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NEWSFEATURE 58 Kokori… yet another military offensive, mass displacement of a community
A Sweet Taboo
Pa Ikwuazom, at 104, still on the pulpit
TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Vol. 30, No. 12,771
Military Personnel take the body of Nelson Mandela from the Union Buildings in Pretoria South-Africa…Yesterday.
Mandela Goes Home By Marcel Mbamalu (News Editor) and Oghogho Obayuwana, (Foreign Affairs Editor) OING by events leading to the committal of his earthly remains to mother earth today, an overflow of eulogies are to be expected as the world bids Nelson Mandela his deserved grand goodbye. His body arrived his ancestral
•ANC In ‘Election Victory’ Dance home- Qunu in the eastern cape region yesterday. In keeping with Xhosa and Thembu tradition, Mandela’s grandson Mandla accompanied him on the journey, speaking to his coffin to tell him he was on his
way home to rest. Some 4,000 people, including presidents from Africa, several prime ministers, the Iranian vice-president, and the Prince of Wales, are expected to attend, while the
Thembu community will conduct a traditional ceremony — including songs and poems about Mr. Mandela’s life and his achievements — in a giant white marquee that has been specially erected.
CITYFILE 6 Yuletide, Reason Wise Men Must Travel Now Why Nigeria Was Not Given Speech Slot At Mandela’s Memorial
According to agency reports yesterday including those of the Associated Press, the free- From Laolu Akande, New York dom fighter’s remains arrived IPLOMATS and internationin Mthatha, 700 km away at al observers are concerned 13:37 local (11:37 GMT). It is of course the final leg of its gloriCONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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2 | NEWS Sunday, December 15, 2013
NEWS Why Nigeria Was Not Given Speech Slot At Mandela’s Memorial CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 that when the largest gathering of world leaders converged in Africa last Tuesday to honor former South African President Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg, the voice of Nigeria, a frontline state in the battle against apartheid was not heard. And, as the international icon is being buried today, diplomatic and local media sources are also recalling the day newly freed global icon visited the New York City headquarters of the United Nations, the international organisation that fought against the Apartheid regime in that country. At that event in 1990, Nigeria and Nigerians were at the forefront unlike last Tuesday in Johanesburg. That story retelling comes, even as informed diplomatic sources explained that Nigeria may have been edged out by the apparent rivalry between both countries coupled with what many in global affairs
also perceive as Nigeria’s uninspiring presence on the world stage in recent times. A top United Nations official disclosed that it was “truly depressing,” that Nigeria was left out of the nations whose leaders spoke at the Memorial service which was beamed live almost everywhere in the world.” But he also added that “on the other hand, it was not surprising as this is a reflection of Nigeria’s domestic situation,” considering the turbulence in the polity and the confusion about the state of the nation. But former External Affairs Minister, who also served as Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, noted that while Nigeria should have been invited to speak, once that did not happen, President Goodluck Jonathan could have easily called and addressed a world press conference before or after the event right there in South Africa. According to him, “we
should have spoken there. And if that did not happen, our President should have called and addressed a world press conference in the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria before or after the ceremony.” But some other commentators, especially on the social media, blame the “poverty of advice and ideas” around the President for such a momentous event, noting that it was not enough for Nigeria to merely attend the event considering the country’s heavy involvement in the liberation of South Africa and other Southern African countries. But in an earlier response, Dr Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on media and publicity, had noted that concerns about Nigeria not being called to speak at the event “ is obviously a further indication of a rising, minority tendency to read the negative into every official item. “It was made clear at the occa-
sion that the Chairman of the AU Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, will speak on behalf of African leaders. And she did. I do not agree that Nigeria was insulted in any way. It was good that President Jonathan attended the Memorial service and that Nigeria is in solidarity with the South Africans”, he added. Abati observed that if every leader who was present at the service was given the platform to speak, the service would not have ended. He added: “There were many other leaders at the event, whose countries have strong
historical and political ties with South Africa, but who did not speak. I have not heard their compatriots crying like babies”. But diplomatic sources in New York insisted that such countries with strong ties actually spoke pointing to Cuba, India and Brazil whose leaders were invited to call. The sources said the Nigerian government should not perceive the nation’s contributions to South African freedom as lesser than these other nations, whose leaders were invited to speak by the government of South Africa.
It was added there was no other African nation that matched the contributions of Nigeria to the dissolution of the apartheid policies in southern African states, and that on itself should have encouraged the selection of a speech from the Nigerian President on such an event. Some of the diplomatic sources, however, argued that doing that on the part of South Africa might also be unwitting considering the rivalry that has existed between Nigeria and South Africa at the United Nations and other global forums. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4
CELEBRATING THE NONAGENARIAN
ANC In ‘Election Victory’ Dance For Mandela CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 ous journey. Large numbers of people lined the roads in the rural region to pay their respect, as all prepared for today’s state funeral. Since Madiba’s demise on December 5, following a protracted lung disease, world leaders have been pouring encomiums on the man, who the Los Angeles Times, last week, referred to as protester, Prisoner and peacemaker. His name appears to resonate as a unifier; the world is collectively affected by his death, as all races have mourned his passing. In yesterday’s send-off memorial for him, members of the African National Congress (ANC), the political party the late President once led, paid final tributes ahead of today’s funeral. President Jacob Zuma and other ANC leaders attended the event, which included a multi-faith service and a musical tribute. Over 1,000 ANC members attended the ceremony at the Waterkloof air base in Pretoria. US civil rights activist, Jesse Jackson, and Ireland’s Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams were among the foreign guests invited. Accompanied by family members and officials, who just refused to leave his side, Mandela’s coffin subsequently began a solemn but sonorous journey by air and road to Qunu. Mr. Peter Biles, BBC World Affairs Correspondent, yester-
day, said “it was an exuberant send-off for Nelson Mandela,” as members of the ANC sang and danced as though it were an election victory celebration. The vast air force hangar was bedecked with the black, green and gold colours of the ANC. People wore white T-shirts with the words Rest in peace, Tata! President Zuma went down the memory lane of the ANC, the party, which Nelson Mandela joined when he first came to Johannesburg at the age of 25. Mourners said they heard Zuma pay his own tribute to Nelson Mandela, calling him a “towering figure”, “a man of action” and a “democrat who understood the world.” Although many were turned away, over 100,000 people saw the former South African president’s body lying in state in Pretoria in the last three days. Having fought the apartheid regime for which he spent 27 years (18 of which was spent on the notorious Robben Island) prison, Mandela’s policies, as South Africa’s President, bordered on forgiveness, reconciliation, selfless service and freedom for mankind; a cause, which, more than anything else, unified his country in particular and the world at large. “I went for a long holiday for 27 years,” Nelson Mandela once said of his years in prison. But his death has continued to trigger peace moves around the world, the most prominent being the “great handshake” between US President Barrack Obama and Cuba’s communist leader, Raul Castro, at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, during the December 10 “rain-soaked” memorial service for the former South African President. Both countries’ presidents have never been the best of friends for at least 50 years due to ideological differences. President Obama’s handshake with President Castro as the former walked through the meet-andgreet line of world leaders to deliver his speech, therefore, elicited interest and reactions across the world. President Obama at the
Johannesburg service eulogised Nelson Mandela as a towering figure who fought poverty and discrimination with struggle and shrewdness. Back in Nigeria, Nelson Mandela as symbol of freedom continues to reverberate. Former US President, George W Bush, who made remarks at the maiden edition of the Access Leadership Conference hosted by the Access Bank Plc in Lagos on Thursday, spoke glowingly of his life and the need for leaders to emulate his selfless lifestyle. Bush spoke on leadership and lifestyle while fielding questions from Access Bank’s Deputy Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Herbert Wigwe. In fact, Aigboje AigImoukhuede, the outgoing chief executive officer of the bank, took the audience by surprise when, rather than deliver his opening speech, he called for a minute silence and proceeded to make a fiveminute video presentation of the words of Nelson Mandela and events at different stages of his life, with the concluding statement: “That is the epitome of freedom, the mark of true greatness.” With those words, the youthful chief executive left the podium the way he came, in an interesting suspense that kept the audience charged. Subsequent panelist/speakers, including Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Coordinating Minister for the economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Industry (BOI), Evelyn Oputu, conducted the day’s affairs from the prism of Nelson Mandela’s life. Significantly, participants, who sought answers on Nigeria’s many leadership questions, all dwelt on the hero Mandela and what Nigerian politicians must learn from his life.
Femi Somolu, Chief Sena Anthony, Guardian Publisher, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru, and Chief Jokotade AkinGeorge at the 90th birthday, Holy Communion and Thanksgiving Service of Dr. Chris Oladipo Ogunbanjo, at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos.
Dr. Ogunbanjo; his daughter Kunbi Ogunmekan; son, Lekan Ogunbanjo; and Abimbola Ogunbanjo
Olori Omo Oba of Ijebu Land, Subomi Balogun (left); former Commonwealth Secretary, Chief Emeka Anyaoku; Senator Daisy Danjuma; Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun; Celebrant, Ogunbanjo; renowned Accountant, Chief Akintola Williams; former governor, Lagos State, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu; former Head of State, Chief Ernest Shonekan; and former governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, at the event. PHOTOS: OSENI YUSUF and CHARLES OKOLO
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Letter To Jonathan: Obasanjo Ought To Be Jailed, Says Umeh From Uzoma Nzeagwu, Awka HE National Chairman of T APGA, chief Victor Umeh, has urged President Jonathan to ignore former President Olusegun Obasanjo, describing him as the architect of the nation’s woes. Umeh, who fielded questions from journalists in Awka yesterday, warned Obasanjo not to misinterpret the president’s humility as weakness, contending that he (Obasanjo) ought to be in jail for crimes against humanity, following the brutal invasion
of Odi and Zakibiam towns by the army. Reacting to Obasanjo’s letter to Jonathan, last week, Umeh called on Nigerians to hold the former president responsible for the country’s present woes. According to Umeh, Obasanjo bungled the bright opportunity of repositioning and launching the country into greatness. He noted that instead of uniting the land on assumption of office in 1999, Obasanjo engaged in a war of attrition with Ndigbo, even as he continued to undermine their
growth and welfare. The APGA boss regretted that Obasanjo’s administration continued to promote ethnic and religion differences that resulted in violence and loss of lives. Umeh said: “Obasanjo’s letter was a confirmation of the heavy blow his administration dealt on democracy when election rigging and manipulations were used to muzzle opposition parties. APGA suffered the same terrible fate in 2003, when its victory was given to PDP, and it took three years of legal bat-
Mixed Reactions Trail Letter From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City HE letter by former President Olusegun Obasanjo T to President Jonathan, last week, has continued to elicit reactions from members of the public. Former governor of Edo State, chief John Oyegun, said: “It is very unconventional for a former president worldwide to be so publicly critical of somebody who is one of his successors. What is different this time is that the language is a strong. The situation is definitely serious whether the messenger is the right person or not is definitely not the issue.” Former Chief Whip of the Senate, Roland Owie, said: “I am not surprised at Obasanjo’s attck on President
Jonathan but fortunately, Nigerians know him as a political double dealer and the person that destroyed the foundation of politics in Nigeria.” Human rights activists and Senior Advocate of Nigeria Mike Ozekhome, said, “although the letter looks a little too sanctimonious but there is no doubt that the content of that letter are brutally frank, as they can be. Although one can also accuse him of being self serving.” The Coalition to Save Nigeria (CSN) in a statement by its president, Dr Philip Ugbodaga, yesterday, said, “Some of the issues contained in the letter are so weighty that their veracity or otherwise will become ap-
parent in the coming weeks and months.” He said the association believes that Obasanjo had eight years to put Nigeria on the right track both wasted the opportunities.
tle to reclaim the mandate. “Under the former president, corruption and impunity became a way of life in the country, when a privileged few where given moeconomic on nopoly powers.” He pointed out that the
elder statesman has no positive reference point or legacy for the people of Nigeria and should, therefore, not to be taken seriously. Umeh said the billions of dollars wasted on the power sector during Obasanjo’s regime are yet to be accounted for.
…Utomi Calls For restraint By Marcel Mbamalu S the cacophony over expresident Olusegun A Obasanjo’s open letter to incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan in which he alleged corruption, divisive governance and abuse of office, among others, Nigerians have been urged to exercise restraint while reacting to the issues. Professor of Political Economy and Founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership
(CVL), Pat Okedinachi Utomi, in an email exchange yesterday, made the plea, saying that applauding or condemning the letter at this time would indicate thoughtfulness. He, however, said it is understandable that “people will rush to take sides one way or the other on the open letter, but my view that much regarded elders need to be a voice of reason and caution, especially if things are not going right.”
Obasanjo Holds Closed Door Meeting with Political Associates From Charles Coffie Gyamfi, Abeokuta ORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday held a closed-door meeting with some of his political associates. Present at the discussions held at Obasanjo’s Hiltop residence Abeokuta were former Oyo State governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala, former Ekiti State governor, Segun
Oni, former Osun State governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Lagos State deputy governor, Bucknor Akerele and other Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains. Earlier in the day the state PDP executives held a meeting at the party’s secretariat, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta. The purposes of both meetings were not known. But a source disclosed to The Guardian that the two meet-
ings discussed the controversial letter Obasanjo wrote to President Jonathan, which were published in national dailies on Thursday. A source at the PDP’s executive meeting told The Guardian that after an exhaustive discussion of the letter, the meeting “aligned” itself with Obasanjo’s letter to the president.
Shonekan, Ekwueme, Ibru Celebrate With Ogunbanjo At 90 By Gbenga Salau AMILY members and Fdralfriends were at the CatheChurch of Christ, Marina, Lagos, yesterday, to celebrate with corporate lawyer, chief Christopher Oladipo Ogunbanjo, who clocked 90 years. The roll call of dignitaries included former Head of State, chief Ernest Shonekan; former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme; Professor John Pepper Clark; publisher, Guardian Newspaper, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru; former chairman Punch Newspaper, chief Ajibola Ogunshola; chairman Stanbic IBTC Group, Mr. Atedo Peterside; chairman FCMB, Otunba Subomi Balogun; Chief Ayo Banjo; Mr. Goodie Ibru; Chief J.K Randle, and Senate leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba.
Ford Foundation, JODER Hold Parley On Inter-ethnic Harmony HE Ford Foundation and T media group, Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER), will early this week organise a two-day conference aimed at strengthening ethnic harmony and sustainable livelihood in Nigeria. In a statement issued at the weekend, JODER’s top official, Adewale Adeoye, describe the conference as a “people’s initiative” aimed at promoting greater understanding in Nigeria’s multi-ethnic society. Over 100 leaders of ethnic groups and strategic institutions in the Lagos and Ibadan corridors are the target audience of the summit. The second day will be the meeting of the Working Group on ethnic relations in the South West area.
Ex-Nigeria Airways Staff Threaten FG On Entitlements From Abba Anwar, Kano ETIRED staff of the Nigeria R Airways Authority have threatened to drag the fed-
Group Managing Director, Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries, Dr Stella Okoli (left); Executive Director, Uzoma Ezeoke; Wife of the Governor of Ogun State, Olufunso Amosun; Executive Director, Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries, Marcel Ezeoke, and Senator Oluremi Tinubu at the Annual Emzor Thanksgiving Dinner held in Lagos.
Police Foil Robbery Attack, Arrest Bank Manager, Perm. Sec. From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head, South-West Bureau, Ado Ekiti) and Uzoma Nzeagwu (Awka) KITI State police yesterday E said it arrested five persons, including a serving permanent secretary in Ondo State and the manager of an old generation bank in Ikere Ekiti following a robbery incident at a commercial bank Thursday evening. Meanwhile, bravery displayed by security operatives attached to Inland Town police station, Onitsha, yesterday, foiled a robbery attempt that would have spelled doom to lotto operators and their customers.
It was gathered that policemen put up a coordinated and fierce firepower, overwhelming the robbers, who jumped on their motorcycles and fled. Eyewitness said the robbery attempt which took place at Awka Road, Onitsha at about 12.30pm, saw passers-by, staff of the lotto company and their customers scampering for safety, as the four-man gang stormed the scene on two motorcycles, shooting sporadically into the air. The DPO, Inland Town police station, Mr. Adegbite Omotayo, confirmed the incident. He gave assurance that
the police in the commercial city are determined to secure life and property, especially at yuletide. Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Victor Babayemi, in
Ado Ekiti yesterday, said the permanent secretary and three others had no direct connection with the robbery. According to him, they were arrested at a bush in Ijare, a
border town between Ekiti and Ondo State, as they performed rituals at night. The robbers had fled to the area following pursuit by the police.
Ebonyi NSCDC Nab Alleged Child Traffickers From Leo Sobechi, Abakaliki OUR persons have been nabbed by the Ebonyi State command of the National Security and Civil Defense Corps, (NSCDC) for alleged involvement in child trafficking. According to the NSCDC Commandant, Mrs. Ego
Echendu, who dropped the hint while briefing journalists at the Command Headquarters, Abakaliki, the prompt apprehension and arrest of the suspects by the Armed Squad and Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the command prevented the criminals from transferring the victims out-
side Ebonyi State. Echendu said the arrests were carried out at Izzi local council of Ebonyi State, adding that other suspects were still at large. She disclosed that as soon as the Command completes its investigation, the matter would be transferred to the agency responsible for such cases.
eral government to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for allegedly depriving them of 20 year’s entitlements. The national vice chairman of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (Airways branch), Muhammad Adamu, at a press briefing on Saturday, regretted that they have been abandoned after putting in more than 30 years into the service of the nation. He lamented that foreign colleagues meanwhile have continued to receive their entitlements. He said: “We took government to court over the nonpayment of our entitlements. That time, the government representatives pleaded with us to settle the matter out of court. After withdrawing the case, the matter has lingered for over four years now. What surprised us the most was when the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, said she was not aware of the case.
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The Mandela Model Can By Jennifer Griffin In the grand trans-national diplomacy that is playing out in South Africa, the stage where world actors exerted all of last week, to some people, apartheid is a history lesson while for others, it is a living memory. Time there was when newspapers were still defined by the colour of their readers. Nelson Mandela who is being interred today, changed all of that and many more... HE biggest of Madiba’s lessons is in reconciliT ation. The Mandela model of reconciliation could very well be what the world needs now
Mandela was the master of the symbolic gesture: having the White South African anthem played at his inauguration immediately after the new South African anthem, “Nkosi Sikelele Afrika,” (God Bless Africa), which had been banned as the African Nationalist Congress (ANC)’s anthem for so many years. Mandela reached out to the Whites who worked in the president’s office and asked them to stay on his first day in office. He went to have tea with the White widow of the founder of apartheid, Hendrik Verwoerd, to reassure White South Africans that he and the ANC had no intention of “pushing them into the sea,” as many had feared... A Changed Society Standing in the rain outside Nelson Mandela’s Soweto home, the one where he lived in the years before he went to prison, I was struck by how good Soweto looked compared to the last time I was there in 1992. The young girl signing the white wall outside the home that had become an unofficial condolence book for those making the pilgrimage wasn’t born when Mandela became the country’s first black president and took the oath of office in front of the building in Pretoria, that had long been a symbol of apartheid and White oppression, a building where he would later lie in state. As thousands of Sowetans prepared to make their way to the stadium that would host world leaders and serve as a memorial service for the father of the post-apartheid South African nation, the teenage girl’s mother described how she was pregnant with her daughter when she waited in line to cast her vote for the first time in 1994 during South Africa’s first non-racial elections. For her daughter, apartheid was a history lesson. For us, it was a living memory. When I arrived in South Africa as a college student in September of 1989, F.W. De Klerk had just been elected president, the ANC was illegal and the petty apartheid laws were still in place. That meant that technically, Black South Africans could not buy land or rent housing in White areas. Neighborhoods were strictly segregated. Whites, for the most part did not travel to the townships, unless they were journalists or anti-apartheid activists, many of whom had faced arrest or worse until 1989. Whites and Blacks did not travel on the same buses to and from work. They lived in separate neighborhoods. Universities were starting to desegregate. The racial pass laws had ended, but the segregation was near complete. The newspapers were still defined by the colour of their readers. The Sowetan Newspaper, where I was interning was the largest Black newspaper in the country. The University of the Western Cape, where I taught, was established as a so-called “Coloured” or mixed race university, but had desegregated to include Black students and had become a hotbed of ANC anti-apartheid activism. I remember sitting in the living room of the South African family who was hosting me during my year off from Harvard. We watched the coverage on television as the Berlin Wall fell. I remember thinking, “Oh no, I made a mistake. I should have gone to Germany. Eastern Europe is where all the changes were happening. That is where history is being made.” Little did we know what was in store for South Africa over the next six months. The changes came fast. De Klerk surprised the nation and the world when he opened the Parliament in February in Cape Town and announced that after 27 years of imprisonment, he was releasing without condition Nelson Mandela, White South Africa’s public enemy number one. Just days later Mandela was free. The night before the world’s most famous polit-
He overcame these prison barriers. ical prisoner was released on February 11, 1990, the apartheid government hastily distributed an updated photo of the aged Mandela to local newspapers. The Enigma As Saviour THE country did not know what Mandela looked like because it was illegal to publish or possess a photo of him after 1964 when he was sentenced to life in prison for sabotage at the famous Rivonia treason trial. Mandela, who had been preserved in people’s minds as a young icon of the struggle, had aged and his White South African captors knew that they needed to prepare his supporters. The newspapers landed with a thud that morning on the doorsteps in Cape Town and across the country. I remember thinking Mandela looked not only old, but a little stunned in the photo. Perhaps, it was the flash that hurt his eyes, which had been damaged from the dust while breaking rocks for years on Robben Island, South Africa’s Alcatraz, which was five miles off the coast of Cape Town. Later, when he became president, Mandela forbade photographers from using flash photography because it hurt his damaged eyes. While in prison the regime realised before it was too late that Mandela represented their best hope for a post-apartheid South Africa and in the few years before he was released they began trying to prepare him for how his country had changed since 1964. They had moved him off Robben Island to a guesthouse in his final years of imprisonment. In fact, his White captors would occasionally take him on joy rides at night through the streets of Cape Town to re-acclimate him. They were safe in doing so because no one knew what he looked like after 27 years. He recalled in his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom” how they stopped one night at a gas station in Cape Town to refuel and to buy a Coca-Cola. Imagine, he thought to himself, if the attendant filling up the gas tank knew who the passenger was seated inside the vehicle. However, it is important to remember that “nothing was inevitable” when Mandela was released from prison to quote President Obama from the speech he delivered at Mandela’s Memorial in Soweto on Tuesday. It was not inevitable that the country would
not descend into civil war. It was not inevitable that the White South Africans would give up power or that Black South Africans wouldn’t descend into tribal war and violence as they fought for power in a post-apartheid South Africa. A full-scale war was already taking place in the townships between various black groups, Zulus and Xhosas - Inkatha and the ANC in particular. Mandela had evolved while in prison from leader of the armed struggle, the commander in chief of Umkhonto we Sizwe, or Spear of the Nation, an underground group that the white South African government had outlawed as terrorists. Mandela was not always a man of peace, but it is important to remember that he and the ANC did not turn to violence until 1961. They set off bombs that killed civilians, no doubt, but they were also facing a violent repressive regime. Black South Africans did not have the right to vote and apartheid was the law of the land since the White Dutch-speaking Afrikaaners came to power in 1948. In fact, when Mandela arrived on Robben Island, he had to fight for the rights of his fellow prisoners. Apartheid, or the separation along racial lines, even was enforced in terms of how much sugar a prisoner would be given based on the prisoner’s race. Black prisoners were given one teaspoon of sugar, Indian prisoners two. Mandela fought for equal sugar. They compromised at 1 and a half teaspoons for everyone. No detail was too small in terms of the fight against inequality. On the morning of February 11, 1990 I was in Cape Town waiting with a packed crowd outside City Hall where Mandela was slated to speak. We waited for hours. The crowd was getting anxious. After 27 years, Mandela was late being released. Some blamed Winnie, who was said at the time to have been delayed at the hairdresser. She had come to be a symbol of arrogance and excess in the final years of apartheid. Long forgotten on that day in Cape Town were the years that she was punished by the apartheid regime, exiled to rural South Africa, harassed by the police. She had become a clownish figure and it was notable that after his release as soon as he flew to Johannesburg they slept in separate houses on the first night and separated and divorced not
long after. After his release, Mandela moved to the elite suburb of Houghton where a home with proper security had been prepared. Winnie returned to Soweto to a home that she had built there with ANC funds that some had suggested at the time may have been improperly allocated. Before leaving Victor Verster prison hand in hand with Winnie, raising his arm and clenched fist in a salute to the struggle, Mandela took a moment with his family and grandchildren before walking through the prison gate. He was driven to a friend’s house in Cape Town out of the public glare and had to be coaxed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to appear publicly and speak that day. He was told that the crowds who were waiting would turn to violence, if they did not hear from him immediately. The air of anticipation was beyond anything South Africa had ever experienced. It would be my first news story as a young journalist. The crowd waited and waited in front of Cape Town’s city hall under perfect blue skies at the base of Table Mountain, which had been tantalizingly close but unreachable for Mandela and the other prisoners on Robben Island. An almost humorous aside broke the tension when finally a Mercedes appeared on the packed square. It inched its way forward, nudging back and forth into the knees of the waiting celebrants who had nowhere to move to make way for the car. Who could this be? The crowd buzzed with rumors that it must be Mandela. Then the doors opened and a hand began waving. The crowd went wild. But the hand belonged to Jesse Jackson, who had flown to South Africa to be there for Mandela’s release. As soon as the crowd realised this was an imposter and the man they had been waiting for was not in the vehicle that had pushed its way onto the packed square, the crowd began jumping on the Mercedes crushing the roof. Jackson and his entourage had to be hoisted onto the balcony where Mandela would eventually appear and utter his first words in public. I will never forget those words. The Definitive Words, Backed By Action “I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people.” Mandela
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Help Heal The World Madiba: The Immortal 46664 By Gbenga Salau ESTIMONIALS and encomium have continT ued to pour in for one of Africa’s greatest sons, Nelson Mandela. His journey to fame was the uncompromising stand he took against injustice and apartheid. If he had looked the other way at the height of the racial crisis, the stories and celebration today would have been different. And the onerous task of spending 27 years in prison, which was the hallmark of his stewardship to his people, would probably not have been historical. The decision to take side with the plight of his people and pursue their calls for libration is what is being celebrated today . His steadfastness and nearly three decades in incaceration fetched him the prison number th 46664. He was the 466 person sent to the prison on Robben Island in 1964. He was given the number because the government policy at the time demanded that designations must follow the sequence number of the prisoner, with the last two digits representing the year the detained arrived. It was not the first time Mandela would pay dearly for a cause he believed in. As a student in 1939, he was involved in a boycott by the Students’ Representative Council against university policies. As a result, he was asked to leave the university campus. He had to complete his degree programme through correspondence from the University of South Africa. He also had to move to Johannesburg to avoid an arranged marriage. The journey to prison started when
Mandela, charged with leaving the country illegally and inciting workers to embark on a strike, was convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment at Pretoria local prison. On May 27, 1963, he was transferred to Robben Island. He returned to Pretoria on June 12, the same year. He remained in Robben Island for 18 years before he was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison on the mainland in 1982. He was accused in 1956 of conspiring to overthrow the South African state through violent means alongside 155 political activists, and was charged with high treason. In 1962, he was arrested after being on the run for 17 months and was imprisoned in Johannesburg fort. He was sentenced to five years in prison. He, however, escaped. In June 1964, he was captured and convicted for sabotage and treason and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was sentenced to life imprisonment along with seven others. Following his release, ‘Prisoner 46664’ became his reverential title. Robben Island is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its buildings remain one of the country’s most visited tourist attractions. The number is also now a tool for creating global awareness and campaigning for humanitarian initiatives. Two decades after he left prison, Mandela gave his number to a global HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness campaign, as a reminder of the sacrifices he made for a cause he believed in. While Mandela has gone, never to be physically seen again, his achievements, his prison number, and its powerful symbolism will continue to abide.
Why Nigeria Did Not Speak At Mandela’s Memorial
served to teach forgiveness. No small feat in a country where unspeakable crimes had been committed to keep a racially segregated system in place. Perhaps his single greatest achievement was the Truth and Reconciliation commission, where anyone black or white who had committed crimes under apartheid would come and confess their crimes and receive forgiveness, a very Christian concept. Mandela was the master of the symbolic gesture: having the white South African anthem played at his inauguration immediately after the new South African anthem, “Nkosi Sikelele Afrika,” (God Bless Africa), which had been banned as the ANC’s anthem for so many years. Mandela reached out to the whites who worked in the president’s office and asked them to stay on his first day in office. He went to have tea with the white widow of the founder of apartheid, Hendrik Verwoerd, to reassure white South Africans that he and the ANC had no intention of “pushing them into the sea,” as many had feared. He reached out to the captain of the national rugby team even though the Springbok and rugby in general had been viewed as the sport of their oppressor. Mandela wore a Springbok jersey onto the field when the South African rugby team won the World Cup in 1995, a gesture that would symbolize to white South Africans that they would remain a crucial part of the New South Africa, “the Rainbow Nation,” as Mandela liked to call it. En route to Soweto at dawn to attend the Memorial Service at the Soweto stadium, I was struck once again by the smiles and the joy and air of forgiveness that is uniquely South African. My husband and I caught a bus from Diep Kloof in Soweto not far from Mandela’s Orlando home. We were the only whites packed onto the bus. As soon as the bus doors closed, the singing began. Mourners wearing ANC T-shirts wrapped in South African flags began chanting and stomping singing a whole litany of apartheidera protest songs. The chants and the toyi-toying shook the bus and took me back to a time when it was illegal to protest, illegal to chant, illegal to fly the ANC colors of yellow and green, illegal to espouse membership in the ANC. I smiled at how much had changed. It was pure joy on that bus.
There was the usual “Viva Mandela, Viva” and “Amandla” to which the other bus riders chanted in unison “Awethu.” Translated: “the power is ours.” How often I had heard those chants in the townships back in 1989. They were a throw back to another time when none of this seemed inevitable. I asked my smiling neighbor to translate what they were singing: “Mandela is calling.” It was a song that they sung when he was still imprisoned. Today it had a whole new meaning. When we arrived at the stadium, we walked through sheets of rain as the others danced their way and chanted toward the stadium. I had come as a citizen, not as a journalist. A pilgrim back to a place that had particular meaning to me and my husband. We met at this very stadium in Soweto 23 years ago in October 1989 at the first legal ANC rally. One of De Klerk’s first acts to test the waters to see if the nation could handle Mandela’s release from prison was to release seven of Mandela’s fellow prisoners on Robben Island, the founding fathers of the ANC. Walter Sisulu was chief among them. Back then, I was working at the Sowetan, tagging along with the black journalists who had taken me under their wing as a student working in the townships. Greg was working for the AP as a reporter. We met in the stadium inside a booth where he was looking to borrow a telephone line to file his story. There were no cell phones then, thank goodness. As we walked through the rain toward the Mandela Memorial where four U.S. presidents were expected, I could not wait to hear the opening bars of “Nkosi Sikele, Africa,” knowing it would take me back to that day in October 1989 when the very same stadium was packed and history was made when the anthem was sung openly in public in South Africa for the first time. Its opening notes always made me cry. God bless, Africa and God bless, Nelson Mandela. Griffin, journalist, currently national security correspondent for FOX News Channe wrote this story; it was culled wholly with slight improvisation by Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs Editor
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 A source said, “South Africa is aware of Nigeria’s pre-eminence on the global stage, especially in African affairs even before the end of apartheid, but that is the place South Africa is trying to position itself since after the end of apartheid. So, naturally, South Africa becomes a keen rival to Nigeria.” Last Tuesday’s Memorial service for Mandela however stands in sharp contrast to what happened in 1990 when Mandela first visited the United Nations after he was released from 27 years in prison. On that day, not only was a Nigerian official in charge of the proceedings, another Nigerian diplomat was also the President of the United Nations General Assembly. According to Gambari, who had served earlier as Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mandela visited the UN after he had been released from jail “but Apartheid system was still in place.” He added, however, that the first consensus resolution on South Africa was already adopted by the UN General Assembly “recognising that progress was being made in ending Apartheid but that the process was not yet irreversible.” Besides, Prof Gambari recalled that there was the vigorous debate at the UN as to whether sanctions should be lifted or not. On that debate, he said Mandela “was tough on not lifting sanctions prematurely and his position was that, while there has been progress, the situation in South Africa was not yet irreversible. He graciously acknowledged, however, the contributions that some individuals, countries and NGOs and others made in support of the struggle against Apartheid.” “In general, what he said mattered less than his mere appearance at the UN as a hero of the liberation movement,” Gambari recalled. But when Mandela visited the UN then in 1990, he was not yet the President of his country, nor was he the head of the ANC, then led by Late Dr. Oliver Tambo, and so the UN officials and diplomats could not receive him on the platform of the UN General Assembly. It was a technical problem, but Gambari explained its resolution. According to him, “we had to be creative. We convened a meeting of our Committee
in the General Assembly Hall to which all member states were then invited. Continuing, Gambari said: “I chaired the ensuring meeting and invited, to join me on the podium, the President of the General Assembly, who by coincidence was another Nigerian, now late General Garba, and also the then Secretary-General, Peres de Cuellar. I then invited delegates to make their Statements and finally gave the floor to Mandela to deliver his Speech as if he was addressing the regular UN General Assembly.” Professor Gambari added that even Wole Soyinka, who was invited to the session as a guest, “described the gathering as a double coup: first to have Mandela address what is virtually the General Assembly and second to have two Nigerians at the podium taking charge of the historic proceedings.” As the UN was receiving him, so was New York City, which had then its first and only black mayor, so far, David Dinkins. Local New York media have also been reporting a recall of that event on the same June 22, 1990. For instance, the New York Times noted that, in all, 750,000 saw Mandela that day in New York with heavy police protection, including 12,000 officers, four super-insulated bomb trucks, helicopters and a 90-horse mounted unit. The report also noted thus: “The city was exhilarated, but Mr. Mandela’s schedule was exhausting. He was to attend rallies in Harlem and Yankee Stadium and address the United Nations General Assembly. He had arrived two hours behind schedule — the delay had let him sleep late in Ottawa, his previous stop. “The crowds were waiting for him. In Queens, some 50,000 people waited at Kennedy International Airport and along the motorcade route. About 100,000 crowded the streets in Brooklyn as he approached a high school for an appearance; 400,000 packed the Canyon of Heroes in Lower Manhattan as the ticker-tape parade passed by; and 200,000 jammed the ceremony outside City Hall that Mrs. Williams attended. All that — and the crowds that filled the sidewalks wherever he went — necessitated gridlock alerts. The police estimated that 750,000 people glimpsed Mr. Mandela as his 40-car motorcade snaked through the city after his arrival, led by two dozen police motorcycles.”
6 Sunday, December 15, 2013
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Commuters boarding a commercial bus, ready to travel for the Christmas holiday.
PHOTO: PAUL ADUNWOKE
YULETIDE: Reason Wise Men Must Travel Now By Paul Adunwoke IKE the famous Wise Men who went to see Lnowthe infant Christ, travellers for Xmas have to make up their minds and hop on the next bus, especially if they have no plans to pay through the nose. Lagos State, the country’s commercial nerve centre, has begun witnessing increase in vehicular movement; an indication that some residents have begun to toe the clever path. When The Guardian visited some motor parks in the city, it found increase in the number of passengers, especially those travelling SouthEast and South-South. At ABC Transport in Oshodi, last week, the fare from Lagos to Onitsha stood at N3,350; Lagos to Enugu, N3280; Lagos to Port Harcourt, 3,600; Lagos to Aba, 3,550; Lagos to Benin City, N3000. These, however, depend on the level of comfort served travellers, as some buses have air-conditioners while others do not. Efiong Abassy, coordinator of Port Harcourt Transport Line, said the fare could, however, jump to N5,000 next week. He warned: “I want to use this opportunity to advise those who cannot afford to pay N5,000 to embark on the journey now, because the fare might increase next week.” According to Abassy, the major challenge transporters face is bad roads and traffic gridlocks. “Sometimes we spend six hours along the Benin/Ore road because of potholes. This causes traffic jam and gives opportunity to armed robbers to cart away people’s belongings. I want to appeal to government to fulfill its promises to fix the road. Its deplorable
state is adversely affecting our business.” Mrs. Monica Udoh, coordinator of Evergreen Transport Limited, disclosed that a greater percentage of people traveling are family members who desire to move to their hometowns on time to avoid high fares. She said: “The fare has not increased. An increase might, however, occur from around December 20, 2013 to January 2014, when people rush to travel.” According to her, “We had more passengers at this period last year. It was caused by insecurity; some people were afraid of being kidnapped or robbed, if they went home early.” An official of ABC Transport at Oshodi said the fare has not changed. “I am not in position to address the media, but I can assure you that our fare has not changed. We charge N3,500 from Lagos to Abakaliki. We do not change By Paul Adunwoke ARELY a week and two days to Christmas, the rush to make final purchases is on and the prices of foodstuff have gone up, with traders putting blame for the development on high cost of transportation. When The Guardian visited markets in Lagos, including Oshodi, Mushin and Mile 2, it found that a 25kg bag of Mama Gold parboiled rice, formerly N4,800, now sells at about N5,500 and N6,000. A 50kg bag, formerly N9,750 now sells at about N10,200. A rice dealer in Daleko market in Lagos, Mr. David Akinjide, said sellers do not increase prices arbitrarily and blamed hike in fares paid to convey goods from Benin Republic. “For us to cover the unit cost of these goods, including the fares, we have to increase the
Efiong Abassy, coordinator of the transport agency, warned: “I want to use this opportunity to advise those who cannot afford to pay N5,000 to embark on the journey now, because the fare might increase next week.” our fares arbitrarily. We inform our passengers first. He added: “We also have a security plan in place. Whenever we travel, we do so with security personnel to avoid armed robbery attacks, especially at Christmas period. We value the life and property of our passengers and our services speak for us.” A traveller, Chika Ogechukwu, told The Guardian that people have started moving for the yuletide since last week. He revealed that the fare from Lagos to Port Harcourt remains
between N3,000 to N3600, depending on how comfortable the ride promises to be. “They do not have the intention of increasing fares now, to avoid scaring travellers away. But I believe that when the volume of passengers increase, the fares will also increase. That is the reason I want to travel now,” he said. For Kenneth Ozoemena, another traveller, “This is the happiest Christmas for me because I am going to get married, and I feel very happy because of what God has done for me.”
...Prices Of Commodities Shoot Up prices.” Apart from rice, other foodstuffs affected by the increase include canned and fresh tomatoes, and onions. Investigations in Mile 2 market revealed that a 50kg bag of rice (Caprice) has risen from about N9,000 and N10,000 to N11,000 and N12,000. According to a buyer in Mile 2 market, Mrs. Kafayat Kolade, “Some Nigerians started buying and storing foodstuffs in their homes, since the end of November.” At Aswani market, Lagos, buyers and sellers were seen bargaining over commodities, especially bags of rice, onions and canned toma-
toes. According to a buyer at the market, Mr. Godwin Akin, “That is how I do every year. I prefer buying things when there is no rush, because when you purchase things under pressure, you would make mistakes. The price of goods is very high. It has been a big challenge to me, because I have to buy new clothes for my children. Even if I do not have money to buy the same for myself, I will not feel bad. But if my children do not put on new clothes, I will feel very bad. I want government to regulate the price of foodstuffs so that the masses can afford them.”
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, December 15,
CITYFILE By Daniel Anazia OMMUTERS plying the Apakun-Murtala C Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) road, before now, faced traffic snarls, especially the stretch between the Mobil filling station and the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) . This was due to the way tanker drivers (aviation fuel) parked indiscriminately on the road. The stretch should take about five minutes from the airport, but with obstruction by the drivers, it sometimes lasts an hour. Manhours are wasted in the process, while motorists inhale dangerous fumes from exhaust pipes. With the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria’s (FAAN) marching order issued the tanker drivers in August, however, motorists may heave a sigh of relief: the drivers were ordered to move to a new location provided by the agency. FAAN’s Regional Manager (South-West), Mr. Edward Olarerin, gave the order after a stakeholders’ meeting between the agency, security bodies and oil marketers. He stated that the directive was given in view of security challenges confronting the country, adding that the agency would not accept the four-year period the oil marketers were asking to spend at their current site. “The presidency descended on us heavily because of national security. The airport is a major focus of the government. The directive from Abuja is that we must move everybody out urgently. Most of the tankers at the old site are broken down and miscreants can use these vehicles for illegal activities. Any truck found there, two days after the directive, will be arrested,” he said. The Guardian visited the new site, behind the commercial park at Hajj Camp and found that the place is expansive and would accommodate the tankers well. The drivers, however, said that the site is not suitable. They noted that the place becomes flooded during rainfall. This, according to them, makes it difficult to move articulated trucks in and out of the premises. Speaking to The Guardian, the deputy chairman, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (Petroleum Tanker Drivers Unit) Aviation Branch, Alhaji Kareem, said: “We have held series of meetings. We are hoping that they (FAAN) will keep their own side of the agreement. We have complied with the directive, but we want them to implement what we have agreed. “We want them to floor the ground. We want them to make this place comfortable for us. We are appealing to FAAN to expedite action on the agreement, so that our tankers would not be getting stuck in the mud.” He added that floodlights should be provided in the premises to enhance security. At the moment, when nightfall comes, everywhere in the garage is overtaken by darkness, and this poses a security challenge. Also, we need toilets. People defecate in the surrounding bush, and this is bad.” Asked why they initially parked along the road, Kareem said the drivers were com-
A truck driving against the traﬃc along Airport Road
PHOTO: DANIEL ANAZIA
Tankers Hold Sway On Airport Road, Flout Traffic Laws pelled to do so due to inadequate space. He, however, admitted that the new site is spacious enough. The Guardian observed that despite the directive by FAAN, some tankers are still being parked along the road. Also, drivers often move against the traffic, as they proceed to the garage. Gridlock is being experienced on the road again. This time, however, it is not caused by the tankers alone, but also by the slow passage of vehicles at the refurbished semi-automatic toll plaza. Commuters and motorists complain bitterly about this, decrying the loss of man-hours. Between Tuesdays and Fridays, commuters often spend more than 30 minutes moving from Mobil filling station to the toll plaza. They berated FAAN on the newly renovated tollgate, stressing that the agency should have expanded the facility to accom-
Relocated but not comfortable... The new parking site, which tanker drivers say needs to be ﬂoored.
modate more ticket points. Mr. Adebisi Idowu, whose journey from Apapa Wharf to the airport took him about four hours due to traffic jam, complained: “How can gridlocks take over the roads and the government shows little or no concern. I spent about four hours. The journey ordinarily would have taken me about 30 minutes.” Commercial bus drivers plying the international airport and domestic wing, as well as Ikeja, are taking advantage of the situation to hike the fare from N70 to N100. Hawkers also are happy with the situation as they make brisk sales. Amarachi, who sells garden eggs, said smilingly: “As the traffic increases daily, I’m able to make sales. I wish the situation continues.” Commenting on the relocation of the tanker drivers, General Manager, Corporate Communication of FAAN, Yakubu Daiti, said the former location, which was at the access toll plaza, did not only pose a security risk, but also impeded traffic during peak periods as some of the tanker drivers were fond of parking very close to the main road, thereby reducing space for vehicular movement. “The plan to relocate the tankers followed series of meetings with stakeholders including oil companies, customs agents, FAAN’s aviation security officials, the Nigeria Police, owners of the trucks, over the security challenges posed by the presence of the tankers, especially in view of present security situation in the country.” On the mutual understanding with the tanker drivers, Daiti said, “Yes, we have a cordial relationship with the tanker drivers, and there is a mutual understanding with them through their executive and leadership. We are ensuring that we meet up with our part of the mutual understanding by fulfilling our own end of the agreement. “We have begun work on the site with the construction of basic amenities such as borehole for water and toilet for convenience, which are almost at completion stage. It has been roofed and plastering has commenced and in due time it will be delivered,” he stated. He added, “We are also working towards flooring the place, but we made a provision
during the rainy season to avoid the trucks being trapped in the muddy sand. We went as far as bringing heavy duty truck to demonstrate to them that the ground is safe and would not trap or sink their trucks after sand filling it. We are happy to have resolved the issue amicably and we thank the tanker drivers and their leadership for their cooperation in the success achieved so far. “We believe and as being witnessed now, the relocation has brought relief to airport users, especially staff of agencies working at the airport. Before now, the location of the tankers was a death trap for motorists and airport users.” Asked if he had a copy of the mutual understanding, he said, “I have not seen the agreement, but it was brokered by our one of our senior managers, Regional Manager, SouthWest, Mr. Edward Olarerin, who incidentally retired three days ago.” Speaking on ongoing projects around the airport, Daiti, explained that FAAN is expanding the airport by 25 per cent and when it is completed, it would be of standard when compared with major airports in developed climes and around the world. “We are not going to leave anywhere around the airport fallow. We want to make the airport and its environs a good ambience for people, so that people who are coming into the country through Murtala Mohammed Airport would see how conducive our environment is.” “We are going to construct a multi-storey car park and this would help decongest cars at the airport and make it free. But before doing that, we would provide alternative car park, which is already ongoing. On your way to the international airport, the open space between the Catholic Church of Ascension and the Mosque is being processed for that.” On the traffic logjam being experience in recent time along the road, Daiti said all these are being taken into consideration, and we are doing everything possible to free the airport of traffic. We have moved the licensed customs agent to a new place, almost the same place with the tanker drivers, and it has been commissioned.”
Sunday, December 15, 2013
CITYFILE ‘Some Couldn’t Hold Back Tears As The Orphans Sang, Danced’ From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba T was supposed to be a happy donation of a vehicle, food Iriously items and toiletries to what can be described as lost souls sesearching for salvation by Fidelity Bank. But when the founder and coordinator of Pro Labore Dei Home for Children in Asaba Delta State, Rev. Sister Stella Maris, stood up to speak, it was time for sober reflection. Most of the people who came for the ceremony got emotional and couldn’t hold back tears. The sight of the cute kids, either motherless or orphans, singing their hearts out and dancing, oblivious of the harsh realities of an existential world where the crude code is eat or be eaten, unnerved even those with hearts of stones. Some guests were openly crying when the motley crew of orphans, abandoned and motherless children, all dressed up in their school uniforms, crooned: Forget your past/And look up to Jesus/Hold on to your faith… Again, some wept openly, others fought back tears when Sister Maris traced the trajectory of Pro Labore Dei (For the Labour of God) Home since it was first established in Ibadan, Oyo State in 1990. Twenty-three years on, the tiny mustard seed that was first planted at Sabo, Ibadan when she heard a call from God, has grown to 56 homes. Reaching out to touch the lives of the destitute and poor has been the lifelong labour of her love. Silver and gold she may not have but would gladly dip her hands deeper into her pockets, if that will make the children happy. She fervently hopes that they will someday grow up and be responsible citizens. While some will move on and not recognize her efforts, others will. That doesn’t bother her a bit. She is sure that laid up for her on Judgment Day is a crown of righteousness. A trained nurse, the reverend sister said that she was in Ibadan when she heard the voice of God telling her to reach out to the poorest of the poor and the destitute. Without a dime in her pocket, she wondered how she would go about it. With only N50 in her pocket, she had to obey God. After all, did not the Bible say that with God, all things are possible? With hope she set out on that sunny morning in 1990 to the Sabo neighbourhood of the Oyo State capital in search of the destitute. With the paltry amount of money, she set out. Twenty-three years on, the mustard seed, which she sowed in 1990, has blossomed like a giant oak. Presently, there are 23 homes in Nigeria and another 33 abroad—a total of 56. She confessed that when she received a call from the bank, telling her that the management had recognized her example and had decided to support her effort, she dismissed it with a wave of the hand. “Here they come again, 419ners. Scammers,” she said. However, she decided to verify. She sent one of her staff to find information about the lady with a sonorous voice who called from the bank, offering mouth-watering assistance. The offer was real! The South-South General Manager of Fidelity Bank, Mr. George Okoro, said that the donation of a Corolla car and the other items was part of the bank’s corporate social responsibility of reaching out to the needy. Okoro said that of all the places he has been in the South-
Preparing for Christmas
Sister Stella Maris (middle) flanked by staff of Fidelity Bank, workers and children of Pro Labore Dei Home for Children in Asaba Delta State.
