Page 1

S U N D A Y

E D I T I O N NEWSFEATURE 28

COVER 23

Lagos Waterways:

ANAMBRA 2013:

BUSINESS 42

Electricity Reforms:

A Bumpy Road How Not To To Privatising Waste Nature’s Nigeria’s Power Asset Page 28 Utilities

Will Stakeholders Help This Democracy To Grow?

TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Vol. 30, No. 12,661

www.ngrguardiannews.com

N300

Boeing 737-800 aircraft, registration number ET-APL, belonging to the Ethiopian Airlines, takes first Int’l flight into the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, yesterday, causing jubilation around the airport. The plane, with 15 passengers onboard, touched the tarmac at exactly 12.14 pm and was received by government officials.

Tukur Takes Peace Moves To Lagos, Assures On Southwest From Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna), Kamal Tayo Oropo, Seye Olumide, Tunde Akinola (Lagos) and Adamu Abuh (Abuja) HE national chairman of T the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, visited Lagos yesterday ostensibly to resolve the crisis

Soludo, as APGA’s candidate. According to sources close to Umeh, “the national chairman wanted Soludo because he believes that he (Soludo) has the credentials, stature and charisma to defeat anyone in the November election. He is aware that the former central bank governor came second behind Obi in the 2010

Doherty, Prince Buruji Kashamu and Chief Amos Olayinka, said his mission was “social; to meet my family, the PDP”. Inside sources, however, said the PDP leader is probably in Lagos on a reconciliation mission — to broker peace among warring factions in the Southwest PDP. The Southwest PDP has been experiencing challenges in recent times, leading to the dissolution of the party’s zonal executive committee, even as a court order stalled the zonal congress of the party originally scheduled to hold yesterday. Asked to comment on the wrangling in the Southwest PDP, Tukur described the situation as not being unusual. According to him, it is not possible for every member of

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

• CNPP Urges PDP To Purge Self • APC Pledges Stronger Parliamentary Opposition rocking the party in the zone. This came as opposition political parties, under the aegis of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties

(CNPP), yesterday, urged the leadership of the PDP to purge its ranks of “lack-lustre” politicians before holding its convention.

Speaking with journalists at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Tukur who was received on arrival by PDP leaders, including Chief Deji

Fresh Concerns For Obi, As APGA ‘Elects’ Guber Candidate Tomorrow By Kodilinye Obiagwu and Leo Sobechi NXIETY trails tomorrow’s A governorship primary of  the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to select who flies the party’s banner in the November 16, 2013 election in Anambra State. While the anticipation of who emerges as candidate is high, there are fears that

the trumpeted peace accord recently reached between the  State Governor, Peter Obi, and APGA’s National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, might unbundle in the process of picking the party’s candidate. Already, the battle lines have   drawn between Obi and been Umeh after the party’s screening panel, disqualified six aspirants, five of who are from

Anambra North — the zone, which Obi insists must produce his successor. For example, Obi and Umeh cannot agree on who should be the party’s governorship candidate. Obi opposed Umeh’s support for the former governor of the Central Bank and former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2010 polls, Prof. Charles

SPECIAL REPORT 19

State Of Origin Debate… The Search For A New Nation Begins NEWS 3

Gunmen Abduct Mike Ozekhome, Kill Four Policemen NEWS 4

N1tr FG Intervention Needed To Tackle Rot In Varsities’


TheGuardian

2 | Sunday, August 25, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Jubilation, As Enugu Airport Records First Int’l Flight From Lawrence Njoku and Leo Sobechi (Enugu) HE thunderous jubilation T and praises from the enthusiastic crowd that gathered yesterday was enough to herald the commencement of international commercial flights at the remodeled Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu. Indeed, the sea of human heads that defied security arrangements, as they surged forward to witness the landing of the first Ethiopian aircraft at the airport, signified the end of many years of waiting and unfulfilled promises, by successive governments, of an international airport for the south east geo political zone. And to underscore the importance of an international airport to the South East Zone, all their political leaders, business and captains of industry came out in their numbers to witness the historic ceremony and landing of the international flight. Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, led other government appointees from the zone, including Ngozi OkonjoIweala (Finance Minister), Prof Chinedu Nebo (Power), Chukwuemeka Wogu (Labour and Productivity), and Stella Oduah (Aviation). Governors Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Theodore Orji (Abia), Martin Elechi (Ebonyi) and Peter Obi (Anambra), were also there. Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, however, shunned the event and neither sent a representative. Reason (s) for his absence also remained uncertain as at the time of going to press, even though

• S’East Govs Laud Jonathan, Urge Action On 2nd Niger Bridge • Okorocha Shuns Event the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, was present. The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, led the crème of the National Assembly members to the venue. Also available were traditional, religious leaders and private sector operators, including the billionaire businessman, Chief Arthur Eze, whose private jet flew directly from Senegal into the Enugu International Airport. The white colour Boeing 737 800 Ethiopian aircraft, with registration number ET-APL had landed at the airport at exactly 12.14 pm with 15 passengers onboard to the waiting hands of officials of government. But there was panic among the spectators when two fire-fighting trucks that were positioned few metres away started releasing water from opposite directions around the taxiway as some people thought that the unexpected was about to happen. It took an explanation of the officials of the Nigerian Airspace Agency that it was normal during international landing for calm to be restored among the agitating crowd. Driven by 39-year old Ethiopian Captain, Berhanu Gobere Zena, the 158-passenger-capacity aircraft took off again at exactly 2.30 pm, after spending about two hours and 16 minutes for the ceremonies. Zena told The Guardian that he had been flying in the last 13 years and had flown the

Boeing 737-800 for two and half years, adding that the airline would operate four flights per week on Enugu route, including Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He described Enugu runway as “very new”, adding that he had four cabinet members on board. On board the aircraft were Ekweremadu, Chime, Elechi and their aides as well as other passengers travelling to various countries of the world. Obi who though confirmed that he bought ticket to travel

with the flight, said he decided to stay back following the congress of the primaries of parties being held in Anambra state. Secretary to Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, while extolling President Jonathan on the airport, said that many promises had been made in the past, saying it was a great life accomplishment for the people of the Southeast. Minister Odua expressed happiness over the realization of the airport, saying

that it would impart positively on the development of the southeast. “This is a confirmation that what president Goodluck Jonathan says he does, he told the southeasterners that they would get this after all these years, he has done it for them. All thanks to him.” She said that there are about seven airlines already indicating interest to fly the Enugu route, adding that the area is a viable one that would continue to live in the minds of Ndigbo. She said effort was being made to complete other facilities at the airport. For Governor Peter Obi, “everybody from the south-

east will say today (yesterday) that this is our greatest moment”, adding that the airport was viable as the aircraft had been fully booked for two weeks and congratulated the president for delivering to his promise. “We saw today various passengers from Rome, from London, from Dubai and they landed here safely. We have here several passengers travelling with this aircraft outside the country and you can imagine it”, he said. Meanwhile, Southeast Governors, yesterday, thanked the Federal Government “for the equity in ensuring that the region like other zones also has an international airport.”

Governors Theodore Orji of Abia State, Sullivan Chime of Enugu State, Peter Obi of Anambra State and SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, receiving first international flight to Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu State at the weekend.

Opposition Parties Urge PDP To Purge Self CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 a party to have the same view on issues, as what is important is for all the divergent views to be harnessed. Tukur expressed the hope that the PDP would, “very soon,” hold its congress in the Southwest, even as he stated that the party had to put it on hold in compliance with a court order. “You wait and see. There will soon be congress in PDP; that, I can assure you. This is democracy; we obeyed the court. Afterwards, we will hold the congress. “I have said it again and again that, in politics, we will not necessarily have the same opinion on issues; but that does not necessarily mean there is crisis.” The PDP chair maintained that the party is in a better position to cater for the interest of Nigerians.

Yet, officials of the CNPP lamented a situation where the party (PDP) “continues to foist people without integrity on the nation,” just as it urged the leadership “to respect the agreement it reached with erstwhile members of its National Executive Committee (NEC)” on ensuring that it parades credible politicians. Insisting that the party should address its integrity issue before holding its convention, the CNPP said in a statement issued by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, that “the double standard of the PDP is fast corrupting the political landscape. “This is a key factor for the inability of public office holders to fulfill their electoral promises,” Ezugwu added. The statement further stressed that “the total lack of integrity exhibited by the PDP in asking some members of its National Executive Committee (NEC) to

resign, (so as) to open the way for their being properly elected, only for the party to disown them, falls short of what is expected of an organisation that produces some of the people who lead the nation. “While the natural tendency is to dismiss this development as an internal affair of the PDP, we must all not collectively lose sight of the fact that the PDP top shots will eventually treat Nigeria and Nigerians worse than they treat themselves. “With the number of seats and executive positions the PDP controls, it is inexplicable that the future of Nigeria is now tied to the conduct of the PDP; so, it is crucial that Nigerians do not shy away from asking the party to do

the right thing.” Ezugwu argued: “the party asked its officials, who earlier emerged through affirmation, to resign and be elected at another convention, only for it to start edging them out — even though they met their end of the bargain by voluntarily resigning. This has the grave implication of setting a bad precedence for gentleman’s agreement in this country. The opposition group stated thus: “the party has the right to install whosoever it wishes, but has no right to drag governance, and by extension Nigerians, into the show of shame and brazen attempt at power grab in Rivers State since it is now known that the change in the leadership of

the PDP was meant to oust those perceived to have been nominated by the State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi.” Officials of the CNPP then urged other political parties to resist the temptation of acting in a similar manner, as it would neither augur well for the nation nor their fortunes at the polls. Members of the House of Representatives ‘affiliated’ to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APC), yesterday, threatened to use their new “merger numbers” to “deliver democratic dividends to Nigerians,” just as the party’s National Vice Chairman in the Southwest, Chief Niyi Adebayo, confirmed the setting up of a committee to check perceived excesses of

some high-profile members. The Minority Whip of the House, Mr. Samson Osagie, in an exclusive chat with The Guardian, yesterday, said, with the new-found strength of the members of the APC in the lower legislative chamber, Nigerians can be rest assured of better days ahead. He gave the assurance that the 160 members of the APC in the House would surely influence policy direction to ensure the wellbeing of the citizenry. Osagie also faulted former Education Minister, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, who during the week accused the National Assembly of appropriating over a N1 trillion to themselves on salaries and allowances to the detriment of Nigerians since the inception of new democracy in 1999.

APGA ‘Elects’ Guber Candidate Tomorrow CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 election and that, but for the division in the PDP, he would have won that election considering the number of votes Obi got.” But Obi is rooting for a retired banker and former Executive Director of Fidelity Bank, Chief Willy Obiano, who, it was learnt, was drafted into the race only two weeks ago. Obiano does not have the support of the Umeh group, which sees him, not only as an outsider, but also worries that

“he does not have the political value to win an election in the state against any candidate. He does not have a name that can win an election. He is also seen as a man who could starve the party and its men of funds. “Of course, there are more viable options in Anambra North, but we are watching how the governor will pull it through on Monday,” said a source. The signs of the present trouble and anxiety showed up shortly after the Appeal Court ruling, which reinstated Umeh

and ruled that there should be a return to status quo. This was interpreted to mean that all those elected with Umeh at all levels should return to their positions. Most of the elected party officials had pitched their tents with Umeh during the crisis and they returned determined to take their pound of flesh from Obi. They saw their first chance when they drew up the guidelines for the council polls. It was gathered that they ensured that nobody

from the transition committee at the councils was eligible to contest the October council election. This was a ploy to oust Obi’s men, who had held sway and looked forward to the council elections as a chance to continue their tenure. Having seen his men lose grounds ahead of the council election, of more worry for Obi is the fact that he is facing an uphill task trying to push forward a proposal that will ensure that his commissioners are selected as delegates for the governorship primary.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

3

Gunmen Abduct Ozekhome, Kill Four Policemen By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu (Benin City) and Daniel Anazia (Lagos) IDNAPPERSin Edo State, yesterday afternoon, struck at Ehor, a town near Ekpoma, seizing renowned human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, and killing four policemen in the process. Confirming the incident, Edo State Commissioner of Police, Folusho Adebanjo, said: “Operatives of the command, led by the DPO of Ehor Division, responded swiftly to a distress call at about 3:30pm that an unspecified number of armed men had blocked the BeninAuchi Road, by Ehor axis. However, the hoodlums ambushed the police patrol vehicle and

K

opened fire on them, prompting an exchange of fire. “At the end of the gun duel, the hoodlums escaped with bullet wounds but not without their victims who were later identified upon search on the abandoned vehicle as Chief Ozekhome and his driver. Regrettably, the command lost four officers in the encounter. “We salute their rare courage and bravery. They fought and died as heroes for the cause of humanity. Their death shall not be in vain. We remain undeterred in our fight against armed banditry.” The lawyer was reportedly billed to travel with the convoy of Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, from Benin City

EDO to the governor’s hometown, Iyamoh, near Auchi, in Etsako West. He, however, narrowly missed the convoy due to his late arrival from Lagos, where he held a court session earlier in the day. The kidnappers are yet to make contact with Ozekhome’s family. The lawyer was reportedly stopped by gunmen in a Toyota Hilux van and a Toyota Camry car who fired shots at the front tyre of the Toyota Prado SUV that conveyed him. The shooting brought Ozekhome’s car to a halt, after which the men abducted him and his driver.

The occupants of another Toyota Camry car that approached the scene were also kidnapped. An eyewitness alerted the police at Ehor Division, following which a team, led by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), swung into action. The team was, however, ambushed, resulting in the killing of the four policemen. The DPO sustained gunshot wounds to the hand. Edo police boss, Adebanjo, visited the scene and recovered mobile phones from Ozekhome’s car. The police also recovered the lawyer’s files wig and gown. The lawyer’s SUV and police bullet-ridden cars were moved to the premises of the Ehor Di-

visional Police Station. Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has ordered the police in the state to track down the kidnappers and free the victims. Governor Adams Oshiomhole also called on security agencies in the state to do their best possible to rescue Ozekhome and the others. In a statement signed by its president, Abdul Mamhud, Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL), an Abuja based non-governmental organisation has condemned the kidnap, faulting growing insecurity in Edo State and the country. He urged the kidnappers to release the civil rights lawyer immediately.

APC Disqualified From Council Polls In Cross River From Anietie Akpan, Calabar HE newly registered merger party, All Progress Congress (APC), has been disqualified from contesting the September 21 local government elections in Cross River State. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State had on Tuesday raised alarm over the delay in the State Independent Electoral Commission (CROSIEC) in publishing the list of candidates for the upcoming September 21 local

T

government elections in the state. Chairman of the party, Mr. John Okon, said CROSIEC’s failure to publish the list of screened candidates is amounting to trying to shift the goalpost in the middle of the game. But the Chairman of CROSIEC, Sir Patrick Otu, on Friday, said there was no shifting of goal post during a meeting held at the Commission’s office in Calabar with all registered political parties in the state, as part

NATIONAL of preparations for the local government election. He said his commission took the decision to disqualify APC after considering all legal implications, and in order not to run foul of the law. The electoral law, he noted, stipulates that “if parties merge, that party can only stand election after 90 days.” In this regard, he said, “The Commission cannot postpone the election because of a

newly registered party. By September 21, when the local government elections will take place, the stipulated 90 days period would not have been met by APC in the state. Therefore, no candidate can be fielded to run on the platform of APC. “Everything about election is law and nothing can be done outside the law. The former parties that merged to form APC are, by law, dead. What emerged will have to pay the price as no law covers what

you were before the merger. By law, APC is disqualified from fielding candidates for both the chairmanship and the councillorship positions in the forthcoming elections.” Mr. Ayei Akpang, who claimed to be representing the State Chairman of the defunct ACN, appealed for an extension of time but the CROSIEC boss noted that there are lawful conditions for postponing or extending time of election, which does not include registration of a new political party.

NEWS FG Spends N21.2b On Apapa-Oshodi Expressway New Contract 25% Completed From Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja BOUT N21.2b is being spent A by the federal government on the rehabilitation of the Section I Phase I and Section I Phase II of the Oshodi/Apapa Expressway covering about 16. 5km Government, at the weekend, awarded the contract for the reconstruction of  Section I Phase II to construction giant, Messrs Julius Berger Nigeria Plc at the cost of about N15b. While the Section I phase I covers 5.6km, the phase II covers 10.8km The contract for Section I, which spans through KM 7 (Beachland Junction)- km12+ 600 (Sanya) right hand side, awarded to Julius Berger in November 2010 at the cost of N6.2b, has already been completed. In a telephone interview, a Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Works, Godwin Eke, told The Guardian that work has been ongoing on Section I phase II, which the Federal Executive Council (FEC) announced over the weekend, adding that the project has attained 25 per cent completion. Eke explained that the contractor mobilised to site since January, 2013 after receiving a Letter of Consent to start work on that phase while FEC formalises the contract. When The Guardian inquired why the contractor was asked to commence work at the site before the project got its final approval from FEC, Eke said that the decision was taken considering the economic and political importance of the ever-busy road.

Alakija’s Death A Great Loss, Say Aregbesola, Ajimobi SUN State Governor, Rauf O Aregbesola, has described the death of veteran adminis-

President (2013-14), Rotary Club of Lagos, Palmgrove Estate, Venu Gopal Jajoo (left); Kolian Sudhakar; Rotarian Tarun Sanghvi and Dr. Shenoy Pandu attending to a patient (Oluyinka Oluwole) during the Health Camp organised by the Rotary Club of Lagos, Palmgrove Estate… at the weekend.

As ANEC 2013 Ends, Editors Urged To Emphasise Media Industry Issues From Kabir Alabi Garba, Asaba ROM the next edition in 2014, the template of All Nigerian Editors Conference (ANEC) may be modified to take on critical issues affecting the media industry, alongside issues of national importance. This thinking emerged yesterday at the conclusion of more than a two-hour brainstorming session where issues of code of ethics, retirement, Nigerian Press Council (NPC), and beat associations were critically exam-

F

ined. The regret, however, was lack of adequate time to discuss these industry matters dispassionately and exhaustively before arrival at consensus. Strongly advocated was the need for the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), the organisers of the yearly event, to begin to focus more on how to uplift the profession and media industry, and reduce the involvement of government officials, who had heavy presence in this year’s edition tagged, Asaba 2013. A very top journalist

DELTA lamented during the hot debate: “You see the dilemma now, for two days, government officials such as ministers, governors, and DGs of agencies have been talking to us. Now that we are discussing industry issues, we are constrained with inadequate time! We do not need these ministers, these DGs. We should pay attention to things that are critical to our profession. These people do not respect us any more be-

cause of the behaviour of some of us (editors). They see us as just going around to collect money. With that perception, why should they respect us? Some of us who have served as officials of the Guild kept away from NGE activities because it derailed and attention was not being paid to critical issues.” He counseled the leadership of the Guild to take lead in the professional reengineering the industry urgently requires at the moment. With ‘Nigeria Beyond Oil:

The Role of The Editor’ as theme, the four-day conference ended on a resounding note last night with decoration of 10 personalities as Fellows, while 57 editors were newly inducted. The new fellows are Gbenga Adefaye, John Ndukauba, Bayo Atoyebi, Jide Adebayo, Segun Babatope, Olusegun Aribike, Bonnie Iwuoha, Folu Olamiti, Modibo Kawu and Buki Ponle. Editor, The Guardian on Sunday, Abraham Ogbodo, was among the newly inducted members.

trator and former Head of Service of the Old Oyo State, PrincessTejumade Alakija, as a huge loss to the Southwest and the nation. Also, Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi, commiserated with the royal family of Ile-Ife and the entire civil service in Nigeria on her demise. Aregbesola said Alakija’s death signals the end of several decades of service to fatherland and the mankind. In a statement by the Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, Aregbesola said that the octogenarian would be missed for her administrative and scholarly experience. He said, “Mama has done her part for the country. The contribution of Mama to the growth of public service, education and industry can’t go unnoticed. That was why we honoured her, while she was still alive, at the 9th Osun Award for distinguished sons and daughters of the state. “On behalf of myself, the government and people of Osun, I condole with the immediate family, most especially the Aderemi Royal family of Ile-Ife and the extended families of the deceased.


4

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

NEWS

NEWS

How Nigeria Can Reap Benefits Of Space Technology, By Expert From Emeka Anuforo and Itunu Ajayi, Abuja N expert has pointed out how Nigeria can become one of the world’s 20 largest economies by the year 2020. The key, according to Prof. Tunji Ibiyemi of the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, University of Ilorin, is research on transforming raw

A

materials to finished products. Ibiyemi said no country can achieve development by giving out its raw materials cheaply to other countries only to buy from them finished products. Nigeria, he noted, is still in the category of nations that more or less throw away their raw materials. The professor spoke in

ABUJA Abuja while delivering a lecture titled: ‘Prospects of Communications Satellite in Nigeria’s Vision 2020’, in commemoration of 50 years, since the launch of the world’s first communication satellite, Syncom2. Ibiyemi, whose research interests include Biometric Signal Processing, Telecom-

munications (satellite and GPS), Software Engineering, and Embedded System Design, said the global carrier of the raw materials of knowledge economy is the satellite and the transformation process of raw materials to product is via human capital development.  He said if Nigeria is serious about realising the Vision 20: 2020 goal, then space tech-

nology and human capital development must be taken very seriously. Ibiyemi said a lot is achievable if government is committed to adequate funding of space technology and embarks on aggressive space technology development and human capital development. He advised the National Space Research and Develop-

Managing Director, Guinness Nigeria, Mr. Seni Adetu (left), presenting the key of a six-ton Canter truck to Guinness Nigeria’s Best Overall Distributor (National) and Managing Director of Edinho Nig. Ltd (Abuja), Chief Edmond Okafor, during Guinness Nigeria’s Distributors’ Conference tagged: ‘Celebrating Great Partnerships’ at Darlington Hall, Ilupeju, Lagos... on Friday.

ment Agency (NASRDA) to establish a factory for the production of satellite parts. The Director General of NASRDA, Prof. Seidu Onailo Mohammed, said there are approximately 1,107 satellites providing civilian communications and another 792 supporting military communications. Mohammed said the communications satellite industry is a multi-billion dollar affair that gives high returns on investment. He called on the private sector in Nigeria to invest in the sector, noting that 2011 alone yielded a return of $90b. The DG noted that with a projected population of 392 million in the West Africa sub-region by 2013, Nigeria cannot afford to stand aloof. “This is an opportunity for us to do research and know that Nigeria has opportunity in communications satellite. The population of West Africa is estimated to be about 390 million by 2013. That is enough opportunity and the private sector in Nigeria must key in to create jobs for our people and fasttrack development technology in this part of the world.” This year world’s communications satellite day marked the 50th year when the historic telephone conversation between the then American President John Kennedy and Nigerian Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa recorded was Balewa, through Syncom2. The launch of Syncom2 on July 26, 1963 symbolised the beginning of technological revolutions across the globe through the application of space science technology.  

‘N1 trillion FG Intervention Needed To Tackle Rot In Varsities’ From Anietie Akpan, Calabar S the crisis between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities deepens, leaders of ASUU, Calabar zone, said N1trillion is required to address rot in country’s university system. Rising from their zonal meeting held in Calabar on Friday, the union noted that the N130billion and other monies offered by the government are insufficient.

A

In a statement jointly signed by the Calabar zonal coordinator of ASUU, Dr. Charles Ononuju and ASUU branch chairmen in the zone, the union noted with dismay that rot in the university system “has assumed a frightening dimension” and there is need for urgent intervention. It said, “The problem of the system, as identified and quantified by government’s own implementation committee, will require an immediate injection of N1.3 trillion

CROSS RIVER into the system.” According to the union, various amounts being ‘touted’ by government are grossly inadequate, noting that the delay in the implementation of the 2009 ASUU/FG agreement has led ‘to a deepening of rot in the system.’ The leaders argued that if N3tr was spent by government to rescue banks and another N500b to bail out the

aviation industry, government should equally inject about N1tr “to rescue the dilapidated, broken down and rickety university system from which over 160 million Nigerians will benefit.” The zonal leaders appealed to the Federal Government to save the university system from total collapse by commencing the immediate implementation of the 2009 agreement. The chairman of the University of Calabar (UNICAL)

branch of ASUU, Dr. James Okpiliya, blamed the current strike, which has paralysed academic activities in public universities in the country, on the failure of the Federal Government ‘to implement the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement entered into after a protracted and extended negotiation.’ According to Dr. Okpiliya, ‘the solution to these problems are specified in the 2009 agreement, which is indeed a road map to the revitalisation

of the decaying and crumbling educational sector.’ The chairman of the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) branch of the union, Dr. Nsing Ogar, faulted claims by some government functionaries over ASUU demands. He said the union was forced to continue with its suspended strike following the non-implementation of the agreement reached between the Federal Government and ASUU.

Int’l Fleet Review: Naval Flagship Berths In Luanda, Cape Town From Madu Onuorah, Abuja HE Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) THUNDER, the nation’s first Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), has made port calls on her outbound journey to Luanda (Angola) and Cape Town (South Africa), on her way to Australia to participate in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) International Fleet Review (IFR). To be held in Sydney, Australia, October 3-11, 2013, the

T

International Fleet Review, hosted by the Royal Australian Navy includes a multi-national sea exercise and other notable events intended to showcase the cordial relationship that exist between global maritime forces. The Nigerian Navy is the only African Navy participating in the event. Naval spokesman, Commodore Kabir Aliyu, said in Abuja on Saturday: “As

INTERNATIONAL part of the diplomatic role of the Nigerian Navy, NNS THUNDER will conduct flag showing visits en route Australia and showcase Nigeria’s naval prowess and potentials in furtherance of the nation’s foreign policy objectives. This singular participation implies that NNS THUNDER will not only be flying Nigeria’s flag at the event but also lay credence

to Nigeria’s leadership role in the security calculus of the African continent and therefore reinforce her quest for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.” NNS THUNDER was acquired from the US in 2010. The vessel, which departed for Australia from Calabar on August 8, 2013 after an elaborate farewell ceremony, is expected to return to Nigeria on December 18,

2013. NNS THUNDER departed Cape Town on Saturday August 24, 2013 for Port Louis (Mauritius) and will also make port calls in Freem a n t l e (Australia) and Sydney (Australia). On her return (inbound) trip, she is expected to make port calls in Melbourne (Australia), Albany Town (Australia), Port Des Galet (Reunion Island), Durban

(South Africa), Walvis Bay (Namibia) and Pointe Noire (Congo). Altogether, the ship will be deployed for a total of 133 days out of which she would spend about 98 days at sea and 35 days in various harbours for port calls and logistics resupply. A Nigerian Navy ship last participated in an international naval event/flag showing visit outside Africa in 2007.


neWS 5

The GuARDIAn, Sunday, August 25, 2013

neWS

FG Trains 400 unemployed Youths In Agriculture From Saxone Akhaine (Northern Bureau Chief) he Federal Government T has commenced the training of, at least, 400 unemployed youths in agriculture as part of its efforts to boost the sector and facilitate economic development. The training programme, which is also an effort towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), is being organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the Millennium Development Goals office. The training, which is expected to last for two weeks, began in Zaria on Monday and will continued till Au-

NATIONAL gust 31. The participants are to be exposed to another one-week practical training in their various states, where they will engage in agricultural activities. The trainees, mostly unemployed graduates, were drawn from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The selection was the State Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs). The first batch, comprising 200 who began training last week, were the first set to be trained by the national Agricultural extension and Research Liaison Services, Ahmadu Bello university

(ABu), Zaria, in extension skills, agri-business skills as envisioned by the Agricultural Development Agenda (ATA) document, which lay emphasis on operational dictates of the value-chain in agriculture. executive Director, national Agricultural extension and Research Liaison Services (nAeRLS), Dr. Ismaila Ilu, urged the participants to see the training as an opportunity to improve on their lives and that of the entire country. Ilu explained: “Theoretical understanding of development issues, especially in agriculture is not enough to empower any individual. There is need for practical exposure, which the training will fundamentally deliver

through visitation to rural farmers.” he urged the participants to be more inquisitive in the course of the training by asking questions, adding: “The success of any extension work requires critical probing through genuine interpersonal discussion and the exploitation of other communication channels by the agents.” Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs. Ibukun odusote, who was represented by the Regional Director, Mr. nyam Yusuf Leo, advised the participants to take advantage of the training and empower themselves to full capacity.

new Division Will Address Insecurity In Borno From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos he General officer ComT manding (GoC), Three Armoured Division, Major-General ebiobowei Bonna Awala, has said that the creation of a new division comprising Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, which were hitherto under Division

PLATEAU Three, is to take the battle to terrorists in their enclave. Awala spoke with The Guardian during a training session held at Maxwell Khobe Cantonment, Jos, at the weekend. he said the creation of the

new division by the military is to ensure that insurgents are not given any space to continue their campaign. he said the creation would help the military to promptly counter terrorist plan. he said: “The directive from the appropriate authorities that we create another division was dependent on the

fact that the army has taken over operations in Borno. “And the creation of the division means that we want to seriously take the challenge to the terrorists in their enclave. The national security challenge of the north east, as it relates to the Boko haram, is gone with the creation of a new division.”

Confusion In Benin Airport over Stowaway From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City heRe was confusion at the T Benin Airport, yesterday, over what looked like a serious security breach, as an unidentified teenager allegedly stowed away in the tyre hold of an Arik Aircraft enroute from Benin to Lagos. With registration number 5n-MJG Flight 44, the aircraft was said to have left Benin Airport at 9am for Lagos. Some top officials of the edo State government were on board the airline. Passengers aboard the airline were shocked when security agents found the teenager at the Lagos Airport after the aircraft landed. Though, none of the officials at the Benin Airport agreed to comment on the issue, it was gathered that the teenager may have entered the airport through the Akenzua Road axis due to lack of perimetre fencing at the Airport.

Some top officials of the Edo State government were on board the airline. Passengers aboard the airline were shocked when security agents found the teenager at the Lagos Airport after the aircraft landed

EDO A passenger aboard the plane said, “we had the sign in Benin when the plane was about leaving and as it was moving slowly, we heard a loud noise as if the tyre crushed somebody on the ground and we all started shouting Jesus, Jesus. It means the boy was already inside that tyre compartment

before we left. “ So, we left for Lagos, but when we landed at Lagos Airport, the boy came out from the tyre, everybody started shouting. But talking seriously, this shows that we have a serious problem as regards securing our airports. This is a serious security breach. If that boy was carrying bomb it means he would have succeeded in blowing up the

plane. how can somebody be in an aircraft without being dictated, we are in trouble in this country” he stated. As at the time of filing this report, there are also insinuations that the teenage boy could be a wizard. But many believed that the lack of perimetre fencing at the Benin Airport made the boy gain entrance into the airport.”

SuRe-P Fund not Missing, Says Plateau Govt From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos he Plateau State Government dismissed media reports that Governor Jonah Jang is being probed by the State house of Assembly over alleged missing n5billion Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SuRe-P) fund of the state. In a statement, Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Yiljap Abraham, said the reports were sensational and faulty

T

PLATEAU in interpretation. According to him, records declares that:  “Jang is surely not under any form of investigation or ‘probe’ by the legislature either in connection with the Subsidy Re-Investment Programme or any other aspect of governance. The state’s share of SuRe-P accrual from the Federation Account is not missing, diverted or misappropriated.

Jambo, Politician, Businessman Dies LhAJI Saleh Jambo, forA mer Presidential aspirant and owner of northeast Petroleum Limited, is dead. Jambo, who was national chairman of the united nigeria Democratic Party (unDP), died at about 11am local time yesterday, at the Park house Specialist hospital, Asokoro, Abuja, after a brief ailment, according to report.

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said he received with sadness, news of the death of the nigerian business mogul and politician. A statement by presidential spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati noted the president prayed Almighty Allah to receive Alhaji Saleh Jambo’s soul and grant him eternal rest in Paradise.

Pro-Mursi Rally held In Kano From Abba Anwar, Kano houSAnDS of Muslims in northern, yesterday, gathered at the Shaykh Tijjani Friday Mosque, Kofar Mata, in support of the deposed egyptian President, Muhammad Morsi. under the aegis of the Movement for Islamic Survival, the peaceful rally brought together Islamic scholars and human rights activists, who made speeches to show their unflinching support to the “overthrown democratic regime of Morsi.” national Leader of the movement, Shaykh

T

KANO Abubakar Mujahid, who claimed that similar rallies were held in Lagos, Ibadan, Sokoto, said what the military are doing in egypt was beyond the understanding of any sane person. According to him, what happened in egypt was a rape on democracy. “All killings should stop in the African country. And we are calling on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to cause the arrest of the military leaders in egypt,” he called.

Fajuyi’s Wife Gets heroine’s Burial he remains of Madam euTnice Fajuyi, wife of the

Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwunmi Adeshina (left); Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan; former Ogun State Governor, Olusegun Osoba; Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi and his Anambra counterpart, Peter Obi, during the Nigeria Guild of Editor’s conference held in Delta state…at the weekend.

first military Governor of the old Western State and hero of the 1966 coup, late Col Adekunle Fajuyi, were laid to rest in Ado- ekiti, on Saturday, amid tributes fo her and late husband. The wife of the late military was eulogized for her and her husband’s act of sheer courage during the burial. Speaking at the funeral service, Governor, of ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi said the state government would consider setting aside a day as a public holiday in recognition of the valiant act of the late Colonel Fajuyi. The Governor noted that the legacy of the late Fajuyi was built upon the foundation of pristine ekiti values that is consistent with the tradition passed down by the ekiti forebears and it was a reminder of the ekiti personality and the path that upcoming generations should follow. Fayemi added that the ekiti identity of integrity and commitment has forever been etched in the hearts of Fajuyi’s primary constituency, the military and the whole country through his sacrificial life.


TheGuardian

6 Sunday, August 25, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Cityfile CITY SHOT

Relocation, deportation, rehabilitation all mean one thing: harsh economy for poor masses, as shown in this picture taken in Gbagada, Lagos...last week.

PHOTO: ODITA SUNDAY

Police Nab Suspected Criminals, Recover Arms, Ammunition

EDO Items siezed by the police.

Some of the suspects paraded by the Edo Police Command.

From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City

activities. “Criminals are gearing up to perpetrate their evils, but I want to give assurance to the people of Edo State that the police will not allow the state to be turned to a den of criminals. We are willing and ready to ensure that the state is crime free. Also, there is need for collaboration from all stakeholders. There is need that people support us because without them, the police alone cannot do it. “Most of the arrested persons have been charged to court. But there are some that we are still investigating and we cannot give you details right now because we don’t want to jeopardise our investigation.” Also paraded, yesterday, was a pastor who allegedly swindled a friend of N2.5 million. Another was 47-year-old Godwin Ojeikhoa from Uzebba in Owan West Local Government Council who allegedly killed his wife. Trouble was said to have started after the man accused his wife of stealing valued documents. The woman, however, denied the act. In fury, the suspect had reached for a knife and stabbed her. One Elvis Alohaluala was also alleged to have trafficked three persons to Libya in 2011 after collecting N250,000 from the victims’ parents.

DO police commissioner Folusho Adebanjo, on Wednesday, paraded 44 persons arrested for EItems various offences in the state during the last one month. recovered from the suspects include 15 locally made guns, 678 live cartridges, cutlasses, hammers, phones and screwdrivers. Among the arrested was a gun manufacturer, and suspected abductors of three primary school teachers who were released after two weeks in captivity. Also paraded were armed robbers, suspected cultists, and others accused of murder, pipeline vandalisation, fraud and human trafficking. The police boss, who said that about 100 suspected criminals were arrested in various parts of the state in the last two months, urged members of the public to be security conscious. He said: “The onslaught against crime and criminality in the state would be pursued vigorously. The police are not leaving any stones unturned. The Inspector General of Police has directed all commands and commissioners of police that they must ensure the states are calm. As you know, the last quarter is almost here, and that is when you have a lot of criminal


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

7

CITYFILE

Centenary City:FG Begins Demolition of Illegal Structures From Terhemba Daka, Abuja HE Federal Government, on Wednesday, deployed officials T and bulldozers from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Department of Development Control to commence the removal of what it called illegal structures on the site earmarked for building of the Centenary City. The three-day exercise is expected to create layout for the construction of structures on over 100 hectares stretching from Gosa Borehole area to Kuje bridge, located along the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport (Umaru Musa Yar’dua) road, in the FCT. The Federal Government on June 21, 2013 inaugurated the organising committee for the January 1, 2014 grand finale of the Nigeria Centenary Celebration with the FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed as Chairman. The nine-member committee has among its terms of reference the organisation and articulation of activities for the finale of the anniversary of the birth of Nigeria via the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates. Conducting newsmen round the expanse of land in Abuja on Wednesday, the District Officer in charge of Lugbe, Kiami, Aviation Village, Wawa and the Centenary City, TPL Adamu Garba explained that the task force was in the area to facilitate “the removal of those structures that are not within an approved lay-

Iyana Ejigbo Drainage:

Poor Financing May Delay Work, Project Manager Warns By Femi Alabi Onikeku ESIDENTS and road users along the notorious Iyana Ejigbo R road may have to endure the discomfort that attends project construction for some four months. On the contrary, the work could drag on for much longer, if “a determiner” is not properly factored. The peculiar topography of the area is such that following rainfall, water from Ejigbo community finds its way to the ever-busy intersection. And since there exists no drainage channel to run-off the flow into the canal, some 400 metres away, road users are faced, repeatedly, with the daunting challenge of crossing the flood, amid nerve-wracking traffic gridlock. The project engineer, who gave his name simply as Alhaji, told The Guardian, last week, that the work could be completed before the year runs out, if financing is sustained. Asked to give a more specific time frame, he said: “It is a government project; it’s not a private one. I cannot… Even private… You know, money is a determiner. If you give a job to somebody… As we continue to work, if they give us money, within four months, we will finish it. If they continue to give us money… Money is the issue. “Any good contractor will not tell you that he will finish a job in five or six months, and so on. If he promises to finish the job at a certain time and there is no money coming in… If we continue to receive money, as the case is, within some few months, we will finish it. But if, for instance I anticipate the receipt of money tomorrow and it is not forthcoming… “For instance, the recent relocation of an electricity pole had to be paid for. So, without money, you can’t do anything. The way this is going, if there is no problem with money, within a short period, we will finish it. You know very well there’s no way we can dip our hands into the government’s coffer and bring out money.” When about three months ago heavy machines berthed at the frustrating, gridlock-troubled junction, preparatory to the construction, observers were sceptical. Some commercial drivers, who spoke to The Guardian had chorused: “There is no assurance… there is no certainty… even when the rain falls… with the way they have now dug up troughs, there is no assurance, unless they complete it… Unless they finish it… If rain falls now, they will abandon the work and move their machines away. The machines would sometimes develop faults and they would abandon them and go away. That is how they do, every year. They did the same thing last year. Every year, they would commence work and then abandon it. That is how they operate, always.”

Ongoing drainage construction at Iyana Ejigbo.

out.” Garba urged residents and villagers of the five communities whose property will be affected by the exercise to approach the FCT Department of Resettlement and Compensation with genuine allocation papers as well as building plan approval from appropriate authorities for alternative allocation and compensation accordingly. “Our duty here is to make the land vacant for the commencement of work Notices have already been issued, and this area is among the 37 estates in the FCT earmarked for removal right from the beginning. “So, the buildings we are removing are illegal structures because the owners do not have approval from relevant authorities. The Department of Development Control is the only department that has the right to issue building plan approval, and anything less than that is fake. “Numbers have already been given to the affected communities, and anybody making any claims should go to the Department of Resettlement and Compensation for payment. Funds have been made available for that purpose,” he added. Inaugurating the Committee, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, had said that the government is looking forward to a grand finale that would not only be memorable but also serve as “a testimony to our renewed commitment to live together in peace and harmony,

A structure being pulled down at the site of the Centenary Village in Abuja.

while collectively working together for the uplift and development of Nigeria.” According to the SGF, the event with the theme, ‘One Nigeria: Great Promise’ is designed to celebrate Nigeria’s history, unity and diversity, as well as hopes and the great promise that inspires the people and their shared values.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

8

CITYFILE

Paul Oloko: Camera As Institution and burdens of being Nigerian. The unseen tears of Oloko’s subjects eloquently narrated the stories of the crushing injustices of NigeS journalists constantly in hunt for the news, there are many important moments ria’s indifferent system. In his relentless photographic documentathat the limitations of time and space do not tion, we do not merely see the pains and misallow us to capture. Invariably, those moeries. We also see Oloko’s subjects through the ments fizzle into oblivion, where memory may attempt some indifferent sketch. Some of fine prints of The Guardian in action in the battlefields of the people. His lenses captured the those are the moments of our own personal stories and experiences as they relate to the ex- gestures of a people in the fight, however feeble, for survival. He loved to document the enact nature and dimension of what we do. gagements of students, market women and Being in the vortex of a daily attempt to capture the complexities of human engagements the coalition of forces that demand an end to within the constraints of time and space tends the status quo. As a corollary, in Oloko’s over two decades of to blunt the tapestries of our own involvephotography, we get acquainted with his ment. This is accentuated by the fact that the objectivity required by our calling compels us quiet, but irreverent offensive against bad governance in all forms. He had an uncommon to maintain some distance from the fray. So the reality is that the journalist cannot ob- knack for capturing those monuments of decay, manifesting in heaps of refuse that once jectively provide accurate and compelling accounts about the cauldron that is society, if he threatened our sanity, just as he also put his is right inside it. What tends to get lost as a re- lens in service of the public by chronicling the sult of this supposition, are the nuggets of our unacceptably horrible dilapidation of many of personal experiences, especially as peripatetic our roads. Reporting for the flagship, several special asprofessionals helping society to catch a quick signments brought us together.  I was always glimpse of its reality. struck by the depth of his commitment and As such, because the reporter is supposed to maintain some objective distance and not be- his fearlessness. I can recall his trim and Spartan appearance, as he would close an eye to come an intruder in the flow process of infortake his shots. Nothing thrilled him more mation, our personal stories on the beat, than getting a front page picture. On one occaincluding the heroics, the struggles and the sion, we had gone to report one of the many triumphs tend not to make the pages. Albeit unaccounted for, some of these stories unending pipeline fires in Ijegun, a suburb on are about daring, almost foolhardy acts in our the outskirts of Lagos.  I still remember this scene vividly. It was one of those bedlam in quest to ensure real facts are laid before our audience. Fact, which would invariable lead to which everyone had commenced a rapid diathe establishment of the truth within a univer- logue with their feet. The fire was advancing sal context, is the province of the journalist. In rapidly, threatening the entire community. As we had seen many times, a classic case of pursuit of these building blocks of truth, the Nigerian dysfunction was playing out; men of journalist must at certain points assume that the fire service who managed to arrive the his very existence is less important than his scene after the fire had done substantial dampursuits. It is so because the journalist knows that any age did not have hoses that could reach a point to put out the fire. So as the fire adsociety devoid of these building blocks of truth exists in a very dark realm, and would as vanced, gutting a crucial oil infrastructure, the a consequence become a place of constant tur- firemen were beating a tactical retreat. In the midst of it all, I could catch a glimpse of moil. Paul Oloko; he was surprisingly heading in the One professional who has amply demonopposite direction, searching for a vantage postrated this unshakable quest for presenting sition to take a shot. I voiced my worry about those crucial building blocks of truth is the his safety, pointing out that even the fire fightlate Paul Oloko; ace photographer of The ers were taking to their heels. His reply had a Guardian who recently passed on. Oloko was tone of finality: “this is the picture for tomorone professional whose lenses produced imrow’s front page.” ages that haunted and healed. In the context There is no doubt that his ability to defy the of Nigerian photojournalism, his camera was an institution, which constantly provided nar- odds was one quality that made him tick. He ratives of the existential drudgery of the Niger- was a man who dedicated himself to using ian condition. Oloko’s camera was pro-people. photojournalism as a veritable instrument for It travelled to meet and document the realities representing the voiceless, all limitations notwithstanding. Adieu Oloko, rest blissfully of those on the margins of society. He never shied away from engaging with the in the bosom of the Lord. disadvantaged, and he told their stories with the instincts of an ally. Oloko did not shy away Ajanaku, a former associate of The Guardian lives in Abuja. from capturing faces that carried the pains

By Armsfree Ajanaku

A

The late Oloko

From War Of Words To War Of Numbers By Adidi Uyo HENEVER an economist friend of mine wants to tease me, W he reminds me of a matter of fact pertaining to linguistics and economics. The fact is: Linguists live in a world of words, whereas economists live in a world of numbers. Money, he readily points out, talks, especially, in a country like ours, and it talks in numbers, not in words, which he, and, of course, many a Nigerian, equates with grammar. My economist friend then rubs it in sardonically, mangling and accenting the key word: “Na girama go chop?” A few days ago, specifically, on Thursday, August 22, 2013, my economist friend forwarded a news story to my email box before I could read any Nigerian newspaper online. The news story, which was published by The Punch, bore the headline, “Cost of governance: Ezekwesili challenges lawmakers to debate.” Given the massive public interest that the matters arising from the challenge of Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili to our lawmakers, the stage is set, we hope, for a grand war of numbers, for numbers is the language of economics. Ezekwesili has already fired the opening salvo of the war of numbers. But before we move on to her numbers, let us return to the war of words which was raging the last time we were riding on the language train. That war was the one between the Presidency and the newly registered party, APC, All Progressives Party. When the APC said that the leaders of the PDP were not young men, and that, in deed, they were septuagenarians and octogenarians, the claim was found to be true, since the members of leading the party were in their 70’s and 80’s. But how do we go about verifying the claim made by the Presidency? The claim was in a statement issued by the Presidency

LANGUAGE ON PARADE through the Special Assistant to the President, Dr. Doyin Okupe, in which leaders of the APC were described as “politically expired.” Because this claim cannot be verified via numbers, as is the case with septuagenarians and octogenarians, the best we can do is to resort to pure matters of fact, or, if you don’t mind, empirical evidence. To expire simply means, to “run out,” presumably, of ideas or energy. But have the leaders of the APC actually run out? If they had run out, how could they have marshalled the wherewithal to register what many agree is a mega party, one that is seemingly giving the ruling party sleepless nights? Do we say that this claim lies in the realm of conjecture? Well, in the absence of numbers to back up the words that constitute the statement, let us just say: “Only time will tell.” However, not be left out of this very war of words, is a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir elRufai. “el-Rufai to Jonathan: you can’t insult APC leaders” was the headline of a news story published by The Nation on August 15, 2013. In it, the erstwhile minister asseverates: “I have always wondered what manner of person would resort to abuse, bigotry and division when his or her conduct and utterances are interrogated, instead of simply responding in a civilised language.” The National Assembly may not be the echo chamber of the Presidency, but is there anything about the legislative branch of government that could make one say the Executive and Legislature are two of a kind? Hmm, it may just come down to language! Listen to see if you can place your finger on it. It’s all in the news story by The Punch, which we had previously related. After Mrs. Ezekwesili made her presentation that drew the response which, in turn, led her to challenge the

National Assembly, the former Mister of Education was forced to declare thus: “I wish to state with absolute respect for our lawmakers and our institution that it will be more valuable and enriching for our democracy, if instead of the abusive language in their recent reaction, the NASS immediately offered me and the rest of the Nigerian public, the opportunity of a public hearing on their budgetary allocation and the very relevant issue of their remuneration.” In its version of the same event, The Nation reports that Mrs. Ezekwesili “regrets that members of the National Assembly, without the benefit of her full speech, strangely chose to haul verbal assaults and threats at her.” The paper’s news story was headlined: “N1tr pay: Ezekwesili challenges lawmakers to public debate.” While members of the National Assembly are hauling verbal assaults at her, Mrs. Ezekwesili is not only ready to engage the legislators in a war of words, but also in a war of numbers. This she makes very clear in her presentation that has ruffled feathers at the Senate and House of Representatives. According to her, information from the Ministry of Finance “reveals that the allocations to the National Assembly, known as Statutory Transfers, between 2005 and 2013 were approximately One Trillion Naira as follows: 2005 (N54.79 billion); 2006 (N54.79 billion); 2007 (N66.4 billion); 2008 (N14.39 billion); 2009 (N158.9billion); 2010 (N150 billion); 2011 (N150 billion); 2012 (N150 billion); and 2013 (150 billion).” The full-scale war that is bound to follow, if the National Assembly indeed picks up the gauntlet that Mrs. Ezekwesili has thrown at the legislators, will not only be a war of numbers, but also a war of words, both literally and figuratively. You can visit the theatre of this war from your seat on the language. One question we shall answer, as with all wars, is: “Will truth be the casualty?”


9

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

CITYFILE

Why Brooms May Become Extinct

A Laugh At Serious Issues

From Itunu Ajayi, Abuja

T

HE broom is the traditional household instrument for sweeping. It is common to see young girls and women using the object to tidy up houses early in the morning. Sadly, the item could be nearing extinction. Thanks to a political party -the All Progressive Congress (APC)-that has adopted it as symbol. Suddenly, the broom has come to assume a special place in Nigerian politics. Whenever the party gathers for its functions, members chant slogans, like ‘sweep them away’, referring, of course, to political opponents. The impact of the broom becoming the toast of a political party is not lost on the economy. Its market value has since soared by up to a hundred per cent. Before now, one could buy a moderate bunch for as low as N10. A smaller bunch today sells for N100! Reason: politicians ‘sweep’ them off the markets immediately they arrive the cities from the villages. Joyce is from the Eastern part of the country. She sells brooms and other household utensils at the Utako market in the FCT. She told The Guardian that wine tappers in the villages, who basically are the ones that cut palm fronds and process them into brooms are now aware that something is happening in the cities, judging by the rate at which traders ‘sweep’ the items from them. “I always travel to bring palm oil, brooms and stuffs like that from the village.  There is a man I buy brooms from in a very remote village. You know they don’t watch television there. So, initially, they were not aware of the political use of brooms in the country. But one day, this old man became suspicious. He asked what I was going to do with all the brooms I was buying, because I began to purchase more than I ever did, and he was not able to meet my demands.  “Now, they are all aware of what is going on and they have increased their prices. By the time all these old men have gone on, we might not be able to get brooms again. Nobody wants to live in the villages. Youths prefer the cities,” said Joyce. Jude, another respondent, said some broom sellers now repackage them to make them more attractive and expensive. This, he said, is a marketing strategy he discovered when it became evident that brooms will continue to occupy an important place in Nigerian politics. “I began to paint the bottom of my brooms in different colours. I believe it was a strategy God gave me, so that I can make more money. God has remembered those of us that sell brooms. Palm trees abound in the bushes and the leaves are often left to rot away. But look at what is happening today. The broom has suddenly become the toast of the city. Thank God for the APC. God has used whoever brought the idea of using the broom as symbol to bless those of us selling the item.” Another broom seller told The Guardian that there is always a clue whenever APC is set to have a political programme. He said there is a woman who usually storms the market to buy every piece of broom available, and she would even deposit money for more. “You know politicians; they always have contractors for everything they do. I think this woman is their broom contractor. She is a popular face in the market. Anytime we see her around, we know that APC is up to something. We now call her ‘Mama APC’. She buys all the brooms in all the sheds in this market and even

T

begs us to get her more. So, broom sales is now a serious business.” But life always has different strokes for different folks. For those who do not sell brooms, and who buy them for domestic use, it as an unnecessary strain on their finances. “It is an understatement to say that the price has tripled; it has skyrocketed far beyond that. The only consolation is that purchase of brooms is not an everyday affair. You use it every day, but you don’t buy one every day. At least, one can use a bunch for as long as two months or thereabout before thinking of buying another one,” said Madam Abiola. Thomas said he is joining other well-wishers to congratulate broom sellers. “I am happy for those selling brooms. I see it as a breakthrough for them and I pray that my kind of business too will one day become something people will not be able to do without,” he said. He also attributed the scarcity of the commodity to the cost involved in transporting the product to the cities. He said some transport operators might also be exploiting the situation to their advantage. The APC has been successfully registered as a mega political party. But if the fear of Joyce about brooms and their aged processors is anything to go by, the item could in the foreseeable future become extinct. But trust Nigerians: by that time, they would have improvised other means of cleaning their environments.

