russia if it carried out further incursions in Ukraine. But it has to be said that getting the resolution binding on Russia would be quite a task even though 100 of the 193 members voted in favour of approving a UN General Assembly resolution declaring the Crimean referendum on 16 March illegal and affirming Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Sometime ago, it was examined whether events in Ukraine might push the world (or the active minders of the conflict) into a Third World War. At another point, the arms build up in the area was reviewed, including the Russian armament as well as the response capabilities of the West. A school of thought now believes that the more silent part of the war has already begun. And they can cite the killing of a Ukrainian ultra-nationalist leader Oleksandr Muzychko. After being shot dead, officials put it out that they believed the act was a special forces’ operation. Also known as Sashko Bily, the country’s interior ministry said the ultra nationalist leader died in a shoot-out with police in a cafe in Rivne in western Ukraine. The slain man was a leader of Right Sector, a far-right group, which was prominent in the recent anti-government protests that led to the fleeing of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. The shooting of Muzychko happened just hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, Andriy Deshchytsia - their first meeting since
Russia’s move into Crimea triggered a diplomatic crisis. Born 1962 in Perm region, Russia, after Ukraine became independent in 1991 Muzychko set up nationalist groups in Rivne, western Ukraine. He spent several years in jail after conviction for extortion in 1999. He was also accused of leading “criminal gang” in Rivne at one time. Then, Russia accused him of atrocities in Chechnya. As a Right Sector leader he participated in Maidan anti-government protests in Kiev Far right in Ukraine revolution. Today, a Right Sector organiser in Rivne is threatening vengeance over the killing of Muzychko, saying he had not been truly summoned by investigators. “We will avenge ourselves on (Interior Minister) Arsen Avakov for the death of our brother. The shooting of Sashko Bily is a contract killing ordered by the minister,” said Roman Koval of the Right Sector in Rivne region, quoted by the Ukrayinska Pravda website. As events unfold inside Ukraine, analysts think that Russian manoeuvres have been keeping the West guessing. For instance, Moscow has said the activities of Right Sector and other Ukrainian nationalist groups pose a threat to the large Russian-speaking minority in Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin actually gave that as one of his reasons for intervening in Crimea. However, some commentators say Russia has deliberately whipped up such fears, and that the influence of Right Sector in Ukrainian politics is exaggerated. Add this to the fact that earlier, Russian authorities had issued an arrest warrant for Muzychko, accusing him of atrocities against Russian soldiers in Chechnya. The Russian indictment says the slain man tortured captive Russian soldiers in the 1990s, when Moscow was trying to crush Chechen separatist guerrillas. Muzychko had denied the allegations. Another report had also said he led a group of Ukrainian nationalists who fought alongside the Chechen rebels. While all these are going on, the Ukrainian parliament penultimate Tuesday, appointed General Mykhaylo Koval as the new defence minister, after approving the resignation of his predecessor, Ihor Tenyukh. Tenyukh had offered to leave the post following growing criticism of his response to the Russian annexation of Crimea. All hopes of conciliation should however not be not be lost just yet despite the arms build up. For instance, Moscow initially reacted scornfully to the G7 snub of deciding not to hold their June Summit in the Russian city of Sochi, saying “the G8 is an informal club” which “can’t purge anyone by definition”. But later President Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said “the Russian side continues to be ready to have such contacts at all levels, including the top level. We are interested in such contacts.” Now, if such starry heights politics are combined with other ground work, maybe a missile would not be shot
THE GUARDIAN, www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Tribal Clashes Leave 23 Dead EGYPT SECOND day of clashes A between two tribes in southern Egypt has left a total of 18 people dead, officials say. The Egyptian military said that it had intervened to stop the fighting between the Arab Bani Hilal clan and a Nubian family. The violence started late on Friday after offensive graffiti was
drawn on the walls of a local school, security officials said. Several homes were burnt down and over 31 people were injured in the clashes. Eyewitnesses reported seeing bodies lying on hospital floors, while images emerged on social media showing bodies in the street. A meeting yesterday between leaders from the two sides failed to reach a resolution. The state news agency said 17 local
Kiev Rejects Moscow’s Gazprom Gas Price Hike KRAINE has rejected moves by U Russia to almost double the price of Russian gas supplies to the country and threatened legal action. Ukraine’s interim PM, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said Moscow’s hikes were a form of “economic aggression”. His energy minister said Ukraine would try to negotiate a gas deal, but warned that if talks failed Ukrainians should prepare for Russia to cut off supplies. Moscow says the price change is due to Kiev’s failure to bay its bills. Russia’s state-controlled company Gazprom has raised the cost of gas to Ukraine by 81 per cent to $485.50 (£292.86, 354.33 euros) from $268.50 for 1,000 cubic metres. The increase comes amid tense
UKRAINE diplomatic relations following Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Mr Yatsenyuk said Russia was trying to punish the new leaders in Kiev after last month’s removal of the Moscow-backed government of President Viktor Yanukovych. “Political pressure is unacceptable, and we are not accepting the price of $500,” Mr Yatsenyuk told ministers yesterday. “Russia was unable to seize Ukraine by means of military aggression. Now they are implementing plans to seize Ukraine through economic aggression.”