South states to make donation, the visit to the Children Home in Asaba was the most emotional. “We are already thinking of what next to give to these children. The drive to be useful to the society is the reason behind the donation. We owe the society a duty to give back to them as God has prospered us,” he said. The Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chike Ogeah, commended Maris, saying that she admired her dedication, eloquence and life of chastity. Ogeah said that her little seeds are all over the world and will continue to blossom so that the world will be a better place for people, especially the poor, to live in. No matter their present plight, Ogeah’s counterpart in the
Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Betty Efekhoda, advised that they should not lose hope, as they are the apples of God’s eyes. She was full of praises to the nun for single-handedly shouldering the responsibilities of the children. Her effort has gone a long way in catering for these vulnerably kids, as government alone cannot cater for them. Trying very hard to fight back tears, the Regional Manager of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Ignatius Aigbokhaode, confessed that the nun’s way struck a chord deep down in him. Apart from reaching out to orphanages, Aigbokhaode said that the financial institution has also reached out to schools and physically challenged persons. He promised that the bank would be back with bigger gifts.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Money Scam:A Widow’s Cry For Justice From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos IRST, it was Mrs. Joy Ifijeh, the Edo widow, who received the heat of Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s vituperations. Members of the public pleaded her case extensively on social media and reprieve came. Today, she is, at least, happier. What with the N2m the governor ‘dashed’ her in seeming atonement for his faux pas. Now, another widow, Mrs. Edith Sunday, is in need of rescue. And unless her N400,000, fraudulently collected, is returned, she may have more days of sadness. Edith, a businesswoman, who hails from Delta State, stormed the Jos office of The Guardian, last week, and narrated her ordeal after investing in a company called Shiloh Thrift, located at No 33 Ahmadu Bello Way, Jos. It began after what appeared a display of honesty by one Mr. Godwin Mangai, the executive secretary of the company. According to her, “I knew him when he worked with a now defunct bank as senior marketer. He also traded in diesel. We were neighbours. He made a business proposal to me and I opened an account with the bank. One day, he told me that one of his trucks broke down, and he wanted me to lend him N100,000 to fix the problem. I gave him the money. Within two days, he returned it. With such honesty, my relationship with him became strengthened.” But it was a case of trust that wouldn’t endure. Mangai was eventually retrenched after the bank merged with another. “He told me that he was now with Shiloh Thrift and that the firm gives loans to people, and that people could also deposit their money with interest. Because I know him and he is a member of a prominent Pentecostal church, I thought the company was genuine. I handed him N400,000. I still have the receipts he signed and gave to me,” she said. According to Edith, “I registered with Shiloh Thrift beEdith
cause of one of the personalities involved—Senator Victor Lar (representing Plateau Central)— who is chairman of the company.” Returning from a journey to Delta State in January 2012, Edith learnt that the company had collapsed. “They locked up the place. I went there but could not find anyone. The phone number on the receipt and his (Mangai’s) personal phone number that I have been using to communicate with him are no longer available,” she lamented. Edith promptly reported the matter to the police and engaged the service of a lawyer, Mr. Uche Moka. Then the hunt began, joined by other people equally eager to get back their deposits. As a result, Mangai’s wife, also the treasurer of Shiloh Thrift, was arrested. From his hideout, Mangai began to make phone calls, calling for his wife’s release and saying that the monies would be paid within a week terminating on October 15, 2012. Two lawyers also appeared “pleading that they were going to write an undertaking that Mangai was going to pay us our money. Up till today, nobody has seen them. Nobody has seen the 23-year-old guarantor that bailed the treasurer. No landed property, no assets. The police did not even investigate to know where the boy lives.” “My money was N400,000. My colleague paid N600,000. A third colleague paid N3m. All the money we reported at the Area Command was N4m, and the police allowed a boy of 23 years who had nothing, no job and no assets, to bail. When October 15 came, they were nowhere to be found. We returned to where Mrs. Mangai was initially arrested and were told she had packed out. According to Edith, her lawyer called Victor Lar and asked what he was doing on the matter. Lar reportedly said that since he won the senatorial chair, he has faced legislative functions and left the running of the company to Mr. Mangai. Lar said that one time he gave Mangai N20m to pay some people, and that even he (Lar) is now at a loss on what has become of the money. “But my lawyer asked why Victor Lar has not bothered about the whereabouts of his secretary or bothered to find out who the victims are, so that they can be settled, since he is the chairman of the company?” When contacted on phone for his side of the story, Senator
Police IG, Abubakar
Victor Lar did not deny being the chairman of the company. According to him, “I was there in 2008 before I was sworn in as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Immediately I was sworn in, I resigned the chairmanship of the company. I cannot be chairman there while I am a senator.” In a dramatic twist, one of Mr. Mangai’s lawyers turned around and sued the police for wrongfully detaining his wife. “Can you imagine, after they initially pleaded! You duped people and said why should police intervene, claiming it was a business transaction. The police told them that this is not a business transaction, that it is not a civil case but a case of 419, that you have a company and you are nowhere to be found. You collected people’s money and ran away. The police were the ones that messed up the matter at the initial stage. How can a guarantor be allowed to bail without knowing where such lives?” The police, however, denied that they were negligent in handling the matter. The Police Public Relations Officer of the state, Deputy Superintendent Felicia Anslem, could not speak to The Guardian. But a senior police officer, who pleaded anonymity,
LEAP Africa Launches Social Innovators Programme By Gbenga Salau
N order to inspire more Nigerians to be change agents for posIProfessionalism itive values, the Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability, and (LEAP) Africa, recently launched its Social Inno-
1 GAME Ambassador, radio broadcaster and sports journalist, Kryss Molokwu (left), with staff and pupils of LEA Primary School, Kari Majiji, Abuja, during 1 GAMES’ free distribution of exercise books and pens to the institution… last week.
Demolition Of Illegal Structures: Public Complaints BossWantsRethink By Govt HE Federal Commissioner, Public Complaints Commission, Olukoga urged the state government to investigate its officials T Lagos State, Mr. Funso Olukoga, has urged the state governwho through error of commission or omission encourage peoment to, on humanitarian grounds, address the grievances of persons who lost their houses following the demolition of illegal structures. Olukoga, who spoke in Lagos on Thursday during the yearly media briefing, also lamented the activities of operators providing goods and services in the private sector, especially in aviation, banking and other financial services, as well as the mobile phone industries, saying that Nigerian consumers are being heavily exploited. The public complaints commissioner acknowledged the position of the Lagos State government in building institutions that continue to entertain grievances of the people. He, however, called on the administration to develop more housing programmes targeted at citizens unable to afford the high cost of accommodation in the state. The commissioner observed that in the course of the commission’s investigations, “we discovered that, truly, people do take over land without due authorisation. In many cases, the situation is not attended to, due to the acquiescence of officials of the state government. “Had government officials acted promptly to prevent illegal occupancy in the first place, the situation would not have reached a crisis point, which is always several years later, when those who illegally occupied initially would have settled to the false belief that the government has somewhat come to a compromise with them.”
ple to embark on illegal acquisition of land in the state. Meanwhile, the commissioner disclosed that the Public Complaints Commission is being repositioned through capacity building to carry out its mandate as outlined under the Public Complaints Commission Act CAP P37 Laws of the Federation Nigeria. According to him, this involves in-depth internal fortification, strong inter-institutional relationships, effective public sensitisation programmes, and a well-articulated and efficient service delivery strategy. He said that the body has established relations with other public and private organisations in Lagos State who share its ideals and they include Office of the Public Defender, the Citizens Mediation Centre, the Consumer Protection Council, the Orderly Society Trust, the Tenancy Watch, and the Lagos Multi-door Courthouse. Reeling out statistics for the year, he disclosed that 315 complaints were lodged and 241 were successfully resolved. “Few days ago, our office succeeded in settling a dispute in which about N30 million was paid by the respondent to the complainant without having to file a single paper in court for litigation. Truly, the commission is beginning to be better respected by the general public in Lagos state. This result has only encouraged us to continue to pursue our core mandate with vigour,” he stated.
vators Programme (SIP) in Lagos. At the event some young Nigerians were also presented awards for doing positive things in their communities. The SIP is an initiative developed by LEAP Africa in partnership with YouthActionNet, a programme of the International Youth Foundation (IYF), a nonprofit organization supporting youth development programmes in 80 countries. The SIP joins the YouthActionNet global network now comprising 16 national/regional youth leadership institutes across the world. The programme seeks to identify, develop and support young Nigerians who are addressing social challenges in their communities through creative and sustainable solutions. As part of the launch, LEAP hosted an innovation workshop for secondary school students and teachers. The goal of the workshop was to engender a culture of creativity among students and their teachers. Mr. Taiwo Akinlami of Taiwo Akinlami Inspires and Mr. Philip Obamighie of PuzzleExtra led the sessions. Some schools present at the workshop include: The Bells Comprehensive College Ota, Eko Akete Grammar School, Dowen College, Oxbridge Tutorial College, Randle Senior Secondary School and Yewa College Ilaro. At the programme launch, 20 young social innovators, selected from applications received were inducted as SIP Fellows for the 2013/2014 class. The key criteria for selecting the inaugural class of social innovators included leadership, motivation, creativity in problem solving approach and potential of initiatives for increased impact.
Firm Takes Teeth Brushing Campaign To School LAXOSMITHKLINE Consumer Nigeria Plc, handler of G Macleans Milk Teeth, a toothpaste brand specially formulated for children between ages one to six has reiterated the need for proper oral healthcare habit among children. This was emphasised in its recent school activation held at Carol School, Ikeja and Methodist Primary School Oshodi, among others. The event, which featured different genres of entertainment, had organisers of the event teaching children the proper way to brush their teeth while highlighting the importance of brushing twice a day. Mothers were also advised to pay close attention to their children’s oral hygiene since children are still tender and will need the constant help of their mothers for adequate brushing. Speaking at the event, the Head of Nursery, Carol School, Mrs. Ojuromi Joy, commended GSK for the enlightening activation, adding, “This is the second time ‘Macleans Milk Teeth’ has been to our school. It is very enlightening and interesting as the children were encouraged to brush rightly twice a day.”
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Backlash Abraham Ogbodo
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The Madiba’s Will MMM! It was a loaded week. Nelson ManH dela who died at age 95 on December 5, after an excellent race remained an international focal point throughout the week. At home, the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) managed finally to settle their five-month old quarrel. And then some two men registered their names most forcefully among the nation’s best letter writers. First, the garrulous governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi refused, quite uncharacteristically, to vote with his mouth on a very sensitive issue. Instead, he chose to write a letter to President Jonathan, explaining dutifully how some $49.8 billion has not been remitted to the CBN by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Get it right please! Sanusi is talking about almost $50 billion that is missing from the national vaults at a time when the entire worth of Nigeria, in terms of external reserves, stands at below $40 billion. Nigerians were still struggling to piece together the puzzle of the missing trillions (that is in naira value) when former President Olusegun Obasanjo sent in his epistle, chronicling the sins of President Good Jonathan since the latter assumed office and advising him to repent or be damned. Sincerely, I am not interested in the two old men practising letter writing as if they were college pupils preparing for English Paper Two in the Senior School Certificate Examination. The late Madiba is still of paramount interest to me. The world truly came together as one body for him. Friends and enemies crossed the divide to converge in South Africa. In death, the Madiba did what even the United Nations could not achieve in about its 70 years of existence. The leaders of US and Republic of Cuba warmly shook hands in the spirit of the moment. The unexpected bridging of ideological poles automatically became an interesting sub
plot of the Madiba death story. Some said Barack Obama had goofed and that back home in Washington, the Republicans who are diligently on the watch for Obama to go wrong, would reap political capital from the historic handshake. I am also not interested in what happens in Washington between the Democrats and Republicans over a mere handshake. I am strictly interested in what Nelson Mandela has written in his Will. It is possible that in his large heartedness, the man might have put down something for many people all over the world, including folks in Nigeria. I have a legitimate feeling that I am among those named in the Will for benefits. Let me explain. When Mandela visited Nigeria after his release from prison on February 11 1990, I remember reporting the visit as a young reporter. It is possible I cut an impression with him way back and he could have put down my name for a reward some day. It sounds good. As a former head of state, and of South Africa which is far richer than Nigeria for that matter, the Madiba will have so much to proclaim in his written Will. I contributed in some way to the fame of the man and it would be most unfair to leave me out in the sharing of the billions of dollars that he might have stashed away in some banks in Switzerland. If that is likely going to put me on collision course with primary stakeholders, say members of the Madiba’s immediate and extended families, I can gladly scale down and ask to be accommodated only in the sharing of money deposited in banks in South Africa. For one, the Swiss are very difficult people when it comes to making public, the identities of account holders and the value of deposits in their banks. It is not wise to wait forever for the Swiss to sort out matters whereas something handsome can also be arranged with South Africa Banks. I am relatively farfetched in the calcula-
tions and so I do not expect the Madiba to write that I should be given, say, one billion Rand just like that. A million Rand or something close to that is enough for me. Besides, I may not be the only person from Nigeria accommodated in the Madiba’s will. Even so, if I am given the option, I will decline any cash inheritance and go for choice property in the US, Dubai, UK and elsewhere in Europe. Given his stature, the Madiba should own whole streets in major cities all over the world. Just one building in New York is very okay. As a wise man, I will re-invest to multiply the accruing proceeds and in no time become stinking rich like a past African head of state. I will ask Forbes Magazine or whatever, to list me among the world’s billionaires. I do not know if the Madiba mentioned me for a stake in his 50-room palace in Johannesburg (his should actually count up to 100 rooms given what he represented). If he did, I will turn down the offer. That should exclusively go to members of his immediate family. I quite recognise that I am only graciously listed by the kind hearted Madiba to come and chop and it offends the sensibilities as well as good ethics to wash both hands to the neck level. Let me warn that enemies are going to try to sow confusion among the beneficiaries of the Madiba Estate. I advise therefore that we close rank and shame detractors. There is enough to go round everybody. For instance, if a beneficiary who has an eye on a lucrative property in UK fails to clinch same because the operating Will dictates otherwise, he or she should calmly settle for something equally good in Dubai or Morocco. I hear the Madiba’s estate extends to the Caribbean and part of Latin America and so there are rich options to choose from. If we begin to quarrel noisily over who gets what, some people may go to the International Court of Justice to obtain an ex-parte order to embargo the execution of the Will and it could take forever to vacate the court injunction for the sharing to resume. I am sure nobody among the beneficiaries wants that to happen. And so, let us eschew greed and agree to conduct ourselves properly, to avoid katakata. Remember, those 100 or so world leaders who came with their wives and children to bid the Madiba farewell were all silent on his stupendous wealth. Instead, each leader that assumed the podium toasted to the towering moral character of a man who obliterated all known cleavages of the modern world and assembled under one roof, blacks and whites, rich and poor, Christians and Moslems, Catholics and Protestants, Jews and Gentiles and capitalists and communists to witness his passing. Maybe the leaders did not even know anything
BOUT two weeks ago, I was invited to attend A the Founders’ Day ceremony of American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, Adamawa
State. AUN is one of the private universities in the country. I had accepted to witness the event before I settled down to locate what part of the country Yola is. When I realised that Yola and the entire Adamawa State are in the northeastern flanks, where an emergency rule is in place, as it were in Borno and Yobe States, as a result of the murderous activities of the banned Boko Haram sect, I developed cold sweat. Basic instinct encouraged me to back out, but I realised that I didn’t have any cogent reason other than self-preservation to do so. I made some checks to ascertain the living condition of Yola. I was particular about the distance between the airport and the heart of town, wondering how safe that distance would be. We read stories of persons being waylaid and so mercilessly bludgeoned and hacked to death. We also see recordings of victims being slaughtered in a most cruel and barbaric fashion. I was so concerned about myself that it was not within my immediate calculation and realization that my fellow countrymen live in Yola, I mean permanently, and indeed in the three states that have been most afflicted by the Boko Haram tragedy. Worst still, I didn’t even remind myself that as a journalist I was supposed to go to places where even angels fear to tread. But I summoned courage and went to Yola. At the time I visited, Yola was simply wonderful. Apart from the high temperature that was already climbing to the neighbourhood of 40s, as November gave way to December, nothing on ground showed that an emergency rule was in place. The rains had stopped and the sun was up there, with no clouds to limit its ferociousness. Even the Harmattan northeast trade wind that was supposed to bring some chilly nights to refresh the heat of the day was reluctant to come. And there were a lot of houseflies. There are houseflies everywhere, but they are particularly stubborn here and you have to battle them. Then you have occasional roadblocks manned by soldiers, who do not really cause any harm. You stop and your vehicle is searched and you move on. So, apart from the weather, which you could not do much about, because it is God’s creation, Yola was just fine and peaceful. And that brought back memories of what Nigeria used to be and could still be. As I sat in the bus that conveyed us (visitors) to the AUN community, I
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A Few Lessons From Yola felt a sense of guilt that I allowed initial misgivings about the trip. But would you blame me outright for expressing some fear over what has become of Nigeria? This country used to be so diverse and blessed and you could go anywhere and explore nature without worrying that some gunmen and machete carriers would attack you with no other motive than to kill you. We know of armed robbers and their occasional menace, but we did not bargain for those who kill for the sake of it and celebrate their exploits in video recordings. They throw bombs recklessly and they bring down schools and public institutions. Thank goodness, that Yola has managed to keep hope alive for Nigeria. In spite of the activities of agents of hate and destruction, the people, quite courageously are going about and doing their things within their own capacities. They look up to the State to enhance their capacities, so that instead of operating at very low capacity, they would expand and blossom. The ordinary people want to live in a peaceful Nigeria, where they can work hard to confront all challenges, human and natural. I found at AUN, Yola, a symbol of the people’s resolve to stay put and salvage their environment, in spite of bad economy and threats to peace and security. The University has decided to blend fast with the host community, sharing a lot of development ideas in achieving a peaceful environment. After peace, the next thing is development and AUN reaches out to a people that are challenged on both sides. They need development and they need peace. The School has a peace initiative, to collaborate with the people, to discuss peace and extol the virtues inherent in togetherness. Adamawa State is a good blend of Nigeria, with very many tribes and religions. On that front, there is a meaningful amount of symbiotic calm among town and gown, for mutual protection. The people have taken owner-
ship and are willing to offer protection. Taking advantage of the relative calm, AUN has taken another step to get the Yola/Jimeta host community to be creative. A number of initiatives are in the offing. There is an ICT programme targeted at a population that would not ordinarily get bothered about computers and the Internet. Across board, select youths are captured for free introductory lessons in ICT. Instead of looking for trouble in the mountains, they probe the monitor with the mouse. Women who would ordinarily be locked in Purdah, or spend the day gossiping now troop to pick skills for free at the AUN waste recycling centre. Plastic water bottles and other wastes are now turned into useful items and the women seem quite happy and proud. These items, their products are on sale and the women now earn money. There are testimonies all around. Attitude is important if one is to turn stone into bread. If people do not put their mind to it, they wouldn’t perform magic. At a time Nigeria’s university system was paralysed by strike action embarked upon by members of the Academic Staff of our Universities, AUN, Yola and other private universities were busy running their programmes. What is the motivation that would make private varsities function while the public school system is grounded? Is it all about money, money and more money? I was moved to ask whether AUN had all the money required to keep the system running, without running into regular trouble the way public universities do. I was surprised to find out that tuition, as huge as it seems does not fund the AUN system. After all, the school does not have the numbers to amass the sort of resources to make it luxuriate in excessive affluence. So what is the magic? I discovered to my amazement that AUN leans more on the inner strength of the staff and students, more than material cash to keep going. The school runs its own government, more or less, in
about the hidden wealth of Nelson Mandela. Anyhow, since no mentioned was made of his fat bank accounts and properties in Europe, America and elsewhere by these world leaders, it is advisable for we, prospective beneficiaries, to keep quiet and leave it at that. Maybe these leaders do not know the banks where the monies that Mandela amassed as first president of democratic South Africa are deposited. They also do not have a clear picture of the locations of his posh buildings around the world. This is why the beneficiaries, including my humble self, should talk less so that we do not unwittingly draw world attention to the hidden treasures of the Madiba. The world has said the old man only left behind a name that shall live forever and not accumulated cash or property and it is dangerous to contradict the world on this score. Come to think of it; it actually helps our purpose. It means we can share all the cash and property without anybody or some Western government cum institution tracing same to Mandela. That is even being too careful about a very simple matter. After all, the man before he died, drew up a Will on who should possess his possession and who should not and so why are we bothering ourselves in the first place? Besides, while he was alive, nobody said ‘no’ to him as such and I do not think that position has changed even after his death. The Time Magazine in one description said he was the only one from Africa who called the President (US President) and the President did not ask probing questions before picking the phone. Perhaps the only person that was recorded to have said ‘no’ to Mandela was one Nigerian called Gen Sani Abacha who went ahead to execute Ken Saro-Wiwa and nine other Ogoni men on November 10, 1995 in spite of plea for clemency from the Madiba Col. Muammar Gaddafi did not say ‘no’ when the Madiba asked that the two Lockerbie bomb suspects be turned-in to the Americans for trial. FIFA did not say ‘no’ when the Madiba wanted South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup. And because he was on the side of England, the Olympics Committee could not say ‘no’ to the hosting of the 2012 Olympics in London. Till death, he stood alone on his platform mustering a moral fortitude that levelled every resistance. The rule continues and so nobody is going to say ‘no’ to the execution of the Madiba’s Will of which I am a proud beneficiary. His Will that every leader and in fact, everybody in Africa, nay, the world lives and dies exactly the way he did. terms of providing its own security, water, electricity (substantially) and everything you can think of. Waste is recycled so that nothing is wasted and in no time, the school will generate own electricity and give part of it to the community. It is not so much about huge resources, I discovered, but more to do with the general attitude of the community. President of AUN, Dr Margee Ensign is petite in frame, but she is huge in character. That is what drives the system. She is an optimist and would not be scared by the challenges of lean resources. She mops up everything and makes sure there is no single waste. According to her, tuition does run the system, but there is a deliberate desire by her team, the founder, Atiku Abubakar, former vice president, some foreign and local partners to ensure that quality education is available to people of the Northeast and Nigeria. By the way, Ensign is an American and her job as president is the equivalent of what a vice chancellor does. Ensign has no airs and she is down to earth. She has passion and she infects everybody on campus with passion. To move around campus for inspection purposes, Ensign sits in the same bus with reporters. She sits in the ‘conductor’ position, to enable her face the crew and offer regular explanations. She did not assign the task to members of her communication directorate. Hmmm! Some lessons for our big men, vice chancellors, men who feel too big to climb down, yet they are half empty upstairs. Our vice chancellors preside over huge resources, men and material, yet they are unable to turn around our universities. Give them all the money on earth; they would still ground the system and play ethnic politics with research and development. There is little or no passion in our academic system, that’s my observation from AUN. On my way back to Lagos on December 1, I took time to look at the Yola Airport. Renovation work was ongoing and the arrival and departure halls were not accessible. A makeshift arrangement was what passengers went through in order to qualify to board the aircraft. After I had gone through the procedure, I climbed the plane, looked back and muttered some prayers. A little after, as we seated, social media reported the attack on the Maiduguri Airport and the damage of some Air-force planes. Truth is, that attack could have been anywhere. We are porous!
Sunday, December 15, 2013 11
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Outlook President Obama Through African Eyes By Henry A. Onwubiko CANNOT convey the ecstasy in the African continent, which accompanied the news of the election of Barack Obama as the President of the United States of America. In high and low places, there was jubilation. His posters and even book on The Audacity Of Hope, circulated from the ram shackled hotels of Soweto, through Nairobi and Accra; from the motor parks of Lagos to the pretentious city of Abuja. Also incessant debates occurred inside West Africa’s Molue buses and sidewalks, by passengers and passersby on whether he belonged to Africa “direct”, a “descendant” Afro American or a Pan African like Paul Robeson eager to use America’s tumbling power to turn our battered and underdeveloped homeland towards the trajectory of social development. Last but not least were people from his Kenyan fatherland to whom he appeared as the reincarnation of a Mau-Mau warrior, back to complete Kenya’s aborted emancipation from poverty and neocolonialism. However, the war in Libya foreshadowed the doom that would befall Africans throughout Obama’s reign as president of the world’s most powerful nation. As commander-in-chief, he stood at the helm of an American led NATO invasion of Libya, that claimed the lives of thousands of Africans, among them, one of the charismatic leaders and foundation member of the African Union, Moamar Ghadaffi. Having installed a spurious multi-party democracy over Ghadaffi’s socialist experiment, which was coyly presented to the world as a one-man dictatorship, but which nevertheless placed Libya among the topmost developed nations in Africa, the westerners reduced her into a wartorn dependent nation. Antebellum and sovereign Libya had not only one of the highest Gross Domestic Product in Africa, but also led most African nations in industrialization. It set up infrastructure for manufacturing, while developing Agriculture, free shelter, housing and improved educational facilities for its citizens. Many Africans had once struggled to reach its shores for employment opportunities and better life. Libya is now being abandoned by its people to seek refuge in other countries, while many of its citizens drown in the Mediterranean Sea. It is now a nation infested with assorted weapons once used and supplied by Western nations but now in the hands of antagonistic factions, some turning their guns on the so called new democracy. However, while Libya burned, the conditions in neighboring Egypt ruled by a Western installed military dictatorship headed by Hoseni Mubarak continued to ferment into a social revolution. Perhaps Ghadafi’s greatest offence against the West that broke the camel’s back, was his catalytic support of the Egyptian revolution against the Western installed military Oligarchy. With Obama at the helm, neither Western attempts to keep Mubarak or to retain a loyal Egypt through the polls by its own “democratic” forces, led to success. Instead, the Egyptian people in a free and fair election chose Muhammed Morsi of the Moslem Brotherhood Party to head its first democratic government. Predictably, Morsi and his Moslem Brotherhood Party were confronted with various forms of economic sabotage orchestrated by Western Fi-
Obama nance Institutions, which increased social poverty and discontent among Egyptian citizens, thus setting the ground for a Western and Saudi Arabian allied and inspired military coup that toppled Morsi and his Moslem Brotherhood Party from power. It is significant to note, that thousands of Egyptian people have lost their lives, and properties due to the unending civil strife in the streets of Egypt, as Morsi remains adamant to keep his presidential mandate while his comrades remain determined, even in confinement. What has occurred in Libya and Egypt is also happening in Mali, where there has been a French imposition of “Democracy” in a disputed election, largely manipulated by France, to secure its geopolitical and economic interests. While Anglophone and Francophone stooges under ECOWAS cleared the ground of “terrorists”, the United States provided various forms of logistic support for France in Mali, to achieve their common imperial aims. Under Barack Obama’s leadership, other forms of imperialist engagement in Africa have also been intensified. While terrorism and the war against terror continue to destabilize efforts on the construction of the necessary infrastructure for industrialization and intra-trade linkages among African nations, it is important to assess who actually benefits from this terror. In the case of Nigeria, close to fifty percent of its crude oil earnings is consumed by the war against the Islamic militants of Boko Haram. Despite the relatively high growth rate of its economy, most of this money is used to procure weapons from the Industrial Military Complex agencies of the Western world, to sustain the declared state of emergency in selected northern states of Nigeria where the battles are more intense. The Nigerian government needs to invest this money in its educational system in order to revitalize it from its present moribund state. It needs to invest this money on its health centers, where most of its Teaching Hospitals lack even the most basic drugs, electricity and water and exist virtually as extended mortuaries. It needs to invest this money in developing the necessary industrial infrastructure, such as better roads, improved railway networks, consistent supply of electricity, and solar energy panels to light up its villages etc. It needs this money to establish transnational
roads, that link all the West African capitals and major trading zones. It needs this money to create employment for over seventy percent of its unemployed youths. Given the present rivalry between the most powerful economies such as the United States, China and Japan, with the favorable growth rate of the economies of most African states, the opportunity now exists to break the shackles of underdevelopment and lay the foundations for industrialization, through win-win alliances with China and other willing investors. Terrorism only benefits those who seek to destabilize, and divert our present economic opportunity, increased earning and higher growth rate for the sale of their arms and drones to both our legitimate governments, and these same terrorist organizations. As it is with Nigeria and Boko Haram, so is it with Kenya, Somalia, Uganda and El-Shabaab. A stable Kenya is key to the industrialization and unlocking of the iron gate of underdevelopment among the East African countries. President Uhuru Kenyatta recognizes this fact and had swiftly, moved to secure a winwin alliance between Kenya and Chinese investors in many facets of the Kenyan economy, despite the so much noise on Chinese domination. The recent terrorist attack at Kenya’s west-gate mall in Nairobi is not just a warning by El-Shabaab as is widely reported, to force Kenya to withdraw its military contingent in Somalia, it is more of an act of economic sabotage to destabilize the entire East African Economic Community of which, Kenya and its presently focused leadership is a catalyst, and prevent them from carrying out the slogan: Educate, Integrate, Industrialize, and Manufacture or perish. The presence of Western nationals, (such as the so-called white widow) among the suspected master-minds of El-Shabaab forces, generally thought to consist of only Somalians, and the arrest of top members of the Nigerian ruling class in Boko Haram, clearly suggest that terrorist organizations in Africa may well be connected to the intelligence units of some key global nations who support this diabolical force of underdevelopment in Africa. Also, like the proverbial Ostrich, Barack Obama had buried his head inside the sand and remained taciturn in the midst of grave atrocities in the African continent. His silence to the massacre of thirty-seven black miners in South Africa, for daring to protest for better wages and working conditions by the still racist-tinted South Africa Police, indicate his ideological support for big business and profit, against the African working class and their unions. His well known view to drag African leaders such as Gbagbo of Ivory Coast, Taylor of Liberia, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Omar Bashir of Sudan, etc who fear getting a fair trial at the pro-Western and racially biased International Criminal Court at the Hague in Europe while Western leaders such as George Bush, Senior and Junior, Tony Blair and others who have committed grave crimes against humanity such as the killings of thousands of Iraqi civilians with megatons of toxic explosives which in no small measure have contributed to present Global warming, remains an affront to International
Justice. Ironically, Obama advices the ICC, although, the United States of America is not a member. Inside the United States too, Barack has not done well for Africans, be they from Africa-direct, AfroAmericans, or Pan Africans. His conspiracy with global telecom-multinational industries to tap and hack the phones and computers of private individuals, governments, and businesses world wide, gaining access to their conversations and e-mails is not only a crime against humanity but a heinous attack on the very civil rights movement that leveled the political landscape, which made his ascent to the presidency possible. People are told their liberty must be taken away in order to fight terrorism! It does not epitomize the crux of African culture or values, which include respect for the privacy of individuals. Indeed most Africans applaud Edward Snowden for exhuming this putrescent corpse of American McCarthyism and exposing Mr. Obama and his National Security Agency as our hero, and Africa’s undisputable candidate for the Nobel prize for peace. A final note is Obama’s unsatisfactory response to the miscarriage of justice by a Florida Court on the premeditated and gruesome murder of Trayvon Martins, a black teenager by a white redneck vigilante. Obama pro- claimed he had faith and confidence in the American judiciary, which is yet to rid itself of the racism of Jim Crow and its consequent pogrom on Africans in American society. Even at present, over twenty percent of America’s prisoners are black in a nation where black people make up only twelve percent of its national population! Here was an opportunity for an American President of African extraction to at least initiate a process that would eliminate Jim Crow in America’s justice system but he kept mute to please the bipartisan white democrats and republican majority he serves, as its artificial but useful appendage. Let us face it, Barack Obama’s Presidency for Africans has not been the long expected return of the Mau-Mau warrior in a new way, but the continuity of a Bush Nightmare. It has not brought the desired peace and stability that would encourage investment and development in Africa, but an unsettling era of wars, refugees, migration and drowning, with an evasive terrorism. It has not brought more intra African railroads, infrastructure, intra-commerce and economic integration that would lead to a single currency as in Europe’s Euro, but disintegration, terrorism, exploitation and underdevelopment. Rather than the proliferation of gainful scientific education and employment in Africa for our youths which would enhance innovation and productivity, the West has offered us invitations to war games and the socalled Africa High Command, trainings in terrorism and counter terrorism, unparalleled street evangelisms and a consumption programmed education. We asked for a genuine technology transfer, Obama gave us visa lotteries and college booby-traps to lure our deprived youths into America’s army, spy agency, and its many life-risking, and unwanted jobs or become part of its growing black underclass, at the expense of our hard earned currency. As history gradually unmasks Mr. Obama, Africans bear witness to the whip and heartless lashes of a white Masquerade concealed in a black mask, giving out scorpions when we needed bread, while dancing to the drum beat of Western Imperialism. Prof. Onwubiko is with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka
By Obe Ess
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Editorial Respect For Nigeria Coaches HAT Nigeria’s senior team, Super Eagles’ coach Stephen Keshi, his assistant, Daniel Amokachi and goalkeeper trainer, Ike Shorunmu were owed seven months in salary was disheartening and demoralising. The development, once again, showed Nigeria’s respect for indigenous coaches, who often times, have proven to be more productive than those expatriate coaches, paid huge salary in foreign currency, sometimes upfront, with all the perks. Interestingly, where the foreign coach have failed, indigenous coaches on the other hand, even while treated as second rate, have done well for the country. That the Federal Government eventually came to the aid of the nation’s football governing body with a grant to help pay the salaries is no amelioration. It should never have happened and it should never happen again. Keshi led the Super Eagles to the Africa Cup of Nations 2013 Final in South Africa, where Nigeria lifted the coveted trophy to emerge the African champion. This was after 19 years of drought during which Nigeria never won the tournament. The same Keshi has also led the Super Eagles to qualify for the 2014 World Cup tournament in Brazil. All these happened within a matter of months. Had a foreign coach been the one who achieved these feats, he would have been treated like god. But because Keshi is an indigenous coach, there is little appreciation of his effort by his employers as demonstrated in the non-payment of his salary and that of his technical crew. Incidentally, this is not the first time Nigerian coaches have been treated so shabbily. Coaches like Christian Chukwu, Shuaibu Amodu, Samson Siasia, Austin Eguavoen, John Obuh and Eucharia Uche (coach of Nigeria’s female team, the Super Falcons), have suffered the same fate. Their salaries were hardly paid on time and they suffered humiliation. Some of them were frustrated out of the job. But no expatriate coach has ever been treated that shabbily. This fact nullifies the excuse offered by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), that it was in serious financial difficulty, hence, could not meet its financial obligations to Keshi and his crew. NFF’s internal problems should never have affected the payment of coaches’ wages. Keshi aptly described the non-payment of his salary then as the lowest point of his career. According to him, he had never had that kind of experience before. He justifiably felt that the situation was disrespectful and unacceptable. He regretted that despite giving his best to the job, he didn’t get his due respect. Sadly enough, this psychological torture was being visited on a man who in another six months is expected to lead the national team to the 2014 World Cup tournament in Brazil, where the team would meet formidable sides like Argentina in the Group F first round encounters. If Nigeria expects to record any impressive outcome in Brazil, the NFF should do everything possible to always pay Keshi and his crew their full entitlements without any delay. The morale of the technical crew as well as that of the players must be boosted. The importance of football in today’s world cannot be overemphasised. Soccer has become an instrument for international diplomacy. Nations invest heavily on sports. Nigeria’s battered image receives positive acclaim when it comes to soccer and other sports. On that ground, at least, the country should give premium to sports that burnishes her image. Football has also become a potent force that unites Nigerians. Nothing else comes close to achieving that feat. Football forges national unity and harnessing the power of football to realise the united Nigerian dream is a task that is worth pursuing. It is just as well that the Goodluck Jonathan administration has stepped into the matter and has ordered the prompt payment of coaches’ wages henceforth. Once again, what happened was wrong and must never happen again. Indigenous coaches deserve total respect.
A Note To Nigeria’s Rulers I was not surprise when I SonIR:heard via the news media Wednesday March 11, 2009 that one of the recommendations of the three man panel that reviewed the Mohammed Uwais-led electoral reform committee, is the extension by two years of the present administration to enable it implement the other recommendations contained in the Report. If I may ask, is it true that without this administration, implementation of the electoral reforms cannot be carried out? Is it true that at the end of the two years, new issues will not be thrown up by the system? Will the administration then ask for further extension to enable it sort out the new issues that will arise?
Who do they think they are deceiving? Anyway, let me state clearly what I feel they should know about political power and life in general. Power though sweet is transient. For no matter how long and tight (even for a 1000 years you hold onto it), you MUST eventually lose it with honour or dishonour. Let me state categorically that those who think that without them the world would come to an end are pure clowns because the world is forging ahead without them. No matter how high your position may be, there are others who are better than you. And they too are not indispensable. If one may ask, where are the great warriors of yesteryears? Where are the famed conquerors of land and sea? Where are the
In Memory Of Nelson Mandela He was a native son of SwillIR:South Africa, but that nation surely pardon the rest of the world for claiming Nelson Mandela as one of our own as well. President Mandela was the champion, the avenger, the soldier and the statesman for all who despise injustice, having courageously put his own liberty and life on the line so that his oppressed countrymen and women could breathe free. I first heard of him when I was in college and already engaged in the fight to end apartheid in that beautiful country on Africa’s southern tip. As a member of my university’s first South African Divestment Coalition in the 70s, I drew upon Mr. Mandela’s commitment to fuel my own. Later, as the first Assistant U.S.
Trade Representative for Africa, I was honoured to meet the heroic Mr. Mandela in person with President Clinton. Though President Mandela would not have remembered it, I shall never forget the warm embrace he gave me once - an affectionate gesture that I found surprising until I realized that he had mistaken me for Oprah Winfrey. Although humankind is poorer for the loss of Mr. Mandela, the loss is mitigated by the joy and privilege of having had him in our midst. Many aspire to leave the world better than they found it. Nelson Mandela actually did it, fortifying freedom, opportunity and justice. •Rosa Whitaker President and CEO, The Whitaker Group.
Emperors, Presidents and Governors who were regarded as demigods? They have all been blown away by the wind of time. Man would be living in a world of dreams if he thinks that he is indispensable. My admonition here is this, whatever your position in life, which is a stage as William Shakespeare said, play your part honourably by making peace, justice, equity, integrity, selflessness and humility your hallmarks. Don’t be misled into believing that the world revolves around you. Probably, you are contributing to the making of history; probably, you have made history yourself. Whatever your achievements, always remember that there were people like you, there still are and there will always be. Therefore the best way to tread your mortal path, is to be humble, unassuming and above all, have the fear of the Almighty at all times. You are important only to the extent that you are part of the human chain. Take note, the world will not collapse without you. At best, some crocodile tears would be shed in addition to a few hypocritical Adverts, tributes and funeral orations that will be made within the first few hours, days, weeks or months after your exit from the earth plane. This will be your lot, O man for all your labours and other exploits on earth! Thereafter, you can go and settle your account with the Supreme Creator, Commander, Governor and Possessor of the universe who lives for all eternity and to whom all knees on this earth and the heavens must bow. •James Obi, Warri, Delta State.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
From Lillian Chukwu, Abuja
T 104 years old, Pa Stephen Ikwuazom, recently stood for four hours to ordain pastors at the Lamb of God Church in Aba, Abia State. He has never been seriously ill in all his life and still preaches the word of God while quoting chapters and verses from the holy book without reading glasses. So dedicated is Pa Ikwuazom to preaching the gospel of Christ that he was severally stoned while proclaiming the Word of God in public or market places. His only regret is that for the first time in his life, he was aided by a wheelchair into the pulpit for a sermon on invitation by the Family Worship Center in Wuye, Abuja sometimes last September. Earlier, in the month, he was almost hospitalised after arriving Abuja for a scheduled sermon. That would have been his first visit to a hospital on health ground. According to him, his recent ailment made him unable to walk unaided or play with his grandchildren though it didn’t stop him from preaching his favourite topic at the host church on love for one’s brethren. Born on October 23, 1909, the native of Ekukeru Ase in Ndokwa East local government area in Delta state told The Guardian that the secret of his longevity is his ability to love greatly and forgive all wrongdoings committed against his person by anyone regardless of age, class and status of his offender. Prescribing the secret to long life, he said: “never say bad prayers against anyone, never go to court with anyone, run from gossip, be quiet, give every penny to God and have a covenant of peace with Him.” The centenarian also said he never bears grudges and that throughout his active lifetime, he never hesitated to pardon even when his landed properties were confiscated by trusted acquaintances. Narrating the genesis of his ministry, Pa Ikwazom said it started in 1925 when “the spirit of God appeared to me in a trance.” So seriously did he take the sacred vows of marriage that after the death of his wife, Cecilia in 2000, he refused to remarry. She died at the age of 85. Said he: “A Christian without his Bible cannot know the good things of God. A Christian must represent his/her universe; he/she
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NEWSPEOPLE The Old Man And The Pulpit • At 104, Pa Ikwuazom Still Ordains Pastors must imitate God.” Queen Ikwuazom, one of his children said her father’s weakness for sugary drinks, especially Miranda, got the family worried about his health, but their decade-long concern seems unnecessary, as he has never suffered any ailment or been hospitalised since she has known him. His doctor, Markus, who attends to him at home, told The Guardian that his recent ailment can be attributed to old age.” Clutching his Bible of over 50 years, Pa Ikwuazom, who is multi-lingual and speaks Hausa fluently, narrated how the death of his parents when he was eight years old in
Jos, Plateau State, prompted his becoming a cook to the colonial masters. Before his parents’ death, he remembered being the class captain at the primary level in Jos Memorial School, where different missionaries taught him. When he became an orphan, he was adopted by relatives in the village, but was later brought to Aba in the then eastern region of Nigeria, where he eventually registered his church —The Lamb of God Church in 1967. Pa Ikwuazom is known to have held crusades that lasted 40 days and nights without showing any sign of fatigue. The Centenarian recalled how he was almost an official
Pa Ikwuazom reading the bible clearly and unaided.( Inset); with one of his grandchildren.
prophet for the soldiers during the Biafra war. According to him, so precise were his prophecies of success or failure for the battalions that he had to travel often with the army for their survival and to boost their belief and dependence on God. His favourite food includes starch and Ogbono soup, which he still ‘washes down’ with Miranda. Ikwuazom’s first son, Chukwuemeka, a 54-year-old residing in the US, is the only male among his five female siblings. Pa Ikwuazom is happy that for more than a century, his main “business has been preaching God and His love in all sincerity.” On his advice for Nigeria’s centurion celebration, he said that the greatest recipe for the continued survival of the country, as one entity, is for “peace and love to reign.”
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, December 15, 2013
JUSTINA PHILIP: Walking Tall Against Odds From Itunu Ajayi, Abuja ROVIDENCE, it can rightly be said, brought Justina Philip to the Royals’ Schools. She had learned that there was a new school not too far from her place of abode in Kuje area council in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and since she needed a job desperately, she decided to pay a visit to the school with the sole aim of getting a job. Trying to secure employment with less than a school certificate, Justina knew was going to be a mean task. She was also aware that in the case she succeeded, she could only get employment as a cleaner or office messenger. This did not bother her much though, because all she desired was just a place to go every morning to work. Upon entering the school premises, which did not display much activity, she came in contact with Mrs. Bisi Mustapha, proprietress of the school, who interviewed her and immediately employed her as a cleaner, since her certificate couldn’t fetch anything higher. It was an excited Justina that returned home to share the good news with her husband, but utter disappointment awaited her, as he would have none of it. All he wanted was for his dear wife to be at home all the time to take care of Prince, their son. And in a bid to ensure she does not take up the appointment, he gave her stringent condition, as the only way he would release her— her new employer should look for someone, who would take care of Prince, while Justina was at work. Always the dutiful wife, who had been taught to be obedient to her husband, Justina went back to her new employer to return the appointment letter. She got married to him at a tender age, and though not happy with her husband’s stand, she felt she should still comply. However, the proprietress was reluctant to let go of Justina, as something in her desired Justina to be a part of the Royals’ Schools. Bisi Mustapha could not really pinpoint why she wanted Justina on her team, after all, she could get another cleaner, but deep within her, she wanted Justina around; so, she refused to take back the appointment letter. Instead, she advised Justina to seek people, who could assist in appealing to her husband to allow her work. The advice paid off, as it took the intervention of Justina’s uncle to convince the husband to allow his wife start work and he succeeded in talking Philip out of his initial decision. So, when the Royals’ School took off officially on October 2 2003, an elated Justina was there early to commence her duties. Interestingly, today, she is not only the longest serving staff of the school; she has also upgraded herself from being a mere cleaner to a proud holder of a National Certificate in Education (NCE). Justina’s journey from being a cleaner to a classroom teacher was not an easy ride. Born in Kaduna State less than four decades ago, she is from a background, where people hold the belief that a girlchild needs little or no education. Rather, she should just be given out as early as possible in marriage, so as to start raising children. But the saying that if the individual does not die of an ailment, somehow providence will make him come in contact with his healer, can be said to be true in Justina’s case. Through divine arrangement, she met Mrs. Mustapha, who despite all odds stood behind her throughout the rough ride.
workshop. When the husband has gone to work and a woman is just there doing nothing, it becomes easy for other women to gather around and when they talk, you must have something to contribute. I got married early and my husband brought me to Abuja. I did not want to do anything that would cause him any embarrassment. So, I felt that if I leave home at about the same time he goes to work and we return from work and meet at home at the same time, there won’t be room for anyone to report me to him that I did or say anything wrong. That was just the idea.” Many times, she had wanted to throw in the towel, when the going got too tough, but her benefactor, Mrs. Mustapha was always urging her on. “I had only Prince when I started this work, and by the Lord’s grace, I now have three boys and a girl. Raising a family along side schooling and working was not easy. There were times I told ‘mummy’ I wanted to quit schooling, but she would insist that I could do it if I really set my mind on it. Prince was still very small when I started work and mummy made me get a woman, who I was paying N1, 000 to look after him while I was at work and at times, getting transport fare to go to school was a hard task. When Prince started school, he was helping me with English language. If I said anything that was grammatically wrong, he would say ‘No mummy, say it this way.’ He also taught me computer.” So, what about those other women she didn’t want to gossip with that made her get a job? “They are still there. We are no longer living in that area; we moved out of there some years back. We now have our own house, although I still see some of them once in a while.” Now that Justina has been through it all, she is now an advocate of women going all out to make something good of their lives, regardless of their status. She is of the view that women should not allow marriage deter them from forging ahead and achieving their desires in life, whatever these may be. “With God’s help and the right people around to support, women can reach for the Justina stars. I don’t think life is all about raising children alone, but doing what makes one happy and fulfilled. With tears in her eyes, Justina told The Guardian that never in her She is more than grateful and appreciative of her employer and wildest dream would she have thought she would go to motivator, Mrs. Mustapha, who was always on hand to give the school. All she wanted, she said, was just to be able to leave home much-needed assistance in whatever capacity. This feeling is muin the morning for a place to work, because she did not want to tual, as Justina’s employer also described her as someone, who be part of the women in her neighbourhood, who indulged in does not complain over any chore assigned her. “Justina is a very gossips while her husband was at work. Said she: “Many times, I humble person, who is always ready to run any errand even outwould have dropped out of school, but for the help of my emside her official duties. Her husband was spurred to also further ployer.” his education, when he saw that his wife was catching up with The journey started with Mrs. Mustapha advising her to proceed him. Presently, he, too is a holder of Higher National Diploma for a Grade 11 teachers’ certificate. That done, she again advised (HND),” she said. her to go for her NCE. During the lean periods, when Justina An employee of the Nigeria Prisons, it was a proud Mr. Philip, came under high financial pressure, the proprietress helped by who witnessed his wife’s day of glory, as she was showered with increasing her salary. Justina’s children were allowed to attend much encomium from all quarters during the 10th anniversary Royals’ School with flexible payment arrangements. celebration of the Royals’ School, when she was also presented “It was not easy, but God used mummy (referring to Mrs. with an award for the longest serving staff of the school. Mustapha) to help me. If someone had told me I would be where Certainly, there are thousands of Justinas out there and one can I am today, I would have disagreed with the person. Why I really only pray that they come in contact with a Bisi Mustapha, to went in search of a job was because I hate to sit at home and just make the world a better place to live. gossip with other women. As they say, an idle mind is the devil’s
Fs Club: Putting Smiles On Faces Of The Less Privileged By Gbenga Salau HE Fs Club of Lagos, last week, celebrated its Charity Day, where it launched a bursary award scheme and provided financial and material support to six homes of the less privileged. The First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Abimbola Fashola, was the special guest of the day, while the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Education, Mr. Fatai Olukoga, represented Governor, Babatunde Fashola. All the homes turned up with their members and caregivers. They are: SOS Children Village; Holy Family Home for the Elderly of the Regina Mundi Catholic Church; Pacelli School for the Blind; Modupe Cole Memorial Childcare and Treatment Home; Babsallam; and Lagos Empowerment and Research Network (LEARN). The chairman, philanthropy committee of the club, chief Tunde Daramola, disclosed that it was the second time the club would be celebrating its Charity Day. He regretted that Nigeria, compared to other climes, has not yet adopted the culture of giving, especially at the corporate level. He said the comfort God has given to members of the club and the need to share it with others prompted the celebration. “Our members have been tremendously blessed by God and have been giving back to the society individually and collectively. Americans in particular are famously generous, donating over $300bn a year to charity, more than two per cent of the nations GDP.” He said that many people like giving because it makes them look and feel good, noting that disasters in the Philippines and other countries garnered massive support unprompted by the government, as good Samaritans rushed forward to donate money, time and resources. That was not replicated in Nigeria when the last flooding disaster is put on the spotlight, as it took a government initiative to set up a relief committee headed by Aliko Dangote and Olisa Agbakoba to raise funds in order to support victims. “Although our interaction today with these homes is minimal, however, it will allow us to better understand some conditions of the less privileges in these cases here present. Are we using the lessons we have learnt in our trials to touch the lives of others? Remember, even little things can mean a lot,” Daramola said. At the event, members of the club functioned as servers and ushers for the day, attending to all guests including those from the homes, and ensuring that they were adequately taken care of.
Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola; President, Fs Club, Mr. Oladeinde Brown; Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Educaton, Mr. Fatai Olukoga; and Chairman, Philanthropic Committee, Fs Club, Chief Tunde Daramola, during Fs Club Charity Day celebration in Lagos.
The president of the club, chief Oladeinde Brown, gave insight to how the club started in 1980 when many of the members were in their 20s. He said the first edition of the Charity Day was held in 2011 and the club is happy to have its second edition. “As a club, we felt we have to take our social responsibility to our neighbours. We have some of our workers who are students and we know that they are very indigent. So, we felt it would be better if we did not limit the gesture of providing support to just workers in the club but to the larger community, which was why we introduced bursary scheme for schools within our neighbourhood, University of Lagos and Yabatech.” Before the speech of the special guest, there were performances from two of the homes. Two children from the Pacelli School of the Blind gave a special number, while those from the SOS Village had a dance presentation. In her speech, Mrs. Fashola commended the club for remembering the poor. She said she was moved to tears by the sonorous song presentation from the children of Pacelli School for the Blind. She said some of the homes present are those she supports, noting that Nigerians need to be there for members and caregivers of the homes. She wondered why Nigerians could spend N1.8bn on champagne, while many live in poverty. She pleaded with those who could not give money or material things, to give their time to supporting the homes. The governor of Lagos State (represented by his Special Adviser on Education), after reeling out a list of activities by the state gov-
ernment to improve the quality of education in the state, also commended the club for making life worth living, especially for the less privilege. He enjoined other clubs and Nigerians to emulate the Fs Club. After the six homes had received bags of rice, cartons of noodles and cheques of N250,000 each, among other gifts; and the two students from University of Lagos and Yabatech had received N100,000 each, the special guest danced with the children. Former president of the club, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, said the message of the club is the need to care for people. He said that government couldn’t do this alone, which is why individuals must endeavour to support government in taking care of the less privileged. “And that is the lesson Fs Club is trying to put forward to members of the public particularly those who have been endowed with everything in life; that they should think of the less privileged and give back to the society.” Ashafa thanked all the members of the club who helped to make the project a success, saying he was happy to be part of the project. In a chat with The Guardian, the Chief Operating Officer of Dangote, Mr. Olakunle Alake, who announced that the Dangote Group, in partnership with the club, would be providing scholarship awards to 20 students each from the University of Lagos and Yabatech, said his organisation, as a socially responsible one, always supports individuals and communities in needs.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Parable Of A Dyeing Widow By Ndaeyo Uko OVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State is a simple G man, and that is his biggest problem, and probably why he is not liked by the Nigerian press. He has no executive airs: he has the face of Olusegun Obasanjo, is also dressed in hand-me-down clothes, does not walk with a swagger either, and could also be easily mistaken for a driver or someone who’s never been to school. But, oh, how looks deceive! Last week, the Nigerian press and social media were abuzz with lies – that the governor ordered a widow to go and DIE. The idea that Oshiomhole, an executive governor and a man of action, would ask his subject to go and die, would be amusing if it was not ridiculous. The man is the chief law officer of the state, which is why he was out on the street personally enforcing the law. If a governor wanted a widow to die, wouldn’t he simply order one of his mobile policemen to gun her down, for example, or send hired killers after her? I submit that the governor did not ask any widow to die; he was simply showing the world his better side and exposing fundamental weaknesses of the press, which are grammar and spelling. One of the national newspapers quoted the governor as saying during the reconciliation with the widow —reconciliation, my foot: “Because we still find people abandon the markets to come and sale on the walkways blocking the road and you find out that the expansion that we have done, some time out of six lanes you find out that only two are functioning. They just block one of the roads, while buses will block another part of the road and there will be serious traffic. “I am doing my best to see that we make Benin City a beautiful city that it was before. You see, when you send a lot of money, government money to try and beautify the city, to build roads and all that, you find the roads are not working, I get very angry. The second issue is that when you put your goods on the roads, the buses can run into you or like those that sales tomatoes or pepper.” Did you see that? People “come and sale on the walkways”
Last week, the Nigerian press and social media were abuzz with lies – that the governor ordered a widow to go and DIE. The idea that Oshiomhole, an executive governor and a man of action, would ask his subject to go and die, would be amusing if it was not ridiculous. The man is the chief law officer of the state, which is why he was out on the street personally enforcing the law. If a governor wanted a widow to die, wouldn’t he simply order one of his mobile policemen to gun her down, for example, or send hired killers after her? and —wait for this — “those that sales tomatoes or pepper” on roadsides may get knocked down. Now, let’s forget looks: Governor Oshiomhole could not possibly have said that. Surely he could tell the difference between “sell” and “sale” and the most illiterate governor in the country, whoever that may be, knows that people do not “sales tomatoes”; they SELL THEM. So what am I trying to say? Well, that the governor was maliciously and recklessly misquoted. Now, you can say, how were journalists to know whether the man meant sale or sale, given that in Nigeria, the words are pronounced identically? Then I can argue that Nigerians have the same pronunciation for walk and work. Yet when a Nigerian says he is going to work, you won’t write that he is going to walk. Let’s look at the word, die, as in “go and die”, in context. Does it make sense to you that a governor who wants a widow to die would be giving her N2 million? You don’t need that kind of money to die, even if you are a governor’s mistress. And I am not saying the governor has a mistress because you are going to wonder who would want to mistress him? What I found most ridiculous of all was the suggestion that the governor apologised to the widow. Let’s look at exactly what the governor said: “I am doing my best to see that we make Benin City a beautiful city that it was before. You see, when you send a lot of money, government money to try and beautify the city, to build roads and all that, you find the roads are not working, I get very angry.”
Let’s look at the word, die, as in “go and die”, in context. Does it make sense to you that a governor who wants a widow to die would be giving her N2 million? You don’t need that kind of money to die, even if you are a governor’s mistress. And I am not saying the governor has a mistress because you are going to wonder who would want to mistress him? What I found most ridiculous of all was the suggestion that the governor apologised to the widow.
Now, was it the widow or the stupid road he was angry at? Come on, give the man a break. Now, read very carefully this next direct quotation of the governor: “That was why I said to you if you are a widow, do you want more people to be widows, but when I said go and die, I was really touched that I said that to you because I understand that looking at you, you are struggling but I was really angry but I realised that even at anger I can achieve the same result without talking to you the way that I did.” Let us change the word “die” to “dye”. Now, read the sentence again: … “when I said go and dye, I was really touched.” Now, let us read the governor’s next sentence together and in its proper context: “I apologise to you from the bottom of my heart because even my own daughters they have been harassing me on your behalf.” So, let us find out what really happened on Mission Road, Benin City, that blessed Monday afternoon: Compassionate Governor (CG) finds struggling widow sabotaging his road and in the process trying to get herself killed by selling along the street. CG is allergic to ugly roads and dead widows and tries to persuade her not to trade along Mission Road because that’s suicide. CG is mad because the widow insists on killing herself. CG gets the foolish widow’s goods seized and tells her to go and dye. But CG forgets all about the widow. Compassionate First Daughters get angry at CG for his apparent insensitivity. “Executive Daddy,” said the CFDs, “you told the widow to go and dye. How on earth can she go and dye if you don’t give her money to start the business of dyeing?” CG invites the foolish widow to his mansion and gives her tea and N2 million to start her dyeing business. And the woman dyes happily ever after! So why do the heathens rage? That’s what Ndaeyo Uko and Comrade Oshiomhole want to know.
Putting Crude Language On A Scale From Adidi Uyo Just—-Quite—-Very—-Extremely ALL it the Crudeness Scale of language, if you like! On a four-point scale ranging from Just through Quite and Very to Extremely crude, such as the one presented here, how would you rate the following statement? “This is clearly a hallmark of a leadership that is determined to employ subterfuge in an attempt to hold government, students and their parents to ransom in a reckless and irresponsible display of insensitivity, lawlessness and absolute lack of patriotism and even fear of God.” Before you give me your rating of that statement, however, do tell me the location of the School for FOUL Language, where spokesmen or aides of public officials, politicians and political parties, with various nomenclatures, acquire or hone their skills in scatological statements. Is the school situated in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Port Harcourt, or where? I ask that question because there seems to be some pattern in the public statements of these spokesmen or aides that shows that they have drunk from the same cup: the cup of crudity. When crudity becomes the hallmark of public statements or rejoinders, people who cherish decent, dignified, and elegant use of words ought to worry. But I digress! So, how did you rate that statement: Just crude, quite crude, very crude, or extremely crude? On my crudity scale, that statement hovered between 3 and 4, that is, between very crude and extremely crude. Before I forget, that statement was extracted from a news story with the headline, “Jonathan to ASUU: Go back to work or get sacked.” The story was published in The Nation of December 2, 2013. If you are an ardent follower of statements and rejoinders by spokesmen and aides to our powers-that-be, you should be able to finger the person through whom the president was speaking. Come on, you know who! It’s no other person but SSAPPA: the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, the venerable and indefatigable Dr. Doyin Okupe!
LANGUAGE ON PARADE Okupe was defending the ultimatum issued to members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, by President Goodluck Jonathan, to return to work on Wednesday or get sacked. Before Okupe took the stage to defend Jonathan’s ultimatum was the issuance of the ultimatum itself. “Outrage at govt’s threat to sack ASUU members” was the headline of a news story in The Guardian of December 2, 2013. Crying foul to the ultimatum was the All Progressives Congress, APC. In a statement issued by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, APC declared that the ultimatum was a “resort to military-era tactics” and that it reflects the government’s “poverty of ideas” in resolving the prolonged strike by ASUU. If you know nothing about the government ultimatum, be told that it was issued by the Supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike. Blaming the Supervising Minister “for the way he talked down on the striking teachers while issuing the ill-advised, go-back-to-work-or-be-sacked threat,” the party’s spokesman said, “Wike’s language was crude, his presentation was rude and his threat was demeaning and counterproductive.” Without agreeing or disagreeing with the scribe of APC, could you do me a favour by putting that statement itself on the crudity scale? I am talking about the statement, “Wike’s language
was crude, his presentation was rude and his threat was demeaning and counter-productive.” If you ask me, I would put it at 1 on the crudity scale, that is, just crude, because methinks the amount of crudity is rather small. One way by which that statement could be removed from the crudity scale altogether is to sanitise it this way: “Wike’s language was inconsiderate, his presentation was disrespectful and his threat was...” I mean, I do not mind the rest of the statement, because there is nothing impure about “demeaning” and “counter-productive,” given the situation. To be sure, crude language in public discourse or public affairs is not a monopoly of public spokesmen. And here is just one case, if you need any proof. It comes from the news story with the headline, “Fashola should learn from Jonathan’s good governance – PDP,” the Punch, December 6, 2013. And the lead of the story reads: “The Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has said Governor Babatunde Fashola should learn from President Goodluck Jonathan, especially in the area of harmonious politics.” Reacting to the story, a reader who calls himself Omooba writes: “I don’t particularly like APC and its brand of politics. However, to say that Fashola has anything to learn from a clueless drunk and worthless doctorate degree like Jonathan is carrying a bad joke too far.” What? If I were to put it on the crudity scale, Omooba’s statement will definitely rate 4, that is, extremely crude. Gee, can you see how crude politics is rendering our language crude?
Before you give me your rating of that statement, however, do tell me the location of the School for FOUL Language, where spokesmen or aides of public officials, politicians and political parties, with various nomenclatures, acquire or hone their skills in scatological statements. Is the school situated in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Port Harcourt, or where? I ask that question because there seems to be some pattern in the public statements of these spokesmen or aides that shows that they have drunk from the same cup: the cup of crudity. When crudity becomes the hallmark of public statements or rejoinders, people who cherish decent, dignified, and elegant use of words ought to worry.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
COVER P/ 25 PDP: A Sweet Taboo!
LAFETE P/ 19 Port Harcourt Agog, As CARNIRIV Begins Today
P/32 IBRUCENTRE Men Of God On The Essence Of Christmas .... BUSINESSAGRO OGUN: Ofada Veetee Rice: Gigantic Dream Down The Drain
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Branding Nigeria Through Architecture Widely recognised as ‘Nigeria’s foremost female Architect’ and ‘the face of Architecture in Nigeria’, Olajumoke Adenowo, a multiple award-winning Architect, got admission at the age of 14 to study Architecture at the University of Ife. After graduation, she attained a record-breaking distinction in MSc in Architecture (a first in the history of the Institution). While in the University, she won several faculty awards for her academic work including Best Student in design in the BSc. and MSc. programmes. In 1991, she was included in the “Who will be who in the 21st century” (young achievers section) by the International Biographical Centre Cambridge, England. She is an alumnus of a number of prestigious institutions including the Lagos Business School Chief Executive Programme and the IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Barcelona, Spain.
By Tunde Alao
S a chartered architect, she worked with Femi Majekodunmi Associates, where she had the privilege of working in the design of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja. She left in 1994 to start AD Consulting, her own architecture firm and has held the position of Principal Partner till date. The firm has expanded from its small cubicle in central Lagos to three offices and is presently recognised as the flagship boutique that pioneered interior architecture in Nigeria. The boutique, which provides bespoke interior designs and architectural services to discerning clientele, has designed and overseen the construction of over 70 outstanding projects for the federal and state governments as well as multinationals such as Coca Cola International, L’Oreal, CRI, NGC and GTBank among others. AD Consulting is the only Nigerian architectural firm recommended by the British Chamber of Commerce for architectural services in Nigeria. Olajumoke attributes her success to God. “While I was still a student, it occurred to me that the Creator of the Universe is the Greatest Designer and I asked that He should empower me with the gift of understanding in space and design. Soon after that, the awards started coming. I had the first distinction in the MSc Architecture programme in the university,” she says. On some of the international awards she won, especially, the World’s Best Africa and Arabia 2013-2014 property Awards in Dubai, she said AD Consulting was able to set a record for African entries by winning most of the fivestar awards and the Regional Award for Best Public Service Architecture. She is particularly excited about the award she won against the likes of David Adjaye, another internationally renowned architect. This, she says, validates what she always felt, that Nigerians are well able to hold their own at the highest levels in any sphere of endeavour. “A lot of us just need an equitable playing field. It also made me realise the seriousness of the awards and the rigorous judging en-
tries were subjected, because Architect Adjaye has been awarded an OBE in Britain for his contribution to architecture. The award, therefore, shows that Nigerian Architecture is being recognised internationally.” In her view, architecture plays a significant role in nation building, as Nigerian architecture has been recognised internationally in select circles well before now. “Some countries give national honours to architects, even knighthood, but we all know what obtains in Nigeria. Architects are interpreters of the spirit of the age. Every visionary leader has an architect, who translates his vision to into forms. Napoleon had his architects and city planners, who built the Arc de Triomphe and also planned Paris. Hitler had his Albert Speer, who designed every set he spoke from. This is architecture deployed at the lofty level of vision, not to talk of the nitty-gritty of developmental issues such as sustainable and affordable housing for the masses. The architecture of a nation is its defining feature.” To buttress this point, she said Sydney Opera House is the symbol of Sydney and by extension of Australia, while the skyline of Manhattan defines the city and the Eiffel Tower is synonymous with Paris. Emerging nations that understand the power of architecture deliberately seek global share of mind with their buildings. For instance, Burj El Araband, now Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Petronas Towers in Malaysia among others. Having handled projects outside Nigeria, how challenging has it been breaking into the international market? “Our firm has handled interior projects in England, but it still boils down to the same issue of networking, though workmanship is much better outside Nigeria. The seeming influx of foreign practitioners into the country, in my view, does not pose any threat to indigenous practitioners. “The world is a global village, where, ideally, there should be partnerships between Nigerians and non-Nigerians. AD Consulting has had opportunities to collaborate and I can say confidently that Nigerian architects can hold their own anywhere in the world. However, there is a vast difference between the way some clients
treat Nigerian architects and non-Nigerians. While clients typically pay foreigners their fees gladly, they don’t even want to pay their Nigerian architects on the basis of a 17-year old inflation eroded fee scale. The foreigner that is well paid will then devote enough of his time and resources to the project, while the Nigerian architect, who must juggle up to 10 projects to earn as much as the foreigner cannot.” She describes government patronage at all levels in the award of contracts and their preference for foreigners to the detriment of the Nigerian architects as “embarrassing.” “For example the National Theatre, which is the symbol of Lagos, was constructed by a foreigner. Same thing applies to quite a few other iconic buildings in Nigeria. What this connotes is that we don’t know who we are and we need foreigners to define us. Collaborations are good, but we need to value and celebrate what is ours. The desire for foreign imports should not go that far. “It’s true there are challenges confronting architecture and its practice in Nigeria today, just as obtains in every aspect of the nation. But we are especially affected by lack of respect for ideas. The society is still not sophisticated enough to understand that people should pay more for ideas (intellectual property) than for tangibles and this is why people scramble and kill for extractive resources such as oil and diamonds all over Africa, while other nations such as Singapore develop their human capital and outperform us. We need to evolve and realise that ideas govern the tangible. When we celebrate men and women of intellectual capacity, who add value through their ideas, the nation will finally start moving forward again.” At AD, we design for the discerning, who understand that an artist is paid for vision and not labour,” she says. Are old hands in the profession impacting on younger ones? “From 1991, I was blessed to work with one of the best bosses I could have had. He was Chief Femi Majekodunmi of FMA Architects, who was such an encouragement. He allowed me to express myself and challenged me. I love challenges. He was then the President of the International Union of Architects and even with his vast exposure to the world’s best, he told me I was the best designer he knew. Now, that was humbling and extremely profound for me, so I worked even harder. “It was unheard of allowing the youngest member of a firm to touch a major design, but he gave me the opportunity to design the Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja. The mind-blowing part is that he acknowledges that fact till today. I have been blessed by a good mentor. I, therefore, owe it to God to mentor others. So at AD, young people are made to work on projects they would not dream of elsewhere. If every “older hand” were like my former boss, the industry would definitely make progress. We must remember that no one owns the ages. We only trend in our seasons. If the preceding generation would be remembered in future,
it’s only through its relevance to the next generation. We must be generational in our thinking, even at the level of governance,” she says. What is her opinion on the ‘rivalry’ among professionals in the construction industry as per whose role is more important. Is there any basis for comparison? “The Architect has always been the leader of the design team, although everyone’s role is equally important. The body is not made up of only the head; it has many parts working in synergy. The hidden parts are even more vital to survival. So, we should take a cue from this and work as a team,” she said. From her experience on the field, is it possible to adequately provide affordable housing for average Nigerians? “Yes. We have a Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute. The idea behind this is to look into more cost-effective, homegrown solutions to our building issues. We need to invest in research and development for uniquely Nigerian solutions to our problems. To me, housing is not just the issue of a physical building. It is more of policy issue. “Factors responsible for this include funding for developers, who should not be forced to use high interest funds like traders do. We need long term, low interest funds. The issue of long term, low interest mortgages for buyers—can they afford to pay? This also includes labour policies. There is also the issue of land and the laws governing ownership, acquisition and transfer of land. There is also the vital issue of provision of infrastructures, pipe borne water and an intelligent transport network (rail, water, roads). These issues must be addressed in consonance with master planning or urban planning. “There should be sustainability, whereby a housing policy that caters for today in a way that does not jeopardise the well-being of future generations is promulgated. The Housing Ministry is not one of those portfolios that should be moved often, as there is need for continuity to address a systemic hydra-headed challenge,” she says. Is architecture really a male dominated profession? “I hear it is though my parents forgot to warn me. My advice to females in the profession equally applies to the males and every young professional. They should be sure that architecture is what they really want. AD is always full of young people interning with us. So, I call it “AD College”. However, I tell them there are easier ways to make money if that is their aim. “An architect is a noble artist, creating art to live in. The execution of an architect’s calling should in itself be a huge part of the reward, like a woman is fulfilled at a fundamental level after she births a new life. If money is the real aim, then they should become contractors, which is more lucrative. It is particularly important for men and women in architecture to marry right, because architects need spouses that understand the demands and pressures of the profession alongside the sacrifice and patience involved before the desired breakthrough comes.”
THE GUARDIAn www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, December 15, 2013 19
Port Harcourt Agog, As CARNIRIV Begins Today By Chuks Nwanne n the spirit of the Yuletide, the oil rich city Icome of Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, will alive today with activities to mark the beginning of the yearly Rivers State Christmas Carnival otherwise known as CARnIRIV. Preparations had gone upbeat, as various groups from the 23 local council areas of the state conducted their final rehearsals during the week, ahead of the weeklong celebration that opens with Kid’s Carnival. In the same manner, facelift and environmental enhancement of venues that have been designated to host specific events have been carried out to create nice ambience for participants. For instance, the Liberation Stadium, which also doubles as the ‘Carnival Village’ and host centre of most of the events, has undergone tremendous transformation in preparation for the carnival. Among events that will take place at the stadium are Kids’ Carnival, CARnIRIV official opening ceremonies, Dance of Fireflies (DOFF), Cultural Arts Exhibition, Egelege; Champions of the Sand Arena, Ekere; Rhythm of the Tribes, Hosh Jam; Port Harcourt Exclusive, Black Africa Music Festival (BAMFest), Reggae 360 and the World Peace Concert/closing ceremony. Also, Stadium Road, venue of the Carnival Praise Jam, is also wearing a new look, while the Lagos Bus Stop/Aggrey Road, venue of the Pilgrimage ’88 and Old Port Harcourt Town Groove is also not left out in the renewal. The surroundings of the Port Harcourt Tourist Beach have also been enhanced in readiness for the International Aquatic Fiesta, just as Rumuola Road down to Aggrey Road has been prepared for the International Heritage Parade. In terms of economic activities, observation across the capital city and other major towns revealed that commercial vehicle operators, hoteliers, owners of restaurants and other hospitality services providers, as well as small business owners, are highly anticipating a great time as CARnIRIV gets underway. While providing update to the event, the Director-General, Rivers State Tourism Development Agency (RSTDA), Dr. Sam Dede, assured participants of the readiness of the government and people of Rivers State to host tourists to another glamorous cultural and tourism fiesta in the garden City. “Everything was ready from the preparation of the venues for all the lined-up events to the confirmation of international guest artistes and their nigerian counterparts. Besides, all the logistics such as the construction of booths and stages for specific events across locations, as well as musical equipment and sound gadgets are already taken care of.” A veteran actor, Dede informed that other critical factors such as traffic management, emergency and ambulance service, security and uninterrupted electricity at designated event venues have been taken care of, as part of plans to ensure a hitch-free carnival. ‘‘We began to prepare well ahead of this year’s Green World Edition of CARnIRIV because of the importance the Rivers State government and the people attach to the carnival. As the days draw nearer, we ensured that every person and groups that we had assigned certain responsibilities did what was expected, so, that we can all make CARnIRIV 2013 a long-lasting experience for the participants,” he said. During the flag off media conference for this year’s CARnIRIV in September, Governor Amaechi had said that this year’s feast is strategically designed to deliver uncommon value and impact to all and sundry, hence the focus on the environment. The governor, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. nnabs Imegwu, also assured citizens that government is committed to harnessing the full tourism potential of the state as part of efforts to boost the socio-economic development of the state. Meanwhile, in a bid to boast the CARnIRIV brand, the Rivers State Tourism Development Agency (RSTDA) has appointed notable music stars as ambassadors for the
• Shaggy, Beenie Man, Others Appointed Ambassadors
The carnival train project. The decision was taken in bid to position CARnIRIV as a carnival brand of reckon globally. Among those presented with plaques of ambassadorship were musicians Shaggy, Beenie Man, Busta Rhymes, Luciano, Patra and Morgan Heritage. These artistes were
selected based on their significant roles in making CARnIRIV continually vibrant through their participation. Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Dede underscored the importance of good music as an integral activity at any carnival, and more importantly reggae.
“Reggae had to be at the forefront as the world over, music is hardly complete without a solid mention of reggae.” Also honoured was events coordinator and booking agent, Ms. Lexy Brooks of VIP Connected Entertainment, who has been a part of CARnIRIV for many years.
… As Lagos Countdown To new Year
n Lagos, the official countdown to new Year was flagged off last week at the Eko Atlantic, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos, which is the venue of the main celebration. Put together by the Lagos State government in partnership with the nigerian Breweries Plc, through it’s Star brand, the organisers have promised fans an unparalleled experience with numerous activities designed to thrill and reward consumers. Speaking at the flag off, the marketing manager, Star, Goldberg & Export, nigerian Breweries Plc, Tokunbo Adodo, informed that, “this year’s activities will delight our friends, especially those, who were part of the festivities last year in December. There’ll be mouthwatering prizes, with numerous attractions — music, games, food, drink and others. We’ll also be having some of our biggest stars and celebrity guest join us to experience the excitement of this year’s activities,” he said. Meanwhile, over 100,000 tourists are expected at the Star Beer Village, which officially kicked off at top tourist destination, Eko Atlantic,
Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island on December 8. The village is one of the fascinating focal points of the Lagos Countdown; an exciting yearly activity in December, hosted by the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) to countdown to the new year. The Beer Village will host a myriad of exciting activities every day of the Lagos Countdown and is expected to attract no fewer than 100,000 tourists from Lagos and beyond to this year’s festivities. Aside from the celebrity stars and various artistes who will also be a part of the event, the village will also offer top of the line music competitions, concerts, games and others. “It’s going to be a fantastic time, this year, once again. We know that fun seekers have been looking forward to the Lagos Countdown with Star. It promises to be an awesome time for our consumers. “We’re fully prepared to host our teeming fans; there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the Beer village,” Adodo assured.
Akanu Celebrates Day, Others Loud By Omiko Awa S the new Year draws near with A nigerians looking forward to a happy and prosperous experience or time, Akanu
autonomous community in Ohafia local council of Abia State is beginning to wear a new look, getting set for its yearly Akanu Day celebration. With the theme, Reawakening The People, organisers say this year’s event will surpass the previous celebrations, as it promises to be memorable. The two-day event, which holds on December 25 and 26, will serve as avenue for all sons and daughters of the community, including those in the Diaspora, to rekindle old memories, rejoice with family members and friends, and mingle in a convivial serene environment. Speaking on the programme line up, the chairman of the organising committee, Dr. Chidi Ogboso, said, the event will be heralded by road show, carnival and other performances.
Ohafia war dancers
“The main event will feature traditional dance, musical performances and art exhibition. Aside from the various theatrics, sons and daughters of the community that have made significant impact in their various fields and contributed to the development and progress of the community will be honoured with different awards,” he said. In a related development, the Akanu Ohafia Facebook friends of Chief Kalu Emele Kalu Onwunta will on December 30 converge at Jubilee Hotel, Ugwuafia, Akanu by 3pm to network and celebrate the coming year. The event, which will be spiced up with talks and words of exhortation will provide opportunity for KEK’s Facebook friends to have a chat with the Ezie Ogo of Akanu and as well meet one another. Prof. Sylvannus Kalu of the University of Port Harcourt (Uniport) has been fingered as guest speaker while compere is Kalu nwaoriaku.
20 Sunday, December 15, 2013
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com BY BENSON IDONIJE firstname.lastname@example.org
All That Jazz
With Mahogany, Vocalisation Gets A Boost INCE Joe Williams and Jimmy SOrchestra, Rushing of the Count Basie including Ray Charles and Lou Rawls, male jazz singing has experienced a lull. But for the commitment of jazz men like Kevin Mahogany who emerged in the 90s to bring about an unprecedented resurgence, male jazz singing would since have been forgotten where the female scene has continued to flourish with such vocalists as Cassandra Wilson, Dee Dee Bridge Water among many others. On stage, Mahogany captures the glamorous aura of the shots used to advertise Hollywood movies and night club appearances. Maintaining the old jazz tradition of singers, he is a throwback to the great vocalists Joe Williams, Billy Eckstein, Johnny Hartman, Oscar Brown Junior and Lou Rawls. This is as far as his appearance and mode of dressing go; but musically, he evokes the memories of legendary jazz vocalists. Besides, Mahogany is a truly entertaining artist. He has a strong link with the veterans and first catches the attention of his admirer with the way he dresses and the manner in which he carries himself, a phenomenon, which characterised jazz singing and even West African highlife in the 50s and 60s. Jimmy Rushing who was also called Mr. “Five by Five” was always in the best of suits, massive as his frame was. Ray Charles often doubled on vocals and keyboards; and was seen always in some of the best- tailored suits. Lou Rawls made Tobacco Road and Stormy Monday Blues popular in the 60s as he combined an admirable appearance with a vocal delivery that was bluesy. Even Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. who were on the fringes — sounding more like popular musicians than jazz exponents - had large wardrobes of suits. Some of the singers that projected the best of highlife in West Africa in the 50s and 60s had good carriage, and were very well dressed — all because the bands were seen through their personalities. Up till his death a few years ago, Joe Mensah of Bonsue fame dressed well. The same goes for Dan Aquaye
who sang for the Tempos Band led by E. T. Mensah: he adorned the stage in some of the most fashionable jackets of that period. Trumpeter-band leaders often doubled on vocals but one of the singers whose main pre-occupation was vocalisation was Godwin Omabuwa who was loved by all the girls because of his appearance: he wore designer clothes. Another typical vocalist was Stephen Osita Osadebe who sang with Stephen Amechi and His Empire Rhythm Skies, E.C.Arinze and later, Eric Onugha and the Central Dance Band: he always looked gorgeously dressed. They all had the music to match their appearances like Mahogany who has released over 10 albums as a leader, each enjoying rave reviews and critical acclaim. Mahogany has started the “Jazz Singer,” a magazine devoted to the jazz vocalist. One of the premier jazz vocalists of his generation, Mahogany was influenced by the music of his church. Starting out on piano and later moving on to the saxophone, he did not concentrate solely on vocals until his college years at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas. Some of Manogany’s solo albums include My Romance; Another time, another place; Kevin Mahogany; You Got What It Takes; Songs and Moments. But perhaps the involvement that has helped to shoot up his popularity and fame is Robert Altman’s film, Kansas City. He really fit the role he played. The songs he sang and the way he looked helped to create those old time images of Kansas City. “Oh yes, I enjoyed my part in the movie, and I would love to do more if the opportunity came,’’ Mahogany once said in an interview. “I don’t really consider myself an actor, but I would sure have fun trying. Continuing, he said, “Taking part in the movie was probably better than most of our regular performances because of the caliber of all the musicians all the way around. I’m not saying the bands we play with are bad, but this is a veritable “Who’s who” of musicians. And, of course, you play up to the level of the other artists. And when you’ve got arguably the world’s
best musicians on stage, it’s going to make you sound probably better than you are.” The lifestyle of a jazz musician is difficult in terms of the amount of time you are on the road; living out of a suitcase puts a lot of toll on the jazz musician. Mahogany who has gone through a lot of it on the road admits: “It’s a physical toll. It wears you down physically as well as mentally. It’s not easy at all. It can be pretty tiresome. But at the same time, you have to realise that if this is the life you choose, then you have to be prepared to accept those consequences, and that’s just part of the consequences, of course, being on the road and travelling” There is a jazz museum in Kansas City, which is helping to educate the public in the same way that Lagos, Nigeria could establish a museum where highlife music of the vintage type can be heard, plus live performances by surviving veterans of the music. Mahogany has a high opinion of the museum, especially as he himself has benefited from it. His words: “Yes, the museum is getting a lot of traffic through there, and its helping to educate the public. They do a lot of clinics and seminars with professional musicians, so in that sense, it helps because those are artists you would not usually have access to. And for a lot of kids, you get to see them free of charge. That’s one of the things I think we all had when we were younger – meaning musicians my age – had some clinic or something we went to and got to hear those you usually would have access to. I remember a clinic I got to go to and hear Cannonball Adderley, and that, of course, was the only time I got to hear Cannonball.” Some of the younger artists whose music Mahogany enjoys listening to include Nicholas Payton whom he considers an incredible musician. Others are Javon Jackson, Russell Malone, a guitarist in his forties who was a sideman with Jimmy Smith. Mahogany also enjoys listening to Joshua Redman and Mark Whitfield.
Around and about...
BY SHAIBU HUSSEINI
award, stressing that the awards were given on merit. She also emphasised that Veleta Fruit Wine and IDL, have become synonymous with Nollywood, as Veleta supported Christmas Night in Nollywood last year.
Lagos Hosts NOPA Award th
HE 6 edition of Nollywood T Outstanding Personalities Awards (NOPA) holds, today, at
Brand Manager, Veleta Fruit Wine, Chioma Alonge (left); Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Richard Mofe-Damijo; and Assistant-Brand Manager, Chelsea London Dry Gin, Ameze Uhunagho, at the IDL-Supported Best Of Nollywood Awards … in Asaba, Delta State. Ezuruonye, a non-Yoruba in an English movie’ went to Nollywood Stars Shine Mike actor got the ‘Best Actor’ award Omoni Oboli for her role in At IDL-Supported Best for a lead role in a Yoruba movie, Brother’s Keeper, while Joke Of Nollywood Awards ace actress; Fathia Balogun Muyiwa walked home with received the ‘Best Actress’ award ‘The Best Actress’ award in a for a supporting role in Irugbin, leading role in a Yoruba HE Best of Nollywood while ‘Best Kiss award in a Movie’ movie Ayitale. Rita Dominic Awards, supported by went to Ibironke Ashaolu and won ‘The Best Actress award Intercontinental Distillers Wale Akanbi in a movie Playing in a supporting role in an Limited (IDL), took place in Safe. Director of the Year went to English movie, Finding Mercy, Asaba, Delta State, amid Kenneth Gyang for the movie Revelation of the Year (Male) excitement, on Thursday, Confusion Na Wa. The movie cart- went to Charles Billion Pius, December 5. Hosted by the while Movie Journalist of the Executive Governor of Delta ed away four awards — ‘Best Movie of the Year’, ‘Movie with Year award went to Daily State, Dr. Emmanuel the Best Production Design’, Independent Newspaper Uduaghan, who was repre‘Best Edited Movie’ and ‘Best reporter, Hafeez Balogun. sented at the event by his The event showcased the deputy, Prof. Amos Utuama, Screen Play.’ world’s longest red-carpet the event served as avenue for Other awards were; ‘Best Cinematography’, which went to layout ever, which spread movie legends like Pete the movie Ayitale; ‘Best Comedy from the Dome centre, venue Edochie and Lanre Hassan of the Year’, won by Nanny; ‘The of the event, to the road lead(a.k.a. Iya Awero) to be celeBest Actor in a leading role in an ing to the State Assembly. brated. The duo was given Special Recognition Awards English movie” was won by O.C. Chioma Alonge, while speaking to the media, expressed for their contributions to the Ukeje in the movie, Alan Poza; ‘The Best Actress in a leading role delight at the standard of the Nigerian movie industry.
Etal Hotels and Hall, Kudirat Abiola Way, Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos. Red carpet and champagne soiree will commence by 3p.m. The yearly event was instituted in 2007. CEO of NOPA, Stanley U. Okoronkwo, stated during the week that this year’s event will be unique as organisers are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to surpass the high standard that has become the hallmark of the award. He also said that personalities who are primarily not often identified with the movie industry would be honoured as a result of their silent, but effective contributions towards the growth of the nation’s film industry. Okoronkwo disclosed that NOPA, which features the recognition of regular industry players will, as usual, have the Diamond Pen Merit Awards, Special Recognition Awards, Evergreen Icon Award (the highest individual honour for industry players), Industry Support Award (for corporate bodies/individuals) and Indepth Coverage Award (for the mass media) among others.
ARTSVILLE BY TOYIN AKINOSHO
Enwezor Sees No Comparison Between Him and the Legend Szeeman th
HE Nigerian critic, Okwui Enwezor, appointed to curate the 56 T Venice Biennale in 2015, says there ‘really isn’t’ a comparison between him and the only other curator to have directed both the
Documenta and Venice. “(Harald) Szeeman is entirely in a league by himself”, Enwezor told the Princeton professor Chika Okeke-Agulu, in the Huffington Post. “In the abundance of his ideas, the almost carnal fervor for artists, artworks, and objects of all kinds, along with his bold, original curatorial experiments, he paved the path to the thinking that curatorial practice need not be too studied, formalist or dogmatic”. In 1998, Enwezor was appointed to organize the 11th edition of Documenta, regarded as the Olympics of International Contemporary Art, scheduled for 2002, in Kassel Germany. “ I was 35 at the time (of the appointment), I had limited track record, no major institution, patron, mentor, behind me, yet somehow that amazing jury that selected me saw beyond those deficits and focused, I hope, on the force of my ideas and perhaps even a little wager on the symbolism of my being the first non-European, etc”. Enwezor, who is currently director of Munich’s Haus der Kunst has, since Documenta, organized Gwangju and Seville Biennales, as well as La Triennale, Paris. He has a string of rigorously assembled exhibitions in his curatorial belt. Enwezor said he had some preliminary ideas (about what he would do in Venice), but those will be worked out in due course. The one virtue of Documenta, he told Okeke-Agulu, “is the time allowed to organize it”. But then he provided an insight. “Venice is an Island, but also a legendary maritime trading city that historically looked out to the rest of the world. The limited time permitted to organize the biennale produces a certain sense of temporal density. I am certainly thinking about how to surmount this conundrum”.
Agary, Yerima, Ifowodo Headline the Party For J.P. Osofisan, author of J. P. Clark: A Voyage, and the country’s most FtheEMI performed playwright, will moderate the proceedings of ‘Lyricist of Riverine Lore’ — Readings and discussions around new Niger Delta voices in honour of JP Clark at 80’. There will be readings and discussions of plays by Ahmed Yerima, poems by Ogaga Ifowodo, prose by Kaine Agary and readings by several other authors. The event, which comes up at 2pm today, December 15, 2013 at the Freedom Park on Lagos Island, is to “celebrate the accomplishments of Professor Emeritus, John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo, (aka JP Clark) a true and worthy icon of our Literary Productions and Expressions, through the works of his younger literary ‘siblings’, ‘children’ and ‘comrades’”, according to Jahman Anikulapo, programme chairman of the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA).
Huge Turnout For ‘The Otolorin’ At 80 CHOOL Children read selected poems in the morning. A standing SThese room only crowd filled the main auditorium in the late afternoon. events, at the University of Lagos last Thursday, were part of the
80th birthday celebration of the poet, dramatist and polemicist, J. P. Clark. Even after a heady, 90 minute birthday lecture by the Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, there were enough people left to fill the arts theatre and take in the premiere of two of the celebrant’s new plays: The Hiss and The Two Sisters, directed by the playwright Femi Osofisan. Born in Kiagbodo, Nigeria, Clark attended the prestigious Government College in Ughelli and bagged a B A degree in English at the University of Ibadan, where he edited various magazines, including the Beacon and The Horn. After he left Ibadan in 1960, the independence year , he worked as an information officer in the Ministry of Information, in the old Western Region, as features editor of the Daily Express, and as a research fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan. Clark is the first African born professor of English language. He retired from the University of Lagos in 1980, setting up a repertory theatre company in the Onikan Culture precinct on Lagos Island. While the author’s most frequently cited works are the ones he published between the 60s and early 80s, this pioneering poet/playwright continues to write. In All For Oil (first performed in 2000), the playwright uses the concept of betrayal by middlemen (Nigerians working in the service of foreigners against their own people) to highlight the deprivation of the residents of the violated Niger Delta region. Between 2008 and 2013, Clark has updated his collections of poems in two releases: Full Tide and Still Full Tide. He continues to write new plays, of which The Hiss and The Two Sisters are some of the most recent. Two years ago, at a celebration of his 50 years in the creative enterprise, Clark was crowned the Otolorin (“one who walks alone”) of Nigerian literature by the Harvard scholar Biodun Jeyifo, on account of his perceived aloofness.
Ekpuk Returns To The U.S. With Fond Feelings ICTOR Ekpuk, who returned to base at the United States last week, V described his just concluded 60-day residency at the Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation (OYASAF) as “the longest I have spent in Nigeria since I left about 15 years ago”. The painter was the first visual artist in residence at the Foundation, which started the residency three years ago. Previous residents have been scholars. Ekpuk’s art began as an exploration of Nsibidi “traditional” graphics and writing systems in Nigeria from which he has developed a style of mark making that is the interplay of art and writing. “His work embraces a wider spectrum of meaning that is rooted in African and global contemporary art discourses”, according to the sculptor Olu Amoda. With numerous exhibitions and residencies in Africa, Europe, and the United States, Ekpuk’s works are in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art, the Newark Museum, and the World Bank, among others.
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Sunday, December 15, 2013
Sunday, December 15, 2013
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Sunday, December 15, 2013
Sunday, December 15, 2013
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Sunday, December 15, 2013 | 25
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
PDP: A Sweet Taboo! By Leo Sobechi Oa large extent, the fact that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) T remains the ruling party ever since Nigeria rejoined the path of participatory democracy in 1999 represents its allure and paradox. At birth, PDP was expected to be a successful political party. But somehow, its nurture and growth was dogged by the disputed parentage that supervened along its path of edification and social progress. What was later to become PDP, according to its foremost faithful, emerged from its embryonic stages as Group of 18 and up to the famous Group of 34 nationalists, who dared to speak truth to the military authorities during the despotic era of former head of State, late General Sani Abacha. Led by former Second Republic vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, the G.34, as they were later christened, challenged the junta to pave the way and set a date for democratic rule. Coming at such a time when merchants of fortune, contractors and other lily-livered opportunists were falling on each other to endorse Abacha’s malevolent plot to transmute to a civilian President, the G. 34 was seen in a different light. Members were hailed as a team of patriotic and courageous Nigerians imbued with good conscience and sane conduct. What is more, the leader of the group, Dr. Ekwueme, was noted as one of the few politicians that were not indicted by the military junta in 1983, when the democratic regime of Alhaji Shehu Shagari was deposed in a coup d’état. With the near impeccable records of integrity in public office such as were paraded by most of the members of the G.34, it was easy for the group to galvanize into a popular political movement shortly after the sudden demise of Abacha and the heralding of possible return to democracy. To an extent, and may be on account of the presence of Dr. Ekwueme and other former members of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) of the Second Republic, politicians from that dysfunctional group congregated around the inchoate Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Reputed as men of timber and caliber, the former NPN highfliers mostly contractors, found it easy to identify with the new movement. It was perhaps, as a result of the influx of these politicians of easy virtue that some prospective members of PDP decided to seek their political redemption by constructing another platform. That was the Alliance for Democracy (AD) was borne, to set aside men who adhere strictly to politics of principles from the devil may care attitude to politics on the part of some of the congregants in embryonic PDP. South West politicians, including the late Cicero of Esa Oke, chief Bola Ige, chief Samuel Olu Falae, chief Adefarati among others quit abruptly even after forming a visible nucleus of the PDP constitution drafting team. Before you could spell jack, the fledgling PDP had grown in size to a near behemoth. And with the bulging membership came a bloated war chest of cash and influence. Many of the politically exposed but high-ranking retired military officers found the movement a safe nest for political expression. Out of the eater came something to eat AS the General Abdussalami Abubakar regime released the timetable for transition to democratic rule, PDP started roaring like a big Lion. Shortly after its registration as a political party, the group made much noise that it was the mainstream national party not tending towards any ethnic cleavage. Top on that, and inspired by the military apologists within its camp, PDP evolved a power sharing arrangement styled, zoning of political offices. The
zoning arrangement gradually turned out as inviting bait for the mass of Nigerian voters wearied of constant combative competition for political power. As zoning became the unique selling proposition of PDP, many people looked in its direction as a Centre of national unity. That way, and enhanced by the shenanigans of the departing military regime, the party was able to rebuff the stiff challenge posed by other political groupings, notably the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and All Peoples Party (APP) in the general election. But PDP’s cohesion was put to test at the party’s first shadow election to nominate its presidential flag bearer. There was disquiet when newcomer and former military head of state, chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was assisted by powerful backers to trounce the G. 34 leader, Dr. Ekwueme at the Jos Convention of the party. After the primary debacle, Ekwueme’s decision to accept the outcome of the less than transparent nomination process helped let sleeping dogs lie in the party. And so, despite the wisdom of biblical Samson, which the promoters of AD and APP demonstrated in the political collaboration that saw to a joint presidential ticket, the PDP went away with a disputed victory. In all the warp and woof that attended both the PDP primary and the presidential election that followed, Nigerians saw a lot of clear areas of imperfection in the processes and among the political hey makers in the party. As big as the party was, members saw its ability to bottle-up the independence and self-assertion (rights) of its members. It would not be far-fetched to conclude that if PDP primary in Jos was contrived, the presidential election was also compelled. But, since out of the eater came something to eat, PDP faithful found it easy to sit back and relax to enjoy the booties of political office. As it turned out, they glossed over the weightier matters of internal democracy and fidelity to constitutional provisions. Evil seed HAVINGgained political triumph by clinching the Presidential trophy, PDP settled down with its military turned President, Obasanjo to expose a quasi-democratic administration. Overwhelmed by the challenges of practicing a presidential system under a federal setting in a democracy, Obasanjo went for his military background to adopt a command and obey approach to party politics. Like a bull in a ceramic shop, the President stomped on the essential rockeries of rule of law, dialogue and rule of the majority. Might instead of right came to characterize political transactions in the country. Political dynasties rose up at the states controlled by the PDP. Cronies and lackeys found a field day. Praise singers and sycophants
In the last analysis, it could be seen that PDP control of the central government, expertise at influencing the outcome of Presidential election to its favour, possession of large campaign fund and massive outreach by way of dispensing favours, make it alluring despite the shortcomings of lack of internal democracy and freedom of opinion on the running of the party. What is surprising though, is that at their eventual return, PDP welcomes the prodigals with open hands, and in some instances festoons them with garland of party office
honed their skills and Baba was steeped in self-adulation and glorification. By 2003 when another general election happened, the garrison style was all over the land. PDP captured (read enslaved) more states to swell its size as the “biggest political party” in Africa. The drama that attended the massive vote heist in the 2003 elections was not hilarious. Those who complained, mostly losers, were enjoined to go to court and seek redress. Yet at the election petition tribunals, Baba’s bellicose image loomed large. As it were, Judges seemed to cower at a leader who was appropriating the dictatorial loopholes left in the nation’s constitution. If at the inspiration of Mr. President, few members less than the constitutionally stipulated two thirds majority of members of a State House of Assembly could impeach a sitting State Governor, the Lords in the temples of Justice, resorted to pleas of ignotium and hominem! Unwittingly, within the period spanning 1999 through 2007, PDP through its leadership and conscience had sowed enough evil seeds to choke Nigeria’s democracy for long. State and national chairmen of the party were changed at will and whim of the governors and the President, who were abnormally made to serve as leaders of the party. Political power devolved from the people to the leaders. List of party executives were often produced in a welldecorated room, either in the Governors’ Lodge or Presidential Villa. The feast went on. Prodigal paradigm BUT as time went on some of those who were ensconced in the prodigal paradigm set by the party started moving to the other side. Those who formerly grinned ear to ear as they reveled on the back of the Tiger were pushed down. And in a bid to escape being eaten up, they ran to other political platforms to assert their right for free choice and expression. However, like the biblical prodigal son, some of these political wayfarers could not endure lack of ‘moisture’ abroad after squandering their loot. It seemed to dawn on the turncoats that with its hold on the levers of political power at the centre, as well as the dispensing nozzle of federal goodies, PDP was the place to be. Who, but the federal government and the ruling party awards mega contracts or appoints members of Boards and Parastatals? Who appoints federal ministers and aides? What about import waivers and extended connections at Embassies abroad? Faced with the ready answers to the posers, the average decampee comes back to mouth ‘Free-De-Fee’ and join the elongated queue for daily rations. In the last analysis, it could be seen that PDP control of the central government, expertise at influencing the outcome of Presidential election to its favour, possession of large campaign fund and massive outreach by way of dispensing favours, make it alluring despite the shortcomings of lack of internal democracy and freedom of opinion on the running of the party. What is surprising though, is that at their eventual return, PDP welcomes the prodigals with open hands, and in some instances festoons them with garland of party office. It may signpost lack of discipline. But it becomes a puzzle whether the party sends out its faithful to help disorganize and subdue other political parties. But as one commentator noted, unless another political party wins the presidential election, journeys out of PDP may not be permanent. Therefore, how long PDP faithful afford to stand aside and look while losers depart and return depends on what happens at the centre in 2015!