Project Charilove Brings Succour To The Destitute

One of Project Charilove’s infrastructure under construction. (Inset: Founder, Chris Omusi)

From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City RAVELLERS along the busy Benin-Lagos road may recall seeing T tens of lepers near the Edo-Ondo axis. Accompanied by their children (many healthy and good looking), they run after motorists at failed sections of the road, begging for alms. Such scenes have, however, reduced significantly. Many have attributed the change to the improved condition of the road. But investigations have revealed that a Non-Governmental Organisation, Project Charilove, formed in 1990, played a significant role in the shift: its soup kitchen, as at today, feeds not less than 300 indigent persons at its Sapele Road secretariat in the state capital and at Osiomo Leprosarium.

The care initiative has also resulted in children of the lepers and others in the community being put in school. A visit by The Guardian to the community, recently, did not yield much, as many of the residents would not speak to the media. They, however, said that they are better off, and have less worry, since their children are sure of food on school days. At his sparsely furnished office, opposite the Central Hospital, founder of Charilove, Chris Omusi, said many people thought the idea of the soup kitchen impracticable, based upon the past experiences of some who had attempted it. But according to him, help came from the former governor of the state, Lucky Igbinedion. “He committed the state government to giving N250,000 monthly. At that time, the kitchen was feeding 50 to 60 people daily, except Saturdays. The government encouraged us. And from that number, Charilove Soup Kitchen now feeds about 300 school children every school day. “We stepped up our services, and other people have been donating. That is why we have been able to sustain it till today. Thank God, successive governments have continued to sustain the N250,000 monthly donation, even though it has become more and more inadequate. We thank God for public-spirited people who have been donating money and food project,” he said. Omusi, who disclosed that he started the project from personal savings, said that a lodging facility is being built, adding that there is provision also for expansion in the future. “Charilove is all about service to humanity, a way of glorifying God, a way of expressing my loyalty to God, the Supreme. Today, we are building a dormitory, sponsored by Chief Igbinedion. When it is completed, it will conveniently accommodate, 24 children excluding caregivers,” he said. On challenges faced by Charilove, Omusi said apart from funding and false perceptions that he embraced the project for personal gains, “these children are not easy to manage. Some have multiple disabilities, some are orphans, and they are all young people. So, we need to have enough accommodation for the caregivers.” He said: “We have had so many reasons to feel very frustrated. But one thing that beats my imagination is that we have never really had that urge to quit. And I think that is where the special grace of God is at work.”

A Pinch Of N(u)ews

By Stanley Azuakola

How To Make A Senator Touch A Book – Atiku Abubakar HREE weeks ago, Sen. Babafemi Ojudu disclosed that senators do not like reading books. Nigeria’s former vice president Atiku Abubakar consequently took it upon himself to remedy the situation and save the day. After much thought, Atiku announced that he had a big announcement to make. “Reading made me what I am today. If our senators do not read books, how will they ever become like me?” he asked. So he decided to sponsor an essay contest on the topic, ‘How to make a senator touch a book.’ The former VP announced that the winner and runner-up in the contest will be sponsored to the senate in 2015 on the platform of the newly registered PDM, which he is not a member of (we believe him with a funny face). Lots of entries were submitted from which he chose two (Excerpts below). Runner-up: You can get senators to touch a book by making it a picture book in which you sandwich complicated issues in between photos of underage girls and boys. They will think the complicated issue between the picture is an explanation of the photo. It has been discovered that nothing is as effective in changing a position taken by the senate like introducing underage kids into the picture. It works like magic. Winner: You can get senators to touch a book by getting creative with your book cover and inside pages. Nothing arouses a senator as much as a Ghana-mustgo bag. Just imagine if publishers and authors design books with covers made of Ghana-must-go and inside pages designed like pounds, dollars and in rare cases, naira. We would have a reading revolution in the senate in no time. Yerima Accuses FFK Of Hypocrisy ORMER governor of Zamfara and currently a senator, Ahmed Yerima, has blasted former minister of aviation Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK), describing him as a hypocrite. Yerima said that FFK was quick to insult him as a “genuine lover of succulent underage girls” whereas he (FFK) was a silent practitioner. He pointed to FFK’s widely read recent article in which he boasted about his “long and intimate” relationships with 3 Igbo ladies including Bianca, the widow of Biafran leader, Ojukwu. He said, “Everyone knows that the beautiful lady, Bianca married Gen. Ojukwu when she was just over 20 years. So if FFK said that he had a ‘long and intimate’ relationship with her, what does that mean? He was obviously intimate with her when she was still a teenager. I’m sure that then he did not think of #ChildNotBride. It’s my own he’ll see.” Meanwhile an Igbo philosopher, Sir Webs, has said that FFK’s recent piece has made certain truths clear to him. According to him, “Igbo men have for decades wondered why Bianca, the most beautiful girl in Nigeria ignored all the young men in her time and married someone old enough to be her dad. She was reported to have no patience for young men. Now we know the source of her impatience with men nearer her age. Anyone who dates FFK has the right to lose hope in young men.” Speaking further, Sir Webs said, “Also, for you to successfully date an Igbo girl, you have to be smart, enterprising, confident and not stingy. For FFK to have dated three according to him, and flopped, it is certain that he is a ‘juu man’ and has no swagger.” CROWNED CLOWN (CeeCee) OF THE WEEK N 1958, when the Eastern region attempted to copy the Awolowo-led Western region’s free education model, it led to serious problems. There weren’t enough funds to take care of the increase in number of students in the schools or to build more schools, so the government repealed the free education law and levied heavy school fees to recoup the losses. The reaction was instant and the women took the lead. Women took to the streets, they occupied the schools, and they rioted such that when the men belatedly decided to join, there wore women’s clothes. The surest way to attract the wrath of mothers was to mess with the future of their kids. Hence it was rather curious for A Pinch… to see last week that at a time when university undergraduates have been at home for almost two months now; when reports say Nigeria is one of the worst places to give birth to children; when kids are being slaughtered in schools in the North and schools are being closed; when the government statistician says unemployment has risen by double digits in the last 4 years; our mothers decided to march in their numbers to Abuja to say thank you to Pres. Jonathan. The timing was just worrisome. If there was going to be a march, wasn’t it supposed to tell the government to hasten their steps so children can resume, so children can feel safe again, so children can find work to do? But our mothers chose to clap and sing because they reportedly got 35 per cent of appointments. Haba! And some reports said they were paid cash to… no, no, A Pinch… can’t even bear to think that thought. However, no matter what, they are our mothers and we cannot deny them. Besides they didn’t do anything illegal, so A Pinch... would not give them the Crowned Clown (CeeCee) award. Just a loving warning and a question – Mummies are you still thinking about your kids? Follow this writer on Twitter: @stanleyazuakola

F

I


10

THe GUARDIAN, Sunday August 25, 2013

Backlash Abraham Ogbodo

08055328079 (Sms only) abogbodo@yahoo.com

Re: Open Letter To Keyamo By Olorogun Festus Keyamo

exTeND fraternal greetings to all sons and Ilineated daughters of Urhobo land, politically deas Delta Central Senatorial District. My name is Olorogun (Bar.) Festus Keyamo, born and raised in Ughelli North Local Government Area, but originally from Uvwie Local Government AreaI write this solemn message to you, irrespective of your previous political persuasion or affiliation in Delta State, and irrespective of your previous biases for or against me. I urge you to keep an open mind as you read this, in the earnest expectation that your love for the growth and development of Delta State transcends party politics and even family relationships. In the inner recesses of our conscience, and whenever we kneel before our Creator to say the truth, we will all agree that our State has been thoroughly underdeveloped by successive governments since the return to civil rule in 1999. Many of us, understandably, may not have spoken out for so many reasons. Unfortunately, in the face of a smoldering silence, a dynasty of sorts has been created by this set of so-called leaders.  And  they have perfected the plan to handover from one  selected ruler  to another, with no interest in the real development of the State,  and without consideration for the real choice of the elec-

T is a good thing that the All Progressives IousCongress (APC) has settled down to seriwork, instead of poking fun at the ruling party and jabbing the Presidency so hard. There is not much time left between now and 2015 and there ought to be other serious concerns to tackle. The new party has to have an authentic register of members and also harmonise the disparate groups for cohesion. Members also have to be educated on what the party stands for, so that everyone would strive to repent of their old, crooked ways. This is a new party and they need to purge the wineskin of old, expired wine. As the party that brandishes the broom, the APC has already assumed the sanctimonious posture of one whose task is to rid the country of everything that is bad. To do it well, the party must start well and early; and that was what the party did last Sunday, when it unveiled issues and problems it wants to deal with should it win the next presidential election. APC promised to address problems of corruption, food security, power, transportation, education, devolution of power, ensure accelerated economic growth as well as affordable healthcare. Taken together, these key issues have posed serious menace to citizens and the country and if the APC remains faithful to its promise and is able to work on them, Nigeria would surely move forward. But we do not need to wait for the new party to form government before we assist to throw some light on these issues. As stakeholders, every hand must be on the table, so that when they get there, they could do with one or two sideline suggestions. The major concern here is whether this APC is well conceived to deal decisively with this agenda. This concern is borne out of the fact that it is human beings who implement agenda and not the other way round. If you do not properly groom the team and tutor them on this new agenda, players may forget that roles have switched. A new orientation has to be designed for the next level and practitioners must be told to abandon old ways. Take the promise to tackle corruption for instance, the APC sounds as if corruption is a native of PDP and that APC is immune to the virus. That is not true. Nuhu Ribadu, the man who was raised by Obasanjo’s PDP to tackle corruption, who is now a stalwart of the APC, can testify that corruption is at home in all the parties, including those that make up APC.

torate in free and fair elections. Some of us have been helpless onlookers as our State fell tragically into the hands of brigands, petty thieves, fraudsters, and thugs masquerading as “leaders”. It is very unfortunate. Sadly, we cannot expect any drastic change under such a woeful situation where a set of corrupt and inefficient leaders produce and anoint another set of corrupt and inefficient leaders. The game of musical chairs will continue  and the circle of poverty as a result of misrule will also continue to expand.  It is in the light of this depressing condition that some patriots, early this year, floated the progressive platform, Delta Forces United, to aggregate progressive thoughts and bring together all those who hate what is happening in our dear State. History teaches us that it is always a grave mistake not to properly berth a revolution. Consequently,  the more than 5,000 registered members of the group have moved en masse into the newly registered All Progressives Congress (APC) with the clear aim of wrestling power from the devious clique that continues to hold us to ransom in Delta State. After the launch of the Delta Forces United, it became public speculation that I was interested in the Governorship race in Delta State come 2015. Of course I had my eyes on the Governorship race whilst I was mobilizing the Delta Forces United to join the APC, and that,

undeniably, still remains my ultimate goal. I will never abandon that goal. However, the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. And he, who is great in smaller things, will be greater in bigger things. In this regard, the Senate seat presents a unique and humble opportunity for me to bring to bear my enduring enthusiasm and skills for the supreme benefit of my people in public office, and to set the tone for the quality of leadership that is to come. That is why I am running for the vacant Senate seat in Delta Central. And if the people give me a pass mark, they will eventually decide whether to push me forward, or withdraw me from the guber race. Like we say in DFU, na our hand e dey!!! I have always been bemused to hear people say I am new to the intricate game of politics. For the avoidance of doubt, let me set the records straight. I was one of the four persons who sat down to conceptualize the National Conscience in 1994 with my late boss, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, and I was the first Northern co-ordinator of the movement that later metamorphosed into a political party (National Conscience Party). I have also, in the last twenty-one years of my professional career, handled hundreds of cases involving inter and intra-party disputes, which gives me a rare insight into the various intrigues and shenanigans in political parties in particular and politics in general. I have often wondered whether anyone is born with “politician” written on his or her forehead; whether the likes of Comrade Oshiomhole, Governor Kayode Fayemi, Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN), and even President Goodluck Jonathan (who was a lecturer) and so many others were “politicians” before they decided to contest for public office. I believe Delta State deserves a new set of thinkers, even if they are not perfect; a new set of ideas, to inject life into the politics of the State; a new beginning, just to get things right. We, as a people, deserve total freedom from the yoke of bondage. That is why I make

SUNDAY NARRATIVE Alabi Williams williams.alabi@ngrguardiannews.com 08116759790 (Sms only)

The APC’s eight Cardinal Programmes Before he was shoved aside from eFCC in 2007, Ribadu had thoroughly investigated all those who served as governors between 1999 and 2007. Some of those ex-governors are on the high table at the APC, together with Ribadu, and they too can testify that they used to be corrupt. Speaking to students at an event hosted within the University of Ibadan or so, Ribadu, while still at the eFCC, spoke passionately about the evil of corruption and what governors were doing to citizens’ wealth. Ribadu almost wept and he particularly described former Zamfara State governor, Ahmed Yerima Sani’s case as one of the worst cases facing the commission. Ribadu lamented how the man became slippery and resisted prosecution. Yerima, now an APC chieftain, is not alone. There was Saminu Turaki of Jigawa State, another ANPP governor for eight years, who was described as the cyber governor. He hardly stayed home to work, but was junketing the globe and wasting money. His case with eFCC has not even left the preliminary stages, because he too has been very slippery. George Akume was a PDP governor and now a frontline leader in APC. He still has a case with eFCC. That is not to say that APC does not mean well on the promise to tackle corruption. The point here is that there should be no sacred cow when the process commences. Also, the party should look for more ennobling ways to raise funds for party administration and not to crookedly divert contract money into the party purse. That is what is happening now and no matter how ingenious, that process does not eliminate traces of corruption. The party, as a corporate body could float firms that can transparently bid for contracts and keep the profit to fund party administration. That seems tidier than using an individual’s firm to launder money on behalf of the party, making it difficult to separate what belongs to the owner of the company, say a construction firm, from that which belongs to the party. The point here is that if a political party

is able to stay clean, then it could summon courage to deal with issues of corruption. What we have now is that persons are appointed into key positions in government controlled parastatals and agencies like FRSC, FeRMA, NPA, NIMASSA etc., with the tacit understanding that they remit sums to fund specific projects at election time. We are looking at the bigger picture here, of an APC that truly understands how to deal with corruption from the root. Now, there is a template to borrow from, unfortunately, it is a PDP template, though poorly implemented. The PDP government under Obasanjo designed some anti-corruption laws that could limit recklessness in public spending. The Fiscal Responsibility Act was designed to provide for prudent management of the nation’s resources, ensure longterm macro-economic stability of the national economy and secure greater accountability and transparency in fiscal operations within the medium term fiscal policy framework. Under this act, a fiscal responsibility commission is to be set up by government, charged with the responsibility to compel any person or government institution to disclose information relating to public revenues and expenditure; and cause an investigation into whether any person has violated any provisions. Unfortunately, that law is not well applied. There is no unanimity of minds to make it work well between the legislature and the executive. While the law encourages thrift and savings, politicians, particularly governors want to spend the entire revenue that is earned. It will make sense if APC compels governors using its platform to show more fiscal discipline. The APC could also wake up this law and make it very effective. Another anti-corruption law is the public procurement act. This law was passed by the National Assembly and signed into law in June 2007. When it was discovered that contracts and other procurements were drainpipes through which public funds were

no pretence about it that the central theme of my foray into Delta politics is to dethrone the old order of crass corruption and bad governance and to lead a revolution of real change. We must oppose the succession plan of the PDP. I represent that real change because I have never been part of the corrupt system before. I am a fresh face, a clean hand with a well-known track-record. I come to town to add great value and not to destroy. You may hate me or love me; believe or disbelieve me; ignore me or attend to me; but no one can deny that in the last twenty-one years since I qualified as a professional lawyer and started my career with the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, I have always had something to stand for in the public domain. I don’t hide my views nor shirk my responsibility for the good of mankind. The whole nation knows where I stand at every point in time. And that is a virtue supremely required for the Senate on behalf of the proud and noble people of Urhobo land, and for their profound aspirations to be given a breath of life.

Keyamo

siphoned, the government under president Obasanjo experimented with the Due Process regime, to rescue the 60kobo that is lost out of every N1 that government spends. That has now given way to a Bureau of Public Procurement, which is struggling to instill discipline in public procurements. The battle is far from being won, because politicians and their cohorts in the civil service work very hard to frustrate due process. Not many APC state governments easily connect democracy with development. For some, democracy is an opportunity to change status. That is why some of them have not domesticated either of the Fiscal Responsibility of Public Procurement laws. They prefer to award contracts from their bedrooms, so that they will earn the kickbacks. Those who understand public procurement know that there should be transparency and accountability at every stage of every contract. No matter how beautiful a project is, the people, especially those in the opposition deserve to know how much the contract is worth. But some ACN (Now APC) governors do not think citizens deserve to know what they are doing with public funds. The people deserve to know who the lucky bidders are and for much and when the projects are likely to terminate. That is the only way people can ask questions when contracts are staying for more than one budget year. It is not a sign of weakness for governors to be transparent, but gross irresponsibility to do whatever they like, after all, the legislature does not exert any serious oversight. It is corruption governors just doing whatever they want and thinking their refusal to encourage transparency does not amount to corruption is wrong and should not be encouraged by APC. For APC to do well in other items in its 8point agenda, it needs to save a lot of money, which would otherwise be stolen. To be able to provide free education is no mean achievement, not that the money is not there, but the challenge is how to deploy it without it being stolen. Politicians also need to drastically reduce their expenditures in areas that are not profitable. They travel recklessly all over the globe; sometimes, legislators go for refresher courses in Dubai and China. They do not get to learn anything serious, but end up wasting money. Wives of governors and wives of council chairmen and councilors also travel aimlessly round the globe. The APC leadership should come up with a code of conduct on financial discipline. That way, monies will be saved to give citizens free education. More on this later.


TheGuardian

Sunday, August 25, 2013 | 11

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Outlook Resolving Rivers’ Political Crisis By Steve Azaiki HILE the Boko Haram menace raged, destroying lives and property, and bringing the economy of Northern Nigeria to its knees, no group of governors in the North deemed it wise to gather and approach the country’s former military Heads of State, to save the North, and by implication Nigeria. Boko Haram Islamists had slaughtered Christians and Nigerians from other parts of the country, and threats of reprisals portended civil strife. But no former military leaders were beseeched to save Nigeria. Yet, some Northern governors have latched onto the Rivers State political crisis as a pretext to beseech two former military Heads of State not to gloss over the turbulence from the Southsouth. It seems like an after-thought that the same set of governors later approached Second Republic President Alhaji Shehu Shagari, ostensibly on the same Save-Nigeria mission. If that is intended as a conciliation strategy, it is bound to encounter difficulties, or flounder altogether. The Presidency, as one of the alleged multi-parties to the maelstrom in the Rivers crisis, will be hard put to see the strategists as honest brokers. Some of the governors were fingered in the vote betrayal that ironically earned Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State the controversial victory in the Nigeria Governors Forum elections. Also, whether correct, or mere mudslinging, Amaechi’s name has been mentioned not infrequently in the permutations ahead of the 2015 presidential elections, by which he would be, it is speculated, running-mate to a candidate from the North, thus seeking to supplant President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. Take, also, Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, who has been vociferous about presidential power returning to the North in 2015. Even if that were to be discounted, it cannot be forgotten so easily that Governor Aliyu is scarcely a supporter of President Jonathan. Witness, for example, the fact that in the 2011 presidential elections, Niger State was one of the few states where incumbent President Jonathan scored less than the required 25 per cent of the votes cast in the state for the presidential candidates. I think that Governor Amaechi will do well to reflect soberly on the outcome of the visitation by all but one of the governors of the Southwest zone, who were in Port Harcourt shortly after four Northern governors paid Amaechi a solidarity visit. The Southwest governors belong to the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), which has conjoined with other parties to transmute to All Progressive Congress (APC). The governors had also, in the aftermath of the contentious NGF elections, thrown their weight behind Amaechi. But, after they visited Amaechi in Port Harcourt, and before the cameras and microphones with Amaechi standing amongst them, the Southwest governors expressed

W

CONversation

Governor Rotimi Amaechi, Rivers State concern over the political crisis in Rivers State. They did not call names; neither did they pour petrol, to further stoke the flame. Instead, the Southwest governors advised Governor Amaechi to seek audience with President Jonathan, proclaiming with a maturity that is scarcely seen in our polluted political environment, that Mr President is the “Governors’ President”. Given the scope and intensity of the conflict involving the multi-parties, and their proxies, in the Rivers crisis, it will be unwise for Governor Amaechi solely to reach out to the President, in seeking to resolve the crisis. For one, access will not be easy, as evidenced by the way and manner Amaechi was prevented from a close encounter with Mr. President, during the Mid-term Dinner with the Transformation Team at the Presidential Villa in June. So, if Governor Amaechi were to go meet Mr. President on his own, it will be a futile exercise. We must not discount political behaviour by which subordinates often see an attack on their principal as a call to arms. Thus, as matters of this nature go, the use of intercessors/conciliators is paramount. Anger is still boiling; the fire in the belly of each antagonist has first to be doused, before anyone can calmly listen to any talk of ultimate conciliation. Who, therefore, are the conciliators that will pull the chestnut out of the fire? While the Southwest governors have offered Amaechi wise counsel, they cannot also be the intercessors, although it will not be out of place to have one or more of them join the lead intercessors. Happily, Rivers State Elders —men and

women with silver hair, accomplishment and reputation to boot — have sought to mediate. The fact that positive results have not emanated from their recent efforts should not be cause to give up trying. After all, there is a cultural and social obligation the elders of a community are expected to discharge, especially in circumstances similar to the Rivers crisis, where the younger generation are flexing their muscles in dangerous displays of political masculinity. The Rivers Elders should be encouraged and supported. Such support could come from high-ranking Southsouth Monarchs, and other elder statesmen from the zone, who should be viewed by all sides as honest brokers. In fact, I offer myself, to join in the collective effort to find solutions to the unnecessary political crisis. I so offer myself because I have friends on either side of the current antagonism: Amaechi is my friend. President Jonathan is my friend and leader. So, too, are Rivers Deputy Governor Tele Ikuru, the Rivers State new PDP Chairman Felix Obuah alias “Go Round”, Chibudom Nwuche alias “Tiger”, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Austin Okpara, and Celestine Omehia. The imperative for mediation and conciliation is compelling. In this regard, we must discountenance the exaggerated claim that the Rivers political crisis is a threat to our democracy. That alarmist viewpoint is being exploited by opponents of the President to create the misleading impression that the Fourth Republic is imperilled. The disposition of the Southwest governors is a hopeful sign that the Rivers crisis will not be exploited to foment trouble in that zone. There is also no likelihood of a contagion effect of the Rivers crisis in the Southeast, or most parts of the North Central, and most of the remaining parts, too, of the North. Therefore, it is plain scaremongering intended to overheat the polity by analogising the Rivers crisis to a national political crisis. It isn’t. That is notwithstanding the fact of the impact of the disputed NGF elections. The NGF is nothing but a club of amity. Yet, the Rivers political imbroglio cannot be left unattended. The opportunity cost of the crisis is enormous. Countless managerial man-hours have been diverted to plotting and counter-plotting. Blood has been spilled on the floor of the Rivers Assembly with the whacking of heads with the mace. Safety and security have once again become endangered. But above all, the Rivers crisis is a disservice to the people of the state who are desirous of quality leadership and service untrammelled by the distractions of quarrelling politicians and their proxies. Furthermore, the Rivers political crisis must be seen as an embarrassment to the Niger Delta. It does not portray us as a people who recognise that social peace is a sine qua non for growth and development. Only

in the last couple of years, following the rigorous implementation of the amnesty programme, did the Niger Delta begin to quieten from the ceaseless rampage of militants, who hampered economic activities and occasioned massive social dislocation. From a genuine cause of seeking redress for the wanton neglect and destruction of the oil-producing states, militancy was hijacked by sundry criminals and hoodlums, who then turned the region into a theatre of perennial conflict and crisis. In Rivers, as elsewhere in most of the Niger Delta, the pace of infrastructural provision and renewal has picked up, following the drastic reduction in militant atrocities. As a consequence, economic activities have grown considerably. Is it that we in the Niger Delta are so bound to conflict and crisis that, so soon after the respite from the ruinous militancy, political actors are up in arms in Rivers? That must be seen as a source of embarrassment, which bodes ill for our collective reputation in the region. As the man in the eye of the political storm, Governor Amaechi must contemplate what he envisions as his legacy. He has unfinished business, which was why he sought and won re-election for a second term that is due to end in 2015. If the current imbroglio is unresolved, we can only expect an escalation in the run-up to 2015. Such an atmosphere will not permit even the most courageous, visionary, dedicated and determined political office holder to concentrate fully on the all-important task of governance. Governor Amaechi started out well — and the record speaks mightily in his favour, regarding his achievements in upscaling development in Rivers State. But, how will he end? Governor Amaechi must not put himself in the untenable position, where he would claim that, but for the political crisis in the state, he would have cemented his legacy by bringing to fruition a number of landmark projects and programmes he embarked upon. On the other hand, if the crisis lingered, Governor Amaechi’s achievements would be viewed through the blinkers of the cantankerous politics that marked the final years of his reign, more particularly his abrasiveness and a disposition of taking no prisoners. History is replete with examples of good deeds spoilt by bad manners. Politics is give-and-take. It is no sign of weakness to step back and embrace peace and erstwhile colleagues with whom one had fallen apart. However, to seek to dig in and not budge, even with the best opportunity to act otherwise, is to attract unpleasant consequences. Amaechi must consider how he intends to win the war. But, like every wise War Commander knows, Amaechi must also have an exit strategy. Governor Amaechi must listen again to the admonition by the Southwest governors, not the busybody cheerleaders, who will only be too delighted to see more blood as brothers tear into each other. Prof. Azaiki is a former Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government.

By Obe Ess


TheGuardian

12 | Sunday, August 25, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Editorial Still On Boko Haram N defiance of the state of emergency declared in some northern states efforts of the Joint Task Force, and even the Turaki-led committee, terrorism continues in its full dastardliness as Boko Haram terrorists kill and maim scores of innocent Nigerians. Hardly, a week passes without reports of citizens killed. In the past few weeks alone, at least 60 persons, including three security personnel were slain in various villages in Borno State. The northern part of the country remains, without exaggeration, a killing field. It is not clear if the killing of the Boko Haram sect’s leader Abubakar Shekau is true and if true, how it would reduce the power of the sect to continuing the killings. Having come under severe pressure from the firm action of the Joint Task Force (JTF), several features are discernible in the method of the terrorist group. One, the insurgents tend to seize available opportunity to kill the maximum number of innocent people. Two, they appear to be more active now in the isolated rural communities. Three, the killers disguise in the uniforms of security forces to deceive their victims as well as genuine operatives into a false sense of safety, and finally, in order to avoid the attention of security forces and vigilante groups gunshots they have resorted to the even more brutal, more gory method of slaughtering the victims. Another dimension, which indeed questions the spiritual motive of the Boko Haram sect is the attack on worshippers in the mosque — thereby violating the hallowed place of worship and desecrating the very religion that it claims to fight for. Further, and most shocking, two women, possibly couriers for terrorists, have reportedly been arrested in the Maiduguri metropolis with arms strapped with their babies on their backs. Such is the new operating method of the group in the latest spate of killings in the Borno State villages of Ngom, Mandarari and Malari. These heinous acts have prompted the International Criminal Court (ICC) to think that there may be ‘reasonable basis to believe that crimes against humanity has been committed. Namely, acts of murder and persecution (by) Boko Haram. While on the one hand the persistent killings in the three northern states may not yet directly question the efficacy of the state of emergency and the JTF, it certainly does in respect of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North whose mandate has been extended for another three months. The much-touted ceasefire purportedly agreed with the terrorists was debunked by Boko Haram and denied by President Goodluck Jonathan. To date, there is too little to show for the great expectations from the committee and, given the hard stand backed by destructiveness on the part of Boko Haram, the relevance of the committee as a ‘carrot option’ will increasingly be doubted. Unless, of course, it achieves a major breakthrough soon. The JTF, in collaboration with the local vigilante groups has, it must granted, made an impact and the days when Boko Haram picked and chose its targets at will are no more. A number of Boko Haram leaders have been neutralised and many of their camps overrun. Besides, the claim by the JTF that the sect’s leader Abubakar Shekau may have been killed would, if confirmed, make a big difference in favour of the Federal Government’s moves against terrorists. But there is the need for far more efficiency in intelligence work, as well as more effective monitoring of the rural areas. Surely, with currently available technology, the entire area under siege can be monitored round the clock to pre-empt attacks on the vulnerable rural areas. The involvement of the ICC is additional international pressure on the Boko Haram that strengthens the hand of the Federal Government. These pressures may nudge Boko Haram insurgents to rethink their goal and their method. Unless and until Boko Haram shows such inclination, it would be perfectly in order to exert every legitimate form of pressure on the insurgents.

I

LETTERS

Slow Pace On Badagry Roadwork The expectations are ty to pay the outrageous trans- the public, yet, little or no effort SbeIR:high, but going by what can port fair but because it is now has been made either by the govdescribed as a “Snail Pace” at which it is going, one will begin to ask, when will be, if it can ever be completed. Having started the first phase in the year 2010 from Orile to Mile 2, several demolitions took place, churches and banks relocated, shops were brought down, market places were affected and residential buildings were touched. But after two years of the uncompleted construction of the first stage, the second phase of the construction started in 2012 with demolitions as in the first stage, but what keeps resonating in the minds of the affected persons is: When will it be, if it will ever be completed with the slow pace of work? Residents, commuters, and motorist in this axis spend the most valuable gift of life, (time) in the constant traffic jam that characterizes this route as a result of potholes. Productive, quality time for more intimacy at the family level is now being wasted as a result of the bad road, perhaps and most certainly, the worst international road on the planet earth. In fact, as early as 6:30am, several supposed commuters are already trekking, especially from Iyana-Iba to Ojo barracks; they trek several kilometres also when returning from work. This, they have recourse to, not because of their inabili-

the fastest means to get to their work stations in the morning and their homes in the evening all as a result of the potholes on this route. Especially on a rainy day, suspense is high, anger accumulates, stress is continuous, transportation fares are exorbitant though not drivers’ faults, but to the detriment of

ernment or the construction company to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses by even patching or repairing the bad spots of the road, which cause the traffic gridlock. A journey of 30 minutes now takes between two and four hours. •Ejime Obinna, myadvantage2010@yahoo.com

Reordering Religious Values innocent and unsuspecting followers. No nation takes Nigerians serious in their selfstate of political affairs, pover- confessed belief in God. Christians should reconsider ty and abysmal rate of unemployment to decimate the rea- going back to pre-televangelism period when we worsoning of most of their shipped God with humility gullible followers. It is appalling that in this 21st cen- devoid of ostentatious lifestyles tury, Nigeria with our level of and aggrandisement that are education, the people are still having negative multiplier inundated with so many reli- effects on our value system. We should wake up and provoke gious idiosyncrasies by religious leaders amongst which our subconscious against waste of our minds on the ephemeral are: “In God’s Name Plc”, lifestyles and hedonism of relideceits, megalomania and gious leaders, as mind is a terriunholy alliance with the corble thing to waste. Kudos to the rupt politicians and the dislikes of indefatigable vintage play of ill-gotten and stolen money from the coffers of gov- Pastor Tunde Bakare, who ernment. We are a mockery of remains the hope of the downtrodden in that part of the the civilised world. Mega churches with their pastors in world. I am beginning to be hopeful for a better Nigeria. Nigeria are pseudo-peaceful replica of Boko Haram who in their own microcosm are busy •YahayaBalogun. invading the psyches of their Arizona,USA. IR: Nigeria has moral and Sleaders religion crisis. Religious have used the ugly


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday August 25, 2013

13


14

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday August 25, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday August 25, 2013

15


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

16

HEALTH BrienHolden Vision Institute Facilitates Surgery Of Cataract By Gbenga Akinfenwa

HE BrienHolden Vision Institute, an international non-governmental organisation concerned with eye care service in Nigeria, has facilitated the successful eye surgery of a year, eight months old boy, Melchizedek Abraham, who was diagnosed of bilateral cataract. The boy, who was born with the medical condition, could hardly see; he can only respond to rays of light. The surgery was a soothing balm to his widowed mother, Mrs. Monica Abraham, who had every reason to be worried, based on the fact that she has an eight-year old girl now severely visually impaired, classified as legally blind, due to the lack of aftercare from having a cataract removed when she was quite young. Melchizedek was identified in Abuja by the institute in its search for people with eyes problem, aside the surgery the institute has planned to rehabilitate him, follow him up and see how he would be integrated in life. The Sub Regional Manager, West Africa, of the institute, Dr. Anne Ebri, who spoke to The Guardian at a Lagos hospital where the boy was operated said a lot of children in the country are suffering from diverse eye problems but their parents are ignorant that there is solution to avert total blindness. Ebri noted that the institute took over the re-

T

sponsibility of treating the boy to see him gain visual independence and have equal opportunity like his peers, saying they have trained over 200 community based workers and over 400 school teachers with skills to identify people with eye problems across the country in the last three years. She revealed that aftercare is as important as the surgery itself, especially in children, adding that several homes in Nigeria face the challenges associated with visual impairment, especially in the rural areas. According to her, the impact of blindness and visual impairment in children is far greater than in adults, as children have their whole lives stretched before them. “Like Melchizedek, several other kids can gain their sight back, only if parents will come out,” Ebri said. She lamented that in the country, over 1,000,000 adults are blind and another 3,000,000 are visually impaired, saying that 42 out of every 1000 adults aged 40 and above are blind. “Overall, two out of three Nigerians are blind from causes, which could be avoided, such as cataract, which is the single commonest cause of blindness. Blindness is almost three times more common in the dry northern areas (the Sahel) than in Southern Delta areas,” she said.

Natural Recuperative Energies Of Man By Moji Solanke

HE word recuperate is usually employed to indicate recovery from illness, although it could also indicate recovery from expending energy lost while accomplishing a task deemed onerous. Essentially, the word indicates regaining something good that has been lost. When used in the context of health, it connotes that an illness is over, but a period is required to regain weight, brightness, strength and whatever else is deemed necessary to get back to the original status of good health. This period is usually tied to the nature of the ailment, the availability of certain conditions deemed beneficial, as well as other individual factors. In short, recuperation is seen to be dependent on physical conditions alone. But this way of thinking about recuperation after illness is changing. Regardless of physical or individual human qualities, it is becoming evident through scientific research, and especially religious experience, that factors such as faith, prayer — the mental state of the patient, influence recuperation. In some cases, it has been observed that there has been no recuperative period, rather full recovery has occurred instantaneously in a manner reminiscent of Christ Jesus’ healings as documented in the Bible. Starting from the premise of Spirit or God, rather than the premise of materiality and physicality, individuals are finding that the divine energy of God enables anyone deciding to rely on God for help, experience a significant lessening of the recuperation period. In some cases, there has been no period of re-

T

cuperation at all. Those who accept that healing is the sole preserve of God, readily admit and prove this practically. One such individual, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote ‘Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit (God), bringing us into newness of life, and recognising no mortal nor material power as able to destroy.’ (Science and Health with key to the Scriptures). God, is able to replenish whatever seems to have been lost due to ill health; and He is able and willing to do this instantaneously. Studies show that it is man who limits God, by assuming that recuperation must take a certain length of time. Yet, this premise can change to the understanding that God restores and replenishes, with the divine energies of Spirit. Borrowing from the Latin, when it comes to recuperation, the motto of Spirit, can be termed Semper paratus or ‘Ever ready’. In sickness as in health, the spiritual fact remains that man is sustained and maintained only by God. Even the medical faculty readily admits that the real recuperative power is mental. Their studies show that the natural recuperative power of an individual is bolstered by their state of thought, and many patients are encouraged to surround themselves during convalescence, with whatever gives them a sense of happiness and peace. Elevating this understanding to the realm of spirituality, the individual can learn that, energy, essentially a spiritual quality, is an attribute of the omnipotent Spirit, whom many name God; and that, trusting full recovery of health to God, has a beneficial effect on recuperation

m_asolanke@hotmail.com

Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka (right), receives materials to enhance the ‘helping babies breath’ intensive initiative of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Petroleum Company (SNEPCo) from the Clinical Adviser, Dr. Olayinka Mosuro.

Abraham after the operation

Practical Psychology

Dealing With Spousal Violence (4) By Passy Amaraegbu

ORDS whether positive or negative are powerful. We need to speak positive words regularly in our homes to our spouses, children and indeed everybody. This attitude creates a positive atmosphere for the growth and development of every member. In the words of mother Teresa, the hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. Many homes have overflowing barns and baskets of food and drinks but are famished for love. The atmosphere is charged with hatred, suspicion, malice, anger, pain, hurt and bitterness. Negative speech is a significant contributor to this harsh atmosphere in our homes. We must make a clear distinction between discipline and cruelty. Let us spend more energy and time in affirmation and encouragement of our family members while working diligently on eliminating poisonous words from our mouth. Besides the counseling that may go on during the reconciliation process, couples should reg-

W

ularly be engaged in marital counseling. There are wide range of issues to consult on. These include, child fostering, education, sexual relationship, in-laws relationship, etc. Most of the time here in African set-up, the woman is willing and ready to receive marriage counseling but the man is either unavailable or doesn’t see the need. May be because more husbands are the oppressors and the women the victims. After all, Africa is predominantly, a man’s world. However, marital counseling is a major key to resolve spousal violence. Seek for a professional counselor and submit yourselves to the rules and regulations. We are confident you will obtain victory over marital violence. Your marriage can (and will) experience a positive turnaround; may you begin a second honeymoon. In the second part, we consider other practical ways of handling spousal violence.

• Dr. Amaraegbu, a clinical psychologist; lives in Lagos.

Health And Your Mind

Mind And The Kingdom Of Heaven (14) By Babatunde Ayo-Vaughan

S I ended up in the last article, what in essence my conclusion bordered on was that if we do not learn to introduce the rule of intelligence into the methodology of understanding all the principles that pertain to religion, to that extent the world might just continue its steady descent into the abyss; this is the reason for the topic we have been treating for some time now — Mind And The Kingdom Of Heaven. It sounds like the topic of religion. That was how the children of Israel of old under Prophet Hosea saw the old statement of the bible too. It was like a book on religion and God. But despite the fact that this may be true, it didn’t stop God from telling them that they were perishing because of lack of knowledge. This was just like saying that a wrong mental attitude towards anything that is credible might make that thing to look meaningless. I don’t think anybody will seriously dispute it if we say that we have a similar problem on our hands today. We apparently have credible books of knowledge and people generally are still groping as if they are in the dark. The dangerous nature of religious practices among mankind today will bear me out. These are tragically perpetuated in the name of God. But as I had already stated, introducing the rule of intelligence into this religious confusion might just begin to help us to see our way out. So the topic as much as it may at first glance look religious is actually designed to help all of us carry apparent religious topic to a healthy level of universal understanding for everybody. The mention of MIND in the topic should help focus our attention to the fact that there may be more enriching practical side to the topic rather that talk religious philosophy on which one may never succeed in carrying everybody unan-

A

imously along. This negates what the true God of oneness and unity wants for the whole of mankind in the spirit of the brotherhood of man. MIND essentially, is about the mechanism of intelligence. It is the arena of the inter-play of our mental and emotional functions. It is this interplay that manufactures the quality of what you call intelligence. I had the cause to mention in this discussion at one point that many of us reflective thinkers have come to the conviction that the universe we are living in and the functions of our individual being is predicated on intelligence and the beauty of this all equally gives us the conviction that there must be a creative power behind it. We easily recognise this creative power as what is popularly termed — God, among the generality of mankind. But we also recognise that what should have been the beauty in this name had through various cultural, traditional and imaginative ideas been brought into the mud of confusion that is really tasking the comprehensive capacity of man as to who or what God is. I proposed the idea and which without any reservation I believe we all need to put God functionally and positively back into our lives devoid of distresses. The proposal is that we might need a new name for God that will lift it out of religious parochialism and division but will accommodate the dynamics of His relevance to the entire world of mankind and every creature living. I have mentioned the name before as it is recognised widely in healthy intellectual circle. It is the SUPREME INTELLIGENCE. The notion of God as the UNIVERSAL MIND will also find accommodation in this name.

Ayo-Vaughan, a psychologist, lives in Lagos abatund_2@yahoo.com


Sunday, August 25, 2013

SPECIAL REPORT

P/19

State Of Origin: The Search For New Nation NEWSFEATURE

P/28

Lagos Water Transport, A Viable Option

PERSPECTIVES Ken Saro-Wiwa:

ENTERPRISE

‘Real Estate Sector Shouldn’t Be Maledominated’

P/30

The Vision Of A Writer And The Praxis Of Progress P/36

Adesoji

OLAKONU


18

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday August 25, 2013

SPOTLIGHT FUNMI: Using Creativity To Market Nigeria’s Unique Brands Funmilayo Olayemi Olakonu is a woman of many parts and dreams. Unlike the popular adage, she is a Jack of all her trades and master of them all. A seasoned caterer, fashion designer, bead maker, artiste, producer of coco craftworks, Funmi is also into shoe repair and she plays the talking drum. Her dream, she told BISI ALABI WILLIAMS, is to become a big-time entrepreneur, who adds values to peoples’ lives through her world of creativity. S a caterer, Funmi has a way with soups. She has become adept and creative at cooking tantalising soups from different tribes in Nigeria. She also cooks African and continental dishes for all events, as well as undertaking home service deliveries. As an incentive for interested women, she has packaged most of her customised Nigerian spices in CDs to enable them develop interest while trying their hands on the preparation of various Nigerian and intercontinental dishes and soups. Her clientele spreads across Nigeria and overseas. Her cooking adventure started at the age of five when she would ‘cook’ special soups with leaves in tins of milk placed on three stones. This she tagged: “obe mi nso oyinbo” meaning my soup is speaking English. As a little girl, Funmi was very inquisitive. She recalls locking herself up in her room with the sole purpose of composing and singing melodious tunes. But this was not all. She also enjoyed cooking and trading. She was highly curious about everything, always eager to discover and find logical solutions to things. “I was also very daring. I asked a lot of questions and talked a lot. I had a very inquisitive mind, which wanted to know everything to the extent that I wanted to know how water got into the coconut before it was opened. I simply loved adventure. I also loved my family and enjoyed making friends. I became the multi–talented person I am by developing my God-given talents. My dad was also a major inspiration,” she says. Her family lived in Ibadan, Oyo State, when she was growing up. And she must have inherited her creative and inquisitive traits from her father. “Dad was a man with the capacity to do so many things without having undergone any form of training. That was God’s gift to him. And this is exactly how my husband is—multi-talented.” Funmi grew up in a large family of three girls, seven boys, uncles, aunties and house helps. Her family house was a very interesting place. Everyone felt loved and had loads of fun. The family had a tradition of singing. Every member would sing and dance with the exception of one person and each had an area of specialisation and specific assignments. Her dad had a daily roster with which he prepared everyone’s daily responsibilities. Schooling for her was also fun. She had attended good schools for her nursery to secondary education and didn’t have any problem until she faced the challenge of choosing a career. “My dad and my brothers wanted me to study medicine, but I wanted to study catering or business administration. It was difficult convincing my family and teachers, except for my mum who believed in my dreams. But in the end I got to study Catering.” Her services and products are largely patronised by the elite and this cuts across race and colour. Seeing the impact of her products on clients inspires her to do more and even dream bigger. “A lot of people are overwhelmed by my abilities. They love my works. Many more are amazed to see a female so rarely gifted. I feel humbled and encouraged. My greatest desire is to come out of my little corner for the world to see. I believe it’s only a matter of time before my brands become a household name,” she says. Her greatest achievement so far, she says, is her vision and courage to go for personal development. “I don’t work for anyone or for salaries. I have consciously empowered myself to do a lot of things, which will enable me attract whatever I need from wherever it is. Also, I have been able to add value to a lot of young people’s lives. In addition, I am happily married to a man that inspires me so much and has helped to crystallise my thoughts. He is contributing a whole lot to the fulfilment of my dreams and vision”. Funmi readily acknowledges that her first inspiration is the Almighty, through Whom she has been able to achieve everything. As a gospel artiste, she is a praise worship leader and has featured in countless musical concerts. She works very closely with her husband, who is a seasoned and highly respected musician, instrumentalist and producer in the Christian circles. This probably explains why she loves chanting and praising the Lord’s name in the Yoruba traditional Christian way. “I usually chant about the Almighty’s omnipotence and greatness. This is well captured in the last chapter of the book of

A

Funmi easily traces her love and enthusiasm for music to her family. She was born and raised by parents that loved music. “Dad especially loved singing, writing songs and dancing. In fact, he used to dance a lot.” To her, Arts is a veritable means of expressing self. And she strongly believes that individuals should have the freedom to bring out their innate abilities, which are bound to add value to humanity. Her unique selling point is her love to create things that are very rare. Since childhood, she has come to regard finished products as potential raw materials for making other finished products. She had grown her business from the scratch until it attains its present status. And what was started with small beginnings has gradually grown large. Everyday, she makes new friends and customers. Her best businesses have come mainly from one-on-one or group-to-group referrals, which have worked like magic for her. “I don’t lose customers and so, I used to find it hard coping with very large demands. Later on, I started training people. And although I don’t see myself as having arrived fully, still I feel fulfilled that my works, products and services are being sold home and abroad. “For instance, my coconut bags are special creations. So also my range of customised purses, coco jewelries, Ankara shoes/bags, slip on slippers, clogs, casual bags and aso oke mafia jackets. They have helped put Nigeria in a class of her own. These products are all parts of my special collection that have helped to place Nigeria in an enviable position abroad. Nigerians abroad are proud of them and love to identify with them. To them, it is a thing of joy that it is a fellow Nigerian, one of their own that is the creator of such traditional, creative products. ‘‘What greater joy can one ask for? I see my brands as a contribution to nation building. I see myself as Nigeria’s ambassador of arts, culture and the rich heritage. And I am a proud ambassador, too. I salute this great country that has produced such a rare gem. Kudos to Nigeria!’’ Having succeeded in providing a platform for training and empowering younger Nigerians, Funmi would also like to see it as an avenue to celebrate and project Nigeria’s local content home and abroad. On a typical day in her factory when carving images, sharpening ornaments or beading, the sight that greets the visitor is that of a hardworking woman giving her all to earn a decent living while developing other people’s talents in the process. That is her way of adding value, building small businesses and contributing to the national development. Her customised trendy wedge shoes, chunky and blockheeled shoes for corporate ladies compete quite well with the imported ones. She regularly organises seminars, trainings, competitions, and talk shows as a way of mentoring and passing on her skills. In her view, the best way government can help practitioners in the industry to maximise profit and move to the next level is by putting in place laws that can reduce piracy to the barest minimum. “If the value of every intellectual property the individual produces goes to him/her, that individual cannot lack for the rest of his/her life. But we have a country where people survive on the sweat of others. This is not helping matters at all. “I strongly believe in mentoring others, as it helps to guide them. Essentially, it helps to collapse time and reduce mistakes. You can be sure someone has already achieved what you are trying to achieve. So, you can save resources by learning from that person, especially if the person has a wealth of experience in that area. You don’t have to waste time and resources banging your head on a rock again and again”. While believing that mentoring is paramount for the country to advance, she is saddened by the fact that young Nigerians Revelation, which talks about God having all for herself in this area. What she does basically don’t reckon with it. “Rather than emulate those who have gone ahead of them, who power in the heavens and the earth. So, unlike with the talking drum is to eulogise the omthe limited power of humans, which is connipotence of the Lord, which she loves to refer are mentors in their own right, the youths strained by time, space, and force, God’s capa- to as doing the ‘God chant’. “I just love to sing tend to regard them as ‘old school’ or peobilities are limited only by His own character,” His praise. He is preeminent for many and ob- ple bereft of ideas. It’s sometimes a challenge to get them to sit down and talk with she says. vious reasons. This is something dad passed When beating the talking drum, Funmi is a on to me and I can’t do otherwise. My brother them. Most time it’s when they are finding it sight to behold. She may not exactly be as spec- has also been a source of encouragement just hard making headway or after having made tacular as the trail- blazing ARA, who is the first as my pastor Revd. John Ayodele, my husband, the same mistakes that they begin to listen celebrated Nigerian woman to beat the talkMr. Abiodun Olakonu and of course our lovely or ask questions. It is then that a mentor has the opportunity to drive home the point ing drum, but she has no doubt carved a niche children.” and show the way.”

I was also very daring. I asked a lot of questions and talked a lot. I had a very inquisitive mind, which wanted to know everything to the extent that I wanted to know how water got into the coconut before it was opened. I simply loved adventure. I also loved my family and enjoyed making friends. I became the multi–talented person I am by developing my God-given talents. My dad was also a major inspiration.