Chad Rejects UN Claims Of Market Shooting In Bangui CENTRAL AFRICAN REP. HAD has rejected UN accusaC tions that its troops killed 30 people and injured many more in an unprovoked attack in a market in the Central African Republic. In a statement, Chad’s government expressed its indignation and said the allegation was “defamatory”. On Friday the UN said an investigation found Chadian troops had “opened fire on the population without any provocation” in Bangui on 29 March. Chad has said it will pull its peacekeepers out of CAR in protest. The UN inquiry said Chadian troops fired indiscriminately on civilians inside a busy market in the capital in the attack.
Thirty people were killed and another 300 people were injured in the shooting, it said. The troops, who were reportedly on a mission to evacuate some of the city’s remaining Muslim inhabitants, said they were attacked first by militias. In the year since the Muslim Seleka rebels ousted the CAR government last March, the country has been engulfed by a wave of religious violence. Under regional pressure, the country’s first Muslim leader, President Michel Djotodia, stepped down in January but attacks have not stopped. Thousands of Muslims, a minority in CAR, have been fleeing to neighbouring Chad and Cameroon after being targeted by Christian militias, known as anti-balakas.
schools would be closed tomorrow (Sunday), the first day of the working week in Egypt.
China Ship ‘Picks Up Signal’ In Missing Plane Search MALAYSIA CHINESE ship searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane in the southern Indian Ocean has picked up a pulse signal, Chinese media say. They say the signal has a frequency of 37.5kHz - the same as those emitted by the flight recorders. However, there is no evidence so far that it is linked to MH370. Dozens of ships and planes have joined the search, with the operation moving into its most intensive phase before batteries on the data recorders fade. Yesterday, the Haixun 01 - one of two Chinese ships in the area picked up the signal at about 25 degrees south latitude and 101 degrees east longitude, the staterun Xinhua news agency said. “It is yet to be established whether it is related to the missing jet,” it cautioned. China’s Liberation Daily reported that three people on board had heard the signals, which were not recorded as they came suddenly. The head of the Australian agency coordinating the search said the reported signals “ are consistent with the aircraft black box” but “there is no confirmation at this stage that the signals and the objects are related to the missing aircraft”. The flight is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, although no confirmed debris has been found. It is still not known why the plane diverted from its planned flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing four weeks ago with 239 people on board. Two of the ships searching an area of about 217,000 sq km (84,000 sq miles) have underwater locator capabilities. Australian naval vessel Ocean Shield is using a “towed pinger locator” from the US Navy, while HMS Echo, which had similar capabilities, was also searching.