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Sunday, December 15, 2013
PDP: A Harvest Of Crisis By Kamal Tayo Oropo ITHOUT mincing words, former president Olusegun Obasanjo blamed President Goodluck jonathan for the crises tearing the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, apart. The former PDP Board of Trustee (BoT) chairman said apart from using party chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to cause multiple crises and divide the ranks of the party, President jonathan’s failure to keep a promise he made not to seek a second term is also generating tension within the ruling party. But most crucially, Obasanjo also accused President jonathan of anti-party conducts –– supporting opposition parties’ candidates in governorship elections in lagos, Ondo, Edo and Anambra States at the detriment of PDP’s own candidates ––, and of pitting party members against one another. While Obasanjo’s assertion may be incontrovertible to a large extent and any repudiation is exclusive prerogative of Aso Rock, the presidency under Obasanjo had also been routinely accused of threatening the unity of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Indeed, the disaffection within the Obasanjoled PDP claimed the founding chairman of the party, late Chief Solomon lar, his successor and Obasanjo’s supposedly friend, Chief Audu Innocent Ogbeh, who was forced in Aso Rock to hand write his resignation as party chairman and stampeded into seeking political relevance in the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Though, many other disgruntled members stayed in the PDP, their stay was an enduring crucible. Most crucially though, was the faith that befell Obasanjo’s number two man, vice president Atiku Abubakar, who engaged his principal in a bitter power play that also culminated into his pitching tent with opposition figures to form the Action Congress, which later became Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). The former vice president, though now back in the fold of the PDP, many doubt if the crack between him and Obasanjo has been genuinely mended. At various stages, topnotch PDP members are known to have their ambitions within the party truncated by Obasanjo. General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangia was one of such key figures. The former military president, who was believed to have been told pointedly by Obasanjo to forget his presidential ambition, toyed with the idea of floating a parallel political party. As for Atiku, his relationship with his boss got to a seemingly irredeemable height when Obasanjo allegedly asked the vice President, his running mate in the two Presidential elections, to resign. The alleged call by Obasanjo for Atiku to resign, or be fired from the office of the vice President was attributed to determinations by the President that his second in command was corrupt and disloyal. The mistrust grew to a desperate level. Atiku claimed that during one of their arguments, Obasanjo gave him a Quran to swear loyalty to him. He said, “At first, we started arguing, and then he (Obasanjo) opened his drawer and brought out a copy of the Quran and asked me to swear that I will not be disloyal to him. There was nothing I did not tell him in that room. The first thing I told him was that I swore with the Quran to defend the Constitution of Nigeria. Why are you now giving me the Quran to swear for you again? What if I swear for you and you go against the constitution? “Secondly, I looked at him and told him that if I don’t like you or don’t support you, would I have called 19 northern governors to meet for three days in my House in Kaduna only for us to turn our back on you? “Thirdly, I asked him, what are you even doing with the Quran? Are you a Muslim that you would even administer an oath on me with the Quran? I was angry, and I really blasted him. He asked me to forgive him and he returned the Quran to the drawer, and we came out.” While all these were going on, on one hand, Obasanjo’s battle with a number of PDP governors was also raging. His battle with both Ekiti and Abia State governors, Ayodele Fayose, and Orji Uzor Kalu, degenerated to all time low, resulting in personal abuses between the old man and his younger governors. Also at loggerheads with Obasanjo were Plateau State governor, joshua Dariye, Oyo State governor, Rashidi ladoja, the Bayelsa State governor, Dipreye Alamiesigha, and others whom Obasanjo considered as loyal to vice President Atiku.
OR five years, Fayose was out of the PDP. On Fdeclared, the heels of his return to the party, he “During the Obasanjo regime, gover-
nors were hunted; that was his style but things have changed today.” But very few will forget the open drama the duo treated guests to in December 2010. Fayose met Obasanjo in the inner recesses of the Okuku mansion of former governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, after a thanksgiving service in Oyinlola’s honor by friends and family. The former president was sitting with former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, as well as the then Governors of Oyo and Ogun States, Alao Akala, and Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State, when Fayose breezed into the reception area. Trouble reportedly began when Fayose proceeded to greet everyone but Obasanjo. Sensing he had been deliberately ignored, Obasanjo called Fayose by name and asked if it had been an error on his (Fayose) part, but an enraged Fayose surprisingly turned to Obasanjo and said he could not greet someone who is very bad! Obasanjo flew in a rage and allegedly called Obasanjo Fayose a “bastard”, this further infuriated Fayose, who moved menacingly towards the former president, waved his finger in his face and called him the “father of bastards”. Fayose, who was apparently only just warming up, retorted angrily: “you created all these troubles in the Southwest,” he told Obasanjo, adding, “and for your information, I did not come here as a member of your party, I am no longer a PDP member.” But recently, in a dramatic turn-around to further his fresh governorship ambition and barely a week after he was granted a waiver and readmitted to PDP, Fayose lauded the efforts of Obasanjo, over what he described as his magnanimity and support in his return to the party. Fayose is not alone in the love-hate relationship with Obasanjo; he has for company the former Abia State governor, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, who perhaps had even harsher words seemingly reserved for the former Lar president.
OWEvER, Kalu’s disaffection with H Obasanjo becomes manifestly clear going by his claim as founding member and major financier of the PDP when those who now call the shots in the party hardly had much to spare. Wondering how much people like President jonathan were worth before they joined politics, Kalu insisted with anger that he should be a major shareholder in the PDP, if not for the frustration orchestrated by Obasanjo. “I made millions before joining politics. I was doing business between Maiduguri and the East. I carried fish from Maiduguri to the East and palm oil from the East to Maiduguri. So, I had money and invested so much in the PDP. “If the party is a company, I would have been a major shareholder. I spent more on the party than any other Nigerian. How much did President jonathan have before he became the President? Fayose “I was the first to give the party N100 milKalu lion to register. I was also the first to give While the governor may be economical annoyed and asked ‘am I not a Nigerian’? Obasanjo N100 million to campaign during with all the facts, issues of corruption and “I told him that it is not about the constituthe 1999 election.” abuse of office is clearly central to Obasanjotion alone; that presidency in a civilian disOn the frosty relationship between him Kalu’s feud. and Obasanjo, Kalu alleged that he fell apart yet, “Inasmuch as I disagree with Obasanjo pensation is for politicians and to contest in a with Obasanjo on the issue of the alleged on many issue, particularly his not being fair political setting, you must have your own third term. He claimed that the former presi- to people, I also agree with him for the love money before people can contribute for you. Honestly, he was poor because he just came dent wanted to be a life president. Stressing he has for Nigeria. But he is a very wicked that nobody can tell him that Obasanjo was man to have taken my bank, airline and oth- back from prison. “I also told him that charity begins at home, not interested in a third term, Kalu insisted er businesses,” Kalu unwittingly threw that he could not win councillorship election that huge sum of money was involved in the another dimension on the kernel of his in Abeokuta, but God still made him presiproject. anger at Obasanjo’s government. dent. I told him that he was not bigger than Asked what went wrong between him and God who made him president but now he was Obasanjo, Kalu claimed he parted ways with ADOjA also had his share of heartache the former President because “he wanted to from Obasanjo. When asked the nature of looking for third term. “That night, Gbenga Daniel (the then Ogun continue joking with the country called his trouble with the former president, the Nigeria and Nigerians are blind. former Oyo State governor, said, “there was State governor) called me and asked what I Unfortunately, they prefer people lying to this thing between me and Obasanjo –– there did to Baba and I told him we had a discussion. We then agreed to meet in Abuja for the them to people like us. I am going to send was always an accusation every week. National Council of State meeting. letters to the United Nations Secretary Obasanjo, at that time, was uncontrollable “He told me what Obasanjo told him. I General, the European Union and the United because there was nothing anybody could respected Obasanjo as president but I also States and all the major powers that all those do to him.” who have served in Nigeria should come forWhile discountenancing rumours that his have my role as governor and this mentality that everybody must kowtow to him is not ward to disclose their sources of wealth. let problem started over a woman they both them show their bank statements, either shared, ladoja claimed that his trouble start- right. People said I should go and beg him but I insisted that I did not know the offence I had with defunct Allied Bank or ACB. let them ed with Obasanjo when he told him some come and prove how they bought houses in bitter truth, especially regarding the alleged committed though I still went with Gbenga.” victoria Island, Maitama, Abuja. third term. NCIDENTAlly, Daniel too soon ran into trou“let us know who the real thieves are. you ladoja’s account: “I knew Obasanjo before ble water with Obasanjo. Together, the duo cannot be calling people thieves when the he became president (I didn’t know him ensured that whatever gain the PDP acquired real thieves are walking free on the streets of when he was head of state) but I knew him in the former president’s home state (Ogun) Nigeria. It is not fair to me in particular when he was a poor farmer and I told him because I know that at the formation of PDP I that. And whether it is indiscretion or what- was squandered. While Daniel supposedly went ahead to form another political party, contributed N500 million in 1998 and I don’t ever it is, I saw in him a friend and I felt I Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), as an alternaknow how many of them that owned N500 owed it to a friend to tell him the truth. million in 1998. But today I am a thief. I also “I told him that I heard that he was trying to tive source of political ventilation, the PDP presently remain in tatters in the state, and contributed almost $1 million to Obasanjo’s go for third term. I learnt about the third curiously, extending the ignominy to other campaign in 1998, when nobody had penny term and I went to him to inquire if it was to give. Why I am a thief today is what I don’t true and I told him he was not even qualified parts of the former president’s geo-political zone –– Southwest. understand.” for the one he was then serving, but he got
Sunday, December 15, 2013
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OBASANJO/JONATHAN: Outfoxing Of An Old Fox By Leo Sobechi
EFORE it is too late, it would be terse to posit that the recent letter from former President Olusegun Obasanjo to Nigerians targeted at his protégé and incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan reflects the personal frustrations and confessions of the author. Moreover it is easy to take the letter on its face value and conclude that it was calculated to distract, deceive and divert attentions of the reading public from the failings of the writer. There is no point trying to repeat the contents of the mischievous missive. However it would be necessary to point out some of the very statements that bear out the real intentions of the so wrong a letter from retired General Obasanjo. Perhaps, a brief excerpt from the letter would make for better understanding: “I am constrained to make this an open letter to you for a number of reasons,” Obasanjo began. “One, the current situation and consequent possible outcome dictate that I should, before the door closes on reason and promotion of national interest, alert you to (on) the danger that may be lurking in the corner. Two, none of the four or more letters that I have written to you in the past two years or so has elicited an acknowledgement nor any response. Three, people close to you, if not yourself, have been asking what does Obasanjo want? Four, I could sense a semblance between the situation that we are gradually getting into and the situation we fell into as a nation during the Abacha era. Five, everything must be done to guard, protect and defend our fledgling democracy, nourish it and prevent bloodshed…” Shortly after his release from prison in 1998, Obasanjo was quoted as remarking to some African leaders in Benin Republic that Nigerians do not know how to elect their leaders, pointing out that that was the reason why “they are begging me to come back; but I will step on toes.” And so coming at such a time Nigerians and the global community are mourning the demise of former South African President and anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela, Obasanjo’s letter comes out as a personal confession of guilt at his failed attempt at statesmanship. He seems to have been taken aback by the perfection of his garrison political strategies by President Jonathan and felt sufficiently inspired to suggest that a possible relapse of reason was afoot. From the political events that played out in the preceding week before he wrote his letter, Obasanjo seems also to have been taken aback by the decamping of his political godsons, the G5 governors to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Never in his wildest imagination could the former mercurial president have contemplated that his remaining loyal cronies should be forced out of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). And coming after the frustration of his anointed national secretary of the party, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the action of the five governors marked the last nail on the coffin. Only intelligent officers or students of strategic studies could decipher whether Obasanjo’s decision to alert President Jonathan on “the danger that may be lurking in the corner” is a veiled threat to unleash his remaining loyalists in the Army to engineer a coup d’état. However, that grain of thought could be supported by the former President’s suggestion that “everything must be done to guard, protect and defend our fledgling democracy, nourish it and prevent bloodshed.” Noting his frustrations that none of his many letters did “elicit an acknowledgement or response and his allusion to the Abacha era, many people are wont to ask when Obasanjo became a champion of democracy. Perhaps, a footnote of how the former president carried on in office could be found in what has become the Anambra political conundrum. It happened that the only time the PDP worked as a united platform was in 1999 towards the election Dr. Chinwoke C. Mbadinuju. Since that time the party went into shambles because certain elements close to President Obasanjo in Anambra, who really never liked and cannot even stand any competition in politics appropriated the peoples’ mandate to themselves. That was exactly what marked the beginning
Obasanjo of the crisis in Anambra politics. With their privileged access to the Presidential Villa, the chieftains (urchins?) would often go to the bank dressed in their big shirts, cash much money and move straight to Abuja to fight for councillorship election in the state, fight for council chairman and for who should go to the House of Assembly. A source actually disclosed that not until close to the 2003 election did it dawn on the people that the hand that was rocking the democracy boat in the state was well heeled in Aso Rock. “Within that period, Dr. Andy Uba was virtually the defacto president and people around him who felt that that leverage was enough for them to control the levers of power decided to, on their own abolish the very important process of electing even state executive of the party. They preferred to have such executives appointed in Abuja. And therefore, nobody talked anymore that he was voted in by the people. In most cases, since that time, results of state executives were announced when people in the rural areas were not given the privilege or chance to vote. And that was how persons like Chris Uba started controlling the party machinery,” the source remarked. In fact, many people including politicians in Anambra hold that what happened during Obasanjo era was worse than the Abacha era. They recall that a sitting governor was abducted simply to create opportunity for the President’s crony to access political power in the state. A close ally of Obasanjo, who does not want his name in print said: “Ngige was nearly abducted and eventually removed from office; but because of the leverage they had from Abuja, in 2007 when Andy was to prepare for governorship, they tried to destroy
those that could form serious opposition to his ambition. That was what led to the impeachment proceedings against Peter Obi. Because Obi was seen as a very powerful governor they looked for a way to remove him from office and within that short period of time, loan the position of governor to Dame Virgy Etiaba after which they will take it back. Etiaba was working in cahoots with them. You know the first meeting Etiaba had with President Olusegun Obasanjo was arranged by Andy Uba. So Etiaba was just a stopgap measure by the PDP during which Andy was getting ready for election. So all this while, party loyalty suffered because of the way things were done and nobody believed in the proper way parties were formed.”
And so coming at such a time Nigerians and the global community are mourning the demise of former South African President and anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela, Obasanjo’s letter comes out as a personal confession of guilt at his failed attempt at statesmanship. He seems to have been taken aback by the perfection of his garrison political strategies by President Jonathan and felt sufficiently inspired to suggest that a possible relapse of reason was afoot. From the political events that played out in the preceding week before he wrote his letter, Obasanjo seems also to have been taken aback by the decamping of his political godsons, the G5 governors to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Never in his wildest imagination could the former mercurial president have contemplated that his remaining loyal cronies should be forced out of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Who knows, Obasanjo may have been alarmed that his protégé may have gone to the archives to dust up his garrison strategies and decided to shout out. Analysts recall that Obasanjo confided in his loyalists that he never expected that President Jonathan would accept his resignation from the chairmanship of the Board of Trustees of PDP, noting that the incumbent President does not seem to understand the nuances of power; worse of all, that bid by the former President, who arm-twisted the system to ensure his emergence as BoT chairman, to gain attention backfired. President Jonathan filled the vacancy with the very person Obasanjo earlier schemed out of the office. If today Obasanjo should be expressing obvious fright that 1, 000 Nigerians are on a watch list or the training of snipers, he seem to have forgotten that it was under his watch that high profile intrigues took place. Thank goodness, Jonathan is yet to record any high profile losses in the likes of A. K. Dikibo, Harry Marshal, Funso Williams, Bola Ige, and Chuba Okadigbo. Again Obasanjo’s sensibilities could have been insulted by the fact that, while he applied brute force to revise PDP membership register, the University-educated President Jonathan seem to have employed guile and duplicity, thereby outfoxing the old fox. The turnover of national chairmen of PDP during Obasanjo’s era speaks volumes of his high handedness and indifference to laid down procedures. The curious membership revalidation exercise that sought to exclude Obasanjo’s second in command, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, was the former president’s blue print. Obasanjo’s letter may contain some veritable black spots about the present state of things, but it definitely does not remove the fact that he did not provide a shining beacon of democratic experience or practice. It is possible for Nigerians to conclude that the former President was actually using the G.7 governors to distract President Jonathan. All that could be pinned on Obasanjo’s letter of appeal for attention. The exchanges between Obasanjo and Atiku during the PTDF investigation at the National Assembly do not bear the attributes of heroic warrior against corruption. Many of those who operated at the Presidential Villa during Obasanjo’s era allege that a particular office was dedicated to official corruption. “It was from that office that Ibori went to deliver bribe to Nuhu Ribadu. Or where you not aware of the issue of alleged importation of 20 million dollar for farm equipment in the US Airport?” Observers say is yet to be seen how Obasanjo’s letter would affect the plots ahead of 2015 Presidential election, because it seems Obasanjo is afraid of losing another opportunity to install Governor Sule Lamido as the next president. On the flipside, it could be that Obasanjo and Jonathan are merely playing games with northern political actors that insist on denying the incumbent a second term in office. The defection of the G.5 governors and the imminent congregation of northern politicians in Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s APC must also have given Obasanjo the clue that a President on that platform would not only diminish his influence, but extinguish his political relevance in Nigeria. Those are prospects that must have inspired Obasanjo’s letter. Jonathan’s Febrile Presidency FROM the very moment he mounted the saddle as Nigeria’s President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan started exhibiting an uncanny simplicity about politics and governance. Most of Jonathan’s admirers say a fight against Obasanjo is not worth engaging in by the Otuoke son of a fisherman. While such persons allege ingratitude against Jonathan, others worry that Obasanjo behaves as if he owns Nigeria. However, no matter the perspective the rift between Obasanjo and President Jonathan may be viewed, the incumbent has to do more, to save himself, his party and the country.
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COVER OKE: Obasanjo Is Right On Ondo, But I won’t Blame Jonathan HIEF Olusola Oke, a lawyer and former national Legal Adviser C of the PDP, said it is true his people are indeed angry with Abuja for abandoning the party and siding with the Labour Party of Governor Olusegun Mimiko. But unlike Obasanjo, he refused to put the blame on President Jonathan, whom he said is surrounded by anti-party elements. He spoke with NIYI BELLO in Akure. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his letter to President Goodluck Jonathan mentioned Ondo State as one of the states where he alleged that the party leader supported an opposition candidate against the PDP. As the PDP candidate in the election, what is your reaction? THE development in our party leading to the explosive communication of the former president to the incumbent is a sad development and a very dangerous signal coming at this time of our political evolution. My first reaction is to appeal for calm because the PDP is the only political party that has put Nigeria together. Since 1960, when we got independence, this is the first time in our history that we will have a political party that cuts across all divides; religious, ethnic, geographical and economic. So anything that threatens such a political party should be of concern to all Nigerians. I have observed the political landscape of this country and have not found an alternative to the spread of the PDP. Yes, that allegation was raised by the former President, but let me tell you that the major problem in the PDP, be it at our Wadata House headquarters or at the Presidency is that a few individuals with hidden or unclear agenda have infiltrated the system and they do a number of things that when you carry out investigations, they do it not unnecessarily on instructions, but in their character of selfishness to cut off Mr. President from direct link to the people. There is no doubt that the PDP didn’t come with all its force in our election, but I have my reservation whether this is an agenda that can be attributed to the President as an individual. I have a strong feeling that these individuals around the system who have refused to understand the essence of political party in politics do a lot of wrongs for which Mr. President is often called upon to answer, while in actual fact he might not be part of it. I think that the various issues raised in chief Obasanjo’s letter, not inclusive of the issue of the party not standing strong during election in some of the specified states should be an issue that the national leadership of the party should look at and chart a course that is consistent with the meaning of a political party. For Ondo State, I have refused and will continue to refrain from
Oke holding the President personally answerable. His answer to it may just be that as the leader of the party, whatever is done by anybody, which appears inconsistent with normal norm of political party, the leader will be called upon to answer for it. I as an individual have no reason, fact or evidence that at any time, the President deliberately did something to sabotage us here. But don’t you think that absolving the President totally would have been stronger if he had, at one time or the other as the leader restrained those anti-party elements around him from their agenda? You know chief Obasanjo is not a man of frivolities. He says things the way he sees them and the way they appear to him. But I am talking from the benefit of being an insider during that election. I concede the fact that whenever anything happens in a system that has a leader, whether that leader is aware of it or not, the person to carry the brunt would be the leader. But for
me, I was not a candidate of Goodluck Jonathan, I was a candidate of the PDP and by extension, being the leader of the party, I became his candidate. He came to our rally with all the weight of a president and he made available to the party, the kind of support a leader should give. All other undercurrents are not within my knowledge because I won’t be there when anything contrary to my calculation is being done. All I am saying is that our party has problem at this time, governors defecting and the former president, a leader of our democracy being angry over issues. My take is that the leadership of the party and those of us that are members should make deliberate efforts to end the crisis. And in doing that we must give respect to our two leaders. Obasanjo is a leader that must be respected and Jonathan too has history on his side, we must respect him too. The grievance between the two of them should be addressed and not allowed to continue to be on the pages of newspapers because it won’t be settled that way. And for us in Ondo State PDP, we continue to look forward to a united PDP that has capacity to win elections and administer our resources for the wellbeing of our people. At the national level we need a PDP that will continue to hold our country together after developing an internal mechanism for correcting errors. Among your followers in Ondo PDP there was that strong suspicion of abandonment that has come to be confirmed by the Obasanjo letter. How do you now persuade the obviously angry supporters to continue to be loyal to the umbrella? First and foremost as a leader you must be close to the people, represent them and be honest to them. Of course our members are not happy with their situation at the moment in PDP, a situation where labourers are being denied their wages. At the moment you cannot find a core PDP person being in a position to be a rallying point for others. So it is a matter of great concern to us. At the last presidential election, the PDP in Ondo State worked very hard given the circumstances that were prevailing and it would appear that they are not really being rewarded for their efforts, so they may appear demoralized. But the point I am making is that it doesn’t get sweet all the time. There are always ups and downs even in life sometimes it is good, another time it is bad. So our assurance is that this circumstance will not prevail till eternity, it will change for the better. We have encouraged them to continue to be loyal to the party, believing that someday somebody up there would see them and reward them accordingly.
OYEGUN/OWIE/ OZEKHOME: Knocks, Mixed Feelings Trail Obasanjo’s Letter To Jonathan From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City HE letter from former President T Olusegun Obasanjo last week to President Goodlukc Jonathan has elicited varying reactions from members of the public, interest groups and politicians. While some see it as an improper distraction, others believe that the message from the former president, even though coming from an unpopular quarters, is timely and should be heeded. Former governor of Edo State, Chief John Oyegun said Nigerians should look at the message and not the messenger, just as he did not fully agree with the method of the former president. “It is very unconventional for a former president worldwide, not just Nigeria to be so publicly critical of one of his successors. There is no question about, it is vintage Obsanjo, but what is different this time is that the language is a bit strong, the message is a bit urgent and it requires attention, rather urgently. We all know that things are bad, but if somebody who is in a position to know comes out to say the kind of things he has said, somebody who has information much more than we have, we are only being concerned by the lack of direction of government. But he Obasanjo knows the inner workings and what is actually going on there and he has just virtually touched the surface. We need to be concerned, we need to be worried. The elders of this country, credible elders across all party lines should take up the none PDP issues that have been raised with a view to salvaging this nation, because we all have that feeling, we all knew that we were coasting down to disaster and all of us are wondering if 2015 is even realisable and that if it does not sound the death knell of this nation. The nation needs us all now to salvage it. That is not the only letter in the public domain, we have the letter from the Governor of the Central Bank; we have
the queries raised by the Governors’ Forum about billions that are hanging somewhere or that have been misappropriated; we have the unresolved case of the minister of aviation, this atmosphere of pending doom has to dissipated, because if not, it will begin to develop a life of its own. The situation is definitely serious whether the messenger is the right person or not is definitely not the issue.” Former Chief Whip of the Senate, Roland Owie, however, totally disagrees with Obasanjo, as he said he lacks the moral standing to write the President. He said; “I am not surprised at Obasanjo’s attack on President Jonathan but fortunately, Nigerians know him as a political double dealer and the person that destroyed the foundation of politics in Nigeria” He told The Guardian that Obasanjo deliberately expunged the provision for Electoral College in the 1978 transition decree, “When as Head of State he knew majority of the members of UPN, NPP, PRP and GNPP in the National Assembly then had made up their minds to vote chief Obafemi Awolowo at the Electoral College to become president, adding that if he had allowed late Awolowo to be president then, “Nigeria would have become the Japan of Africa and what did we get in his second coming as President, corruption at the highest level, shielding of corrupt officials who are his cronies, fighting perceived enemy governors and public officials, destruction of national assets.” He said the former president should be investigated on how he came about his stupendous wealth. Human rights activists and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Mike Ozekhome said; “although the letter look a little too sanctimonious, but there is no doubt that the content of that letter are brutally frank as they can be. What Obasanjo did was to lay his fingers on the problems and the challenges of Mr. President and the
We all know that things are bad, but if somebody who is in a position to know comes out to say the kind of things he has said, somebody who has information much more than we have, we are only being concerned by the lack of direction of government. But he Obasanjo knows the inner workings and what is actually going on there and he has just virtually touched the surface. We need to be concerned, we need to be worried. The elders of this country, credible elders across all party lines should take up the none PDP issues that have been raised with a view to salvaging this nation, because we all have that feeling, we all knew that we were coasting down to disaster and all of us are wondering if 2015 is even realisable and that if it does not sound the death knell of this nation present government and he decided to say it all. Although one can also accuse him of being self-serving, having also participated in and having continued or even originated some of the ills he is complaining of. I dare say it is not too late. That he is talking loud now is good for all of us, so that Mr. President take immediate steps to correct some of the problems he has pointed out. There is a major area I disagree with, Obasanjo
who himself sought for a third term and we all jointly defeated him, he does not have any right constitutionally, legal of moral to advice the President not to go for his constitutionally guaranteed second term, that would be discriminatory and for me that will be unconstitutional. All he needed to say is that if you want to go for a second term, fight for it justly and morally, do not use any sniper or terror squad to
get your way” Coalition to Save Nigeria (CSN) in a statement by its president, Dr Philip Ugbodaga said; “We are totally perplexed at the ongoing intra-class squabbles and disagreements in Nigeria, which essentially has no bearing on the ordinary people of this country. Some of the issues contained in the letter are so weighty that their veracity or otherwise will become apparent in the coming weeks and months.” The Benin National Congress (BNC) in a statement by its Director of Publicity David Ekomwenrenren described the open letter as a drift in the affairs of the country. “What we find as the undiluted truth from the Obasanjo letter is the unfortunate stance where Mr. President carry himself more as an Ijaw man than Nigeria’s President. For instance, we have sweeping allegations against the Petroleum Minister; chairman Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the Director General Amnesty Program. In the history of our nascent democratic experiment, we are yet to see this sort of inaction by a government.”
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LAI MOHAMMED: We Need More of Obasanjo’s Interventions, Especially From PDP members Interim Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed told TUNDE AKINOLA that the letter written by former president Obasanjo to President Jonathan heralds the downfall of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a party and Jonathan’s ambition for 2015. He said the letter has vindicated the opposition, while he clarified the allegation that Bola Tinubu worked for Jonathan in 2011. guage of the president when it comes to fighting corruption? Do not forget that in the wake of the Aviation minister, Stella Oduah’s scandal, we said the President, from the way he was handling the issue can be seen as an accomplice. Is it about Boko Haram? We said a long time ago, although mischief-makers misinterpreted us, that force of arm alone cannot resolve the insurgency. We said the Federal Government was attacking the symptoms and not the disease itself. Is it about the paradox of the economy? We said there is a difference between economic growth and economic development. Economic growth is in numbers and figures but economic development is in real terms. For instance, how many employment opportunities have been created; as well as the provision of basic social amenities? We have talked about the dwindling fortune of our economy, where we warned Nigerians that it was becoming too expensive to produce oil in Nigeria because of insecurity. When we warned of about 400,000 barrels of oil being stolen on a daily basis it took the Federal Government many months to admit this, or when we spoke about the threats of shale gas and shale oil. So, there is actually nothing Obasanjo has said in that letter that we have not said before. It is just that because he is now saying it there is more authenticity and people are reacting to it. If you look at our press interventions in the past months, you will see that we have said virtually everything. We talked about how people involved in the fuel subsidy theft are still walking freely on our streets or the Subsidy ReInvestment & Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), which we call a “SURE-PIT” to bribery and corruption. So President Obasanjo’s letter has vindicated us. The letter alleged Lai Mohammed that Bola Tinubu worked with President Jonathan to deliver the South West in 2011, for a fee
Coming from a former president and member of the PDP, how do you see the Obasanjo letter? THINK coming from a former president, former chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of PDP and somebody perceived to have been Jonathan’s mentor, the letter is a scathing indictment of the poor leadership the president has provided in the past couple of years. The letter is ample evidence, if one needs any again, of the lack of vision and the divisive nature of the president. The letter has more than ever vindicated the position of the opposition, that this is probably the most incompetent president that ever stumbled on power in Nigeria. How authentic do you see the views in the letter and the letter itself? Well, it was signed by Obasanjo himself and he has owned up to it and the President has accepted that he received it, so that settles the issue of authenticity, but in terms of sincerity, yes. Proudly speaking, apart from one or two things we are not privy to like the training of snipers and the list of 1,000 people on political watch list, there is nothing Obasanjo has said that we in the opposition had not said before. Is it about the body lan-
You have used the correct word, which is “alleged”. I will keep saying to the best of my knowledge it is not true because, they had claimed that Tinubu went to the Villa to see President Jonathan, myself and chief Bisi Akande were with him throughout that day. As a matter of fact, the other version had always been that it was President Jonathan that came to Lagos and they had a meeting in Marina. But you see, the point Obasanjo wanted to prove there was not that Tinubu worked for Jonathan, but rather that Jonathan abandoned their candidate in favour of ACN so that he could get the support of the party. The point he was proving was that in many states, Jonathan abandoned their candidates in Lagos, Ondo, Anambra states, but to the best of our knowledge, there was no time such a thing happened. Does that mean that part of the letter was not the truth? Well, that is why I said to best of my knowledge. There was no time ACN ever agreed to work with Jonathan. I was privileged to be at most meetings of the party and I cannot recollect anywhere the ACN formally of informally agreed to work for the Jonathan. What he was saying was that Jonathan abandoned his own candidates. We were the first to say this that in Ondo and Anambra; for the president, it was not about PDP winning, but ACN or APC losing. That is why they bungled Anambra election despite the clear admission of even the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, that one of his top officials was induced with money. The election in Anambra was not a contest among PDP, APC, Labour Paty (LP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); for them, all they wanted was APC losing. Does this letter have any direct implication on 2015? Like I said, this is one of the strongest indictments that has ever emanated from a former president and I think that means a lot. In some quarters many see the letter as heralding the downfall of the PDP as a party and Jonathan’s ambition for the election. For us in the opposition, we want to encourage more non-partisan intervention into the polity. The last week in particular, was momentous. The week opened with the bombshell from the speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, in which he took the President and his government to the cleaners over corruption especially. Barely 24 hours after, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, came out with his own poser asking for whereabouts of 49.8 billion dollars meant for the Nigerian treasury between 2012 to 2013, being remitted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Only for former President Obasanjo to cap it up with this damning letter. So it cannot be business as usual for this government. This is one of their most ardent supporters saying he has tried his best for them. I think he
said in the letter that Jonathan had betrayed God and the people and the party. I believe this letter is going to be a watershed in shaping the political future of this country and PDP. One issue the letter addressed is the development in Rivers State and the regime of impunity under President Jonathan. I think if we do not take time, if Jonathan is not called to order, he might superintending over a country that will soon disintegrate. There are three things that have happened in recent times that people have not paid attention to; the first is the court order by an Abuja Federal High Court which said the National Assembly was wrong in taking over the functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly. We are always very careful not to denigrate the judiciary. But here we are constrained to say the reasoning of the judge was very bizarre. For a judge to say the situation was not ripe enough for National Assembly to take over is very bizarre. However, the police and other security outfits should be neutral in this because I do not see any democracy anywhere in the world where six people will be superior to 26 people. But I suspected the police might not be neutral in this matter because the commissioner of police in Rivers has been posted there for a particular purpose. Sadly, I am aware that the National Assembly has appealed this matter and filed a motion for stay of execution, which has been served to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, but knowing how desperate the government is, they will brush aside all these, but we warn them that if they try this they will witness people’s anger and this will not be limited to Rivers State alone, it will be a national outrage. Some sectors say Obasanjo should not be the one writing the letter considering that most of the issues he raised were prevalent in his administration? You see, I have always scoffed at such reasoning. When Obasanjo was in power he was criticised, who is on trial now, is it Obasanjo or Jonathan? Whatever the motive of Obasanjo is, we in the opposition believe that more of such interventions, especially from members of the PDP, are necessary to rescue this country. For those who said he ought no to have made the letter open, anyone who reads the opening paragraph of that letter will understand why he had to make it public. He said they had not acknowledged the four letters he had written to the President, not to talk of responding to them and he felt time was of essence before posterity would blame him and ask what he was doing. He had exploited the option of private talks and consultations but he was rebuffed. But thy met in Kenya afterwards… Let me tell you, it is the prerogative of a president and a former president to meet anywhere they want. They should come and tell us what they went to discuss.
SHIJA: It’s Unstatesmanlike And Irresponsible Dr. Terhember Shija, Head of English Department, Nasarawa State University Keffi, former member of the House of Representatives (Jechira Federal Constituency) and former commissioner of information in Benue State thinks it is unbecoming of a former President to launch an offensive against an incumbent in such brazen manner. He spoke with KARLS TSOKAR. How do you see Obasanjo’s letter to Jonathan HIEF Obasanjo’s irritating castigation of President Jonathan in an open letter, stating no specific offences, but eliciting dubious claims of an alleged promise of Jonathan not to contest the 2015 Presidential election and unproven complicity of Jonathan in the PDP crisis, is the most unstatesmanlike and irresponsible outing the former president has ever made. First of all, the social media is a wrong choice of medium for a PDP Board of Trustees’ member and former leader of the party for eight years to discuss PDP affairs and expose the disgraceful practices of their private agreements of allotment of political offices. I am definitely not sure that this letter is worth the attention of Mr. President or any other well-meaning Nigerian Obasanjo links the low level of governance with Jonathan’s 2015 agenda and the PDP crisis; you don’t agree with that? Jonathan is at liberty to seek whatever elective position he likes whether or not he ever engaged in any agreement with Obasanjo or any Governor or any power broker or not. The ultimate decider are the Nigerian people and they cannot or should not be deterred by whichever choice Obasanjo as an individual or his clan of Jonathan haters thinks is the best for this country in 2015.
There was a time in this country, most of the citizens were strangely complacent and allowed the former president to wreck a lot of psychological damage on them. Does Obasanjo think Nigerians have so soon forgotten his frantic and corrupt attempt to subvert the constitution and stay in power for the third term? Even if we could permit the proverbial kettle to call the pot black, does Jonathan really lack the constitutional guarantee to enable him contest another term as president of Nigeria? Who is Chief Obasanjo to imagine that he could disenfranchise Mr. President or any other citizen for that matter in 2015? Why should Obasanjo who openly boasted in the past that he singlehandedly used his position as president to install the duo of Umaru YarAdua and Dr Jonathan to power, still imagine that he still had the political clout to manipulate the wishes of Nigerians as an Ota chicken farmer? Obasanjo lacks the political and moral credentials to accuse Jonathan of causing confusion in the PDP through the actions and inactions of its national chairman, Bamanga Tukur. Obasanjo’s tenure as President and PDP’s leader was marked by the worst form of impunity in the selection, action and removal of national chairmen of PDP as they were churned out in rapid succession to gratify his greed and high-handedShija ness.”
You don’t also agree with the former president on his plea for Jonathan to demonstrate honour, integrity and good governance? Obasanjo’s fight against corruption was partial, self-seeking and vindictive, targeted at his enemies who were not even half as corrupt as his cronies who plundered the economy of this nation. He used the EFCC to witch-hunt elected representatives of the people and organised phantom impeachment of governors who disagreed with him. He violated judicial court orders, ranging from the lower courts to the highest court in the land. Obasanjo and his administration were involved in corruption, so massively that the House of Representatives publicly displayed the cash he attempted to bribe them with on the floor of the house. What impact do you think this letter could have on the polity? He has utterly miscalculated and his 18-page treatise has fallen flat like a pack of cards. No doubt, Nigerians are worried about the rising wave of corruption in the country. Obasanjo refers to the revelation of the CBN governor that over 49 billion dollars of oil money last year was not accounted for by the NNPC. The two federal government bodies are yet to sort themselves out on the matter, and for Obasanjo to pre-maturely implicate Jonathan is to say the least mischievous and irresponsible.
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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Junior Guardian SHORT STORy Tenka Stops A Fight (2)
POEM Hey Mr. tortoise
Givanas Donates Materials To Pupils
KAy, okay! Settle down boys. I will divide the meat into two equal halves and each one of you can then take a portion, okay?” Tenka proceeded to divide the meat. After the first division and as the boys reached out to grab a piece, Tenka stopped them. “Noooo!” he said. “you can’t take your pieces yet. Can’t you see the parts are not equal? Since we have no knife, I shall have to eat some of the meat to ensure that they are equal.” And so, Tenka picked up the larger piece and took such a big bite that it was now smaller than the other piece. He then picked the other piece and took a bite out of that also, to make it the same size with the first piece. No matter how hard he tried, he could not get the two pieces to be the same size. He was still trying when he ate up all the meat. The boys were horrified. “Well,” said Tenka, “you can see I tried my best. When a face is washed, the washing ends at the chin. That settles it. Now there is nothing to fight over anymore. The meat is all gone. Off you go boys!” And with that, he did a small jig and left the two boys on the path. Ugochukwu and Danjuma were so sad, because they were needlessly fighting and they would not share, and now they had no meat to share. Depressed, they ambled off home and promised they will always share and not fight themselves again. Culled from the book, Tenka And His Magic Drum
which was initiated by Givanas
S part of an effort to undertake A its corporate social responsibil- Nigeria, has given out awards toity in the country, Givanas Nigeria talling about N1.5million, as reLtd., in Lagos at a celebration of its 5th year anniversary, distributed 2000 bag kits and beverage products to pupils in primary one to three in the eight primary schools in Apapa Local Government area of Lagos. The national coordinator, Givanas Charitable Foundation, Bola Arowosegbe, who led the company team alongside local government officials to the schools, said the company has benefitted immensely from the economic policies of successive governments in the country and therefore, has no choice than to contribute to the uplifting of its citizens. “This is our way of doing that and meeting our social responsibility obligations. “Givanas Charitable Foundation,
ward for excellence and hard work to students of tertiary institutions from the six geopolitical zones of the country. Speaking at the one of the award ceremonies held in Lagos, the chairman of the Foundation and MD of the company, Samir Ajami, said that the gesture was his organisation’s contribution to the development of education in Nigeria. “Despite that, the country has suffered from a volatile political landscape over the years, it still stands as one of Africa’s strongest and thriving economies with its vast consuming population, oil reserves, industrial capacities, and trade opportunities.
Tricky Mr. tortoise Wise Mr. tortoise Uses wisdom to trick And take advantage of people Very, very slow But can win so many races Through his good wisdom Hey Mr. tortoise Tricky Mr. tortoise Poems by
Chisom Madu Onuorah Solidrock International School, Abuja
SCIENCE FACTS Respiration releases 18 times more energy from a food molecule than fermentation does. If human nerve cells are damaged, they are sometimes able to repair themselves. However, this repair process does not involve cells losing their ability to divide soon after birth. Some cells require less than 1 hour to divide, while others require as much as 20 hours.
Tips from Life Science By Jovanovich
— Bankole Orimisan
Green Oaks Thrills Kids At Santa Grotto T has been fun galore for students and gifts children get here. We have gifts IKiddies kids since the Santa Grotto opened at that will change their lives and help Kingdom, Ajao Estate in Anthem in their studies. We are going to thony Village last Monday. The event, put together by Green Oaks Kiddies Entertainment Ltd., owners of Kiddies Kingdom, is targetting over 10 million kids for visit to the grotto. Over 20 schools have already signed up to be part of the event. On the opening day, lots of kids came to see what the centre has to offer them this year. The grotto, which was built in the form of a tunnel, has a manger site, summer site, winter site, sweetie’s tuck shop and the grotto house, where kids would get gifts from Santa Claus. Olanike Oluyemisi Akinmeji, MD, Green Oak, said the idea behind the tunnel is to replicate what obtains abroad and allow kids to have a feel of it, without actually leaving the country. She said the grotto would not only provide fun, but that the kids will also get life changing gifts. “We place emphasis on the kind of
host millions of kids throughout the event and we are working with our partner schools, while corporate organisations, families and individuals are also expected to be part of the event. She explained that each site in the tunnel takes 10 kids at a time and thousands of kids will be daily attended to. “I have checked around and I see that what we have as santa grotto all around is nothing to write home about. What we offer here is to bring back the glorious days and let the kids experience what we did, when our parents took us to Kingsway and Leventis, where we had fun and also learnt a lot.” She enjoined the kids and parents to imbibe the spirit of friendship and love in the yuletide season and at all times. — Adeyinka Adedipe Santa Claus with children and their parents at the Kiddies Kingdom Santa Tunnel Show at Folasade Ajayi Street, Anthony Village, Lagos.
Sunshine Sammy’s World Of Words INGSLEy Osahon from Benin K sent in 10 words beginning with letter F to share with you
Fiend this Sunday. you too can be a part of the fun by sending in 10 Fraternity new words that begin with letter F. Sunshine Sammy is always de- Farewell lighted to learn new and creative Fearsome words.
Fracas Franchise Fecund
SOLUTIONS TO BRAIN TEASER (9) WEATHER NEGATIVE
Please send your contributions to: The Junior Guardian Desk Rutam House P.M.B. 1217, Oshodi Or email: email@example.com
WORD POWER GAME Wrought a) shaped b) told c) d) worked d) went Rally a) meeting b) circle c) dust d) know Penchant a) gold b) liking c) payment d) deal Herald a) touch b) shout c) messenger d) cloud Lounge a) salon b) sit c) create d) push Bilingual a) fluent b) double c) couch d) change Scourge a) rub b) plague c) wash d) wet Lapse a) run b) gap c) chase d) hole Soothe a) cloth b) calm c) take d) dry Enchant a) take b) charm c) enslave d) allow
COMPILED BY KIKELOLA OYEBOLA
Sunday, December 15, 2013 | 31
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Yobe Signs MoU with UK And Scotland Universities Stories by Daniel Anazia OBE State government and the University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) designed to facilitate academic exchanges and capacity building between the Yobe State University and the University of Wolverhampton. Governor Ibrahim Gaidam and the Vice Chancellor, University of Wolverhampton, Professor Geoff Layer, signed the MoU on behalf of the two universities in Wolverhampton during the week. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Governor Gaidam said the state government is keen to nurture the state university
to an enviable status of academic excellence and provide opportunity to youth in the state to access quality university education at home. He explained this as the reason behind the massive academic and infrastructural investments that his administration is making in the university, which saw it emerging as the fastest growing university in the northern part of the country. He added that his administration will give every possible support to ensure the success of the MoU for the mutual benefit of the parties. “There are many things being said about the NorthEast of Nigeria that exaggerate the reality on the ground. Yes, there are security challenges, but things are gradually
improving. We are confident that things will get back to normal with the effort of the state government, the military and the robust support of our people. And as we move forward, we will be guided by our hopes and not our fears. We are confident that we will put our state on the path of recovery and consolidate on the gains we have made for the overall benefit of our people,” he said. Professor Layer said the University of Wolverhampton is excited to partner with the Yobe State University as one of the gateways to harness research and development (R&D) potentials in Africa. “You live in a continent that you know much about and that we still know little about…Our partnership and cooperation will be mutually
Guinness Nigeria Unveils Ex-Scholars’ Alumni S part of its commitment has a stake in them and is pre- Asomugah expressed hope that A to promote corporate pared to make the necessary someday, “I will be in a position social responsibility through investment to enable them to impact on other lives as continuous engagement with graduates from its scholarship scheme, Guinness Nigeria Plc recently unveiled an initiative tagged ‘Guinness Ex-Scholars Excellence Programme (GEEP)’. At the unveiling ceremony held at the company’s head office in Lagos, Corporate Relations Director, Guinness Nigeria, Sesan Sobowale, said the initiative is to engender firmer and continuous association with the members of the scholarship scheme who are like extended members of the Guinness family. “We want to continue to work with them beyond their graduation so that they can have a truly robust educational experience. The platform will allow the ex-students to network with each other and also give them access to learning resources that can help them as they get into the working population.” Head Sustainability and Responsibility, Adrianne Nwagwu, explained that the alumni is a first of its kind, which would make the exscholars of Guinness Nigeria Plc realise that the company
succeed. “For us at Guinness Nigeria, making an impact is something that lasts a lifetime and not the few years that it takes for students to graduate from our programme. This is a way of extending that relationship. Some of the resources we will offer include trainings in the areas of business, finance and start-ups amongst others.” Over 90 percent of graduates of the scholarship programme attended the inauguration ceremony, with Nwagwu optimistic that the number will continue to grow every year. Vera Asomugah, a graduate of computer science, whose academic performance improved tremendously upon becoming a Guinness Nigeria scholar said, “I am highly honoured to be here as an ex-scholar. I received this scholarship in 2008 and I saw it as privilege for my community, my family and myself. Being a Guinness scholar has propelled me to move from success to success.” While recounting her academic landmarks attributable to the Guinness scholarship,
Caleb Varsity Holds End-of-Year Award/Carol Service T was a memorable day for Iwell-wishers parents, staff, students and as Caleb University, Imota, in Ikorodu, Lagos held its 2013 end-of-year awards/carol service. Speaking at the event, Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Ayodeji Olukoju, stated that the twin event was another milestone in the history of the university, which began in 2008. He stressed that the programme was put in place to appreciate God for what the University had achieved, the parents for their love for the institution and the staff and students for their hardwork and contributions to the growth of the university. Olukoju commended the students for adhering strictly to the university’s high moral and academic standards, in line with its vision and mission as well as being committed to the its core values, which are
grounded in its identity as a Christian faith-based institution. He, however, solicited the continued understanding and support of parents in the task of ensuring the university maintains its current status as a renowned citadel of learning and a centre of excellence in research. He stressed that it was this partnership based upon mutual understanding and close cooperation that would bring the best out of the young ones, who are destined to be leaders of the nation and world at large. The Vice Chancellor reiterated that every student has a fair chance of fulfilling his or her dreams at Caleb University, irrespective of gender or other considerations, adding that the university simply creates the conducive ambience for everyone studying there to achieve his or her full potentials.
mine has been impacted by Guinness and give back to the society also.” Johnson Iruka Innocent, another beneficiary and now a Guinness employee, commended the company management that made time out to be at the event.
beneficial,” he said. The Special Adviser on Press Affairs to Yobe State governor, Abdullahi Bego, in a statement said, the MoU covers such areas as exchange of students and staff between the two universities, joint research activities, participation in seminars and academic meetings, exchange of academic
Chairman, Governing Council of Yobe State University, Professor Musa Alabe and Barrister Ado Isiaku were among the state delegation to the UK. Yobe State government has also signed a similar MoU on mutually beneficial relationship with the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen in Scotland.
materials, special short-term academic programmes and staff development among others. He noted that the MoU, which is signed for an initial period of three years, is seen as a major boost for the fastgrowing Yobe State University to fast-track its academic offerings and development. The Vice Chancellor and the
LAUTECH VC Seeks Improved Funding For Institution HE Acting Vice Chancellor T of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Prof. Adeniyi Gbadegesin has admonished the two visitors to the institution, the governors of the state of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and his Oyo State counterpart, Senator Abiola Ajimobi to seek ways of increasing funding for the institution. Speaking while receiving the Oyo state commissioner for Education, Prof. Solomon Oladapo Olaniyonu who paid a familiarisation visit to the institution’s main campus, the Acting VC, observed the two states have a product to be proud of in the citadel of higher education. He noted that both students and staff of the
University have continued to shine in their various fields by wining laurels both local and international. Gbadegesin, reiterated the resolve of the current leadership of the University to consolidate on his position as the best state University in Nigeria expressed satisfaction with the commitment of the visitors to the university’s survival. He, however, regretted lack of fund for capital projects and delay in payment of staff salaries, but called for more proactive measures to ensure the issue of funding is taken more seriously. In his response, the Oyo State commissioner, accompanied by senior functionaries of the ministry said,
Senator Ajimobi, is committed to make education one of the cornerstones of his administration. He hinted that the state government is pleased with the uncommon feat recorded by LAUTECH in the area of ICT, and is considering using the institution’s facilities for the training of secondary schools’ students towards the implementation of adoption of Computer Based Testing (CBT) for the Joint Admission Examinations Board (JAMB) examination. Olaniyonu, also said the governor is concerned with the unpalatable situation in which LAUTECH’s principal officers are occupying their positions in acting capacity.
Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State (second left) and Vice Chancellor, University of Wolverhampton, Prof. Geoff Layer in a handshake after signing an MoU for cooperation and capacity building between University of Wolverhampton and Yobe State University. With them are the Vice Chancellor, Yobe State University, Prof. Musa Alabe (first right) and the Chairman of Yobe University Governing Council, Alhaji Ado Isiyaku (first left) and other officials in Wolverhampton, UK.
Winners Emerge In UBA National Essay Competition INNERS have emerged W in the third edition of the UBA National Essay
Competition for Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria. In a keenly contested competition, Master Ezenwa Joseph Okonkwo, a fifteen years old student of Sambol Comprehensive High School, Akesan-Igando, Lagos, won the coveted prize of N1 million educational grant from nearly 2000 entries received across the country. Toluwase Adeagbo of Sharon Rose Schools College, Saki and Korie Ijeoma Jennifer of Air Force Secondary School, Port Harcourt emerged first and second runner ups, winning the sum of N750,000 and N500,000 as educational
grants. Speaking during the grand finale and prize presentation, which held at the bank’s corporate head office in Lagos, Alhaji Alkali Mohammed, President Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) commended UBA Foundation for the initiative and urged other institutions to emulate the educational initiative. According to the ICAN President, the path towards sustainable development is through investment in the education of its youths, particularly in Nigeria. He said, “any competition such as this will certainly help to bring out the best in the youths, by kindling their competitive spirit and aca-
demic excellence.” UBA deputy managing director, Kennedy Uzoka, explained that the initiative was not only to test the aptitude and knowledge of the students, but has become a pipeline to groom future UBA Ambassadors. “In UBA we appreciate and nurture talents. All the finalists here today have opportunity to excel in life and UBA is delighted to play a part in the process.” he said. Conceived three years ago, the National Essay Competition was instituted as a follow up to the Read Africa initiative of the UBA Foundation. “Winners each year receive educational grants to study in any university of their choice in Africa. According to the
DMD, the essay competition, which opened for entries in September and closed on November 1, received about 2000 entries from which 12 finalists were selected to write a supervised essay at the bank’s head office. The 12 finalists chosen by a panel of four Nigeria Professors are: Victoria Aluko (Caleb International College, Magodo); Gloria Ayoola (St. John Comprehensive Academy, Ilesa); Korie Ijeoma Jennifer (Air Force Secondary School, Port Harcourt); Sarah Benson (Living Stone College); Ezenwa Joseph Okonkwo (Sambol Comprehensive High School, Akesan-Igando) and Ayewunmi Bukola Ifesowapo (Snr. High School, Aboru).
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Sunday, December 15, 2013
Men Of God On The Essence Of Christmas And How It Should Be Celebrated Christmas is the time when majority of Christians believe Jesus Christ was born even though it was not clearly stated in the Bible that He was born on December 25. But for centuries, Christians all over the world have recognised this day as very unique in Christendom. As Nigerian Christians join their counterparts the world over to mark the event come December 25, the pertinent question is: How should it be celebrated? Is it with the usual merriment that normally characterises past events? Or should people’s conduct reflect the essence of His sacrifice? Some religious leaders who spoke to CHRIS IREKAMBA, GBENGA AKINFENWA and KENECHUKWU EZEONYEJIAKU on the issue remind Christians that the period is not all about merry-making, but a time to think deeply on the essence of the season, which is the love of God for humanity. ‘We Are To Imbibe ’The Sacrificial Spirit Exhibited By Our Lord Through His Birth’ (His Eminence (Dr) Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche, Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria) HRISTMAS is that season when we celebrate the birth of God’s most precious gift to mankind: our Lord Jesus Christ, whose coming is not just a divine occurrence or a fulfillment of a prophecy, but God’s way of reconciling mankind to Himself. Though He was the desire of all nations, yet His coming into the world was little observed and taken notice of, His birth was obscure and unregarded: herein He emptied Himself, and made Himself of no reputation rather, he took upon Him the form of a servant. This manner of humility and sobriety is an important part of the human value system, which has completely been eroded and traded for praise singing, and self-adulation, which has continued to promote and engender corruption and evil practices around the world. The heart of the message of Christianity is God’s provision for dealing with human sin, which is not just individual acts of deceit, immorality and so on, nor is it the sum total of all such acts. Sin also includes a natural tendency to rebel against the Will of God. This rebellion separates humans from God (Isa 59:2; Rom 3:23; 6:23; Eph2: 1-3) and lies at the heart of all social misconduct and conflict. Jesus came into the world to liberate humans from sin and from the consequent wrath of God, whose very nature is opposed to sin in every form. So, while Christmas is a period for us to celebrate the birth of Christ, it is equally a big reminder to us all that His coming is to bring man closer to God, as a result of man’s sin to God. The essence of Christ’s birth, which teaches us to give ourselves and our all to God and for His use and encourages us to share ourselves and our all with those, who do not have and show devout love and respect to and for one another, must not be lost on us. It takes us to love one another as God loves us to share ourselves with others and be willing to give ourselves to His service and humanity. This is the only way to guarantee peace and harmony in the midst of life’s turmoil and challenges. The modest and reticent manner of His birth despite His royal connections and divinity, which lays a solid foundation for the concept of a servant-leader, should serve as a big lesson to all of us, especially those in leadership positions and places of authority. The fact that we are leaders in whatever sphere of human existence does not confer on us the power to oppress others. Rather, it is a responsibility committed to us that should not be abused and misused. Jesus came to the world to make God even more accessible to man by means of being a Mediator, an advocate and a divine communications channel. Such is the role of leaders, who truly think of the people they rule or seek to govern because they are meant to provide good roads, quality education, constant power supply, equity and justice, joy, prosperity, good and quality living, responsible and responsive governance accessible the people. Leaders are to put the people they serve before themselves and not the other way round. Unfortunately, this is not the case in our society today. We have leaders, who think only of themselves and in the process impoverish their people and make life more difficult instead of making it more meaningful.
‘Value For Human Life Is The Essence Of Xmas’ (Yemi Davids, Senior Pastor, Global Impact Church, Lagos) HRISTMAS for Christians is a joyful season, when we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Only that in our context as Nigerians I also want it to be a season of sober reflection, because the essence of Christ coming was sacrifice and the crises in Nigeria and Africa, as at today is due to selfishness. Most of our leaders are selfish and the moment you don’t value human life, you won’t know what it takes to better their lives. For Christians in particular and in our context in Nigeria and Africa, it should also be a sober reflection because Jesus came as a sacrifice; He didn’t come for Himself but for us. So also in the leadership role as CEO or governor, you can’t be thinking only of yourself and your family. Selfishness has been the bane of our underdevelopment and I believe that when an individual values human life he/she will do everything possible to better other’s lives. That is the key to civilisation. We are not just building roads, for its sake. Roads are built because human beings are going to use them and drive safely. The same goes for the
provision of electricity, which has the aim of the betterment of living conditions. But if you don’t value human life as a leader, you are a disaster. But if you value others, then the essence of Christ coming would have been fulfilled. God loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to us. And so, as we celebrate, it should be mixed with a lot of reflection. ‘Occasion Should Not Be Used To Insult The Power That Sustains Our Existence’ (Pastor Lazarus Muoka, General Overseer, The Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Ministries, Lagos) hristmas is a time Christians reflect about the prophecy of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, His birth and the happenings, which surrounded His birth, which also confirms His person and the importance of His coming. The prophecies of His birth were made hundreds of years ago by great men of God before the actual fulfilment. One of the prophecies by Isaiah revealed that although He will be born as a male child, but He is actually a wonderful gift, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. Of the time of His birth, Gal. 4: 4-5 says, “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Christmas is the manifestation of our redemption from the bondage and curse of the law, and our adoption into the number of God’s children. The Son of God took upon Him our flesh, that we might be partakers of His son-ship so as to be freed from the bondage of sin because the primary purpose of His manifestation is to destroy the works of the devil. As written in 1Jn 3: 8, “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” The Scripture above explains that anybody that commits sin makes himself a child of the devil. For the devil is the designer and developer of sin. Anybody that indulges in the works of the devil is not celebrating Christ (mas) but Satan. Unfortunately, many people have turned Christmas to a period of committing fornication, adultery, stealing, drunkenness, dissipation and indulgence among other vices. But it ought not to be so.
‘Any Ceremony Where People Over-drink Or Over-eat, Is Not Celebration’ (Very Rev. Msgr. Gabriel Osu, Director of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos) Christmas is a symbol of Christ’s birth; Christ’s coming into the world. It should be celebrated with joy. If a woman is pregnant for nine months and is delivered of a baby, how do they celebrate it? Don’t they eat and drink? Don’t they pray and thank God? So it should be celebrated with thanksgiving and joy. Any ceremony, where people over-drink or overeat is not a celebration. Moderation should be the watchword of the celebration and people should be moderate in whatever they are doing. Jesus is more concerned with the state of our soul than in our bank accounts. He is more interested in the love and care you share around this season than on the number of cars you purchase or the number of house-warming ceremonies you organise during this festive season. Let us strive to look beyond the material and truly prepare ourselves for the coming of the Son of Man. Let us make straight
Everyday is like Christmas because Jesus is so good to us every day. But this time is extra special because He pours out His love in extra measure. We feel His love from loved ones, acquaintances, and even strangers. There’s just something about Jesus’ birthday that turns people’s hearts and minds to peace and love and goodwill. It brings out the best in everyone because it brings Jesus out, and He’s the best! — David Brandt Berg (1919–1994)
the way of the Lord so that we would not be found wanting when, on Christmas morning, He leaves His heavenly home to come and dwell among us. ‘This Is A Time To Really Readjust’ (Pastor Johnson Odesola, Special Assistant to the General Overseer, The Redeemed Christian Church of God on Administration/Personnel and Pastor-in-Charge of the Headquarters) HRISTMAS is a time when the Lord remembered the world. Before Christmas, the whole world was in darkness but when Jesus came, He brought light? So, it is a time to remember that God has a plan for us. He discharges His plans to the world and we should celebrate it in the spirit of friendship, openness, exchange of gifts reconciliation and forgiveness because that is the essence of Christmas. Christmas is a time the Lord just remembered ‘I don’t want to keep these people in bondage’ and sent the Saviour to them. This period is supposed to be for sober reflection, of joy and to make peace with each other and not just with our families, but also with friends, neighbours to exchange gifts and pleasantries. We should also remember the poor because God remembered us in our poor estate. He sent His only begotten Son from heaven. We should carry all this to various quarters. We should go to hospitals, share the Goodnews with them. With gifts, go to the less privileged homes, the orphanages and share with them. Christ represents peace and the conduct of Christmas should be peaceful. This is not a period for agitation.
‘There Is Nothing Christ-like About Christmas’ (Brother Godwin. O. Ifeacho, Chairman of the Executive Board, God Kingdom Society (GKS) T is common knowledge that December 25 is notorious in history, as the date for the celebration of a number of pagan festivals, which the Church deliberately absorbed and ‘baptised’. December 25 was the date the Greeks marked the birth of their saviuor-god, Dionysus; the Egyptians the birth of their saviour-god Osiris; and the Persians of their god Mithra. It was a special day for the Babylonians, who held a festival for the victory of the sun-god, Saturnalia, and a day for the worship of the Roman god, Attis, whose body was eaten symbolically by his followers in the form of bread. But Christians should have nothing to do with paganism. - Jeremiah 10:2,3; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. The word Christmas is derived from the Old English Cristes Maesse, or Cristes-messe, the Mass of Christ. Mass is the public celebration of the Eucharist, a sacrament in the Roman Catholic Church (especially) in which they believe that “under the appearances of bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present, as the grace-producing food of our souls.” But those, who take the memorial supper of holy communion are not eating the very body of Christ or drinking His blood, as the bread and wine only represent or stand for His body and blood. In any case, the celebration of the memorial supper in this age is anachronistic because it ought to have ceased in this period of Christ’s second presence and it was meant to be observed ONCE a year by a select few, the apostles only, not every body. – Matthew 24:3-8, 23-26; 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:23-28; etc. In view of the importance of Christ’s advent, in preaching the truth, so that people of God may be freed from lies and ignorance, and dying for the sins of men, the importance of the observance of His birth is beyond question. See - John 5: 23-25; 3:16; 15:13,14; Hebrews 10:10-13.
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Sunday School Rapture (1) Memory Verse: “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” 1 Corinthians 15:51. Bible Passage: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Introduction The second coming of Christ prophesied by Daniel in Daniel 7:13 is inevitable. It will be in two phases. The first, “being like a thief in the night” to receive unto Himself His Church. This is popularly called the rapture. Outlines • What is the Rapture? • When is the Rapture? • What will happen at the Rapture? • How will it happen? What is the Rapture? The word, rapture, is not found anywhere in the Bible. The
... With Pastor Enoch Adeboye rapture is the sudden catching up or sudden disappearance of holy and faithful saints from the earth to meet with our Lord and Saviour in the air. It is also referred to as the translation of believers – 1 Thess.4:16-17; 1 Cor.15:51-58. Examples in the Old Testament are; Enoch – Gen.5:22-24; Heb.11:5 and Elijah – 2 Kgs.2:11. It shall be as sudden as the twinkling of an eye – 1 Cor.15:52. When is the Rapture? The exact timing of the occurrence of the rapture is not known – Matt.24:42, 44; Matt.25:13; 1 Thess.5:6. We, however, know that it shall precede the tribulation – 1 Thess.1:10, 5:9; 2 Thess.2:12. What will happen at the Rapture? The following are to be expected at the rapture: • The trumpet of God shall sound – 1 Cor.15:52; 1 Thess.4:16. • The dead in Christ shall rise first – Jn.5:25; 1 Thess.4:16; 1 Cor.15:23. • Saints, which are alive shall be “caught up” to meet our Lord
in the air – 1 Thess.4:17; 1 Cor.15:51. • The dead in Christ and living saints will have glorified or immortal bodies and live forever – 1 Cor.15:52-54; Phil.3:20-21; Col.3:4; 1 Jn.3:2. • There shall be extraordinary chaos on the earth – 1 Thess.5:23; Mt.24:40-41. How will it happen? • It shall happen suddenly – 1 Cor.15:52; 1 Thess.5:3; Matt.24:36-41. • The power of God shall immortalise the bodies of saints – Phil.3:21. • The sudden “vacancies” produced by such disappearance shall give birth to the chaos. Conclusion Jesus warned us it will happen “suddenly”, we must be prepared. Are you alert and ready? Mk.13:32-37. You will not be left behind in Jesus’ name.
If You Were Mandela! By Gabriel Osu ODAY, the whole world is T celebrating the legend, Nelson Mandela, who re-
Founder and Spiritual Head of Shafaudeen in Islam, Engr. Olagoke Sabitu (celebrant) (left) with Baale of Ajayi Amodu, Wakajaye and Elegbeda of Egbeda at the 60th birthday celebration of Sabitu in Ibadan.
Are You A Christian Or A BeBy S.K. Abiara OME people worship the creation rather than God, the Creator. ”Manasseh practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the Lord’s sight, arousing his anger”-2 Chronicles 33:6. Some worship spiritual powers, which are not from God. As Peter entered his home, Cornelius fell to the floor before him in worship. But Peter pulled him up and said, “Stand up! I’m a human being like you!”- Acts 10:25-26. When the listening crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, “These men are gods in human bodies!”Acts 14:11-15. Many people make the mistake of worshipping celebrities and other impressive figures. Don’t let anyone say you must worship angels, even though they say they have had visions about this”- Colossians 2:18. Some people revere their own spiritual experiences. Here is God’s verdict for all idol worshippers according to Jeremiah 10:11, “Say this to those who worship other gods: “Your socalled gods, who did not make the heavens and earth, will vanish from the earth.” On the other hand, an idol worshipper or anyone involved in any form of evil can receive forgiveness in this side of life and eventually inherit
Abiara God’s kingdom if he/she repents and sincerely come to Jesus for forgiveness and cleansing. Read the promise of God in Ezekiel 36:25, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols.” A believer, who is not a Christian, could be a churchgoer and even be a worker but such do not see sin as abomination, the Bible likens them to animals such as dog and pig. Sometimes in the course of Jesus’ ministry, He used animals to illustrate (dog, pig, goat and sheep). Jesus used sheep and dove to exemplify the expected nature and behaviour of a Christian. “My sheep recognise my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. So no one can take them from me”-John 10:27-
29. “All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate them, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left”-Matt.25: 32-33. You will observe that Jesus used sheep and goats to picture the division between a Christian and believer, who is rebellious and disobedient. Sheep and goats often grazed together but were separated when it was time to shear the sheep. “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his demons! For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me no clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me. “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ And he will answer, ‘I assure you, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters; you were refusing to help me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life”-Matt.25: 41-46. Where do you belong? Prophet Abiara, General Evangelist CAC Worldwide, firstname.lastname@example.org
cently passed on to the great beyond at the ripe age of 95. Mandela’s life accomplishments can only be likened to a fairy tale. As I stayed glued to the television set last Tuesday watching world leaders arrive South Africa for the funeral service of this great man, one thing that kept forming in my mind was: when again would humanity be blessed with such a man as Nelson Mandela? But I found consolation in the fact that in every generation, God has been so kind to bless humanity with the presence of some extraordinary souls to beam the light in a dark and troubled world. These individuals are men and women like you and I. But one thing that marked them out from the crowd was their moral forthrightness and undaunting spirit. They were ready to embark on the difficult part of fighting for the truth, even if the rest of the maddening crowd refused to stand by them. They don’t necessarily have to take up arms to be heard. Indeed, some of the greatest societal transformation that has ever occurred was through non-violence. Students of history know that the 20th century was marked with so many struggles by the black man to have his voice heard amidst the cacophony of dissenting voices. Having succeeded in erasing the toga of slavery from its dictum, there was the need for him to prove that he deserves to be treated equally and with the dignity that is accruable to all humans. But it was at a great price. Circa America. In the 60’s, the late Martin Luther King (Jn.) led series of protests to drive home the need for equal rights for blacks. He suffered greatly in the process and was eventually assassinated. But his dream of a day when the colour of a man’s skin would not determine his eventual destiny, but the content of his character, was not futile. It came to fruition in the year
2008 when a black man, Barrak Obama, became the first elected black president of the U.S.A. Meanwhile, back home the apartheid regime in South Africa was at its peak, wielding the big stick at the black man and barring him from having a say in matters of his destiny. Enter Nelson Mandela. Mandela was no doubt a man of destiny. He had choices like you and I. But he chose the path of fighting for justice at great personal pains. He was not a perfect man. He had his own shortcomings like all of us. But he was able to tower above his personal challenges for the good of all. In the process, his children never grew with their father beside them. Indeed they never understood him. His first marriage did not work out well. His second to Winnie also crashed. At a time when he should be enjoying the youthful part of his life, he ended up isolated on Robben Island for 27 years. There, he was confined to a small cell; made to live like a common criminal.
In spite of all these, the man Mandela never lost hope and was never embittered. Rather, he saw his confinement as a process of self-discovery. Those that knew him said he cut the picture of a dignified figure, ever courteous and slow to anger. When eventually he was released, rather than withdraw into his shell, the enigma called Mandela continued to press on for the emancipation of South Africa, which came to light in the year 2004, when he was elected the first black president of a democratic South Africa. Now, if you were Nelson Mandela armed with the paraphernalia of office, what would you do to your oppressors and enemies? Would it not be an opportunity to get back at those who have wrongly enslaved and made your life miserable? Not so for our dear Madiba. He rose to the call of Jesus Christ that we forgive without ceasing. Would you have done the same? Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos
At Mantle 2013: Clerics Task Christians On God’s Word, Love By Isaac Taiwo HE General Overseer of World Evangelism Bible Church, Prophet Samson Ayorinde has urged Christians to esteem God’s word more than any other mundane thing. Speaking during the opening ceremony of Mantle 2013 with the theme: “Dry Bones shall rise again” at the church headquarters in Lagos, Ayorinde said without the Word of God in the life a minister, anointing would not stay. The cleric, who stressed that zeal is necessary for an evangelist, enjoined them to spread the gospel. “You need zeal and knowledge to become an evangelist because you need to study the Word of God, digest it before releasing it out,” he said. In his message, the Guest Speaker, Senior Pastor, International Gospel Centre, who has his headquarters in Berlin, Germany, with branches in Russia, Ukraine and Israel, Valeriy Ivannik, urged Christians to show love. “Basic command of God is that we should love one another, irrespective of nationality, colour and educational background, therefore, there is no excuse not to love. We should love one another because we have only one God and irrespective of colour or race, we all have the same feelings. It is unreasonable when people begin to have conflict on the basis of nationality and religion. God calls us to love one another and live in peace. In our Church, our main goal is to bring all churches and all nationals together and teach them how to love God and their neighbours, irrespective of individual’s background. We have already in our church different nationals including Vietnams, Russians, Germans, among others,” he said.
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Sunday, December 15, 2013
God Cannot Lie (1) By Gabriel Agbo “Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear that they would take his bones with them when God led them out of Egypt - AS HE WAS SURE GOD WOULD.” Exodus 13:19. MMUTABILITY is the right word to use when attempting to describe God’s faithfulness to His words, promises and purposes. The counsel of God does not fail. Even when everything looks like it will not come to pass: man has forgotten, no records kept, time spent, everything looking negative and the enemy already in jubilation, His ultimate purpose still finds a way to breakthrough the barriers and get established. And it is not very difficult to under-
stand why it is so. A word of a person carries His/her authority, attributes and power. The God of Israel; Jehovah is the maker and controller of all things. He sees eternity from eternity. He knows the end of everything from the beginning. He has the whole universe and the happenings in His hands. And He is the Almighty, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. So, nothing can actually challenge His words. What we are just trying to say here is that the word and promises of God are irreversible, final, unalterable and binding. They cannot be changed by man, Satan or circumstances. They will always come to pass at the divine appointed time. I love the way
the writer of Hebrew puts it, “So God has given us both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie.” Yes, it is impossible for God to lie! Why should He? Is it to please men that are just His creatures? Or to protect Himself? Obtain favour? Defend His actions? Satisfy anybody or what? The Bible said that He made all things for His own pleasure and glory. That is, He is not rushing to impress anybody. So, why would He say or promise things that He would not bring to pass? Why would He do things that would impinge on His integrity? Now, what has God said about you? Hold it very firmly because it will certainly come to pass.
Church Holds Fundraising By Paul Adunwoke
INGDOM Recovery Church, Ajegunle, Lagos, recently, held a N50 million fundraising with the aim of building a new conducive church for its followers. The programme tagged: “From Canal to Canada,” featured entertainments including choreography, choir singing and dancing, among others. The church, which started in 1987 held its first service at Felicia Omoru’s (a member) apartment in Ajegunle. Eventually an accommodation, called Mba Centre was acquired, but an increase in membership again resulted in accommodation problem. A plot of land was purchased by the side of canal and was called Babani Centre. But because the place was impassable due the canal, they left and purchased another plot of land in Abukuru Street, Ajegunle on which they now want to build the church. Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Reli-
gious Matters; Rev. (Dr.) Samuel Ogedengbe told members of the church that by next year, the church would have been completed. “I believe it is the Lord’s doing. Kingdom issue is not an easy thing, even during the time of John the Baptist. God can do more than expected. I believe that at this fundraising, the Lord will see you through and lift you to higher level. I can see in a vision very high level for this Church,” he said. Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the church, Pastor Chinedu Obiakor, said with unity in the church, it is bound to develop. “We want to join hands together to develop the church because God is one and united we stand but divided we fall. Unity is the answer,” he said. Head Pastor of the church, Victor Echesi told the congregation that no contribution is too small. “If you can buy one bag of cement, it is acceptable. We have been long
awaited at the back of canal, serving the Lord in a swampy area. Today, we have said goodbye to the canal, just like Israelites said bye to Egyptians. I have told my followers that they won’t fellowship in a canal anymore. We are holding a launching to build up the church in a way conducive for worship. I believe our new place will be a fruitful ground for brethren— those that are poor would be rich, the sick shall be healed and many that are possessed shall be delivered,” he said. Chairman, planning committee of the programme, Emmanuel Bassey, said the church passed through difficulties during preparation. “We appreciate God for His mercy because it took us two weeks to organise the programme. The land was bought over a year ago, and we desire to develop it, which has not been easy. I believe that at the end, we shall see what the Lord can do,” he said.
Springs Of Wisdom The Bible is more of a book of prophecies and the fulfillment of prophecies. From Genesis to Revelation. God demonstrates His capacity and willingness to accurately and totally bring His words to pass. This is also why you will read from the scriptures — And it came to pass. As it was written. As the Lord said. As she was told. As the angel of the Lord told him. As the prophets said, etc. When God called Abram (Abraham) out, he was nobody, had nothing, and had no child. But God began to tell him what He would do with and for him. God told him what would become of his descendants hundreds and thousands of years to come. God told him that his (Abram’s) descendants would be like the stars of heaven. Uncountable. He told him that these his descendants will eventually be enslaved in a foreign land for 400 years, but that He would still bring them out and establish them in their own land. He also told him that his descendant (Jesus Christ) would be a blessing to all nations of the world. And that was to fulfill thousands of years after. Did any one of these promises fail? What do you want to say about the descendants of Abraham? The Nation of Israel, the Arab Jews, African Jews, European Jews. The Jews in America, Russia, even in Asia. Remember also that there are those who are children of Abraham by faith and these are billions of Christians all over the world. All very formidable, organised, wealthy and powerful. In fact, I always laugh when Israel is being threatened. This is because I know very well that no nation on earth can easily defeat those people. God’s promises truly cannot fail. You can trust Him! Rev. Agbo is a minister with the Assemblies of God Nigeria. email@example.com
The Wise Won’t Compromise (3) “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption”. 1 Corinthians 1:30. By Seyi Ogunorunyinka HE Bible tells us that when T we receive Jesus into our lives, we receive wisdom. If you are born again and you are not operating in wisdom, then there is something wrong. The dictionary defines wisdom as “Insight or a good sense of judgment.” The only one, who has insight or a good sense of judgment concerning every issue of your life, is the Holy Spirit. To operate in wisdom, therefore, is to not compromise your personal conviction about what you believe is right and this personal conviction is based on the leading of the
Holy Spirit, who automatically comes into you the moment you give your life to Christ. We know that Jesus left the Holy Spirit to help us in all our ways. Part of His numerous functions include guiding us in our decision making process in order to protect us from danger; leading us along the path we need to walk in order to enter into the blessings of God for our lives; comforting and reassuring us until God says our time is up; and exposing everything that is hidden. The Holy Spirit can do all this and more because He has insight into every issue concerning our lives. Insight is the power to understand the true nature of a situation. The Holy Spirit is the only person who can understand the things that we cannot see. Therefore, as Christians, we must walk in conjunction with Him and follow His leading at all times. The question for us all then is: How do we differentiate the direction of the Holy Spirit from that of our flesh? The Bible says
in “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit,” Romans 8:4-5. As children of God, we are enjoined not to walk by the flesh but by the spirit; the only way that you can know if you are being controlled by the flesh or by the Holy Spirit is to check if the things that you are doing are gratifying your flesh; if they are, then you are operating in the flesh. The flesh and the Holy Spirit are in enmity. Therefore, when you take decisions in the flesh they are not and can never be of God. Every Christian should be able to manage their emotions and when they do not, their emotions will lead them to make decisions that can end in their destruction. The reason some people are in
bondage is because of the wrong decisions they made in the past in the flesh and out of sentiment or emotions. Even though they realise that there is a way out of their problems, they allow the same sentiment and emotions that got them into trouble in the first place to prevent them from making the decisions that are required to get them out of the problems. Those who will rise up with wings of eagles are those that will put away sentiment and emotions and allow themselves to be directed by the Holy Spirit. You must determine to make the right choices and decisions now because once you are dead; it will be too late to undo the wrong that you have done. Pastor Ogunorunyinka, General Overseer, The Promisedland Restoration Ministries, Surulere, Lagos. firstname.lastname@example.org
By Pastor W. F. Kumuyi
Knowing God EN are inquisitive animals. Which explains why many people M seem eager to unmask God, to unravel the secret behind His existence and the mysterious ways He operates in human affairs to fulfill His will and purpose. But the futility of this venture is founded in the truth that the natural mind, except it is regenerated, can neither discover nor assimilate the things of God and spiritual things. Little wonder, Job in dumbfounded amazement, queried: “Canst thou by searching find out God?” The answer to the question is no. God reveals Himself to people He favours - people who seek to know Him by divine revelation. He hides spiritual knowledge from the naturally “wise and prudent,” who seek to know Him only by the exercise of their intellect rather than by faith. He reveals Himself to the humble. As the scriptures rightly pointed out, “no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” This explains why skeptics are unable to fathom God’s existence, power and love for humanity. No level of education in any area of human endeavour can reveal God to man. The Jewish religious leaders, for instance, were learned but they still remained ignorant of God and His plan of redemption that Jesus Christ brought to them. God is a mystery that can only be known through divine revelation. Acquaintanceship with Jesus Christ in Whom “dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” equips us with the wisdom to understand some of the mysteries of God Himself. Although the scriptures are full of facts on God’s omnipotence and majestic power, you may not be able to understand the full breadth of that truth if you have no relationship with the living God, through the New Birth experience. Paul the Apostle, formerly called Saul of Tarsus, could not understand the mysteries until after his spectacular divine encounter, while travelling to Damascus. It was after that experience that he, who severely persecuted the early church, received divine revelation and began to preach the gospel of the head of the church, Jesus Christ. He became submissive to God. Divine revelation makes us submissive to the Will of God. Everyone needs to know God through divine revelation. It is not even possible for the finite mind to know everything there is to know about the physical world, much less the spiritual. God is Almighty. There is no weakness in Him at all. He cannot be intimidated by anyone. There is no limitation or decrease of His power and glory. God is able to do all things. God is also eternal. He has no beginning or end. He is the Alpha and Omega. Never ageing, He is always there during trials, challenges and difficulties to support, help and deliver. He is omniscient. He knows the past, present and future events about every continent, country and person. God is omnipotent. He can do all things. He divided the Red Sea for the Israelites to walk on dry ground, but drowned the Egyptian army in it. God is omnipresent. He is everywhere and sees everything everyone does. As such, believers should know the power and promises of God. Enemies or negative situations will not frighten them. God is immutable. He does not change, neither can negative situations or circumstances make Him change His Word! God is invisible because He is a Spirit. He is unsearchable. No one can fully know Him. The more we know, the more we want to know about Him. He is new every day. He continues to reveal Himself in His Word as we continue to commune with Him. God is faithful. Whatever He promises, He fulfills. God is holy: there is no unrighteousness in Him. He is incorruptible, pure and just. Satan and men cannot corrupt Him. Although He is Almighty and omniscient, but He is also loving. The more others know about your character flaws and secrets and weaknesses, the less loving they become towards you. But God’s love for us remains constant despite what He knows about us. God is impartial. He cannot be bribed nor be influenced to do things contrary to His holy attributes. There is no favouritism with God. He fulfills His promises irrespective of tribe, nationality, race and gender. He saves, sanctifies, heals and delivers anybody that exercises faith in His unfailing promises. Like Him, believers need to be uncompromisingly impartial in their dealings with others. God is love. In love, He planned our redemption from sin. Having created us, He desires that we live with Him forever. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us... For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” He manifests His love towards everyone that repents from sin by granting forgiveness and cleansing through the blood of Jesus Christ. Having saved us, He gives us the strength and grace to live victoriously over temptations and trials. He also sanctifies us so that we will be completely free from not just outward, but inward sins. The believer, who truly loves God, must hate everything He hates. Having demonstrated great love for us, He demands that we love Him more than every other thing or person on earth. His question to every believer is, “lovest thou me more than these?” He who loves self, spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends and money more than Jesus Christ is not worthy of Him. If we are Christ-like in love, we will be more than conquerors and nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” References: Job 11:7-9; Matthew 11:25-27; Colossians 2:9; Ephesians 2:18; Revelation 1:4,5; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Genesis 17:1; Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 139:1-6; Job 42:2; Jeremiah 23:23,24; James 1:17; 1 Timothy 1:17; Romans 11:33; Hebrews 10:22,23; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 4:7-10; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 Timothy 5:20,21; Romans 5:8-10; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 John 4:9-13; 5:2-5; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Colossians 3:1-6; 1 John 2:15-17; John 21:1517; Matthew 10:37,38; Romans 8:35-39; Matthew 3:8,9; Romans 4:18-21; 2 Corinthians 9:8;Hebrews 7;25,26; 2 Timothy 2:12-14; Philippians 3:14-17,21; Jude 20-25. (All scriptures are from Kings James Version).
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THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
From The Rector Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor
It Shall Rain Again (2) By Ernest Onuoha
Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word…And Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain…And a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain…’ 1 Kings 17:1, 18: 41, 45 T is interesting to note firstly Iwasthat Elijah spoke; his voice familiar and was recognised by heaven. Absolutely, there is power in the spoken word. Words spoken in the name of God carry anointing. That was why at the word of Elijah, it rained again. As a child of God, is your voice familiar to heaven? Can you speak and heaven will respond? With your years in the church and your contact with the Lord Jesus, can your voice be familiar to heaven? Those,
who work for God and with God, will always speak the word fearlessly and courageously, too. And when they do, things happen. Our duty is just to speak the word and God of miracles will empower the word. The Bible has some examples of those, who spoke the word and heaven listened: David to Goliath– ‘You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of
Israel, whom you have defied.’ (1Sam. 17:45). Say to your goliath: I come to you today in the name of the Lord of hosts. Also, Simon said to Jesus – ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’ (Luke 5:5). Therefore, years of unfruitfulness, frustration shall be over as you speak the word. Peter and John to the cripple at the beautiful gate – ‘I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!’ (Acts 3:6). At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Secondly, Elijah was a man of incredible faith because he spoke again to Ahab ‘Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain…And a little
while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain…’ 1 Kings 18: 41, 45. Faith according to Hebrews 11:1 says: ‘now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’ In our relationship with God, we need faith and when we do not have it, we belittle God and magnify the devil. Elijah spoke with assurance that God will perform and release the rain once again. If he had doubted, the miracle of the rain could not have taken place. Jesus said: ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’ (Matt. 17:20). Do we really have faith as children of God? Do we panic when we are confronted with a situation? We need a faith that addresses impossibilities: under God I shall pass my exams, I shall have a breakthrough, my health shall improve again, people will begin to love me and favour me and so on and so forth. Let your faith come alive now! Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. www.ibrucentre.org
Testimony Galore At CPM ‘Honourable Thanksgiving’ Service HE lawmaker representing T Lagos Central Senatorial District, Senator Oluremi Tinubu has said that the General Overseer of Christian Pentecostal Mission International, Rev. (Dr) Obiora Ezekiel and his wife, Rev. Mercy Ezekiel are her mentors. The Senator, who made this known recently at the thanksgiving service organised by the church, said the couple has been a source of inspiration to her. Speaking through Assistant Pastor, Elizabeth Ayilara, who represented her at the occasion, Tinubu said the couple is like ‘father and mother’ to her. She prayed God to give them the grace to continue to shine for Him. Also the First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Emmanuella Fashola said the last time she attended the programme, the Lord, through Rev. Ezekiel changed her concept of life and since then, she has stopped complaining. She was full of praises for what the churches are doing, especially during this month of December. “We all know that once it is December in all the churches, we give thanks to God for all He has done in our lives. In our church today, we held a thanksgiving; it is really time for us to go closer to our God and tell Him ‘in all you have given me, this is your share,” she said. She said the country would have fared better if everybody did the right thing. She called on Christians to show good examples through their conduct and lifestyle. “If we do our work well, our country would not be the way it is today. And I just pray that as Christians, our lives would shine forth, because if we are able to show good example, it will attract others to Christ and they will know we serve a living God. There is nothing we need in life that God cannot give us. We should be our brothers’
keepers by always sharing whatever we have with others,” she said. All attendees had one testimony or the other to share. For instance, the General Overseer of Vineyard Christian Ministries, Archbishop John OsaOni, said he was blessed during one of Dr. Ezekiel’s programmes and urged the con-
gregation to open their hearts, saying next year they will come with more blessings. Earlier in his sermon, the host, Rev. Ezekiel had prophetically told the congregation to pray for their loved ones, especially those that are politicians or unbelievers so they won’t experience the
calamity God showed him that would befall those outside the ‘Ark’. Said he: “Some of them will not enjoy the year 2014. Pray for them because the calamity won’t be limited to just 2014, but also through 2015 until the year 2017. But believers don’t have to panic. God will also open the door, at the end of
General Overseer, Christian Pentecostal Mission Int’l (CPM), Rev. (Dr) Obiora Ezekiel (left); his wife, National/Int’l Coordinator, CPM, Rev. (Mrs.) Mercy Ezekiel; First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola; and Assistant Pastor, World Evangelism Bible Church, Elizabeth Ayilara, who represented Senator Oluremi Tinubu at the yearly Thanksgiving Service in Ajao Estate, Lagos… recently.
Divine Comfort By Patrick Esho HERE are two types of comT fort: The comfort of man and the comfort of God. The former is consolation in the time of trouble or distress. When in distress, man will console you to bear the distress but his consolation will not remove the problem or pain. He would tell you that you are not the first to have encountered the type of problem you are facing. He will give you good examples of other people that have gone through similar problems or pain in the past and yet survived. His consolation is usually in the form of pity and sympathy (Psalm 69:20), which may not be as a result of his love for you or will
it change the circumstance. In fact his pity and sympathy may even be to ridicule you and give the impression that he is more righteous than you are. He may use your affliction as an opportunity to gain an advantage over you or make you subservient to him. Boaz was Elimelech, Naomi’s husband’s relative and Ruth was Elimelech’s son’s wife and daughter-in-law to Naomi. When Naomi returned to Bethlehem with Ruth, the Moabitess after the famine, Ruth was gleaning grain in Boaz’s farm along with his servants. When Boaz discovered that Ruth was daughter-in-law to Naomi, he comforted her by allowing her to continue to glean grains in his farm. He instructed his ser-
vants to deliberately leave some grains for her to pick up. Ruth saw this gesture as comfort from Boaz, yet she was more or less a beggar and Boaz’s comfort did not elevate her from that status. But for Naomi’s wisdom, Ruth would not have been elevated to the status of a wife to Boaz (Ruth 1-4). When God permitted Satan to afflict Job, he lost every thing that he had including his children. When his three friends heard of the adversity that befell him, they gathered together to mourn with him and comfort him (Job 2:11). On reaching him, they could not recognise him because of the sore of affliction all over his body. What was their reaction? First of all, they lifted their voices and wept. Secondly, each one of them tore his clothes. Thirdly, they sprinkled dust on their heads. Fourthly,
Living Waters By Pastor Lazarus Muoka
Christianity Demands Followership, Not Fan ELOVED, to be a believer is one thing and to be a disciple is B another. One can be a believer but is not willing to carry the cross brought by the demand of his faith. Some may believe in their heart that Jesus is Lord, but may be ashamed or may not see the rational in identifying with Christian groups in his/her community or office. This attitude is the trademark of ordinary believers, many of who claim to be Christians but hate the work of righteousness and evangelism. These kinds of Christians do not stand firm to defend Christianity even when situation demands it. It is not their business if the enemies of faith attack a Church, neither does it concern them when a man of God is persecuted or mocked. They always join hands with the wicked to stop a preacher in the bus from doing evangelism. On many occasions, they are the real problems of Christianity because they help to whip up sentiment against those that are following the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. Evangelism is like a taboo to them, as they wish that every Christian should end their spiritual commitment to only the level of belief. Jn 8: 30-31 says, “As he spake these words, many believed in him. 31 “Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed in him, ‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” Fans of a football star are passionate about him but will never wish to subscribe to the rigorous exercises the footballer engages himself. Besides singing praises, the fans also put on cloths with inscription of the football star. But when it comes to passing through the rudiments of becoming a star, the fan will not be involved in any such things. But a follower would like to eat such food as the football star eats, drink same water and receive same training. As some people admire a football star, so also some people in Christendom admire our Lord Jesus Christ but do not like to follow His footstep. They took the names of the Apostles but won’t like to them. And these people were the people our Lord Jesus Christ addressed in the passage above. They were neither heathen nor unbelievers. He was speaking to those that He had converted through His preaching, those that have believed in Him. Those who had known Him and believed in what He can do. They were not in doubt of His doctrine but have chosen to remain as fans only, because they were not ready to follow His sound teaching. They “believed in Him” but their faith was not yet made perfect by obedience. For them to be real followers (Christians), they must have their faith tested. They must let their neighbours know about their faith by showing obedience to His commandments and living a holy life, for this would be a proof that their faith was genuine, for the tree is known by its fruit. Discipleship (followership) is an abiding condition; it is a life, not an act. So if the level of your Christianity has ended at the point of just believing, then you should not be too confident in your faith because it has not been tried and if tried, has not produced a holy life, without which, it is vain. For a mere believer to be a follower of Jesus, he must move to the next level of his faith, which will nourish his status as believer and gives him the confidence of making heaven at last, for this is the true test of Christian character. Jesus entreated them to continue in the teaching, which they have received, for in doing so, they shall be made free. It is not enough to receive God’s Truth; we must retain and walk in it. And it is only when we receive the truth, love it, keep it, and walk in it, that we are genuine Disciples of Christ and by extension, His followers. So, what Christianity demands is only a continued belief of His word and obedience to His commands. they sat down with him for seven days and seven nights without uttering a word to him. Their weeping did not solve Job’s problem. The tearing of their clothes did not relieve Job’s pain. The dust they sprinkled on their head did not change Job’s situation. To even make matters worse, they sat opposite him for seven days and seven nights without speaking a word to him. (Job 2:11-13). What manner of comfort? Before his friends came, Job was coping very well with his affliction. But when they came to comfort him in the ways of man, they broke his spirit. For Job after this, opened his mouth and cursed the day he was born (Job 3: 1-26). Now after Job had poured out the anguish of his heart, his friends one after the other in the spirit
of comforting him started the ridicule proper. (Job 4, 5, 8, 11, 18, 20). When God decided to comfort Job, the Bible says in Job 42:10: And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends (as the Lord commanded him Job: 42 verses 8,9); also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Verse 11 says: Then came there unto him all his brethren and all his sisters, and all they that has been of his acquaintance before and did eat bread with him in his house, and they bemoaned him, and gave him a piece of money and every one an earing of gold. And in verse 12(a), it says: So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning. Esho, Senior/Presiding Pastor Rabboni Ministry International email@example.com
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36 Sunday December 15, 2013
The 2013 Diary: JULY — AUGUST
Compiled by VICTOR OSHISADA
Students protest FG/ASUU stand on strike
tention of his administration. He apologised to Nigerians especially the inhabiJuly 1. ASUU begins indefinite strike over un- tants of the South-West, for the paid allowances. A declaration of “an indefi- inconveniences they had to live with ocnite and total strike” by the Academic Staff casioned by the deplorable nature of the Union of Universities (ASUU) marked the be- road. ginning of a fresh disruption of academic activities in the nation’s federal and state July 6. Jonathan presides over Army’s universities. The universities’ teachers said 150th anniversary, says Military must that they declared the strike to register their abide by ethics. President Jonathan displeasure over Federal Government’s alpresided over the closing ceremony of leged refusal to pay their ‘’earn allowances’’ the 150th anniversary of the Nigerian *Court nullifies appointments of service Army in Abuja, asking the Army to strictly chiefs. The Federal High Court, Abuja Diviabide by all ethics governing its conducts sion, ruled that the President of the Federal and respect human rights in all its operaRepublic of Nigeria could not lawfully aptions. point service chiefs without the approval of the Senate. The trial judge, Justice Adamu July 7. North may negotiate presidency in Bello, declared the said appointments “un- 2015. Chairman of Northern Governors’ constitutional, illegal, null and void”. Forum, Dr Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, expressed that in the collective interest of July 2. Reps ban same-sex marriage. A legisla- Nigerians, the leaders of the northern tion barring same-sex marriage finally got part of the country might support any rethe endorsement of the House of Represen- gion that might produce the president tatives. The Senate earlier passed similar leg- after the 2015 election, but the North islation, implying that barring any need for would negotiate properly with those a conference committee of both arms of the seeking the office in a bid to safeguard National Assembly, a harmonized copy of the region’s interest. the Bill would be represented to the President, Goodluck Jonathan for assent. July 9. Appeal Court dethrones Olofa of Ofa. The Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, July 3. 20,550 Borno residents flee to Camer- Kwara State, ordered the removal from ofoun over Boko Haram. No fewer than 20,550 fice of the Olofa of Ofa, Oba Mufutau resident of 15 border communities in Gbadamosi Efuwape, and ordered Gawoza Local Council of Borno State fled to prompt installation of Abdulrauf AdegCameroun. They vowed never to return. boyega Keji as the new Olofa. *Egyptian military sacks Morsi’s government. Egypt’s military removed President July 10. Boko Haram’s ceasefire won’t affect Mohammed Morsi, because he failed to reemergency rule. The alleged ceasefire besign after an ultimatum given to him extween the Federal Government and Ispired. The Constitution was suspended and lamic group, Boko Haram, might not the head of the Constitutional Court was ap- affect the emergency rule in Adamawa, pointed to succeed in the interim. Borno and Yobe states. The chairman, Presidential Amnesty Committee on DiaJuly 4. Appeal Court removes Obong of Cal- logue and Peaceful Resolution of Security abar. Citing lack of due process, the Appeal challenges in the North, Alhaji Kabiru TuCourt sitting in Calabar removed Etubom raki (SAN) disclosed. Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu as the Obong of Calabar. The judgment read by Justice MoJuly 12. Appeal Court frees Al-Mustapha, hammed Lawal Garba upheld the earlier Sofolahan. The Lagos Division of the verdict of a lower court that due process was Court of Appeal upturned the death sennot followed and the selection of the incum- tence handed down to Major Hamza Albent was null and void. Mustapha, the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to late Gen. Sani Abacha, and July 5. Jonathan apologises over Lagos to Lateef Shofolahan, former aide to late Ibadan Expressway. President Goodluck Chief M.K.O. Abiola by a Lagos High Court Jonathan said that the continuous rehabili- over the murder of Chief Kudirat Abiola. tation of roads in all parts of the country to In a unanimous decision delivered by Jusenhance social and economic well-beings of tice Rita Pemu, the Justices set aside the Nigerians, would continue to receive the at- judgment of the lower court and held
2015. There was a crack in the North over the plans by the Arewa elders to produce a Northern Presidential candidate to challenge President Goodluck Jonathan July 13. Abiola family rejects verdict on Alin the 2015 presidential contest, as the Mustapha, Shofolahan. Mixed reactions Northern Youths Forum (NYF) said that its members would only support any trailed the acquittal of late General Sani Abacha’s Chief Security Officer (CSO), Major candidate for the leadership of the nation on the basis of merit irrespective of Hamza Al-Mustapha, and Alhaja Kudirat ethnic or religious background. Abiola in Lagos. Lagos State had three months within which to appeal the deciJuly 20. Egypt seeks Nigeria’s support for sion. interim govt. Weeks after the Egyptian July 14. NLC rejects new electricity tariff. Military removed former President, Mohammed Morsi, in response to massive The NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar protests against his regime, and the said that the congress rejected the latest tariff figure of the Nigerian Electricity Reg- African Union’s opposition to the action, ulatory Commission (NERC), because of the officials of the newly-installed interim government met with President Goodepileptic electricity supply and the low luck Jonathan in Lagos to canvass suppurchasing power of the working people. port and explain the “issues on ground”. The Congress said: “The previous year, the charge which was N225 was arbitrarily inJuly 23. Nigeria’s external trade drops by creased to over N700.” 29%. Nigeria’s external trade in the first July 15. Wary of arrest, Sudan’s president quarter of 2013, valued at N5.1 trillion exshuns AIDS summit in Abuja. Sudan’s Presi- perienced a sharp drop by 29 per cent, even as volumes of imports rose by 27.4 dent Omar al-Bashir, failed to turn up to make his presentation at the Abuja +12 Spe- per cent or N353.9 billion posted in the cial Follow-up summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuber- same period. Official figures were released by the Bureau of Statistics (NBS). culosis, Malaria diseases. *Senate denies endorsing early marriage law. The Senate did not amend the ConJuly 16. Senate rejects financial autonomy for Councils, others. Unlike the House of stitution to encourage early marriage. 24. Race to Alausa 2015: Christians, indiRepresentatives, which supported local genes battle power brokers. Issues of relicouncils’ financial autonomy, the Senate took a different position. The Senators region and indigeneship were already jected councils’ financial autonomy as they influencing the race to Alausa, the seat of concluded voting on the amendments pro- governmental power in Lagos State, as posed to the 1999 Constitution (as the Christian community and indigenes amended). moved to choose the executive of the state from among themselves. July 17. Sanusi canvasses re-design of the July 25. Veteran journalist, Odunewu, Naira. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) dies at 85. The veteran journalist and omGovernor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, budsman, passed on at 85. He was the commenced a fresh campaign for the re-de- Chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) of the signing of the nation’s currency, to curb Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA). He the activities of counterfeiters. died at St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos four months before his 86th birthday. He beJuly 18. World celebrates Mandela at 95. came famous for his satirical essays and United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban his “Allah De” column in the Daily Times Kimoon, United States (US) President newspaper. Barack Obama and Andrew Mlangeni, who July 27. Nigeria needs a revolution, says Maitama Sule. Elder statesman and Nigewas a prisoner alongside Nelson Mandela were part of global dignitaries that honria’s Representative to the United Naoured the first South African black Presitions in 1979, Dr Yusuf Maitama Sule, dent, at a special ceremony at the UN called a revolution without bloodshed. Headquarters, as he spent his 95th birthday Sule urged Nigerian leaders to be good in a hospital. representatives of the people, saying that a good leader only inspired citizens to July 19. Arewa Youths oppose elders over good behaviour. that the prosecution in totality failed to establish the charge of conspiracy and murder against the appellants.