TheGuardian

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013 19

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Special Report

... Waiting patiently to go home after deportation

State Of Origin Debate… The Search For A New Nation Begins By Gregory Austin Nwakunor OR a moment, Chike Bamidele Mustapha stood in front of his apartment on Angwadosa Road, Kaduna, staring menacingly at the carnage going on in the street. He felt uncertain that this was the same town he had grown up and lived all his life. He was numbed with disbelief. His fingertip was damp. His mind suddenly went to the images of Sometime In April: the Rwandan genocide tale. Could this be another genocide? God forbid! He sneezed. Suddenly, he came back to reality. He turned the knob of his door and quickly entered the apartment. Hurriedly, he began packing his clothes. There was a gentle tap on his door. Fears gripped him. He moved gently to open the door and right in his front was his colleague in the office, Ken Azaiki, panting, his luggage in his hand. He packed his things and they ran out of the apartment, dodging the hoodlums on the street to get to the Park. A familiar sequence tends to follow in Jos, Jalingo, Kano, Makurdi, Port Harcourt and some other parts of the country — strong hatred for non-indigenes. Contempt for settlers and non-indigenes resonate all over in the country: In schools, hospitals, economic ventures, politics and all social apparatus. Only recently, 67 citizens were allegedly deported from Lagos and deposited at the Upper Iweka Bridge, Onitsha, Anambra State, which the state government defended, as a practice aimed at expelling beggars and destitute persons rescued from the streets back to their states of origin. The Special Adviser to the Lagos State governor on Youths and Social Development, Dr. Enitan Dolapo Badru, told The Guardian,

F

at least, 1,708 beggars and destitute have been expelled from Lagos to their various states and countries since January, in government’s bid to rid the streets of beggars and the mentally challenged. One of the destitute, Mr. Osondu Mbuto, from Ohaozara in Ebonyi State and a petty trader in Lagos, had told journalists that they were dumped at about 3am in the morning at Upper Iweka after being detained in Ikorodu, Lagos, for over six months for alleged wandering and other minor offences by the Lagos State Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) officials. They were brought to Onitsha in four buses, escorted by anti-riot policemen. Mbuto said KAI officials arrested him on his way to shop on December 18, 2012. An Abeokuta based lawyer, Mr. Deji Enisenyi, in an open letter to the Senate, a copy, which was made available to The Guardian, insisted that the Lagos State governor lacks both moral and Constitutional right to force any Nigerian out of Lagos. “I am of the firm belief that by the country’s Constitution, every Nigerian, no matter their culture, tradition, tribe, religion or creed can live in any part of the country,” he affirmed in the letter addressed to the Senate President, Senator David Mark. He added that for that reason, no authority in the country has been invested with the power to displace any Nigerian citizen from a place; he or she has chosen to live and carry on with his or her life. In June, a Pakistani-born environmental engineer, Mehreen Faruqi, made history as the first Muslim woman to be elected to an Australian legislature. Faruqi is the epitome of the new Australian spirit of ‘giving people a fair go’ after years of

anti aboriginal policy and the loss generation. Until the 1970s, racial preferences were institutionalised in an immigration policy that promoted white supremacy. But an embrace of multi-culturalism has led to an upsurge in migrations. Yet, in Nigeria, it is very difficult for somebody, who is considered to come from another state to assume political leadership or rule. In fact, it is almost an anathema for a non-indigene to be elected into a political office. Many have argued that the question of State of Origin (SOO) lies at the heart of division, ethnic conflicts and lack of social integration in the country. They say SOO should be replaced with the more appropriate, State of Residence (SOR). They also blame the violence and tensions across the country on the claims of indigenes over non-indigenes. Many support the review, which will result to positive changes in the society, but said the Nigerian nation was not ripe for such indigeneship right as practiced in other parts of the world. However, it is reasoned that the political elite in Nigeria will not want to do away with state of origin because they are the ones benefiting from it. They say that SOO has continually encouraged tribal and ethnic sentiments such that to do anything in Nigeria, from admission to educational institutions, getting government jobs or enjoying any benefit from the government, even to vie for political office, the state of origin issue must come up. A proof was the initial refusal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alooma Mukhtar, to swear in Justice Ifeoma Jombo-Ofo to the

bench of the Court of Appeal. Justice Jombo-Ofo represents Abia, her husband’s state of origin, though she hails from Anambra State, but she had her service transferred from her state to that of her husband. In spite of her 14 years of service in Abia State, petitions still rose from there that she is not one of their own and could, therefore, not represent the state. Despite the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of sex, place of origin or ethnic group by Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, even at the highest level in the country, people still face discrimination based on where they come from despite the “one Nigeria” slogan. Nigerians who have lived in certain places in the country for close to two decades and have been law abiding while contributing to the development of such places are still regarded as non-indigenes. For those in support of end to SOO, Nigerians are citizens of Nigeria, and thus, have Nigerian origin, but resident in a given state at a given time. Social commentators say that way; everyone will regard his or her city or state of residence as home and seek to preserve the peace and prosperity of the country. And Nigeria will be better for it. A Nigerian who was born in Kano and educated in Kano should be accepted as a Kano resident with full social and political rights, and could become the Governor of Kano State if he wins an election for which he must be free to contest, despite his

CONTINUE ON PAGE 20


HE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

20

SPECIAL REPORT

... The Search For A New Nation Begins CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 name. Those against say that reference to one’s indigeneship is acceptable so long as it is the agreed norm in a given society. Every individual is an indigene of a place on this earth. According to those who are championing this sentiment, there is nothing wrong in building an organisational structure of political, social and economic existence on the concept of indigeneship as long as all stakeholders are fairly treated. Inihamullah Afolabi Idowu, Relationship Manager, First Bank Nigeria Plc., says, “the idea of indegeneship sounds more of a cultural identity that is a subset of the concept of citizenship. However, in Nigeria it is more entrenched in our national life than citizenship. An indication of this can be derived from the federal character concept that usually comes to play in the administration of our civil service and other issues: Resource control and other revenue allocation issues bring to fore, its (in)significance.” He continues, “Nigeria has a diverse cultural background with a history attached to areas and regions. These has led to the tendency for people to be highly attached to their primary cultural heritage, therefore the issue of citizenship is a secondary consideration in dealings amongst citizens of Nigeria. Full integration within indigenous areas by fellow citizens is almost impossible within the Nigerian nation.” Akintola Akinyemi, Executive Director, Community Development Foundation, says, “when those who naturalise are presented with evidence (approval letter or certificate), your indigeneship is your evidence, which is expressed through your language or ancestral home or lineage. I am not a lawyer and may not be sure of the provision for indigeneship in the constitution, but some forms of provision may allude to this fact.” He adds, “like ownership of land, the issue of fair representation in the appointment of public officers, state of origin etc, the use of indigeneship for school admissions, enjoyment of certain privileges like scholarships all contribute to the reason why it is still relevant.” According to Akinyemi, “rarely, do people confer indigeneship? It is natural, however, you may be admitted into the scheme

Trying to have a quick nap while awaiting deportation of things where you reside and be treated as an indigene based on your long stay or contribution(s). This may come through appointment or chieftaincy recognition. Good examples are the situation where Ibos are made commissioners in Lagos State or when then Governor Orji Kalu appointed a Yoruba woman in Abia State as a commissioner, or in many cases, Yoruba appointed as a Chief Judge in Borno State.” He reveals, “in other countries indigeneship has been de-emphasised. It exists but not very important. What they did was dilute indigeneship and makes one’s place of birth his or her place of origin. For instance, if Akin were born in Owerri, his State of Origin would be Imo State and if Chike were born in Karu, he would be a Nasarrawa person. As a

result, indigeneship lost relevance and was overtaken by place of birth in those countries, particularly Europe.” For Akinyemi, “in Nigeria, state of origin remains where your ancestors came from and that is why indigeneship has been valued over citizenship. Therefore, your place of business and your long stay in a particular location can make you a citizen of that location, but not indigeneship.” In his words, “every tax payer contributes to the state and so deserves the benefits arising from it. However, the politics of indigeneship, when it comes to wealth sharing, is for a few to confer on themselves greater benefit than they deserve and this works because we have all surrendered our faith into their hands

without challenging it. This is very common across the nation, especially when it comes to local government administration, where those who contribute to the local economy continued to be harassed by the so-called omo onile, who really are liabilities to the councils. They get away with it because their brothers are the managers, and law enforcement in Nigeria is weak. It is a trend that must be stopped.” At the 127th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Quebec, Canada, Senate President, Senator David Mark, said that time has come for the country to shift from the ideology of state of origin to embrace state of residence. Mark said that immediate elimination of state of origin and replace with state of residence would go a long way to enhance peaceful co-existence and cement relationship in the country.

ATURU: Law Is Not The Problem, But Backward Ruling Class By Bamidele Aturu CITIZEN is defined by law as every person born in Nigeria before the date of independence either of whose parents or any of whose grandparents belongs or belonged to a community indigenous to Nigeria, provided that any of his or her parents or grandparents was born in Nigeria. A person born in Nigeria after the date of independence, either of whose parents or whose grandparents are Nigerians, is also a citizen. Any person born outside Nigeria, who has one of his or her parents as a citizen of Nigeria is a citizen by law. This definition is provided for in section 25(1) of the Constitution. A citizen, politically, is any person that is accepted as a member of a country and who is entitled to all the benefits provided by law for members of a country. In other words, citizenship is a share in the ownership of a country and its resources either by birth or by naturalisation where a person has been formally accepted under the procedure stipulated by law as a member of the country. Indigeneship is quite different from citizenship. Indigeneship refers to person(s) who belong to small distinct communities that are usually homogenous in terms of language but smaller than an ethnic group. Usually, such communities correspond, by and large, to political constituencies or districts comprising one or more of what is known in Nigeria political and social parlance as wards. An indigene is usually someone, whose parents or any of them or their grandparents either founded the village, city or community or who have been living in the

A

community for as long as anyone can remember. The constitution does not make indigeneship a condition for contesting any of the offices provided for in the constitution. It is, however, written in the backward hearts of our politicians for election and resource sharing purposes. In Nigeria, as I have pointed out, citizenship is conferred on any one who meets the conditions in section 25 of the Constitution. In Nigeria people are not prevented from enjoying privileges accruing to others on account that they are not from a particular community by law, rather they are excluded by the unwritten tribalistic ethos that is inherent in the cannibalism of capitalism.    Capitalism is essentially a system that is based on exploitative domination and competition and in backward societies such as ours with the most backward segments of the society in the commanding heights of social life competition assumes primordial crudity that is often seen in the resort to settler versus indigenes and Christian versus Moslem artificial divides. The law is clear in section 42 that persons of a particular ethnic origin or community cannot be discriminated against simply on account of belonging to such community or ethnic origin. It is not the law that is the problem but the backward ruling class. The truth is that Nigerians don’t enjoy any benefits or privileges anywhere unless they are part of the thieving ruling elite or their lackeys or cronies. The ruling elite enjoy on behalf of Nigerians. So it really doesn’t matter. There is no electricity anywhere, no good roads, no good schools, nothing anywhere, whether where you reside or work. But the elite enjoy uninterrupted supply of electricity

vide their generators, good private schools for their children, private hospitals, privatised police free etcetera. I have made the point that it is not the law. In other words, while it is important to make the law clearer and more, just that the law in itself alone will not solve the problem. The people must create their own

fighting organisation that can challenge the discriminatory ways of the ruling elite. That can only happen through a thorough process of mobilisation of political forces opposed to the cabal that has held Nigeria by the jugular.

Aturu is a labour lawyer and civil right activist


HE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

21

SPECIAL REPORT FAYEMI: Residency, Rather Than Indigeneity Should Be The Basis For Citizenship Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State offers his view on citizenship in aninterview with MUYIWA ADEYEMI (Head SouthWest Bureau Ado Ekiti) The question of citizenship and indigeneity is a thorny issue in Nigeria, what should be the right attitude in the management of this constitutional matter in a federation like this? me, what you see is fundamentally the problem of FhaveOR Nigeria: how to manage our diversity and difference. I always believed, and I still hold strongly to that view; residency, rather than indigeneity, should be the basis for citizenship. If you live in a place, for instance, in Ado Ekiti, you pay your taxes in the city, you have your children there, they go to school also in that city, you have lived in that place for 40 or 50 years, I see no reason why there should be any debate whatsoever as to why you should not enjoy the privileges and rights belonging to an average Ekiti State indigene. That is why, if you look at our social security benefit law, we stated clearly that, anyone who has lived in Ekiti for clearly three years qualifies to enjoy the scheme, not anyone whose parents were born in Ekiti or anyone who was born in Ekiti, but anyone who has lived here for upward of three years without fail, and you have proof that you have lived here for those years, you are entitled to all benefits. Fundamentally, we are talking about common citizenship. Fayemi And as leaders, we must be careful not to pander to the There will be pressure, but there should be equitable prejudices of our own indigenes that may not know any better. mechanism when we take a principle like that in a FedI know that these have been thorny issues in Nigeria, the eral environment, because you cannot build a Chinese basis of the crisis that we are witnessing in Plateau State, for example. I think that for the constitution of Nigeria, we wall via artificial boundaries. We are all Nigerians, and we do have a duty as leaders to create mechanisms for need to bite the bullet; we need to deal with this problem because migration is a reality of our environment. There ensuring common citizenship. If you are not a good citiwill be pressure, but there should be equitable mechanism zen, and you are a threat to your environment, if you do when we take a principle like that in a Federal environment, because you cannot build a Chinese wall via artificial not live amicably with your neighbours, then the law boundaries. We are all Nigerians, and we do have a duty as must take care of that. But we cannot say we are all leaders to create mechanisms for ensuring common citiNigerians and deprive some people of the privileges and zenship. If you are not a good citizen, and you are a threat responsibilities of common citizenship. to your environment, if you do not live amicably with your cannot say we are all Nigerians and deprive some people of neighbours, then the law must take care of that. But we

the privileges and responsibilities of common citizenship. In 2011, Abia State government sent some non-indigenes from its civil service, and recently, Lagos was reported to have sent back 14 Nigerians of Igbo stock to Anambra State, how do you juxtapose this with your view on this matter? I don’t have the details of what happened in Abia, and why it happened, but I do know a bit of that of Lagos because I spoke to some of their officials on this issue. The truth is that, Lagos is the most welcoming, the most receptive of all states in Nigeria. You have Nigerians of all states in Lagos and they are not discriminated against. Indeed, a gentleman from Anambra State heads one of the most important ministries in Lagos. People who are not even from the South West, let alone, Lagos own most of the successful businesses in Lagos. I think Lagos has a long and qualitative track record in accommodation of Nigerians irrespective of their state of origin. The recent relocation saga ought not to have generated the kind of noise it did because these inter-state transfer of citizens occur regularly, particularly in cases of the impaired, who are better cared for in their own natural environment and with their own loved ones. Clearly, we all should agree that some people are better cared for in their natural, local environment, where they can get better care, rather than being dumped in Lagos where they have no relations. That is the reality. I know that Lagos has written to Ekiti in the past and returned some people to us in this context. So, it is not an anti-Igbo thing, as it is being portrayed. Now, I agree that even this could be managed within the context of the state if the notion of common citizenship is entrenched. There is, no doubt, that this, in itself, is a case of the social services in Lagos being stretched to the limit and looking for an escape route. One would have thought that the debate really ought to be about how the central government could devise a means with states to address these peculiar circumstances, rather than engage in this pointless fingerpointing that is going on. Besides, I would have expected my brother, Peter Obi, to call his colleague and try to resolve this. Obi is a Lagosian in very many respects too, because he would then have found out that this was a case in which his own officials had been in communication with Lagos State officials on the matter. 

PLATEAU: Two Sides Of The Debate On Indigenes Versus Settlers From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos HE International Day of World Indigenous People was first T proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 24, 1994, through Resolution 49 (214). Not too long after the pronouncement, the first decade of the world indigenous people was first proclaimed and observed between 1994 and 2005, with the second declaration to end in 2014 with the theme, A decade for action and dignity. The central focus of the day is to promote and protect the rights of indigenous people of the world. It is estimated that there are between 220 million and 330 million indigenous people. This issue has elicited some probing question of who are those said to be indigenous to a particular place? This issue has become very sensitive and volatile in some states, especially in Plateau State, where some people are referred to as indigenes, while others are dubbed ‘settlers’ no matter the number of years they have lived. Some of the so-called settlers have been resisting that appellation in some quarters, arguing that by virtue of their birth, and the long years of stay in the state, they should be deemed to have naturally acquired that status of being referred to as indigenes who should have equal rights to government facilities as enjoyed by the indigenes. S the argument rages, Head of Department, Public AdminA istration of the Plateau State Polytechnic, Mr. Emmanuel Dashe, and another lecturer in the same institution, Kopreda Moses, gave insights into the debate. According to Dashe, to be called an indigene of a particular community, “you are really a bonafide member of that particular community — born and brought up right from your kith and kin, then you have satisfied the condition to be qualified as an indigene — and not somebody who has just come for commercial undertakings and then he finds himself owning a piece of land.” For Moses, “Every human being has his permanent abode. The indigenes are people who have inherited or rather who have lived in a particular environment, settled for quite some time with beliefs and common cultural identity, that is, having a common language, having a defined way of living.” He continues, for peace to prevail in any given society, citizens must respect the values of indigenes. He believes that honouring treaties is very fundamental to peaceful co-existence. “In the course of sojourn, there is a treaty between you and the natives of the land. Courtesy demands that as a sojourner, you should be able to honour the treaty. The situation whereby the quail will come from the bush to drive away the cock in the house is totally unacceptable.” According to human rights activist, Gad Shamaki, “here, when you talk about the major ethnic groups or languages, you talk about Hausa, you talk about Igbo, and you talk about Yoruba. But in Nigeria, we have over 350 ethnic affiliations or groups. Where are the other ones? Why are we not taking them along? I think we need to deliberately see how we can

Plateau State governor, Jonah Jang protect these various tribes and various cultural identities from going extinct.” In his view, Plateau State chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Philip Malvish Dafes, said, to be indigenous to a place, from constitutional provisions, means that somebody’s parents must have lived there beyond 100 – 200 years without trace of his ancestors. According to Dafes, “such a person must have been there before any other person. For example now, I am from Pankshin Local Council of Plateau State, but I cannot claim to come from Jos.” He adds, “I’m a Mupun. I cannot claim to be an indigene of a close neighbouring community of Chip. I cannot claim to be from Kago. I cannot claim Jibili. I cannot claim Karam. All these are communities in Pankshin. I was born and brought up in Quaan Pan. I cannot get an indigeneship form signed in Quaan Pan, except when I go back to Pankshin. “Despite the fact that I’m from Pankshin council, I cannot claim Pankshin Central. It has to be Mupun and it has to be my particular district, which I belong to,” Dafes points out. In Dafes’ words, the issue of being indigenous to a place is

very sensitive and exclusive, adding that it is not just doled out to a person like that. But an Islamic cleric and former minister of state for Information, who has lived his life all through in Plateau State, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki Nakande, says he is an indigene of Jos North, no matter what anybody says and “in spite of all injustice being meted out to us in Jos North.” Nakande, who went memory lane, told The Guardian that, they in Jos North now were excised from Bauchi Province in 1927, when Plateau Province was created. “Toro Local Council of Bauchi State was formerly part of Plateau Province till 1976 when it was taken back to Bauchi State. “All the other tribes found here in Toro and Jos North are indigenes. When you come to Plateau, Jarawa are also found here. They are also predominantly found in Dass area of Bauchi State. Will you say that they should go back to Bauchi because they are more in population there? Kano people and others who reside here, will you say they should go? Jukun people are found in Wase Council of Plateau, would you ask them to go back to Taraba State because they are more in number there?” He, however, expressed satisfaction that the National Assembly is looking critically into the issue in their constitutional amendment, pointing that Lagos State is trying to create another constitutional crisis by deporting some people in the name of destitution. “By the time the National Assembly amends the constitution, the lapses and excesses being perpetrated by some states will be curbed,” Nakande said. Reacting, the CAN Chairman, North Central Zone, Rev. Yakubu Pam, agrees with others who say that an indigene is a person who has been living in a place for quite a long time, adding that such a person must be a member of those who originally founded the place. From that argument, according to Pam, “before the Hausa came to Jos, there were people. The coming of the Hausa was made possible by the World War II because the White men who were executing the war were looking for black people who could be trained and they decide to choose Jos because of its good weather. The White men, therefore, gathered people from different parts of Africa in Jos, including the Hausa. Before their arrival in Jos, were there no people? The place was not empty. The indigenes occupied it. “It was the white men who brought them here for training in preparation for war. Some of them, after the execution of the war, refused to go back. That is one dimension to it. “Again the other dimension is the issue of tin mining. People came to Jos for mining activities, spearheaded again by the colonialists. The White men who brought the people including the Hausa, met people living here. The Hausa too who came met people. If the Hausa did not meet people, they could have owned the land and other landed property,” Pam said.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

22

SPECIAL REPORT

HON:Nigerians Need Mass Education On Brotherliness Sebastine Hon is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. He spoke with ANN GODWIN on the challenges of citizenship and indigeneity in Nigeria. What should be the right attitude in the management of issues of citizenship and indigeneity? HE vexed question of where one comes T from is as old as creation itself. As a good student of history, even during the anti-colonial struggles, issues of tribalism and ethnicity reared their ugly heads. I still remember the verbal altercations involving the trio of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Sir Ahmadu Bello, which were ethnically based, even when they were supposed to be fighting one common monster. These personality clashes trickled down to their followers, leading to delay in Nigeria’s independence. The post-independence upheavals, also based on ethnicity, led to the overthrow of the First Republic, the counter-coup and the civil war. Whereas, there was clamour for abolition of regional governments and establishment of state structures, when this was done, beginning with the General Yakubu Gowon-led administration in 1967, the focus now shifted from ethnicity to one’s state of origin, without actually burying ethnicity, because many eth- Hon nic and lingual groups fell into more than one state. That is the current status quo, most un- If you ask me of the attitude of our leaders, I will first of all castigate them for encourfortunately. aging the sharp divisions now threatening to pull down the entire structure. If they are So, if you ask me of the attitude of our leaders, I will first of all castigate them for encour- guilty, how can they proffer solutions? I say this becaus e the level of perfidy and imaging the sharp divisions now threatening to moral ground zero in Nigeria have reached the high heavens, with the actors, nay pull down the entire structure. If they are leaders, celebrating these vices before our very eyes, when they are supposed to bury guilty, how can they proffer solutions? I say their heads in shame. this because the level of perfidy and immoral spect to economic rights. And let me tell you So, to answer your question, while I agree ground zero in Nigeria have reached the high that with right leadership, enjoyment of heavens, with the actors, nay leaders, celebrat- that it is not proper to discriminate against cross-state economic rights is also possible in ing these vices before our very eyes, when they non indigenes in terms of job placements, the Nigeria. It is not just possible; it is the correct reality on the ground is that having created are supposed to bury their heads in shame. thing to be done. But let me also tell you one this monster themselves, if our leaders take The ‘this is our turn’ attitude has been so unbelievable story. In the 1960s, the late decisive actions to right the wrongs, they deeply entrenched in our body polity that to leader of the Middle Belt and the Tiv nation, might lose out politically. excise or excoriate it now is almost Utopian. Chief Joseph Tarka, brought somebody from As I told you before, there is so much angst But if I should advice at all, because I have a the famous Kashim Ibrahim family of Borno hunch the concerned leaders will taunt me, on and frustration in the land. The needed State, changed his name from Kanuri to change must, therefore, be done gradually in- “Iwar-Iwar Agatie,” a Tiv name, used his politreading this interview, ‘don’t mind these stead of speedily, to avoid spontaneous uplawyers, that is how they speak big grammar ical strength and ensured he was elected into for nothing,’ then I would suggest they should heavals and negative reactions from those the Federal House of Representatives, to rephave a quick rethink. This is because Nigeria is who have enjoyed the status quo all this resent the Tiv people! Nobody raised an eyeon the fast lane to perdition and utter destruc- while. But for change of attitude, I will fully brow till date! Tell me, can that happen in support that and clamour for a start now, tion, no thanks to ethno-religious conflagraany other part of Nigeria now? People like J.S. with mass education of Nigerians on the need Tarka were the real, detribalised Nigerians. tions. They should look at the Constitution of Nige- for brotherliness, etc. We need them today. There is an argument by civil right activists ria, look at our history and look at our tomorBut honestly speaking, enjoyment by an inthat if a person lives in a particular area for a row, to gauge how far we have fared and how digene of one state the political rights in anfar we will go with these wrong attitudes. They length of time, he or she should be able to rep- other state is currently quite a different ball resent that area in the State House of Assemshould also think of their children and our game, as opposed to the issue of job placebly, Federal House of Representative or even children and ask themselves whether these ments. This is because enjoying political pahave employment privileges like the citizens tronage from a state that is not one’s has a lot youngsters have a future, if we continue this of that state; do you share in that view? way. of undertones and implications. The non-inThat argument is plausible, only with reIs it proper to discriminate against the non-indigene is likely not to know the cultural and digenes, especially in employment issues? Persons considered non-indigenes in their states of origin are told in express terms to go to hell. Elsewhere, this is not supposed to be. Mina Ogbanga, a development activist tells GREGORY Even in Nigeria, it is not completely okay, havAUSTIN NWAKUNOR that indigeneship holds the hope of a ing regard to the provisions of our Constituunited Nigeria. tion. Section 42 of the Constitution has abolished, Do you think that state of origin should be abolin very clear terms, discrimination based on, ished for state of residence? What are the probamongst other things, one’s place of origin. lems you envisage if it is eventually This is enough constitutional safeguard abandoned? against labelling some people indigenes and No. State of Origin is a valid part of our exisvice versa. tence and cannot completely be ruled out. It is Even sections 25-32, which are the citizenship one of the bottom lines that define our cultural provisions in our Constitution, talk of ‘citizenexistence as well. Living in no man’s land will ship’ and not indigenship. But the snag in the further help break down our cultural heritage, Constitution, which was well intended, but over time, and take away a huge part of what we which has often been used as springboard for have often termed as history, culture and tradiflashing the ethnic card, is section 14(3), which tion; leaving the future generation with little or has established the federal character principle. nothing to connect them with their fundamental foundation. Expect a loss of cultural identity, Rather than use this provision broadly as infundamental history overtime and a possible tended, our leaders use it selfishly to satisfy cultural scenario without boundaries. Again, their political desires, using ethnicity as the creating a no mans land structurethat could be base. But I say this is not correct interpretation harmful even to our political structure. of section 14(3). The unity in diversity becomes threatened. It And let me add this one quickly, even if secwould affect the entire structure of the nation’s tion 14(3) encourages ethnicity, under well espolity tablished principles of constitutional Will amendment of the constitution solve the interpretation, it must give way to section 42, problems that have persisted over the years bebecause section 42 is later in time and placetween settlers and indigenes? ment to section 14, hence tacitly overrides it. A proper, transparent, honest and genuine But as I say, that is not the position, as section amendment of the relevant sections in line 14(3) is not intended to have the results aswith actual reality could help enhance the cribed to it by our leaders. unity in diversity. So, whatever is best to further Ogbanga

social settings of his host community, etc, hence will not be able to represent them well. And let me give you some examples even from the USA. Article IV, section 2(1) of the US Constitution provides that the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities in the several states. In at least two decisions — McCready vs. Virginia and Minor vs. Hopperselt, the US Supreme Court, interpreting this provision, has held that while cross-state economic rights are guaranteed by the provision, the provisions do not apply to enjoyment by persons of one state of political rights in another state. From your analysis, is it still relevant to consider amendment of some sections of the constitution to help address this problem? From the analysis above, there is no need to amend our Constitution on the issue. What we need to amend is our attitude. But as I told you above, no amount of change, given the depth we have dug into, will lead to an indigene of one state being elected in another to represent that other state. If that happens, it means the so-called non-indigene is indeed an indigene. How do you compare what obtains here to what happens in other developed countries and is it in any way affecting Nigeria’s economy? Let me reiterate here that discrimination based on one’s place of origin is prohibited in our Constitution, though as regards enjoyment of political rights, there’s little one can do about the issue now. If I sit here and tell you otherwise, I may be disowned by my people! I have also just given you an example from the USA, which is our model in presidentialism and federalism. If an advanced democratic clime like the USA is discriminating politically amongst the federating states, then I daresay that realistically, it will amount to wishful thinking to advocate otherwise, here. However, discrimination along economic lines is prohibited not just in other advanced countries, but also, by the organised international community under the sphere of public international law, and even by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, I will give you at least one example here. In 2012, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in the case of Lafia Local Council vs. Nasarawa State government, had to quash a directive issued by the State Government requiring indigenes of the respective local councils to go and work in their respective areas. The Supreme Court held this to be discriminatory, contrary to section 42 of the Constitution. If the challenge is tackled, what do we stand to gain? There is no gainsaying that we stand to gain very much from abolishing economic discrimination based on one’s place of origin. There goes the saying, ‘united we stand, divided we fall.’

OGBANGA: State Of Origin Is A Valid Part Of Our Existence As A People build unity needs to be pursued. Don’t you think a constitutional change will assuage the minds of people who are crying of marginalisation? I’m not sure that would be the right strategy. The people crying about marginalisation are as diverse as the issues by which they feel placed them in that condition. A Niger Delta man is crying about marginalisation, more about why ‘his resources’ aren’t used to develop his area, as much as it is used to address other areas of development. So, a proper resource sharing formula is often being pursued as the solution. Dissolution of the idea of indigenship will diminish to a large extent the power of such claims. Do you support discrimination against non-indigenes, especially in employment and aspiration to political office? No, it is not right to discriminate against nonindigenes, though and must remember that certain rules apply in case of employment such as Civil Service, where every state has a standing opportunity to make their presence, and the fact that you can’t rule out priority being given to locals. In any case, however, where there has been proof that a said person, be they non indigene have met a certain criteria by marriage or so, they are granted such indiscriminate opportunity. The rate of unemployment across states is alarming, so, priority issues among indigenes may not be far fetched where opportunities arise.


TheGuardian

Sunday, August 25, 2013 | 23

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Cover From Leo Sobechi in Awka HE Governorship election in Anambra State, T otherwise known as Anambra 2013 is crisscrossing all gears in alarming frequency. Intrigues, puppetry and disorder have become the order of the day for the political platforms. Investigations by The Guardian revealed that, to a great extent, the turmoil in the major political parties in the state belies the desperation of various interests that are bent on gaining upper hand. To those who are used to the electoral gymnastics in the state, everything points towards a disputed outcome. But against the backdrop of what transpired between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), curious issues have been raised about the electoral umpire’s constitutionally embedded neutrality. And going by declarations by the Anambra State Resident Electoral Commissioner, (REC) Prof. Chukwuemeka Eze Onukaogu, Abuja would show the direction the process should take. Though the Anambra State REC exhibited some measure of credulity when he declared that his past experiences in 2011 and 2012 give him confidence that “I am adequately equipped,” what would eventually play out on November 16, 2013 may astound him and overwhelm his Commission. There are fears that some orders, very unpalatable may be passed to the REC when the chips are down. INEC may have been caught in the web of the ding-dong affairs in the major parties. There are worries that the governorship election would show how far politicians in the state have sunk in desperation for political servitude. The state of political parties in Anambra beggars the question, whose interest are the serving? As it is in the ruling party, so it is virtually in all the other parties. Would INEC perfect its strategies and deliver a credible electoral outcome come November 16, 2013? To what extent would litigation compound the already charged atmosphere in the political parties? These are some of the posers thrown up by the prevailing circumstances in the polity. Already, an unfinished litigation over the 2003 governorship has reared up its head, as a possible major obstacle to arrest further progress on the road to November 16. Mr. Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo, who was a candidate for the 2003 governorship on the platform of Nigeria Advanced Party (NAP) says he instituted a series of court cases against INEC, in respect of the election, stressing that he obtained a high court judgment that he was wrongly excluded from the election. Okonkwo has dragged INEC to court, asking for an injunction restraining the electoral body from releasing the guideline and timetable for the governorship election until NAP was restored as a political party. Following the Abuja High Court judgment that held that INEC lacks power to deregister political parties, some more legal action would determine whether Anambra 2013 would be reality. It should be recalled that in 2007, the governorship election that produced Dr. Andy Uba was nullified by the Supreme Court, which held that Governor Peter Obi has not as yet served out his tenure as elected governor; pray that Anambra 2013 does not suffer similar intrigues! State Of The Parties APGA: On The Throes Of Screening Bellyache

ANAMBRA 2013:

Bedlam Of Political pal, Dr. Obidigbo’s letter to leaders of Anambra North senatorial zone has brought about serious concerns that are threatening the internal cohesion of the party, especially the bloc support of the zone. This is coming after revelations that Governor Peter Obi announced his support for Anambra North Senatorial zone to produce his successor as a ploy to push through his friend and business partner, Mr. Willie Obiano. Governor Obi was said to have begun a process of appeasement to douse the negative backlash the screening palaver was having on his image and likely impact on APGA’s fortunes. Sources said Dr. Obidigbo was particularly miffed that religious sentiments were behind his ‘unjust disqualification’. In his letter of complaint to the chairman of Anambra Council of Traditional Rulers, Obi Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe and copied to other heads of groups, Obidigbo asked the people of Anambra North Senatorial zone to reflect on current development in APGA to see whether in truth “Peter Obi was sincerely in support of the zone to succeed him.” Obidigbo recalled with pain that after passing through various screening organs to present a candidate to Governor Obi according to

Nwanyanwu

APART from the former Secretary to Anambra State Government, (SSG) Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze, who was disqualified by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) from contesting the governorship ticket of the party, it is doubtful if the outcome of the screening panel sits well with other aspirants that suffered the same fate. Obaze declared that he has accepted the contrived and unjust fate that befell his aspiration, saying that he will continue to remain faithful to his party. But it was gathered that the disqualification of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Dr. Chike Obidigbo and Obaze is still at the centre of current upheavals in the party. While friends of Prof. Soludo have gone to court to challenge the inexplicable disqualification of their princi- Okorie

for the nomination of delegates for the party’s governorship primary. There are insinuations that a weak aspirant may be returned to ensure that the Presidency’s plot of ensuring the victory of Senator Andy Uba sails through. PDP: Duality Of Candidates On Course

FOLLOWING the Port Harcourt High Court ruling that Ejike Oguebego and not Prince Ken Emeakayi, is the authentic State Chairman of the party in Anambra State, the party is on the path of replicating the strategy with which it won the Anambra South Senate seat between Andy Uba and Chuma Nzeribe. Uba and Nicholas Ukachukwu campaigned for the election, flying flags on rival factions. The Court was later to declare Uba as holder of the authentic ticket after the duo had convinced their supporters to vote PDP, believing that the Court will restore them. The puzzle remains on what the party intends to do with the group of ten, plus one aspirant lining behind Emeakayi’s chairmanship. A source confided in The Guardian that everybody, including Governor Obi was working for a common candidate in deference to the dictates of the Presidency. Reflecting on the goings on in PDP, the wife of his avowal that the zone should present any former jurist said it was ridiculous that PDP candidate of their choice, Governor Obi decided should make aspirants to sign an undertaking to choose his preferred candidate. restraining them from contesting any decision As part of the appeasement, sources said a sis- that may be taken by the party in respect of the ter of one of the disqualified has been penciled nomination of the governorship flag bearer. down as likely successor of Obaze in office as SSG. APC: Postponing An Early Recrimination Meanwhile the militant group under the party called APGA Ambassador has been given cards IN the fledgling, All Progressives Congress (APC), the supremacy battle between former Imo State Governor, Achike Udenwa and the incumbent, Rochas Okorocha played out in the hurried consensus brokered by the later. And believing that it has deeper penetration and following among members of the defunct ACN, the Udenwa group within the party prevailed on Godwin Ezeemo, to reject the unilateral endorsement of Ngige, stressing that the action runs counter to the internal democracy enunciated by the party. Sources said that it was out of fear that the Udenwa group would support Ezeemo that Senator Ngige reached out to Okorocha, to “do the needful.” Ngige was said to have argued that he was an easily recognisable face in the state to win the election, even as the Udenwa group, pushing Ezeemo insists that Ngige was a spent force who has been voting for PDP on the floor of the Senate, against the interest of the former ACN Tukur

Umeh

Akande

PDM: Dreaming Of Mega Collaboration THE newly registered Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) is banking on a strategy that would see it absorb some parties, including the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Kowa Party and the United Progressives Party (UPP). Promoters of the party said they want to strike a massive alliance to shock everybody at the governorship poll. However, national chairman of the UPP, Chekwas Okorie, told The Guardian that nothing will make his party go into a merger or any such collaboration, insisting that UPP can only take individuals who want to join it. Despite Okorie’s stand, a member of the party in Anambra said part of the shortcomings of the party was that it gave the impression that the governorship had been foreclosed to Mr. Okey Umeano. “Could you imagine that when the party was registered the poster of Umeano was posted side by side, as if he owned the party in Anambra. That is why some aspirants are scared of identifying with the party,” he stated. For the PPA, the rejection of name change by the party disposes it to such a merger if its desire for rebranding would come to fruition. But the State chairman, Matthias Ameke said his party would field a governorship candidate despite any alliance talks. … LP, Waiting To Reap From APGA, PDP Crises By Omiko Awa As November 16, the date of Anambra State gubernatorial election, draws near, political parties in the state are strategising to present candidates who can win the prime position at the polls. And in doing this, many aspirants and godfa

CONTINUED ON PAGE 27


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

24

ANAMBRA 2013 COVER INEC Pledges Readiness, Citizens Demand More Accountability

INEC staff at Odekpe, Ogbaru council of Anambra state... last week From Leo Sobechi, who was in Awka IGERIANS find it difficult to understand the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). On its own side, INEC deprecates Nigerians’ indifference and lethargy towards issues that pertain to their civic health. Consequently, the combined effect of these disparate positions and sentiments accentuates the systemic epilepsy that attends Nigeria’s electoral process. INEC has announced November 16, 2013 as the date for the governorship election in Anambra State. And by tomorrow August 26, 2013, the electoral body would be rounding off the one week Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise it flagged off on Monday 19, 2013. Many authorities in democratic electoral processes conclude that voter registration and proper documentation of same, goes a long way to testify of the credibility and fidelity of an election. Investigations by The Guardian reveal that despite the criticality and importance of voter registration, there is a laissez faire approach to the current voter’s revalidation exercise by both INEC and the citizens of Anambra State. Though there are 4,611 polling units in Anambra State, the CVR is a kind of mop up of voters that recently attained the voting age of 18 after the last exercise. It is therefore possible that the slow progress and less attention being paid to the exercise may be attributable to this. Furthermore, political parties are engrossed in concerns thrown up by the challenges of organising primary elections to select their flag bearers for the forthcoming election. The hint of tension over the voter registration exercise came when INEC, through its Public Relations Officer, Frank Egbo, published a list of local councils that have zero units. The notice read: “INEC wishes to inform all residents, registered voters, Political Parties and the general public in Awka South, and elsewhere that the under listed polling units have no registered voters in INEC database. This implies that although voters in the affected areas may have their voters’ card, they would not be able to vote in any election because their information is not on INEC database even though they possess voters cards.” The nine affected local councils included, Ayamelum; Awka South, Anambra East, Idemili North, Ihiala, Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Ogbaru and Orumba South. On the first day of the exercise for instance, there was no presence of INEC staff at designated centres. Perhaps on account of the absence of INEC personnel, there was poor turnout of

N

eligible voters. In Ogbaru, Onitsha north, Anambra East and Awka north, where The Guardian visited, there was no sign of CVR going on. Irked by the development, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety) wrote a petition to the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Chukwuemeka Onukaogu, noting that the lack of diligent prosecution of the voters’ revalidation exercise may negatively affect the local and governorship elections coming up in the State by October 15 and November 16, 2013 respectively. In the letter, copy of which was made available to The Guardian, chairman of Intersociety, Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi, expressed the fear that the exercise might end up in monumental failure, pointing out that the seven days was not sufficient to capture all eligible voters in the State. Umeagbalasi noted that the exercise, which is covered by Sections 9 (1) and 10 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010, is expected to include; “registration of unregistered voting Nigerians of Anambra State residency, revalidation and updating of the voters’ register.” He added that the deletion of names of the dead voters from the register and entering in the Supplementary Voters List of the registered voters was part of the assignment, regretting that those who moved from their previous electoral constituencies to new ones were not sufficiently guided on how to go about regularizing their franchise. Despite the acerbic protestations of Intersociety, some political actors in the state say that there was no basis to levy accusations on INEC, either of poor planning or lopsided execution of the exercise. State chairman of Labour Party (LP), Mr. Sam Osi Oraegbunam noted that in areas such as Oyi and Awka north councils, the presence of zero polling units should warrant an extension of time to recapture the voters, saying that in such areas, the programme is much like starting afresh. An Engineer by profession, Oraegbunam explained: “We should recognise the fact that the cooperation between man and machine is not automatic; initial hiccups are a given in exercises of this nature. It was only on the first day that we noticed malfunctioning of INEC equipment, but that is not enough reason to condemn INEC. Based on the use of DDC machines, it is no longer fashionable for political parties to impute negative intents to voter registration, we did our sensitization and that is more important. Nobody will be talking of inflation of voters list now; we are satisfied with the progress of the exercise, only that INEC should

consider extension of time.” But Umeagbalasi insisted that, “Anambra State is still not free from roguish voters’ registration and register management,” pointing out that “shrines and ‘evil forests’ are still dotted with bogus and fake polling booths. “There are still fake voters and non-living objects baptized as registered voters as well as undeleted dead voters and double registrants in the state’s voters’ register. In the 2010 staggered governorship poll in the state, out of INEC’s bogus figure of over 1.8 million registered voters, so called, about 1.2 million were fictitious names. They included imported names like late Gani Fawehinmi, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Wole Soyinka, etc. This explained why out of about 600,000 living voters found in the roguish register, only 300,000 actually voted. Then, we concluded and insisted that it is better to have 10,000 live votes than to have 1million dead votes,” he declared. He indicated that checks carried out by his group revealed that while INEC staff pasted names of the registered voters in all polling booths as it earlier promised, most of the polling booths remained unmanned as at Wednesday, August 21, 2013. He insisted that INEC staff were absent in most of the polling booths visited. His words: “By implication, those with their missing names and pictures do not have INEC staff to attend to them. Also, those who want to register or those wanting their names to be included in the INEC’s Supplementary List of Voters found no INEC staff to attend to them. Our investigators went round Ogbaru, Idemmili North and South, Onitsha North and South LGAs and found no INEC staff in most of the polling booths. Our calls to Aguata, Orumba North and South, Nnewi North and South and Oyi LGAs yielded similar outcomes. In Ogbaru, INEC staff were seen only at the Odekpe Central School.” Umeagbalasi disclosed that on Thursday, August 22, 2013; just a day after The Guardian had an interview with the REC, Prof. Onukaogu called him following a small message he sent to the REC. The chairman of Intersociety said in the text message, his organisation “raised concerns over the absence of INEC staff in most of the polling centers across the State”. He narrated: “The REC informed us that other than Awka, where his staff could be found in all polling centers in the Capital City, INEC staff are not supposed to be present in all the polling centers in other areas, except in the ward registration centers

across the remaining 20 local councils. We raised the issue that members of the public are not politicians who may be in the know of such restricted centers. He agreed with us and promised to direct INEC Public Relations Officer, to put up public notices to that effect. We also requested that such public notices should include names of the ward registration centers local government by local government”. Like the LP chairman, Oraegbunam, Intersociety also asked for an extension of the seven days fixed for the exercise, “to enable the concerned citizens maximum opportunity to participate in the exercise,” saying that, “we will put our eyes on the ground to ensure that these promises are kept.” Intersociety also hinged their demand for extension of time on the provisions of Electoral Act of 2013, which it argued stipulates that official closing of the exercise, as in registration of unregistered eligible voters, updating and revision and revalidation of the voters’ register should be on September 16, 2013, 60 days to any polling date. “The days so allocated are grossly inadequate,” they maintained. “It is not only that the closing date should be extended, but also INEC staff must man all the polling booths and attend to the affected citizens diligently and judiciously. Machinery should be put in place by the Commission to check absenteeism and lateness on the part of its erring staff. The presence of the INEC’s staff in all the 4,611 polling booths will also serve as security against defacing or tearing of the published names of the registered voters and scare away children as well as adults with malicious intents.” The group also urged that enough publicity; including radio jingles and television announcements should be introduced and consolidated by INEC throughout the exercise. Umeagbalsi expressed the belief that if the “era of election rigging must be permanently exterminated in Anambra State, the cleanliness and integrity of the voters’ register” should serve as a trusted path to free, fair and participatory p o l l . Reacting to The Guardian’s queries on his Commission’s preparedness for the double challenges of continuous voter registration and the forthcoming November 16, 2013 governorship poll, Professor Onukaogu, disclosed that upon mounting the saddle as the REC, he started a programme of changing the mindset of his staff. Things have drastically improved under him. Citizens are watching for real improvements.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

25

COVER

ANAMBRA 2013 Professor Chukwuemeka Eze Onukaogu is the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in charge of Anambra State. In this interview with LEO SOBECHI, the Professor of English Language from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, who is also a Pastor of Christ Apostolic Church, weighs the challenges and processes leading to the 2013 governorship election in the state, assuring that highest standards are being maintained. How prepared is your commission to conduct the 2013 Governorship election in Anambra State? EFINITELY, we are prepared; there are past experiences to hold unto. For instance, in the 2011 election, we had a lot of activities. Before the election itself, we had the continuous voter registration exercise in which we did extensive and intensive voter education for the electorate. We met with traditional rulers, members of the academia and as we did that, we acquired tremendous experience. Again, contrary to belief that election is an event, we have seen election as not just an event, but as a process. We have taken the entire ramifications of the electoral process into consideration in what we do today. So, if I go by my past experience in 2011, 2012 and now, I think experience wise, I am adequately equipped to know what I am doing. Besides that, we have had series of workshops, seminars and strategic planning meetings at various levels in the country. We brought in consultants from within and outside the country, which have made us, at various levels to exchange best practices in the world. And we have also developed our mission statement. We have also developed our strategic plan that will carry us through to 2015. We have been very busy since 2011. And so, based on the inhouse training and outside training I have acquired, I think I am adequately ready for this job. I was in the UK in 2012, to monitor the local council election. That enabled me to acquire a lot of experience; I was also in Liberia. Both within Africa and in Europe, I have been exposed to electoral processes, apart from the fact that I have read extensively on electoral process in various parts of the world. I think, all things being equal, I am adequately equipped intellectually for this job. Emotionally, I think I am also equipped because I believe very sincerely that there is nothing I can do without God. Being a pastor, I know that all things are possible to him that believes. I believe! It is not the best for man to strive to be best without God on your side; the Bible says I can do all things; so I believe earnestly that as a matter of fact my sustenance in Anambra State is a miracle. Because Anambra State is one of the more volatile states in the country and people thought by now, I would either have gone mental, ejected from the system or be abused and misused. But contrary to expectations, I have thrived, one, because we have made God the cornerstone in this area. For instance, when I first came here I made sure that I changed the mindset of the staff. What I did was to start a daily prayer meeting, except for Saturdays and Sundays; we meet regularly up till now from 8.30 to 9.30 am and we look at the scriptures. From there we were able to draw moral rearmament instruments and philosophies that have enabled us to change our mindsets. Before I came here my staff were normally not coming to work, many of them will not be around; many of them because it was electronic payment, will go away, some abroad, some in universities and educational institutions, while they are being paid. But with the moral rearmament instrument, which we have put in place through religious orientation, the mindset of many of them changed. Now they are regular at work, absenteeism is at the lowest ebb; besides that, their morale is very high. And with the type of staff I have, it has been possible for me to be able to achieve what I am achieving. So emotionally, I am adequately settled; besides I have a very happy home. My wife and children are very supportive and because I have a happy home, I feel contented and satisfied to be able to do what I am able to. But, if the home background is nasty, I would not be able to do what I am doing. I have many Nigerians who monitor me, people who have known my pedigree; they would not want to see me abused or misused or roll on the ground and be an

D

Onukaogu

ONUKAOGU: I’m Excited To Be instrument of shame. So they monitor me from time to time; they are interested in what I am doing, they ask questions. And because of the fact that I know that I have a wider audience to which I can relate to, I am also extra careful. Outside Anambra State, people are watching me. Again I have led many international organisations in Africa, the US, and Europe so I have been an international scholar; I am known all over the world. People are anxious to know whether I will betray the academia or betray the religious sector or the traditional concept of character building. And because I am aware of these, everything I do here I don’t take it for granted. I know that I am being monitored by God, I know that I am being monitored by the society, I know that my children are also monitoring me and they don’t want to have a father who would bring shame, sorrow, weeping and gnashing of teeth to them. These things influence me; that is why in this job, I am irrevocably committed towards ensuring that the highest standard of morality is maintained. That is why for me, as far as this job is concerned, there can be no compromise! Most people hold that Anambra is a test case for

Let the politicians play by the rule of the game. Let their campaigns be issues-oriented not character assassination. Let them avoid thuggery and hooliganism; I don’t want to lose anybody during this election. Let us go by the rule of the game and try to convince the people not intimidate or blackmail them and not make fake and false promises, which they don’t tend to fulfill. Then for the people of Anambra State, the electorate; let them be wise, let them think critically and carefully before they vote and let them not sell their cards but hold their cards by themselves, because the cards are the instruments by which they can chose those they want to determine their affairs in future

2015; does this expectation exert extra pressures on you? Definitely not; but I get excited that I am being used more or else as a guinea pig in a positive way. Because someone has to bell the cat; and if I am belling the cat to prepare the ground for 2015, I feel excited. For instance, in terms of preelections preparations, we have been very active. I have been to Abuja for more than ten times and my chairman has raised a committee that is working hand in hand with me, to examine all facets of election preparations. The chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, has often chaired the meetings. And because of this, we look at the nitty-gritty about electoral processes as they affect Anambra State, vis-à-vis the overall 2015 game: what are the logistics involved, what are the human features involved, how can we overcome voter apathy? And how can we instill confidence in the Nigerian populace. So that they can get to know that for the first time, something new, something unique, and something outstanding, something that will launch Nigeria to the higher ground is being done. And so for me there is no pressure on me. I get excited because I feel that I am helping to mould a better future so that if Anambra succeeds Nigeria will succeed better, because the challenges I faced here they will be able to correct them. And with the successes I achieve here, they will be able to reinforce it so that come 2015, it is going to be an El Dorado, when we talk about electoral processes in this part of the world. Talking about the tripod of electoral process the people, materials and political parties - and taking a look at Anambra, where the value system is skewed towards money, the apathy and attendant inducement, where does INEC come in? The entire thing depends on me, more or else, because what matters is the leadership. When I was in the Biafran Army as a commissioned officer, I knew that my role in the frontline would lead to either the death or the coming out alive from the battle ground; so I made sure that I was adequately prepared to lead my troop. Now, if I don’t have moral integrity, there will be no basis why my staff will have moral

integrity. If my staff see me as a kleptocrat, a thief; they would be justified to want to be thieves! But if they see for instance, I come to work, I am resident electoral commissioner not a visiting one; I stay here, by eight o clock I am here, I don’t leave here till 5.30, for my staff it is not business as usual, they stay here regularly with me. Once I am in the office, nobody goes home and or have such mindset, you find that my staff is being better groomed for a better tomorrow. Again, it is about accountability here, the resources I get from Abuja, I manage it openly so that my staff see what comes in and what goes out. And because of this, a synergy ensues between I, my staff, both senior and junior; I think we are making progress. And I think that the issue of being influenced or induced does not arise. Wait a minute; I have built my life in the academia, I have trained Nigerians to be honest, I trained Nigerians to still value character. I have worked in the Nigeria prison, trying to prepare prisoners so that when they come out from prison they will live good life, for more than eight years. With Henry Ford foundation, I ran programmes in prisons in Umuahia, Owerri, Aba, Ikot Ekpene and Uyo. I also ran similar projects in Ife, Ilesa, Agodi and Oyo prisons. And over these years I have been able to influence these prisoners that when they come out they would be able to contribute to the wellbeing of society. In a similar vein, I am also preparing my staff to be able to play adequate roles, to be able to serve as positive influence, a kind of positive spinoff of the ideal Nigerian situation, so that by the time I leave here, I would have left a heritage that would make a world of difference to Nigeria people. So I feel that somehow my obligation towards making this place a successful scenario is quite clear. I am optimistic that by the time I leave here, I would have left a creed of young men and women dedicated to making Nigeria better, particularly within the electoral process. For instance, when I first came here, I raised up a team of University scholars who worked hand

CONTINUED ON PAGE 27


26

ThE GUArDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

COVEr

ANAMBRA 2013

OKONKWO: Anambra Is Confusing Because Mr. Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo is a rights activist and a replica of the late Ayodele Awojobi, who despite his Engineering background, took to activism in pursuit of social rebirth of the country. In this interview with LEO SOBECHI, Okonkwo dissects the social challenges facing Nigeria and also the riotous build up to Anambra governorship.

ter? I went to court; I was successful at the federal high court, to interpret the provisions of the law. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), went to the Court of Appeal, they lost. And that judgment is still valid and that is the basis of why I am questioning the usurpation of the office of Governor of Anambra State by Mr. Peter Obi; the matter is coming up on November 13, 2013. When that decision is made, Peter Obi will know that he is a political neophyte. It seems the confusion so far evident in the preparations for the 2013 governorship poll would give way to a different quagmire when this judgment is delivered? Well, my business with you is not to advise anybody but to explain what I am doing. They should advise themselves, they should have a lawyer themselves. If you want to run for office and you don’t understand the rudiments of the law and due process, you are as naïve as the people you want to lead. I am not advising them, let them continue spending their money, by September 23, 2013, the Court of Appeal will visit the issue, whether INEC can properly release guidelines for the election in Anambra State. I say no more on that issue. National chairman of UPP, Chekwas Okorie, observed recently that anybody running for election on crisis-ridden parties like PDP and

APGA must be a reckless risk bearer; what is it in Anambra that people believe it is a blind risk to contest the governorship? I told you this thing is purely a generational question, of people who believe in anything goes. I don’t agree with what the chieftain of the party said, like it is only in Anambra State. In fact, it is all Nigeria politicians; because you don’t need a track record to be a politician in Nigeria. All you just need is bags full of money, then, you become a politician. Then you must know one man who knows one man in Abuja, or one woman who knows one woman in Abuja! And then you must know one police commissioner and know, one Electoral Commissioner; that is politics in Nigeria. If you don’t have those credentials, what are you doing in politics? This issue between INEC and PDP; INEC appears to be grandstanding, showing itself as having the final say on who becomes a party chairman; what is your position on this? The only comment I will make on that issue is, first; people give position to persons in Nigeria because they have chains of degrees. Professor Attahiru Jega has no depth. If he has any depth, he would understand the interpretations of the powers and functions of INEC. It is the party that would determine who their officers are, based on the documents that have been submitted to INEC, following due process. What will Jega lose by who becomes the chair-

NAMBrA is becoming a conundrum; can you trace the underlying problem associated with governorship elections in the state? It is only one problem – leadership! That is the only problem; this leadership is very manifest in lack of values and culture by the people. What is happening in Anambra State is traceable to one generation. What has gone wrong? When we were growing up, we used to recognise excellence, recognise our peers, who were prefects of our class. But values have changed; everything is now categorised in denominations of money, how much you have. That is why people who are intellectually empty have taken cover in the number of mobile policemen they have around them, so that they can keep away the knowledgeable people around. So it all centres on lack of education; there is no culture. And we take pleasure in celebrating nonentities. In fact, it is all Nigeria politicians; because you don’t need a track record to But you once aspired to govern Anambra State what was the experience and fate of that aspirabe a politician in Nigeria. All you just need is bags full of money, then, you tion? become a politician. Then you must know one man who knows one man in Abuja, ThE aspiration has not been extinguished. What or one woman who knows one woman in Abuja! And then you must know one happened was that as a result of the confusion, or what I may call the crisis, in Nigeria’s political police commissioner and know, one Electoral Commissioner; that is politics in development, the good people have not been able Nigeria. to organise themselves so that we can excel and have the advantage of knowledge in leadership. It is all confusion; we don’t have political parties, the selection process is tinted with fraud. And people don’t feel that you have to have a record or you don’t have to know your limitations. Once you have money, you are a candidate, once you have stolen money from an office and become somebody, either by appointment that graduates you to lead in Nigeria. So these are part of the confusion; just traceable to one generation. Most of those in that generation they went to school, the only prefect they know is their mother, they did not live in boarding house. So, order is their problem. What critical things need to be done to rectify these anomalies? One simple thing! The right person taking leadership and the rest will queue and take their proper place. But mediocre politicians are just jumping up and down. There is intellectual mediocrity and there are mediocre persons, who, by accident of their wealth feel they can arrogate intelligence or that shoots them up to an intellectual cadre. There are bureaucrats that are confusionists, who are merchants of filth; there is no character. People who have no reputation, that cannot stand for anything, you see them tomorrow running for governor the next day they are running for council chairmanship, the following day they are running for the Senate. They don’t know what they want in politics! They think it is a market place, where you trade your shares. That is the problem. Leadership is about inspiring people, you are motivated and you have vision. When you become a leader you are like standing on top of the class and everybody will look up to you. And you must be able to encourage and build other leaders. Don’t you think the process of selecting our leaders is contributory to the malaise? Yes, everything is captured in the fact that the only person who can sponsor a candidate for an election is a political party. And when we don’t have the proper foundation in a political culture, how do you select? See them selling nomination forms for ten or twenty million naira, these are intellectually bereft people who don’t know what leadership is all about. They have violated the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria; they have even violated the Electoral Act. Good conscience, to be in politics is about service. It is not about how much you were able to pay. The parties are running away from doing simple primaries and they feel the only way you can eliminate the good men is to make sure they cannot pay to be a players in the game. Let us see how this democracy will end up. You were in court over your elimination in the ballot in 2003, how far have you gone with the mat- Okonkwo

A

man of the party? So I don’t know what else they are saying. The only thing I am saying is that the provisions on how the officers are elected and how they are submitted to INEC are very clear. If the PDP as a political party has not done so, he should say so; and not to tell the party that this the one we recognise. Ordinarily, if they had followed due process, he would have the right list of candidates who are the leaders of the party in the state.