Huge Public Spending To Be Directed Towards Greening Global Markets By Kamal Tayo Oropo NEW global programme, launched during the week, will harness the power of the trillions of dollars that governments spend on public procurement each year towards a shift to a more resource-efficient world. The Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Programme – the first action to get underway as part of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) – will assist governments to redirect public spending into goods and services that bring significant environmental and social benefits, according to a statement by the United Nations Envoronment Programme (UNEP). “The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations spent an average 13 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on public procurement in 2011, while in some developing nations this can hit 20 per cent. This adds up to trillions of dollars globally, demonstrating the scale of the opportunity ahead,” said United Nations UnderSecretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, Mr. Achim Steiner. “Governments can use this potential to lead markets onto a sustainable path by demanding goods and services that conserve natural resources, create decent green jobs, and improve livelihoods around the globe.” The SPP Programme — co-led by the UNEP, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI) — will enable this shift by improving knowledge of sustainable procurement’s benefits and supporting implementation through access to experts and tools. “The Republic of Korea has gained strong expertise in the implementation of green public procurement based on an electronic monitoring system over the past ten years,” said Yongjoo Kim, President of KEITI. “We wish to contribute to the programme, in close partnership with UNEP and ICLEI, by identifying and disseminating good practices.” Existing initiatives from around the globe prove that sustainable procurement transforms markets, boosts eco-industries, saves money, conserves natural resources and fosters job creation. For example, Indian Railways replaced more than one million incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient fluorescent lamps in 400,000 employees’ homes, saving more than 100,000MWh of energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 90,000 tonnes each year. In Brazil, the Foundation for Education Development saved 8,800 cubic metres of water and 1,750 tonnes of waste by using notebooks made from recycled paper in Sao Paulo schools. In France, a contract for the purchase of toner cartridges was awarded to an organization that, between 2009 and 2011, recovered 11,500 kilogrammes of waste, saved the government 30 per cent in costs and created nine full-time jobs for disabled people. Many other nations, including the Republic of Korea, have created sustainable public procurement policies that will bring further such benefits in the near future. In the United States — where the federal government procures more than US$500 billion a year in goods and services—the Federal Government has incorporated sustainability requirements into purchasing regulations. Additionally, an Executive Order stipulates that 95 per cent of all new contracts use products and services that are energy- and water-efficient, environmentally preferable, non-ozone depleting, and contain recycled content. Chile’s public procurement and contracting bureau set a target of 15 per cent of procurement orders meeting sustainability targets by 2012. This goal was fulfilled a year ahead of schedule: 17.2 per cent of orders included sustainability criteria by the end of 2011. The bureau oversees US$8 billion in transactions, accounting for more than 3.2 per cent of GDP. In Japan — where a 2010 study found that government bodies spent US$672 billion (17.6 per cent of GDP) — green purchasing laws now require ministries, provisional governments and an increasing number of cities to make 95 per cent of their purchases from designated “green product” categories. The programme, by working to ensure such purchasing decisions are the norm rather than the exception, aims to play a vital role in transitioning the globe to an inclusive Green Economy. The launch comes just a few months ahead of the first United Nations Environment Assembly, when the world’s environment ministers will meet to discuss the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, with a special focus on sustainable consumption and production. “A rapid transformation, which will support the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, is eminently possible,” said Steiner. “Governments from across the globe signed up to the UNEP-led Sustainable Public Procurement Initiative at Rio+20, and are backing this commitment with action. This demonstrates that the political will is already in place.” The programme is also supported by the European Commission, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, the China Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Republic of Korea, ISEAL Alliance, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Swedish Ministry of the Environment, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. “If public money is spent on products and services that reduce environmental impacts, encourage social improvement and achieve financial efficiency, a huge step forward could be made towards sustainable development,” said Gino Van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General. “This is what the 10-Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Public Procurement aims to achieve.”