Sunday December 15, 2013 37
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The 2013 Diary: JULY — AUGUST July 28. Nigeria’s crude oil earnings hit N6.7 trillion in first half of 2013. Nigeria earned $42 billion (N6.7 trillion) revenue from crude oil export between January and June, 2013. The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) put the country’s earnings from the commodity in 2012 at $93 billion (N14.8 trillion). July 30. Government orders payment of disengaged PHCN workers. An end to the controversy over the payment of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) workers to be disengaged was in sight. Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, stressed that he approved the payment to start immediately. The Federal Government’s directive on the immediate release of severance pay to the workers came after many postponements. *Police charge Rivers House Leader with attempted murder. A Port Harcourt High Court ordered the Majority Leader of the Rivers House of Assembly, Chidi Lloyd, to appear in court on July 31, 2013, after the police filed against him six charges, including attempted murder and conspiracy to kill. He was to take his plea. July 31. INEC registers APC. After much controversy, the All Progressives Congress (APC) finally got the approval of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be registered as a political party. Three political groupings, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Congress (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) merged into APC.
not within the reach of the Federal Government.
Compiled by VICTOR OSHISADA
about 44 people by slitting their throats without firing a single gunshot. Baga is on the shores of Lake Chad and Aug. 17. Confusion over payment deadline for PHCN as250 kms. north of Maiduguri, the state capital. sets. The August deadline set for preferred winners of as- *Federal Government releases N130 billion to Universisets of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to ties. The Federal Government ordered the ASUU to impay the 75 per cent balance of the bid prices met with mediately return to classrooms as all issues were stalemate dogging the power deals. resolved. Government’s position was anchored on its release of the N130 billion covering N30 billion for earned Aug. 18. Lagos ranked 15th among cities facing risk of allowances of lecturers and N100 billion for infrastrucflood losses. By 2050, the world’s 136 largest coastal cities tural upgrade for public universities. The contentious could risk combined yearly losses of $1 trillion (750 bilN92 billion earned allowances as demanded by ASUU lion Euros) from floods, unless authorities in the affected could not be released as government said it was a merareas drastically raise their defences. Lagos was ranked ited allowance, which should be determined by the 15th among top 20 cities in terms of population exposed council of various universities. to coastal flooding in the 2070s, including both climate change and socio-economic change. Aug. 24. FG spends N21.2 billion on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway. About N21.2 billion was spent by the Federal Aug. 19. Military claims killing Boko Haram’s leader, Government on the rehabilitation of the Section 1 Phase Shekau. With the military’s take-over of the fight against I and section 1 Phase II of the Oshodi/Apapa Expressway terrorism in the North, an all-out war was launched covering about 16.5 kms. against Boko Haram and other groups of that mould. The campaign became fruitful as the Army Spokesman, Lt.Aug. 25. Drama as Governor Suntai returns. After 10 Col.Sagir Musa claimed that troops killed the terror months of medical treatment overseas, Taraba State Govgroup’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a clash. ernor Danbaba Suntai arrived in the country. Suntai sus*National Assembly takes N1 trillion in eight years. There tained injuries when his self-piloted plane crashed on was a startling revelation that the National Assembly October 25, 2012, in Yola Adamawa. spent N1 trillion in the previous eight years, even as N9.08 billion was spent on maintaining the Presidential August 27. Ogun discovers N231 million fraud in minAUGUST Fleet yearly. istry. A N231 million fraud was discovered in the Ogun State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The Aug. 20. Controversy trails appointment of Rivers acting fraud, which was perpetrated for about three years now, August 1. Balaraba Musa critically ill, flown abroad. ForCJ. A group, Grassroots Democratic Initiative (GDI), mer civilian governor of Kaduna State and opposition involved some officials in the ministry in connivance kicked against the appointment of Justice Peter N. C. leader, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, was critically ill and was with some principals of public secondary schools. Agumagu, as the Acting Chief Judge of the Rivers State by flown to Dubai, United Arab Emirate (UAE) where he was Governor Chibuike Amaechi. The GDI accused the gover- Aug. 28. US court tried Nigerian al-Qaeda member, billed to undergo an operation. Aug. 2. Court Vacates order stopping PDP’s convention. nor of breaching Section 271(4) of the 1999 Constitution Babafemi. A Nigerian citizen, Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi, An Abuja High Court vacated its order barring the Peoples (as amended). was charged before a Federal Court in Brooklyn, New Democratic Party(PDP) from conducting its planned speYork, United States (US) with providing material support Aug. 21. FEC okays N124 billion for roads’ repairs. The Fed- for a designated foreign terrorist organisation, Al-Qaeda, cial convention to elect fresh hands into its National Working Committee (NWC). Justice Suleiman Belgore va- eral Executive Council (FEC) approved N124 billion for re- in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and using high-powhabilitation of some artery roads spread across some cated the order. ered fire-arms in furtherance of the crime. parts of the country. Key among the roads approved for Aug. 3. Deportation: Igbo demand the recall, compensarehabilitation are the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and the Aug 29. Supreme Court confirms Mimiko’s election. For tion. Igbo indigenes, under the umbrella of South East Re- Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki-Ojota carriageway. Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, it was fresh vicvival Group (SERG) demanded that Lagos State Governor, tory as the Supreme Court dismissed the appeals by Aug. 22. Strike disrupts services in federal hospitals. Only Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the Action Congress of Raji Fashola, should immediately recall Igbo expelled from the state. They also wanted them to be compensated skeletal services were provided at federal hospitals as the Nigeria (CAN) and Chief Olusola Oke of the Peoples Demstrike by workers entered its second day. The Joint Health ocratic Party (PDP) against his election victory. without delay and provided “decent places of abode Sector Union (JOHESU) alleged that Minister for Health, within Lagos State”. Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu failed to honour a meeting to Aug. 31. PDP breaks up. Special convention of the Peoples Aug. 4. Family of injured Rivers’ lawmaker petitions NJC. resolve the issue. Democratic Party (PDP) provided the needed platform The family of injured member of the Rivers State House for the emergence of a splinter group led by former Vice Aug 23. Boko Haram gunmen kill 44 Borno villagers. of Assembly, Michael Okechukwu Chinda, petitioned the President, Atiku Abubakar. That was after months of outAbout 50 gunmen suspected to be members of Boko National Judicial Council (NJC). They were worried that burst in the party. The splinter group called itself the Haram sect, attacked Dumba village on the outskirts of he might not get justice in court. “New PDP”. *Female journalist, Kafayat Odunsi, laid to rest amid tears. Baga town in Kukawa Council of Borno State, killing TO BE CONTINUED The remains of Kafayat Odunsi, 33, a member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and correspondent with NTA Channel 10, Lagos, was laid to rest, amidst tears and grief. August 6. Shock as Amazon’s owner buys The Washington Post. The influential “The Washington Post” was sold for $250 million to Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos. It was the most influential and authoritative newspaper in Washington DC. Publisher Katharine Weymouth made the announcement. Aug 7. WAEC releases results, 53% makes six credits. The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) released the result CE). Out of 1,671,268 candidates that sat for the examination, 889,636 representing s of 2013 May/June West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASS 53.2 per cent made six credits and above, while 1,074,065 candidates representing 64.2 percent made five credits and above. August 10. Africa’s exports to US hit $35 billion in 2012. With Nigeria’s contribution atop, the total African exports to the United States under the Africans Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) grew to nearly $35 billion in 2012 above, according to the US State Department, just as the 12th yearly AGOA forum opens in Addis Ababa. Aug. 13. We can’t meet your demands, govt tells varsity teachers. A declaration by the Federal Government that it did not have the resources to meet the financial demands of university teachers doused the hope that their ongoing strike might end early. Minister of finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela said the N92 billion being demanded by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was not only unrealistic, it was
Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State after Supreme Court declares him winner of the state election
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Sunday, December 15, 2013
Urhobo: This House Must Not Fall (1) By Dr. Sunny Awhefada INTRODUCTION must begin by confessing that I felt a sense of unease when I was invited to deliver this lecture. But then my spirit was bouyed by the hope which the affirmation of ‘’a house that must not fall’’ inspires. In thinking about this lecture I remembered Karl Maier’s depiction of Nigeria as a house that has fallen in his book, This House has Fallen. I am glad that Atamu Social Club did not buy Meir’s pessimism. The Urhobo nation is assailed by uncertainty and a strong marginalization complex. We have never been more overwhelmed by socioeconomic and political currents. But then I must submit quite early that we are not alone in this crucible. Nigeria is passing through a tempestuous moment in her historical sojourn. The Nigerian project is under threat and it demands that we all put our acts together to redeem the situation. The trouble with Nigeria is the sum total of what is wrong with all Nigerians irrespective of their ‘’tribes and tongues’’. All is not well with Nigeria, that is why poverty stalks the land, that is why insecurity prevails, that is why unemployment is on the prowl, that is why corruption is ruining us, that is why ten million children are out of school, just as another eleven million are underfed. Nigeria’s problem are legion. We should look at the Urhobo predicament in the context of the general condition of the Nigerian state. I must at this point congratulate the Atamu Social Club for having the foresight and courage to convoke this assembly. The club has over the years promoted Urhobo interest in many ways. I commend and urge them to continue the patriotic work as all hands must be involved in ensuring that the Urhobo house does not fall. I do hope that Atamu will evolve an Urhobo think tank as the Aka Ikenga has done for the Igbo. My standing here today is borne out of the optimism that Urhobo has a great future and that the Urhobo house will not fall. My optimism derives from an awareness of our many struggles as a people from time immemorial. The peculiar nature of our migratory origin which was as a result of strife in the kingdom of Ogiso, the menace of Slave Trade, the many wars we waged, the encroachment by colonialism, the fierce ethnic rivalry with our neighbours, the crisis of the independence struggle, the agitation for the creation of the Midwest Region, the encroachment on Urhobo political rights in the First Republic and how we have triumphed over all these with time, infuse me with optimism that the Urhobo house will not fall. The fact that we are gathered here today is a testimony that our house will not fall. My overcoming the unease I felt at the invitation was not just a function of the optimism I have so far romanticized. My confidence in standing before you today is because I have intellectual precursors to lean on. These intellectual forerunners belong to the first two generations of Urhobo intellectuals whom I call ‘’Otite to Darah’’. The fact that I am able to mount this podium is a testimony to their intellectual labour whose fruits have nourished my generation of scholars of Urhobo descent. The stellar constellation of the academic avatars who privileged Urhobo history and culture include Professors Onigu Otite, Peter Ekeh, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Omafume Onoge, Samuel Erivwo, Andrew Onokerhoraye, Bright Ekuerhare, G. G. Darah, Tanure Ojaide, Michael Young Nabofa, Rose Aziza, Albert Aweto, among others. I must not fail to acknowledge the monumental contribution of Chief T. E. A. Salubi (Akaba R’ Ode) to the foundation of modern Urhobo history. These intellectual labourers deserve laurels for tirelessly excavating Urhobo histories that were almost forgotten. I do obeisance to them, for without them my generation would have been ignorant of Urhobo heritage. It is in this regard that I also remember the peerless contribution of the Urhobo Historical Society (UHS) to the concretisation of Urhobo history and its validity. The profoundly authoritative insight which the UHS annual conferences brought to bear on Urhobo affairs remain unparalleled even among other ethnicities. The conference afforded participants the opportunity to drink from the well spring of knowledge. Unfortunately, the conference has not held since 2007.
The National Question And Ethnic Nationalism
Okumagba THE inadequacies of the Nigerian state has thrown up the National Question and this is manifest in the restiveness and agitation by the various ethnic nationalities that constitute Nigeria. These agitations stem from a deep feeling of marginalization and oppression by sections of the country who began the clamour for constitutional reforms via a national conference that will afford them the opportunity to affirm their identity, negotiate the basis of the nation’s continued co-existence and attain self-actualization. The foundation of the Nigerian house was faulty ab initio. We can glean this from the utterances of some of the nation’s founding fathers. While the late Sir Ahmadu Bello described the birth of the Nigerian nation as ‘’the mistake of 1914’’, his counterpart Chief Obafemi Awolowo described Nigeria ‘’as a mere geographical expression’’. These statements betray lack of faith in the Nigerian project. Since the 1990s, especially after the annulment of the June 12 1993 election, the rupture in the Nigerian house led to agitations which underscore the truth of the sloppiness of our federation. A corollary to this, is the remarkable increase in the activities of ethnic nationalities and the tendency of ethnicity to command the citizen’s primary loyalty. There is presently no ethnic nationality that appears contented with Nigeria as every group feels short-changed. It cannot be well with the Urhobo house if it is not well with the Nigerian house! The truth is that there is no ethnic nationality in Nigeria for whom all is well. It is in the context of the general disillusionment among the different ethnic groups that make up Nigeria that I locate the Urhobo conundrum. We are not alone in this situation. Every other ethnic group is struggling to come to terms with its predicament and overcome it. As we are gathered today to discuss the Urhobo house and ensure that it does not fall, other ethnicities all over Nigeria are also brainstorming to ensure that their own houses do not fall. We must therefore, brace up and ensure that our own house, the Urhobo house does not fall. We must not conceive of the idea of it falling, because if it does we shall have no other house to call our own and we shall bear the embarrassment of homelessness. God forbid! The Urhobo House THE word Urhobo designates us as a people as well as the language we speak. Urhobo is one of Nigeria’s three hundred and eighty-nine ethnic nationalities. Its landmass is 5000 sq km. There are eight rivers in Urhoboland that access the Atlantic Ocean. There are streams and creeks in Urhoboland which constitute one of the world’s most endowed wetlands and rich bio-diversity. With a population of over two million and twenty-four officially recognized kingdoms, it is regarded as Nigeria’s
Ibru fifth largest ethnic group and the largest in Delta State. It presently constitutes what is called Delta Central Senatorial District in the Nigerian Senate. The Urhobo have three federal constituencies in the House of Representatives, eight local governments areas and ten constituencies in the Delta State House of Assembly. Religiously, we have traditional modes of worship, but Christianity has gained grounds. Urhoboland hosts an airport, one refinery, one petro-chemical plant, a gas company, a steel company, a glass factory, two power stations, a gas plant, over eighty bank branches, three universities, one Polytechnic, two colleges of education, two schools of nursing, over one thousand primary schools and about five hundred secondary schools. The Urhobo people are highly republican, assertive, hardworking and resourceful. We have contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria in all spheres of human endeavours: the economy, education, law, medicine, media, entertainment, arts and literature, military and more. We cannot forget the strategic roles played by the Urhobo people to ensure that Nigeria survived the Civil War of 1967-1970. The Urhobo House And The Urhobo Progress Union (Upu) THE Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) which is the umbrella socio-cultural organization of all Urhobo people was founded in 1931 and it is today Nigeria’s oldest socio-cultural association. The UPU has done a lot for the Urhobo in its eighty-two years of existence and we should salute the vision of its founding fathers namely Chiefs Omorohwovo Okoro, Mukoro Mowoe, T. E. A. Salubi and others. The fact that the Urhobo house has not fallen is as a result of what the UPU stood for over the years. During the colonial period, the UPU worked to reverse British colonial policies that were inimical to Urhobo development. For instance it ensured that the term ‘’Sobo’’ with which the British addressed us was changed to its correct and current form Urhobo. The UPU recovered lost Urhobo territories in Oghara, Okpe, Sapele through litigation. It ensured that Urhobo communities like Orogun, Abraka, Idjere and others which the British erroneously grouped into Aboh and other Divisions were returned to Urhobo. UPU it was that showed the way to western education, with the founding of Urhobo College, which was the final stage of Urhobo coming of age. This is in addition to the several steps it took to rebrand the Urhobo image. Let us pause and ask ourselves, how would it have been for us today without the UPU? The UPU has grown to become a reference point in Urhobo affairs. It has promoted the Urhobo identity. Today, we have an edifice called Urhobo Cultural Centre that is nearing completion at Uvwiamughe-Agbarho just as there is now an annual Urhobo day which comes up every December.
Edjoor Yet, I must submit that the UPU is facing some challenges which should be addressed for the interest of Urhobo. First, is the threat of disintegration of some kingdoms in Urhoboland through the arbitrary creation of new kingdoms. This trend will weaken Urhobo unity if it is not checked. Another challenge is that many politicians as a result of money and influence have had cause to undermine UPU’s authority in recent times. Some Urhobo have been nonchalant in supporting the Union especially when it comes to finance. There is also the believe that the UPU took some unpopular political decisions in 2006/2007 to which many Urhobo objected. However, the biggest challenge facing the UPU is the burning need for it to enter national consciousness and mount the same platform with Afenifere, Ohaneze, Arewa Consultative Forum, Ijaw National Congress among other ethnic organizations in Nigeria. Many of us are ill at ease that the voice of the UPU is not heard on national issues. Urhobo should express opinion on all national issues and our voice must be loud and clear so that no other group or government can undermine us. I urge all Urhobo sons and daughters to regard the UPU highly because it is the only body we have. We must prove our Urhobocentrism by identifying with it because we are first Urhobo before we are Nigerians. Urhobo And Contemporary Nigerian Politics If the truth must be told, we have become a people with an uncertain political future. Our political orphanage status is one of the consequences of prolonged military rule from 1983 to 1999. A recall of that era would beget memories of endless transition to civil rule programmes. Between 1987 and 1998 Nigeria experimented with many unsuccessful transition programmes to the extent that Nigerians became wary and weary of politics. When General Abdulsalami Abubakar inaugurated another transition to civil rule programme in 1998, not many Nigerians believed that it was going to be conclusive. Many people of goodwill stayed away from the politics of 1998/1999 and only those who could gamble threw their hats into the ring. Furthermore, the few people of integrity who dared to join the political fray were intimidated by strong arm tactics which the long stay of military in politics had privileged. Thus political entrepreneurs took charge and held the reins of power at the dawn of the Fourth Republic. Once these fellows settled down in office, it became impossible to dislodge them. The only means of dislodging them is election. Unfortunately, our electoral history since 1999 has been very warped. More painfully, the judiciary which ought to adjudicate without fear or favour was also compromised so that the electorate who constitute the disenfranchised and suffering masses remain at the mercy of political soldiers of (mis)fortune.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 39
Sunday, December 15, 2013 39
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
PERSPECTIVES CONTINUED FROM PAGE 38
This House Must Not Fall
The foregoing scenario holds for the Urhobo nation. Many of our politicians see politics as hustling as they cherish the ethos of transactional leadership. They have also not negotiated on a collective platform. They promote personal interest at the expense of the overall Urhobo interest. It is for this reason that we feel undermined and cry about marginalization. The question to be asked at this point is: ‘’has it always been like this for Urhobo to be marginalized into silence and docility?’’ The answer is no! Urhobo politicians of old were reckoned with at the centre even as far back as the era of the anti-colonial struggle. Nigeria’s foremost nationalist and first ceremonial President, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was a great friend of legendary Urhobo leader, Chief Mukoro Mowoe. Azikiwe respected Mowoe whose views he sought on matters concerning the only national party of that period, the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC). Azikiwe visited Mowoe in Warri and the latter gave him accommodation to serve as office for one of his newspapers. It was the trail blazed by Mowoe that the likes of Okotie-Eboh, S. J. Mariere, T. E. A. Salubi followed in their sojourn to political stardom in the First Republic. The events leading to the creation of Midwest Region, which Urhobo championed, was to lead to some schism as a result of an attempt by an individual to establish his over-lordship. The Urhobo in NCNC stood their ground and the party’s national executive waded into the matter. When it became deadlocked some Urhobo political leaders led by Chief Salubi founded the Midwest Democratic Front and gave a good account of themselves as trueborn Urhobo. The NCNC had no option, but to appeal to them for eventual reconciliation. The Urhobo played very significant roles in the Second Republic which spanned 1979 to 1983. Olorogun Michael Ibru and his younger brother Mr. Alex Ibru were financiers of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) which was the ruling party of that era. Beyond that, Urhobo sons and daughters took the front seat at the centre. For example Chief (Dr) Mudiaga Odje (SAN) was the party’s National Legal Adviser, Chief Patrick Bolokor was a Federal Minister, Chief Daniel Okumagba was not only President Shehu Shagari’s confidant, but also Chairman of Ajaokuta Steel Company. Dr. Fred Esiri was the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri. In the Nigerian Senate, the voice of Senator David Dafinone was among the most respected. It was also in that era that an Urhobo daughter Chief Elizabeth Ogbon-Day became not just Nigeria’s, but Africa’s first female ambassador. It is apt to describe that era as the golden moment of Urhobo in national politics. What then happened that we have become so marginalized and traumatized politically? The answer is found in a reappraisal of our political choices since 1999. The trend among Urhobo politicians since 1999 has been to rush to Asaba. A phenomenon I choose to call ‘’mi kpe Asaba, I dey go Asaba’’ consciousness became the order of the day among our politicians to the extent that they forgot the road to Abuja
the epicentre of national politics. An Urhobo, Chief James Ibori was then the Governor of Delta State and all our politicians trooped to Asaba for appointments and patronage. The Urhobo politicians of the Second Republic who stood tall among their peers had become old and also lacked the financial wherewithal to contest for space with the new breed politicians. So the ‘’mi kpe Asaba,I dey go Asaba’’ politicians took over. We recall that in the era of Chief Ibori as Governor, the Urhobo held the most significant appointments in the state. Our sons and daughters held the offices of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief Judge, Chief of Staff Government House, Commissioners for Finance, Education, Works, Housing, Water Resources, Justice, Commerce & industries, Head of Service, Acting Speaker of the State House of Assembly and more. One Urhobo musician in his reminiscence of that period sang that the greeting at Asaba then was ‘’kedu mavo?’’. Thus we followed the overbeaten road to Asaba and forgot Abuja where the real action is, to our own undoing. The consequence of our abandoning Abuja is in part responsible for our marginalization at the national level today. Some commentators have argued that our marginalized status stems from the fact that the Urhobo voted for an opposition party. I beg to disagree on this score. Many Urhobo politicians are Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains and our people voted en masse for President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 presidential election that brought him into office. It is on recorded that he secured about 850, 000 votes in Urhoboland which was some 300, 000 more than what he got from the entire Bayelsa State, his home state. A review of the election result indicates that the Urhobo people, apart from the Ijaw, gave President Jonathan the highest ethnic bulk vote in the whole of the South-South. Should such an act not deserve an IOU in the form of federal appointments for Urhobo people at the national level? In further appraising the cold treatment we receive from Abuja, let us look at the South-West zone which is the bastion of political opposition in today’s Nigeria. The Yoruba of the SouthWest are well represented in the Federal Executive Council. They also hold other plum appointments. The same thing goes for some Northern states where the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) held sway. Why then is the case of the Urhobo people different? Could it be that there is a primordial sentiment at work? A sentiment of a neighbour being envious of another neighbour and the ‘’perceived sins’’ of Ibori that is making the Nigerian government to marginalize the Urhobo people? Until a
month ago when an Urhobo was appointed to chair a sinecure federal board we counted about 435 federal posts without any one being chaired by an Urhobo! This is unacceptable. No matter the reasons being adduced, Urhobo politicians should make the right political choices, network among their peers elsewhere and be reckoned with in national politics. They have had enough run as ‘’local champions’’. The Urhobo personality, noted for its vibrancy, astuteness, resourcefulness and courage, must be reinserted into Nigeria’s national consciousness. Now that the Delta Central Senatorial seat has been won by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) let the rain of federal appointments begin. Our people are waiting! At the state level I have had cause to contradict the claim in some quarters that we are presently marginalized in Delta State. A look at the political configuration at the moment does not portray any indices of marginalization of the Urhobo compared to other ethnic nationalities in the state. The Urhobo presently occupy the offices of the Deputy Governor, Commissioners for Finance, Economic Planning, Basic and Secondary Education, Higher Education, Housing, Culture and Tourism, Transport, among others. There is also the Senior Political Adviser, Political Adviser and a battery of other Special Advisers of Urhobo origin. These are in addition to the ten Urhobo members in the Delta State House of Assembly. There is the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) where we also have three Urhobo commissioners. This is besides the fact that its founding Executive Secretary who held sway for over four years is of Urhobo extraction. In the distribution of public infrastructures there is also no evidence that the Urhobo have been marginalized at the state level. Compared to other places, there is a vast network of roads linking almost every Urhobo community. Electricity transformers have also been distributed in the same way that an Independent Power Project is being built at Oghara in Urhoboland. There are many water projects quenching the thirst of our people. Some schools are being renovated in Urhoboland. The many government owned hospitals as well as other health programmes have been beneficial to Urhobo people. I however, agree with the opinion that the execution of government projects has been slow. I must at this point say that I am not holding brief for government. Government should do more not just for Urhobo people but for all Deltans. The responsibility of government is to
make life worth living for the citizenry. The underdevelopment of Urhoboland is not peculiar to us. Underdevelopment is the common currency in Nigeria and it is a by-product of poor leadership to which Urhobo political leaders also contributed in ample measure. In a way the Urhobo people like other Nigerians have also failed in their civic responsibility of not calling their leaders to question. What is at the core of our problem is failure of leadership as a result of the inability of the led to rise up to the burden of followership which inheres in demanding accountability and standing up for their rights. The Urhobo And Delta Governorship THE Urhobo people are divided regarding the claim to the governorship of the state. Some think that as a result of the population of the Urhobo which makes us the majority we should produce the governor perpetually. Others who are accommodating argue that if the Urhobo cannot produce the governor they should be major stakeholders in determining who assumes the office. I choose to align with the latter view. Promoting the first view is an invitation to other ethnic nationalities to label us as hegemonists with the born to rule mentality and it can instigate hostility against us. It is also untenable in the context of morality. The second view recognises all Deltans as stakeholders in the project Delta and anybody irrespective of his ethnicity can aspire to become governor. What we should yearn for is good governance. It is true that our population which is about half the population of the entire state confers electoral advantages on us, but it is sad to note that we have not been politically mobilized enough. Many of our politicians are ever ready to sell the Urhobo patrimony for a mess of potage. It is for this reason that some of our insensitive detractors gloat over us. One of them was reported to have made the careless statement that anybody can become governor without Urhobo votes. This is true and untrue. It is true for as long as we are not well mobilized. It is true for as long as we lack ‘’atamu’’ no pun intended. But it is untrue once we decide to go it together as one. A simple example will suffice. The total number of votes cast in the 2011 governorship election in the whole of Delta State was less than a million. Whereas the Urhobo electorate gave President Jonathan about eight hundred and fifty thousand votes which is approximately the total haul for the whole of Delta State in the governorship election. The import of this analogy is that the Urhobo population when harnessed can translate into political advantage. This brings us to another salient point which has to do with the deliberate disenfranchisement of the Urhobo electorate by the political class. It has become public knowledge that apart from the elections of 2011, our people are usually not allowed to vote in many places in Urhoboland. It is a matter of grave embarrassment that Urhobo sons and daughters engage in ballot box snatching, mass thumb printing and other electoral crimes to deny their people the benefit of the right to vote. Ballot box snatching has been valorised to the point that in contemporary Urhobo political parlance the number you snatched is what qualifies you to proclaim ‘’irawhoko’’. This act has eroded the confidence of the electorate and bred voters’ apathy. 2015 And Beyond OUR political future is bleak and our politicians are a stranded elite. We should do the needful to redress this condition. The late Senator Pius Ewherido had embarked on a mission of Urhobo political irredentism before he passed on. As 2015, which is a decisive election year, draws nigh we must go back to the drawing board and evolve strategies to mobilize our people. We must restore their confidence and ensure that we reclaim our rightful place not only in Delta State, but in Nigeria. This is the only way we can overcome the neo-hegemonic tendencies of some of our neighbours who are bent on holding us down politically and economically. There is an interface between politics and development. We should network, make the right alliances and take the right decisions. We remain politically strategic in Delta State as well as Nigeria and we can use our population to determine the outcome of elections. We must do all we can to get it right politically so that we can get it right in every other sphere. Yet, we should not forget to take our neighbours into consideration. Politics is central to achieving a people’s collective aspiration. We must not forget the admonition of the founding President of Ghana, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, ‘’seek ye first the political kingdom and every other thing will be added onto you’’. Dr. Awhefada who teaches English and Literary Studies at Delta State University, Abraka, presented this lecture at the maiden Pan-Urhobo International Conference, organised by Atamu Social Club of Nigeria.
40 Sunday, December 15, 2013
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Business Dr. Pius Olakunle Osunyikanmi is the Director-General of the Directorate of the Technical Aid Corps (TAC), an agency of the Federal Government saddled with the mandate of deploying Nigerian professionals to assist countries particularly in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific regions, shore up human resource capacity. In this encounter with NIYI BELLO, Osunyikanmi explains the operations of the Corps and plans to expand the or- that this is only in the realm of perception. You ganisation’s operations beyond the traditional man- need to take a walk across the border and begin date. to see the realities. From the interactions that we
‘Nigeria Exporting Artisans, Professionals To Global Needy Nations’
Although it was established in 1987 during the Military, many Nigerians still don’t know the objective of the Technical Aids Corps. Can you shed light on the reasons for your operations? OU are aware that shortly after Nigeria’s independence, the then Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, declared that Africa would be the centre-piece of Nigeria’s foreign policy and that has remained a cornerstone in our foreign policy engagements till today. Shortly after independence, you would also note that quite a number of other African countries, especially in Southern Africa, were still under the yoke of colonisation. It was such that, in the 1970s, a lot of movements came about towards the decolonisation of a number of these African countries and the agitation became so intense. Nigeria was so actively involved that the country was viewed as a frontline state deploying men and materials to assist those countries undergoing decolonization process. Shortly after a number of these countries were eventually given independence, they were faced with infrastructure deficiency. It was such that they also faced a lot of development problems. There were a lot of gaps in their human resource base and gaps in their development requirements such that they also had to recourse to Nigeria as a big brother. The response of Nigeria to these countries was to quantify their needs in monetary terms and deliver to them the cash equivalent of their requests. But over time, a number of issues arose as to the credibility of the entire process of cash delivery to these countries and also the mechanisms for the usage of the cash delivered to them, including issues of transparency and accountability both within the process of disbursing such funds from Nigeria and also utilising it in the recipient countries. It was such that policy practitioners, particularly in 1987, took the decision to rework Nigeria’s aid policy in this regard by coming up with the Technical Aid Corp. Essentially, it was a movement, away from cash assistance to needy African countries, to quantifying their manpower requirement needs and deploying same. But the difference is that this assistance was meant to cover African Caribbean and pacific regions such that, today, we have as our operational base, 43 countries. So it was a direct shift from cash donation to trying to fill the human resource gaps in those countries; that is what we are. Critics of this initiative may want to argue that Nigeria is not in itself buoyant enough to shoulder the responsibilities of other countries some of which economies are on a more sound footing… That some of these countries are economically stronger than Nigeria may not be correct. One, we must recognise the ‘big brother status’ of Nigeria in Africa. This is not just our invention, it is a recognition conferred on us by other African nations and this is evident in a number of factors. By our sheer size of population of 170 million and also in terms of the milestones in various areas of development, we are miles ahead of many of these countries in the race for development. There is no doubt about the fact that there are internal challenges but these challenges; if put side by side the opportunities, you would agree with me that Nigeria is far ahead in certain areas. One of the critical areas where Nigeria has really demonstrated competence is in human resource development. Given the number of universities and training institutions in the country and of course the willingness of Nigerians to deploy themselves to acquisition of qualitative education, Nigeria has been able to build huge databank of competent professionals in all fields of human endeavour, and many people are willing to offer their services to needy brother African countries. Now, you talked about some of these countries being better than Nigeria, I want to say
have had of recent and even from some of the reports from past volunteers who have had the opportunity of going to a number of these countries not just in Africa, but in the Caribbean and the Pacific, Nigeria is way ahead. They have come to realise that, indeed some of the issues that we over-highlight here, especially about our challenges as a nation, are peanuts compared to what we have in other climes. That is not in anyway to justify whatever development challenges that we have here, of course the government is doing a whole lot to address them. The point I am making is that it is an over assumption, if not an over-generalisation, to say that the countries we are deploying to, put side by side, are better than Nigeria. Ordinarily, if they are, they would not be making the requests. Do you consider political and social situations in those countries before deployment of volunteers? Essentially, as an agency, we are apolitical. What we seek to advance is the frontiers of Nigeria’s foreign policy and the goal is to be able to build African brotherliness to be able to cement relationships across the ACP countries.
Yes, we have a lot of divergence of opinions, as regards the political equations in each of these countries, but these equations are not the deciding factors in our deployment process, which is strictly based on the development needs of those countries as evident in their request to us. But also note that Nigeria is a signatory to a number of protocols and conventions which frown at dictatorship, military governments. It is such that Nigeria reviews its relationship from time to time on the basis of these international practices in our recipient countries. In other words, we expect our recipient countries to meet the minimum threshold of good governance before we eventually deploy assistance. In specific terms, can you enumerate some of the gains of this initiative over the years? We have recorded quite a number of gains. You will agree with me, given the sheer size of Nigerians that live outside the shores of this country, that there is hardly any of these countries where you would not find Nigerians in the neighborhood of thirty to fifty thousand. In Kampala, the Ugandan capital for example, in a single university, there are over one thousand Nigerian students. And of course, in
By our sheer size of population of 170 million and also in terms of the milestones in various areas of development, we are miles ahead of many of these countries in the race for development. There is no doubt about the fact that there are internal challenges but these challenges; if put side by side the opportunities, you would agree with me that Nigeria is far ahead in certain areas. One of the critical areas where Nigeria has really demonstrated competence is in human resource development. Given the number of universities and training institutions in the country and of course the willingness of Nigerians to deploy themselves to acquisition of qualitative education, Nigeria has been able to build huge databank of competent professionals in all fields of human endeavour, and many people are willing to offer their services to needy brother African countries.
Supervising Minister of Foriegn Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri
other universities across Uganda, there is nowhere you will not find a sizeable Nigerian student population in the range of five hundred to six hundred. And, of course, these Nigerians have been accepted, well-tolerated and given all the necessary enablement to carry out their activities. Now, if you want to quantify these in monetary terms, you may not be able to do it. But because Nigeria has been able to redefine its relationship with a number of these countries, it is possible for them to receive Nigerians with open arms and allow them to do their businesses unhindered. That is very important. Secondly, those Nigerians who go out there to exhibit their competence and their profession are getting more informed about the world around them because the TAC also exposes participants to opportunities of employment and engagement with other global development partners. As we speak today, hundreds of Nigerians are in international organizations, ranging from the UNDP to other UN institutions as well as bodies such as ECOWAS and the AU. The mere fact of their participation in the TAC gave them that international flavour that is basic pre-requisite for them to be engaged globally. Again, when they go and come back, they become better citizens, because some of the problems within the Nigerian nation that they were thinking were insurmountable look so small when they experience what other nations are going through. In effect, they come back with the true impression that Nigeria is actually on the path of steady progress and good governance. The social gain of that re-orientation of our volunteers cannot be quantified and that is in addition to the bond of friendship that is built across cultures, nations, regions and families. Quite a number of those who have had the opportunity of serving with TAC have developed life-long relationships with a number of families and organisations across the globe. With all these gains you have listed, are you considering expanding the scope of TAC? As a matter of fact, in the last three months, a lot of countries outside the traditional operation of the agency have indicated interest and this is not unconnected with their positive perception of our goals and that of Mr. President’s Transformation Agenda, which is showing the world that not only is Nigeria on a stable path to development, but that there is remarkable improvement in the way we conduct our affairs signaling that the country is now of age to the extent that they now ask for our assistance. This is borne out of their renewed confidence in the entire Nigerian system. Outside the traditional ACP regions, countries like Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and Brazil are joining the train and have written to us, in clear terms, to indicate their interest to receive volunteers in critical areas of their national infrastructure. This is an area that we find very interesting and we are already exploring the possibility of incorporating a number of these countries into our operations. We have before the National Assembly, a bill, which would enable us to handle the new challenges. But, in the interim, we will be seeking executive approval to be able to deploy to some of these countries because the pressure is on us. Let me assure you that we are expanding this scope from the original number of about four hundred to five hundred volunteers to a much higher number. This year alone, we will be deploying about 1,200; and they will leave the shores of this country in January. You were quoted as saying that you were having difficulties in recruiting Doctoral Degree holders to fill the requests of some countries looking for Nigerian lecturers; how do you intend to get over this problem? We are also working on this. We are working on the benefit infrastructure and architecture of volunteers. There is no doubt about the fact that the programme was officially meant to deliver middle-level manpower to these recipient countries but over the years due to improvement in the social segments of these countries, they have gone from the rudimentary to some-
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
BUSINESS Sunday, December 15, 2013
BUSINESS Nigeria’s Mining Sector A Big Target Says, US-based Jeweller US-based Nigerian celebrity jeweller, Mr. Chris Aire, was recently featured on CNN’s African Voices, where he told Vladimir Duthiers about his plans for the less privileged in Africa. But, in this subsequent email exchange with MARCEL MBAMALU, the successful entrepreneur goes on to disclose the strategic expansion of his business into Nigeria as well as interest in the mining sector. In your interview with CNN’s Vladimir Duthiers on African Voices, you talked about your plans to help the less-privileged. How do you intend to implement this? Y family and I are firm believers in empowering the less privileged through education and exposure. We channel our charitable efforts in these areas of service. I try to use every opportunity as a tool to bring awareness of the need to help those in Africa on an international scope — the perfect example being the CNN African Voices interview. It is important to educate the locals on how to help one another and as a nation to support those in need. This could be implemented by improving our educational facilities to deliver International standard quality education at our primary school, secondary and tertiary school levels. After your apprenticeship with your friend’s father, what were the challenges you encountered starting up your company? There were a few challenges; but the two that come to mind were start-up capital and acceptance; venturing into an arena that most people were not used to seeing a black man in, took some persistence. As an international brand, do you have plans to set up an extension of your jewellery dynasty in Nigeria or any African country? We have already set up a boutique at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja where we also have an administrative office. As we gain better understanding of the business and
Chris Aire (middle); with his clients: Steve Wonder (left); and Forest Whitaker
political climate in Africa, it is our hope to expand to other parts of Nigeria and to entire continent of Africa. You stated in your interview on CNN that most of your clientele are entertainers. Do you anticipate your jewellery business will flourish in the Nigerian entertainment industry? What I said was that when I started in America, we catered primarily to entertainers; but, as our business grew, our clientele also grew to include people from all walks of life, including some of the people who said they
By Tunde Akinola N a bid to protect vulnerable merchant ships waiting to berth and to ease ship-to-ship (STS) operations, the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) offshore Lagos is in collaboration the Nigerian Navy and Ocean Marine Security Limited, alongside their technical partners, United Kingdom-based maritime security specialists, PGS Group. The Secure Anchorage Area was officially launched in association with the British Deputy High Commission, at the British Residence in Ikoyi. Present at the event were highranking officers and officials from the Nigerian Navy, NPA, NIMASA, and other government agencies including a plethora of distinguished guests from the oil and gas and shipping industries. It was noted that, unlike the east coast of Africa, the piracy issue of West Africa is primarily in territorial waters. On the East coast Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) are able to provide professional armed security guards to protect client vessels whilst transiting through international waters. With the threat on the west coast mainly being in territorial waters, the same solution cannot apply for obvi-
never liked jewellery until they purchased a piece from our collection. I believe our business will flourish in Africa and the rest of the world, including the Nigerian entertainment industry. Have you designed any of your unique jewellery pieces for any Nigerian in the past? We are set up in Nigeria and have been privileged to attract some clients, but most people in Nigeria prefer their privacy and we respect and honour that. We understand that you were granted licence to explore solid minerals in Nigeria
Piracy: Stakeholders On Red Alert • Security Firms, Navy On Renewed Bid For Offshore Protection ous reasons. Addressing journalists at the event Operations Director of the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) West Africa and Managing Director of PGS Group project, Sven Hanson, explained: “If you want effective, compliant, legal, local government endorsed protection in West Africa, which will not risk the compromise of vessel and cargo insurance cover, your options are limited. “Offshore Lagos, the Nigerian Navy do not support the use of armed guards on-board commercial vessels and the Marine Police have no jurisdiction outside of the inland water-
Vice Chairman Ocean Marine Security, Tunde Ayeni (left on front row), representative of Nigerian Navy, Commodore I.O Mohammed, British Deputy High Commissioner, Peter Carter, Chairman Ocean Marine Security, Captain Hosa Wells Okunbo, Director of Maritime Safety NIMASA, Engr. Vincent Udoye, SAA Operations Manager, Andrew Mullins. Managing Director, SAA, Nick Dixon (left onf front row), Group Managing Director Ocean Marine Security, John Donnachie, Managing Director PGS Group, Sven Hanson, GM Business Development Ocean Marine Security, Commodore Chuma Adogu (Rtd) at the official launch of Secure Ancohorage Area in Lagos.
about three years ago. What are your plans for investment in Nigeria’s growing mining sector? The Nigerian mining sector is one that we are extremely interested in for obvious reasons. But, as I said, we are diligently working on exploring our options and the most efficient ways to add value. This all comes with co-operation from the Nigerian Government and the respective parastatals. We’ve had some challenges along the way and we are working through it. It is a learning curve for us.
ways, ports and harbours. The SAA project was conceptualised to provide ship-owners and charterers with a fully compliant and effective solution,” Hanson said. Dedicated Nigerian Navy Patrol Boats with mounted weapons, enforce a 2NM Maritime Exclusion Zone around the SAA 24/7 providing security and assurance to all those anchored within. In addition, the SAA Tactical Operations Centre in Lagos is manned by former UK Special Forces and former UK Royal Marines Operations Managers, all highly experienced in the local hostile maritime environment. Under this arrangement, the enforcement of the Maritime Exclusion Zone ensures unauthorised vessels are intercepted a considerable distance away from SAA customers. SAA Managing Director, Nick Dixon said: “This is a dream case scenario for the vessels and their crews, especially for those carrying highly flammable cargo. Should a threat materialise, the last thing anyone wants is to be caught in the middle of a firefight. The Nigerian Navy Patrol Boats ensure all potential threats are neutralised a significant distance away from where the clients of the SAA are securely anchored,” Dixon added. SAA noted that globally, pressure is mounting on the subregion to work together to ensure Lagos becomes a secure and safe maritime environment for domestic and international shipping companies to operate. The Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) recently pioneered the formation of a Joint Steering Committee to address the need for consistency in respect of zoning offshore Lagos, in particular with regards to STS operations. Dixon added: “Huge credit should be given to the Nigerian Navy and NPA for driving this committee. The requirement for inter-agency cooperation in Nigeria can be challenging but this Joint Steering Committee proved that is not always the case. The NPA and Nigerian Navy are now firmly on onepage which will enable the subsequent enforcement process to ensure all vessels are following the zoning rules in place,” he said. While reports from the east coast of Africa show a dramatic decrease in attacks over the last 3 years, the Gulf of Guinea tells a different story. In 2012, according to the IMO, there were 58 recorded incidents relating to piracy, armed robbery and kidnapping. By July of 2013, there had already been an additional 31. Reports from Africa’s east coast show a decrease from 237 attacks in 2011 to 75 in 2012. Hanson said: “While considering these ‘official statistics’, it is also important to consider the significant level of under-reporting which is evident within the Gulf of Guinea region. There are various reasons why ship-owners do not wish to report attacks and the Nigerian Navy is constantly working hard to address these issues. 2013 have seen more than one incident effectively responded to by the Nigerian Navy whereby the vessel was hijacked and subsequently returned with vessel, crew and cargo intact,” he said.