We Lack The Philosophy To Fight Corruption hE National Assembly has embarked upon T another round of constitution amendment; do you think the critical things have been done regarding the Electoral Act in order to sanitise the electoral process?     When you talk about amending a constitution and the law that would guide elections, they are all different things. Amendment of constitution usually comes up in areas that are agitating the minds of the people or areas that the courts of law have recommended should be revisited. You don’t do amendment of the constitution to accommodate agitations. Because, coming together, forming of the constitution is by agreement of parties. It is not when ‘A’, agitates, you amend to accommodate his agitation. That is why people keep asking, can a man who understands that by provisions of section 14 of the Nigeria 1999 constitution, that the sovereignty, the power to make laws and do anything belongs to the people, which they delegate; can he primarily amend the law that has put him in office without the person, who in the first place asked him to stand in for him? It is a fundamental issue. Can the National Assembly amend the Nigerian constitution, like wholesale amendment? They cannot! But we have a problem here, like deaf people listening to music. So they see the music playing, but they are not following. If you want to amend the constitution, it is the people that would say we want an amendment. We make a provision for the referendum for the amendment to pass. Very simple; not if you want to amend you go to State Assemblies, National Assembly; all these things are obstruction constructed by military technocrats. Why must I go to my State Assembly to ratify my amendment and another state assembly to ratify my amendment? It shows that we have lost touch with the chemistry of coming together as a people. I don’t need any man’s permission to be comfortable in Nigeria. We are asking for permission to be comfortable, to be accommodated in the ground document that gives life to our being a part of the union. We have a problem! Southeast geopolitical zone has been complaining about the way the Nigerian project is skewed against them by representation; do you think this also impairs the constitution amendment? We need some intellectual engineering; each time we, or our leaders in the Southeast talk about constitutional amendment to give them more states, it is not the answer. I am so sorry to say this. The answer is to remove those impediments that had made it impossible for us to be equal. One, using the local government councils as the basis of sharing or representation; let them have one thousand states in the north, but let us remove the basis of representation from being on the local councils created by Abacha. That would remove all the advantages that any other region has. Let us do it by equality of states now, no more taking allocation by local councils or federal representation by the number of local councils you have. Let it be as it is in the senate; every state has three senators! Why do we even need two chambers? We don’t need two chambers in this country, because if you look at the laws that have been made by the National Assembly, how many of them affect the people? They don’t even know how to make laws that will improve the lives of the people and bring welfare to the people; they don’t know where it is. Today the Police Act is purely centred on the president. These are the issues that we need to remove because the police commissioners, everybody, the commander in chief of the Nigeria armed forces is the president. The chief police officer in Nigeria is the president. And these are the things that touch our lives every day; yet we have not dismantled those areas. It is the president that would determine

CONTINUED ON PAGE 27


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

27

COVER

ANAMBRA 2013

duce spare parts. We had thought that we had prepared adequately, the DDC (Direct Data Capturing) machines, we had faith in them; we had faith in the batteries, faith in the accessories and went to the field and found out that the batteries had failed us! Since the batteries were not strong enough, they could not power the laptops, the scanners were not working, and the printers were not working, so a solution had to be found. The first day was very chaotic all over the place, so we met and reviewed the situation. And what we decided to do was to power the laptops and printers, using generators and stabilisers. It has been fantastic. The laptops we thought were dead are now alive, the printers are working and people are coming. I expect that there will be a surge of people coming to register on Saturday (yesterday) and Sunday (today) because people here are mostly traders and farmers. But so far, we are doing well, virtually all the challenges have been addressed and the CVR is going on very well. In Ogbaru area, there were concerns relating to loss of cards due to flood disaster and those who were dislocated from the north… The law of the land has adequately provided for them; they are not part of this continuous registration process at all. If they had followed the law of the land, by now actions would have been concluded. If you lose your card, it is a simple matter; you show evidence by going to the court to swear an affidavit, take it to the police station and get a police statement on it. Then you write to me through the electoral officer in charge of your area, who sends it across to me. With your telephone number I will call you on a date convenient to you and in my office here I will recapture you and issue you a duplicate voter’s card, it is as simple as that. But there has to be evidence men of PDP; what played out in your decision? that you actually lost the card. And when you Well, I am a man under authority; what my bring the evidence, you tell us the polling unit commission tells me to do is what I do. My com- where you registered, we check our data and if mission tells me who to recognise, whom to we see your name we take the machine to give relate to and my commission has the basis for you a duplicate card. doing that. I have implicit confidence, total alle- If you relocated from another state, we call it giance to my commission, the national chairinterstate relocation; that is very simple. You man and the national commissioners; I owe don’t need to go to the police; you write to me, them total and comprehensive allegiance. I am attach the photocopy of your voter card under authority, they have their legal reasons, obtained in 2011, I will do a search and when I they have their moral standard and they asked am satisfied I will call you and recapture you. me to relate to Ejike Oguebego and that is the But, in doing that, you have to surrender your person I am dealing with. original voter’s card. And the process continues What about these challenges in the continuous till October 30, 2013. That is what the law says, voters’ registration…    thirty days before election you stop issuing voter We are doing well, but actually the first day cards, so anybody that comes from Monday I will was almost tragic, because given the fact that attend to him. But in order to avoid confusion, I we are not technologically mature, and most of don’t want to address such issues now that we the things we use are imported, we do not pro- are having continuous voter registration.

INEC Will Surely Deliver In Anambra, Says REC Onukaogu

Nigerians, who when they use the electoral empowerment -their cards, they can now elect men and women who can bring the type of in hand with some of our electoral persons to Nigeria we are expecting. design a curriculum, what I called electoral lit- This curriculum we designed, fine-tuned it and eracy curriculum. We targeted adult illiterate we have presented it to the Electoral Institute to Nigerians so that we give them electoral litera- look at and I have made some presentations in cy empowerment. They can think, they can Botswana and various Universities in Nigeria reflect, they can discuss reasonably, effectively and outside Nigeria in the US, Europe and within the electoral process. They can underAfrica. stand what manifestoes are, they can underThis way, I think that a brand new set of stand what their electoral responsibilities are, Nigerians will arrive. But somebody must bell they can understand the need to perform their the cat! And if I have to bell the cat, even if I may civic responsibilities, they can know how to be misunderstood, maligned, blackmailed; it pull along the crowd; they can read, they can does not really matter. But someone has to bell write, they can talk, they can dialogue within the cat and in the process of belling the cat you the electoral process. Even if outside they will thread where Angels fear to walk. might not be able, but within the electoral Recently INEC went through the eye of a storm, process, this will bring in a brand new set of by recognising one of two warring state chair-

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25

Bedlam Of Political Contest CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25 thers have appeared, creating factions and employing underhand tactics with the hope of being their parties’ candidates. There are rifts in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), where Governor Peter Obi and the Presidency are alleged to be supporting one faction against the other. No party can be said to be totally free from these scheming. A close source to the Guardian informed that Peter Obi has overnight assumed the role of a political King Kong and a master of intrigue, having capitalised on his closeness to the President and power of incumbency to influence decisions. It would be recalled, that barely three weeks after its warring factions were reconciled, APGA had gone into another fresh crisis with the disqualification of Professor Chukwuma Soludo, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and other aspirants from the race. It is alleged that President Jonathan has a hand in Soludo’s disqualification, mindful that his emergence, as well as APGA’s victory at the November 16 polls would hinder his 2015 aspiration. However, as crises brew in APGA, there is also a looming discontentment among the many aspirants in PDP. Political observers, say the crises rocking APGA and PDP, clearly the big two parties in the state, would pave way for Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, who may likely emerge as a consensus candidate for LP, and Chris Ngige, the likely APC candidate to be the two hopefuls of the state. And judging from Ngige’s

present image, where he openly supported the Lagos State Government for the ‘deportation’ of some Anambra State indigenes, it is believed that LP is going to have a landslide victory. Filing questions at the airport on his return to the country from the United State, Uba, the oil mogul turned politician, said, “successive administrations did not fulfill or understand their roles as custodians of public interest, as less emphasis was and is still placed on human beings as the centre of governance. They neither tapped on the abundant resources of the state nor developed the people for the betterment of the state. The state is, indeed, at its historic point, where business acumen and strategic leadership skills are needed to transform it for the benefit of the maximum number of its citizenry. “Our schools are in a sorry state and insecurity reigns supreme. The spirit of enterprise is dwindling because many of our people are migrating to safer states, some are even afraid to come home or engage businesses for fear of being kidnapped or robbed. Anambra needs a governor that will reposition and transform the state to its excellent position,” he noted. Uba, who said he will unveil his manifesto, after his party primaries, which is slated for this week, informed that if voted into power, he will not only provide the enabling ground for businesses to strive, but will finding a lasting solution to the various security problems of the state, reform education to be more impactful on the youth, revitalize agriculture, provide a holistic healthcare system, develop public infrastructure including the provision of reliable electric power supply and drinkable water.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 26 who becomes the IG, (Inspector General of Police) or who is appointed, what crimes can be investigated and so on. In fact, all the powers stop with him. All these things are colonial mentality. So our legislators should try and begin to be intellectually disciplined, to look at the law making process; and we don’t need two chambers to do that effectively. All these things are contraptions by our military leaders who foisted this constitution to us and then put all the roadblocks, that before you want a state created everybody must agree, why should it be so? You give a state to people who need, if it is important. You don’t need to go and convince the man in Sokoto to give state to a man in Anambra, all these things are obstacles by the military that defeated us during the war; they are the people, they are still in government. Southwest Nigeria has been advocating fiscal federalism and the creation of state police; what could be the central position on these issues? The most modern thing Nigerians should do for themselves is to have a state police. Our lawyers are lazy; we are prosecuting by federal laws. Federal law cannot be the basis of convicting a man in a state High Court. Go and find out, magistrates appointed in all the states of the federation are the creation of the executive.  They are not judicial officers. And people who are not judicial officers come and try criminal cases. It is the same executive that appointed them; it is the same executive that is prosecuting you. These are serious issues; you don’t need a law degree to think. Nigerians think you need a law degree to think. You first of all have to have the endowment. We have problems. We talk about fiscal federalism; I am so disappointed in President Jonathan that he did not know why he went to that office. His people should be the primary beneficiaries of fiscal federalism. And he has lost focus. They are talking about personality occupying office instead of whether that office would bring any good to your people. We have a serious issue of identifying what we really want in politics.    In the fight against corruption, some people recommend that the prosecutorial powers of the EFCC and police should be vested in lawyers; can this impact on the fight against crimes and criminality? Corruption is not a serious issue to fight. But first of all, you must have a vision on how to fight corruption. Three basic elements in fighting corruption are: real

‘We Lack The PhilosophyTo Fight Corruption’ estate development, bank accounts and acquisition of motor vehicles. If you are serious that you want to fight corruption, where will you invest the money? In America, people give you money and you have big problem thinking about how to hide it. In Nigeria people give you money you collect ten or twenty million to go and buy a car and collect receipt. And you still sleep in your house. EFCC is not the problem; the problem is the philosophy. You must have the philosophy of what you want to deal with. People own all these shares that are bought in Nigeria. Tomorrow one politician will go out and say he has brought in a foreign investor. Which foreign investor wants to invest in Nigeria? It is our money that they give to them and they come here to say they are investors! Let them show me from where they borrowed the money in their country before coming. It is our money that they are recycling. And who owns those shares; who are the primary shareholders? Nearly all the newspapers in this country are owned by politicians, where did they get the money? The issue is, if we look at our consumption, somebody will buy a property and register it and nobody will ask questions. None of the state governors are doing anything about corruption because all of them are corrupt. So the philosophy to fight corruption is not there; it is not the institution yet. If we decide, we know who buys these cars every day with cash and their bank accounts. Let us make sure that the banks will open up and give us access to the monies of these people. We need to have the philosophy on how to fight corruption and then plan to deal with it. It is a simple methodical approach, starting from head to toe. The other day President Jonathan said his mother donated twenty hostels to the university in Otuoke. His mother should bring her income tax for the last twenty years. Or the woman should be prosecuted for fraud. I cannot believe that these things are going on in this country. Where did his mother get the money to donate property to university? Who are the contractors, what is the contractual agreement she signed with those that built the hostels? Let them all go and sleep, they think everybody is a fool.


28

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday August 25, 2013

NEWSFEATURE

Lagos Water Transport, Neglected But Viable Option Mile 2 ferry terminal with some ferries bought by the Lateef Jakande administration waiting to be put to good use again

By Gbenga Salau ITH an estimated population of about 20 milW lion people in Lagos, it is certain that for easy movement of people from one area of the state to another would require not just a mass movement of people, but also a deployment of the various means of transportation, land, water and probably air. Commuting in the city is no mean challenge and this calls for the intensive engagement of other forms of transportation to make life easier. The coming of LagBus and BRT made some difference, but a lot need to be done. In the 80s and 90s, commuting around Lagos was not limited to movement on road. Then, from Mile 2, there were ferries conveying residents from that section of the city to Marina. It was common to hear, as early as 5am, ‘go by ferry to Marina CMS’, which alerts passengers of the opportunity. This is no more. All the ferries are now grounded, rusting away at the Mile 2 Ferry Terminal. Commuters that reside on that route of Lagos, who needed to be on the Island have only road transport, as the only means of getting to the Island. Water transport, which used to be a viable alternative available is now comatose because the ferries are no longer functional. Also, train service that was available from Iddo to Ijoko became moribund until recently, and the road became the only means of transportation for residents, along that route too. Because there was no alternative means for movement of goods and persons, the roads bore the brunt of the neglect by government, especially Lagos State. Though, after consistent outcry by stakeholders, the federal government rehabilitated part of the rail track, which is now being improved upon by the Lagos State Government through LAMATA, this is outside the ongoing rail project expected to link Island to Badagry. It is however ironical, that though the city is interlinked with waterways, it is not being exploited to its optimum to help city commuters. Stakeholders are of the opinion that since the city is traversed by waterways, this should naturally be a motivation to make water transportation a good option. And with a growing population, the use of water transport should be encouraged and promoted.

While the Ikorodu-CMS-Epe and CMS-Apapa routes are partially working in terms of water transportation that cannot be said of other routes within the city that are linked by water. Even the routes that are working, it is probably at its lowest capacity, as majority of residents still prefer to commute by vehicles. With the enactment in 2008 of the Lagos State Waterways Authority Act, which gave birth to the Lagos State Waterways Authority, the expectation was that things would take shape and the waterways would be plied by ferries conveying persons and goods. But five years after the enactment of the Act, the thinking that water transportation would be competing with land transport has not seen the light of the day. Probably to show the seriousness of the state in terms of making water transport a viable option, Governor Fashola in March 2009 wound down the Lagos State Ferry Service Corporation to allow the Lagos State Waterways Authority take full charge of Lagos waterways, with the mandate to regulate, develop and manage all aspects of waterways in the state. This was an enlarged duty from the task given to the Lagos State Ferry Service Corporation at its inception. And it was done to allow for private sector participation, which at present has not really taken off, except for the Ikorodu to Island routes being managed by Metroferry. Ironically, even when Lagos State was not this congested, ferry services were available and records have that the provision of ferry service dates back to the early 70s, when the Federal Capital was Lagos. So the Federal Inland Waterways then operated ferry services to some routes in Lagos namely Apapa, CMS, Ebute- Ero and other locations. Perhaps to complement the effort of the Federal Government, Lateef Jakande then, the Governor of Lagos State, also establsihed the state ferry service. It purchased ferries, which were called ‘‘Baba Kekere” and “Ita Faji.” And to manage these activities on behalf of Lagos State was the Lagos State Ferry Services Corporation, which had to give way with the establishment of the Lagos State Waterways Authority. Before now, the Mile 2 Ferry Terminal Park

was converted to a garage by LASTMA, where seized vehicles were kept. It was the climax of the non-functioning ferry corporation, with the ferry compound turned into a place for abandoned vehicles. Since last year, all the seized vehicles within the terminal had been evacuated and the car park renovated. Yet, the terminal is yet to commence operation. The Operations Manager of MetroFerry, Mr. Zakari Dekina disclosed that like every business, providing water transportation service has not been an easy task. According to him, the tough business environment is reason why many, who started business with them are no longer available to attend to clients. He complained that apart from the coaches consuming large amount of fuel, which makes the daily running cost to be on the high side, the activities of plank sellers, water hyacinths, high cost of materials and double taxation are some of the issues they are grappling with. He said that the National Waterways Authority and the Lagos Waterways Authority levy his organisation, which to him is more like double taxation, though the two bodies are in court to determine who should actually be collecting the taxes. He further said that when plank sellers are moving their woods to their sawmills, they take the wood through the waterways to their destinations always in a very nonchalant and sometimes violent manner in relation to other users of the waterways. He however called for government’s support in clearing hyacinth floating on the water surface of the channels, which usually tampers with the ferry engines and usually get it spoilt. He also pleaded that government could intervene to give tax waivers on imported ferries, its tools and equipments. This, to him, will help operators to have a better environment to operate, as it would help reduce start up capital and running costs in terms of maintenance. At present, the routes covered by Metroferries are Ikorodu to Ebute-Ero, CMS, Victoria Island and Falomo. Asked if it was due to the challenges in the sector that his organisation services just the Ikorodu-Island-Victoria-Island routes, Dekina said that his organisation has maintained those routes due to regulatory demands, because when they were issued license, all the operators were given designated routes to operate.

He disclosed that his company has 13 functional vehicles and patronage has been growing steadily. “We now carry between one thousand and one thousand five hundred everyday. Safety is in the hands of God, but we have safety vests that we give to all passengers on board, which the regulator also mandated all ferry operators to have in place. This is outside other safety measures put in place, like lifebuoy and fire extinguishers.” According to him, there are no preferential treatment as there is no market segmentation in its operations. Commenting on one of the challenges, he complained that the activities of the sawmillers in Oko Baba, who bring their timber through the wateways often negatively affect their operations. “When they are coming with the logs of wood and any one falls off, instead of locating and removing it to avoid any hazard, they leave it, and they are not bothered about the missing one. And it is very dangerous to ferry operations. At times, the wood goes under the water and one can hardly see it and if a ferry runs into any wood, that is going to be a problem. “So to prevent any crisis, we take our boat out on surveillance on the routes we ply. And we have been doing that, though LASWA has been trying, but we want them to do more.” The Operation Manager, LASWA, said that to ensure safety on the state waterways, it usually holds meeting with all the stakeholders and those who use the state waterways, so that through their activities they do not pose a threat to other users. He stated that there are 59 operators registered with the organisation and the state has about 59 stations and jetties, though some under renovation. According to him, there has been an increase in the number of people who move on the waters from 800,000 in 2008 when they started operations to 1.2 million monthly. He agreed that to invest in the sector is capital intensive, which is why the state is doing everything within its power to provide a conducive investment environment for operators. He further said that the state is in discussion


29

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday August 25, 2013

NEWSFEATURE

Making Water Transport Viable with the National Inland Waterways to harmonise charges collected by the two bodies. He however did not agree that investors are shying away from investing in the sector because the state has about 59 operators registered with it, which range from those who do mass movement of people, chartered ferry and cargo movement. A resident of Lagos, Miss Felicia Aiyelo, who constantly takes ferry from CMS to Apapa, said she prefers going by ferry because it is faster, though slightly more expensive. She also said that using that means of transport saves her from wasting time in traffic and getting stressed in the process. For Mr. Nnamdi Onurah, going by ferry to CMS from Ikorodu and back daily has been rewarding for him because it saves him a lot of time that would have been spent in traffic, though he has to pay double when compared with going by bus. According to him, if government wants more people go by ferry, there should be collaboration between the government and the operators on how to not only bring the fares downward, but also having more ferries on water. He called for more ferries because on two or three occasions he could not get on board a ferry after waiting for more than an hour, which was not encouraging. He said that he had to go by road, which meant spending longer time getting home. Onurah suggested that to make more residents patronise the ferries the timing should be improved upon. “If you do not get to the terminal before 5pm, the chances you will board a ferry is slim. There are few ferries available and by 6pm the operators stop attending to clients,” he said. For Maureen Idegwu, a staff of a radio station, getting to office early takes leaving home 5am and when she closes at 5:30pm, she would not get home till 10pm and sometimes later than that because of the hectic traffic on the Ikorodu route. She complained that to get a ferry demands leaving her office before 5pm, if she would join any of the available ferries as passengers often compete to get on board and it is usually on first come, first served basis. When The Guardian visited the CMS terminal, passengers were seen struggling to get tickets to get on board. At the end, some of the passengers were left behind and had to leave to pick a bus to Ikorodu. It was also observed that it was only MetroFerry that was picking passengers to Ikorodu and the company was conveying people using speedboats, which only accommodated about twenty passengers per boat, different from the ferry it was using when it started operation. Another operator is TexasFerry, which ply the CMS-Apapa route and it conveys passengers using a medium size ferry, but closes its operations by 6pm. From observation and a comparison of the activities being provided now and then, it seems passengers are not getting better treatment. A staff of Metroferry had said when they started out, they would operate till 9 pm, but findings revealed that most times, the last boat to Ikorodu usually leaves the CMS terminal latest by 7pm. Also, the fare rate has increased over time and the company, rather than getting a bigger ferry compared to when it started, now uses more of speedboats, which take less passengers on a trip. It started out with ferries that would carry 55 passengers, now it uses speedboats that convey 20 passengers. This is probably why it now charges higher fare and in the process eliminating the low-income earners, which formed the bulk of its passengers when Metroferry started. The Operations Manager of Metroferry said there were mechanical challenges that forced his organisation into using speedboats, though some passengers wanted a faster journey, which the speedboat offered. He stated that it is not a deliberate attempt on the part of his company to stop operations at 6pm, as its operational time was specified by the LASWA and the Nigeria Navy. Besides, according to him, the engine of the big ferries get opened up if hit by hard debris like wood, which damages the machine easily and endangers life of commuters. He however said that the company has made a breakthrough in overcoming the challenge as it has got a mechanical expert to work on the engine to ensure that it does not malfunction when hit by hard objects or if water filters into the engine. He further said that by the time they are done with the improvement on the engine, it would have better capacity that would make it speed better and likely compete with speedboats. He revealed that when the big ferries are re-introduced the fares are likely to be cheaper compared with what obtains at present. “People prefer a faster means; the speed boat is faster than the big ferries. So they want to get to their destination in less time. The big one takes about forty to forty-five minutes, while the speedboat takes twenty minutes.” Commenting, Professor Adesoji Adesanya, Head Policy Engagement Division, NISER, Ibadan, said that one of the key things that can make Lagos work is an effective transportation system and fortunately Lagos is blessed with abundant water resources. “What Lagos has done lately, I know that there used to be a Lagos State Ferry Services Corporation and later on, they set up the Lagos Waterways Authority. That authority has been working. “Though if you look at it in terms of direction, Lagos has not got theirs yet. Of course, there is also the issue of attraction and what normally makes people not to patronise the current situation is that first, the ferries are not there. Secondly, the connections that are needed to link up most parts of Lagos in terms of jetties are really not there. On top of that is the issue of safety, so there are quite a lot of things that need to be done.” The university don maintained that the city has the potential to

Risky, Passengers boarding a speedboat at the Marina

Dugout boats with outboard engines, water transport style in a megacity provide a viable means of water transportation and a city like Lagos should be able to explore all the available transport modes to relieve the roads of current pressure. “So you can be sure that if these places are adequately connected, people can move rather rapidly and get to their destination fast too.” In his view, the providers could be fully private, government or a partnership between government and the private sector, though the Lagos State Government is encouraging that the process is private sector driven. “But beyond that, if you look at the cost of ferries, it is high. Lagos can start by financially supporting very serious operators to acquire ferries. The capacities of the vessels are very important as you need to invest on very large vessels that can carry minimum eighty to hundred passengers. Like you all know, if it is beyond the capacity of private individuals to provide such vessels, I think what will be proper is for government to support them financially, by way of loan, so that after awhile, based on agreement, the loans would be repaid.” He insisted that with proper planning and support, individuals and private sectors could be encouraged to procure vessels. “Of course, there are other avenues for doing that. There used to be Urban Development Bank, one of its functions is to support transport system. So it could be of help,” he said. He, however, believes that a lot needs to be done in terms of provision of effective communication system, including navigational facilities. To ensure a better water transport system, a captain of TaxasFerries, Jonathan Olorunlana said that it is important that sig-

PHOTOS BY GBENGA SALAU

nals are provided on the routes to aid smooth movement. For Johnson Obi, to encourage more people to go by water, there should be better enlightenment on the opportunities and provision of lifeguards on the routes. Having lifeguards spread across the waterways, to him, would give a sense of confidence and dispel fears that would dissuade residents to go by water. For Captain Ishola Adewale, to ensure a better appreciation of water transport in the state, there should be publicity on the advantages of water transport over other means of transport, including its availability. He also insisted that there must be efforts to put things in order by dredging the waterways for better navigation. “I will say the issue of the waterways being dredged to make it navigable is important. The state also needs to ensure that there are jetties on the routes and create more publicity to encourage people to use water transport, to let people know that they can save a lot of time going by water, than by road where there are slow and hectic traffic. “There should be a PPP arrangement and the government should provide a conducive environment for operators to take full advantage of the opportunities. If there is a way government can bring in good and efficient boats, then allow the private sectors to run it, I think that would be a good way forward.” He also suggested the provision of navigation buoys to make navigation better. This, he said, will allow the captains to know the deep and shallow routes. “They need to mark the channels so that people will know where to pass,” he said.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday August 25, 2013

30

PERSPECTIVE By Tunji Olaopa

UMAN progress, according to Martin Luther King, Jr., is “neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”The hope that the Nigerian national project throws up lies essentially in the fecundity of the issues raised—justice, gender, constitutionalism, education, governance, etc.; and the possibilities of redress found in the critical interrogation of “dedicated individuals”—those eminent personalities with selfless and passionate commitment to public interests and the huge potentialities of the Nigerian state. Chinua Achebe once remarked that, “Being a Nigerian is abysmally frustrating and unbelievably exciting.” And the excitement consists in the task of coaxing “this unruly child along the path of useful creative development.” And sometimes in doing this, it may appear that our abysmal frustration would put us at loggerhead with the state and engender a seemingly contrary vision. Yet, this is just a lovers’ quarrel between the Nigeria we see now and the one we desire to see not only for ourselves but also for our children. One of these eminent Nigerians whose struggles could easily be misconstrued but whose intervention compels attention on the imperative of social justice as the locus for a focused interrogation of our vicissitudes as a nation is the late Kenule SaroWiwa—writer, environmental activist, businessman, politician and social crusader. The social activism of the Ogoni leader dilates for us the difficulties and contradictions which constitute the burden of national progress against which Nigeria’s leadership must strive if it would ever extricate itself from the strangulating grips of a comatose existence or perpetual transition. As a writer, Ken Saro-Wiwa occupies the same spectrum of literary awareness as Soyinka, Achebe and other literary icons whose works interject the Nigerian predicament. However, in Saro-Wiwa we encounter a unique distillation of the meaning of literature in the life of a nation and its diverse but discontented people. Beyond the dynamics of aesthetics, style and forms, the essential objective of literature is to serve as a versatile but potent instrument of positive transformation and regeneration. Alice Childress, the American playwright, affirmed her literary commitment in this regard: “I continue to create because writing is a labor of love and also an act of defiance, a way to light a candle in a gale wind.” Lighting a candle in a gale wind speaks to the task of literature within the context of the horrid circumstances of many African societies, struggling with inherent social tensions and political predicaments. African writers are therefore conditioned as society watchdogs, who must ‘bark’ especially when the moral scale of the society is adversely tilted. Therefore, it isn’t enough for a writer to have a purpose; s/he must understand and pursue it. Ken Saro-Wiwa had a deep and abiding understanding of what literature must do for the Nigerian national project. This purpose was found within the ambit of Ogoniland’s environment crusade for social justice. According to Saro-Wiwa, ‘the environment is man’s first right. Without a safe environment, man cannot exist to claim other rights, be they political, social, or economic.’ This concise and philosophical attestation encapsulates literature simply as man’s actions/inactions within his environment. This literary concern not only defines SaroWiwa’s social activism, it places him in the pantheon of other African writers — Nuruddin Farah, Es’kia Mphahlele, Denis Brutus, and so on—whose works lament the continual struggle with a challenging environment. And he expertly and doggedly wielded this weapon of writing until his time of arrest and death. The year 1990 was a watershed for SaroWiwa, as it was the time he committed himself to ameliorating the problems of oil production and spillage in Nigeria’s Niger Delta regions. Focusing on his homeland, Ogoni, he launched a nonviolent movement for social and ecological justice: the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP). In a role similar to Gandhi’s satyagraha, Ken Saro-Wiwa challenged the oil companies and the Nigerian government of that era, reproving them for waging an eco-

...University Of I

H

N technical terms, a university is an institution of higher education, which grants undergraduate and postgraduate degrees for research and studies. Yet, we need to dig deeper for the insight that brought the university into existence in the first place. It has become common wisdom that the university derives its first sense from the word “universe”. This implies two thoughts. First, there is a concern about the oneness of the universe, which constitutes the focus of a university. Second, there is a reference to a community of intellectuals and students dedicated to unravelling what the universe implies for human existence. Hence, the Latin: Universitas magistrorum etscholarium, or “a community of teachers and scholars.” The idea of the university evolved around the gathering of men who are united around the critical processes of sharing and challenging ideas and thoughts about the universe and its various dynamics. The African university, on the other hand, is caught in a different intellectual dynamics that goes beyond the mere joy of following the scent of wonder. On the contrary, it is caught in the crisis of social change and development. In other words, the university in this postcolonial context is required as the critical and progressive engine of transformation in all its ramifications. By its global research framework, it was to take the frontline in the search for national development in all the newly independent states. It is within this postcolonial birth pang of social transformation that the University of Ibadan (first known as the University College, Ibadan) came into existence in 1948. At its founding, the University of Ibadan was conceived as a centre of academic learning and research that is geared towards providing the human resources required to jumpstart Nigeria’s socio-economic and physical growth. It was to do this by producing graduates who are worthy in learning and character, and hence fit to take their place on the field of national unity and development. In spite of this clarion call of recte sapere fons, UI has not been spared from the accelerating crisis that had attended most universities today: at the local level, a numbing legacy of statism and military encroachment that has infused its valuelessness on the university; at the external level, a global onslaught of market and rationality that undermine the essential functions of the university and reduces everything to the worth of its cash value. The result is a pedagogical underperformance that undermines the essence of the university vis-à-vis the objective of national development. Yet, UI has weathered the storms. In close to 65 years of its existence, the University of Ibadan has remained the torchbearer in higher education in Nigeria. There are several indicators of this pre-eminence beyond the obvious politics of the university webometrics. First, UI is not just the premier university, it long ago became the spring that has fed almost every facet of the Nigerian socio-economic, cultural, political and professional life. Second, the University of Ibadan possesses a unique intellectual tradition that connects a globally rich and differentiated array of research, innovation and enterprise with a local and contextual necessity situated within Nigeria’s postcolonial and post-independence needs. I should know what I’m saying since the University fed my first wondering impulse to probe not only the world through the that our cheeks ought to be struck too by many scholars I have come into contact with— the blow that strikes any Nigerian anywhere. This togetherness and sense of na- Plato, Aristotle, Laski, Kenneth Dike, Soyinka, Dudley, Aboyade; Mabogunje, Omolayole, Bolanle Awe, tional unity becomes a sine qua non for the rehabilitation of the Nigerian Project. Claude Ake, Emeka Anyaoku, Onosode, Jibril Unlike other national heroes we have cel- Aminu, Peter Ekeh, but it also forced on me the necessity of confronting the legacies of colonialism ebrated, Ken Saro-Wiwa confronted the especially in my chosen sphere of intervention— national project from the specific envipublic administration, institutional analysis and ronmental groans and vicissitudes of the their complex reform dynamics. Ogoni people who constitute a bona fide Let me further illustrate this link between global part of the Nigerian diversity. His strugrelevance and local/national exigency with the ingle was therefore ultimately against the teresting contributions of the Institute of African forces of corruption in the military govStudies at Ibadan. The significance of African studernment of his time and their collaboraies becomes all the more acute against the backtion with the multinational oil ground of the relegation of History in the curricula companies that ripped apart the bowels of the various educational institutions in Nigeria. of Ogoniland without commensurate This is because it stands at a critical intellectual “feed-back” and social responsibility to a juncture that enables a nation to interrogate its people whose economic conditions were past in order to be better able to withstand the dyleft in the morass of stupefied nihilism namics of the present and thus prepare for the gloand pollution. In doing this, Saro-Wiwa insists that achieving the Nigerian dream ries of tomorrow. The African studies programme provides students with an access to an inter- and implies, in most cases, decapitating the multi-disciplinary framework of the African experilimbs of corruption, hypocrisy and sentience across the social sciences and humanities ments in the political leadership of our with a unique advantage and sharpened knowlcountry. edge about African issues within historical and contemporary contexts. This makes it possible, for CONTINUED ON PAGE 31 instance, that certain methodological approaches

Ken Saro-Wiwa:

The Vision Of A Writer And The Praxis Of Progress logical war against Ogoniland and occasioning an alleged genocide of the Ogoni people. The principal goal of MOSOP was simple: a fair share of the proceeds of oil extraction, increased autonomy for the Ogoni people and remediation of environmental damage to Ogoni lands by foreign oil corporations. As much as Saro-Wiwa believed that crude oil extraction with extreme environmental damage and decades of indiscriminate petroleum waste dumping needed to be significantly mitigated, so did he insist on a corruption-free society where everyone, irrespective of their ethnic affiliations, had equal chances to articulate a decent existence. What he wanted for Ogoniland were items that ought to feature in every just and truly federal society. No other part of Nigeria ought to be derived of social justice, autonomy and an equal participation in the progress of Nigeria. And thus, with his Ogoni war cry, Ken Saro-Wiwa was again reiterating Martin Luther King, Jr. who noted that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” In other words, by giving his lives in the defence of his people, Ken shows


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday August 25, 2013

31

PERSPECTIVE

Ibadan @ 65, African Studies And The Nigerian Project in the natural sciences are currently being applied to traditional areas of studies in ethno-medicine or belief system. This particularly underscores the urgency the Institute of African Studies is placing on scientific growth as a dimension of a nation’s quest for sustainable growth and development. African Studies at UI commenced in 1962 under its first Vice Chancellor, Prof. Kenneth Dike. This commencement was sig-

nificant because Dike was at the forefront of an indigenous pan-African and pan-Nigerian historical scholarship reform that would ensure that the methodologies for revisiting historical knowledge would ensure its relevance for national development. This came to pass under the auspices of the famous Ibadan School of History. It was the same original endogenous paradigm for research that came to define the cur-

ricula of African studies. The Institute went on to become the hotspot for tested scholars and professionals/Fellows who understand what it means to subordinate learning to the socioeconomic development of a nation: J. P. Clark, Wande Abimbola, Saburi Biobaku, Duro Ladipo, Tekena Tamuno, Mabel Segun, and many others. These scholars put the University of Ibadan on the global scene, especially in relation to seminal ideas on the nature of socio-political processes in Nigeria, as well as the culture and history of Africans, whether past or present. African Studies at UI has thereby insinuated itself into the dynamic interface of the Nigerian national project not only through its core programmes—Peace and Conflict Studies, Gender Studies, and so on—but also significantly through the many strategic partnership which it has forged with critical sectors of the Nigerian state like security, policy and administration. Many administrators and policy-makers in many of the country’s security agencies, who are alumni of the Institute of African Studies, collaborate with the Institute in the training of their security personnel. With the Peace and Conflict Studies Programme of the Institute, more security operatives in Nigeria are being trained for effectiveness and for more efficiency in the protection of lives and property. There are also ongoing researches into the operational and cultural dynamics of conflicts, which is imperative within the plural context of Nigeria. For Evelyn Waugh, British novelist, there are four grades of universities; schools, which by their founding principles and performances records have the capacity for transformation. These are the “Leading School, First-rate School, Good School, and School.” No one can possibly doubt that the University of Ibadan is a leading school, which has, against all odds, withstood several forces bent on undermining the significance of higher education in Nigeria. For many years since its founding, the University has been at the frontier of relevant research and a critical scholarship that a nation can tap into, in constructive collaboration, for the task of making Nigeria work. With its Institute of African Studies, and other such critical programmes, the University becomes a crucial fulcrum in Nigeria’s search for a human capital paradigm that would catalyse Nigeria’s national development profile through the dogged determination of those forged in the pedagogical cauldron of learning and sound judgment.

Olaopa is Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Youth Development, Abuja. tolaopa2003@gmail.com

UI gate

The Vision Remembering Chinua Achebe Of A Writer I By David Jowitt

OFTEN tell students that I was in Nigeria before they were born, and it is true. I first came here not long after independence. In my early years among the people I wanted to identify with, it was deeply reassuring to encounter the remarkable novels of Chinua Achebe, which, coming out one by one, were proving to the world that those same people possessed a culture worthy of investigation and respect. I later CONTINUED FROM PAGE 30 made presents of Things Fall Apart to friends in Britain, many of whom Thus, beyond the unprejudiced crusade could not understand why I should want to spend my life in Africa. So much has been said about Chinua Achebe’s literary significance against injustice and oil spillage and wreck in and achievements in the months since his death that I do not feel I the Niger Delta, Ken was deeply, even if paradoxically, committed to the Nigerian agenda could add anything new. I will only emphasise two things. One is that, undeniably, the novels reveal a master narrator, one who has an almost of development and national unity in many miraculous-seeming gift for bringing to life on the page characters (and other several ways. For instance, knowing not only African characters), their talk, their thoughts and feelings, the how the forces of tribalism and ethnocenevents and the settings they participate in. The other is that everywhere trism could devastate the possibilities of in the novels one senses the presence of a warm, wise, humane, hugrowth and progress, Ken aptly positioned morous, courteous, serene personality, that of the narrator himself. himself, in different publications—Songs in A In 1968 I was back in London, but deeply involved emotionally in the Time of War (1985), Sozaboy: A Novel in Rotten Civil War that by then was raging in Nigeria. By chance I was able to get English (1985), On a Darkling Plain: An Account to know Chinua, as I began to call him. I had earlier got to know James of the Nigerian Civil War (1989), Letters to Ogoni Currey of Heinemann the publishers. Chinua at the time was the Editor Youth (1983), Ogoni: Moment of Truth (1994), A of their African Writers Series, in which so much new African writing Month and a Day: A Detention Diary (1995)—to was published, and James arranged a meeting. I told Chinua about an the espousal of brilliant theses as regards the ambitious novel I planned to write that would be based on the War and contradictions of ethnocentric assumptions, would have an ostensible Igbo narrator. He showed a kindly interest in thus proposing a united Nigerian anchored the idea, and subsequently wrote assuring me that he felt I had certain on principles of justice, equity and social tol- important qualifications for realising it. Perhaps he was only being typerance. These vital ideals of modern societies ically kind: the novel, though eventually finished, suffered from grave will form the bastion for, to quote Saro-Wiwa defects and was never published. Chinua did, however, publish an exhimself, “a greater stability…the Nigerian na- tract from it in Okike, the literary magazine he later started at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN. tion will become stronger.” When the War was over, I travelled from the UK to visit friends of mine Is Ken Saro-Wiwa a tragic hero? In a sense, in ‘the East’ who had passed through the long agony and had somehow the answer must be an affirmative. He paid survived. At UNN, I again met Chinua, together with Ikenna Nzimiro, the ultimate sacrifice within the context of political corruption, environmental injustice the social anthropologist and fiery Marxist, and Emmanuel Obiechina, the refined literary critic who had first drawn attention to Onitsha marand multinational conspiracy mostly superket literature. I had got to know the two of them at Cambridge Univerintended by the military; yet his life and sity, when I was studying there again after my first two years in Nigeria; struggles humbly remind all of us that a right all older than I, and so my elders, they had made an exciting difference mix of selflessness, rule of law and good govto my otherwise rather lonely life in Cambridge. At UNN the three of ernance is highly needful to chart a path to them were a collective thorn in the flesh of the new post-War univerthe national greatness the country is due for. sity administration, and for a while published a magazine, Nsukkascope, The real tragedy would happen if we fail to that relentlessly criticized it. pursue the solid steps he took towards the reChinua kindly arranged for me to stay at the University Guest-House, alisation of that society. but I had meals with him and his wife. He took me back to Enugu in his car, and I well remember both of us chuckling at the very human but touching spectacle of a small boy standing at the thickly forested

roadside and holding up for sale the smoked, splayed carcass of a grasscutter or some such bush animal. For how many hours had he already been there? When would a car stop and pricing start? Would the boy’s arm not be aching after a while? I did not see Chinua again for many years. Although I returned to Nigeria to work, he went to the USA for the first of a series of long stays in American universities. In 1980, however, he was back at UNN, and for a while even acted as Head of the Department of English. While on another visit to Nsukka, I went to call on him in his office. By this time he had not brought out any new work of fiction for many years, and no doubt like many of his admirers I was worried. ‘Chinua, have you any new novel in the making?’ I asked. With his usual wry humour he pointed to a heap of files on his desk and said something like ‘Do you think it is possible to be creative in a situation like this?’ I knew just what he meant. For it seems to me undeniable that one vital requirement for a would-be creative writer is ‘the right environment’ for the talent to blossom. I am still not sure what that environment is. (Virginia Woolf famously said that for a woman writer it means “a room of one’s own”, to which she added: the means of livelihood for which one does not have to work.) Many Nigerian writers today, finding that Nigeria does not provide ‘the right environment’, flee to the UK or the USA, believing that there they will have the necessary freedom from material worries, and benefit from the interest and encouragement of other people. But there they are cut off from the very wellsprings of their talent, from the rich soil of African culture (in its various manifestations, past and present), which gave them their first inspiration. In the case of Achebe we note, sadly, that after the publication soon after the War of his collection of short stories entitled Girls At War, he did not publish another work of fiction apart from Anthills of the Savannah - which, highly accomplished though it is, lacks the freshness of the early novels. The near-fatal motor accident, which he suffered in Nigeria in 1990, and, which left him half-paralysed, must have seriously hampered his productivity. I have recently read Chinua’s last-published work, his memoirs, mainly of Biafra in wartime, entitled There Was A Country. It contains many vividly-told episodes, but it has inevitably provoked controversy because of his account of the role played by certain parties to the conflict. Perhaps it will cause more Nigerians of today – so many of whom were not born when the War took place – to read about the unhappy events of that time and to make up their own minds about the issues involved. Cicero, the great lawyer-orator-politician-writer of the Ancient World, said: ‘to be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain always a child’. I feel that Chinua Achebe, now of blessed memory, would have endorsed that.