Voters In Historic Presidential Election AFGHANISTAN EOPLE in Afghanistan have voted P for a new president in the nation’s first transfer of power via
Afghan women cast their ballots at a polling station in the northwestern city of Herat… yesterday. Voters went to the polls to choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai, braving Taliban threats in a landmark election held as US-led forces wind down their long intervention in the country. PHOTO: AFP
the ballot box. Turnout was brisk despite heavy rain, but there are reports of ballot paper shortages and sporadic violence. A massive operation was launched to thwart the Taliban, who had
vowed to disrupt the election. Eight candidates vied to succeed Hamid Karzai, who is barred by the constitution from seeking a third consecutive term as president. The secretary of the Afghan Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Ziaul Haq Amarkhel, said that by 17:00 local time, when the polls had officially closed, seven million people out of an estimated eligible 12 million had voted.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, April 6, 2014 | 61
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Sports Bankruptcy: Taming Sportsmen’s Obscene per week. That is in contrast with the £3,500 average annual wage in the United Kingdom as at last year. Some top players, who are viewed as indispensable by their teams, earn far in excess of this figure. A typical example is Wayne Rooney, whose remuneration was improved to £180, 000 per week when he threatened to leave Manchester United some seasons ago. Right now, the former Everton player earns £300, 000, signing a new deal that will keep him at old Trafford till he is 34 years. Chelsea’s Eden Hazard is 23 years old, but is thought to be one of English Premier League (EPL) best-paid players, taking home £185, 000 every week. That means he earns £18 per minute, night and day. This fantastic earning is the same for Nigerian players at some point in the Nigerian League. Most of the top players like Stephen Keshi, Etim Esin, Samson Siasia, Mike Obiku, Yisa Sofoluwe, Waidi Akanni and many others commanded super sign-on fees before finding their way to Europe or the U.S where they made more money doing their dream job. El Kanemi Warriors raised the bar in 1987, when it lured top players to its fold with brand new Peugeot cars and fantastic allowances. The destination for most players then was Maiduguri, the Borno State capital because driving exotic cars was a rarity among players at that time. The current players in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) would also have cause to jubilate as the League Management Committee (LMC) pegged their monthly salary to N150, 000, while scrapping sign on fees, which
Mikel in front of his house in London
most of them never got. Apart from this, they also earn bonuses that shore up their pay, that if wisely invested could secure their future. Also, players who distinguish themselves in the local league and get transferred to better organised leagues abroad are assured of making more for themselves with their God-given talent. The average Nigerian worker rarely gets a pay rise, while those in some other sectors have had to contend with pay slash amid excruciating economic situation. It may be difficult to sympathise with person doings their dream job, while earning obscene money, but a new report suggests that English Premier League paychecks can be hugely problematic. Research by Xpro, a charity for former players, claims that three out of every five Premier League players declare bankruptcy after retirement. Footballers who have declared themselves broke after quitting the lucrative game include Keith Gillespie (unpaid tax after a film investment) and Colin Hendry (reasons including gambling). So, why do so many players end up with financial hardship after living a life of excess and splendour? Part of the reason must be that the excess and splendour are unsustainable for a career that can seldom extend beyond a player’s mid-30s. Thierry Henry rebuilt his mansion with a four-storey aquarium running through it in a city in which he doesn’t live or work. Stoke City’s Stephen Ireland has more gauche customised vehicles than he has terrible disdain for playing for Ireland. And the less said about Mario Balotelli’s rumored statue, the better. While it is perfectly acceptable for footballers to spend their disposable income the way they desire, but when the five-figure checks stop arriving, it can be difficult to adapt to a more austere lifestyle. Teenagers are made into millionaires, then given very little financial advice to prepare them for life after football. Apart from Gillespie and Hendry, there are countless high profile examples of footballers who have declared bankruptcy, thanks to various vices or poor planning. Former Man City Paul Merson went broke in 2007, having gambled an estimated £7 million. Former Super Eagles’ defender Celestine Babayaro could no longer maintain his £475,000 Middlesex mansion when the creditors came chasing up debts in 2011. John Arne Riise, a man with so little concern for his finances was declared broke at age 26 with debts of around £100, 000, while still playing for Liverpool. Of course, there are plenty of players who plan adequately for their post-playing days. Robbie Fowler is now worth £28 million,