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BUSINESS GTBank Emerges 2013 Africa’s Most Innovative Bank UARANTY Trust Bank Plc has been adjudged the Most InnoG vative Bank in Africa at the 2013 EMEA Finance Awards Dinner, which held Wednesday at the Le Meriden Piccadilly,
Director of Corporate Communication, Airtel Nigeria (left); Richard Ikiebe of Pan African University; and President of IABC Nigeria, Chido Nwakama at CEO Breakfast Forum in Lagos… last week.
The Quota SystemOr Positive Action?The Way Forward For21st Century Nigeria By Helen Azodoh UOTA system in the NigerQ ian context, is a system that requires a certain number or percentage of tribes to be represented in a school or organisation. The aim of this article is to look at the general notion of this system and how it works in Nigeria with regard to employment, and compare it to Positive Discrimination in the Western world. Having lived in the UK for several years, I have encountered various legislations on equality and discrimination, and I understand why these are necessary in a society such as the UK. I have however, often wondered why it was necessary in the first instance to introduce the quota system in Nigeria, in a country where we are all from the same ethnicity and should really have one another’s back, and why the quota system to this date still thrives in Nigeria. I researched the origin of the quota system and the most definitive answer came from the website of the Federal Character Commission, which states that, “it was observed that within the Nigerian nation, there were differences in culture, stages
of social and economic development and levels of political awareness of the citizens. Secondly, it was observed that disparities existed in the educational development of different sections of the country and this resulted in some sections of the country having recognizable advantage in the employment of their indigenes in the public services. Therefore, in 1954 when Nigeria opted for a federal form of Government, the concept of Quota System as a policy was adopted in the recruitment of persons into the officers’ corps of the Armed Forces and the police as well as in admissions into educational institutions.” The reasons for theinitial adoption of the quota system make sense and are fair enough under the circumstances that prevailed at the time. However, it does seem that the use of this system has extended way beyond its original mandate. The question we are posed with now is, in the 21st century and in today’s Nigeria, is this system not past its ‘sell by’ date, has it not outlived its usefulness? As we know, the West is a
melting pot of diverse ethnicities and cultures, and the minorities are more disadvantaged than others. In the UK, employers are encouraged to treat all ethnic groups equally, affording everyone the same opportunities. The Equality Act 2010 amongst other provisions, makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age or disability. Positive Discrimination in employment is not encouraged. In fact, it is prohibited. Instead, Positive Action is encouraged. You may wonder what then is the difference between Positive Discrimination and Positive Action? I will tell you. Positive Discrimination means ‘choosing someone solely on the grounds of their gender or racial group, and not on their abilities’ whereas Positive Action ‘are measures targeted at a particular group that are intended to redress past discrimination or to offset the disadvantages arising from existing attitudes, behaviours and structures’. Positive Discrimination is essentially reverse discrimination. In the UK, the only time
Positive Discrimination is encouraged is towards people with disability. The Disability Discrimination Act, provides for positive discrimination in favour of the disabled . In fact, employers and service providers are under a legal duty to make all reasonable adjustments in favour of disabled people to afford them the ability to earn a living like any other citizen. This includes making reasonable adjustments to enable a disabled job applicant attend an interview. Some employers go as far as guaranteeing disabled job applicants an interview. With Positive Action, it works by seeking to redress the status quo with positive measures to empower the disadvantaged individuals or groups. Such measures include targeted job training at certain minorities who are under-represented in certain occupations, providing the right facilities to meet specific educational or training needs. Azodoh, a chartered MCIPD, is a human resources consultant resident in the UK. She is also the MD of Orchardview HR Solutions firstname.lastname@example.org
FutureView Refutes Allegations Of Fraud UTUREVIEW Financial ServFdiaices Limited has refuted mereports that the company and two of its Directors were arraigned or docked over the theft of N1billion belonging to the defunct Oceanic Bank International Plc, now Ecobank Nigeria Plc. In a statement, Mr. Osaretin Giwa-Osagie of Prime Chambers, Solicitors to the financil services firm, stated that there
was no iota of truth in the news reports that its client, FutureView, its Managing Director - Mrs. Elizabeth Ebi, and Executive Director, Mr. Diamond Uju, were ever arraigned or docked at a Lagos high court over the theft of any sum of money from the bank. According to Mr. Giwa-Osagie, “the news reports were an obvious distortion of the facts of a legitimate transaction between a bank and its
customer.” He pointed out that the commercial transaction was the subject matter of a suit at the Lagos High court between FutureView Financial Services Limited and Ecobank to which all issues in the suit between both parties have been resolved upon the intervention of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). He also noted that “the civil
suit was struck out by the Honorable Justice M.O Obadina on the 10th of October 2013”. He further disclosed that solicitors to Ecobank (Morayo Lebi & Co), who initiated the civil suit and also petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, had, by a letter dated 17th July 2013, instructed the commission to discontinue all actions on the matter.
London. The award celebrates Africa’s most innovative bank, taking into consideration its market strength, profitability, growth and earnings, potential and quality of management of the financial institutions. The awards event also named the GTBank Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Segun Agbaje, the 2013 Pan Africa- CEO of the Year. EMEA Finance is a leading bimonthly global industry publication that reports on major financial events influenced by the international financial industry active in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Christopher Moore, Publisher of EMEA Finance, said: “Africa’s banking sector is developing at a rapid rate and GTBank is at the forefront of many areas of innovation. Its work in linking its social-media presence to business performance is particularly impressive, including its ‘Social Banking’ service, which made it the first Nigerian bank to allow customers transfer money and review their account balances on Facebook” Agbaje responded while receiving both awards: “GTBank uses technology as a strategic means of consistently improving service quality. Being leader in innovation allows us to provide our customers with the best possible value proposition and further consolidate our leading position in the African market. We are delighted to receive this award for our hard work and dedication to delivering the best value to all our stakeholders. “I am humbled by this award; I am particularly fortunate to work with a strong team of passionate and dedicated people at GTBank, all of whom have played a core role in delivering the bank’s successful result over the past years.” Editor of EMEA Finance, Tim Burke, said: “With two decades of banking experience, Mr. Agbaje has demonstrated his invaluable insights into the factors that drive success in the industry. His leadership has not only helped GTBank to grow its market share and profitability during recent years but also taken the
FAAN Plans Seamless Airport Facilitation During Yuletide HE Federal Airports AuT thority of Nigeria (FAAN) says both local and international air travellers will receive seamless facilitation during yuletide . A statement said most of the airport terminals in the country have already been remodelled, making provision for the expansion and modernisation of terminal facilities such as lounges, conveyor belts, check-in counters, toilets and airline offices. “In addition, modern secu-
rity and safety equipment such as x-ray, baggage and 3D screening machines, CCTV and walk-through metal detectors have been installed at all airports, aside the provision of modern fire tenders, ambulances and security patrol vans. “All our relevant staff in the Airport Operations, Aviation Security and Fire Rescue and Safety Departments have also been kept on alert to ensure seamless operations throughout the festive periods.”
Turkish Airlines Commences Flight To Aminu Kano Int’l Airport urkish Airlines comT menced scheduled flight operations to the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano Friday. The inaugural flight arrived the airport at 1.00 am local time. The airline, which also provides additional services at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, will fly Kano four times a
week at the initial stage. Turkish Airlines was founded in 1933 with a fleet of five planes and is a member of Star Alliance. At present, it has a fleet of 233 planes (both passenger and cargo) and operates scheduled flights to a total of 243 destinations – 201 international and 42 domestic.
Software Developer Introduces New Mobile Application OREMOST software develFLimited, oper, eKnowvate Solutions has introduced a new
The mobile application according, which can be made available on Blackberry, mobile application for iPhone and Android mobile churches to effectively manplatforms, Ojeyomi said, is age discipleship and create specified to bring church broad interactive engageoverseers and administrament. tors closer to the congregaSpeaking on the idea, Martion members through a keting Manager, eKnowvate 2-way information platform. Solutions Ltd, Mrs. Ayomiku Ojeyomi noted that the new Ojeyomi said “with the invigsoftware, Flockcare mobile orated pace of evangelism, application, which can be technological advancement specially branded for a and human mobility, the church with its colours and church can effectively remade available for download spond more radically to the globally in the Apple store management of church and Android marketplace, ofgrowth in discipleship and fol- fers overwhelming benefits low-up of new converts beto church leaders and adyond the traditional approach ministrators who subscribe of one-on-one visitation. to it.
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Sunday December 15, 2013 43
Ofada rice milling plant, deserted
OGUN: Ofada Veetee Rice: Gigantic Dream Down The Drain By Fabian Odum and Gbenga Akinfenwa was commendable, take-off masItheTSsiveconcept and output excellent. At least, as long as factory machines and conveyor belts rolled. It raised the hope of Nigerians on the production of Ofada rice, a variety distinct for its flavour, taste and upper notch nutrient content. It was a step that gave fillip to improved food security in the country and employment opportunities. But in spite of the hope raised, the company prematurely closed down and a laudable program was killed, to mark the end of an era. This is the story of the Ofada Veetee Rice Limited, a private sector driven project completed in 2009 by an Indian Company, Veetee and facilitated by Ogun State government. It was a multi million-naira ultra-modern rice mill, sited at Itori, Ewekoro Local Government area of the state, with an installed capacity of 75,000 metric tons per annum. When it was established, it was aimed at guaranteeing food security and generating substantial employment opportunities, in line with the late President Umar Yar’Adua’s 7Point agenda to promote agriculture and ensure food security in the country. The then Governor of the state, Gbenga Daniel, disclosed at the launching that the initiative signifies the robust and virile PublicPrivate-Partnership that defines the state’s developmental strategy in promoting the
establishment of businesses across the state. “It is envisaged that more opportunities for growth and economy of scale will be created for our local rice growers, attract many of our young people into rice production, conserve our foreign exchange and hopefully position Nigeria to become a major exporter of rice to the West coast of Africa and other parts of the world,” he said. The Managing Director, Mr. Devinder Meham told media men then that the investment portfolio of the plant would be about $15m (N1.73b). The company actually lived to its billing, processing ready-made, well packaged local rice to consumers from within and outside the state. Its proximity to the city of Lagos was an added advantage in terms of patronage. Aside the supply of paddy rice from local farmers, the large expanse of land at the back of the company was used to plant rice, source its own paddy, which was an indication that the company appeared serious with its vision of leading the rice market especially with that variety, at the time. But after few months in the market, Ofada Veetee Rice disappeared; several calls and emails to the address of Meham, available to The Guardian yielded no fruit. At least, it was to hear his own side of the story, but it was not to be. It has gone the way of many abandoned projects in the country. When The Guardian visited the site, the gate of the milling firm, which was under lock and
key had been overgrown with weeds and taken over by rodents. It was gathered that the milling equipment have all disappeared from the company without trace. Efforts to get further report yielded little result, as the gateman who should have been in a better position to speak on the state on the processing firm was said to have been hacked to death by robbers who invaded the firm last year. At a time, a notice from an inter-religious cultural organisation was placed at the entrance but was removed weeks later. All efforts to get information from the state government were futile. An SMS was sent and call made to the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Funmi Wakama to speak with the commissioner for Agriculture, is yet to yield any fruit. Earlier, The Guardian was at the Commissioner’s office but was not allowed to see her because no appointment was made earlier. Despite government’s claim of having agricultural development as one of its cardinal projects, it seems nothing is going on there. Stakeholders are of the view that if the gov-
Nigeria Genetic Centre Releases New Crop Varieties To farmers By Fabian Odum
Cocoa Pruners Undergo Training In FUTA G HE Federal University of T Technology, Akure through its Centre for Entrepreneurship, CENT has commenced the training of Cocoa Pruners for Ondo State government. The pruners are being taught modern skills in cocoa pruning that will enhance better yield. At the flag off of the programme, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Adebiyi Daramola represented by the Deputy Vice-chancellor, Development, Professor Tolulope Akinbogun urged the participants to give the training all attention because of its importance. According to him, cocoa production, which used to be one of the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, especially in the South West, has long been abandoned for oil, but is now due for revitalisation. Akinbogun said “there are modern ways of doing things to achieve the best result. If you do not know these ways,
it will affect your output. See this opportunity as one of the best. Utilise it well so that you can train others.” He said FUTA is well positioned to carry out the training because of its abundant experts in agriculture and related fields. He said the University would continue to ensure that it adds value to its immediate environment and the society at large. Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Dr. Ayo Olajuyigbe praised the effort of the Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, in revamping Cocoa production in the state through the constitution of the Cocoa implementation committee otherwise called Cocoa Revolution Project. This effort has led to the need to train the first batch of 20 trainees, who are to become Master Pruners and eventually equipped to replicate the knowledge gained among peasant farmers across the state.
He commended Gov. Mimiko for his government’s effort in turning raw cocoa into chocolate for local and international consumption. Olajuyigbe also called on the state government and other neighbouring states to leverage on some of the research output from FUTA so as to develop their citizens and build in them entrepreneurial skills. This is because skill acquisition holds the key to solving the seemingly intractable problem of youth unemployment in the country. Chairman, Ondo State Cocoa Implementation Committee, Dr. Jibayo Oyebade expressed delight in the operations of FUTA. Commending FUTA, Oyebade said, “We appreciate FUTA’s CENT for partnering with us to train this first set of pruners. This training will enhance the skill of the cocoa farmers in the state and showcase our products to the
ernment does nothing about the plant, food security might be compromised and employment opportunities that could have been the dividends of such project would be lost. It was learnt that some measures put in place by former Gov. Daniel’s administration like the partnership programme with ProPcom, which brought milling machines to the state, to increase production of rice are wasting away. One of the machines at Kobape Village in Owode, which can mill 20 tons of rice per day has been lying fallow due to limited raw materials. Others located at Iboro and Obada Oko, are yet to be working to their maximum capacity. If the revelation of the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, that Nigeria spends not less than N356bn annually to import rice from foreign countries, approximating N1bn per day, is anything to go by, then Ogun State government needs to revive the ailing rice plants and the dead Ofada rice investment, create jobs for the states teeming unemployed youths, stakeholders agree.
RAINS and nuts took fresh upswing on the research scale when the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), Ibadan, through its national committee on Naming, Registration and Release of Crop Varieties put out a list of seven new varieties of high yielding crops released to farmers. Chairman, National Varieties Release Committee (NVRC), Mr. Oladosu Awoyemi made the formal release in Ibadan on Wednesday at the 19th meeting of the working group. The crop varieties include one Pearl millet (LCICMV-4), one Maize (Summaz 40), three rice varieties (UPIA 1, UPIA 2 and UPIA 3) and two groundnut varieties (SAMNUT 25 and SAMNUT 26) according to Prof Olusoji Olufajo, who chairs the Technical Sub-Committee (TSC) on crops. Olufajo who addressed participants made up mostly of agricultural scientists, explained that the seven varieties were approved out of a total of 10
• Millet, Rice, Groundnut, Maize Get Attention
varieties submitted to his subcommitee for approval. He said the pearl millet was recommended for release based on extra - early maturity, stay green quality and high ash content. Olufajo said the maize was recommended based on high yield potential, tolerance to drought and the pest Striga hermonthica, and resistance to lodging. “The rice variety UPIA 1 was recommended for release based on early maturity, high yield, long slender grains as well as tolerance to iron toxicity and African rice gall midge. “The variety UPIA 2 was recommended for release based on high yield, long slender grains, tolerance to iron toxicity and African rice gall midge. “The variety UPIA 3 was recommended for release based on early maturity, high yield, long slender grains and tolerance to iron toxicity, “ he said. On groundnuts, Olufajo said the two varieties, SAMNUT 25 and SAMNUT 26, were recommended for release based on high resistance to rosette, moderate resistance to aphids, high
yield and early maturity. He said the pearl millet was developed by the Lake Chad Research Institute and International Crops Research Institute for Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Niamey. Olufajo said the two maize varieties were from the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan. The two groundnut varieties were developed by IAR and ICRISAT. Olufajo said the TSC (Crops) frowned at the persistent late submission of materials by most breeders adding that it was agreed that materials submitted after the deadline would no longer be accepted but pushed to the next TSC meeting. Olufajo said the TSC urged coordinators to know that any observed corrections on the existing catalogue of registered and released crop varieties should be communicated formally to the secretariat on or before December 31.
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Sunday, December 15, 2013 CAREER 45
46 CAREER Sunday, December 15, 2013
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Birthdays SOyINKA, Olukayode Adedeji, journalist and publisher, is 56 today. Born on Sunday, December 15, 1957, he hails from Owu, Abeokuta, Ogun State. Educated at Baptist Boys’ High School (BBHS), Abeokuta, he has a degree in International Relations; and an MA in International Journalism from the City University London. He started his journalism career as a cub reporter with the Daily Sketch in Ibadan in 1976 as a foreign correspondent based in London. He also worked as London Correspondent for the Sketch and Concord newspapers, and was General Editor of Africa Now, published by the legendary editor Peter Enahoro. He was the London Bureau Chief for Newswatch. He became particularly famous as the survivor of the letter-bomb blast in Lagos on October 19, 1986, which killed the seasoned Nigerian journalist and pioneer editor-inchief of Newswatch, Dele Giwa. Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Africa Today, the pan-African news magazine, which he
started in 1995. Author, Diplomatic Baggage: Mossad & Nigeria — The Dikko Story. He was also a three-time governorship candidate in Ogun State under the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in 2003, Action Congress (AC) in 2007 and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2011. He was a 1979 Honorary Harry Brittain Fellow of the Commonwealth Press Union (CPU); a 21st Century Trust Fellow; and was in 1990 a Visiting Scholar at Wolfson College, Cambridge University. Member of the Round Table Moot — the
editorial board of the Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs and was one-time - for three years chairperson of the London Management Committee of the Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA). He represented the CJA on the international advisory board of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI). He was awarded the prestigious Gabs Award 2013 in the UK for his contribution to media development in Africa.
SOLOMON, Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju, politician, administrator and philanthropist will be 54 on Thursday, December 19, 2012. He is a graduate of political science from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), he went into a private business, which major in IT services immediately after graduation. He contested election into the Lagos State House of Assembly on the platform of the Democratic Party of Nigerian (NDP) and won. In 1999, he also contested under the platform of the Alliance for Democracy
(AD) as Chairman of Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos State and won. In 2007, he was elected Senator to represent Lagos West Constituency on the platform of the Action Congress (AC) and was in April 2011 returned to the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly under the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). TADESE, Alhaji Taiwo Ishola, transporter, technician and Assistant Secretary of MOALS was 51 on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Born on Decem-
ber 4, 1962, Tadese, a native of Iwo in Osun State, attended Ansar-Ud-Deen Primary School, Agbogbo, Iwo between 1970-1976 for his Elementary Education; and moved to St. Mary’s Grammar School, Iwo for his secondary education, 1979-84. He later trained as a technician between 1986 and 1989 in Ibadan, Oyo State under the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) scheme of the Federal Government. He worked as self-employed technician in Minna, Niger State, from 1989-1993 and became transporter from 19941995. He also an executive member of the Motorcycles Association at Ojodu Berger Branch and the Motorcycle Operators’ Association of Lagos State (MOALS) of NURTW. ADEFUyE, Oluwafunmilayo is 50today. She was born to the family of Pa Samuel Ayoade Delu and Mrs. Eniola Delu on the December 15, 1963. She is celebrating the golden Jubiliee with fulfillment amidst her children and grandchildren.
50th Memorial Get-together In Honour Of Late Mother Of Chief Ayo Adebanjo
Adebanjo and Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State at the occasion.
Deola Azeez, daughter of the celebrant with Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of Osun State.
Alhaja Gbajabiamila and her daughters, Mrs. Ronke Williams (left) and Mrs. Kemi Osunyemi
Olori Ojuolape Ojora and Otunba Adekunle Ojora
2013 Adoption Thanksgiving Service of Motailatu Church C&S Worldwide: His Eminence Elder (Dr) Israel Akinadewo, Supervising Head; His Most Eminence Baba Aladura (Dr) Motailatu Akinadewo, Primate and Founder; His Eminence Elder (Prof.) Joseph Otubu, General Evangelist, during the event held at the International Sub-Headquarters in Lagos... last week.
Host (Evang.) J. Olu Ayeni (2nd left), Prophet Obiwale, Lady Mary Ayeni and other guests at the book launch tagged: Breaking Generational Curses at Voice of Salvation Evangelical Ministries, Mile 12, Lagos.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2013 49
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â€œMoving Peopleâ€? CONTINUED FROM LAST EDITION and in many cases this can be translated to purchasing power if you link their strong desire to the need for products and services.
THE MOTIVE OF SEX The second basic motive for moving people is Sex. And Sex is a big one. It carries a very powerful hold on many human beings whether they are men or women. And it is certainly a way to motivate by moving some people in certain directions. In learning what motivates people you must study them in-depth. The best way to move people is to appeal to their most powerful motivating factor and that would normally depend on the situation in question. In some cases Sex can play a role if a couple are trying to figure out the best vacation spot to spend their honey moon or the best clothes to wear for a party. However sex as a motivating factor can be more obvious in certain industries. For instance the entire Rap and Hip Hop music industry has built itself on the backbone of sex as a strong motivating factor. Even the Nigerian Music industry has caught on. The music videos these days are speaking sex, they are singing sex and in some cases are showing sex. And the young people are responding in their numbers, just eating it up. Moving people from an entrepreneurial stand point using the Sex as a motivating factor can be a tricky business if you are not selling direct sex products or services such as strip clubs, sex toys, sex videos and lingerie. Some industries are better suited for moving people with the motivation of Sex than others, and these would include the ones I have mentioned above as well as some of the not so usual suspects. Many fast cars have been sold as sexy. In the nineteenth seventies the Porsche motor company released a very sleek Porsche sports super car and choose to use the word SEXY as its message for marketing. It told the public that this was a car that you would either be having sex in the car, having sex because you own the car or people will look to you as sexy because you are driving the car. This ushered in the World of sports cars and the use of the motive of Sex to sell Cars. All the car companies have since taken this lead and Sex has remained a major factor in the sale of certain types of cars ever since.
THE MOTIVE OF SELF PRESERVATION Everyone wants to preserve his or her life, in some cases no matter what it tales. So if there is a matter of self-preservation on the table and you have a product or service that will determine the longevity of the individual the chances are that the person will make the purchase. The medical industry has grown and grown for the sole reason that no matter what it costs, a man or woman suffering from a life threatening disease will spend whatever it takes to make sure that he or she preserves his or her life. Many industries are well suited to using the motive of self-preservation as a motivation for moving people. Apart from the medical industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the food industry other industries that lend themselves to the motive of Self Preservation include the exercise and well living industry. If you are in selling exercise equipment then the chances are that if you find people who would love to preserve their life, and many of us fall into that
THE MOTIVE OF SELF RECOGNITION The music industry, the acting and movie industry, the speaking industry, the entire celebrity industry which would include the fashion industry, photography, press, broadcasting, books, publications, blogs, web sites anything that puts your image and your name out there will serve itself to anybody who feels the need to have their name out there. Self-Recognition is a powerful motive and will move lots of people if you appeal to this motive in the right industry or for the right reasons. Some people will go for the recognition, in far excess of money if they are motivated by recognition. In many cases the politicians in many countries are quite happy once they get the recognition that they are looking for. Not so in Nigeria as many politicians here are driven by greed and money and not service or self-recognition.
position, then you will find many many customers that are willing to pay your price. Many people are familiar with the lengths to which man would go in order to save his life,
Nicholas Okoye Founder EMPOWER NIGERIA Initiative,
EMPOWER NIGERIA VISION To be the most effective, efficient and successful network of Entrepreneurial Leaders in Africa, growing the ranks of entrepreneurship by converting the unemployed youth into micro, small and medium business operators.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
GUIDE TO PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Braille for the Visually Impaired persons
Harmony in all Human relations There is very little you can achieve in life if you are constantly quarrelling and fighting. In order for you to gather your strengths and focus your energy you have to have sound peace of mind. Nobody can produce their best results in an atmosphere of tension and unease. The distractions that are caused by worrying, plotting, fighting and undermining your colleagues can never take you to the top. You will end up spending all your energy on the fight and leaving no energy left for the climb to the top. You will need to have a clear direction of the goals in which you are trying to achieve and no distractions whatsoever should be tolerated. So when you create your own distractions by fighting and quarrelling you are limiting your ability to achieve success. A smooth harmony in all human relations is the key to your ability to have a clear mind and a clear vision in order to pursue a clear strategy. You must have harmony in your relations with your spouse, your children, and all your stake holders, there is nothing more damaging than having a tension filled home when you are trying to achieve success. Make peace with your wife or husband right now it’s a pre-condition for your success.
Drive for future Achievement There is nothing that undermines a drive to succeed more than when someone does not see any hope for future achievement. Even for those that have achieved major accomplishments in their life, once they believe there is nothing more to achieve something dies inside the person. We must all have goals and targets for future achievement in order for us to drive ourselves forward. These goals can be set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly or even ten yearly. Whenever you set your goals you are by definition setting targets for future achievement. And you will feel the drive and the excitement that goes with pushing yourself to the heights of human achievement. I love it when I have a set goal or target in mind, it gives me the energy and the commitment I need to see the project through. Set yourself a target for future achievement and watch yourself move to the mountain top and conquer all obstacles in your path.
Mastery of Greed Nigerians are most guilty of the spirit associated with greed. I call it a spirit because there is no other way I can explain that one man or woman will own four private jets, or three Rolls Royce Cars, or ten mansions and some of them in the same city. Some of our people are simply greedy and accumulate material things that they will never ever need or use. I remember a man that visited his guest house with his friend after so many years and when they got to the guest house in the highbrow area of Abuja they came across three Mercedes Benz 500 S Class cars just sitting in the driveway, the cars were however covered in rust and eaten by rats. The man screamed that he had forgotten that he bought these cars many years ago when the models were just released by the Daimler Benz Auto Company but he never got round to driving them. The cars were worthless now as rats and rust had eaten into the engines, the electrical systems and even the tires. It was a sorry case of Greed. He just was so greedy that he had to have these cars even though he did not need them. You must master your greed otherwise you will undermine your drive to the top and even if you get to the top by some act of providence or sheer luck, you will find that you can never be happy if you continue to commune like the greedy Romans did in the ancient times, which eventually led to their demise. As the saying goes don’t be a “GREEDY PIG”. The pig eats far more than it will ever need, so it is fat, ugly, filthy and full of diseases.
Share your blessings The climb and drive to the top can be tough and when you get there it can also be quite fulfilling. However nothing can be more fulfilling than when you share your blessings with others. For everyone that climbs to the top, you always do that with two hands stretched out in two opposite directions. One hand is stretched upwards before you to receive the hand of the man or woman that is helping you climb up the ladder of success. And the other hand is stretched downwards to help up the others that are coming after you. You must share your blessings and accomplishments with others if you truly want to be happy and successful.
raille is the universally accepted system of writing used by and for the blind. It consists of a code of 63 characters, each made up of one to six raised dots arranged in a six-position matrix or cell. These Braille characters are embossed in lines on paper and read by passing the fingers lightly over the manuscript. The Braille system was invented by Louis Braille in 1824, when he was only 15 years old. He developed a six-dot “cell” system inspired by Capt. Charles Barbier, a French army officer who developed a system of tangible writing called "night writing". It was intended for nighttime battlefield communications. Braille used Barbier’s system as a starting point and cut its 12-dot configuration in half. The system was first published in 1829 and a more complete elaboration appeared in 1837. The Frenchman Valentin Haüy was the first person to emboss paper as a means of reading for the blind. The first Braille writing machine, the Hall Braille writer, was invented in 1892 by Frank H. Hall, superintendent of the Illinois School for the Blind. A modified form of this device is still in use today, as are later, similar devices. One innovation for producing Braille is an electric embossing machine similar to an electric typewriter. Braille is produced by special machines with six keys, one for each dot in the Braille cell. To aid in identifying the 63 different dot patterns, Braille numbered the dot positions 1–2–3 downward on the left and 4–5–6 downward on the right. Several Braille alphabets are used in Nigeria. For English, Unified English Braille has been adopted. Three other languages have been written in Braille: Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba. All three alphabets are based on English readings, with the addition of letters particular to these languages. In addition to the literary Braille code, there are other codes utilizing the Braille cell but with oth-
er meanings assigned to each configuration. The Nemeth Code of Braille Mathematics and Scientific Notation (1965) provides for Braille representation of the many special symbols used in advanced mathematical and technical material. There are also special Braille codes or modifications for musical notation, shorthand, and, of course, many of the more common languages of the world. Today, depriving blind children of this vital skill has been widely recognized as a terrible error. The educational and job opportunities of blind children who grow up without Braille are likely to be severely restricted throughout their entire lives. One well-known study found that blind people who acquired Braille skills early were more than twice as likely to grow up to be employed adults. Laws in many countries now mandate teaching Braille to blind students in public schools. Often, concerned parents do not wait for educators to catch up, but make certain on their own that their blind children are learning Braille. This is why Braille Machinery is a good investment for business. If you want use the brallie machine to generate an income please contact 01 2771388 Chiugo@empowernigeria.com or the below information
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Sunday, December 15, 2013 51
HEALTH Ogun Moves To Reduce Maternal Morbidity By Gbenga Akinfenwa
supplementation, immunization, screening for malnutrition, birth registration, distribution of long lasting insecticidal nets and family planning commodities among others. The commissioner noted that efforts were being focused on the renovation and provision of necessary infrastructure at the primary, secondary and tertiary The state Commissioner for health institutions while attenHealth, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka tion has been given to referral gave the assurance at the weekend, to round-off the December system, financing of programmes and training of health round of 2013 Maternal, New workers to strengthen the born and Child Health week health system in the state. (MNCHW) in Oloshe, Ifo Local Soyinka says, “the rate at which Government Area of the state. Represented by the Senior Spe- our women died from pregcial Assistant to the Governor on nancy related complications and child death through vacHealth, Dr. Olaolu Lawson, he cines preventable diseases is unsaid the integrated free health acceptable by us and our care package, which took place last week in all the government administration will leave no stone unturned to bring these to health centres and other desigthe barest minimal levell”. nated places across the state Earlier in his speech, the Execuhave availed nursing mothers, tive Director of National Primary pregnant women and children under the age of 0-5 years oppor- Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado tunity to some essential health care services such as; Vitamin A Muhammed represented by his GUN State government has reiterated its determination to pursue and implement programmes that would improve the health status of its citizens, especially mothers and children thereby reducing maternal and child morbidity rate in the state.
zonal coordinator, South West, Dr. Oladimeji Olayinka said the Federal Government was committed and has made a paradigm shift with desire to save Nigerian mothers and child. According to him, “for immediate and sustainable actions for the growth of our nation, we have initiated the Midwives Service Scheme (MSS) Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) through the intervention of MDGs and SURE-P, Saving One Million Lives among others in order to make accelerated progress to reduce the maternal and infant mortality rate”. In their separate goodwill messages, the representatives of UNICEF, Mrs. Flourence Molokwu and his counterpart in the Rotary Club International, Mr. Omidiji implored parents and other caregivers to embrace the MNCHW programme by inculcating the habit of hand washing and maintain hygienic environment at all time.
Health And Your Mind
Mind, Jesus And Heaven (3) By Babatunde Ayo-Vaughan
UR discussion in the last essay took us to the point where I believe we were able to convince ourselves that much as there may be nothing wrong in believing that Heaven represents a place outside the material world, and that the statements of Jesus justified this belief, still that ought not to have buried the idea that the concept of Heaven is far more expansive and bigger than just that idea alone. We equally find our justification in the statement of Jesus to support this when He said that man should seek first the kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness and everything that he needs would be given to him. He justified this by saying that the lower creatures do not toil the way man toils and yet God takes care of their needs. According to Him if only we human beings could understand the method of faith, we will be as protected and showered with the blessings of God as the lower creatures. He said it is through this method that we make an in-road into the arena of Heaven. This statement clearly suggests that you might not need to leave this world may be after you die to go and enter into that abode somewhere called Heaven. You might as well realise it here, proving it beyond reasonable doubt using the statement of Jesus that Heaven may be far bigger than just an abode outside this world. Heaven in its most ideal concept also embraces the destiny of the earth as it is now. It is in that instinctive understanding of the lower creatures of this truth that keeps them firmly connected perpetually with the blessings of God. As I said, Heaven represents an expansive notion that should be seen as accommodating everything in creation
that is purposeful, meaningful decent and practical. People may refer to Heaven as the above and they may also refer to the earth as the below. But when you equally here people say ‘as above, so below,’ what this means is needed to sustain the earth. This way we could see that the relationship between the two is symbiotic. They are inter-dependent. In that inter-dependence, they become one to give meaning to one indivisible creation of God. They flow into each other and every sphere of creation gets its nourishment through it. This way that statement in the Bible is validated that ‘In God, we live, move and have our being.’ There is a mechanism of operation to this. It is rooted in the scientifically well-established principle of symbiosis. Mechanism is about a process. It is about a method of order. This is what established principle of intelligence. In my last essay, I said the mind works out intelligence in man. When Jesus said let the will of God be done on earth as it is in heaven, it should be clear that the statement connotes a process. It is about a mechanism. If it is the will of God that makes things to happen everywhere including blessings, then it could be logically entailed that Heaven as we have tried to present it is about the will of God. The Will of course, must be of the nature of method and order to produce intelligent results, which should substantiate in no unmistakable terms that Heaven indeed is primarily the abode of intelligence. Since intelligence has been proved at the level of man to be produced by his mind functions, then we will see clearly why God is better seen as the universal mind or supreme intelligence.
Ayo-Vaughan, a psychologist, lives in Lagos email@example.com
Identity Of Interpersonal Conflicts By Passy Amaraegbu
IkE onions, conflict has many layers. Earlier on; we had considered the different shades and forms of intra or internal conflict. Today, our focus is on interpersonal or between persons conflict. What is it? Of what relevance is it? One definition of interpersonal conflict is that, it is a disagreement between two individuals or subgroups in an organisation which is marked by significant resentment and discontent (Psychology and society.com) In other words, disagreements between individuals or groups devoid of bitterness and anger may not be classified as conflict while the converse is true. Interpersonal conflict is based on in compatibility — of focus, goals or targets, of task or assignment, of methodology or approach. Perspective, understanding, personal experiences, personality differences and pressures all affect both the degree of conflict and resolution. Let us clarify these issues by using some examples. Conflict resulting from incompatibility of perspective or understanding. A first year undergraduate absents from a rescheduled lecture session on a Thursday evening because it was the official time for Sports and Games on campus. His reason? He thought the lecturer was joking. Now he is bitter against his lecturer because, he is finding it difficult to absorb the kernel of that lecture. Interpersonal conflict resulting from incompatibility of goals or targets. A couple is fighting the mother of all wars in their home over what budget item should attract the largest amount of their December bonus. The husband planned to invest the money into beginning their building project in the village while the wife targets to replace
Representative of Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olaolu Lawson administering oral polio vaccine to a child at the flag-off of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week in Oloshe, Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State.
Shedding The Weight Of Disease By Moji Solanke
HESE days, many adults, and increasingly younger and younger children are consumed by the desire to lose weight, and present a lean or thin body image. Advertisements, corporations and celebrities exploit this desire, sometimes to ridiculous levels. Books, diets and other self help tools targeted at losing weight and keeping it off, are popular, resulting in significant economic gain. Apart from physical weight, ill health is also a heavy weight, not only for the individual, but for their loved ones as well. Anyone struggling with a health problem is aware of how it always seems to be in the forefront of thought, feeling like the proverbial millstone about their neck, dragging, slowing down hope and joy. It is a burden even more desirous to shed than that of perceived excess body weight. It is possible to shed the weight of disease permanently, and rejoice in the freedom that comes from enjoying consistently good health. Spirituality, that has nothing to do with superstition or mystery, is prov-
ing this. An American Christian woman, who suffered terribly for the first 45 years of her life under the crippling and unrelenting weight of disease, discovered, through study of the Bible and divine revelation, how to shed the burdensome weight of disease and be well. She proved this in her experience, and then lived for almost 45 years more, in good health. She discovered there is a spiritual system, practiced by Christ Jesus, which heals all kinds of sickness, and still does so today. She presents her discovery in the internationally acclaimed book, Science and Health with key to the Scriptures. Her lifelong aim was that no one need suffer hopelessly from ill health. Numerous individuals around the world, including Nigeria, are attesting to the efficacy of Mary Baker Eddy’s discovery of the spiritual laws of health, as practiced by Christ Jesus. What is this system that is helping so many shed the weight of disease even in the Twenty First century? Eddy calls it the Science of Christ. Jesus taught it to his disciples; and anyone may learn it today. It is based on the
spiritual understanding of God as self-existent Spirit, who, in making man in His image and likeness, as the Scriptures declare in Genesis, made him entirely spiritual. Thus man manifests all the qualities of God by reflection, including good health. Eddy wrote ‘Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man, the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.’ This light of spiritual understanding, whereby the basis of thought is ‘perfect God, perfect man’, is enabling many shed the ponderous weight of disease, and find divinely natural and consistently repeatable healing. As we learn to trust our health to God, in a spiritually intelligent way, we shall demonstrate better what Paul said to the Hebrews ‘Let us lay aside every weight and the sin, (and we might add, disease), which so easily besets us’. Then we shall find, in shedding the weight of disease, what we gain is spirituality and good health.
her second hand car with a brand new one. Interpersonal conflict resulting from diversity of methodology — The CEO of the company after attending refresher courses on the management of human and other resources, plans to change the leadership structure of the organisation from the traditional master — servant to servant format which is more humane but the chairman and board of directors are resisting the change. All these examples are common place in our daily life schedules. The difference may be that many people who are engaged in inter-personal conflicts may either be ignorant or unconscious of it. They just go through the motions and for many people, through the psychic pains without concrete plans of how to resolve it. As negative and nauseating as it seems, conflict (whether intra or interpersonal) can be a starting point for a positive change in our lives and circumstances. For example in the lives of couples, the onset of conflict has always enabled them to make remarkable decisions, which of course leads to the success of the marriage or its crashing. It may be useful for one to examine one’s present situation and try to identify the cause or root of the interpersonal conflict one is involved in. Is it as a result of incompatibility of understanding, goal or strategy of achievement? Is the conflict increasing or reducing? Are there any lessons to learn? What can one do to reduce the conflict? In the next edition, we consider the significance of conflicts before we look at the resolution strategies.
Dr. Passy Amaraegbu, A clinical psychologist lives in Lagos. firstname.lastname@example.org
52 | Sunday, December 15, 2013
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GRASSROOTS By Godfrey Okpugie
HE Enogie of Ehor, His Royal Highness Dr. David Ehigiamusoe Igiehon has called on the state government and His Royal Majesty, Omo N’ Oba Nedo Uku Akpolokpolo Oba Erediauwa to address the migration of rural dwellers in Edo speaking areas of the state to Benin City, in order to stimulate economic and social development in the affected areas. The Enogie, who advocated this at Ehor day celebration to mark the successful completion of Ikukpe (Ugie) festival in Ehor town, the headquarters of Uhunmwonde Local government area, disclosed that the problems of local government generally in Edo State had been too much concentration of government development programmes in Benin City, the state capital. He stated that this had hindered development in various local government headquarters in Bini kingdom, to the extent that those elected into offices in the councils usually carry out their functions from Benin City. He said: “Even some of us the enigies (traditional rulers) also imbibe the condemnable practice of staying in Benin City, from where we occasionally visit our domains (Area of Jurisdiction). According to him, “If we have up to five viable towns in Benin speaking areas of
EHOR: Monarch Preaches Against Rural-Urban Migration the state, that would go a long way in enhancing economic development and growth in Bini kingdom. He blamed the obvious lack of development, particularly in Uhunmwonde local government on all the past chairmen, who, according to him, only came to the place from Benin City to amass wealth to the detriment of the local populace. “None of them, not even the councilors have a residential house in Ehor the local government headquarters. They did not even reside in the headquarters during their tenures,” he said. To reverse the trend, the monarch appealed to all the Enigies, council chairmen and councilors to start residing in their various local government areas so as to attract and nurture development there. Also at the occasion, the chairman of the Ehor Forum, Barrister David Uduebor, a retired deputy commissioner of police, traced the origin of Ehor town and meaning of the name to when the transition of Oba Ewuare the great in 1473 was followed by a period of deep rooted hatred, rivalry and distrust among the Princes, which eventu-
ally led to Prince Okpame being ordered to go to a village called Esi and bring Owere the eldest son of Prince Ezoti to Benin City to be crowned as Oba. He said history had it that while on their way to Benin, Prince Owere and his mother were allegedly murdered by Prince Okpame, an allegation he (Okpame) denied, but was still banished from Benin to Ora in the
northern part of the kingdom. He said Prince Olua, the last surviving son of Oba Ewuare, who was finally prevailed upon by the Uzamas (the kingmakers) to ascend the throne in 1474, appointed one of his sons, Prince Iduhon to proceed towards the northern boundary of the kingdom and establish a Dukedom there to keep watch and re-
ITH a few weeks to the W January 30, 2014 date for the conduct of the Plateau State council polls, uncertainty and confusion is gradually brewing over whether polls would hold. One of the reasons adduced to this by political watchers is the precarious security situation in the state. Others issues cited include the grievances of the people of Jos North and Wasa local government areas that have been excluded from participating in the polls, based on what government termed security reasons. They also cited the alleged imposition of candidates; inconclusive primaries and plans to rig the election by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It should be recalled that the polls had been shifted for four times in a row, based on
what the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC), described as unforeseen hindrances. It was earlier slated for the first quarter of this year, then December 7 and later December 8 before the January 30, 2014 new date was chosen. For two years now, the inability of the government to conduct the polls had increased the anxiety and confusion of political parties and people of the state. Government claimed its inability to conduct the poll was frustrated by prolonged strike embarked upon by the local government workers and the barrage of litigations by political parties, which also contributed to the delay. Though the special adviser to the state governor on political affairs, Nde Alexander Mwolwus at a media interaction, explained that it is not the wish of the Dr. Jonah Jang’s administration that
OTA:Ado-Odo/Ota Gives Grant To 42 Community Development Associations By Gbenga Akinfenwa
DO-ODO/Ota local goverA ment area of Ogun State has offered grant-in-aid to 42
PLATEAU:Uncertainty Trails January 2014 Council Polls By Gbenga Akinfenwa
port to Benin City any information on impending attack from the exiled Prince Okpame and Atta of Igala, who was also a threat to the kingdom. “The task assigned to the duke in bini tongue was “way ya gha da ehor,” which was what was shortened to
caretaker management committees inaugurated over a year ago, should continue to run the 17 councils to this period without election, it was flayed by opposition parties that the delay was a ploy by the ruling party to dominate the state political scene. He was quick react that the governor merely wanted a smooth and uninterrupted transition at the councils, as opposed to manipulating the elections as thought in some quarters. He added that the security challenges in the state constituted to the delay encountered in taking necessary electoral steps, and that there was need for government to step up efforts to restore peace and guarantee the enabling environment for meaningful party politics. Obviously, the issue of security is a major challenge posing a serious threat to the possibility of conducting the polls. For instance, Wase local government, one of the councils where the state government has pend for conducting the polls was recently engulfed in violent crisis, which resulted in the death and displacement of many people. The second council area, Jos North was a source of conflict in November 2008, which resulted in a protracted ethnoreligious crisis, which was largely sparked off by bickering over the polls. As at now, all the primaries in Shendam was cancelled due to what some see as effort to impose candidate on them, the councillorship primary in ward five in Kanam was inconclusive, Barkin Ladi chairmanship primary was suspend but sources said it
has been secretly conducted and some other issues are posing serious threat to the conduct of the polls. Another issue is that there is no strong opposition in the state; everything seems to be a PDP affairs. A source from the state opined that if all the issues are not well addressed in the next few weeks, the aggrieved people and council area, as well as the fragile security situation in the state may truncate the possibility of holding the elections.
‘Ehor’ (Ear) that the dukedom is now called. According to him, Ehor, during the Punitive Expedition of 1897, played significant role in assisting Captain Heneker and Glanvile in May 1898 to arrest two Benin Chiefs, Ologbosere and Ebohon, who fled Benin City to take refuge in the surrounding bushes around Ehor. The then Enogie of Ehor, Omo (Chief) Egiade together with his subjects were instrumental to the arrest of Ologbosere and taken to Benin City for trial.
Community Development Associations (CDAs) in the council area for year 2013, for self-help projects that would elevate the standard of living of the people at the grassroots. The list of the projects revealed that each of the 21 CDAs had embarked on two worthy self-help projects, which the council authority had duly monitored and inspected. Chairman of the council, Comrade Rotimi Rahmon who gave out the cheques at the community development standing committee meeting, which took place at the council headquarters, Ota, last Tuesday, said the amount given to the CDAs may seem small and not commensurate to amounts expended on various selfhelp projects embarked upon, but an acknowledgment of the spirit of selfhelp, as well as government recognition of the CDAs’ crave for development. “It is no gainsaying the fact that self-help is the best help and that is why our people should not rest on their oars in the provision of physical and functional self-help projects. I have been reliably informed that grant-in-aid to
self help projects have not been given more than seven years ago. This is distressing and disheartening to hear about. It is an unavoidable mistake on the part of the previous administrations and this government has come to address and redress it,” he said. He said no government, no matter how benevolent it is, can be acceptable and legitimate if it jettisons grassroots approach known in community parlance as bottom up approach, which pointed to the five cardinal objectives of his administration. He noted that since nothing in the world remains static except change, the administration has called for the convocation of a townhall meeting to have a data base on need assessment of the people in the council area for the preparation of 2014 budget and beyond. “We are partners in progress because I have seen catalogue of self-help projects being executed by community development associations in the local government area. I cannot but extol the good virtue and exemplary visions of our community leaders. You are great decision makers, men of unstoppable will, role models that deserve our praises. Your contribution in transforming Ado-Odo/Ota cannot be quantified,” he stated.
IKORODU:Lawmaker Renders Account Of Service By Wole Oyebade
HE chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos State, Henry Ajomale has described the lawmaker representing Ikorodu I Constituency, Sanai Agunbiade as a man who has shown the true essence of a lawmaker and representative of the people. Ajomale, who spoke at Agunbiade’s mid-term account of stewardship to his constituency, said from his disposition to the constituency, “SOB Agunbiade has shown that he is a true member of APC and worthy representative in the state.” The APC chieftain made this remarks shortly after Agunbiade launched the third edition of his interestfree loan initiative for traders in his constituency. The initiative, in partnership with Skye Bank, gave the sum of N50, 000 to 50 traders and N25, 000 each to another 117. Besides, while 138 youths, trained in Desktop Publishing were
presented for graduation, outstanding students in the Best Brain Competition (at all levels) were rewarded with cash prizes. His secret, as evident in his account, was to influence appropriate authorities in favour of the people he represents. His words: “We have influenced loans for the constituents through banks and Skye Bank is giving out loans to people today as 50 market women would get N50, 000 without interest as I pay the interest, 117 members of the party would be going home with cheques of N25, 000 each as loans. “By next edition, the market women would get N75, 000 each, while the party members would get N50, 000 each. 10 members of the party who did very well have moved to N50, 000,” he said. Continuing, Agunbiade said: “You don’t need to wait for election period to
do things for your people. I did the first edition of the programme the same year I was elected. I am just trying to give back to my constituency because to whom much is given, much is expected. “We don’t collect constituency allowance. None of us gets such to do projects. We only collect our salaries and imprest. My motivation is the need to give back to the people, who believe in me,” Agunbiade said. He recounted that with the assistance of the deputy governor of the state, the permanent secretary and staff of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), he was able to facilitate the training of 650 people comprising women and youths in different vocations, ranging from hair dressing, soap making, to cake confectionaries, balloon & decoration, hat making and others.