Jowitt is a Professor of English at the University of Jos. This article was first published in Weaverbird, the magazine of the Association of English Students, Department of English, University of Jos in July 2013, and has been reproduced by the kind permission of the Editor.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

32

ART

Remaking The African Bureaucracy In this piece, Dr. SHINA AFOLAYAN takes a critical look at Tunji Olaopa’s three texts on Public Service Reforms — Public Administration and Civil Service Reforms in Nigeria (2009), Innovation and Best Practices in Public Sector Reforms: Ideas, Strategies and Conditions (2009), and Public Service Reforms in Africa (2009) INCE the 1960s — considered to be the contiScountries nent’s year of independence — most African have been struggling with the burden of their colonial inheritance. This burden involves coming to terms with the unfolding of the paradox of decolonisation: the difficulty of enjoying the gains of independence even after the visible structures of colonialism have been dismantled. This paradox is no more revealed than in the structure and operations of what constitutes the finest representation of colonial doublespeak: the African bureaucracies. Most African countries inherited the traditional model of public administration which, among other things, involved the idea of a career civil service (established within a service-wide uniformity of rules and regulation) with officers expected to make advancement from their enlistment to retirement. This traditional model of public administration, grounded in the theory of Max Weber, produced a civil service considered to be one of Nigeria’s strongest colonial legacy. Yet, the structure and principle guiding the operation of the civil service virtually collapsed with the advent of the Nigerianisation project meant to replace the expatriates with their Nigerian counterparts. However, by 1975, it became obvious that the Nigerian bureaucracy, for instance, had short-circuited the full cycle of its establishment: it could not complete the required progression from birth to maturity. In the case of Nigeria, the diagnosis is this: In spite of the vision at independence which sought to attain a vision of transforming the Nigerian society and realising the public good within the dynamics of a consciously induced and planned developmental agenda (backed formidably by the windfall revenue from the immense oil resources in the 70s), it soon became obvious that the strategy for public sector investment and institutional expansion would jeopardise this vision. Thus, contrary to its original mandate, the civil service was staffed with managerial officers with unproven capacities. Other dysfunctional issues were soon to manifest within the institutional framework of the Weberian bureaucratic system. The most obvious of these are (a) cultural unsuitability of the Weberian bureaucratic theory, and (b) the coordination of the public good within the directive principle of good leadership. In the first place, the adoption of the colonial bureaucratic system, like the other state apparatuses, was without a conscious effort at interrogating its sociocultural appropriateness for the African context. It was expected that the bureaucracy would work seamlessly once the officers were exchanged. In the second, the failure of the African leadership since independence has proven that without a strong and focused political direction, the African bureaucracies would be endemically prostrate. This postcolonial condition of the African bureaucracies would however be a very dangerous one within the context of globalisation and the diminishing relevance of the state system. The obituary of the state has been written and rewritten in global theories given the fact that most of the original spaces of the state have been taken over by supra-state organisations like Trans-national corporations (TNCs). The irony of globalisation, however, is that the state is back in contention in spite of its predicted demise. But it will be a mistake to think of this redoubtable state in its Westphalian mould. This is because most of the states that are weathering the global storm are states that have transformed themselves out of the Westphalian logic into a developmental and administrative capacity that possesses the capability to tap into the possibilities and potentialities of global developments. This is more crucial for the states in the third world, and especially in Africa, whose capacities for adaptation and transformation have been compromised by colonialism. Achieving a transformatory capacity is not only relevant for global competi-

tiveness, but also for the betterment of the citizens who need the enabling public good to live a good life. How then does the postcolonial state in Africa regain its capacity to confront the public good on behalf of the citizenry? How does the African bureaucracy remake itself into a viable sector for converting the public good into the good life for the citizens? Dr.‘Tunji Olaopa has demonstrated, with his three significant books, that the issue of the reinvention of the African bureaucracies can be tackled from several institutional and political perspectives if the will to do so is available. These books — Public Administration and Civil Service Reforms in Nigeria (2009), Innovation and Best Practices in Public Sector Reforms: Ideas, Strategies and Conditions (2009), and Public Service Reforms in Africa (2009) — are serious inquiry into the institutional requirements and challenges which can lead to the transformation of the public service into an efficient and effective structure for interpreting and delivering the public good. As the titles reveal, the theme of reform is the significant thread that unites the three books. Re-forming the civil service became a necessary action given the failure of the Nigerian Civil Service to consolidate its hold on the tradition of public administration inherited from the British. The message of Public Administration and Civil Service Reforms in Nigeria, therefore, could be regarded as being the attempt to offer …a robust exploration of the problems, challenges of public administration and the problems and prospects of reform. The book could be said to contain the two key elements in confronting the issues of public administration: the technical/organizational dimension, and the ecological/political dimension. This is very important because usually, in the literature, the orthodox approach, a la Woodrow Wilson, has been to set a dichotomy between politics and administration. Thus, on the face of it, public administration is usually taken to mean “the planning, organising, directing, coordinating, and controlling of government operations.” This conception would very often direct and tend to limit attention to the institutions of public administration vis-àvis their design, structure, managers and their capacity to do what they are designed to do. But a much more robust view of the concept would also involve the context, or what could be variously described as the ecology, within which those activities referred to as public administration take place for this determines

to far greater extent the success or failure of public administration. This “ecology of public administration” refers to the political and leadership context within which public service reforms take place. The significant contribution of Olaopa to the literature on public administration is to examine critically the “strong nexus between the two, and therefore, advocates as a necessary requirement for the success of reform that it encompasses both the technical and the political, which is best embodied by the state as ‘a core element in the organisation of a society’.” For example, the chapters on the state and public administration in Nigeria (chapter 5) and the SERVICOM initiative (chapter 7) are very critical in putting “the issue of public administration reform in their political and leadership context. They establish a connection between the state, good leadership, effective public administration institutions, satisfactory service delivery, and legitimacy, thus situating the whole reform project within their proper democratic context.” Public Administration and Civil Service Reforms in Nigeria is not only rich in pointing out the weaknesses of prevailing reform programmes in Nigeria, but also comes up with alternatives, where necessary, and ways of fixing the weaknesses identified. For instance, the ninth chapter offers an optimal public administrative model for the civil service in Nigeria. It does not only put forward the model, it gives a careful step-by-step account of how the model is to be incorporated into the Nigerian system; and in this, Olaopa reveals his worth as a practitioner with insider knowledge of the workings of the system. Olaopa further carries the theme of political leadership in the reform context to another critical continental level in Public Service Reforms in Africa. The book is premised on the dismal performance of the postcolonial states in Africa. Thus, “The albatross of underdevelopment which seems to cling steadfastly round Africa’s advancement is visibly manifested in the dismal performance of the African governments and their bureaucracies. The index of their failure is all too noticeable in the breakdown of infrastructural requirement as well as the scrawny poverty that defines the existence of an average African. One could then almost certainly arrive at a melancholic conclu-

sion that nothing good will ever come out of Africa.” Within this context of pessimism, Olaopa crafts Public Service Reforms in Africa as a statement of institutional optimism in an ocean of unbridled public cynicism and disillusionment about government’s capacity to provide the good life for its citizens. The interest this [book] generates arises from Olaopa’s willingness to engage the pessimism engendered by the dismal performance of the civil service in Africa in achieving a service delivery that will facilitate the enjoyment of the good life by the average African citizen. Thus, the author goes beyond the normal despondent lamentation that evokes socio-political impotence to a robust envisioning of the possibility of institutional progress. Throughout the ten-chapter work, Dr. Olaopa progressively builds up to an ambitious and programmatic analysis of the African bureaucratic predicament in the face of global bureaucratic progress. It advocates a serious blueprint for achieving a fundamental reform of the African bureaucracies. Chapter three of the book is dedicated to analysing the bureaucratic dysfunction generated by the nature of the postcolonial, patrimonial state in Africa as well as by the cultural insensitivity of the Weberian orthodoxy in public administration. The author contends that while the bureaucracy is indispensable to the activities of the modern state, the bureaucratic paradigm it generates — both as an administrative doctrine and as a political imperative — is a major obstacle to development in Africa. This argument is important …to the extent that the public administrative machinery is intimately connected with, and indeed mirror, the nature of the state as well as the political ideology of rulership in decision making. It is to this extent that the bureaucratic paradigm constricted the African leadership into a centralised and authoritarian monistic philosophy of governance and inevitably bred underdevelopment. The bureaucracy in Africa consequently degenerated in the face of these dysfunctions. African leadership was squarely identified as the locus of the bureaucratic dysfunctions in its capacity as the critical factor behind the “vision and mission driving the state and its bureaucracy.” The patrimonial nature of the African state and the lack of a directive principle by the leadership inevitably compromised the Weberian principles of rationality, meritocracy, specialisation, impartiality, professionalism, and so on. For Olaopa, a situation where the


THE GUARDIAN,Sunday, August 25, 2013

33

ARTSVILLE ... Off Nigerian Civil Service And Reforms Weberian framework is superimposed on “societies whose social and political attitudes are grounded in such pre-modern value system as prebendalism, patrimonialism, clientelism, and parochial group solidarity” is bound to result in “a disconnection between the value bases of society, and the operative ethos of the institutions employed in presiding over societal affairs.” The expectation of using the bureaucracy to facilitate the betterment of the lives of the people is significantly impaired. Chapters five and seven of Public Service Reforms in Africa are especially important for the grounding of Olaopa’s optimism about the repositioning capacity of the African states and their bureaucracies. Chapter five outlines the three waves of reform efforts which African states have made at making the bureaucracies relevant for the present century. Chapters six and eight attempt a country by country analysis of the achievements and failures of these efforts. It is however in chapter seven that Dr. Olaopa makes a stentorian case for optimism with regard to the enduring utility public service: The tale of public service reforms in Africa is not always a depressing one in that inefficiency, non-responsiveness, irresponsibility are not the traits that always define public agencies in the continent. The truth is that in quite a number of cases there have been some display of excellence on the part of some public agencies in the continent. These agencies have, through innovation, achieved laudable feats. He then goes on to emphasise some of the NPMinspired practices — privatisation, contracting out, performance planning and reporting, capacity building and decentralization — which have been at the heart of reforms and repositioning in some major African countries like South Africa, Ghana, Botswana, Uganda, Nigeria (fully analysed in chapter eight), Senegal, and soon. Botswana and South Africa are especially shining reinforcement to Olaopa’s optimism that African bureaucracies possess the capacity to rise from their political and bureaucratic slumber to effectively and efficiently achieve what they have been created for. This optimism is however tempered by Olaopa’s recognition of the political element and context of public administration in Africa. This political element concerns the issue of how political leaders are chosen and what they do with their mandate trough the decisions they make. This element, as we have noted earlier, is very critical in defining the direction the bureaucracies can and shall take in tackling the implementation of the public good. It is this political element therefore that makes reform efforts more strategic in the direction of the policies of the government for the benefits of the governed. This is why in chapter nine, he critically analyses those requirements which will ensure that the reform framework of the African governments is made more successful, more strategic for service delivery and more established for global competitiveness. Out of all the factors Olaopa outlines as being crucial to the successful achievement of reform, the most important is undoubtedly the need for a determined political will to carry through reforms, and the need to make reform efforts relevant to the context of governance. These factors are meant to challenge the African leadership on the need to move from the act of visioning to that of missioning in the effort to harness the best in global practices toward a better service delivery mechanism and eventually achieving the good life for the citizenry. As previous chapters have revealed, there is no dearth of innovative and best practices all over the globe to learn from and sensibly adapt. The lesson, for Dr. Olaopa, therefore is to start “walking the talk”: It should be realised that innovation in the public sector goes beyond identifying nagging problems confronting the public service and inventing ways of tackling the problems, or identifying best practices that best address the situation. More than this, innovation demands that laudable ideas be implemented by being converted to what will profit the innovator, and in the case of the public service, the citizens and other stakeholders. Public Service Reforms in Africa is a serious, robust and necessary enlargement of the author’s earlier effort unto a continental level. While Olaopa was concerned, in the Public Administration and Civil Service Reforms in Nigeria, with the attempt to conciliate theory and practice in the administration of the civil service in Nigeria, it is only logical that such an intellectual exercise be accentuated to encompass the entire continent in a turgid and lucid ten-chapter analysis that is a delight to read. Finally, in Innovation and Best Practices in Public Sector Reforms, Dr. Olaopa gives us an insight into the strategies, ideas, and conditions — an institutional blueprint — for redirecting the focus of public service in Africa, and for making the bureaucracy and the African state globally competitive and development oriented especially with regard to service delivery. This task of reinventing the African bureaucracies serves two significant purposes. One, it raises African states to democratic and devel-

BY TOYIN AKINOSHO

Osofisan: Absent At His Own Anniversary Feast F all the 11 longlisted authors for the 2013 edition of the Nigeria Prize O For Literature, Femi Osofisan, professor of theatre arts, was the only one absent at last Sunday’s Book Party. And it would have been a major anniversary party for him. It was 30 years ago, in 1983, that Osofisan (with the same pen name Okinba Launko) won the first ANA Prize with the collection Minted Coins. The ANA awarded only one prize then, which meant that whoever won it was officially the most literate man in Nigeria (1983 Census Figure: 88 million people). That Prize kick-started the chain of literary prizes and awards that have been instituted in the country over the years. The NLNG sponsored Nigeria Prize for Literature is one of the grandchildren of the once very prestigious ANA Prize. “It would have been so symbolic if he had attended,” says Tony Lanlate of the Culture Enthusiasts Club (CEC). “We were hoping to surprise him at the venue”. Instead, Professor Osofisan sent an urgent message to the Committee For Relevant Art (CORA), organisers of the event, explaining that, he needed to attend a Church event with his wife, and his participation was not guaranteed. The party was a blast nonetheless. Seven of the home-based poets were in attendance. The three diaspora writers participated via skype. The ‘hommies’ included Tade Ipadeola (The Sahara Testaments), Remi Raji (Sea of My Mind), Amu Nnadi (Through the Window of a Sandcastle), Ogochukwu Promise (Wild Letters), Iquo Eke (Symphony of Becoming), Obari Gomba (Length of Eyes) and G’ebinyo Egbowei (Marsh Boy and Other Poems). From the diaspora were Obi Nwakanma (Birthcry), Afam Akeh (Letter Home And Biafran Nights) and Amatoritsero Ede (Globetrotter and Hitler’s Children). It was a lively, transatlantic give and take and banter as Akeh and Ede vigorously challenged Ogochukwu on her criticism of exile. “If your house is burning, would you run away?” she asked. To which Ede responded: “We didn’t leave voluntarily, we were spat out by the system.” Osofisan’s entry for the Prize is titled Seven Steps up the Stairways.

opmental significance in a world sold to democratic governance. Two, it gives the African states the needed leeway to participate effectively in global conversation. This is because it is only a developmental and adminisSARO’s Next After KAKADU trative state that possesses the requirements to escape the predicted demise of the state in global reckoning. HEN the Theatre director, Makinde Adeniran, saw FELA!, two years Given this perspective, the important question, for ago, he didn’t share the enthusiasm that seemed to infect a lot of Olaopa, would be: How does a reinvented administrative capacity for the public sector (through innovation those who witnessed the show in Lagos. He scratched his head about and best practice) intersect the goal of a sound demo- the authenticity of the dancing. Earlier this year, Adeniran was on the foundation floor of the construction of KAKADU The Musical, produced cratic culture geared toward an all-round national development? He attempts to answer this question in by Uche Nwokedi, but he left the project when he felt he wouldn’t get to exercise enough directorial control. Now Adeniran has all he wants in a twelve closely woven, and beautifully lucid chapters. new project: SARO The Musical, produced and promoted by the Terra This question is particularly apt given the present global assertiveness of ideas and innovations, especially Kulture Art Centre and billed to come on stage between October and with regard to the public service. There is also the impli- December. Adeniran has an impressive CV. He worked in the Creative cation that this assertiveness has for sustaining the rele- team of Story Story, a project of the BBC World Service for 11 years between 1995 and 2006 and was later a consultant artistic director with vance of the state as an instrument for delivering the good life to the citizens. The problem, however, is that Ogun State Cultural Centre. Outside of these roles, his directorial credthe postcolonial state in Africa does not yet possess the its include, among a score of others, Soyinka’s Death and The King’s Horseman, Rotimi’s The Gods Are Not To Blame, Osofisan’s Who’s Afraid of administrative capacity that will enable it not only to respond to the demands of public interests on behalf of Solarin and Nwokedi’s Jesus Christ Superstar (opera). SARO is the story of four young men who — determined to break from the yoke of frustrathe citizenry, but also to respond to global flows and processes that will facilitate the developmental process tion and lack of opportunities to explore their talents and realise their dreams — decided to embark on a journey to the land of opportunities, on the continent. Lagos. A devastating experience lands them in the lap of destiny, sucIt is in this regard, however, that Innovation and Best cess ignites them and love fuels them. “Conceived as a patriotic cultural Practices in Public Sector Reforms derives one of its ultiproject, SARO The Musical is created and produced by Bolanle Austenmate significance: It offers a structural but critical means of coming to terms with best practices around Peters, the managing director of Terra Kulture and Executive Producer the globe, and especially the NPM revolution, within the of the popular Theatre@Terra Project, which is in its sixth year,” accordcultural context of the African bureaucracies. This, we ing to a statement from Terra Kulture Art Centre. Adeniran was appointed to be executive director and he is working with Ayo Ajayi (Music should recall, brings to mind again the message in Public Service Reforms in Africa about the cultural insensi- Director), Kenneth Uphopho (Drama) and Gbenga Yusuf (Dance). Teju Kareem’s ZMirage Multimedia Company is the Technical Partner on the tivity of the Weberian tradition in public administration. The second significance of Innovation lies — again — project, while the Cultural Advocates Caucus headed by Jahman in its call for a capable governance apparatus as the best Anikulapo is handling media and publicity. “SARO The Musical is means for enabling the reform capacity of the bureau- designed to serve as a response to the recent trend of Nigerian corporate organisations and the affluent importing theatrical packages from cracies in Africa. This message occurs especially from chapter seven to chapter eleven where the author dis- abroad without giving necessary encouragement or assistance to local cusses the conditions which are necessary for domesti- talents to flower”, adds the statement from Terra Kulture. The promotcating and establishing successful reforms. These condi- ers expect to take the play on tour of other parts of the country, Africa, Europe, and America for most part of next year. If Adeniran is so critical tions include: Knowledge, human resource, capacity of the creative content of FELA! and KAKADU, it would be exciting to see building, and governance. Olaopa particularly argues for a governance approach what he’d offer with SARO. to public service reforms which establishes the linkage among the institutional environment, economic man- Moremi Returns, Playing At A Diner agement and the incentive system. The success of this approach, and ultimately the success of reforms on the ROWN Troupe of Africa is presenting what it calls “a rambunctious continent, requires the cultivation of a transformational performance of an irreverent play”, at the Forks & Fingers leadership that will serve as the instrumental catalyst Restaurant, in Ikeja today. The show is a revival of Ayodele Arigbabu’s for growth. Moremi: The Revised Standard Version. A restaurant is a very unusual setThese three books are commendable contributions to ting for drama performance. But Crown Troupe is not your regular prothe advancement of public administration thinking in duction company and Forks & Fingers itself is owned by an arts loving Africa. In the first place, they challenge orthodox proprietor, Andy Akporugo Jr. “The legend of Moremi gets turned thoughts about the operation of the public service espe- inside out... and then it does cartwheels,” according to a statement by cially in a third world context like Nigeria. Secondly, Dreams and Design Arts Agency, the Troupe’s Media Publicist. “With they stimulate intellectual concern about the text and their signature music, dance choreography and on-the-edge dramaturcontext of public administration. Thirdly, they agitate gy, Crown Troupe take the script and make a modern classic out of the the practitioners to continually confront the need to origin”, the statement notes. The show is on at the venue every Sunday convert worthwhile ideas and innovations into veritable in August & September. Gate: N1,000 only. It is also showing every tools for national development. Saturday in August and September at Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos Island from 6pm. Gate: N1,000 only. Moremi RSV is a modern / contemDr. Afolayan is of the Department of Philosophy, University of Ibadan porary stage adaptation of the popular Yoruba legend developed by Evolution Media as inspired by Sewedo Nupowaku and scripted by Ayodele Arigbabu in 2003. The play takes many liberties with the original legend, the key one being that it addresses the crisis which sees Moremi offer her child as a sacrifice to save her people, from that child’s perspective.

W

C


TheGuardian

34 THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Junior Guardian Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition Winners Emerge

Sunshine Sammy’s World Of Words

UT of the 2135 entries that entered for the Mike Okonkwo NaO tional Essay Competition for Secondary Schools students, Folatomi Alli-Balogun of Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, Lagos has emerged the overall winner. According to the chief examiner of the competition, Prof. Akachi Ezeigbo, Folatomi, “she writes with confidence and her ideas and diction are apt and quite appealing. Any reader of the work will detect surface modesty in her expression, but underneath lies great sophistication of thought, which comes out effortlessly in her presentation. It is obvious that the skill she has shown in both stages of the competition is the result of her own effort.” Mark Nwanbiankea, of Lagos State Senior Model Collage Badore came second and was closely followed by Samuel Edet of Government Technical College Calabar Cross River State, who clinched the third position. As the overall winner, Folatomi Alli-Balogun will get a price of N100, 000 and a laptop and three sets of Internet ready desktop computers with printer for her school. Mark Nwanbiankea will receive N75, 000 for himself and two Internet ready desktop computers with printer for his school. Samuel Effion Edet will also receive N50, 000 for himself and a set of Internet ready desktop computer for his school. All the prices will be presented to the winners at the 14th Edition of Mike Okonkwo annual lecture on September 5 at the Shell Hall of Muson Centre, Onikan Lagos by 9.30 a.m. The Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition was introduced as part of the activities to mark the birthday celebration of Dr. Mike Okonkwo, Presiding Bishop of TREM and primarily to contribute towards improving the standard of education in the country in addition to exposing students at that educational level to topical issues that affect the state of the nation.

Fairy

Sunshine Sammy loves to learn new words. Sammy will be happy if you participate in his game by sending him 10 additional words starting with the letter D.

How far and wide they can fly

Dainty

If they get wet, they cannot fly

Dreary

They can only fly when they are dry

Dabble

Team workers and kind partners they are!

Dubious

Sweet queen of the night

Dandy

Sweet, gentle night

Dribble

Rest sweet fairy because tomorrow is another day

Dangle

So that you can work at hay

Dilute

By Madueke Chelsea Yr 5, Heartfield Foundation School, Surulere

Declare

SHORT STORY

Dizzy

Please send your contributions to: The Junior Guardian Desk Rutam House P.M.B. 1217, Oshodi Or Kikelola_oyebola@yahoo.ca

Solutions To Brain Teaser (19) PROMOTE SIMPLIFY

ENGLISH

IBADAN

MUSEUM

DOMESTIC

MECHANIC

IMPUNITY THESAURUS Curious a) inquisitive b) looking c) nice d) pull Aspire a) stretch b) tear c) desire d) climb Cacophony a) call b) disharmony c) trace d) race Wither a) paint b) dry up c) wet d) flower Jangle a) catch b) rattle c) drag d) curl Phantom a) fake b) ghost c) pat d) draw Random a) chance b) separate c) rate d) sew Clique a) touch b) group c) round d) delete Grunt a) sound b) dig c) clear d) gate Gaiety a) jollity b) dirty c) creativity d) heady

Gloryland School Graduates Students LORYLAND International School, G Aguda has turned out 22 graduates with Abayomi Yusuf, Uche Izunwannae

POEM

doctors, PhD holders scattered all over the world.” She added that what the school has achieved was “just a tip of the iceberg and we promise to do more to help the student achieve their dream.” She said the gradaunds, who have now joined the honourable list of the school ambassadors, were now the window through which the society would look into the school and draw conclusion. He urged them not to allow the oil of academic excellence, hard work and integrity given to them by the school dry up in their lives. The proprietor also charged them to remain upright so as not to disappoint their parents, themselves and Gloryland International College. She also praised the parents for supporting the school at all times praying that the Almighty God will bless them abundantly. The chairman of the parent teachers Association (PTA), Ejike Azubuike, while commending the graduands, urged them to aim high, as they embark on another Outgoing Head Boy, Abayomi Yusuf, Proprietress, Chief Mojisola Onitiri and outgoing Head Girl, Uche Izunwannae great adventure in the higher institution. at the graduation ceremony.

for making the school proud at different academic competitions, urged them to emulate some of the and Ronke Abikoye emerging the best alumni who are already doing well three students at the event held at the in their chosen careers. school premises recently. Onitiri said that the school has sucProprietress of the school, Mojisola cessful professionals in all spheres Onitiri, who commended the students of life. “We have lawyers, medical

Had I known ABAJIDE was a wealthy merchant in a town called Serere. He had two wives. The first wife had three children while the second one had two. Babajide built a large house where his family lived and also sent all his children to good schools. All were performing very well in school except for one, who was a child of the second wife. One day, the teacher sent for his parents for some discussion but the father said he had no time for such. Instead, he asked the mother of the boy to see the teacher. The teacher was unhappy about this and asked the woman, “where is your husband?” “He is unable to come,” she replied. The teacher told her that it was okay that one of them came. “But it would have been better if the two of you had come. My advice is that you should pay more attention to your son, Bobade and monitor his activities closely. He doesn’t come regularly to school and he always misses many subjects. This is not good for his future,” the teacher advised. “Thank you, sir. I will tell the father,” replied the mother. When she got

B

home, she narrated all the teacher said to Bobade’s father, but he replied that he couldn’t be bothered whether the boy attended school regularly or not. So, Bobade carried on with his wayward ways and went to school as he pleased. He soon joined a bad gang and was caught one day while stealing clothes from the line. He was asked to take them to his home and parents. The people that caught him were not interested in his home, as they took him to a police station instead. The police took Bobade home to see his father. He tried to disown Bobade but the police informed him he had to do that at the station. There, Bobade wrote that he had been stealing for quite some time and that his father was aware of it. His father denied this but the police officers put him behind the counter while waiting for their boss, who was not around. Many thoughts crossed Bobade’s father mind while he was being detained and one of them was: ‘Had I known.’ Tonye Williams Allbright School, Ikeja.

Charles Lorie French Academy Holds Graduation Ceremony they are not only learning English, HE Proprietress of Charles French and Spanish but also the differT Lorie French Academy, Mrs. Onyeka Albert has advised grad- ent languages and cultures in Nigeria. uating students of the school not to lose focus and to keep the positive values the school has imparted to them. Speaking at the graduation and cultural day ceremony held recently at the school’s premises in Lagos, she said the essence of the event is to let the pupils know identify with their roots and be conscious of the fact that

COMPILED BY KIKELOLA OYEBOLA

“We try as much as possible to showcase different cultures and languages we have in Nigeria including from Hausa, Igbo, Calabar and Yoruba. She explained that many parents don’t allow their children to speak the Yoruba Language. “The problem is not from the school but from the home because we try as much as we can to communicate with the children through different languages. We strive to produce excellent future leaders, who will not only lead this nation but also break communication barriers and take on great challenges.” The pupils thrilled guests, as they showcased innate talents through drama, dancing competition and news presentation. A graduating student told The Guardian that he has learnt a lot from the school. “When I was admitted into the school, I didn’t know how to speak French and Spanish languages, but now I can speak these languages fluently.”


35

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

CAMPUS

MIT Students Engage Kids With Robotics By Tope Templer Olaiya T is a changing world; from chanting ‘Who is in the garden’ to ‘Bojuboju, o loro bo’ to playing ludo game, snake and ladder and recently computer games and play stations, today’s kids are now learning to have fun and outsmart each other with robots. This much was put to test last weekend at the Exposure Robotics Academy (XRA) grand finale, after 45 secondary school kids had spent five weeks in the summer academy at Grange School, GRA, Ikeja. The programme, which is in its second year is being taught by five instructors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and three teaching assistants from Columbia University and the University of Ibadan. Robotics, a branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots is a combination of hard science, mathematics, computer programming, and mechanical engineering, among others. Students, representing 14 different states across Nigeria participated in the programme, which organizers say was aimed at teaching kids how to think creatively and apply theoretical knowledge to practical life situations. At the grand finale, the students competed against one another in groups of three to demonstrate the skills they had acquired during the programme. This was witnessed by representatives of the programme sponsors, which included Alhaji Abdulrazaq Isa, chairman, Katchey Company Limited; Mrs. Kate Isa, CEO, Katchey Company Limited; Akeeb Akinola, Regional IM&T Manager, Shell Upstream Africa; and Enyioma Anaba, Head of Marketing, Interswitch. The theme of the contest was Robotics Assisting Surgery and the winning team, Team Dbig, comprising Madukwe Chidozie, SS 2 student of Government College, Ughelli; Onyeahialam Gregory, SS 3 student of Kings College, Lagos; and Bio-Ibogomo Ebi, SS 3 student of New Total Child Academy, Bayelsa, used their robots to demonstrate how nano technology can be used carry out bone transplant, by sending nano robots into the body of human beings to perform the surgery.

I

Exposure Robotics Academy class of 2013 at the end of the five weeks summer programme last week. For Obinna Okwodu, president of XRA and a “I attended Grange School for my primary edustudent at MIT, it was pure joy for him watch- cation and Olashore International School, so I ing some of the kids grow from never having have pass through the educational system here used a computer to writing intelligent codes and have seen the things that need to be fixed. in the space of five weeks and making robots The XRA team put heads together and decided do complex tasks. to fill this need through the six weeks training “We saw the need for Nigerian students to be and we are happy with the outcome. taught how to think critically. Much of that is Obinna’s verdict after the curtain fell on this not going on in our educational system, year’s summer programme was that the kids in which this programme aims to achieve America are not smarter than Nigerians. “Our because robotics teaches children to solve kids are smarter because this programme they problems on their own by thinking their way have learnt in five weeks is what students use a through complex situations,” he said. whole year to learn, but they mastered the use of Noting that not all the kids would become robots in five weeks.” robotics engineer in future, Okwodu said the Beckley Emmanuella, student of Holy-child skills learnt, which emphasizes three impor- College, Ikoyi, was short of words to describe her tant things: problem solving, creative think- experience. “There is just not one way to ing and teamwork, are qualities that will go describe my experience at the programme. At with them through life. first when we came, we were all wondering what

Wharton MBA Steps Up Awareness Campaign By Gbenga Salau HARTON MBA, the school of W business of Wharton University of Pennsylvania has stepped up its awareness campaign aimed at sensitising Nigerians on the benefits of attending the school to obtain Master of Business Administration (MBA) for professional and personal growth. One of the series in the awareness campaign is the recently held “Discover the Wharton MBA” talk show at Intercontinental Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos where select highly mobile individuals in consulting, industries, academic and government were enlightened on Wharton MBA benefits and values. Speaking on the values that come with obtaining Wharton MBA, the Director of MBA Admission and Financial Aid of Wharton University of Pennsylvania, Ankur Kumar said that her aim is to build awareness around the programmes in Nigeria. “My goal is to build awareness around Wharton MBA. We have a thriving alumni com-

munity here, and we have leaders in various fields such as industries, consulting and manufacturing in Nigeria.” Therefore, she said “my goals and hope are to make interested applicant learn more about Wharton MBA, understand the programmes and the values they need for their professional and personal growth.” Kumar, who addressed the participants, said Wharton MBA is ahead of other business schools across the world because it attracts diverse students and professionals. According to her “Our series come to us with incredible diverse background. Our students have very diverse academic experiences in terms of the courses and topics they study, they have incredible diversity of the industries, sectors and some organisations they’ve worked for. There is also incredible diversity around the personal backgrounds, the geographic exposures and the way they think, operate, and communicate.

Babacock Holds Maritime Management Seminar By Gbenga Akinfenwa HE Babcock Consulting, the T Consultancy outfit of Babcock University, Ilishan – Remo, Ogun State is organising a two – day Maritime Management Course in collaboration with Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association. The event is slated for Thursday and Friday, 29th and 30th August, 2013 at Babcock University.

According to the National President of Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Engr. Alalade Mathew, the course is for the training of Merchant Mariners including, Ship Officers, Marine Pilots, Deck Officers and Managers in the Maritime and Offshore Industries. He added that organizations having shipping department can nominate their staff for the course.

it was all about and when we got introduced to coding, we were all frustrated with our first attempt at writing programs. “Sometimes, we just run the code and the robots, which do not have emotions, just decide to do something different. We were all getting frustrated but it was part of the lessons we were being taught, especially on the way we approach problems and apply it to our everyday life. We were taught to think well and fast of ways to solve problems. “This was completely different to the learning style we are used to, which is spending a lot of time copying notes and memorizing them few days before exams. The robots’ experience was a practical one. The robots also taught us their lessons, to keep trying and never give up, that failure is the route to success. When you fail, you keep trying at it until you succeed.”

OSCOTECH, Citygate Sign MoU For Programme Affiliation By Olawunmi Ojo N an effort to provide solutions to the myriad of problems in the education sector, prime among which are falling standards and low admission capacity, the Osun State College of Technology (OSCOTECH), Esa-Oke and Citygate Institute of Technology and Innovation (CITI), Ibadan, have entered a partnership of education alliance, collaboration and affiliation of programmes. As a result of the partnership, among other benefits, candidates could now study any choice of four courses in Computer Science, Accountancy, Business Administration or Banking and Finance at CITI Campus, Ibadan, and get awarded the final certificate by OSCOTECH. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the partnership was signed by both rectors, Engr. Dr. Augustus Oke and Folajimi Fadenipo respectively at the Council Chambers of OSCOTECH in the presence of governing council members and top management staff of both institutions. Speaking on the essence of the partnership, the Rector of OSCOTECH, Engr. Dr. Augustus Oke, in his address, explained that the signing of the MoU was a deliberate effort by the management of the two institutions to commence a significant development in the nation’s education sector. “This pioneer effort was borne

I

out of a joint desire and unified purpose of the leadership of both institutions to find solutions to the challenges of the education industry. The twin problems of falling standards and low admission capacity seem rather perennial and present a serious challenge and opportunity of equal dimension. “Why should the youth repeatedly retake the matriculation examination in the hope of securing admission and advance their careers? Should we continue to watch as the situation deteriorate every year while parents and students alike resort to self-

help in form of different untoward behaviour and practices, he asked? Oke noted that by attempting the matriculation examination, a candidate has expressed interest, which is the most fundamental requirement for learning. He reasoned that as leaders, “we have a responsibility to focus these energies and excitement for higher pursuit to productive use.” The rector therefore called on other institutions of learning and stakeholders to take responsibility for the rot in the system and begin to take steps

to bring the desired change. On his part, the Rector of CITI, Folajimi Fadenipo, commenting on the initiative, said it was designed to give the teeming youths roaming the streets more access to higher education.

WISECRACKS The price of greatness is responsibility. Winston Churchill Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity. H. Jackson Brown Help others get ahead. You will always stand taller with someone else on your shoulders. Bob Moawad My father taught me that reputation, not money, was the most important thing in the world.

Let us know

Rector, Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke, (Oscotech), Engr. Dr. Augustus Oke (left) presenting official document to the Rector, Citygate Institute of Technology and Innovation (CITI), a private polytechnic in Ibadan, Folajimi Fadenipo, during the signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on collaboration and affiliation of programmes between the two institutions. In the middle is the representative of the Chairman, Oscotech Governing Council, Prof. Layi Fagbenle, Hon. Moses Gbotosho, a member of the council.

Every week, LIFE CAMPUS reports on events in students’ communities across the country. You can contribute by sending stories, gossips, reports on events and your pictures for Campus Faces to us at: templer2k2@yahoo.com or guardianlife2005@yahoo.co m


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday August 25, 2013

36

ENTERPRISE After returning from the Us, all Funke Adesoji wanted to do was grow her trading business. But this was not to be, as she somehow got involved in building projects, which got bigger with time. The Md of Remax Realtors Ltd. was the brainchild behind the Police estate project in idimu, Lagos, recently commissioned by President Goodluck jonathan and witnessed by the inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, Chairman Police service Commission, sir Mike okiro and other high profile dignitaries. she told sUNdAY odiTA recently, that though the real estate sector is male-dominated, interested women could also make their mark. An insight into the Police Estate project in Idimu, Lagos HE structure is a Public Private Partnership (PPP). The Police provided the land and the Developer sourced for funds. The Police held 60 per cent of the housing units at a cheaper rate and the remaining part to be sold to the public. On her working relationship with the police It has been a sweet and sour experience for me. I would like to commend the IGP, Mohammed Abubakar for being very humane and thorough.  He has eyes for details and likes high quality output.  He is also very passionate about the junior ranks.  It was the IG that sourced the land before he assumed his present office. And ever since becoming the IG, he has been pressing for the project to be completed before he leaves the office.  Dealing with the rank and file has been very difficult because they are so skeptical. The junior rank never believed in the project. They never believed such a project could become a reality.  When we were sensitising them about it, they thought it was one of those things.  But I hope the delivery of the 200 houses will open their eyes and hearts and make them believe in such venture in the future. I’m sure they are now more interested.  I thank the former IG, now the chairman Police Service Commission, Sir Mike Okiro, who conceived the idea of an accommodation for all policemen. Measures taken to avert building collapse on the Estate In the course of construction, we employed the best professionals that money can buy, including the best architect in the state. We executed the project with the best practices. All the iron rods used on the site were tested.  When the suppliers brought the consignment, we cut part of it and took it to the Lagos State material and testing laboratory to verify the quality.  Periodically, my structural engineer does cube test for all the columns and slabs.  There is this process, whereby you take a portion of the concrete and put it in water for a number of days, ranging from seven to 21 days.  Then you take the sample to the lab, either at the Lagos State University, or Lagos State material testing laboratory.  The result will tell you the strength of your concrete and by extension, also telling you how strong the construction is. There was a time we asked a contractor to destroy a whole foundation because my project manager was not satisfied with the result of the material test. It wasn’t until he did the non-destructive test at LASU and the structure was certified okay that he was given the nod.  I sincerely believe that with all these processes, the building should stand the test of time.  I believe profit should not be the priority. People should be more concerned about their names. A contractor will go far when he/she makes a name through the delivery of quality projects, rather than using substandard products for buildings, which later collapse and maybe kill innocent people. What we did at Idimu should be a lesson to other developers.  I assure you that in the next 20 years, the Barrack will still look the same. People should not compromise standard.  Integrity matters. On the name, ‘Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Estate’ The name is a boost.  It was a big deal to have had the President coming down to commission the project.  I thank the Lord that Remax completed the project.  I also want to thank MD Abubakar specially. He is a destiny helper because he gave me the opportunity to build the Barracks without demanding for anything. Benefits of living in the Estate They are many. First, police officers are sure of getting solid, finished three-bedroom flats, serviced with relevant infrastructures.  There is a swimming pool, good road network, as well as parking space. There is going to be a basketball court and children playing arena. There will also be a community centre with a small event space, mini clinic, Laundromat and a few shops.  In addition, the estate will be well managed because the services of a facility manager have already been engaged.  He is going to be in charge of the cleaning, maintenance and security.  I have been saying it that it won’t be a case of someone buying a unit and then he/she is left alone or abandoned. There will be rules guiding landlords

T

Adesoji

‘Real Estate Sector Shouldn’t Be Male-dominated’ and their tenants. For instance, people won’t be allowed to just come in, start dismantling houses and then building rubbish.  This, I believe, is the only way to maintain the place; so that in 20 years it will still remain the same.  The place will be regularity painted. All the boreholes are working and will be maintained.  It is a total departure from your regular Police Barracks, which are always looking dilapidated and dirty.  It will be properly managed. Again, anyone living on the estate is sure of security, in that the whole idea behind the project is to provide homes for both serving and retired policemen. And just a stone throw, there is also a police station and an Area Command.  It is the most secured Barracks in the country. Her involvement in the real estate sector I studied Demography and Statistics.  My relationship with real estate was accidental.  I just came back from the USA after some nasty experiences at home; I was confused and didn’t know what to do though, I have been in business since I left the University.  A friend of my brother, an Engineer who has a contracting firm felt I would be a good marketer for his company. He invited me for a dis-

cussion and intimated me of his plan to employ me for the purpose of scouting for jobs and that I would be paid on commission basis. I told him we could do it ourselves, i.e. buy land, build and then sell. He agreed, but added that we should build a portfolio first.  I started working for him and to God be the glory, we got the first, second, and third jobs. All the same, I still did not feel fulfilled because I felt we were not doing it right.  We got a large acre of land in the Ajah axis, which is currently in dispute.  I did the design and we started marketing the bungalows, but I was not quite satisfied with the level of jobs we were executing. I had a burning desire to leave, so I resigned.  After leaving the company, I pondered on what to do next.  Deep within me, however, I knew I could do something bigger.  And really, the Lord answered my prayers, as a friend, an Army Colonel told me that Ojo Local Government wanted to build a market.  I called some of my friends in America, who contributed money and we did the job.  We built 50 lockup shops.  Although a lot of politics was involved in the award of the contract, I stood my grounds and overcame some of the challenges.  In the process, I got another job from a News-

i believe profit should not be the priority. People should be more concerned about their names. A contractor will go far when he/she makes a name through the delivery of quality projects, rather than using substandard products for buildings, which later collapse and maybe kill innocent people. What we did at idimu should be a lesson to other developers. i assure you that in the next 20 years, the Barrack will still look the same. People should not compromise standard.  integrity matters.

paper company. I later executed another project on Banana Island.  There was this ouster project in Ogbomosho, which I also undertook.  Thereafter, the police project came up, and because I did a perfect job for the publisher the first time, he invited me again, asking me to provide them with a concept of what the project would look like.  I brought my architect, who designed everything, but all what I was doing then was just an input without any expectation.  Eventually, he asked whether I would want to be involved.  So, we put in our papers and I told him if it would work out at all, I would prefer Lagos.  Somehow, the Lord granted this request again.  And once I am given a project, I always go all out to do it; I put body and soul into it.  That was the case with the police project. I really gave it my best shot. Beyond the Idimu Police Apartments I see the Police Estate project as a baby. We were pregnant and have now delivered the baby; so, we feel relieved with joy. Right now, we are thinking about the proper nurturing for the baby.  I think as parents, we would want to have more babies though. So, after the Idimu 500 units have been completed, we are moving on to Badagry for another big one. Challenges A lot of people call me a man, but I don’t see sex as a challenge. The greatest challenge in this business is finance.  The cost of mortgage is so high.  Aso Savings and Loans Plc. gave us the first capital, but when Abubakar came on board, he instructed the police cooperative to take up the funding.  Without the Police Cooperative bank, it would have not been easy. Well, another challenge is being a wife and a mother, but my husband was so supportive and my daughter who is now three years has always been with me when I was running up and down to police Headquarters, Abuja and on site.  They call her Engineer.  In fact, the


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

37

IBRUCENTRE

Ayokunle

Esho

Adedokun

Udofia

Odesola

Unegbu

What Clerics Say On Church Wedding, Traditional And Court Marriages Okechukwu

Some people desire to have their marriages solemnised in the church. Others prefer traditional marriage, while some simply go to the Registry for a Court wedding. Which of these is more spiritually ennobling and Biblical? Here, clerics express divergent opinion on the subject.

By Chris Irekamba, Omiko Awa and Isaac Taiwo

much

‘Church Wedding And Traditional Marriage Are Both Biblical’ (Rev. Samson Olasupo A Ayokunle, National Vice-President, Christian Association of Nigeria & President and CEO, Nigerian Baptist Convention, Ibadan) HURCH wedding is biblical in the sense that we believe that God is present with His people in the church. The first wedding in the Garden of Eden took place in the presence of God and He even did the joining. So, if intending couples are Christians and they have the choice to make between Church and traditional wedding, I will advise them to take church wedding. At least the Bible says that whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord, giving thanks to God the Father through Him, Colossians 3:17. Since the Bible did not tell us whether the wedding in Cana of Galilee took place in a church or not, one thing I am sure of is that it took place in the presence of Christ. Traditional wedding is also biblical if we draw inference from the wedding of Isaac and Rebecca in Genesis 24, which took place in the family of the bride. However, idolatrous symbols must be avoided in consummating the wedding. All weddings must fulfill all righteousness. Where the wife becomes pregnant before wedding is sinful and should not be contemplated at all because marriage should be held in honour and bed must be undefiled, Hebrews 13:4. Church wedding must equally be simple, going into debt because of church wedding, traditional or registry wedding should be avoided. Registry wedding is lawful like any other wedding but church wedding is

‘Church Wedding Not Biblical’ (Brother Ben Unegbu, Servant of God, Onitsha, Anambra State) THE so-called ‘Church Wedding’ is not biblical. What you refer to as ‘Church’ is religious denomination, or business centre called “church” today. What is in the Bible is “marriage feast” performed in the house of the parents of the bride. That is the marriage recognised in the Bible. This is exemplified in the marriage between Rebecca and Isaac, where marriage gifts were exchanged, a feast held and prayers offered right in Rebecca’s parents’ house, as recorded in Genesis chapter 24. Jesus Christ attended a marriage feast in Cana of Galilee in the family home of the bride, where he performed the miracle of turning water into wine as recorded in John chapter 2. It was not in any synagogue, temple or in the circle of any religious segregational sect. The true followers of Jesus Christ afterwards never diversionarily organised any so-called church wedding. There is no biblical basis for church wedding, which, in fact, is only a set up for bringing people into religious denominational slavery and bondage, and for siphoning their victims’ money through strange levies and other unwholesome demands in the process, which in many occasions cause economic disaster for the new family of the married couple. What they call solemnisation of holy matrimony is only pretentious. It is God that joins and blesses husband and wife, not any human being or religious denominational priest. The couple has the right to request the brethren in the Lord (if they are genuine brethren), to present them

C

more

preferable.

to God in prayer, during the marriage feast in the house of the bride’s parents. There are no protocols or monitory costs involved in genuine prayer requests. Immediately, the dowry has been settled, the new couple should make a simple prayer request and the brethren will pray for them right there in the bride’s parents house. Then, they go home and begin to live like husband and wife to the glory of God. In the event that the brethren are reluctant or refuse to pray for them, in such a simple and God-supported manner, the brother should take his wife home, kneel down together with her in their house, pray to thank God for the marriage and begin to live happily and fruitfully to the glory of God. Nobody commits sin by not surrendering to any human r e l i g i o u s segregation, time-wasting and empty ceremonies called church wedding, where dupes in religious cassocks target people’s pockets. Regarding the question of which is better between “traditional” and so-called “church” wedding, it should be understood that what is important is the will of God in one’s marriage, not the will of tradition or so-called church. The most important is God-directed, God-blessed and joyful marriage through Christ Jesus that will not fail, scatter and disappoint at last. Religious or traditional wedding is irrelevant as they are unbiblical. It is the will of God that should be sought and done in marriage, not the will of ‘tradition’ or that of religious gangsters in their business centres called “churches”. It is the will of God (only) that should be done. And if that is done, there will be no problem, confusion or diversion now or in future.

As for the place of court in marriage, it needs be pointed out that marriage is marriage. We cannot say that our parents will no longer be our parents because they married in court or by any other civic means, since there have been marriages from time immemorial. However, we need to be careful and to obey the last order, which is God’s approved marriage through Christ Jesus, and which made my own marriage to be a joyful one, not minding the serious-butfruitless jump-ups of the devil, our common enemy. Indeed, the truth is that God’s own planned marriage is always better and it is the one fully recognised by God. ‘Church Wedding, A Symbol Of Baptism’ Julian Ejikeme (Pastor Okechukwu, General Overseer, Christ Manifest Ministries, Lagos) MARRIAGE feast is used in the Bible instead of the word wedding. Christ attended one at the beginning of His ministry and performed His first miracle there. When a man and woman have found themselves and willingly in love, settled without compulsion, to share the rest of their lives, property together and to beget children, they come before God and His people and take a solemn vow of perpetual fidelity between them. This essence of the Church wedding and Christian marriage, which is a living covenant begins here. Marriage is a microcosm of Christ’s relationship with the Church and particularly Christ’s relationship with an individual in Church. ‘This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church’ (Eph.5:32). Wedding is a figure of Christian baptism as Christ said, ‘He that believeth and

is baptised shall be saved…(Mk.16:16). In wedding the hidden truth and wisdom of mystery of Christ and His Bride, the Church is affirmed. The exchange of vow of fidelity is as important as baptism, to which it bears witness. The wining and dining attached are emblems of emphasis that there is dignity and honour in marriage, which should be celebrated (Heb.13:4). Besides, it is befitting that one enters into marriage with joy and gladness. Under repressive antiChrist systems, wedding could be completed in 10 minutes secretly. Engagement is often called traditional wedding. Wedding seals the engagement. Israel had a homogeneous society being the covenanted people of God. One marriage feast served for their ‘Church,’ ‘Traditional’ and ‘Court Wedding’. Today, where parents of the man and woman are believers, Church wedding and traditional ceremonies are done in one event. As for those who did not do the wedding before they met Christ in repentance and new birth, they continue life from there. The Church is a living, dynamic, spiritual organism, which is ‘the pillar and bulwark’ of the truth. The Court wedding serves three purposes; not every one believes in Christ in our society; it serves as a common registry for all people to avoid people taking other people’s husband or wife, as they may not be aware of the wedding in the Church; it serves for national planning; monitoring and projection of future population as each marriage covenanted beget children. ‘Marriage Must Be Done In God’s Way’ (Patrick Esho, Senior/Presid-

Nwaobia ing Pastor of Rabboni Ministry International, Lagos) Marriage is the oldest institution ordained by God for man. Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore, shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh.” Because, it is ordained by God, it must be done His way, the Godly way. Anything outside the way of God is a sin and not acceptable to Him. Some people walk in the permissive will of God in marriage, but it is better to walk in His perfect will, so that He will be pleased to support it. It is better we do church wedding after the traditional before we live together as husband and wife. But if the error had been made, it can be corrected by dedicating or blessing the marriage in the church. It is a sin for Christians to live together with their spouses without the consent or blessing of God. Church wedding and traditional marriage are very important. Traditional marriage is seeking the consent of both families involved in the union, to ensure a harmonious relationship of both families in future. When Abraham wanted a wife for his son Isaac, he sent his servant to go and get one for him and to perform all the traditional marriage rites and protocols with the family of the woman before bringing her to Isaac, his son, as wife, Genesis Chapter 3. In doing so, Abraham also sort God’s guidance for his servant to choose the right person as wife for his son Isaac. This tells us that God must be involved in marriage from the beginning and all through the stages before the union is consummated. Court wedding is the legal side of marriage, which gives it a legal approval in accordance with the laws of the land. It gives both parties the legal back-

CONTINUED ON PAGE 39


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

38

IBRUCENTRE

Sunday School The New Man (5) “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.” Acts 24:16 Bible passages: Luke 19:1-10, 1 Corinthians 6:15-20. Introduction We will continue our series on “The New Man” by highlighting two more prominent features of our subject. Full restitution In the renewed life, man’s conscience is deeply troubled by previous sins committed ignorantly. An irresistible urge to reverse every wrong overwhelms the new soul — Lev. 6:1-7, Lk. By Gabriel Agbo

“Then the Lord turned to him and said, Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” Judges 6:14 HERE is a special mission that God is sending you now, and T that is exactly why you are coming in contact with this message at this particular time. God is the creator and ultimate controller of the universe. He made everything and manipulates all creation and events to suit His will. Nothing happens without His consent. True! Now, when He decides to intervene in any sit-

... With Pastor Enoch Adeboye 19:8, Pro. 28:13, Acts 24:16. Tears of brokenness and regret are not uncommon. In resolving this issue we need to seek the face of the Holy Spirit for divine wisdom Eccl.5:2, Pro. 29:20. Wisdom is the principal thing and is always better than an arm of flesh, Pro. 4:7, Eccl. 9:16. The new man will do everything to avoid grieving his Heavenly Father, Pro. 11:14, Pro 12:15, Pro 15:22. Fully dedicated The new man’s life and philosophy is anchored on his strong determination never to look back after putting his hand on the plough. He is not distracted by anything and fully gives his all in the service of the Lord, Jn.9:4, Jn.4:34. The New man must be separated from evil. He must in fact flee every appearance of evil. This will cover every realm of his life and no area will be spared — Jn. 7:19, 1 Pet. 1:15-16, I Cor. 6:17-18, I Thess. 4:7, Rom.12:1-2, 1

Jn. 2:15-17. The result will show when everything indeed becomes new and old things pass away. He will enjoy an intimate relationship with God and experience super natural promotion and victory on all fronts, Ex.15:26, Deut.28:1-13. This will be your testimony in Jesus’ name. Conclusion “And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered”, 2 Chr 31:20-2. Adopt this mind-set and enjoy the newness of life in Christ Jesus. Amen

Go, I Am Sending You (1) uation, His decisions are always final. And as you are reading this, there is a divine purpose that He is sending you to achieve now. It might look impossible, crazy, unachievable, but God is saying to you, today, that you must immediately begin to go after that assignment. With Him nothing is impossible. Arise, for it is time!