Ahmed with his wife
By Adeyinka Adedipe LL over the world, sports personalities A are some of the most colourful celebrities. With plump weekly wages and monthly salaries, huge endorsement fees and mouth-watering prize money from different tournaments, many believe that this set of people can never fall on the wrong side of life even when they retire. This is based on the premise that what they earn in about 15 to 20 years of their participation in sports, if well invested, would guarantee them luxury living throughout retirement. However, that has not been the case, as some well paid and notable sportsmen go broke few years after quitting their sports with some of them selling off their prized possessions to make ends meet. Their bane is that, while still very active, most of these stars engaged in frivolities. They lived flamboyant lifestyle and cared less about investing their money in ventures that would secure a bright future. Most of them waste their fortunes on gambling, exotic cars, eye-popping edifices, drugs, excessive clubbing and women. According to a survey in the U.S, 78 per cent of players in National Football League (NFL) go bankrupt within five years of retirement, while 60 per cent of NBA players file for bankruptcy within five years of leaving basketball. The story is the same in England, where it is becoming worrisome to see players who earned staggering amount languishing in poverty after quitting football. The average wage in the English top flight is £30, 000
having wisely invested in around 80 properties. He’s now even offering a workshop for others to learn his property secrets. After ruining their finances before retirement, most of them find it difficult to come to terms with their present status and they engage in activities that could ruin their lives, which sometimes lead to mental illness, just like in the case of former England midfielder, Paul Cascoigne, who has been sent to rehabilitation homes several times because he has become an alcoholic and drug abuser. The complexities of mental illness in football have been on the agenda recently, after a new mental health study revealed 26 per cent of active professional footballers suffer from depression or anxiety. Commissioned by the World Footballers’ Association, FIFPro, the report further reveals that 39 per cent of retired players experience mental health issues and 32 per cent reported adverse alcohol behaviour after quitting the game. The first of its kind on such a global scale, the report was overseen by FIFPro Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge, who used a scaled questionnaire to measure outcomes such as anxiety and depression, low self-esteem, alcohol use, smoking and general nutrition. More than three hundred active and former professional players from the United States, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Holland, Australia and New Zealand took part in the study, which Gouttebarge hopes can now help improve the overall health of footballers. “Contrary to popular belief, the life of a professional footballer has some dark sides,” Gouttebarge said: ”Former professional footballers report more mental health problems than current players, endorsing that the period just after retirement from professional football is a critical one for many players. Gouttebarge also added that mental illness among former professional footballers occurs more often than in other measured populations, saying the sport was ‘littered with psychological pitfalls’. It is a subject that was thrust into the spotlight last year following the BBC’s groundbreaking documentary, Football’s Suicide Secret. In it, former Burnley defender and PFA Chairman Clarke Carlisle explored the relationship the illness has with English football and spoke candidly about his own battle with depression and attempted suicide. This is the first time a study has been undertaken on such a level, however, and FIFPro hopes to establish a new benchmark in the field by releasing the results of their work. By revealing mental illness in world football is widespread, they also hope to increase awareness and acceptance at the
Sunday, April 6, 2014 SPORT 63
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Lifestyle To Save For Retirement highest level of the game. Gouttebarge believes football’s authorities must now put provisions in place to enable players to talk honestly about the subject without fear of recrimination, saying: ”Football stakeholders have a collective responsibility to remove the stigma associated with mental illness.” “All players, whether active or retired, can learn optimal behaviours and coping skills to manage the symptoms of mental illness. “When it comes to any health problem, be it physical or mental, over the short or long term, the minimum standard is to raise self-awareness of players about these issues. They need to be aware of what might occur during and after their football career. This is also prevalent among former Nigerian stars, who have had to battle depression when they fall on bad times. Family of late Super Eagles goal king, Rashidi Yekini struggled to keep him stable until he died. When Yekini was active, he was hailed to high heavens and got staggering allowances, which the average Nigerian worker could never earn. Other former players who fall sick, rely on others to raise funds to fight their illness, leaving many to wonder where their money went to. State government and corporate institutions has helped many to overcome their sickeness by funding their treatment. It is pathetic to hear players, who held the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to ransom, while demanding for increase in allowance, cry of being abandoned when they are no longer active. They believe that the society owes them, but if they had been more careful, they probably would well off and would not go cap-in-hand each time they need money for personal needs. Former Flying Eagles and Super Eagles winger, Ndubuisi Okosieme told a Nigerian newspaper that life has been hard since he quit the round leather game. He said: “Life hasn’t been easy; I’ve been struggling and hustling. It is a very bad situation for ex-internationals to be struggling after giving so much to the nation. “Again, I reside in a state (Edo) that I am not from. It’s a big problem because nobody wants to hear from you. And when I go to my state, they say, “You did not grow up here.” So, where do we stand? Life has been very tough and difficult but I thank God that I am alive despite all the stress I am going through. Okosieme was more troubled with the fact that a state his family did well for has neglected him. “My father played for Edo State and the nation. I and my sister also played for Nigeria. It’s about who you know and who you don’t know. Even when you know somebody in high places, if you don’t have something to give to complement know-
Obafemi (left) hanging out with friends
ing such a person, you will get nothing. “I feel the country should recognise my family, we served the nation. My father kept the goal for Bendel Insurance and the national team, my sister played for Rivers Angels and captained the Super Falcons for so many years; I played for Nigeria too for many years at different levels. I was part of the YSFON team before the U-17 World Cup began. “But today, everybody feels that all what my family did for the nation is nothing to write home about and nobody seems to talk about it. I believe it’s because my dad is late, that is why all this is happening. If he were alive, he would cry out; he knows the people to meet. But even in retirement, they still look at me as a kid without any power. I expect that the media should ensure that the Okosieme family is remembered. If it was in the civilised world, my family would be highly honoured, but here nobody talks about it. “Nnamdi, my brother is a sports writer too, so we are a full sports family. Even Chigbu would have represented Nigeria at the U-17 World Cup in 1985, but he had to sit for his exams at the time. So, I just don’t know and that is why you see me quiet. Here, if you don’t have a godfather, money in your pocket and a jeep packed somewhere, nobody will listen to you and it is very bad for the nation.” To avoid this kind of lamentation from former internationals, the Association of Professional Footballers in Nigeria (APFON) contacted an investment outfit to help talk to both local and foreign-based players on the need to invest their monies properly. Secretary of the association, Austin Popo, noted that the need to invest for the rainy day cannot be over emphasised and he is glad that most players’ today have imbibed the culture. “You never can tell when the money you are seeing now will cease. An injury can end ones career abruptly. So, what we are doing at APFON is to sensitise our footballers on the need to invest their money in assets and learn from the mistakes of the past generation. If they do that, they can fall back on them once the going gets tough, instead of just living a life they might not be able to sustain after retirement,” he added. Drawing an example from where he enjoyed success as a professional footballer, former Ajax forward, Tijani Babangida called for a pension scheme for players, where they would be made to contribute a certain percentage of their monthly earning. The former international advised Nigerian footballers to always plan well for life after football, just as he advised the football authorities to be involved in organising a pension scheme for players. Speaking on incessant complaints by former football stars of being neglected by the government after serving the nation, he sad:
“You have to hold yourself responsible for anything that happens after your football career. You don’t have to hold anybody responsible for your misfortune and that is why you have to plan for life after football. You have to take the initiative and get something to fall back on after leaving the game. “For instance, in Holland, there is a pension scheme for professional footballers and whether you like it or not, at the end of every month, 60 per cent of your earning will go to this organisation managing the fund. As I’m speaking, the players can’t even collect the money until a certain period. “There are guidelines to follow and the administrators would also guide the players on what to do with the investment,” said the former Ajax Amsterdam player. The Atlanta ‘96 Olympics gold medallist noted that the Nigeria Football Federation and the Nigeria (NFF) Premier League (NPL) Esin towards improving the welfare of Nigerian players should work out such policy. “My advice is that we can invite these foreign administrators