At the time of Gideon, Israel was in bondage. The Midianites held captive for seven years. During this period, Israelites would plant their crops and the marauders from Midian and their evil allies would arrive in droves to attack the land during harvest. They would camp around Israel and make sure that nothing is left of their crops, sheep, oxen, donkeys, etc. They would take all and even destroy the left over. Israel would only run away and hide in the mountains and caves. Intimidated, starving, humiliated, weeping, suffering, dejected and bruised, the Israelite would cry, endure their losses and nurse their wounds, hoping that the following year will be better, but were also disappointed. This went on for good seven years! Maybe, the above situation best describes your condition or that of your family or somebody you know. You plant and others reap. You sow and the enemy scatters. You toil and see no positive results. You have been bruised, intimidated and humiliated. You are even contemplating suicide; tired of this wicked world. You have struggled with life, business and enemies (visible and invisible) for so long. Now, hear the word of God, ‘This is your time for freedom!’ As you read this message, the process of your deliverance will automatically commence in the mighty name of Jesus Christ! Rev. Agbo is of the Assemblies of God Nigeria. gabrielagbo@yahoo.com

PMPN Ends Congress, Graduates Students By Kenechukwu Ezeonyejiaku HE 16th yearly Congress of Pastors/Ministers Prayer NetworkAfrica (PMPN), a non-profit organization that help church workers, pastors and missionaries to mingle and networks, recently, came to a close. The six-day programme held at the Youth Centre, Redemption Camp, Lagos attracted delegates from 15 countries across the globe with over 20 different speakers featuring. Apart from seminars, the gathering also witnessed the graduation of leaders, pastors and missionaries, who were trained by PMPN Training Institute. With the theme, Possessing The Seven Mountains Of The Nations, the Founder and International Coordinator of PMPN, Apostle Victor Uchegbulam, said, “ the inspiration for programme came as far back as year 2000 through the books of Isaiah 2 and Micah, chapter 4. So, we asked ourselves, how do we get that scripture alive? How do we get the mountain of the house of the Lord? Because it is not talking about physical mountain, it is talking about the system and structures of the church, men’s understanding of the society rather and their roles in it. “So, we felt if we shift the pastors, we shift the people, because these pastors will go home and share what they have learnt with their people.” Uchegbulam noted that, “God’s ministers are important in God’s plans on earth, in the church and in bringing glory to God. . “From this conference, church and ministry will not be as usual, rather each one having discovered his or her domain of life will have to radically shift, so, as to shift his followers. Every nation goes the same direction as the church, and the church goes the way her leaders go.” The founder, Intercessors for Africa, Barr. Emeka Nwankpa, admonished the graduating students to be shining lights to the world and, also, be tools of change in their respective nat i o n s . He said: “You have been trained to be stewards of the word of God. What you have been taught will make you uniquely equipped to contribute to national transformation and nation building, and also to help other people in the church to be as enlightened as yourself. .

T

The celebrant, Senator Anthony Adefuye (left) receives prayer from the officiating minister, during the Thanksgiving Service to mark the 69th birthday of Senator Anthony Adefuye at St. Denis Catholic Church, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos.

The Effect Of God’s Word By S.K Abiara HE word of God could be T likened to a seed and a sword. “Now, here is the explanation of the story I told about the farmer sowing grain: The seed that fell on the hard path represents those who hear the good news about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the seed away from their hearts. The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But like young plants in such soil, their roots don’t go very deep … put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Matt. 13:18-23; Eph. 6:17. The word of God is a healing agent, the Psalmist says, “He (God) spoke, and they were healed snatched from the door of death,” Ps. 107:20. This word also sets free, illu-

minates, bears witness, produces faith, makes someone to be wise, exhorts, gladdens the heart, creates the world and regenerates. So, what should be our attitude to the word? We are to stand in awe and tremble at it. My hands have made both heaven and earth, and they are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! “Hear this message from the Lord, and tremble at his words… be joyful in him!’ But they will be put to shame”- Is.66:2, 5. “Let these false prophets tell their dreams, but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word. There is a difference between chaff and wheat! Does not my word burn like fire? Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes rock to pieces? — Jer. 23:28-29. Search for it like the people of Berea. “That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the synagogue. And the people of

Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the scriptures day after day to check up on Paul and Silas, to see if they were really teaching the truth. Acts 17:10-11. God’s word has to be spoken, taught and preached with boldness (Acts 4:29, 31; Acts 8:25). We are to honour, obey and live it. Finally, the word of God has to

be handled with care and accurately. “Work hard so God can approve you. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth,” 2Tim. 2:15. The word has the power to transform lives and guide a believer. “Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by any evil,” Ps. 119:133; it serves as a source of joy to the people of God. “I rejoice in your word like one who finds a great treasure,” Ps. 119:162. God’s word is the standard of conduct (Titus 2:5); source of new life (I Pet. 1:23); and our spiritual food. “You must crave for pure spiritual milk so that you can grow into the fullness of your salvation. Cry out for this nourishment as a baby cries for milk,” I Pet. 2:2. Prophet Abiara, General Evangelist, Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) skabiaraofciem@yahoo.co.uk


39

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

IBRUCENTRE Church Wedding, Traditional And Court Marriages: Clerics Views CONTINUED FROM PAGE 37 ing of the law for their marriage. In conclusion, we have three angles to marriage: the spiritual, the traditional (custom) and the legal. It is important to fulfill all righteousness. ‘All Marriages Are Recognised By God’ (Brother Felix Ekundayo Adedokun, Vice Chairman, Executive Board, God’s Kingdom Society GKS) IN GKS all marriages are processed by the church before approval, after, which they come for blessing. How the couple chose to celebrate their wedding is left to them. The Traditional marriage ceremony is one of the ways new couples celebrate their union. Programmes of the ceremony vary from tribe to tribe.  There is nothing wrong with traditional marriage ceremony if a couple chose to celebrate their marriage that way. Those who prefer the European style of wedding or white wedding cum traditional marriage are also free to do so. There are examples in the Bible of wedding ceremonies according to the custom of the Jews. (Genesis 24:1-67; John 2:1-11). All are recognised by God, but, we should ensure that the formalities do not offend the Christian faith. The Bible says, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4). The Bible further asserts, “Render therefore, to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” (Romans 13:7). And  that we should “Render, therefore, unto Caesar the things, which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”  (Matthew 22:21) We should note, however, that we should not render to Caesar that which belongs to God. Once a marriage has been approved by the church, then it is recognised. How it is celebrated is at the discretion of the couple and their families. Whether it is traditional or white wedding, all are endorsed by the scriptures. However, the Bible says

things should be done orderly and decently. (1Corinthians 14:33,40). There are aspects of traditional marriage ceremony, which are inconsistent with the tenets of the Christian faith. For instance, we do not allow such things as the girl sitting on the lap of the man during the traditional wedding, pouring of libations in honour of the dead or ancestors, kneeling down before the parents or family heads for blessing, kissing and inclusion of tobacco (snuff or cigarettes) in the list of demands by bride’s family. These are not acceptable to the GKS Faith. There are activities that are meant for the open and those that should be in secret. A women should sit on the laps of the man in the bedroom, not in the open. This aspect of the ceremony does not in any way strengthen the union.  - 1 Corinthians 10:23, 31; 6:12; Isaiah 45:23; 3 John 2; Romans 12:2; see also Ephesians 5:10, 17. Court marriages are pursued by women mostly because it is monogamous in nature and grants the wife control over her husband’s estate after his demise, where he dies without a will. But marriages within the GKS leave that option open. If the couple on their own want to go to registry with the conditions involved, the Church cannot stop them.  ‘Traditional Marriage Must Precede Church Wedding’ (Most Rev. Emmanuel Josiah Udofia, Primate, The African Church) CHURCH wedding is Biblical. In John 2:1-2, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, where Jesus Christ and His disciples were invited. If not for the importance of wedding, Jesus Christ would not have been there with his disciples. Everybody should be encouraged to solemnise their marriage in the church. The church wedding and the traditional are important. Let me state categorically here that, it is the traditional marriage that must precede the church wedding, where the parents/guardians consents are sought. The court

wedding is very important as it is recognised by the laws of Nigeria and can on its own serve as a proof of a marriage contract between two people. The certificate given in this marriage is useful in getting visa for the wife/husband, helps against false denial of marriage by either of the spouses. This also helps in claiming the banks deposits or life insurance benefits when the depositor or insurer dies without stating his or her next of kin. After the court wedding, it is imperative that the marriage be blessed in the church. ‘Not Compulsory To Have Church Wedding‘ (Pastor Johnson Odesola, Personal Assistant to the General Overseer, The Redeemed Christian Church of God on Administration and Personnel / Pastor in-charge of Province 1) IT may not be compulsory to have church wedding, but be that as it may, the issue of church wedding becomes crucial for those who would like to start the foundation of their home with God. As much as we may not affirm, it should be noted that it is crucially important since God is the author of marriage and carrying Him along only affirms that He is recognised as the Founder and Builder of a successful home. It also presupposes that, that such a home starts with God, would not only be built according to His standard, but established on a solid rock. For me, there is no dividing line between church wedding and traditional marriage, because both are very crucial to wedlock. Church wedding is vital with a view to carrying God along, while dowry or bride price is also crucial, which under normal circumstance should even come first before church wedding. The scriptures are very emphatic on the need not to take anyone’s daughter for free. That aspect is important to be followed by God’s blessing. Traditional marriage does not need inviting the whole church; only 20 or 30 people from both sides would settle everything that needs to be done about bride price.

They are permitted to serve anything for refreshment whatever. Court wedding cannot also be ruled out because of legal implications in wedding that has to do with change of name, togetherness in terms of property, among others. The church also does not operate in a vacuum as it operates along with the rules of the land. The role of the registry is to legalise the wedding, which is important. That is why most churches in Nigeria during the church wedding would feature both the court and church certificates when it gets to the aspect of signing by both parents and couples themselves. While the Registry puts the legal bound, the church seals it up with the spiritual aspect, which is God’s blessing. The two must go together. ‘Both Church And Traditional Marriages Are Complementary’ (Rt. Rev. Isaac Nwaobia, Bishop of Isiala Ngwa South, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Ecclesiastical Province of Aba) WE can say that church wedding is Biblical since Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church attended wedding at Cana of Galilee, though we were not told it was conducted in the church. But the mere fact that the Head of the church was present and even contributed to its success not only underscores God’s involvement in marriage, but that He would also be present at every church wedding. Both Church and traditional marriages are important and complementary. While traditional marriage is known to come first before church wedding. Payment of bride price is what seals the union. Court wedding is statutory and not an alternative to Church marriage, but a meeting point. For example, both the church certificate and the court certificate are very vital and proof of the fact that union of two persons have truly taken place and sealed. Court wedding also comes first, which assures the legality of the marriage, while the church wedding blesses the union.

Springs Of Wisdom By PASTOR W.F KUMUYI

Passion To Do Right E live in a world where people do not have passion for W righteousness. They would rather live daily, in pretense and eye-service, even in ‘religious’ circles. “For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” But Jesus Christ, the One who was from the beginning with God, knew that the greatest need of man is happiness, obtainable only through righteousness. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Hence, He said in the sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.” Surveys, conducted to ascertain what people really need most in life, have found that everyone yearns for happiness. People commit suicide because they are unhappy. Others became psychiatric cases because of depression caused by unhappiness. Unfortunately, most things people crave and strive for in life do not bring happiness. The only thing that does is righteousness of heart. And even many who profess righteousness today, do so only in a perfunctory manner. In reality, they lack passion and desire to live right. Yet, man in the original, was created in the image of God, with the nature of holiness and righteousness. Any departure from this original plan makes him incomplete, unfulfilled and unhappy. It is like removing a fish out of water. It cannot survive anywhere, but in its natural habitat. Jesus knew that His audience was not happy because they had been removed from the original habitat of righteousness, where they had been created. To be happy therefore, you have to thirst and hunger after the righteousness of God, and experience the blessedness of being. Apostle Paul had such spiritual hunger. He, therefore, readily disposed of things that were otherwise gainful to him, in order to obtain “the righteousness which is of God by faith.” However, unlike Paul, many people do not abandon things that compete with the essential spiritual elements of their lives. They do not dispose of self-righteousness so as to get the righteousness of God. There are many people, today, who though are hungry for God, have been feeding on the wrong kind of food, which do not promote the righteousness of God. These people think that righteousness must be worked out by their human power. Prophet Isaiah said that in the presence of God, such ‘righteousness is like a filthy rag’, because it is not based on atonement by the blood of Jesus Christ. Seeking righteousness is by importunate prayer of faith. Following after righteousness also requires commitment and consecration from the believer. These qualities will make the Christian obey God’s instruction to ‘flee these things (destructive and defiling things); and follow after righteousness’ with focus, fervency and faith, because it is the most indispensable virtue in the life of a child of God. Many years after their death, Noah, Daniel and Job were confirmed possessors of true righteousness of God. Like they had it, you too can have it and live it out everywhere you go. And if only you will truly hunger and thirst for righteousness, if you will earnestly pray to have it stamped on your heart, not only your friends, relations, spouse or members of your church will recognise your righteous living, even your enemies, will also testify that, of a truth, you are a living example of a righteous man or woman. You can be filled with Christ’s righteousness now; so go ahead and pray to God for it. REFERENCES: Romans 10:3,4; Matthew 5:6; Philippians 3:9; Isaiah 64:6; 2 Timothy 2:21, 22; Hosea 10:12; Ezekiel 14:14,20 and Daniel 6:1-6,10-23. All scripture references are taken from the Kings James Version

Total Liberation Is Possible, Says Okafor • As Church Begins Bethel 2013 Conference HE Lagos District Superintendent, Assemblies of God, Nigeria, Rev. Joseph Okafor has attributed the rising trend of terrorism, assassination, robbery and kidnapping in the country as a result of the spiritual condition of man. At a press briefing in Lagos at the weekend, to herald the forthcoming Bethel 2013 Conference of the church with the topic, “Total Liberation” Okafor noted that total liberation from sin and evil is possible if only the unregenerate man would surrender his life to Jesus Christ and becomes a new creature. He called all and sundry including the political class to give God a chance to operate in their life. “If the spiritual condition of man is addressed these wars, political wars, insurgencies that we are seeing today, would be minimised to the barest minimum. Because when Jesus occupies a man’s life, he begins to live a better life that is devoid of evil”, he said. He assured participants of God’s prevailing power over the devil and his agents, during the programme, staring on Wednesday, August 28, through Saturday, August 31, at Assemblies of God, Bethel Camp, Kilometre 48, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

T

Bishop Tasks Clergymen On Good Leadership HE Church today is in dire need of gramme, Archbishop Imaekhai said clergy to scan their environment both T leadership that is productive, proac- though science and technology are the internal and external, so that, knowltive, effective, efficient, relevant and re- dominant features in the 21 century, st

sult-oriented. This was the submission of Rev. Friday Imaekhai, Archbishop of Bendel Ecclesiastical Province and Bishop of Esan, Anglican Diocese, who represented Rev. Nicholas Okoh at the formal opening of a-two week Senior Clergy Training Course at the Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. Commending the vision and the drive of Primate Okoh for the twice a year pro-

they cannot explain the meaning faith, adding that they can only be used to facilitate what we believe in. The Bishop noted that senior clergymen should be knowledgeable in the various management principles to enable them run the church and be abreast of the challenges of information technology. The Church according to him is peopleoriented and management of people is one of the most difficult human endeavours. He, however, called on the senior

edge acquired from the programme would enable them deal with the various challenges in their environment. Calling the clergy to be abreast of happenings around them, Imaekhai urged the senior clergymen to emulate Jesus and his style of leadership in their dayto-day activities. According to him, leadership is not manipulative as modern day preachers of the gospel believe, rather leaders should influence their sheep to facilitate progress and accomplish group goals.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

40

IBRUCENTRE

Dealing With The Wicked (1) By Seyi Ogunorunyinka LOT of lives have been battered. When you look at the lives of some people, you will be shocked by the things you see. The Bible says in Psalm 74:20, “Have regard for your covenant, because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.” This means that there are places on earth that are dark and the Bible recognises them. A place on earth that one can be certain that light shines on is the House of God, but unfortunately, nowadays, the enemy tries to gain entrance into the Church. Some Churches have become house of Satan because the power there is not the power of God, but that of the marine. The Bible says, in Matthew 5:14, “you are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” We are all aware that what is done in the dark places of the world is wickedness. It is from these dark places of the earth that wicked stones are thrown into the lives of men. In these places, there are no friends, even, if you belong to their group, they will still harm you. This obviously is the case of those, who join witchcraft groups. It is a useless activity to serve the devil, the same power that gave them false elevation will also bring them down. In 2 Corinthians 11:14, the Bible says, “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” Those who call themselves witches, wizards or have familiar spirits are just wasting their lives because at the end of the day, they will end up in hell. It is a worthless group to belong to because you will end up obtaining a certificate of destiny demotion. If you must

A

be a battle-axe for the Lord, you must be ready to face problems. If you live a life that Satan has not attacked, that means you are working in line with Satan and he feels he does not need to bother you. If the enemy is not attacking you, it means something is wrong somewhere. If he is not attacking your business, maybe you are using your business to, somehow, glorify him. In 2 Timothy 3:12, the Bible says, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” If you want to be a bench warmer in church, you will end up in hell, the home of unprofitable servants. If the truth must be said, some people are more of a disgrace than a blessing to the church. The Lord created them to be champions who should do exploits for Him, but they rather prefer to live a life of compromise, always avoiding any direct confrontation with Satan. Imagine for a second what would have happened if David refused to confront Goliath, when the Holy Spirit gave him the power to do so. In 1 Samuel 17:45-47, David boldly told Goliath, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty… and he will give all of you into our hands.” His action saved Israel from disgrace and confirmed the supreme power of God to the neighbouring nations of Israel.

Pastor Ogunorunyinka, General Overseer, The Promisedland Restoration Ministries, Surulere, Lagos. pastorseyiogunorunyinka@gmail.com

Presbyter, Lagos District, Assemblies of God, Nigeria, Rev. Amos Ajuwon (left), Lagos District Superintendent, Rev. Joseph Okafor and Media Coordinator, Rev. Godson lroatu, at a press briefing to herald the forthcoming Bethel 2013 Conference of the church, tagged: “Total Liberation” beginning on Wednesday, August 28 through Saturday, August 31, at Assemblies of God, Bethel Camp, Kilometre 48, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway… in Lagos … at weekend.

MPIF Charts A New Path For Christianity By Seye Olumide HE President, Men of Praise International Fellowship T (MPIF), Mr. Tony Okafor and Dr. Ferdinand Nweke of Eternity Ministry have stressed the need for Christians in Nigeria to understudy the word of God with the aim of applying the Kingdom principle, as contained in the teachings of Christ towards finding solution to the problems confronting the nation. Speaking with The Guardian during the 5th anniversary of MPIF in Warri recently the duo, said, “It is rather unfortunate that Christians leaders have reduced the teaching of the Kingdom of God, which Jesus taught to mere Church doctrine. As long as we continue to separate Christ from our day to day activities, secular job and governance, we may continue to face the challenges of bad governance; politics that is devoid of values and Christian discipline.” According to them: “This is the time to examine the Bible critically to teach the undiluted word and instill the fear of God in the people.” Speaking on Boko Haram attack against Christians, Okafor, noted that the war against Boko Haram insurgence cannot be overcome through the use of force and guns, saying it’s a battle Christians would need to confront with prayers. Explaining how MPIF formed by 10 friends in 2008 has grown to contain Brethren from different parts the globe, Okafor said, “the group came up by 10 friends just socializing, when God dropped a vision into my heart, which I shared with others and they all agreed with me. None of us knew whether it could be a fellowship and on what basis, but our praying together and sharing the word was the first step that led to what we are seeing today.

“The mission of the group is to teach the word of God and the Kingdom life. We were directed to redirect the understanding of Christians that the essence of Christ, is not limited to the church, as many believers seem to understand today. Christ is encompassing and His life style must be demonstrated even in our circular jobs and government,” he said. On what distinguishes MPIF from the normal fellowship Okafor said: “The society, today, is already crowded and nurtured by normal church teachings. People go to the church to receive blessing and go back to their business and come back to the church again. This has been the mentality in the present day churches, but God has given us something different. This is a Kingdom, and the meaning of the Kingdom is that a King is in charge, which is Christ. The first condition to be part of the kingdom we are talking about is to accept Christ as the Lord and saviour and to continue living in obedience and total submission to the kingdom.” In the last five years MPIF has recorded series of achievements. According to the president, “we started with 10 men and today we are counting men in hundreds and thousands from across the globe. We are not leaving the women behind because they are our wives. We have a programme for them through the Vanguard team. We teach them the concept of the gospel. We have been able to reach out to the youth through school evangelism and also students in universities. Okafor called on Nigerians to prayer for the country and the 2015 elections, saying politicians should not make the elections a do-or-die affair because they will give account of whatever they do before God.

Living Waters By Pastor Lazarus Muoka

Turning The World Upside Down “But the Jews, which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, these that have turned the world upside down are come hither,” Acts 17: 5- 6. O be candid, if we take into consideration the marvelT lous exploit of the Christians of old, it is very clear that our generation are not doing enough to awaken perishing souls in this world. Many people are dying and going into hell fire contrary to the will of God, because no one has preached to them. Some people have questioned the rationale behind the proliferation of churches, when the rate of crime is on the increase. The wickedness of the people of this generation has surpassed that of the previous generations because most of the Christians are not preaching the word. Many are contented with their salvation and do not bother about the faith of sinners on the street. Little did they know that the Biblical injunction is that they are saved to save others. Abomination is, now, the order of the day; and this goes to show that we, Christians, have not yet made the expected impact as did our brethren who laid the foundation of evangelism 2000 years ago. Therefore, we must somehow accept the blame for the high level of moral decadence in our country today vis-à-vis the world. We should acknowledge that the level of corruption that has gone so high in our society is as a result of our lukewarm attitude to evangelism. God has given us a commission to go forth and preach the gospel to every creature, without distinction of country, age or sex; to instruct them about the saving mysteries of the gospel. He assured us that the preaching of the gospel shall not be hampered by any barrier, for it is not His will that any should perish, but all should come to repentance. That is, God does not desire or wish it. His nature is benevolent, and He sincerely desires the eternal happiness of all. For the fact that the world is in danger of damnation today is not that God does not want to save them, but because we, who are commissioned to call others into salvation, are not meeting the demand of our calling. It is pertinent, therefore, that we should go all out to preach the gospel and turn the world upside down for Christ our King. As we preach to every creature, the message of eternal life through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus, we would initiate a new world order of righteousness and peace, which will usher in the Kingdom of God and subsequently attract every other good thing to us. “And he said unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’ Mk 16: 15 Beloved, we, who want to keep the tenet of the above commission should go into the streets and preach in and out of season, and let our enemies see the boldness of Christ in us. Let us be gallant in His Vineyard and become radical for Jesus. Let our Christ-like life shine among the people.

Methodist Church Honours Members By Toyosi Ajayi HE Methodist Church, Nigeria, Ago Ijaye Parish, EbuteMetta East, Lagos, recently, held a special service to honour some of its members that have contributed to the growth and development of the church with knighthood. Aimed at encouraging hard work, evangelism and promoting the church, those honoured were selected from four different Wesley Circuit in the country. Speaking on the award, Prelate of the Church, Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde, disclosed that the awardees have been found worthy both in character and Christian discipline, apart from using their talents and time to promote God’s work in their various communities. Among the awardees was Adekunle Ayodele Oyedipe from Knight of Charles Wesley (KCW), who was recognised for composing the anthems of different churches, as being a chorister, an accredited lay reader and a choreographer. Of the 61 members awarded, 28 came from Knight of John Wesley (KJW), Officer of the Order of the Wesley (OOW) had 16, Member of the Order of Wesley (MOW) 14, while KCW had three. Expressing gratitude, Oyedipe said, “the award shows recognition of hard work that I have put into the church and Christendom, and I am fulfilled working in the house of God.”

T


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

41

IBRUCENTRE By Ernest Onuoha HE temple courts were known throughout T Judea as a place of learning. Apostle Paul studied in Jerusalem, perhaps, in the temple courts under Gamaliel, one of its foremost teachers, Acts 22:3. At the time of Passover, the greatest rabbis of the land would teach and discuss great truths among themselves. The coming messiah would no doubt have been a popular topic, for everyone was expecting Him. The presence of Jesus in the temple court displayed the depth of His wisdom as it astounded the religious teachers. However, at age 12, Jesus was considered almost an adult; so, He probably didn’t spend a lot of time with His parents during the festival. Those, who attended these festivals often travelled in caravans for protection from robbers along the Palestine roads. The women and children usually would travel at the front of the caravan, with the men coming in the rear. A 12-year-old boy conceivably could have been in either group, so both Mary and Joseph probably assumed that Jesus was with the other one. But when the caravan left Jerusalem, Jesus stayed behind absorbed in His discussion with the religious teachers. It took three whole days for His parents to discover Him. It is possible they may have felt

From The Rector Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor

Where Would You Be Found? disappointed, disgusted at the treatment of boy Jesus to them. Why stay back in the first place when all had left at the end of the festival? To show the intensity of their disappointment Mary said: ‘Why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic searching for you everywhere.’ Interestingly, Jesus did not feel any guilt as He answered: ‘But, why did you need to search? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ The psalmist observed: ‘I was glad when they said to me let us go into the house of the Lord, Ps. 122:1. In the house of the Lord we inquire about His beauty, His faithfulness and loving kindness. It is most unfortunate that some chil-

Only Spiritual Men Can Lead Church To The Next Level Of Impact — Akinpoor suddenly become billionaires once Dr. Francis Akin-John is head, InternaJohn they get to the positions of leadership. tional Church Growth Ministries. He is also an author and a motivational speaker. Ahead of this year’s ‘Leader Lift Conference’ being hosted by the ministry, he spoke to CHRIS IREKAMBA on girl child marriage, the new Lagos Domestic Violence Law, church leadership and other issues. ‘Leader Lift Conference’ IRST, it was the Lord that led me to chose that theme. It is basically to explain that leadership is about lifting others. I believe it is not for personal benefits. From my research as a consultant to churches and ministries, I have seen that leadership is to remind church leaders that we are here to lift people, which is the fundamental and most important reason for leadership. Leaders must lift people emotionally, financially, spiritually and economically. Expectation after the conference I expect that our church leaders would learn skills on how to be lifters. We are talking on practical skills, empowering them on how to change lives and transform the societies. We want them to be in touch with God and become agents of change. We want to de-emphasise motivational preaching and encourage leaders to teach and cite only the Bible. Example of leaders with such qualities I am going to say no with the exception of a very few people, but you must know we have more looters than leaders in the church and in the nation. We also have rulers and not leaders; our rulers do not have the skills and motivations to serve others. We can all see how people who were so

F

They serve themselves and their cronies. Nigeria lacks leaders that can lead us with vision, sacrifice, personal examples and integrity. Partnering with government on leadership When we deemphasised going to Bible schools. There was this crop of leaders that emerged in the late 70s without attending Bible schools. They had secular training and good degrees, but lacked Biblical training. In those days, the church emphasised Biblical teachings on integrity, honesty and hard work. Churches were not flamboyant then, but there were well-groomed leaders in the church. These secular trained church leaders started anointing rich, successful Christians to be pastors without good foundation. Churches become rich, popular and full, but lacked good foundations; that was the point we lost it. Today, pastors misbehave; they lack consistent walk with the Lord and until the church goes back to emphasise discipleship, godly living and Biblical instructions, we’d remain in the doldrums. Assessing a growing church I would judge a growing church by its health. There are many growing, but unhealthy churches. Many think every church with thousands of worshippers is really growing. You can have money, popularity and fame and yet remain unhealthy. I’d be interested in knowing the quality of life by those attending those churches. Many, today, are in churches to receive from God; they just want to use Him. They just want to pray and receive miracles without pleasing God or walking with Him. Many preachers focus on testimonies, prophecies and miracles that will bring people without discipleship. Churches like that are not healthy, but growing. So, I will look for the moral lifestyles, value systems of the people and their willingness to please God and follow Christ. So, I won’t be deceived by

who pretend to be good, but out there would be wolves, leaders in various deadly cult groups, armed robbers and celebrated prostitutes. May God deliver us. dren, these days, look for quick money and The Bible told us that Jesus sat among the easy life, notwithstanding the virtues put in religious leaders discussing and asking them by their parents. Most times, they want them questions. It was not surprising in to have their way and some places where Matt. 23:13 that He came harsh on the relithey are found speak volumes of their despi- gious leaders, what sorrow awaits you cable behaviours. We should be worried in teachers of religious law and you Pharsuch places where they are found, often, they isees, hypocrites, blind guides, whiteare not decent places. washed tombs. Yes, He was found in the Painfully, the devil is gathering souls for de- temple and no other such condemnable struction, having sold to them different place. Watch where you may be found dummies that will not do them any good. As today! parents, therefore, we need to go in search of our children before it becomes too late. We Ven. Ernest Onuoha, recommend a diligent search to counter the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, activities of the evil one. We should be on the Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. look out for some of our children at home, www.ibrucentre.org

Anglican Communion Urges Govt To Resolve ASUU Crisis From Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja ORRIED by the incessant strike in the nation’s tertiary institutions, the Diocese of Kubwa, Anglican Communion has called on the Federal Government to urgently resolve the lingering strike of the Academic Staff Union of the University (ASUU) in the interest of the students and the collective future of the nation. . The church also frowned at the failure of the Senate to expunge Section 29(4)(b), which stipulates that married girl child is considered to be of full age, adding that such action is in contradiction to Section 29(4)(a), which adequately defines the meaning of full age. In a statement issued at the end of the second session of the Second Synod of the Diocese on Sunday in Abuja and signed by the Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev Duke T. Akamisoko, the church urged all stakeholders in the amendment of the 1999 Constitution to make it truly a ‘We, the people of Nigeria’ document. It com-

W

mended the House of Representatives for the move to introduce autonomy for Local Government Councils in the Constitution, saying it should be supported by the States Houses of Assembly to give it the force of law. The church also commended the efforts of President Goodluck Jonathan for establishing 13 new Federal Universities across the country, noting that the measure would widen the admission space for tertiary education in the country. . It further observed that the recent revelation by the Minister of Power that about 120 million Nigerians are without access to power is rather embarrassing for a nation that is at the verge of celebrating 100 years of its corporate existence. Earlier, in a sermon entitled, God Is Light And In Him, There Is No Darkness ”, Rt. Rev. G. Akinbiyi stressed that if Nigerians allow the light of Christ in their endeavours, the country would be better of and admonished Christians to demonstrate the characters of Jesus Christ.

Church Leaders Enjoined To Emulate Christ By Ikechukwu Onyewuchi O mark their relevance in society, religious leaders have been urged to shun hypocrisy, be true to their faith and help leaders to solve societal problems in line with the character of Jesus Christ. The charge was made, recently, by the General Supervisor and Minister-in-Charge of ThankGod Awaited Liberation Ministry, Francis Otukwu at the church’s 7th Anniversary Thanksgiving service, held in Ikeja, Lagos. In his sermon, Otukwu, who stressed that the Christian fold is divided within itself, cautioned Christians to steer clear of pastors whose messages and deeds are not in line with the tenets of the Bible. He noted that the character of Christ is the best a Christian can emulate, noting that Christians in Nigeria are swayed by the flamboyance of Church leaders

T

instead of the core precepts of the Bible. According to him, “because of worldly pleasures, Christians are not able to forsake the things of the world to follow Christ. Religious leaders are no longer true to faith as against what obtains in the Bible, where Church leaders helped to solve societal problems.” Citing the example of Elijah and Moses, he said a country like Nigeria, with its numerous leadership challenges, needs men whose hearts is right with God to reposition the country, calling on Church leaders to be active agents of change in the society. “The Kings in the Bible brought the problems of the society to men of God for solutions. Today, when the country is in turmoil, nobody looks to the church because it has compromised its standard,” he said.

Foursquare Church Ends Men’s Convention By Gbenga Akinfenwa OR three days, men of the Foursquare Gospel Church, Nigeria and Benin Republic, under the umbrella of the Council of Foursquare Men (CFM), gathered at the Church’s campground, Ajebo, Ogun State, to observe their yearly men’s convention with the theme: Empowered By Grace. The event, which attracted over 6,000 men, saw those in attendance rededicate themselves to the service of God. Speaking on the theme, the General Overseer of the Church, Rev. Felix Meduoye, said, “the Christian life is all about grace, because we were saved by grace, kept by grace and will make heaven by grace. This means that all Christians must seek at all times to be

F

clothed and empowered by grace.” “We need the grace of God, now, more than ever because of the increasing influence of sin. We must continue to tap from God’s rich provision on daily basis,” he said. Commenting on the programme, CFM National President, Churchill Peters-Ayerume noted that empowered grace is divine enablement released on a vessel to carry out the unusual. He informed that the vision of the group is to achieve the aim of Decade of Multiplication (D-Multiplication). The chairman, Convention Planning Committee (CPC) charged the men to have a receptive mind, so that they could always receive from the throne of grace.


1THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

47

BUSINESSAGRO Air Cargo Revolution:

How Nigerian Farmers Would Profit By Yakubu Dati

ASSEy Ekpe (not real name, 33, loves apples. A resident of Ikeja, a Lagos suburb, Ekpe has eagerly eaten apples for well over 10 years. The catch is he does not know where these apples come from or how they get to him. Therefore, it was really a surprise to him when a little while ago, this year his eyes caught an inscription on the carton, on which the fruit seller near his home had laid her adorable apples, when she went to buy them. It read: “Grown in South Africa!” South Africa! Then, the question that flashed in his mind was: “So, how do I get them fresh everyday?” Well, perhaps, some of us can hazard a correct answer.” By Air.” Well, the issue really is that, for too long, Nigeria has been missing out on this lucrative trade in fresh agriculture produce which are daily freighted by air to various markets round the world in which they are in demand. South African grown fresh apples began appearing on Nigerian streets in 1999 shortly after the return of democracy to the country and the re-establishment of strong business and political relations. yet, it has been a one-sided trade—as far as fresh fruits and vegetables are concerned.”99 per cent of cargo aircraft flying into Nigeria, return to their places of origin—empty!” The global trade in perishable farm produce is worth several billions of dollar per annum. In 2010, African countries participating in this trade recorded a turnover of about N245 billion. The countries involved are South African, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Cote D’Ivoire, Benin Republic and Ghana. Nigeria was completely missing on that list. Today, the situation is still the same. But from all indications things are about to change. The current Aviation minister, Princess Stella Oduah has set in motion a new air cargo programme that is expected to transform the air cargo sector and also provide immense benefits to Nigerian farmers. The minister has undertaken a radical step of refurbishing and redesigning of 22 airport terminals across the country. She has also designated 13 of these as cargo terminals and has began the process of constructing additional facilities at these airports to make them function effectively as cargo airports. A few months ago, a new department was created in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to spearhead the new drive for the development of air cargo sector in the Nigerian

B

Aviation industry. Furthermore, under the multi-billion dollar agreement signed by President Jonathan on behalf of Nigeria with the Chinese government, the Chinese state-owned construction company, CCECC, would build five brand new world-class airport terminals in the country. These new airport terminals have been designed with facilities for air cargo. How Farmers Will Benefit The Aviation ministry and FAAN are currently laying the groundwork that would open a new world of opportunities for Nigerian farmers. The global market in fresh agricultural produce worth well over $5billion, about N1trillion annually is being opened up for Nigerian farmers. Fresh tropical fruits such as oranges, pineapples, mangoes, tangerine, paw paw, grapes, cashew, bananas, vegetables, flowers and legumes grown in the country are soon to head to international markets in Europe and the US where they would compete with similar produce from around the world. Nigerian fruits, which are invariably grown organically and are delicious are expected to compete favourably well with others on international markets. Air freight would make this possible. Access to global markets means that Nigerian farmers would have greater demand for their output and perhaps, better prices. That is also expected to stimulate more agricultural production, which would in turn, boost the rural economy in the country. “There would be competition by farmers to produce more to feed the foreign and domestic market ,unlike what you have now”, says one analyst. Nonetheless, there is a lot of work to be done. Support services such as cold storage containers will have to be provided at the airports. Specialised transportation for these perishables also have to be provided. And these services may have to be provided by the private sector, which is expected to buy into the new vision of the Aviation Ministry to transform Nigerian Aviation Industry. The Aviation Minister has hosted a number of international road shows aimed at creating awareness in the international community about the possibilities of the country. The Aviation Ministry and parastatals are also in discussions with various chambers of Commerce and Farmers cooperatives round the country, to sensitize them to the possibilities available

Quarantine officer checking Ugu leaves for EU compliance before export at the MMA office of Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service

under the country’s new air cargo programme and to explore various options for collaboration to achieve the objectives of marketing Nigeria’s perishable agricultural produce to the world. With 13 designated air cargo airports spread around the country, farmers would not have to haul their produce over long distances by road, in order to find a market for them. For example, take the Enugu Airport. Cashew farmers from neighbouring areas would only have to get their produce to the airport, from where these can be freight to different markets both in and outside the country.

Available statistics indicate that about 70 per cent of agricultural produce especially perishables such as fruits and tomatoes are wasted while trying to get them to several markets round the country. Airfreight could dramatically reduce this wastage, and put more money back into the hands of Nigerian farmers once the current restructuring, reorganization and provision of cargo handling facilities beingundertaken currently is in place. To the Nigerian farmers, a new dawn beckons! • Datti is Coordinating GM on Information & Communication, Aviation parastatals

FIIRO Partners Gratitude For Mushroom Production By Gbenga Akinfenwa

S part of efforts aimed at ensuring rapid industrialisation of Nigeria in terms of food security, Gratitude Project Partners, from Thailand and Vietnam, have begun collaboration with the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), on the usage of cassava wastes to produce edible mushroom. The project, sponsored by the European Union on Reducing Losses from Roots and Tuber Crops, is partnering Universities and research institutions in Nigeria, Ghana and other countries across the world to add value to waste. During a visit to FIIRO during the week, To Kim Anh

A

from Hanoi University of Science and Technology, Vietnam, who revealed that the visit would be her first to Africa, said her team would develop the relationship. She added that they would look at other areas where they can work with the institute in order to achieve their mandate through the partnership. Prof. Sanni Lateef, FUNAAB Coordinator of the project said so far the project has shown that it can add value by using cassava waste, not only for mushroom production but also to produce snacks for diabetics and food grade snacks. Director-General of the institute, Dr. (Mrs.) Gloria Elemo, who stated that the institute was commissioned by EU to do research and development on edible mushroom cultivation technology and domestication, said it has been working on the use of cassava peel, yam peel and cassava stalk as substrate to produce edible mushroom. “The result obtained has been particularly good. Training programme is currently being run on mushroom production in the institute. We have acquired equipment for production of composite material for mush-

room cultivation and dehumidifier for environment conditioning among other things,” she said. Elemo noted that in order to reduce investment on mushroom production, a thatched roof mushroom house has been developed to grow mushrooms and train entrepreneurs. She claimed that the step implies that its cultivation can easily be set up in the rural areas at low cost and technology made simpler. “The partnership is in line with collaboration in terms of exchange of ideas This particular project is based on using cassava waste to cultivate high quality mushroom. For over 20 years, FIIRO has developed various mushroom species; we have been training people on cultivation. We are trying to develop a market for spurning; its beauty is that it grows easily. The technology has been developed, what we need is popularisation. “The whole idea of this particular partnership is to use the cassava peel there is a lot of nutrients in cassava peels, there is no way we can tolerate waste, every waste is a starting point for wealth, so we are using it to produce mushroom,” she stated.


48

Birthdays AMEN, Erhunmwunse Sonnie, Ph.D Business Administration (honoris causa), Justice of Peace, administrator, politician, philanthropist, advertising and public relations consultant was 76 on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. He attended Eweka Memorial School, Benin City; Provincial Teachers’ Training College, Agbede; Benin-Delta Teachers’ Training College, Benin City, Rural Education College, Asaba and University of Lagos (Mass Communication). A Rotarian of note, Rotary Past President, Past President Boys’ Brigade,

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

agement Board; Kano State Ministry of Justice as pupil counsel; Messrs Zakari Yaro & Co; before establishing Messrs M.A Bello & Co. He has been in active practice since his call to bar. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in International Tax Law from Robert Kennedy University, Zurich, Switzerland; a Postgraduate Degree in International

Edo State Council, Past President Cedar Club of Benin, Paul Harris Fellow, Fellow, Institute of Business Executive (FIBE), Full member APCON, Member NIPR, Pilgrim of Holy Infant Jesus, Chief Executive, Sonnie Amen Limited, Odionwere (head) of Efehi Street, New Benin, Benin City and a pensioner. ADOKE, Mohammed Bello SAN, lawyer would be 50 on Sunday, September 1, 2013. Born on September 1, 1963, he was educated at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Kaduna State where he obtained a degree in law in 1985. He was sub-

Commercial Law from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, U.K. he is a member of the International Bar Association; member, board of Peugeot Automobile Limited, Kaduna between 2006 and 2008; Chairman of the Board Audit Committee of Unity Bank Plc, and cur-

rently a member of the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee. He is also an honorary fellow of the Institute of Business Executives of Nigeria and Institute of Industrialist and Corporate Administra tors.

Compiled by Gbenga Akinfenwa, gbengaherkin@yahoo.com

Adoke

sequently called to the Nigerian Bar in October 1986. He worked with Kwara State Schools’ Man-

Kemi Ajumobi (left), Yvonne Ebbi, Oge Modie, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Toyosi Akerele and Hafsat Abiola Costello at this year’s Business Day Women’s Conference Series.

Member, House of Representatives, representing Ifako Ijaye Constituency of Lagos, Michael Ogunnusi (seventh, right) with leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ifako Ijaye, Chief Ayo Akande (in white), during the lawmaker’s visit in Lagos.

Oluwaseun Asogbon with some of his SOGBON JUAFRO BAND at a recent performance in Ikogosi Ekiti, Ekiti State.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Citibank Nigeria Limited, Omar Hafeez; Founder of Growing Businesses Foundation, Dr. (Mrs.) Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien and Director of Development for the Finance Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Paul. N. Eluhaiwe, flanked by awardees and event team at the Sixth Annual Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards Ceremony which took place in Abuja.

Anglican Church Installs Oduyomi As Archdeacon HE Diocese of Ifo, Church of Nigeria (AngliT can Communion) has installed Revd. Canon Mattew Foluso Oduyomi and two others as Archdeacons in the Diocese. The event held at St. Michael’s Anglican Church, Arigbajo, Ogun State last Saturday was also used for the institution, installation and induction of the Archdeacon of Arigbajo Archdeaconry and Vicar, St. Michael’s Anglican Church, Arigbajo, Rev. Jeremiah Ajayi. In his sermon, the Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev’d Nathaniel Oladejo Ogundipe admonished the new Archdeacons to use their office to serve others. Quoting from Titus Chapter two, he charged

them to teach the right doctrine and leave the life of a good Christian in conduct, saying one of the greatest need of the church today is credibility. He encouraged all Christians to display the right lifestyle and examine their lives regularly to ensure that they are still on the right path. “If your life do not positively affect the lives of others, you are not Christians. The same responsibility that Paul told Titus, applies to us to teach the right doctrine and affect people around us positively and be acceptable unto God”, he said.

Mattew Oduyomi (left), Bishop Oladejo Ogundipe and other newly inducted Archdeacons

Mr S. Owolabi of Chemotechnics Ltd receives Distinguished Award from the President, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Mustapha Shehu at the 2013 Dinner/Award Night organised by the society in Jos, Plateau State.

Event • The Walimot Nikahi between Muhammed Toheer Babatunde Azeez and Fadhilat Adetutu Raufu comes up on August 24, 2013 at Morogbo Primary School, Morogbo by Agbara Bus Stop, Lagos by 10am.

Transition • Herbert O. N. Chikere is dead, aged 77 years. A devout Christian and community leader, Chikere hailed from Umukoto, Umudibia Nekede, Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State. He will be buried on Friday, September 13, 2013, after a church service, in his compound at Umukoto Umudibia, Nekede. Service of songs by the Assemblies of God Church, Umudibia Nekede holds at his residence on Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 6pm. He is survived by wife, children, and grand children, among whom is Mrs. Chinyere Ikeanyi (nee Chikere). • The death has been announced of a very devout Christian and community leader, Madam Susananah Ajolade Odusote, (nee Dina). She was aged 107years. She died on the 25th July, 2013 at General Hospital, Lagos. She is survived by children, grand, great-grand children and relatives. Funeral arrangements will commence on Friday 30th August at 5pm with a wake-keep at her residence, 3, Oke Mosa Street,

Oke-Agbo, Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State. Her remains will be interred at the Christian Cemetery, Oke-Agbo, Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State, after a funeral service on 31st August 2013 at 12noon at St. John’s African Church Oke-Agbo Ijebu Igbo. Entertainment of guests will follow immediately at St. John’s African Church Primary School, Oke-Agbo, Ijebu Igbo.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday August 25, 2013

49

NEWSFEATURE

Raising A Voice For Helpless Widows Wives of Abia State Governor, Mrs. Odochi Orji(Left); Enugu State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Nneka Onyebuchi; Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mrs. Ekaette Akpabio; Anambra State Governor, Mrs. Margarete Obi; Cross River State Governor, Mrs. Obioma Imoke; Ebonyi State Governor, Mrs. Josephine Elechi, and Delta State Governor, Mrs. Roli Uduaghan at the event

By Ayoyinka Olagoke, Uyo call has gone out to traditional rulers, as custodian of culture to review all traditional practices that subject widows to A indignities while leaders at the various levels of government have been enjoined to take practical steps towards ameliorating the deplorable plight of widows in the country. These positions were canvassed by the wife of Cross River State governor, Barr. Obioma liyel-Imoke, at the first National Summit on Widowhood in Uyo recently. Imoke maintained that the major key action in ameliorating the deplorable plight of widows is improving the policy and socio-cultural environment to enable widows to realise their full potentials. This, to her, will go a long way in addressing the injustices widows suffer on account of losing their husband. The first lady of Cross River, who is also the founder/Board chair, Partnership Opportunities For Women Empowerment Realisation (POWER), enjoined the media to accentuate voices of widows in the media. She pleaded with men to write their wills clearly, stating how the property should be shared in the event of death in a way that will prevent harmful traditional practices.   She implored men to make efforts to update their employment insurance and other relevant records to reflect their spouse as next-of-kin. Her words “it is imperative that we all make a commitment towards taking action that will advance the cause of widows. Widows need our individual and collective action toward increasing economic opportunities through vocational skills acquisition, micro enterprise development and access to microfinance, which are very crucial in protecting widow’s right.” Commenting on the theme of the summit ‘Louder please: A call for increased Advocacy and intervention on widows’ right in Nigeria’, Imoke highlighted some of the plights of widows and in many cases resulting in early death.  She listed the agonising experiences of widows to include confinement, defacement, disinheritance, mourning period, ritual cleansing, dethronement, ostracism, harmful enforced silence sleeping on the floor, feeding from dirty dishes and forced nakedness. She noted that widows are forced to perform certain rites on their husbands’ corpse, drink the water from which their husbands’ corpse had been washed to prove their innocence of their husband’s death, even if their husbands died in obvious, normal circumstances. The consequences of these actions, she argued, often lead to physical problems such as depression, increased feelings of emptiness, financial hardship, inability to cater for children, loss of self worth and confidence. Alluding to a statement from Communicating For Change (CFC), a media-based NGO in Nigeria, Imoke said traditional rites on widows could lead to diseases such as scabies, typhoid, homelessness, malnourishments and general stress, which might lead to hypertension, stroke and sudden death. In her words” Everyone has a role to play. Each and everyone should understand that the power to make a difference lies in our hands. Women need to join hands to insist on their rights.” She, however, called on legislative arm of government to review the current laws protecting widows, to make it more biting against offenders. This, to her, will go a long way to redress the injustices widows suffer. In the same vein, the Akwa Ibom State governor, chief Godswill Akpabio called for laws to be in line with international conventions to eliminate discrimination against women and the protection of the rights of the child. The governor said armed conflicts and young women getting

married to older men had contributed to increasing cases of widows in the nation. “We have come to erase the stigma of widowhood. We have come to open the vaults of opportunity of this great country to our widows. We have come to say no to the exploitation of our widows through the deployment of anti-social and morally unjust inheritance laws. “Our first step should be to let the world know that widows are entitled to the same God-given and fundamental human rights as everyone of us. They have the right to set their sails, whichever way they want, in order to arrive at the harbours of destiny, which beckon to them. They are entitled to dignity; respect and honour. We should remember that widows are heads of their families and the custodians of the dreams and future of their children.” The governor believed that another line of action to ameliorate the plight of widow is to provide skills and training for widows in order to gain financial independence. He further said that there should be room for widows to speak on sexual violence meted against them as well as sensitise them on their rights, which would increase their self-esteem. “Government agencies must support women’s economic empowerment. Political parties should encourage women’ participation in politics while law enforcement agencies must act to stop violence against women and girls,” the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum said. In her contribution, Chairman, Senate Committee on Women Affairs and Youth Development, Senator Helen Esuene, herself a widow, said that the theme of the forum is a clarion call not

only on lawmaking, but also on judicial system, traditional institutions as well as female elders in the family to take action. Esuene appealed to paramount rulers, heads of communities to put an end to obnoxious practices surrounding widowhood that offer no value to the society in the twenty-first Century. “Death is the ultimate end. It is very important that couples freely discuss life after their demise. There is need to sustain serious advocacy. The traditional institutions, including those of women must come together and purge our society of those practices which are enemies of societal growth and peaceful coexistence,” Esuene said. She maintained that conflict in marriage laws, vis-à-vis ordinance and traditional laws is the root of the inheritance problem of widows. “In a statement marking the International Widow’s Day, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon noted that globally, about 115 million widows live in poverty and about 81 million suffer one form of physical abuse such as social stigmatisation, rape, sexual abuse and ostracism. “It is pertinent to note that the brother in-law, who is usurping the rights of his late brothers’ estate today could someday have his own family deprived too in the event of their demise”. The wife of Akwa Ibom State governor, Mrs. Ekaette Akpabio, maintained that no society can fully achieve its gender equity goals, the empowerment of women and children without addressing the violations of widows’ rights. Noting that injustice against widowhood is a sore point in the nation’s democratic journey, she called for a collective fight against actions dishonouring widows’ dignity.