to put us through because I believe the NPL or the NFF can also introduce pension scheme. As a player, you must have a clear vision of what you hope to do after active football. Today, some of us are coaches and football managers, so you must be focused,” said Babangida, who is the Chairman of FC Taraba, an NPL side. Top football manager, John Shittu, also noted that footballers must change their mentality in order to live a decent life after football. “I keep telling some of them who are close to me to think of the future. The truth is that, while getting the money as a player, you have to manage your resources well. Some of our former players made money and mismanaged it and some were not fortunate enough to make money. “We don’t have to blame the government Gascoigne all the time. We must do the right thing first. Every player should be responsible enough to know that there is life after your football career,” Shittu, who is the manager of John Mikel Obi said. Just like Shittu said, the present crop of Nigerian players that are doing well must learn from the mistakes of their predecessor to avoid the danger of going broke after quitting the game. However, those who enjoy fat salaries in foreign clubs seem to be more concerned about acquiring cars, buying choice houses and investing little or nothing in readiness for the proverbial rainy day. Their predecessors shuttled allover Europe in hired jets, while some were said to have bought jets, which only ate deep into their finances. For every successful ex-football star, there are countless others who find themselves with no skills and no earning potential after retirement. If they had received bad Merson investment advice or wasted most of their fortune on frivolities, life after football would difficult. Until football’s governing bodies take greater care to ensure professional players are educated in financial responsibility, or they are forced to lock away a certain percentage of their wealth until they retire, the bankruptcy statistics Hendry with his late wife Denise
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
NFF Moves To Avert CAF’s Hammer On Nigerian Coaches By Gowon Akpodonor ENSING ban from the Confederation of African Football S(NFF) (CAF) on Nigerian coaches, the Nigeria Football Federation is set to organize CAF Grade C License seminars for over 500 coaches in Abuja. The exercise, which will last for two weeks, will begin tomorrow with former Super Eagles coach, Shuaibu Amodu, James peters, Monday Sinclair and Kashimawo Loloko as Resource Managers. The Guardian learnt yesterday that CAF had warned the NFF to grade their coaches in the various categories A, B and C before the year runs out or risk being banned in the next football season. A source hinted that over 500 Nigerian coaches currently serving with different club sides are waiting to be up-graded in Category ‘C’ alone. According to the source, CAF had warned that failure to grade the coaches this year would force it to stop them from various CAF organized competitions. “The NFF is seriously lacking behind as regards up-grading our coaches. There are over 500 coaches waiting in category C alone. We are not talking of those waiting to be up-graded in category ‘B’ and ‘A’. If they are not up-graded between now and December, they are not likely to sit on the bench at any CAF organized competitions, including the CAF Champions League, Confederations Cup, under age competitions and the African Nations Cup qualifiers,” the source said. The coaches for the Grade C exercise are expected to arrive Abuja today. The NFF, it was learnt yesterday, has set aside August this year for up grading of coaches under category ‘B’ and December for those in category ‘A’. It was not clear yesterday on why the NFF settled for the trio of Amodu, peters and Laloko for the grading exercise since the body is yet to ‘sort out things’ regarding their appointments. The Guardian learnt that the NFF appointed Amodu as Technical Adviser after some notable Nigerians kicked against NFF’s earlier plan of appointing 39-year-old Belgian, Tom Saintfiet as Technical Director. Amodu was appointed alongside James peters, who was named assistant technical director in charge of women football development and Kashimawo Laloko, who was named assistant technical director in charge of youth football development. But several months after the pronouncement by the NFF, the appointment of Amodu and his assistants are said to be existing only on the ‘pages of newspapers.’
Nothing To Fear About Enyimba, Says Babangida T will be David vs Goliath when FC Taraba welcome six-time Ileague, champions Enyimba today in continuation of the Nigeria but Taraba chairman, ex- Super Eagles winger, Tijjani
Manchester United’s Spanish midfielder Juan Mata celebrates scoring their second goal against Newcastle United yesterday in the English Premier League match at St James’ Park in Newcastle Upon Tyne, northeast England. PHOTO: AFP
Mata Strikes Twice, As Man United Move To Sixth MUCH-CHANGED A Manchester United • Man City Hit Southampton 4-1, Fulham, Chelsea Win secured a fourth successive away league win as they comfortably beat Newcastle 4-0, just as Manchester City beat Southampton 4-1 at Etihad Stadium. Huga Rodallega’s late header defeated Aston Villa and kept alive Fulham’s slim hopes of avoiding premier League relegation.