Mrs. Ekaette Akpabio presenting a gift to her Cross River State counterpart, Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

50 |

POLITICS

Akande, Buhari and other party leaders at a meeting in Abuja... last week

APC Rally: ‘Banters’ That Threw Up Ngige For Anambra Polls From Adamu Abuh, Abuja

• ‘Shielded’ Buhari From Media Scrutiny

O doubt, the extra-ordinary meeting, N which, during the week, brought chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) together

mise of Senator Pius Ehwerido representing the Delta State Central Senatorial District. Akume, who recalled how the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) won the presidency with just 35 percent votes because the opposing Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), the Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP) and the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) were in disarray, said, with the coming on board of the APC, it would be easier for the opposition parties to avoid the mistake of the past and get rid of the PDP in the 2015 polls. Describing as enormous the task of wresting power from the PDP, he enjoined chieftains of the party to embark on massive mobilisation of Nigerians to join the APC. Akume recalled how South Africa spent less than N2.5 billion to provide uninterrupted electricity to its citizenry in recent years, describing as unfortunate the fact that Nigerians still wallow in darkness in spite of 14 years of huge investment in the sector. The year “2015,” he said, “will serve as a test for us in the history of this country. I am sure we can make a difference by correcting the ills in our service delivery. There would be no space for those that cause disaffection among Nigerians because they must survive. We are already blessed with the leadership that would declare total war against the breakdown of the norms of our society. We have crossed the hurdle littered with crocodiles. We should note that the work ahead is enormous because the river ahead is filled with hippopotamus.” Mounting the rostrum, Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan (Yobe North) expressed concern over what he referred to as the failure the present administration to positively impact the lives of Nigerians. “After 14 years in power, there is nothing to show. They go round the states to commission projects that they did not execute. Our youths are jobless; there is unimaginable level of insecurity, kidnapping, and violent crimes like armed robbery. The good thing is

in Abuja, was a special one indeed. First, it provided the platform for Chris Ngige, a serving Senator (representing Anambra Central), to try his luck once again and see if he could take yet another shot at the State House in Awka. An amalgam of leading opposition parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and the United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) — the APC brought to the Abuja meeting former Head of State, Gen Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), Interim Chairman, Bisi Akande, Audu Ogbeh, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai and Ogbonnaya Onu. Also at the parley were serving governors of the new party, including Governors Rochas Okorocha, Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano). Visibly present at the “Abuja rally” were Chairman of the APC merging committee, Chief Tom Ikimi, Chief John Idigie Oyegun, Ali Modu Sherif and a number of lawmakers. The parley, in the words of a participant, could be likened to the day set aside to celebrate the birth of a new baby whose conception was “a rough deal.” As the party chieftains freely exchanged banters across ethnic divide, it appeared that, contrary to the opinion of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), their new-found love has been consummated and would last for long. For five hours that the parley lasted, the APC stakeholders took turns to “deride” the PDP, saying that the stage is set for the “2015 fall of the giant.” Senate Minority leader, George Akume, who commended the leadership of the party for consummating the merger, disclosed that the APC would have been boasting of 34 out of the 109 seats in the Senate but for the recent de-

that the APC has provided the conducive ground for change and we would be able to galvanize that support to achieve the goal.” He said. The Minority Whip of the House of Representatives, Mr. Samson Osagie, said, with about 160 out of the 360 members, the APC could exercise enormous influence to change the tide of things in favour of Nigerians in the lower legislative chamber. Recalling how his colleagues rebuffed attempt by the PDP led government to foist the speaker of the House on them, he promised that APC members in the House would utilise their legislative powers to bring to the front burner sundry issues like human capital development in the country. Chairman of the House committee on Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, and Hanatu Musawa both made a case for gender balance, stressing that the APC is the party everyone has been waiting for to usher in an era of peace and progress in the polity. Ikimi, on his part, eulogised the brains behind the merger deal with “all progressive forces,” saying it would never be the same again with the emergence of the APC, which he described as a truly national party. Recalling how the controversial APC came to existence on the 6th of February this year, Ikimi alleged that Nigeria has been reduced to the level of taking orders from Bretton Woods institutions. He gave the assurance that the new party would bequeath to future generation of Nigerians a country of pride. He urged APC supporters to go back to their respective wards and ensure membership registration for the new party, stressing that it is their responsibility to raise funds for the running of the party. Meanwhile, it appeared that the deal for the eventual emergence of Ngige as flag bearer of the party in the November 16, 2013 governorship election in Anambra State was struck at the Abuja parley. This came after the Imo State Governor and

leader of the party in the Southeast, Rochas Okorocha, told party leaders, who converged at the Ladi Kwali hall of the Abuja Sheraton Hotel, that a leading contender for the ticket, Senator Annie Okonkwo had magnanimously stepped down for Ngige to take another shot at the Anambra governorship. Amidst applause by members of the party, Okonkwo who embraced Ngige at the occasion, promised to personally lead the campaign to ensure his victory at the party’s governorship primaries scheduled to hold soon. Akande noted that the amicable resolution by two of the leading contenders of the APC governorship ticket for Anambra State, underlined the fact that “the APC is a party peopled by true democrats imbued with the virtues of discipline, integrity and honour.” Apparently throwing a jibe at rival party chieftains in APGA and the PDP that thought that the APC would be riddled with crisis over the squabble for the governorship ticket in Anambra State, he reiterated the resolve by the APC to toss out the ruling PDP during the 2015 polls. Akande, who stated that he owes nobody apology for describing Goodluck Jonathan’s as a kindergarten presidency, shielded Buhari from responding to a question as to whether he wants to take another shot at the presidency in the 2015 polls. He justified his action, saying the parley was aimed at mobilising teaming supporters of the party for membership registration and conduct of congresses that will lead to producing leadership of substance that will be able to lead the party into 2015 general elections. He disclosed that the party has registered its members in Anambra State, adding that a similar exercise would be held in no distant time for supporters of the party across the country. In his opening remarks, Akande gave the assurance that an APC-led administration would take Nigeria out of the woods and reposition it towards the path of growth and prosperity.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

51

POLITICS

ISAH: APC Means An Opportunity To Prove Our Democracy Is Maturing Brigadier General Lawan Jafaru Isah (rtd) was the gubernatorial candidate of deregistered Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in Kano State, in the 2011 general elections. He spoke with ABBA ANWAR on issues concerning the All Progressive Congress (APC), his defeat at the 2011 polls, General Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential ambition and others. What are the hopes of your party, APC, as the strongest opposition party in the country? IRST, and foremost, I just want to thank the Almighty Allah for blessing the aspiration of many Nigerians, who were looking forward to this particular experience, which is novel, not only in Nigeria, West African sub-region, but Africa as a whole —whereby strong parties come together to merge and become one. Just to actually provide a stronger platform. I believe this is actually a welcome development in the pursuit of democracy in this country. What was your experience in the 2011 elections? Mark you; it was the very first time that I ventured into partisan politics and even participated in electoral process. So, naturally, most of the things that I faced were very personal. There were many things that actually became learning tools for me. They have now made me to be at the level where I could claim to understand how politics is being played in Nigeria and particularly, in Kano State, where I contested for the gubernatorial seat. This, being the case, when one gets such an experience, he must actually learn something. I have done that. I have been able to put a lot of things that I have come across into pigeonholes. And looking forward through the kindness of Allah … myself, my group that went round the state to campaign, and my hitherto party, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), have had some experiences in 2011. And now that we have merged and formed the All Progressive Congress, we are in the situation where we can apply ourselves better. And be able to realise our hopes and aspirations for this country. There are different shades of opinions explaining why CPC failed in the 2011 election. Some people are of the view that, it failed because General Jafaru Isah was imposed on the electorate. While others are saying No! There were some people that were skillfully being exported into the party to cause disharmony within the rank of members. What is your take on this? In the first place, there was an issue of inadequate timing. And because of this, you know many things were rushed. And being a new party it was open to all comers. You know when you have such a situation where everybody is welcomed; the likelihood is that you will have the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m not in a situation to actually vilify any particular individual or group. But certainly, there were those who came into the party with only one agenda: to take it all or nobody takes it. And there is no issue of imposition here. Everybody knows that for the first nine months, we were running the party before these new comers came in. The party was widely accepted and I was the undisputed candidate in the state. This is clear everybody knows this. Even when the primary election held, there was no result. Kano State has 44 local councils. There were only results in 21 of them with 35 petitions. And many contestants in the state, including the other four candidates that also contested for governorship signed these petitions. I didn’t not make any petition. They made the petition. And then the petitions were forwarded to the National Secretariat. It was at the National Secretariat that a Committee was set up, and the Committee looked into the petitions and issued a query to the person that the petition was against. And based on that the particular candidature was dropped. Since the National Secretariat confirmed that he had violated the guidelines forwarded to each gubernatorial candidate on conduct of the

F

Isah primary, and being second to him in the inconclusive primary, I was asked to step forward and be the party’s candidate. That was what happened. Ever since, I have continued to be a party member while the same individual went to court — Higher Court, of course. He got the judgment that he was the candidate. Even though there were no results, no one was declared. He declared himself the winner. I appealed thereafter. And of course, at the Appeal Court, I was declared the candidate. And after doing that, there was no party because the then executive of the party in the state were actually members of the same candidate’s campaign team that were made Exco in the state. And they couldn’t reconcile themselves in projecting me as a candidate. Since there was no party, I went into the election just like that. Mark you; there was also curfew in the state. I was also banned from political activities by the then state government. And there was no campaign. I was only declared the candidate of the party three days to election, and with 44 local councils to campaign in. There was also the issue of anti-party activities. And the same group carried out these activities. That was really what happened. So, no issue of imposition, I believe it was the issue of somebody’s interest that was not met. And that was why they took action that was desirable for them. So, the party was not of interest to them, neither was also the state of interest to them. That was how we lost the election. Nothing more, nothing less. How prepared is your party APC in wrestling power from the ruling party Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)? When people talk about merger, I look at it from a different perspective. As far as I’m concerned, what has happened is a positive thing to even the ruling party, as it has deepened Nigeria’s democracy. No matter what, the truth of the matter is that for a great country like Nigeria, with a population of about 160 million people, it is expected by the civilised society that, this democracy must be seen to be real. And the only way you can say democracy is real is when there is change in government. Whereby, an in-coming government actually is defeated in election, because there is free and fair election, whereby, some parties emerged to be winners. Like it happens in other countries. Even in West African sub-re-

gion like what happened in Ghana. Also in Kenya, for example. This is a chance we now have to prove to the world that our democracy is maturing. Wherever you have one powerful party and other smaller parties that cannot be able to make a dent in political process, you may call it democracy, but in a more civilised society they do not really see it as such. They still want to see a situation whereby there is transparency in the election, there is free and fair election. But where you have election being conducted when there is curfew…there is a problem. The preparation of the party to wrestle power is in the strength it now has. This party has representation in all nooks and corners of this country. There is this issue of internal democracy, which some believe is the basic foundation upon which democracy is built. How do you think this internal democracy can be safeguarded in APC? The issue is very clear. The party’s constitution is very clear about this. It has brought out the options through which candidatures for party executives will emerge; candidatures for elective offices of administration also will emerge through conventions or through primaries — direct primaries for that matter. What happened last time in CPC was because we were constrained by time…People are more likely now to respect the constitution of the party. You will find out that internal democracy will be sustained in our great party. It will be done in a more mature and legal manner. Some are of the opinion that APC is nothing more than an amalgamation of strange bedfellows. How would you respond to that? This is quite laughable. In any kind of association, what really happens is people come together. It is by coming together through interaction and communication that they get to know themselves. Even in marriage situation, it is not when you met your wife that you knew yourselves very well. But with time, you keep on getting to know each other; you kept studying and understanding yourselves. I want assure you that, especially with what happened yesterday, when there was an interactive meeting, and the national executive members of the party were inaugurated in Abuja, the attendance that I saw, the kind of body language that I saw, the kind of things that were said, I believe also this country has

come to the level of maturity as far as political growth and unification are concerned. So the question of strange bedfellows in political association is strange to me also because there is nothing strange about it. There is this argument that General Muhammadu Buhari is now too old to run for the presidency. That he should give way for fresher hands. What is your take on this? You see, this is another question that baffles me. The issue of leadership is not really a direct association of numerical value. It is an issue that I know that definitely, experience matters, definitely pedigree matters, definitely capacity matters then numerical association. So, when people actually tie themselves to numeric… that makes me feel funny. Because that is not how it supposed to be. I want the leader that has integrity, capacity to bring all Nigerians together….to make the country a united country that is strong, that is maximising its potentials and that is making fully used of its resources, both human and material resources that are abundant in this country. This is the kind of leader that I look forward to. I do not actually think numerical value is important in this matter. No is not important. How united are CPC members in the new party APC? Very much so, because we have gone through certain experience, we have seen the consequences of disunity and we have seen the consequences of allowing things actually to be admitted in a laizze-faire manner. We know that if we are to achieve what we hope to achieve — have a better Nigeria, a more secure country, to have more wealthy Nigerians, and to have better security in our country and many others, then we must come together. As the saying goes, “United we stand and divided we fall.” I can assure that in CPC it was all about unity. Just like in APC, it is all about unity. What are your hopes for APC in Kano State and possibly governorship ticket of 2015? Right now, I’m still working on making the party to be strong, to be stronger than it has been: initially, with my hitherto party, CPC, now of course with APC. And the question of deciding to go for election is not yet time… What is most important is to make APC to be a much stronger party, to traverse the entire length and breadth of our great country Nigeria and to make Nigerians believe in the party. More so, the hope is to make the party to be available to all Nigerians and to have the interest of the country and that of our children at heart. And to know that Nigeria is a great country, demands that we plan very well in order to realise the greatness of this country. That is what is most important. Not the issue of contesting any office for now. I’m hoping that the time will come for one to decide. But right now, it is not yet time. How do you see Kano as a member of APC? Well, Kano…I’m very passionate about Kano. As you can understand most Kanawas are very passionate about Kano. And Kano has been a great state. But Kano, in recent years, has gone through a lot of crises. In those days, Kano had a lot of its gold medals in terms of commerce, industry, education, and its royalty, in the North especially. So, what I hope and pray for Kano is for commerce to return to the level it had been, whereby any business you want to conduct in Nigeria you must factor in Kano, if you want to succeed. I also want to see Kano taking her place in the manufacturing sector, such that any venture in that regard must consider Kano, if owners want to succeed in that venture. I want to see Kano regain its respect in terms of our traditional institutions, social institution, in terms of education and I want to see Kano becoming the most agricultural state in the country, so that it can feed the nation and beyond. And I want to see Kano to be able to even supply all the protein required from cattle to chicken in the country. All that is required to achieve all those things is good leadership, commitment, tenacity, good judgment and self-sacrifice.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

52 |

POLITICS

AMORI: Delta Governorship Is Open To All Ighoyota Amori, Senior Political Adviser to Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, is unimpressed with the clamour by the Anioma people of Delta North for power shift. Amoright, as he is fondly referred to by his supporters, said the number one position in the state should be open to all Deltans. He spoke with HENDRIX OLIOMOGBE in Asaba.

me that my candidacy still stands. As I have said, people are free to aspire, but there is a world of difference between aspiring and being a candidate. Everybody is free to aspire, but the party will present a candidate at the appropriate time. Don’t you nurse the idea of stepping down? It is not possible for some people to prevail on me to step down. Step down for who? It is completely out of the question. The mandate was given in 2011 and that mandate is still there. I am the national chairman of Urhobo Progressive Congress and I couldn’t have presided over a meeting, where a decision was reached to make me step down. What is your impression of the Senate? The Senate is for mature minds. If you look at the senate today, it is not for young people because of the calibre of people there. You look at the ages of the Senate President and ex-governors, who are Senators. These are people of high integrity; people who are major stakeholders in this country. It is not a place for young boys, though constitutionally at 30 or so, you are qualified to run, but you are going to meet mature people. It is not a place to experiment. Looking at DPP victory in 2011, do you think PDP stands a chance to win the bye-election? What happened in 2011 can never happen again in Delta Central. The factors that necessitated the PDP losing most of the seats, then, to DPP are no longer there. The people are behind us, you now see people decamping from DPP to PDP; you do not see anybody decamp from PDP to DPP. Besides, DPP won at that time because the Urhobo were in the opposition team at the state and federal levels. They actually regretted it. Urhobo want to be part of the national government. We are almost forgotten in the state because most of the seats were won by the PDP. The Urhobo people will not allow that again, which is the reason there is a complete change of mind. We must identify with both the state and national governments. If you have been following the news lately, you will discover that the Urhobo are now

There is clamour by Anioma people to have the governorship rotate to Delta North; is that what PDP is thinking? DP as a party will determine who the candidate will be. Many things will be taken into consideration, but the right to aspire and contest will always be there, whether you are from Anioma, Delta Central or South. It doesn’t matter if someone’s father or brother or husband or uncle was a governor before, he is free to contest if he is qualified. Ethnicity was not part of our constitution and it is very dangerous to employ it into the governorship race. Will former Governor James Ibori be instrumental to determining who is to be next governor? Ibori is alive and a big stakeholder. Why won’t people consult with him? Is he not a human being? Former Presidents Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Obasanjo came from prison to become presidents. So, if Ibori is in prison, is he going to die there? He is a stakeholder and you cannot sidetrack him, because he is a former governor, who ruled this state for eight years; so you cannot underplay his concern for the state. So if people go there to consult him, they must tap from his wisdom. You lost a distinguished senator, Pius Ewerido; how is your constituency managing this great loss? It is unfortunate that Senator Pius Ewherido died at the time he did. Nobody expected him to die so suddenly. Urhobo people mourn him because he is one of our own. He represented Delta Central Senatorial District. It was our right to contest in 2011 and about six or seven of us ran for the seat and he emerged winner, a victory, which was contested in the court. At the end of it all, the court ruled in his favour and we accepted it all. We have always wished him well and gave him all the support. There was never any disagreement between the two of us. The last time we saw physically was at an Urhobo function in the United States. It was in September at the Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU) Convention, after that we never met again. At the convention, we sat close together and discussed matters of common interest. In fact, we even discussed his ambition of wanting to be the governor of the state in 2015. He told Honourable Monday Igbuya and I that he would want to come and visit us because his ambition cuts across the political divide. Of course, we welcomed him because we have always been interested in anybody who is ready and capable of contesting for the governorship of the state; we need to give him the support. We ended up on a very friendly note and after that, we never saw again. Unfortunately, he died. Nobody is going to live forever. It is only God that gives and takes life. His death has created a vacuum, which the constitution empowers us to fill within 90 days through a bye-election. Those of us who ran against him in 2011 are also qualified to contest in the bye-election, and for me, I have a mandate of our party, the PDP. I am automatically qualified to run in the bye-election. It is a constitutional provision. I had the mandate of my party in 2011, when I won the primaries and that mandate still stands. I am still going to run in the bye-election. Does your candidacy still stand, despite the horde of aspirants in the PDP eyeing the byeelection? It is their right to aspire. You cannot stop anybody from aspiring, but I am telling you that my candidacy in 2011 still stands and I am going to run. I don’t know if the PDP is going Amori to conduct fresh primaries, but take it from

P

singing a different song. The only way for you to be part of the national government is for you to vote along the line of the national government. If PDP were to decide today, who gets this and that, of course if you don’t have a person there, nobody will represent your interest. In such a caucus, the Urhobo will not be there. We can’t allow that to continue, the Urhobo cannot continue to be in the opposition at the state and federal levels. We never had it like that before. Between 1999 and 2011, the Urhobo were not in the opposition and we had the Secretary to the President in the person of David Edevbie and the minister of state for Works, Mrs. Grace Ekpiwhre. I was board chairman of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro at that time, but today, Urhobo don’t have anything because of our apparent opposition to the national government. Though the Urhobo contributed to the victory of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, government is not just one, it is total because the Urhobo must demonstrate that

What happened in 2011 can never happen again in Delta Central. The factors that necessitated the PDP losing most of the seats, then, to DPP are no longer there. The people are behind us, you now see people decamping from DPP to PDP; you do not see anybody decamp from PDP to DPP. Besides, DPP won at that time because the Urhobo were in the opposition team at the State and Federal levels. They actually regretted it. Urhobo want to be part of the national government. We are almost forgotten in the state because most of the seats were won by the PDP.

they are in support of the state, National Assembly and, of course, the central government. That has resulted in a lacuna, which must be corrected because the last four years has been very bad for the Urhobo and we cannot continue like that. We lost then because, one, we had an Urhobo man in the person of chief Great Ogboru, who was contesting the governorship under DPP at that time. Of course, politics in Nigeria is still based on ethnic affiliation. In a situation, where you have an Urhobo man contesting the governorship of the state, ethnic sentiments were hyped as everybody would want to support his or her own. The DPP was the only major party in the state that presented an Urhobo man and the campaign was everywhere for people to support their son, that was a major factor. The DPP candidate contested before against a fellow Urhobo man, the former Governor, James Ibori in 2003. The Urhobo voted for Ibori. When Ibori was no longer there, the party took advantage of it and fielded Ogboru. It happens everywhere and not just in Urhoboland. How do you contend with the new mega party, APC? APC is a new party and has not been tested. Before they are baptised politically, the byeelection would have been over. What are your chances? I can’t disclose our strategies and winning formula for now. Remember that Delta Central used to be our headquarters in the state and those things that made us to lose that election are being corrected. The PDP had its own internal problems as some of the local councils executive were divided. There were parallel Exco in some local councils, but today those things are no more. Some of the cries of the people of Delta Central have been adequately addressed. There is now internal harmony within the PDP. These things are there for people to see. I am very old in the game and can trace how each local council was in 1999 and how it is today all because of PDP. What are your plans for Delta Central? My first plan is to make law for the good governance of the country and to empower my people. Bringing development to the region will be uppermost in my mind. We will put the people of Delta in the mainstream of Nigeria politics.   So there won’t be power shift? In PDP, we preach the gospel of power shift, it is an entitlement of every Senatorial District to contest for the governorship of the state. We know that everybody is entitled to be the governor. We really don’t care where the governor comes from because it takes a lot to govern this state, so we are not going to judge anybody based on where he comes from, but on his or her ability to govern the state and carry everybody along. There has been a tradition in the state right from the time of Ibori, where every part contests. The constitution allows everybody to contest. Right from 1999, every part of the state has always participated in the governorship race and a winner will emerge. It is after a winner has emerged that other offices are zoned. That is also happening at the national level with some people saying Jonathan should contest and others saying he should not. The time has not really come for people to say ‘I want to contest,’ but some of them are going round, doing consultations. Nobody has actually come openly to say he or she is contesting. Urhobo candidates are doing consultations and none has officially come out to say so, but it is just that some people enjoy better publicity than others. If all it takes is flyers and billboards, one will not be talking of power shift. Power shift is not the best, but just go there and make your campaign. When Ibori and the incumbent Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan contested, they didn’t talk of power shift, they just went in. There were contestants from North, Central and South Senatorial Districts, but there was no question of power shift. Power will shift when it is supposed to shift. Power will shift when the people determine that power will shift.  


TheGuardian

Sunday, August 25, 2013 53

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion Crisis Management, Mistaken For Governance IRST, I congratulate Blessing Okagbare, who won Nigeria’s two medals at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow. They were our first since she was a baby. Team Nigeria limped home last Tuesday, our collective collapse somewhat ameliorated by her individual brilliance. Kenya, by contrast, had 12 medals, five of them gold; Jamaica nine, six of them gold; and Ethiopia10, including three gold medals. On the same day, President Goodluck Jonathan was “ordering” resolution of the ongoing strike of university teachers. “The President has instructed us as to what to do,” said the chairman of the Universities Needs Implementation Committee, a certain Gabriel Suswam, “and he has shown commitment to flagging off projects worth about N100 billion in all the universities in the country: about 61 of them.” Mr. Suswam’s job title is actually Governor of Benue State, where he has a plethora of problems. But it is part of the Nigerian conundrum that governors of the ruling party prefer to see themselves as waiters and stewards not of their states, but at the presidential buffet of power in Abuja. Needless to say, Abuja is the champion and progenitor of this mentality, where the federal government officials often seem to have a single-minded focus on that power buffet. This attitude is responsible for a situation where a country with the size and resources of Nigeria returns from an international athletics competition in this millennium either with nothing, as in the last Olympics, or two medals, as in Moscow, with the leadership feeling neither shame nor outrage. How can we make any progress when the leadership has such low self-esteem that it is not embarrassed by two medals? This lack of character is responsible for a situation where the government reached an agreement with university teachers in 2009 but never honoured it. Into the fifth year, the president this week gave the “order” that the ASUU strike should now be resolved. Pardon me if I am not doing any cartwheels in celebration. It is always sad when university teachers go on strike and students are thrown into the streets,

F

but the irresponsibility of the government in terms of its insensitivity to growing problems is usually the cause. The tragedy is that the current stalemate should never have taken place were the government to be of good intention. It is another question about the character of the current government, and more questions will follow. Of the key electoral promises that Mr. Jonathan made in 2011, education was one of the most noteworthy: A five-year plan to revolutionize agriculture and establish industries; a four-year development plan to open up the South-South geo-political zone; a five-year development plan to accelerate development; roads and other basic infrastructure to be developed in four years; road construction to take new five-year structure, ending yearly budgetary allocations; a five-year strategic plan for road projects; and a holistic review of Nigeria’s education policy. If Mr. Jonathan were serious about his “transformation” message, these would have been the pillars of both mission and measurement. It is a cause for serious concern that for a man who wants to run for a second term, Mr. Jonathan has barely referred to any of them since his election, as if they were meant as a joke in the first place. But speaking about his intended “holistic review” of our education policy in Ile-Ife on March 12, 2011, Mr. Jonathan said, “It is quite disturbing that our educational delivery system at all tiers has, over the years, degenerated to such levels that have led to a reversal of fortunes, not only for the Nigerian youth, but also

This lack of character is responsible for a situation where the government reached an agreement with university teachers in 2009 but never honoured it. Into the fifth year, the president this week gave the “order” that the ASUU strike should now be resolved.

for the larger Nigerian nation. “After nearly 100 years of unstable educational policy, we have resolved to, as a matter of urgent national importance, carry out a holistic, but careful review and faithful implementation of our educational policy.” That was in addition to promises in the education sector that included improving the teaching and learning environment; granting access to education to every Nigerian; establishing federal universities; improving hostel facilities for students; and improving the sector as a condition for transforming the economy. It is up to Nigerians, the youth in particular, to ask Mr. Jonathan now that he has just over one and a half years left of his term whether he was merely fooling them. Last week, his government provided part answer. First, Finance Minister dismissively told the university teachers that the government would not give them the earned allowances they are demanding, about N92 billion. She made this curious statement: “ASUU wants the government to pay N92 billion in extra allowances when resources are not there and when we are working to integrate past increases in pensions. We need to make choices in this country as we are getting to the stage where recurrent expenditures take the bulk of our resources and people get paid but can do no work.” Suswam, on his part, stated that the government was offering to pay N30 billion, that is, less than one-third of what it owes to the teachers. In other words, the government of Mr. Jonathan was offering an insignificant N130 billion to solve the mountain of problems that besets university education in Nigeria. This is not only ridiculous, it is insulting. To say that this country should short-change its university teachers by two-thirds, and that N100 billion is a fair estimate of the infrastructural requirements of over 60 universities is a slap on the face of all Nigerians who know the value of education. The irony is that Okonjo-Iweala’s tale is being told at a time of conspicuous consumption by the executive and legislative arms of the government; a regime where waste, mismanagement, dishonesty and corruption are barely

sonala.olumhense@gmail.com

questioned. As long as this continues to be the scenario, we will never focus on the public interest long enough to implement policies that yield results. This is why Nigeria’s best teachers are moving to private institutions or leaving the country. It is why our athletics teams cannot win medals. The most tragic of all of this, however, is that while we can count gold medals we failed to win, we cannot count the damage to our children and our future. It is funny that a government littered with supposedly well-educated people is trying to downplay the seriousness of this challenge. The current crisis in education in Nigeria is part of the damage by a confused government that if far more interested in power than it is in responsibility. Crisis management is not governance; it is often the result of poor or incompetent governance. For the universities, and the education sector in general, it will be interesting to see if Mr. Jonathan government will finally find the heart and the courage to embark on that policy review, and if so, if he can find the character he has lacked since 2007 to implement it. A brighter day is not impossible, but Nigerian citizens—the youth in particular—must demand it and insist on it. If they do not, tomorrow could be far worse than anything we have yet seen.

Anambra 2013: PDP’s Last Chance By Alexander Ifeanyichukwu ESTERDAY was critical to the horde of ‘giants’ vying to be the next governor of Anambra state under the equally expansive Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. From all indications, there is indeed a crowd to choose from but in reality, there are only a few honourable and credible men from this crowd. Not a few were already very firm in their standpoints that for this primary elections to run smoothly and enable a candidate emerge for the PDP, the Party must enforce its own laws and regulations and do away with all so called untouchable aspirants who are in the habit of attracting nothing but embarrassment to it. To this end references are already being made to the gross violations of the code of conduct signed by all the aspirants at a meeting with the national leadership of the party in Abuja only a few weeks ago. In direct contravention of the exercise, efforts to hold free, fair and credible congresses of the party have been directly sabotaged by two of the aspirants. The two political gladiators hijacked party arrangements and made it clear they were now the sole determinants of which of the congresses conducted by their individual factions would stand and be accepted by the party headquarters. It is nothing but a repeat performance to what happened four years ago and which cost the party the Governorship seat in the election. Party faithful are now of the view that both governorship aspirants with their show of shame at the congresses must be disqualified if the PDP will stand any chances at the polls in the November gubernatorial elections. And signals strength are clear that quite unlike in the past when Africa’s largest political party, the PDP had a chance to come back strong, after losing the position of governor, a loss for the PDP in 2013, may be the ultimate end of that party in

Y

Anambra politics and indeed by extension losing the entire South East states to either the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA or other new and vibrant political parties. This is clear from the trend in the last couple of years which has seen APGA grow from a one-state controlled political party to two and comparatively in the last four and eight years, the APGA-controlled states of Anambra and Imo, have exhibited quantifiable economic progress as against those states in the same Southeast controlled by the PDP. Anambra State is pivotal to the dominance of any political party in the South-East, because that state that has consistently produced the point-men of eastern Nigeria political hegemony remains relevant today as it was when it brought forth Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Dr. Nwafor Orizu, Senator Chuba Okadigo, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Alex Ekwueme and the list can go on. The PDP is certainly on the verge of either reclaiming its lost glory in the Southeast or clearly put paid to its relevance as a political party in the zone, permanently; and how well it conducted the party’s primary will determine this. For one thing, only be a doomed political party will defiantly allow two candidates who are still locked in a longdrawn legal battle for a senatorial seat since 2011, to contest at all, in a primary that is intended to select a candidate who will contest against formidable candidates like a once tested formidable former governor of the state like Senator Chris Ngige. It would be an attempt at suicide for the PDP to allow into the contest a candidate who has shown an utter and brazen disloyalty to party agreements. Anambra people have turned their back on such characters, long before now. What Anambra state needs is to find that man or woman who has a passionate concern for the people of the state,

that candidate must have a heart that longs for the people and an outstretched hand the people can reach and touch to make their world a better one than Peter Obi have made it. That candidate must stand out as the face of an Igbo leader who is able to point the way for other states in the South-East and shine the light for them to follow. Therefore, he or she must not be your run-of-the-mill ordinary kind of politician; he or she must be a leader, through and through. Let it be said for those who will care to listen among the leadership of the PDP across the country, only one candidate among the pack that are throwing their weights about qualifies to fit this yearning vacuum. The choice which has eluded the people of Anambra state for long remains a man who has remained consistent in character and disposition to issues of the state, the south-east and Nigeria, in general. A man who has won accolades from both the opposition and across the PDP hierarchy; he remains what he was nearly two decades ago when he commence his service to humanity – forthright, truthful, dedicated and passionate to the cause of the people’s welfare. This one time, the PDP owes it a high moral and apostolic obligation to the candidate and the people of Anambra state to present him to the people of the state as their next governor, come November 16, 2013. Otherwise, the great Zik of Africa whose birthday anniversary coincided with this date would turn in his grave and shake his head in total condemnation of the many years of injustice and compromise politics which has set the state asunder. The time for the right candidate to emerge from the PDP to salvage the people of Anambra is now. There is no better time for the man who has paid his dues.

Alexander Ifeanyichukwu wrote from Enugu


TheGuardian

54 | Sunday, August 25, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion Food Prices: Fight Glut, Ban Importation By Adebayo Kolade READ Luke Onyekakeyah’s article on the above topic, in which he lamented that despite the fact that we are in harvest time, food prices keep going up in Nigeria. The writer went to great lengths to blame the ban on food importation, especially the ban on importation of poultry and fish, for this scenario. He submitted that the ban on food importation is not in the overall interest of the Nigerian populace, since there is a dearth of local alternatives. While I sympathise with his raison de’tre, his submissions (especially as they pertain to food importation) need to be questioned in public interest. The last thing that our nation requires at this time is more importation, and a call for the opening of our borders to all manner of meat and fish from abroad, springing from a distinguished platform like The Guardian, should not be waved off as idle talk. It is for this reason that this writer would like to offer a few clarifications to Mr. Onyekakeyah and members of the public who might have been swayed wrongly by his arguments. Nigeria is a large country. And “Nigerians buy stuff!” We are the marketer’s dream come true. Therefore, everybody who has something to export anywhere in the world wishes to sell in Nigeria. However, Nigerians must realise that for every import of anything, which we could produce locally, we are actually aggravating unemployment at home and consuming against our national interest. Imports are excusable where there is no capacity for local production. While Nigeria may lack potential and/or capacity in technology products, the same cannot be said for agriculture. Nigeria has ample potential and capacity (in manpower and nature’s resource) to produce her own food. Meanwhile, local production of food is fast becoming an issue of national security. For example, a few years ago, India decided to reduce her soyabean exports. The government of India, rather than encourage producers of soyabean to export massively as it had always done, bought and stockpiled the produce in Indian national interest. That singular decision threw the food chain of a number of nations into immediate crisis, and actual public upheaval ensued in one or two. Lovers of history would recall that many a war had been won by cutting off supplies of food to dependent empires; modern equivalents of this are not far-fetched. Furthermore, we have heard again and again of the inferior quality of much of the rice imported into Nigeria, with attendant consequences. Mr. Onyekakeyah himself wrote of the questionable quality of chicken imports smuggled into our country. These, in themselves, are arguments against food importation. The writer argues, however, that Nigeria cannot produce enough chicken and fish locally to feed the nation. If he wrote that ten years ago, Mr Onyekakeyah would have been correct, but not in 2013. The dramatic trajectory, in quantity and quality, of local poultry and catfish production over the last four years should inspire confidence in our ability as a nation to feed ourselves. Even notable international fast food

I

JAW JAW By Didi Onu

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina brands now patronize indigenous producers of chicken. What is happening, however, is that the stakeholders in the smuggling/importation business have held the retail or open market business by the jugular, and would not readily allow local producers an in-road, especially in the urban and highly populated centres of the nation. Unknown to most Nigerians, there is a silent war going on between local producers and smugglers of animal protein (especially chicken). And the smugglers appear to be winning; just like pirates, vandals and charlatans are winning in many other spheres of our national life. While it is true that we have a long way to go, the stimulus funds injected into the agric sector, and the pressure put on banks to lend to farmers have yielded quite some fruit. A great deal of expansion has happened in the local poultry and aquaculture sector over the past six years, with many new entrants opening sizeable commercial farms with sophisticated machinery. Knowing that they cannot legally export chicken to Nigeria, big and credible names in global poultry trade like Tyson Foods are seeking ways of setting up poultry production facilities in Nigeria. This way, we shall not only eat more chicken, our citizens shall get more jobs. Contrary to widely held belief, locally produced chicken is not only available, it is also affordable and competitive. I just checked in the major cities of South West Nigeria; locally produced chicken in the open or retail outlets goes for between 550 and 650 Naira per kilogramme. Just last Saturday during her shopping, my curious wife haggled at an imported chicken seller’s shop near the gate of the University of Ibadan. One kilogramme cost 700 Naira. The seller made an apology,

though, saying that the price was 600 Naira before Ramadan. I checked at a local market around Agege in Lagos; the price was the same. If so, then why not sell locally produced chicken? The real issue, though unspoken, is that the middle men who trade in these imported or smuggled poultry products make better profit margins from them, and would therefore not stock chicken from the local industry. And we should be asking why? One immediate reason is that owing to the level of development of our agric sector, our grains are more expensive than what obtains in nations like India, Brazil and Argentina. Therefore, on account of higher feeding costs, the cost of production of 1 kilogramme of chicken in Nigeria is significantly higher than what obtains in those countries. In addition, those nations boast bigger poultry integrations, which have achieved better economies of scale than our own. Thus, the producers in those climes can afford to push products to the market at lower prices. Let us assume that our smugglers even sell wholesome products from these climes to the Nigerian market, isn’t it strange to note that they are not passing the benefit of lower prices to consumers? At the retail end, the price of smuggled poultry is actually benchmarked against the local equivalent, with mere marginal reductions whenever they are under pressure. I must not fail to add that in fact, those who smuggle frozen chicken into Nigeria hardly buy wholesome chicken from reputable integrations abroad. The details of what they procure are better not explained in print. It suffices to say that they go all the way to buy the cheapest chicken that can be found. As I write, there are rumours of the outbreak of Avian Influenza in Brazil. In two to four months, some of the birds that should have been buried in Brazil may show up on dining tables in Nigeria! If someone were to ask, why then do smugglers sell more chicken, I would ask the person, “Why do book pirates sell more books?” Or “why do pipeline vandals sell more petrol?” Having gained unfair advantage at the cost end, they can deploy this advantage on the sales end to undermine the law-abiding producer. And this is where government comes in. It takes government to protect the interest of those who obey the law by censoring those who disobey it. When those who cheat on the system roam free, they are emboldened to intimidate, or even threaten, the law abiding. And that is the story of every industry that is undermined by smugglers in Nigeria today. Their mafia in the market is very strong and vicious. Why should Nigeria raise the poultry and fish that we shall eat at home? Several of us who studied Veterinary Medicine, Animal Science and allied disciplines started having better private sector jobs soon after former President Obasanjo banned the importation of poultry. Things have further improved for many of us since the Central Bank smiled on the agric sector. We have jobs today, and take better care of our extended families and our retinue of jobless dependants today because there is increasing local production of chicken and fish. Ten years ago, you could hardly find one flour-

ishing private poultry disease diagnosis laboratory in Nigeria. Today, there are many of them all over the nation, employing hundreds of graduates. They have diseases of poultry to diagnose and treat to earn a living because more farmers are rearing chicken locally. I could say the same about live bird transporters, input suppliers, processors and other players in the poultry value chain. Once Nigeria decides to eat imported chicken, all of us will go out of job. What is worse is that even then, Mr Onyekakeyah may not get to eat cheaper chicken, as he has not eaten cheaper rice in all our decades of rice importation (by the way, those who travel to Asia, especially India, know the actual price of a bag of rice. Somebody is milking Nigerians through rice importation!). When Nigeria opened up the telecom sector, prices were high initially. But as the market widened, patronage increased and competition deepened, prices began to come down, and we have not seen the last on GSM prices yet. High prices at the outset should not be a disincentive for local production and consumption. In any case, as I have shown, imported chicken is not cheaper in Nigeria. The problem is that the import/smuggling mafia is in firm control of the open market of poultry and fish. They actively resist local producers’ access to the market. I am sure Mr. Onyekayekah does not know that as at the day he wrote (August 20, 2013), Nigeria has one of the worst gluts of poultry products in the world – and that this glut has lasted almost two years. Meaning; Nigerian farmers have one of the highest ratios of unsold chicken and unsold eggs in the world. The President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan has spent the better part of the last one year criss-crossing the nation lobbying policy makers to help remove impediments that make it difficult for poultry farmers to sell eggs and chicken that they have produced with interest-bearing bank loans! Each time my four-year-old son sees our unsold trays of eggs piled up in the store, he gets ignorantly excited and says to me: “Daddy, see plenty eggs!” I have formed the habit of answering him in a somber tone, “That is the handiwork of glut”. Then one day he asked me, “Who is Uncle Glut?” This is how I answered him: “Uncle Glut is that man who asks us to tell the chickens to lay plenty eggs, but when the chickens have laid plenty eggs, he now tells all the people in Ibadan not to eat our eggs.” When I told him that, my toddler became pensive for a while, and then he said, “Anytime I see that stupid Uncle Glut, I will stone him!” Mr. Onyekakeyah and other well-meaning Nigerians should help us to stone “stupid Uncle Glut” to death, so that very soon, Nigeria may become a proud exporter of chicken, eggs and fish. Dr. Kolade, a Veterinarian, Farmer, and Creative Writer, lives in Ibadan.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday August 25, 2013

55


56

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

LAFETE

Regaled In African Antiquity By Florence Utor T’s no longer news that Nigeria is leading the charge as the next frontier for investments and luxury goods market in Africa. A demonstration of this confidence can be found in the decision by established brands such as LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA to pitch their tents in these climes. However, what’s news is that given this positive prognosis, there is a paucity of outlets that are ready to take advantage of the attendant value, which can be derived from this emergence. The rapid economic growth of African countries, lively and exciting and an emerging middle class are some key factors, which have helped to drive traffic along this corridor in a bid to claiming untapped markets across the continent. With this influx is the need to create an avenue for the horde of visitors to take something valuable back with them that leaves a lasting impression for good. Asides from its globally recognised contribution to the diamond industry, luxury goods, as associated in the African context, in recent times, have focused on the rising consumption of international luxury brands by Africa’s emergent middle and upper class particularly in key markets such as South Africa, Kenya, Angola, Namibia, and Nigeria. In Nigeria for instance, the taste for high end, foreign, designer branded goods amongst individuals in this social stratum is easily noticeable– from clothing to hand bags to wristwatches, jewelry, expensive alcohol etc. More and more foreign luxury businesses are exploring African markets to converge with consumers desiring the finer things in life. Recently, CNN ran a feature on its Marketplace Africa program captioned, “Creating an African Luxury Industry,” to highlight the continent’s potential as a luxury producer. In the piece, the interviewee notes that with respect to the luxury goods industry, each culture has its own identity – whether it is Japanese luxury, French luxury, Italian or American. They are able to create this identity because there is a vibrant market for their luxury goods both locally and abroad. The vibrancy of the luxury industry in most advanced countries plays a vital part in pre-

I

serving their cultural heritage she argues. In view of this, Africa is well positioned to develop its own “African luxury brand” given its rich heritage, amazing cultural diversity and abundant natural resources. Indeed the overarching embodiment of luxury and what it means goes beyond exclusive, expensive goods as it is also captured in a variety of well packaged, lavish experiences. But the question in focus is can Africa develop into a credible producer of luxury goods as opposed to just being a growing consumer of international luxury brands? As earlier noted, Africa is known the world over for its craftsmanship – primarily ethnocentric sculptures, carvings, masks, figurines, bronzes, textiles, beading and the like each of which in their own right are compelling artistic depictions of either factual or fictional narratives of its rich tradition. However beyond these characteristic exports of African artistry is a growing thrust for the production of African made goods that exude exceptional quality, sophistication and have international appeal while still preserving its African essence. COMPACT boutique tucked in the bustling A suburb of Lekki Phase 1, the distinguishing essence of Regalo and what it represents immediately hits the moment you walk in. Ah! First off is that welcoming aroma of an infusion of scented candles like no other – made of organic soy-wax and essential oils which when burned doubles as a body moisturizer that’s 100 per cent safe for the skin. Hmm, bet your scented candle can’t do that! Each scent in the candle collection pays homage to some of Africa’s most vibrant cities – from Lagos to Accra to Johannesburg, Abidjan to Marrakech and Nairobi. Quite an aromatic tour! Laid out in the most elegant way is an exotic array of luxurious gift items, each distinctive, Antiquity on show of superior quality and all made in Africa. A survey of the goods on display leaves you into a realm of African made luxury with a refined appreciation of the creative goods created with such tasteful quality ingenuity of Africans. You are transitioned it’s quite easy to visualize them on the from the stereotypical mindset where “made display racks of the Neiman Marcus’ of in Africa” equates to sub-standard quality or this world or in high end shops in say conjures up images of ethnic local crafts, repli- Italy or France. In any case, goods such as cated artifacts and carvings devoid of finesse are retailed at Regalo are typically or contemporary influence and then ushered exported to Western countries, rebrand-

ed and sold at their exclusive shops and boutiques at high premiums. Exploring each of the unique pieces and collections literally becomes a mental tour of our continent because each piece is a doorway to rediscovering the rich heritage of Africa and its abundant treasures - from Mali to Ghana to Nigeria to Southern Africa.

RB Magazine Celebrates World Humanitarian And Photography Day their time were strictly selected experts in tographers an opportunity to share with the field of photography — Kelechi Amadi the world best two photos of support for Obi, TY Bello, Tonye Cole, Francois Veld, humanity, environment, development Yetunde Baba Eko, Barrette Akpokabayen lives in the line of duty, commemorating their and related issues. Entries close on August and others and prizes to be won include sacrifice and reaffirming commitment to the 31. cash and equipments, features and so The panel of judges who volunteered lifesaving work that humanitarians carry out around the world every day. The day was designated by the General Assembly to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq where 22 people NTERNATIONALLY recognised as one of the way, helped to grow the tourism industry died. in Nigeria. major cultural festivals in Africa, Leboku, The World Humanitarian Day is also an MTN has been sustaining through sponalso referred to as the New Yam Festival, a opportunity to celebrate the spirit that sorships, the already rich culture that inspires humanitarian work around the globe.yearly celebration in Ugep, Yakurr Local Themed, The World Needs More, this year, the Council, Cross River State, began on Thursday, exists all over the country. World Humanitarian Day campaign called on August 22, with the telecommunications company, MTN, supporting the celebration. people to answer a question: ‘What do you The highpoint of the festival will be on think the world needs more of?’ On the same day, the World Photography August 26, when the traditional ruler of O check the increasing cases of faking and Day was celebrated! The day originated from Yakurr Kingdom, HRH Obol Ubi Ojong Inah, to maintain its leadership in the industry, the invention of the Daguerreotype, a photo- will host friends of the kingdom and foreigngraphic processes developed by Joseph ers, from far and near, showcasing the beauti- Grand Oak Limited has unveiled a new campaign known as Lord of the City, which comes Nicèphore Nièpce and Louis Daguerre. ful heritage of his people. The festival dates with ‘Seal of Originality’ to promote the On January 9, 1839, The French Academy of back to the 17th century. Lord’s Dry Gin brand. Sciences announced the daguerreotype During the festival, sons and daughters of process. the Yakurr community will travel home, from The innovation, which is endorsed by NAFDAC, ensures that consumers are able to A few months later, on August 19, 1839, the all parts of the country and abroad, to celeconfirm the originality of the new Lord’s Dry French government announced the invention brate the New Yam festival, eating different Gin during purchase. as a gift “Free to the World”. meals prepared with yam. Speaking at the event, the Managing Another photographic processes, the Calotype, was also invented in 1839 by William The event is also an avenue for the indigenes Director, Grand Oak Limited (GOL), Mr. to showcase the colourful attire of Yakurr Akshay Kumar explained that Lord’s of the Fox Talbot (it was announced in 1841). community, in Cross River State and so many City campaign is designed to comfort and Together, the invention of both the support the consumers as a way of enhancDaguerreotype and Calotype mark 1839 as the of the people will win prizes like the “Best Harvester of the Year”, “Miss Leboku”, “Mr. ing the brand’s personality. year that photography was invented. “In Grand Oak Limited, we believe in innoOver 170 years later, the World has chosen Leboku” and other prizes. The General Manager, Consumer Marketing, vation and out to give more value to our August 19 to celebrate photography, It’s past, present and future, technologically and artis- MTN, Kola Oyeyemi, has reiterated that “MTN’s consumers at no extra cost to the contically. resolve to continue promoting Nigeria’s rich sumer” he said. Commenting on the Seal of Originality, the “I believe that photography has the power tocultural goldmines that have been left tell stories, inspire generations and initiate untapped, exploring and making this ignored Commercial Director, Aare Fatai Odesile, change in the world,” Korske Ara (Founder). part of the tourism sector more appreciated, issaid it is meant to protect the interest and give comfort and confidence to the conTo mark these double celebrations, RB unwavering”. Magazine and its partners launched the The festival is one of the outfit’s many ways sumer that the product being consumed is empowerment focused i4C Photo contest! of enriching lives and sharing happiness. The the original. According to the Commercial Director, The coordinator, Mimi Ogbanga, said it was a yam fiesta has been receiving support from “consumers are expected to look out for the first of its kind online gallery photo contest the telecommunications network for some Seal of Originality on the cap of the new that gives both amateur and established phoyears now and this patronage has, in no small T is no more news that every year, on August Ihonour 19,World Humanitarian Day is marked in of aid workers, who have lost their

much more. So far, many inspiring photo entries have been received each telling strategic stories. After which the most “liked” along side the final decisions of the judges will bring forth three winners.

2013 Leboku Festival Kicks Off In Style I

The telecommunications marketleader is also sponsoring other major festivals, like the Ofala festival, Osun Oshogbo festival, Igue and many others.

GOL Unveils Lord Of The City Campaign Lord’s Dry Gin, which will be scratched to reveal a 12-digit pin. This will be sent via T SMS to the code number provided on the seal at no cost to the consumers on their phone.” He said that there will be a confirmatory text immediately stating the originality of the product or otherwise. Speaking further on the initiative, the commercial director emphasized that the Lord’s Gin mobile anti-fake innovation is the first of its kind in Nigerian Beverage industry, providing consumer empowerment and wellbeing. On efforts to enhance consumers’ confidence in other products from its stable, he noted that, in furtherance of GOL innovation edge, the company recently came up with a new look Seaman’s Premium and also unveiled a novel Cool Twista packs for Calypso, Seaman’s Schnapps and Dark Sailor Rum, to serve its numerous consumers on the go. “As a company, we are always coming out with innovations which are designed to enhance the relationship between our consumers and our product, the Cool Twist and the new package of our Premium Seaman’s Schnapps are recent testimonies,” he added.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

SUNDAYMAGAZINE 57

LAFETE BY SHAIBU HUSSEINI

Around and about Nollywood...

shaibu70@yahoo.com

The Fifth Estate to open 38th Toronto filmfest

by the Director of Administration of AMAA, Tony Anih, opened on August 1 and will close on December 30. However, only films produced, premiered or released between June 2012 and December 2013 will be eligible for the awards, which marks its10th anniversary. Anih also announced fresh guidelines for the 2014 edition. He said the Academy has introduced an award named after former South African President, Nelson Mandela. To be called the Madiba Africa Vision Award, it replaces the jury award. He also stated that what used to be called the Best Film by African Living Abroad has been cancelled while a new category Best Director First Feature Film has been introduced to encourage young and upcoming film directors to continue to strive for excellence and best practices. Also Anih said the Best Film in African Language would now be called the Sembene Ousmane Award for Best Film in African Language while the Best Short Film Award category will now be called the Efere Ozako Award for Best Short Film. ‘’We resolved to immortalise these great men with these awards,” he said.

RGANISERS of Toronto International Film O Festival have announced DreamWorks Pictures’ The Fifth Estate as opening of the 38th edition of the festival on September 5. The festival will run for 10 days and will feature screening of films that were curated from different parts of the world. A dramatic thriller based on real events and directed by Bill Condon, The Fifth Estate reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century’s most fiercely debated organisation. “Information is the most potent currency of our time, and we’ve found a film that charts just how volatile it can be,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival. “With The Fifth Estate, this year’s festival kicks off with an electric, timely drama that promises to get people talking. We’re thrilled to welcome Bill Condon back to Toronto with another terrific film. He premiered his very first feature, Sister, Sister, here in 1987, and was last at our Festival in 2004 with Kinsey,” Bailey said. The Fifth Estate is preA scene from The other woman sented by DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance by a full house at the two major screening Entertainment in association with Participant slots during the festival. The short films Media and is produced by Steve Golin and show the face of a modern and cosmopoliMichael Sugar, with Bill Condon directing. The screenplay is by Josh Singer, based on the book tan Africa and reveals some very crucial narInside WikiLeaks by Daniel Domscheit-Berg and ratives are. Also, through the films, the filmmakers confront some long-standing the Guardian book WikiLeaks by David Leigh clichés about the continent. Peter Machen, and Luke Harding. The film will be released in North America on October 18. Further informa- Manager of DIFF said after one of the screenings that was sold out that the DIFF was tion on the festival can be sourced at delighted to host the world premiere of the www.tiff.net African Metropolis Short Film Project, which, according to Machen, explores and African Metropolis: Important promotes young directing talent from difNarratives from Six African nations ferent capitals of the continent. “This idea fits perfectly with our own goal of highOLLYWOOD, as the Nigerian movie industry lighting the emerging African film indusis commonly called, may not have had a try,” Machen said. The short films have also feature film shown either in or out of competi- received rave reviews and commendation th tion in the just held 34 Durban International from some critics, film curators and proFestival, but the premiere of The Line Up a-13 grammers. Gertjan Zuilhof, international minute short film that was directed by programmer and Peter van Hoof, head of Nigeria’s Folashakin Iwajomo, and produced by Short Film Programme of International Victor Okhai, gave Nigeria and indeed, Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), said: “Big Nollywood something to cheer. The short precity films from African big cities is just what sented in English and Pidgin, and also, in we have been waiting for. It is about time English and Yoruba, with subtitles, was shot as we moved on from pre-colonial nostalgia. part of the African Metropolis Project — an iniThe best would be if this project could work tiative of the Goethe-Institut South Africa and as a model for the future. Many occasional South African Executive producer, Steven film projects have been done in Africa — Markovitz, with support from Guaranty Trust and also, Rotterdam had its share in them — Bank and the Hubert Bals Fund of International but continuation is what is needed. On to Film Festival Rotterdam. The project aims at the next series should be the motto.” For highlighting the directing talent of selected Rasha Salti, international programmer of directors from six African countries. From the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), project comes six short films — Berea, The Cave, the project has given young filmmakers Home Coming, The Line Up, The Other Woman and opportunity to shape the aesthetics and To Repel Ghosts — from six African directors and licence to imagine stories and characters cities — Lagos, Abidjan, Dakar, Johannesburg, set in a culture of urbanity. She also said: Cairo and Nairobi. Each of the films was viewed “The plurality and diversity of voices is a joy

N

Michelle Bello Should this series continue, a small discover. to compendium of emerging talents from urbane Africa can compile into a rare, and fascinating contemporary testimony from a continent for too long harnessed into the most moribund and facile prejudices.” Philippe Lacôte directed the piece from Abidjan while Marie KA, Vincent Moloi, Ahmed Ghoneimy and Jim Chuchu directed the short films from Dakar, Johannesburg, Cairo and Nairobi respectively. In The Line-Up, Iwajomo explores the human mind and exposes how poverty can sway people into a state of desperation. Faced with mounting hospital bill to offset, a man finds himself in an unusual line up where men are blindfolded, stripped naked and subjected to inspection by a ‘thick’ lady who makes her choice among the men on the line up and pays off those that are not among her pick for the day. A fellow hints that those that are eventually picked are rewarded handsomely. The man is picked and how he ends up, remains that of the audience to tell. A piece that offers something refreshing to merit attention, The Line Up is miles away an improvement in production and technical quality especially when compared to some of the short films that have come out of Nigeria. A powerful film that comes recommended, what, however, The Line Up doesn’t need is those stereotypes that are reinforced about Lagos. The story could have been told without the attempt to ghettorize poverty and Lagos. Nevertheless, it is an archetypal important short film. Same thing goes for the other short films.

AMAA Calls for 2014 Entries HE organisers of Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) have called for entries for the 2014 T awards. Entries, according to a statement signed

‘Project Fame West Africa Still The Best’ FTER watching performances of this The producer cum musician, subsequentA year’s MTN Project Fame West Africa’s ly, expressed his optimism to the effect contestants, Nigerian R and B sensation, that the current set of contestants, in the

Bankole Wellington, popularly called ‘Banky W’, could not contain his admiration for the extraordinary talents and resourcefulness of each of the contestants. Spotting his trademark dark glasses and a cap, the internationally-acclaimed artiste and music producer, admitted that he had one of his best evenings, having just witnessed such amazing lyrical delivery and vocal quality, exhibited by all the contestants, in the musical academy. Asked about his opinion of the musical reality show, in comparison, with several other shows, which are currently running in the West African sub-region, the Yes, No crooner enthused, with utmost certainty, that ‘MTN Project Fame is the best’. He continued, “the show has a track record, at this point, of creating superstars.” To buttress his point, he said the musical reality show has ‘a history of coming up with fantastic talents’ such as Iyanya Mbuk, Praiz and Chidinma, in Nigeria. Appraising each of the contestants, he, specifically, expressed his admiration for Immaculate, who opened the evening’s performances, with her ever-endearing vocal quality and stage presence, while singing My Funny Valentine, originally rendered by Chaka Khan.

academy, will be ‘a big hit’ in a couple of years to come, in the West African music scene and the entire Africa. Precisely, the most popular musical reality show, in Africa, has produced several superstars, who are currently making waves, locally and internationally, in tandem with the basic objectives of the reality show, which are to entertain and train talented youths to sing and develop basic lifesustaining qualities and standards that can outlive the duration of the academy. Simply put, therefore, the MTN Project Fame West Africa is a time-tested nurturing facility for the sub region’s countless talented youths. Apparently, the current edition is gaining momentum, going by viewers’ commentaries on the social media, like twitter and facebook and the large students turnout, at the show every weekend. Youths have been reacting to the gradual pruning of the contestants by eviction. In total, four contestants have been eliminated, from the music academy. Leonard and Oluchi were the first to leave the show. Henry and Gbemisola were voted out of the academy, last weekend, while Nancy claimed a spot in the academy having outshone four other wild-card entrants, who uploaded a demo of their best musical renditions onyoutube.

Banky W

Flower Girl goes to UK Cinemas EADING United Kingdom motion picture LTalking development and distribution company, Drum Entertainment, has said that it will release the romantic comedy, Flower Girl, directed by Michelle Bello, starring Dami Adegbite, Chris Attoh and Chucks Chukwujekwu across UK cinemas in October. The movie revolves around Kemi (Damilola Adegbite), a young, impressionable lady, who is dying to get married; and Umar (Chris Attoh), a corporate go-getter, who is striving to get ahead in his career. When their relationship hits troubled waters, Kemi seeks the help of movie superstar, Tunde (Chuks Chukwujekwu), and they hatch a plan to get her what she wants – but the plan doesn’t quite work out as they anticipate and soon they realise why people say love is a funny thing. The film, which roundly considered a success in Nigeria and Ghana has according to Michelle ‘’gone through a complete re-edit with the help of notable filmmaker Mahmood Ali-Balogun (Tango with Me). Michelle who directed the award winning film ‘Small Boy’ expressed optimism that ‘’international audiences will be in for an even better film experience with this new version of the film’’. Flower Girl will be released across all the major UK exhibition chains Odeon, Vue, Cineworld and independent cinemas. For additional information and images visit www.flowergirlthemovie.com, www.talkingdrum-entertainment.com.


58

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

Arab Spring: Why Aftermath Is So By Kamal Tayo Oropo T is doubtful if the 26 year-old Tunisian, Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi, knew his recourse to self-immolation, occasioned by alleged humiliation by a female police officer, would change the course of Arab socio-political history. Innocuous as the hapless street fruit vendor may appear, his singular action when he set self ablaze immediately led to chains of revolutions across the entire Arab world on a scale and dimension never witnessed in recent history by the Arabs. It led to regime changes in Bouazizi’s Tunisia and a number of other countries with particular telling effect in Libya, where the hitherto untouchable, Col. Moammer Gaddafi paid dearly with his life on the streets of Sirte, after 42 years in power. The action, which also caused the downfall of the most enduring dictatorship in Africa, the 30 year-old regime Hosni Mubarrak, also heralded for the first time, a democratically elected Egyptian president. However, a short-lived Mohammed Morsi presidency, truncated by the Egyptian Army barely a year into office, may prove an action capable of painting the supposedly popular Arab Spring in different colour, especially when viewed against the backdrop of the 1992 annulment of presidential election in Algeria and the ongoing bloodletting crippling Syria. Bouazizi’s December 17, 2010, act became a catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution and the wider Arab Spring, inciting demonstrations and riots throughout Tunisia in protest of social and political issues in the country. The public anger and violence intensified following Bouazizi’s death, leading then-President Tunisian Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to step down on January 14, 2011, after 23 years in power. The success of the Tunisian protests inspired protests in several other Arab countries, plus several non-Arab countries. The protests included several men who emulated Bouazizi’s act of self-immolation, in an Egyptian army during one of its confrontations with the supporters of the deposed President Mohamed Morsi attempt to bring an end to their own autocratic governments. Those men and Bouazizi 1966. has become more of chaos that anything “The first emerging democracy in Egypt’s were hailed by Arab commentators as “heroEver since, there has been an ongoing else. history and the first in the region since the ic martyrs of a new Middle Eastern revoludebate in certain circles of political Islam The Egyptian predicament, on top of Arab spring is quickly being dismantled,” tion.” over whether it is worth bothering to bid armed volatility in Libya, an ongoing civil said Ms. Karman, the first Arab woman and In 2011, Bouazizi was posthumously awardfor power legitimately through the ballot war in Syria, political tensions even in second Muslim woman to win the Nobel ed the Sakharov Prize jointly along with four box, or whether opposing secular rulers Tunisia, shows how change in the Arab peace prize. others for his and their contributions to through violence and seizing power –– as She was turned away from Egypt on August world is and will be much more complex “historic changes in the Arab world”, The advocated by militant groups –– is the only than predicted. 4 after she announced on social media her Tunisian government honored him with a practical option. Oche stressed that: “In essence, the Arab intention to join Muslim Brotherhood propostage stamp. The Times of the United When the Arab Spring protest movement Spring involved series of unorganized upristesters at a huge pro-Morsi vigil in Cairo. Kingdom named Bouazizi as person of the overthrew the corrupt and discredited govings that arose as a result of massive Egyptian authorities gave no reason year 2011. ernment of Egypt’s President Mubarak in demand for leadership change, economic beyond saying Karman was on a list of peoBut while the corpse of Bouazizi may be 2011, and elections replaced it with the improvement, political liberties and so on. ple banned from entering the country. resting in peace, Peace in the Arab world is a Muslim Brotherhood, that was like a serious The outcome of such upheavals is usually distant luxury. The Egyptian army’s overblow to al-Qaeda and other militants. It OR its tacit support of the Egyptian mili- political chaos. It will take some time for throw of President Morsi, according to showed the world there was a future for political stability to come as different factary coup, the United States of America Tawakkul Karman, who shared a Nobel political Islam through peaceful, democrattions contend for power in a disorganised and its western allies, according to peace prize for her pro-democracy camic means. Recent events in Egypt now risk Director of Research at the Nigeria Institute environment.” paigning in Yemen, may prove to be a death undermining that logic. In all these, not a few have accused the International Affairs (NIIA) Professor Ogaba knell for Arab democratic movements. “There is a fear for the future,” UK West of double standard, particularly in Danjuma Oche, are merely remaining conThe removal of Morsi, she said on July 3, Egypt, where democratically elected govern- spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood, sistent with a self-centered foreign policy “reset the clock” on the gains made since a ment was been toppled by the army barely which is strictly about their interests first. popular uprising started. CONTINUED ON PAGE 59 Oche’s international relations colleague and a year into civil administration. Oche said, “the West has been known to Head of Department, Politics and International Relations, Lead City University, place their own interests over and above everything else. This is a case in point. The Ibadan, Prof Chibuzo Nwoke, also spoke to West has been known to support dictators The Guardian in similar vein, while dismissonce it serves their interest. We should ing political actors in the Arab world as remember the case of Algeria in the 1990’s.” politically immature. Deposing a democratically elected leader Lately there has been a lot of Western disillusionment with the Arab Spring. The cover and suspending the constitution could be interpreted by many, especially those of the current issue of The Economist poses described as political Islamists, as sending a the question, “Has the Arab Spring failed?” blunt message; it doesn’t necessarily pay to There are also strong indications that the choose the ballot over the bullet. Arab spring may have turned into a comThere is a terrifying precedent here –– in plete debacle. What informed such feelings Algeria. In 1991 the Islamist party, FIS, won are numerous, but it is not hard to see the the first round of elections. Days later the main triggers for these questions to be asked at this time –– the course of the Syrian president, under pressure from the secular military, dissolved parliament and annulled war, in terms of both bloodiness and setbacks to the rebels, is one, the military coup the elections. Algeria’s Islamist movement went underand upsurge of unrest in Egypt constitute ground and there followed a decade of another. “It would seem that the new political actors insurgency in which more than 150,000 people lost their lives. in these Arab states are immature politicalRemnants of that insurgency currently ly. In Egypt, for example, they seem incalive on in the Sahara, smuggling, extorting pable of political compromise. The turmoil ransoms, kidnapping and killing hostages. and uprisings have exposed the political Egypt is the birthplace of political Islam, a immaturity of several of the major actors in movement which had its roots in anti-colothe Arab world. And this was glaringly nial nationalism in the early 20th century revealed in Egypt, where the Muslim and which saw the intellectual godfather of Brotherhood naively alienated segments of the movement, Sayyid Qutb, tortured in the Egyptian society that could have given crucial strategic support,” Nwoke said when prison by the military government of Colonel Nasser and eventually killed in asked why the aftermath of the Arab Spring Oche Nwoke

I

F


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

59

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

Bloody, Without Envisaged Gains CONTINUED FROM PAGE 58 Muna Al-Qazzaz, recently told the BBC. “One of our major fears (in the Muslim Brotherhood) is that people will take matters into their own hands. Millions voted for Morsi. We thought it was democracy. But we are now in a very dangerous situation.” Analysts at the US-based Stratfor Global Intelligence group agree. While they doubt that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood itself will abandon the path of democratic politics, they predict: “Morsi’s ouster will lead elements from more ultraconservative Salafist groups to abandon mainstream politics in favour of armed conflict.” Stratfor also points to a wider, transnational impact, stating: “The overthrow of Egypt’s moderate Islamist government undermines the international efforts to bring radical Islamists into the political mainstream in the wider Arab and Muslim world. Ultimately, within the context of Egypt, Morsi’s ouster sets a precedent where future presidents can expect to be removed from office by the military in the event of pressure from the masses… It does not bode well for the future stability of Egypt.” It was in this light that Nwoke, a former Head of the Division of International Economic Relations, at the NIIA, views the West apparent double standards in Egypt. “The West is indeed guilty of maintaining double standards all over the world not just in Egypt. What is critical for Western policy is not democracy but strategic interest for which it would be willing to look the other way even when a coup has occurred to upturn a democratically elected government as in Egypt,” he said. He, however, stressed that if Egypt is difficult to manage, Syria’s case is worse. “It is difficult to see a clear winner in Syria. Propped by Russia, Assad may survive for a while, hoping to sufficiently weaken opposition forces so they are not able to mount an effective challenge. That country may end up breaking up in little bits of competing and sometimes fighting entities,” he said. With neither side prepared to talk, negotiate, or concede, Oche added that a protracted civil war would eventually ensue. Even as Nwoke declared that: “All hopes of a smooth transition, a fresh start, the consolidation of peace and development have been dashed. The crisis has swept away most of the gains from the initial wave of liberty that blew around the Arab world.” Reacting to the question on if the recourse to arms conflict was necessary in the first place, Oche is of the view that the Assad-led government should have negotiated and conceded to credible opposition demands. Yet, this is just beginning of greater problems to come. “The implications include the spread and intensification of violence and instability in North Africa and the Middle East. Regions that are on the fringes, such as the Sahel Region of Africa will definitely be affected. There will be spread of weapons and terrorist groups will certainly take advantage of such circumstances,” he said. It would be recalled that the Egyptian authorities fought a long, existential campaign to defeat a violent armed campaign to overthrow the government. In 1981 armed groups assassinated President Anwar Sadat, and the then Vice President Mubarak only survived because a hand grenade that landed close to him failed to explode. Throughout the second half of the 1990s there were constant clashes between police and militants, and in 1997 Egyptian militants murdered 58 tourists at Luxor’s temples. The current leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman AlZawahiri, is Egyptian, and, according to a report by the BBC, it was he who “radicalised” Osama Bin Laden in the 1990s, getting him to expand his horizons beyond his personal animosity towards the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia and to embrace a more global militant agenda. Presently, hundreds of Egyptian militants are believed to have gone to Syria to join rebels fighting President Assad’s forces, while at home in the Egyptian Sinai militant groups have reportedly taken advantage of the chaos of the Arab Spring to build up their arsenals, their numbers and their

power. So, if Egypt’s harassed Muslim Brotherhood do decide that violence is now their only option, then that would spell serious danger for that country. OWEVER, Morsi’s case may have been hasten by apparent but inadequate experience in governance, not so dissimilar to what bedeviled Tunisia after Ben Ali’s flight. Rashid al Ghannushi, the president of Tunisia’s Islamic government party Ennahda spent over 30 years in prison and exile before returning home after the fall of former leader Ben Ali. Egyptian Morsi, on the other hand, was jailed several times for his role in the Muslim Brotherhood and lived partly as a clandestine in the Mubarak era. Both have more experience as opposition rather than government members and need more time to show they are able to fulfill their role. It is not only the in the area of regime change that the Arab Spring has met with limited success, the revolution has not, as at yet, brought any significant positive change in the economies and social development in the North African and Middle East nations. Some of the Arab countries, Egypt and Tunisia are examples, share common socioeconomic challenges – large budget deficits that preclude large-scale public spending to stimulate the overall economy. Public spending in these countries remain focused on financing public salaries and subsidies on common consumer products. Arab Spring countries, according to deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Nemat Shafik, haven’t decided what kind of economy they are trying to create. Unlike East European countries that chose the European Union’s economic model, following the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago, Shafik says Arab Spring countries still don’t have a clear vision of their economic future. “Much of the uncertainty that we see now is a reflection of the lack of consensus about a role model for economic strategy or political strategy of what the destination point is,” she said during a recent seminar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. This lack of a clear, coherent economic vision is a problem throughout the Arab Spring nations, according to Ibrahim Saif, a senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. He says it creates a climate of insecurity that affects all sectors of an economy. “The tourism industry, for example, which is viewed as the most important contributor to foreign currency inflows and job opportunities, has been hit particularly hard by the security gap,” Saif said. Even then, the Arab Spring nations’ economic fortune is closely tied to their political fortune. It is difficult to encourage foreign investment if there is no independent judicial system. And it is hard to curtail corruption without an independent press or a strong government. The political reforms must be applied in all areas of government as well as civil society. Fixing the situation would require an enormous amount of money, money that simply is not available. The IMF estimates Arab Spring nations would need more than $160 billion over the next three years to jumpstart their economies – this at a time when they are in political turmoil and commodity prices are rising. The United States recently released $250 million of a $1 billion economic relief package to Egypt to help the Egyptian government get an IMF loan. But this is an exception and a tiny sliver of what’s needed. Western donor countries as well as the IMF, may not exactly be in a position to offer much more because of the global economic decline. There is some view that perhaps a portion of the needed investment could come from the emerging market economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China. Or from the Middle East side, investment could come from capital-rich Turkey and the Gulf countries. But none of this needed foreign investment will be possible unless the Arab Spring nations achieve some measure of political stability.

H

al-Asaad

Mubarak

Ben Ali

Gaddaffi


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 25, 2013

60

FOREIGNNEWS

Shetland Helicopter Crash: Four Dead Named UNITED KINGDOM OUR people who died after a Fhavehelicopter crash off Shetland been named. They were Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness, and George Allison, 57, from Winchester. Three of the four bodies have been recovered. Police Scotland confirmed 14 others were rescued. The Super Puma L2 helicopter

crashed west of Sumburgh Airport at about 18:20 BST on Friday. An investigation into the cause of the tragedy is under way. RNLI rescue co-ordinator Jim Nicholson said the helicopter - carrying workers from an oil rig apparently suffered a “catastrophic loss of power”. He said it appeared the aircraft had “suddenly dropped into the sea without any opportunity to make a controlled landing”. Amanda Smith, whose son Sam was on the helicopter, told Sky News it suddenly lost power and those on board had “no time to

brace”. “He was by the window so he was able to escape that way as it rolled over,” she said. “He said he had come off better than a lot of people, [those] were

MAN from Sierra Leone has been A arrested at New York’s John F Kennedy airport with uranium samples allegedly concealed in his shoes. Patrick Campbell was charged with attempting to broker a sale of 1,000 tonnes of yellowcake uranium to Iran. He allegedly made the offer to US undercover agents, thinking they were representing the Iranians. Samples of raw uranium ore were found beneath the inner soles of his shoes, an agent said in a US court complaint. When enriched, yellowcake can be used in the manufacture of nuclear fuel and weapons. Iran is suspected by the US and others of secretly seeking to acquire

nuclear weapons despite protestations that its programme is for civilian energy use only. Campbell is accused of seeking to arrange the export of the yellowcake from Sierra Leone to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, packed in drums and disguised as the mineral chromite. He presented himself as someone affiliated with a company engaged in mining and selling uranium in Sierra Leone, according to the US complaint, a copy of which was published by the New York Times. He had allegedly responded to an advert in May of last year on the website Alibaba.com seeking to purchase uranium that was placed by an undercover US agent posing as an American broker representing persons in Iran.

MSF-Backed Hospitals Treated ‘Chemical Victims’ EDECINS Sans Frontieres says M hospitals it supports in Syria treated about 3,600 patients with “neurotoxic symptoms”, of whom 355 have died. It said the patients had arrived in three hospitals in the Damascus governorate on 21 August - when opposition activists say chemical attacks were launched against rebels. It appears to provide more evidence of chemical weapons use. Western countries have accused the government. Damascus accuses rebels. MSF says staff at the hospitals described a large number of patients arriving with symptoms including convulsions, extreme salivation, contracted pupils and sight and respiratory problems. The charity said many were treat-

SYRIA ed with atropine, a drug administered to those with “neurotoxic symptoms”. MSF says that while it cannot scientifically confirm the cause of the symptoms, they “strongly suggest” the use of a “neurotoxic agent”. MSF’s disclosure came hours after the UN disarmament chief Angela Kane arrived in Damascus to press the Syrian government to allow access to the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack. France has joined the UK in accusing Bashar al-Assad’s forces of carrying out the attack in the capital’s eastern suburbs on Wednesday. US President Obama has said he is weighing his options and described it as a “big event of grave concern”.

He said: “The most common one at low level for aircraft and helicopters is bird strikes. “If one of these helicopters ingested a bird it would cause a very, very nasty accident.

Mandela Showing ‘Great Resilience’ In Hospital

‘Uranium Shoe’ Man Arrested S UNITED STATES

his words.” Tim Ripley, an aviation expert with Jane’s Defence Weekly, told the BBC there were “many possible scenarios” behind the helicopter crash.

SOUTH AFRICA

OUTH Africa’s ailing former leader, Nelson Mandela, is said to be showing great resilience though his condition becomes unstable at times. The state of the 95-year-old is “still critical but stable”, according to a statement from the South African president’s office. He remains in hospital in Pretoria two-and-a-half months after being admitted with a recurring lung infection. The statement largely squares

with comments from members of his family. “Critical but stable” is the phrase used by the government for weeks now, says a BBC report from Johannesburg. However, yesterday’s statement does provide some fresh insight into the precariousness of the health of the global icon and the reserves he still appears able to call upon, our correspondent adds. The statement said doctors were still working hard to bring about a turnaround in his health and, as a result of medical interventions, his

condition tended to stabilise. President Jacob Zuma, who is travelling to Malaysia on an official visit, urged the country to continue praying for Mr. Mandela and to keep him in their thoughts at all times. Mandela, who stepped down as the country’s first black president in 1999, entered hospital on 8 June. The anti-apartheid activist’s lung infection is believed to date back to the period of nearly three decades he spent in prison, for his activities in the African National Congress.

Second Man Held Over Mumbai Gang-Rape Of Journalist SECOND man has been arrested A over the gang-rape of a 22-yearold journalist in the Indian city of Mumbai. A 19-year-old man was arrested at the weekend over the attack at an abandoned textile mill in the centre of the city. Three others are still being sought. The woman, who was on a photo assignment with a male colleague at the time, is in hospital with multiple injuries. Her colleague was beaten. The case has renewed public outrage over sexual violence in India. There were nationwide protests last December following the gangrape of a 23-year-old student on a bus in the capital, Delhi. She later

INDIA died from her injuries. The case led to the introduction of tougher laws against sexual violence, but many are asking whether these have had any effect. Police have promised swift justice and deployed elite units to search for the suspects, sketches of whom were released on Friday. A 19-year-old unemployed man from south Mumbai was arrested on Friday, and the second suspect was arrested yesterday. The victim of Thursday’s attack worked as an intern with a Mumbaibased English magazine and had gone to the Shakti Mills - a former textile mill that now lies abandoned

and in ruins - with a male colleague for a photo shoot, police said. “The man [victim’s male colleague] was clicking pictures on a camera while the girl was taking pictures on her mobile phone in the dilapidated building when one accused accosted them and inquired why they were there at the railway property,” Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh said on Thursday. “He later called four more men to the spot. They tied the male colleague’s hands with a belt and took the girl to the bushes and raped her.” The “reprehensible” attack took place between “6pm and 6:30pm”, Singh said.

Bo Xilai Admits To Trial He ‘Made Mistakes’ ORMER top Chinese politician F“made Bo Xilai has admitted he mistakes”, but denied all charges against him. Addressing accusations of covering up the murder of a UK businessman, Mr Bo said he made “serious errors of judgement” but that the charges against him were “exaggerated”. He also denied embezzlement, saying he did not know his wife

Palestinians wait near their luggage at the Rafah border terminal in the southern Gaza Strip before crossing into neighbouring Egypt… yesterday

CHINA had stolen public funds until after the incident. The scandals involving Bo’s family have captivated the country. Before his fall from grace, Mr Bo was the Communist Party chief in the city of Chongqing and one of the most influential men in China. He is accused of bribery, corrup-

PHOTO: AFP

tion and abusing his office by using his position to cover up for his wife Gu Kailai, who has been convicted of murdering the businessman Neil Heywood in 2011. Many analysts assume the outcome of the trial, which will resume for a fourth day today, has been predetermined –– with a guilty verdict. But observers say Bo has given what, for China, is an unusually vigorous defence. They say the court hearing is as much about getting rid of a popular politician as it is about criminal wrongdoing. Foreign media are not allowed into the trial, but the court in the eastern city of Jinan has been posting regular updates on China’s micro-blogging site Weibo (in Mandarin) - translated by the BBC. “On the matter of abuse of office, I made mistakes, this reflected badly on the image of the party and the state. I feel sorry for that,” Bo told the Jinan court. “However I do think the charges against me exaggerated my role in these incidents,” he added. The abuse of office charge stems from accusations that Bo knew and covered up the fact that his wife murdered Neil Heywood in November 2011. Bo told the court that he had discussed the accusations with her, and his wife told him that she was being framed for the murder. Much of yesterday’s testimony from Bo has centred on two difficult meetings he had with Chongqing’s police chief and close associate, Wang Lijun, on 28 and 29 January 2012.


TheGuardian

Sunday, August 25, 2013 |61

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Sports Canizares Wants Casillas To Consider Barcelona Switch Real Madrid goalFsaysORMER keeper Santiago Canizares, Iker Casillas should con-

and anywhere else in the world, he would get the recognition he deserves. sider leaving the Santiago “What matters most is your Bernabeu side for Barcelona. job and if you can’t do it at The Blancos captain lost his your current club, you will starting berth to Diego Lopez have to look elsewhere. If I last season while Jose were Casillas, I would start Mourinho was still at the thinking about leaving helm, and is also seemingly Madrid. This situation is not second choice under new normal. coach Carlo Ancelotti. “The current situation at Consequently, Canizares Madrid is very uncomfortable would not the discount the for both goalkeepers. I have possibility of Casillas depart- never thought that having ing for Camp nou before the two great shot-stoppers at close of the transfer window. one team was a good idea. “I don’t see any problems if Casillas is always the centre of he were to leave Madrid for attention at the moment.” Barcelona,” Canizares told Casillas has a contract with Cadena SER. “At Barcelona, Madrid until June 2017.

Buffon Desperate For Champions League Glory IAnLUIGI Buffon is desbut there’s no denying that G perate to win the the Champions League is Champions League with Juventus before the end of his career, after missing out on the trophy in 2002/03. The Serie A champions made it to the quarterfinals of European club football’s elite competition last season, where eventual winners Bayern Munich proved to be too strong, and the Bianconeri skipper is eager to go all the way this campaign. “Winning the Scudetto is obviously something that never stops satisfying you,

something else. It is not a competition you win easily,” Buffon told TG1.”I already got to the Champions League final in 2003 and I really did not enjoy the experience of losing. “What would I give to win the Champions League? Let’s say I have six or seven years left to play, I’d happily give three or four years of my career to win it.” The draw for the Champions League group stages takes place in Monaco on August 29. Bale

Martino Slams Madrid Over Bale’s Fee Striker’s Absence At White Hart Lane Today Likely ARCELOnA coach Gerardo B Martino has slammed Real Madrid over the reported €100 million transfer fee they are set to pay Tottenham Hotspur for Gareth Bale. The Santiago Bernabeu side

Lewandowski

are expected to imminently complete the signing of the Welshman for a world record fee and Martino feels shelling out such an amount of money for one player is borderline offensive in such times of eco-

Lewandowski Admits Snubbing Man U, City, Madrid er with such a big name is tex- had something big to ORUSSIA Dortmund strik- text message from then Madrid boss Jose Mourinho, ting me this way. B achieve in Dortmund before er Robert Lewandowski, telling him that he would like “It is always nice to talk to I joined a bigger club.” has revealed that he has turned down moves to Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid in the past 12 months. The Poland international was instrumental in Jurgen Klopp’s side reaching the Champions League final last season with the highlight of his campaign arguably being his four goals in Dortmund’s 4-1 triumph over Real Madrid at the tournament’s semifinal stage. Lewandowski revealed that after the match he received a

the striker to join him wherever he ended up the following year, which was ultimately Chelsea. “Yes, there was a situation like this with Jose Mourinho but I wouldn’t like to talk about it much,” he said. “It was a private conversation so I don’t want to make big things out of it. I can confirm I spoke to him. “We spoke a few times before. I have his number in my phone. It is a huge compliment for me that a manag-

him but it is not the first time I had such a situation.” Lewandowski also explained that the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Florentino Perez have also attempted to lure him away from Germany. “One year earlier I also spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson and that was definitely a great feeling,” the forward admitted. “The retirement of Sir Alex didn’t affect my decision not to come to England. He spoke to me one year ago. It was not at a good time. I knew I still

Real Madrid would seem to fit into that category but they too were unsuccessful in their attempts to talk Lewandowski into a switch. The 25-year-old confirmed that Perez, Madrid’s president, did speak to him after the Champions League semifinal, second leg. “It was in the office near the dressing room at the Bernabeu straight after the match. We spoke to each other briefly and...OK, let’s just say we spoke.

nomic crisis. “How I feel about Madrid signing Bale for about €100m? He is an excellent player, but the fee that’s being mentioned shows a lack of respect for the world we live in,” Martino said at a press conference. Madrid already hold the record for most expensive transfer with the €94m they paid Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, but Bale is likely to cost the Liga giants in excess of €100m following Spurs insistence to only sell for an astronomical fee. The Bernabeu side have yet to finalise the signing of the 24year-old Bale, but a transfer seems to be a matter of time as they have already prepared a special balcony on which to parade their new signing once the deal becomes official. Meanwhile, Tottenham boss, Andre Villas-Boas, does not

expect Gareth Bale to be at White Hart Lane for today’s match against Swansea City. The Wales international has been out of action due to injury since the start of the campaign, and Villas-Boas insists there is no need for Bale to be at the match. “We have no rules for or obligation for players not selected to be on the bench or in the stadium so I don’t expect Gareth to be seen at the club,” Villas-Boas said. Villas-Boas has been happy with how his team have played without Bale, with away victories over Crystal Palace and Dinamo Tbilisi, and he wants them to maintain that level of performance in the coming weeks. “Whenever a team is missing an important player it is a chance for other players to step up their game,” VillasBoas added. “In the end there will always be an opportunity for other people to shine through. Other players are taking that responsibility on board.


62

THE GUARDIAN Sunday, August 25, 2013

SPORTS

Battle-Of-Mauritius... Ten Gold Nigeria’s contingent to the 11th African Junior Athletics Championship is expected to depart Lagos for Mauritius tomorrow and unlike the scenario at the just concluded IAAF World Championship in Moscow, where Team Nigeria suddenly became a one-athlete-nation, the junior athletes have vowed to attack Africa on all fronts. Some of the athletes and coaches spoke with GOWON AKPODONOR from the team’s camp in Sapele, Delta State, on what should be expected when the battle for medals begin, on August 29. HE permutations are the same. With about one week to T the commencement of the 11 African Junior Athletics Championship in Mauritius, both athletes and coaches in th

Team Nigeria camp say they are already in competition mood. A total of 42 athletes and 12 coaches have been training at the newly constructed Sapele Stadium since August 5, in readiness for the championship, which will hold between August 29 and September 1 in Mauritius. The competition was originally scheduled for South Africa in mid July, but the soured relationship between Athletics South Africa and the country’s Sport Ministry forced the Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA) to move it to Mauritius. As Team Nigeria (senior team) was battling for survival at the recently concluded Moscow 2013 IAAF World Championship, with only Blessing Okagbare carrying the hope of over 150 million people, the junior athletes were busy perfecting their strategies in Sapele on how to cross the big hurdles ahead of them. Before the trip to Moscow, Team Nigeria’s youth athletes competed at the IAAF World Youth Championship in Donetsk, Ukraine, where the efforts of Divine Oduduru, Ifeanyi Atuma, Bashiru Abdullahi, Daisy Akpofa and Aniefuna Anulike Judith, among others, could not fetch the country any medal. Though they were commended for their effort in the competition. With the Moscow 2013 assignment completed and Blessing Okagbare’s two medals in the long jump and 200m still being celebrated, the junior athletes say the trip to Mauritius will be more rewarding. The junior team, made up of mainly U-18 athletes, are the nation’s future in athletics. The AFN is hoping to nurture some of them as replacement for those, who are no longer performing well at the senior level, especially in the Project Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In Moscow, Team Nigeria entered just one male athlete, Ogho-Oghene Egwero, in the 100m sprint. He was consumed during the heat of the event. There were no male contenders for Team Nigeria in the 4x100m relay in Moscow, as they failed to meet the standard. However, Coach Tobias Igwe, who is one of those handling the junior athletes, believe the country has enough to fill the vacuum in the juniors, if only they are properly groomed for the challenges ahead. For coach Igwe, junior athletes like Harry Chukwudike, Anthony Egode, Mamus Emoobunovie, Victor Ikhazoboh, Ini-Oluwa Victor and Divine Oduduru have the potential to rule Africa and the world in the short sprint (100m). Igwe’s contribution to the success story of Nigeria’s sports, especially athletics, remains unbeaten, having discovered the best crop of athletes at different times for the land and led the nation to victories at various continental championships, including the Olympic Games, Commonwealth, All Africa Games and the Afro-Asia Games. He discovered great stars for the country including Mary Onyali, Davidson Ezinwa, Uchenna Emedolu and Tina Iheagwam. Speaking with The Guardian from the team’s camp in Sapele during the week, Igwe said some of the junior athletes like Briggs Tamunotonye and Akerele Omeiza would fit into the RIO 2016 project, particularly the 200m event. “In this trip to Mauritius, I am so optimistic that we will get around eight to 10 gold medals for Nigeria because we have the athletes who are hungry for success,” he stated. Speaking further on Nigeria’s chances, Igwe said: “Chukwudike and Mamus Emoobunovie are our best sprinters at the moment. Chukwudike posted 10.03 seconds during the AYC in Warri earlier this year and Mamus is equally doing well in the 100m. If things work out well in Mauritius, I see them winning gold and silver in the 100m. We have decamped two of our athletes, so Nkeem and Ese Brume is our medal hopes in the female 100m. “Divine Oduduru is our man in the 200m. The experience he gathered at the World Youth Championship in Ukraine should be an advantage for him in Mauritius. In Moscow, injury stopped Ajoke Odumosu from competing in both the 400m hurdles and the 4x400m relay, while the efforts of Regina George and Ugonna Ndu could not yield the desired fruit. Their male counterparts in the 400m could not make the difference. Coach Igwe is of the view that junior athletes like Oshasha Samson, Ottah Ugochukwu, Akerele Omeiza, Ebelebe Charles, Adeniji Ademola and Japhet Samuel have what it takes to make history for the country in the events, just as

he is banking on the duo of Ifeanyi Atuma and Bashiru Abdullahi for medals in the 110m hurdles. If current form and prechampionship performances of the athletes are anything to go by, then Team Nigeria should expect three gold medals from female long jumper, Ese Brume in Mauritius. Sensational Brume told The Guardian during the week that the performance by Blessing Okagbare at the just ended IAAF World Championships has stirred her into training to reach great heights. Brume was one of the revelations at the Cross River/All Nigeria Open championship in Calabar two months ago, where the senior athletes were picked for the Moscow Championship. Her superlative performance in the long jump event, where she beat senior girls to place second behind Okagbare, still remain a talking point for athletics followers. In Calabar, Okagbare placed first in the long jump with a leap of 6.68meters, while the young Brume jumped 6.53m to pick the silver. Okagbare’s silver in Moscow ended Nigeria’s 14 years of long wait for medal in the IAAF World Championship, a performance Brume says would serve as ‘great inspiration’ to her and other members of the junior team to Mauritius. Brume said she does not see anybody beating her to the gold in both the long jump and 100m event in Mauritius. “I don’t see any one stopping me from picking the gold in the long jump and 100m. If my colleagues play their parts very well in the 4x100m relay, I am sure we will get the gold because we have trained very well for Triple jumper, Kasie Ugeh hoping for a better outing in Mauritius the championship. “I am in high spirit for the competition, especially since Blessing made us proud by winning two medals in that she took a cue from every jump of Okagbare during Moscow. I am looking forward to continuing from where the competition and that since then she is a better she stopped. I will make Team Nigeria proud in jumper. Mauritius.” Like the Moscow 2013 World Championship, where After winning silver medal at the Cross River/All Nigeria Okagbare competed in four events, a similar incident Open trials in Calabar, Brume confessed to The Guardian may be playing out in Mauritius. Team Nigeria has


THE GUARDIAN Sunday, August 25, 2013

63

SPORTS

Medals On Their Mind

Team Nigeria’s medley relay team set to dazzle in Mauritius entered Brume to compete in three events. She is the country’s brightest medals’ hope in the long jump and the girl’s 100m. She will also run in the 4x100m relay. Three days before the commencement of the All Nigeria Open Championship in Calabar, Brume was beaten to the gold medal in the same long jump event at the Confederation of Africa Athletics CAA Grand Prix/Relays in Warri. In that competition attended by top athletes from the United States, Great Britain, Jamaica and some African countries, Brume lost the gold to Chinaza Amadi. Her jump in Warri was 6.24m. “After the Warri CAA Grand Prix, something struck me that I could do better even in the midst of senior competitors in Calabar,” Brume had told The Guardian at the U.J Esuene Stadium. Nigeria’s contingent to the 14th IAAF World Championship in Moscow returned to the country during the week with officials of the AFN beaming with smile for its success in championship. But the country’s participation in coming African Junior Athletics Championship in Mauritius seems to be a major headache to top officials of the AFN, as the federations is said to be running from pillar to post looking for fund. It was learnt during the week that the supervisory sports ministry, the National Sports Commission (NSC), was yet to respond to AFN’s request for fund for the Mauritius trip. Speaking on the country’s participation at the championships, AFN Technical Director, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, said the training in the Sapele camp has helped to put the athletes in better shape ahead of the continental meet. Alongside Coach Tobias Igwe, Daniel Etsebiminor, Uche Emedolu, Maria Usifo, Peter Oboh, Adebayo Bada, Saheed Alabi, Ayodele Solaja, Tunde Sulaimon, Ken Onuaguluchi also worked round the clock to put the athletes in top shape. For Team Nigeria to come tops at Mauritius 2013, it has to brace up for the tough challenges coming from Kenya. Kenya, famous for its exploits in the long distance races, now believe they have the sprinters that could also challenge Nigeria and other countries in the short distance races. The Athletics Kenya has selected 20 junior athletes for the championships with 1,500m specialist, Sheila Chepngetich, leading the team. Kenya held their national trials at the Nyayo Stadium, where Chepngetich of South Rift clocked 4:20.91 ahead of Janet Chesang of Central (4:23.84) and Vivian Kipkemei

(4:29.36). Chepngetich will be joined by 800m prospect, Agatha Jeruto, who won the 800m race in 2:07.40 ahead of Judith Chepngetich (2:19.70) and Susan Wanyika (2:38.10). Moses Kibet and Jonathan Kiprotich booked a ticket to Mauritius in the 800m race after clocking 1:47.14 and 1:48.26 respectively in the trials. So sure are the Kenyans of the success of Geofrey Kiprotich that they are presenting him as their sole representative in the 200m. His best time in the event this year is 21.28 seconds. In the long jump event they have Kiplagat Cherono and Vincent Tarus, while Mathew Kiptanui and John Maina will feature in the 1,500m boys’ race. Elvis Kichoge and Josphat Kiprop will carry the country’s flag in the 10,000m race, with Alex Kiprotich in the javelin event. Athletics Kenya Youth and Junior Programme secretary, Barnaba Kitilit, observes that Kiprotich is one of the best in the world in the javelin event.

I am in high spirit for the competition, especially since Blessing made us proud by winning two medals in Moscow. I am looking forward to continuing from where she stopped. I will make Team Nigeria proud in Mauritius.

Abimbola Junaid..running in the girls’ relay during the AYC Games in Warri

Bashiru Abdullahi is in the 110m hurdles

Devine Oduduru…Team Nigeria’s medal hope in 200m

Ese Brume (left) with her role model Blessing Okagbare and Chinaza Amadi after the long jump event in Calabar


TheGuardian

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Arsenal’s two-goal hero, Lukas Podolski (R) vies with Fulham’s Swedish midfielder, Alexander Kacaniklic, during the English Premier League game at Craven Cottage in London yesterday. Arsenal won 3-1.

EPL: Arsenal, Stoke, Hull Win UKAS Podolski scored twice Lvictory as Arsenal claimed a first of the Barclays Premier League season with a 3-1 win against Fulham at Craven Cottage. A 3-1 opening day loss at home to Aston Villa resulted in Arsenal supporters questioning Arsene Wenger’s status as manager, expressing their unhappiness at the Gunners’ lack of progress in the transfer market. Victory in the Champions League qualifying first leg at Fenerbahce quietened the dissenters and first-half strikes from Olivier Giroud and Podolski lifted the mood further. Germany striker, Podolski, who has been linked with a move away from London as Wenger bids to reshape his squad before the September 2 closure of the transfer window, converted another devastating Arsenal counter-attack for a third. On-loan Aston Villa striker, Darren Bent netted on his first Fulham appearance in reply. Stoke recovered from a halftime deficit to beat promoted Crystal Palace 2-1 in Mark Hughes’ first home match in charge at the Britannia

RESULTS Fulham 1-3 Arsenal Everton 0 - 0 West Brom Hull City 1 -0 Norwich Newcastle 0 - 0 West Ham Southampton 1 - 1 Sunderland Stoke City 2- 1 Crystal Palace Aston Villa 0 - 1 Liverpool

Stadium. Marouane Chamakh’s first Premier League goal since 2011 put Palace ahead in the 31st minute but Stoke turned the game on its head with two goals in quick succession after the break. Charlie Adam drew the teams level in the 58th minute and then four minutes later Ryan Shawcross slammed home the winning goal for Stoke. Palace’s fellow top-flight newcomers, Hull survived the 27th-minute dismissal of Yannick Sagbo to defeat Norwich 1-0 at home. Robbie Brady’s 22nd-minute penalty, given after former Tiger Michael Turner pulled down Sagbo inside the area, put Hull ahead but the hosts suffered a blow soon after when Sagbo was handed a straight red card for an off-theball incident. However, Norwich could not make the most of their numerical advantage as Steve Bruce’s men claimed the three points. Sunderland was within minutes of celebrating victory themselves only to be denied by a late Jose Fonte equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Southampton. Summer signing, Emanuele Giaccherini, standing only 5ft 6in, headed home a Sebastian Larsson corner after just three minutes to give the Black Cats the lead at St Mary’s Stadium but Fonte’s 88th-minute lev-

eller saw the points shared. The other two Premier League matches failed to produce a goal, with Everton being held at home by West Brom and Sam Allardyce’s West Ham getting a point from the trip to his former club Newcastle. Marouane Fellaini, subject of an approach from Manchester United this week, struck the post late on as Everton created

the better chances at Goodison Park. A Seamus Coleman effort also rattled the woodwork as the game entered injury time but the Baggies held on for a point in a lively finish. At St James’ Park, Newcastle sub Sammy Ameobi’s injurytime cross caught the inside of Jussi Jaaskelainen’s post and bounced back out to

Yoan Gouffran who somehow contrived to spoon the rebound over the bar from point-blank range. The near-miss summed up the frustrations of the home side who once again started without Yohan Cabaye in their matchday squad and failed to muster a single shot on target through the afternoon.

Afrobasket: Depleted D’Tigers Confront Cameroun By ADEYINKA ADEDIPE IGERIA’S quest for her N first Nations Cup may have received a dent at the FIBA Africa Championship for men in Cote D’Ivoire, as two players got injured in the second group game against Congo, while Chamberlain Oguche is yet to feature at the event. With injury to Andy Ogide and Richard Oruche, coupled with Oguche’s absence, a depleted Nigerian team will confront Cameroun today to decide which team tops the group. Both teams have won two games each and would also need victory to avoid meeting a top team in the next round.

The D’Tigers also have a score to settle with the Camerounians who sent Nigeria packing at the last edition of the championship. With nine men available and the team’s pivot, Oguche absent, the Nigerian team would have to put up an extra ordinary effort to get past the Camerounians. Coach Ayo Bakare is worried about how he would manage with the remaining nine players with more matches to go. Bakare is, however, optimistic that Oguche would be back as soon as the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) and his Spanish club resolve the issue preventing him from taking part in the competition. In the meantime, the coach

stated that he has readjusted his strategies, but lamented that he is still pained to see the pivot of his team missing games. He also expressed displeasure at the officiating in the match against Congo as he dubbed very physical. “I just hope the officiating will improve against Cameroun, another physical side. “The officiating was disappointing against Congo, I must confess, but that is not to remove anything from the Congolese. The game was too physical, causing a lot of injuries to my team. With three players down and another not too certain, we will have to adopt another strategy and see how it goes,” Bakare stated.

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 letters@ngrguardiannews.com ABRAHAM OBOMEYOMA OGBODO • A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation •ABC

PHOTO: AFP

LITT Classics African Champion, Assar, others arrive as draws hold URRENT African champiC on, Egypt’s Omar Assar yesterday arrived Nigeria alongside some of the foreign players expected to feature in the first Lagos International Table Tennis Classics, which serves off tomorrow 26 at Molade Okoya Thomas hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium. The 2011 All Africa Games gold medallist, who is the highest ranked player in the tournament arrived Lagos with Italy’s Mihai Bobocica and Lithuania’s Matas Skucas. Also, players from Congo Brazzaville, Congo DRC, Cameroun, Togo, Benin and Ghana are expected to arrive today for the draws, scheduled to take place today. Also, 42 Nigerian players will compete with their foreign counterparts in the main draw of the men’s singles with former players like Fatai Adeyemo and Saubana Ayemojuba making it to the main draw. With over N6.5m at stake in the championship, Nigeria’s duo of Mojeed Olayiwola and Hammed Adeyinka believe they are ready to have a share of the prize money. Olayiwola, who won three gold medals at the 2012 National Sports Festival (NSF), said he is battle ready for the challenge. “I featured in the qualifiers and with this I am in good shape for the competition. But I want people to expect surprise from some of us that are home-based because nobody ever thought of us. National champion,

Mon 25 Aug 2013  

The Guardian Nigeria

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you