Premiership Results Man City 4 - 1 Southampton Aston Villa 1 - 2 Fulham Cardiff 0 - 3 Crystal palace Hull 1 - 0 Swansea Newcastle 0 - 4 Man Utd Norwich 0 - 1 West Brom Chelsea 3 - 0 Stoke
In the battle between Newcastle and Man United, Juan Mata exquisitely curled a 20-yard free-kick into the top corner to give the visitors the lead. A low Javier Hernandez shot came back off the post before a composed Mata finish extended the Red Devils’ lead. Newcastle produced a lacklustre display and conceded again when Hernandez swept in a six-yard shot before Adnan Januzaj scored a late fourth for the visitors. At the Etihad Stadium, Man City turned the screw on their premier League title rivals by beating Southampton. But there was bad news for watching England boss Roy
Hodgson as Saints striker Jay Rodriguez was carried off with what looked like a serious knee injury. That came after Yaya Toure’s penalty had given the hosts the lead, though Rickie Lambert equalised with a spot-kick of his own. Goals from Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko in first-half stoppage time, then a late effort from Stevan Jovetic, made it 14 wins from 15 home league games for City this season. The victory moved them to within a point of leaders Liverpool, who visit West Ham today having already played a game more than Manuel pellegrini’s men. Aston Villa lost at home 1-2 to
keep alive Fulham’s slim hopes of avoiding premier League relegation. Rodallega flicked in Lewis Holtby’s cross four minutes from time to move the Cottagers five points from safety. Kieran Richardson had given Fulham the lead from the edge of the area before Grant Holt headed level. Matthew Lowton’s clearance off the line looked to have denied Fulham victory, only for Rodallega to intervene. Cardiff City plunged deeper into premier League relegation trouble as Crystal palace moved closer to safety with an emphatic 3-0 win in south Wales.
published by Guardian Newspapers Limited, Rutam House, Isolo, Lagos Tel: 4489600, 2798269, 2798270, 07098147948, 07098147951 Fax: 4489712; Advert Hotline Lagos: 7736351, Abuja: 07098513445 All correspondence to Guardian Newspapers Limited, p.M.B. 1217, Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria. (ISSN NO 0189-5125) Editor: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org ABRAHAM OBOMEYOMA OGBODO • A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation •ABC
Babangida has insisted they will not fear their more illustrious foes in Jalingo. “We will not be afraid of Enyimba’s big name moreso in front of our fans,” said Babangida. On our good day we can beat any team in Jalingo and so we are really confident going into Sunday’s match. “We have nothing to lose, but Enyimba have everything to lose if they go down against us. So, the pressure is on them and not us.” The star attraction for the Jalingo outfit is 19-year-old Usman Mohammed, an attacking midfielder who former Ajax Amsterdam winger Babangida rates very highly. Fidelis Saviour, who featured for Enyimba in the last campaign, will come face-to-face with his former club and he also sounded confident they will beat the two-time African champions.
Japan Is FIFA U-17 Women’s Champion, Beats Spain • Italy Wins Third Place Match Against Venezuela ApAN claimed their maiden FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jfinal crown, beating their European opponent, Spain 2-0 in the played in the early hours of yesterday. Japan won all seven matches at Costa Rica 2014 displaying classic Nadeshiko élan and poise throughout. They also dominated goalscoring opportunities in the final but after Meika Nishida’s fifth minute goal, it took until 12 minutes from full time before the contest was effectively ended thanks to Fuka Kono’s strike. With Venezuela and Italy both breaking new ground by reaching the last four, a new high was assured regardless of the outcome of the match for third place. And it was an enthralling up-tempo contest that ensued with Venezuela equalising four times, the last of which came with virtually the last kick of the game. La Vinotinto’s scoring boots were, however, not laced up in the shoot-out with two shots hitting the frame of the goal and two saved by Italy goalkeeper Francesca Durante. Asia’s quality at youth level has yet again been underlined as Japan became the third nation from that continent to win the crown in four attempts, following in the footsteps of Korea Republic and Korea DpR. Japan and Korea DpR have also been runners-up on two occasions. Culled from FIFA.com