Sunday, December 15, 2013 53
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Opinion A Shell-shocked Presidency Dear Baba: WRITE this letter by myself out of respect for the fact that you wrote by yourself the important letter you addressed to me. First, I apologize for the many previous letters that you sent to me that I did not acknowledge. I have to be honest with you: I completely forgot to read them. I confess I did not know there would be so much to do in Aso Rock! Sometimes, Patience helps me, but then, one has to be careful because of State House gossip. People think I do not hear when they refer to her as “Mrs. President.” With respect Sir, your letters are usually quite long. The current one is 18 pages, and I am shell-shocked. I started reading it, but NTA had a nice story about the First Lady. Between Bamanga Tukur, G7, APC, Boko Haram, Rivers State, Transformation, I could only read the first page. No, it is not that I am such a slow reader; it is just that simply to justify the letter, you gave 10 reasons, averaging one reason per sheet of paper. Anyway, after they woke me up on Wednesday to inform me the letter had leaked, I finished reading the whole thing. Baba, you cast me almost as a fictional president, as if I exist only in the imagination. This is far from the truth. I am real: the Obateru of Owu Kingdom, a title given to me by your own people in your presence in 2006. I am not a figment of the imagination. I am on Facebook. There is no crisis of leadership, and there is no deceit or deception. I am the author of the Transformation Agenda, which is changing Nigeria overnight. I declared a state of emergency in the Northeast, and the soldiers are slaughtering Boko Haram in the streets, from the air, and in the forests. Once my soldiers have killed all of them, the problem is finished. The same optimism must apply to security nationwide. There is nothing to fear: I travel by air. Namadi travels by air. Patience travels by air. The Ministers travel by air. Military and
security chiefs travel by air. We know that kidnapping, piracy, abductions and armed robberies are everywhere, but I can assure you we will not be kidnapped or killed. Baba, you also referred to unemployment. I have done the research: unemployment is like corruption: exaggerated. Look at Asari, he is employed. Look at Timpolo. Look at Doyin Okupe. They are proof I am conquering unemployment. The same goes for corruption. Only the Americans are fighting corruption more than me, and I will continue to fight it. That is why you do not hear of anyone in my government going to jail, because nobody in my government is corrupt. Remember, Baba, last January when Oby Ezekwesili alleged monumental corruption by the Yar’Adua/Jonathan administrations, saying we squandered $67 billion? Several months later, she also alleged that since 2005, about N1 trillion has been spent on the National Assembly. Those figures are just like the Central Bank governor saying NNPC has since 2012 failed to remit almost $50 billion to the Federation Account. Baba, all these numbers are lies because they cannot be true. I have never seen that kind of money in my life. NNPC does not have that kind of money, so how can it be missing? In fact, they do not even have people to count such money; Dizzy would have told me. If we do not ignore the rumours, people will think Nigerian leaders are rumour-mongers. If we had that kind of money, Ngozi would have told me. Ngo is so intelligent, she always knows such things, which is why she did not reply Ezekwesili’s rubbish and did not reply Lamido. She has learned to ignore nonsense. Concerning the economy, have you listened to Ngozi lately, Baba? You were the first to invite her to the government and you know Ngo is a magician with the economy. When she was at the World Bank, she helped the whole world to fix their economy. So I said, my sister, please come home and help to fix
our own. By 2018 or 2019 when she would have finished her magic, you will see. Every town in Nigeria will have an airport. Every village will have a university so that everyone will have a university degree. Every unemployed youth will have a car. Every chief will have a new palace funded by the government. We will ban unemployment. Baba, mine is an active government. We are not a “non-action, cover-up, denial or bribing” government. I have set up dozens of presidential committees: Projects Assessment; Ministries, Departments and Agencies probe; Oil Sector Revenue, headed by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu; contracts and procurements; SURE-P, countless committees. People speak about NNPC investigation, but I have investigated NNPC already and I can tell you it is not corrupt at all. They are doing a wonderful job. All my committees work hard and they write a lot of reports. One day when I am not travelling, we will start assessing them. By 2017 or 2018 everybody will marvel at our achievements. It is not that we are not getting results yet. Contrary to what you said, we have statistics showing that Nigeria has become the favorite destination of investors in Africa, with the highest investment of $8.4billion. I put this in my mid-term report this year, my government aims “to attract $20 billion worth of foreign investments in three years,” that is, between 2013 and 2016. Baba, your letter shows that you may be a little afraid of the future. I assure you the future is bright. I don’t know where you heard the information about 1000 people on the political watch list and the training of snipers. That is classified information the security people are not going to be happy. Let me just say that if there is a list, it is not up to 1000; I don’t know where Abacha trained his killers; and nobody has said anybody will be killed. Also sir, talks “about possible abuse and mis-
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use of the military and legitimate security apparatus for unwholesome personal and political interest”? This is wrong sir. The military and security are supposed to do the right thing. Sir, I think leadership by example is overrated. I have refused to declare my assets publicly because Nigerians will start focusing on what I own, not the sacrifices I am making for them. I am not the issue, Nigeria is. Remember I declared my assets recently, in 2007. Also, remember you put me in office. I did not expect it. I was indicted by Ribadu’s committee in 2006 but you wisely destroyed that report and you handpicked Umaru and me. I have not changed; I am still your good luck charm. Sir, “before it is too late”? Success is never too late or too long? Remember you were the one who said PDP will rule for 100 years. We have at least 87 years left. Politics is dynamic, not static, and the plans of the founding fathers, if not good enough, must be made to fit the realities of today. It is more important for the PDP to be wrong, but be in power than to be right but be right, but not be in power. That is why it is in the best interest of Nigeria that I run in 2015. Otherwise we may all have to run away. If not PDP, what? If not me, who?
Why Privatising Nigeria’s Refineries? By Felix Ayanruoh OST oil and gas industry stakeholders in Nigeria readily agree that the oil and gas industry is comprised of two major segments: Upstream, and Downstream. The upstream segment is generally referred to as exploration and production (E&P) and includes activities centred on searching for potential subsurface hydrocarbon fields and the recovery and production of such hydrocarbons (including crude oil and raw natural gas). The downstream segment consists of the refining and processing of hydrocarbons into consumer products (gasoline, jet fuel and diesel) and the diverse transportation, storage and marketing assets and services that link the energy supply side (Upstream segment) with the demand side for energy commodities. It is self-evident that corruption, inefficiencies, and the heavily regulated downstream sector in Nigeria have been a significant barrier to private investment in the country and to overall development and economic growth. The oil and gas refining and processing market structure are dominated by the stateowned refineries. Although, Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil and natural gas producer, it still relies on fuel imports to meet more than 70 per cent of its domestic supply needs. A close examination of the failures of our refineries suggests that aging equipment, poor maintenance, inefficiencies and of course corruption remains a major factor. It has been alleged that about 445,000 barrels of crude oil dedicated for domestic refining was and are being diverted to other sources and unaccounted for. Furthermore, substantial annual budget is being allocated for subsidies, maintenance and current expenditure for refineries that are producing far below capacity. The dissatisfaction with the performance of our refineries has fuelled the debate on the theoretical and empirical justification of the government’s involvement in the downstream sector, and became the driving force behind privatisation. In an attempt to best address the issue of energy security and self-sufficiency of petroleum product, the Nigerian government constituted the National Refineries Special Task Force (NRSTF). “Changes in the ownership structure and business model of the refineries are necessary, in order to turn them around” the NRSTF recommended, “the Federal Government should relinquish control of the operation and management of the four Nigerian refineries by divesting a majority of its 100 per cent equity to competent, resourceful and experienced refining pri-
vate partner(s) in accordance with the Public (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Enterprises Act 1991.” The Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke’s recent statement that the federal government plans to begin the privatization of four of its state-owned oil refineries before the end of the first quarter of next year (2014) may be viewed as a strong government implementation policy of the NRSTF final recommendation. Petroleum industry infrastructure privatisation has been part and parcel of a recent world trend, which has placed greater reliance on market forces and less dependence on government in the allocation of resources. Furthermore, privatization has in part been reinforced by the increasing globalization of the world economy. Decades of precipitated growth in international trade and investment have made competitiveness in international trade an essential factor in a nation’s ability to raise funds, create jobs, raise real wages, and generate wealth. The privatisation of the refineries can be a cumbersome process whose impact can be viewed as both short-term as well as long-term in nature. At the same time, the success or failure can only be measured by past mistakes and corrective measures. The concerns about the time frame for the privatisation process as stated by the honourable minister are germane and need a rethink. As will be readily apparent from the recent power sector privatization process, a tremendous amount of effort and resources — both institutional and regulatory was brought to bear for its successful competition and should be used as a template in the petroleum sector privatization process. The question, then, is how should the Petroleum Ministry and the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) proceed in this process? Heuristic analyses, by experts in the field conclude that the process of privatisation of a petroleum industry infrastructure in an emerging economy such as Nigeria’s, should include transparency, accountability, the introduction of competition, development of independent economic regulation and operating according to commercial principles. The seminal goal of any privatization transaction should be to ensure that transparency is maintained in every stage of the transaction. The transaction should be carried out pursuant to the BPE Act 1999 and related laws
and regulations requiring maximum publicity and openness in the workings of the BPE and the Petroleum Ministry consistent with normal requirements of commercial confidentiality. It is imperative that the transactions be conducted under well-publicized competitive bidding process, encouraging all possible range of domestic and foreign investors to participate. The process should maximise sales proceeds while maintaining public confidence in the integrity of the process. Competitive bidding is the sale of assets or shares through public auction or tender, and the public offering of shares through a stock exchange. The terms and conditions of the sale should be fixed with a requirement that the auctioned refineries be sold to the highest bidder. A minimum price may be set in advance so that if that price is not achieved in the bidding, the government has the option of either withdrawing the items from sale or negotiating a sale after the auction at a lower price to the highest unsuccessful bidder. Suffice it to state that a public tender is suitable for the sale of larger or more complex businesses such as refineries, where wide public participation is likely to be minimal. The availability of the refineries should be advertised and interested parties may be pre-qualified if the government wishes to establish in advance their financial capacity or to review their operational or investment plans. So also, bidders should have the opportunity to carry out a due diligence evaluation of the refineries and be permitted to inspect the books of account, examine the physical assets and interview senior management. Due to the fact that due diligence of transaction of this magnitude takes time, the four months window indicated by the honourable minister is not tenable. Bids should remain valid for a period after the closing date to allow for careful evaluation and possible negotiation with the top bidder. Furthermore, the BPE and Petroleum Minister should have the right to reject any bids, which do not conform to the general bidding guidelines. Given the BPE’s involvement in the successful privatisation of generating and distribution entities in the recent power sector reform, the author is of the opinion that a transparent privatisation of the nation’s refineries will save the country billions of dollars and energy security in the present world of shale revolution. Ayanruoh is the Managing Partner of the Wall Street Firm of Ayanruoh & Company, Attorneys at Law an International firm with offices in New York (USA) and Abuja.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Opinion The Nigerian Economy In 2013 By Bayo Ogunmupe N order to measure the performance of an economy, you have to visit the economic policy of the government. To be able to act on economic information, therefore, you have to look into the statistics, data, and other clusters of available information. Reading the statistics poorly may end up in wrong decisions taken. Timely readings will stimulate meaningful policy actions. According to Ayo Teriba, Chief Economist of the Econs Associates. Com, data updates in the Nigerian yearbook, Fact books aren’t reliable for they won’t be available for use till very late in the year. For example, the Annual Report of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which ought to be published by the second quarter of the year, in June, had not been published by October 31, 2013. Also, only the 2010 Annual Abstract of the National Bureau of Statistics was available by the end of October this year. Nigeria’s current economic travail is linked to things we should do which we did not do, either due to the dearth of leadership, traceable to intellectual weakness or our penchant for financial profligacy. Another contributory factor is impunity – situations where culprits should be punished but the authorities refused to act. Since 1999, successive administrations have been wasteful and also failed to demonstrate purposive leadership. The report of a committee chaired by Ahmadu Lemu, president of the Supreme Council of Sharia, accused the executive arm of government of bleeding the economy. The report had more knocks for federal lawmakers who it accused of flamboyant lifestyle in the midst of nationwide poverty. The Lemu panel accused the National Assembly of taking a large chunk of the nation’s earnings, raising the alarm that what is being spent on the lawmakers would soon send the nation into bankruptcy. However, some federal lawmakers have argued that the three percent allocation given them in the annual budget is too insignificant to affect the economy. It isn’t the legislators alone that are bleeding the Nigerian economy. The same impunity goes on in the executive branch. This impunity culture was recently taken a notch higher with the reported purchase of two armoured cars for N255 million for the use of a minister. Aso Rock has maintained sealed lips over the matter while calls for the sack of the minister have reached fever pitch. The government claimed the economy would be grounded if it met the requests of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) but was buoyant enough to fund N255 million for two vehicles. Although President Goodluck Jonathan promised to check impunity during his last media chat, critics aver that the president’s hands are tied because oil thieves are people he cannot fight. Economists say that Nigeria’s revenue dropped by 42 per cent because of the disruption to oil production caused by oil thieves who hacked into pipelines. Worse still, reports from the labour market leave much to be desired. Indeed, Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose from 21.1 per cent in 2010 to 23.9 per cent in 2011, so said the National Population Commission (NPC) in a release on October 10, 2013. The NPC said figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed
JAW JAW By Didi Onu
Nigeria’s economic growth had not translated into job creation. The NPC report said that NBS estimates that Nigeria’s population grew by 3.2 per cent in 2011 from 159.3 million people in 2010 to 164.4 million people in 2011, reflecting rapid population growth. In 2011, our unemployment rose to 23.9 per cent compared to 21.1 per cent in 2010. It said the labour force swelled by 2.1 million to 67.2 million people with just 51.2 million persons employed, leaving 16 million people jobless. The report added that unemployment was higher in the rural areas at 25.6 per cent than urban centres where it is 17 per cent. Thus, unless government takes decisive steps by clamping down on oil thieves, confidence in the government will be eroded. Government needs to openly dissociate itself from allegations that those in oil theft have its backing. Meanwhile, Jonathan’s persistent search for the saving grace may be found in steering Nigeria towards modernity. This can be achieved by strengthening the institutions meant to protect Nigeria from internal and external economic disasters. For example, the Excess Crude Account and the Sovereign Wealth Fund shielding the economy from the declining oil prices are now in place. Jonathan should be shopping for a competent replacement for Lamido Sanusi, the outgoing Central Bank governor. For an active Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), a transparent Bond Market and a Stock Exchange that is on the rebound are areas where we have recorded significant gains. The growth of our non-oil sector has been impressive. Agriculture, wholesale and retail trade and services have come to the fore to compete with petroleum. But the pace has been slow compared with the joust between the president and the state governors over federal allocations. These fights are often dressed in the costume of true fiscal federalism. Though both the states and the federation have tax raising powers, both never exercised such powers. However, what we sorely needed now are institutions, which ensure security of lives and property. Such institutions are hospitals, a larger and more disciplined police, and Financial Independence for the Judiciary. The Army should be divested of police duties. On hospitals, the best hospital in Egypt is owned by Egyptair, Egypt’s biggest airline. Nigeria can imitate that by partnering with a private company to foster medical tourism through creating big and efficient hospitals. Jonathan should call on Globacom, Shell or Mobil to establish hospitals for the good health of Nigerians. Two, private companies can partner with government on a joint stock basis with a company becoming the core investor. On security, government should increase the strength of our police force from 377,000 cops to one million men, because at 170 million people, Nigeria needs 1.7 million policemen. In spite of our economic boom, the Nigerian nation state remains vulnerable to factional disputes such as that of Boko
Okonjo-Iweala Haram. Repeated outbreaks of violence show limited security. The contributory factor to the general malaise of corruption and impunity is illiteracy. Only recently, the UNESCO dubbed Nigeria with highest number of illiterate people in the world! On profligacy as a factor of underdevelopment, in 2004, during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, and the first coming of Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Paris Club of Creditors wrote – off $30 billion debt. We then paid arrears of six billion dollars, which was 40 per cent of our debt. But now in the light of the present indebtedness of such nations as the United States, Britain and France, it is arguable whether that lump sum debt payment was wise. We believe it was most unwise that Obasanjo heeded the behest of Okonjo-Iweala in the payment of that debt in a once for all basis. Presently, the national debt of the US, before the October 2013 two weeks shutdown was $17 trillion. Yet the US isn’t thinking of payment part of it in a once for all basis. That stand was informed by the opinion of economists since debt levels do not affect economic growth. Out-going U.S. Central Bank chairman, Ben Bernanke stated in April 2010 that “Neither experience nor economic theory indicates the threshold at which government debt begins to endanger prosperity and economic stability. However, a high debt level may result in inflation if currency devaluation is viewed as a solution to debt reduction. If wages are rising due to inflation, fixed amount of debt can be paid off more easily using cheaper dollars. This helps the debtor but hurts the debt holder, who receives less value in return for their loan.” Those pieces of information rendered the 2004 debt payment ill-advised and profligate.
But despite government’s no cause for alarm’ assurance, Nigeria’s debt is mounting. After the debt relief initiative of 2004, our stock of foreign debt declined with US$3.8 billion domestic debts by August 2006. The revered Scottish economist Adam Smith (1723-1790), author of The Wealth of Nations said that when national debts are accumulated to a certain level, there is scarcity since such debts have never been completely paid. That aphorism is coming home to roost as Nigeria treads the old path of foreign indebtedness. According to an article by OkonjoIweala on Nigeria, sourced in the Internet, Nigeria’s current external debt stands at $34 billion. She gave our domestic debt as N6, 537 trillion as at December, 2012. However, the total domestic debt of the 36 states and Abuja has been put at N1.5 trillion in 2012. But as at 30 September 2013, Nigeria’s debt has risen to N8.32 trillion, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has said. This excludes the domestic debts of the 36 states and the FCT. These data were released on the DMO website on 11 November, 2013. This was contained in the 2013 Report of the Annual National Debt sustainability Analysis of the Debt Management Office. However, economists have raised the alarm that Nigeria is treading the old path of indebtedness. For instance, Nigeria signed a $1 billion loan with China for infrastructure development as part of a US$3 billion facility approved by China at low interest rate. Thus, we have returned to the era of the debt-ridden society of the new millennium. In order to stem the tide of the debt deluge, Dr. Teriba averred that Nigeria should engage the President to institute an annual state of the economy address where the president shall provide the people with where the economy is coming from, where it is going and the wherewithal to attain full employment for the people. According to Teriba, Nigeria’s economy has grown very fast since the year 2000. This was in response to surges in global trade. In particular, our GDP has doubled from N20 trillion in 2007 to N40 trillion in 2012. Our oil and gas output rose from N7.5 trillion in 2007 to N15 trillion in 2012. In the non-oil sector, our GDP rose from N12 trillion in 2007 to N25 trillion in 2012. Crops rose from N6 trillion in 2007 to N12 trillion in 2012. On trade and commerce, our economy’s GDP rose from N6 trillion in 2007 to N11 trillion in 2012. Comparatively, with a nominal GDP of $250 billion in 2012, Nigeria is 30th, among the list of world’s biggest economies. We were 40th in 2005, 52nd in 2000. Nigeria is the second largest economy in Africa, coming behind South Africa. Nigeria is set to become one of the 20 biggest economies by 2020. Unfortunately, Nigeria’s growth is cyclical because of our dependence on global commodity price swings. Our gains may be wiped out by any oil price crises; which is why we need new creative thinkers as policymakers. The profligacy of paying $6 billion as debt arrears in 2004 is responsible for our present lack of electricity, poor state of tertiary education because of our inability to refurbish university laboratories. Also the current state of our economy confirms the persistence of mediocrity among our leaders. Ogundipe is a columnist in The Guardian.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, December 15, 2013
OSUNTOKUN: INEC Needs Autonomy To Function Effectively Emeritus Professor Akinjide Osuntokun, former Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, says the country stands to experience a showdown if the 2015 general elections were conducted in the same manner with the “inconclusive” Anambra State gubernatorial election. In this interview with TUNDE AKINOLA, the Professor of History and Strategic Studies recommends the detachment of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from the Presidency, if credible polls were to be actualised. With the enormous resources at INEC’s disposal, why has it been difficult for the commission to conduct credible elections? THINK the problem with INEC is generally the issue of greed with Nigerians, who have become unnecessarily greedy in terms of money. We do not seem to be satiable, and no amount of money paid to Nigerians is ever enough. They just want to cut corners. The second thing is that sanctions are hardly imposed. In other countries, if someone perverted the course of justice or an electoral officer went against the rule of being an umpire, he/she would go to jail, whether it is in the United States or nearby Ghana. But in Nigeria, elections are rigged and people pervert other people’s will. Nigerians do all sorts of illegal things, but their tribal cohorts often defend them. Unless we begin to enforce sanctions, we will not see the change in our electoral process. We must also de-emphasise the role of money. It is becoming quite clear now that no amount of money can give anyone peace. In a country, where millions of people cannot even feed themselves, those, who have so much money, cannot enjoy it either. We raise our fences high with barbwires, tight security with dogs and guns. I always ask why we have to go this far in the name of security. What is the purpose of this accumulation of wealth that brings no peace? When you look at INEC, it is quite clear to me that Professor Attahiru Jega means well, but he alone cannot do it, and if the foot soldiers at state level are absolutely corrupt, there is nothing anyone can do about it. There is nothing Jega can do from the INEC headquarters in Abuja. Perhaps we have come to a point, where we have to invite individuals from outside the country to conduct our elections. We just may have to do that. We can go to Ghana to get people to run our elections, because to me, it seems we are not serious about the issue. It is a matter of concern to me, because if INEC conducts the 2015 elections the way the Anambra State governorship election was undertaken, this country will blow into pieces as no one can accept an election that is manifestly unfair, unjust and rigged in favour of one political party or the other. If people realise that no matter your support for a particular candidate, electoral officers will still manipulate it, this country will be in a big crisis in 2015. Some people believe the electoral act should be reformed in line with the Justice Mohammed Uwais Committee recommendations, what is your view on this? Yes, I agree with it. You need to put people, who are absolutely impartial and if I remember well, Justice Uwais’ recommendations want the chairman of INEC to be appointed not by the Presidency, but by a constitutional provision, where the budget of INEC will be scheduled. He wants people running the Commission to be truly independent. I personally have always favoured the idea of having an electoral commission composed of people in the academia, trade unions, some political parties, religious people, judges and so on. And they should be totally separate from the Presidency. Unless you have a group that consists of people with integrity and the Presidency keeps appointing them, there can never be fair elections. Even the governors appoint electoral umpires at state level, which can’t give us credible elections either. I think we should borrow from oth-
er countries, where electoral officers are totally neutral. This is not the case in Nigeria, as many INEC commissioners are card-carrying members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and I know that states INEC Commission will also be filled with officials carrying the cards of the various parties in power in the particular state. We need to have absolutely independent people as INEC officials, because the purported independence in INEC is a joke. As long as they have to go to the Presidency to get money, they cannot be truly independent, because whoever controls the purse wields the power. INEC does not have the encouragement of the political class to embark on electronic voting. It does not contemplate Diaspora voting and even biometric capture of voters’ data is fraught with anomalies. Then, what is INEC capable of doing? To be sincere, no amount of gadgets can guarantee credible elections. Do not forget that in the United States, which perhaps is the most technologically advanced country in the world, where gadgets are used, elections can still be perverted. You can break into computers and change names. So, it depends on Nigerians. A
totally corrupt country like Nigeria cannot run a fair election, and until people realise that this country cannot continue this way and everybody see themselves as stakeholders in a corruption-free country, we will not get it right. With all the resources we have in this country, the education and roads systems are so bad. In fact, no sector of the country is working, simply because these monies are going into wrong hands. Until everybody comes to the realisation that unless this country is run well, no one can prosper. But I think it is gradually getting to that point, because with hundreds of thousands of young people out of job, those of us working are really afraid to go on the street, because you do not even know who might attack you. You go to the church and people are shoving their curriculum vitae at you. Same thing obtains in the mosque and yet Nigerian leaders seem oblivious of what is going on. I think when it comes to the crunch, this country will wake up and unfortunately it is getting there. So, it is not just INEC alone, as it is a microcosm of the country, a reflection of what goes on everywhere in the country. The
I think when it comes to the crunch, this country will wake up and unfortunately it is getting there. So, it is not just INEC alone, as it is a microcosm of the country, a reflection of what goes on everywhere in the country. The people in INEC do not see their job, as being held in trust of the people of this country. They see it as their own farms, where they go to harvest. You put a Nigerian in any position and he sees it as his own farm, where he collects his harvest. So, INEC officials are going there to make money, and politicians are ready to buy them to their side.
people in INEC do not see their job, as being held in trust of the people of this country. They see it as their own farms, where they go to harvest. You put a Nigerian in any position and he sees it as his own farm, where he collects his harvest. So, INEC officials are going there to make money, and politicians are ready to buy them to their side. Do you share the view that we should go back to the Option A4 that delivered the 1993 presidential election? I will support that because at least, it was used during the election that threw up the late Chief Moshood Abiola, and that was the fairest election we ever had in the country. Voters lined up behind the political parties of their choice to be counted physically. Maybe because of the crudity of our society that may be the best option. Everybody tends to blame General Ibrahim Babangida for the ills of this country, but at least in terms of Option A4, he got it right. Maybe we should go back to it, anything that works should be experimented. Did politicians play any role in the confusion in Anambra election? What did they do or refused to do? Anambra election is quite clear. It seems the powers that be did not want All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Senator Chris Ngige to win. But Ngige is not the only one in the race? Yes, he is not the only one, but it was in his own area that over 177, 000 people were disenfranchised. He would not have won the entire 177,000, but the people knew that was where he had the heaviest support. Political support and solidarity in Nigeria is based on ethnicity and that is where he comes from. For instance, if I am running for an election in my state and you do not allow the people of my town to vote, obviously you do not want me to win. Every attempt was made to stop Ngige. That was why some INEC officials messed up the election at Idemili South and North, hence, his supporters could not vote. If only because of that, the result should have been cancelled, though doing that will cost money. But I think that is what probably informed INEC conducting a supplementary election. The electoral law is clear. It is better to cancel it now than allow the process to go to court, where eventually the election will be annulled. I can bet my life that that is what will happen, because it is obvious that no amount of bribing the judge to rule against Ngige will work. He has to read the electoral law and it is quite clear, when people’s fundamental right to vote has been abridged, the election stands annulled. The evidence they will use against INEC is what Jega himself has said. He openly came out to say an official of the Commission caused the havoc. He cannot go back on that statement because it is has become public. Where you have the evidence from the Commission’s chairman being aired, it will be very difficult for the judge to say there is no basis for complaint. If I were Jega, I would have canceled the election. I know him very well. He is a younger colleague of mine. He was the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) chairman and later became the Vice Chancellor of Bayero University Kano (BUK). He is a brilliant academic and a good man. But like I said, he cannot do it alone. The state commissioners have always been PDP members since former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s era. People that failed elections at local level were taken to Abuja to be made INEC commissioners. What do you expect them to do? To bite the hand that feeds them? They are not neutral and we are just kidding ourselves. We know what is right and what is wrong. We know what the law says, but our leadership goes ahead to pervert the course of justice. This is what is happening, and until we do the right thing, we will not get it right. God has been so mercifully gracious to us in this country, but I think we are the enemies of ourselves. The saddest part of the story is that everybody has a price, but until we get to the point we realise that money cannot buy happiness, that is when this country can stretch forth its arms to God and He will now rescue us.
56 Sunday, December 15, 2013
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
From Supplementary Balloting To Endless Reproaches By Leo Sobechi, who was in Awka ITH the interest it generated, nobody expected that the 2013 gubernatorial contest in Anambra State would go into extra days of balloting. When the returning officer, Professor James Epoke, who is also the Vice Chancellor of University of Calabar announced that the November 16, 2013 poll was inconclusive, it was not that a winner could not be established or a tie, but a manner of playing safe. The declaration was a bit of surprise because the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Mr. Willie Maduabuchi Obiano had scored majority votes of 174,710 from about 16 out of the 21 councils of the state at the first ballot. In the result, the PDP candidate, Comrade Tony Nwoye was credited with 94, 956, while the All Progressives Congress, (APC) candidate, Senator Chris Nwabueze Ngige, scored 92, 300 votes. But the INEC said a supplementary poll became necessary because “the total number of cancelled votes was more than the difference between the number of votes cast for the winner and the runner up in the election.” He contended that from the interim result read out to journalists, election observers and party stalwarts, the difference in the figures between the first two candidates, which is 79, 754 is less than the cancelled votes, which is 113,113. “In view of that the commission could not declare any of the candidates the winner,” the Returning Officer declared. But if INEC intended to create the impression of fairness or dampen what would have ended in violence as displayed in Ido Osi during the repeat election in Ekiti State in 2010, it partially succeeded. Instead of a full-blown protest that a final result would have elicited, the other political parties prayed for outright cancellation. And when INEC through its national chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, sounded adamant, the front running parties notably APC, PDP and Labour declared their intention to shun the supplementary poll. Though the supplementary poll held on November 30, 2013 provided the opportunity for INEC to finish what it started and to announce a winner, the exercise threw up endless reproaches ever since. The disappointment over INEC’s conduct of the Anambra gubernatorial election raised enormous loss of hope for the 2015 election, such that some observers began calling for Jega’s head. Even Nigeria’s international donor and partner, the United States of America (US) expressed worries over the Anambra election conducted by the INEC. While stating its readiness to work with the electoral body to avert a repeat of the blunders that necessitated a supplementary election in future polls, US reiterated its belief in credible elections as panacea for political unease. According to the US Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who addressed a press briefing in Abuja, “transparent elections remain a high priority for the US government. Based on what I have read, I would say the elections were problematic, that is what has been reported here in this country. We have met with various political parties and we have heard from parties that the elections were problematic. It raises some concerns about future elections and we want to make sure that again, we will work with the electoral
commission to ensure that the kinds of problems that occurred in the Anambra election do not occur in future elections.” She disclosed that the US government is also willing to work with the Nigerian government and political parties to ensure that the elections in 2015 reflect the will of the people. Also, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador James Entwistle remarked that it was encouraging however, that INEC realised its own shortcomings in the Anambra elections. His words: “It is encouraging that INEC itself realises its own shortcomings, they have been very public and transparent about that. They are taking a look at their own staffing, finding out why their performance was not better. My impression is that INEC is using the Anambra election as a lesson to get ready for the next elections.” But the question remains how far such optimism and contriGovernor Peter Obi (middle) with Obiano, Umeh and other party members after winning the just conluded election tion could go to douse public disdain for INEC’s willful interference in the electoral process. favour of APGA. In doing so, you have affirmed report that Nkemjika was being held on the charges of impersonation, fraudulent activities the lifelong struggle of our great father, Dim Supplementary or Pupil Governor and Advanced Fee Fraud (419). Sources within N the early hours of December 1, 2013, shortly Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. You also after Professor Epoke, announced the return upheld his view that our people should preserve the Ifeanyi Ubah campaign organisation disour heritage through one united political roof. closed that before Nkemjika was taken to the of Mr. Willie Maduabuchi Obiano of APGA as the winner of the protracted election, the gov- Ndi Anambra, I want to thank you for honour- police station he was asked to list all money he had collected from Ubah for the media, which ernor-elect took a hurried shower, adorned his ing the memory of late Ikemba, Umu nnem, totaled N4, 600, 000.00 in addition to 5, 000 Dalu nu!” suit and bow tie, parting his hair in his trade USD and N300, 000.00 he received from his And to show that he was coming to supplemark fashion that reminds of his days in Fidelity Bank Plc. When he was ushered into his ment what Governor Obi has achieved in office, principal on “personal grounds”. The police officer disclosed that the Eluamahe added: “Ndi Anambra, His Excellency, expansive mini-hall adjoining his country Governor Obi has shown us that our collective Isikwuato born Nkemjika, believes he can rely home, reporters who were at the premises on interventions of high-ranking sons of the caught the first glimpse of the next governor. limitation is in us and not in our stars. Throughout history, societies that have crossed area in the security services to scuttle the efforts Escorted by the chairman of Anambra North of law enforcement agencies investigating his Senatorial Zone Traditional Rulers Council, His the threshold of development have always Royal Majesty, Rowland Odegbo, HRH, Idigbo of worked collectively as one…we need your good- activities, adding that the command was ready Aguleri and the first lady in waiting, Mrs. Ebele will and support to build on the great founda- to take the matter to court depending on the disVictoria, Obiano evinced the sign of a man who tions we have inherited. …So I call on all good position of the complainant, Ifeanyi Ubah. Attempts to reach Mr. Nkemjika could not bear was glad to walk in the shadows of power. He people of Anambra State to join hands with us and sustain the progress we have made these did not, in his twelve minutes acceptance speech, betray any sign of possible friction that past eight years…” could attend his tenure, if it stands. Standing erect behind a stylish lectern, Obiano read his Rejection, Dejection, litigation in the parties: twelve-paragraph speech titled, “Sustaining our UDDENLY the mood in various political parties changed as the final position of things steady march to Progress”. Those who expected an inkling of what his administration portends about the election emerged. by the speech must have been disappointed, because there was no such hint. There was not LP Distraught N the Labour Party (LP), which made more even the slightest mention of his Continue, Complete, Commission and Commence, initia- than enough noise in the election, it was an anticlimax. First the Governorship candidate, tive. Perhaps, understanding the suspense in the state over the outcome of the election, the Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, fell out with his media consultant. It was discovered that the consultant was Governor-elect dwelt on commending those not using the money given him for purposes who assisted his climb to power, as well as a plea to his competitors to sheathe their sword they were meant. He was locked up at the Police and join hands with him “in the march to make State in Nnewi and Awka respectively. The conAnambra State a better place.” In the fashion of sultant simply called Nkemjika was also accused of surreptitiously undermining the job of the the US President Thomas Jefferson, Obiano media team of Ifeanyi Ubah campaign organisaurged his former rivals to “please always remember that the blood that binds us is thick- tion as well as collaborating with a rival political party. Investigations later revealed that er than the politics that separates us”. In the Nkemjika allegedly transmitted a damaging speech replete with much patronage, the Governor-elect said: “Beloved Anambrarians, to news release through the electronic mail of one of the members of the media team, Mr. Chijioke the Glory of Almighty God and the kind support of my family, I stand before you tonight to Emmanuel Ibeleme, to reporters in which he accept this historical mandate given to me and disclosed that Ubah’s campaign tempo had Dr. Nkem Okeke… I stand here tonight in the slowed down for lack of funds. At Awka police shadow of history. You made history when on station where Mr. Nkemjika was detained, it was November 16, and today, you cast your votes in gathered from the police first information
Perhaps, understanding the suspense in the state over the outcome of the election, the Governor-elect dwelt on commending those who assisted his climb to power, as well as a plea to his competitors to sheathe their sword and join hands with him “in the march to make Anambra State a better place.” In the fashion of the US President Thomas Jefferson, Obiano urged his former rivals to “please always remember that the blood that binds us is thicker than the politics that separates us.”
Sunday, December 15, 2013
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
POLITICS and Bona Orakwue and Co, APC averred that it is a registered political party that took part in the state governorship election held on the 16 and concluded on November 30. APC disclosed that it was dissatisfied with the outcome of the said election and “intends to challenge same via a petition to be filed shortly in this Tribunal,” adding that “the applicant needs to inspect and make copies of the electoral documents in the custody of the respondents for the purpose of instituting and maintaining the said petition.” The party argued that it was humanly unfeasible to file and bring “this application during the pre-hearing sessions after the closure of pleadings, and that the leave of the tribunal is required to file and bring same outside of the pre-hearing sessions.” It stated that it would be in the interest of justice to grant the reliefs sought in the application. But in a surprising twist, the electoral body has asked the APC to cough out the sum of N2.2 million to defray the cost of generating the documents sought. Though INEC outlined what the money was meant for, it would be interesting to know how it would react if APC decides to provide the materials like photocopying machines and other office items. APGA expedites action in Court HE Maxi Okwu faction of APGA has expedited its action at the Federal High Court, where it is challenging INEC’s recognition of Victor Umeh as national chairman of the party. Justice Abdulkadir Abdul-kafarati of the Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed February 7, 2014, for judgment in the suit. Okwu and four others had instituted Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/563/2013 on August 19, 2013, against Victor Umeh, Sani Shinkafi and INEC seeking a Court order directing the second defendant (Shinkafi) to vacate office as national secretary of the Party, having been elected into office first, on January 10, 2003, and re-elected for a second term, which expired on January 9, 2010. The plaintiffs further asked for an order directing the first and second defendants and all officers they represent to vacate their offices forthwith not having been elected in accordance with Article 18(4) of the Constitution of the Party which stipulates mandatorily that election into the offices shall be by secret ballot, and an order directing INEC to deal with Maxi Okwu’s leadership of APGA. Justice Abdul-kafarati had earlier granted accelerated hearing and directed that the preliminary objection and the substantive matter should be heard together to enable the court decide on the Party’s leadership dispute. However, in his submission, Umeh’s counsel, Patrick Ikwueto (SAN) asked the court to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction. Ikwueto also informed the Court that three of the plaintiffs, Ibrahim Carefor, Gbenga Afeni and Abubakar Adamu had withdrawn from the suit, leaving Okwu and Dickson Ogu as plaintiffs. But Okwu’s counsel, Oba Maduabuchi, while opposing the preliminary objection, urged the court to uphold that Sani Shinkafi’s tenure as national secretary had since elapsed, having been elected to the position on January 10, 2003. Maduabuchi also pleaded with the Court to grant an order directing all the APGA officers purported to have been elected alongside Umeh in the so-called February 2011 national convention to vacate their offices. He contended that their election was inconsistent with Article 18(4) of the party Constitution, which prescribed that elections into various officers shall be by secret ballot. The
fruits because his phones were still switched off at the time of filing this report. However, the Police Public Relations, Anambra Command, Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka, said the Command is in the habit of charging cases to court at the end of investigations, stressing that there was nothing exceptional about the matter. Ubah was also said to have set up a committee to recover campaign funds and vehicles after allegations that many people could not deploy cash given to them for the election. However, state chairman of LP, Mr. Sam Oraegbunam, told The Guardian that after a postmortem, “we are putting our house in order for future elections; we have learnt our lessons as a party. We have seen our mistakes.” Oraegbunam declared that it was clear that INEC compromised themselves at both national and state levels saying that the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Chukwuemeka Onukaogu should be removed from Anambra immediately. He added: “INEC was supposed to use NYSC (youth corps) members but used UNIZIK (Nnamdi Azikiwe University) students who they gave NYSC uniforms. It was clear that INEC rigged the election in favour of APGA; there is no two ways about that. That is why I called it institutional rigging; there was no problem with the security agents, everything that happened was that INEC bungled the election themselves. It was overwhelmingly clear that INEC bungled the election by itself.” He said the election does not give joy to Anambra people. “They are subdued; what would have given them joy is if they have willingly and freely selected their leader. The winner was forced on them, but Anambraians being the people they are, let us watch and see. There is a subdued anger in the state. People expected that they would have voted to decide who should rule them but INEC decided to impose somebody on them,” he recalled. Expressing the fear that the election would cause more voter apathy in the state, Oraegbunam said his party was not taking the December 21 council poll serious. His words: “For us we do not see ANSIEC (Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission) as being
serious, if they are we would run. But we have not seen them as being serious, because postponing election from December 14 to 21 looks unrealistic. There are still certain logistic issues they have not resolved like the voter register that INEC has muddled up and which they have to put right before handing it over to ANSIEC. The State Assembly has not approved any budget for the election. ANSIEC has not sat down with the political parties to choose a realistic date for the election; so they just sit in their office and keep postponing the election, which does not augur well for anybody. When they are serious we would know.” He said the LP agreed with Ubah to boycott the supplementary election, stressing that his party did not take part. “And we have been talking with him, he remains our candidate. We have decided as a party to cooperate with him as regards going to court, he is already in court. The case is coming up on Monday,” Oraegbunam disclosed.
APC Petitions the Court HE All Progressives Congress (APC) has gone to Court to challenge the conduct of the election. In the petition (EPT/AN/GOV/01m/2013) dated December 2, and filed at the State Election Petition Tribunal in Awka, the party is praying for an order to seek the leave of the tribunal to file and bring an ex parte application outside of the pre-hearing sessions of the tribunal. “Granting it the permit,” APC argued, “would enable it inspect and make copies of all the polling documents used in the conduct of the state governorship election held on November 16, 17 and 30 respectively.” While it is true that the tribunal was yet to be empaneled, APC’s motion ex parte was filed pursuant to Section 151 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). It is asking INEC and the Anambra REC who are all respondents to make available copies of all the polling documents used in the election, particularly specified in schedule 1. In the grounds for the application filed through their counsels, Emeka Ngige and Co James Epoke
plaintiffs’ counsel also urged the Court to direct INEC to recognise and deal with the Okwu leadership of the party. Both Okwu and Umeh lawyers adopted their written addresses while the INEC legal counsel, Ike Obuogu, adopted the legal argument of Umeh’s counsel, Ikwueto (SAN) after which Justice Abdulkafarati fixed February 7, 2014, for judgment on the matter. UPP tackles Obi HE national chairman of United Progressives Party (UPP) Chekwas Okorie has descended on Governor Peter Obi over his precipitate endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan for the 2015 presidential election, saying that Obi wanted to justify the flawed governorship election in Anambra State. Okorie noted that the sentiment of the average Igbo is that they should contest the presidency in 2015, pointing out that the contention has been on which platform to actualize the dream. He said the common belief in the Southeast is that such platform must be a political party that has a friendly policy to accommodate Igbo presidential ambition. Okorie added: “But now look at Obi, a governor, pronouncing the adoption of president Jonathan as presidential candidate for 2015, such policy shift like that is usually the prerogative of the national executive committee of the party. But because Umeh has been purchased, all he does is to concur so far as the price is right. Obi could now make pronouncement that is outside the powers of a state governor. And Jonathan will be comfortable with that because it is happening in his favour. So what type of promotion of democracy is that if the president of the country would benefit from purely unconstitutional and undemocratic posture of an individual, just because he happens to be governor and has money to manipulate his members?” The UPP strongman described Obi’s utterance as worse than sycophancy, pointing out that “it is the worst betrayal of Igbo after the civil war.” Regretting that Obi has destroyed the APGA platform such that no Igbo could run for the presidency on it, Okorie declared that kangaroo endorsement exposes the fact that it was part of the deal even before the Anambra governorship poll. “And the disqualification (Professor Chukwuma) Soludo and others were to clear the way for this kind of declaration without any kind of protest from within. Obi is more concerned about watching his back and getting the protection of the presidency than what happens to Ndigbo. How could a Party you describe as Igbo Party not be available for Igbo person to run for president, to seek for the highest office of the land?” Okorie fumed. PDP goes haywire THE abduction of Anambra State chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Prince Ken Emeakayi, is the definition of the sad turn to which the gubernatorial election has taken. Though certain skeptics claim that Emeakayi may have faked his own abduction, knowing that he stepped on a lot of toes, it is doubtful if such a gimmick could be played at such a time he swore to challenge Obiano’s double registration in Court. But what appears so disturbing in the whole matter is the fact that the chairman played curious roles in the emergence of multiple governorship candidates for the PDP. For instance, when Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu was handed the ticket by the Port Harcourt High Court, Ken felt at home. Sources disclosed that he had earlier given the Special Assistant to President Jonathan on Technical Matters, Nze Akachukwu Nwakpo, impressions that he would facilitate the clinching of the PDP ticket for him. Yet many party sources said Ken must have incurred the wrath of some powerful figures over the disbursement of campaign funds, which nearly led to a fisticuff between him the governorship candidate, Comrade Tony Nwoye. But outside the circle of the party some political actors in Okija axis claimed that Ken inherited the enemies of Chuma Nzeribe, who they said crossed over to the PDP in less than a week and started calling the shots. “There were fears that with Chuma and Olisah Metuh, the PDP may turn out to be a private party. Recall also that Ken worked for Andy Ubah during his governorship election in 2010,” a source hinted. As the abduction of Prince Emeakayi is being discussed in hushed tones in Anambra, the prayer of many is that the Ihiala born maverick emerges from his travails alive. This definitely, is not the way to go for Anambra State, more so when 2015 is around the corner!
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday December 15, 2013
KoKoRI... Yet Another Military offensive, Mass Displacement of A Community By Anote Ajeluorou (just back from Kokori)
A ghost town FTER the first entry of the joint military action following the arrest of notorious kidnap kingpin, Kelvin, barely four months ago on September 25, 2013, there was hope of calm eventually returning to sleepy Kokori town in Ethiope West Local Government Area, Delta State. Although the action was condemned because an entire community was lumped together as kidnappers by the military and violated, another attack was launched against the town on Thursday, November 28. There are conflicting reports why the military struck Kokori again. While the military says its personnel was attacked by youths suspected to be loyal to Kelvin, Kokori folks say the attack was unprovoked, as it caught them largely unaware. In this recent attack, the military ensured that the central communal deities, egba and Ogidigbo - were burnt down. The soldiers claim that youths shot at them from these shrines. Whatever the reasons are, what is clear is that Kokori is not the Kokori it used to be. The military’s second coming, as it were, has left a deep gash in the soul of this oil-producing community that may take a long time to heal. Right now, Kokori is a deserted, ghost town! In fact, literally no one goes in or out of Kokori. Vehicles of any kind are not allowed in. There are roadblocks on all the roads leading into or out of town in what is apparently a lock-down. A usually bustling town of over 5000 inhabitants no longer boasts more than a handful of persons, especially those brave enough to remain behind after the recent offensive or the few who have nowhere else to go and have returned to stay put and protect their property. But at the slightest sign of the army patrol vehicles approaching, they scamper to hide; failure to do so often results in fatalities. The soldiers allegedly shot dead one Wilson, an okada rider of Uruegbo Street, when he didn’t get out of the way fast enough when the army patrol came to town. Kokori people are scattered in all the neighbouring communities – okpara Inland, okpara Waterside, Isiokolo, Abraka, Ughelli, Warri and other towns and villages. They ran for dear life following the sudden attack by soldiers from the 3rd Battalion Command based in Warri. Its commander, Lt. Col. Ifeanyi otu visited Kokori two Sundays ago and commended the bravery of his men in repelling the armed youths. But community members say it has been the military fighting against a community that was not at war with itself or with its neighbours. To access Kokori from any of the known entry points is nightmare of the worst proportion. Isiokolo, headquarters of Ethiope West, is about the only way into town with a narrow corridor. Just after 500 metres from Kokori Girls Grammar School is a roadblock at which vehicles – motorbikes, tricycles and buses – stop to drop off their passengers. From there onwards, the passengers are on their own. They dare not walk through the main road to wherever point in town. The military have performed so brutally that no one wants to dare them. They don’t just want to see anybody in town. Apart from destroying the three shrines in this recent offensive, they were alleged to have burnt all motorbikes they saw. Burnt carcasses of such bikes litter town; cars and houses were not left out. To get to the centre of town from the Isiokolo end takes about 40 minutes’ of brisk walking off the main road. The silence in town is eerie; you cannot escape the feeling that a sniper might be lurking in one of the deserted storey buildings ready to pick out. So, you constantly look behind to be sure no soldier, or militant is watching. The military take offence at the slightest, innocuous thing.
A road the town
man alleged that soldiers broke into his wife’s home and took money and whatever valuable thing they could find. But Roseline okpako wasn’t so lucky; she sells provisions on Uruogba Street. Thursday, November 28 was to have been her big day when she was to put behind the shameful status of an unwedded mother, as her man had decided to do the right thing. She had gone to Ughelli to buy everything needed to feast her family, friends and meeting group. They were busy cooking that evening when soldiers arrived to shatter what was to have been her big moment with gunshots that also tore to pieces the peace in Kokori. She and her fellow women were flogged; her husband escaped with a deep gash in his arm. He was rushed to Warri for treatment. Everything she bought went into waste. The canopies that had been erected for the marriage still stand, as relic of an aborted day of marital happiness. okpako is still reeling from that disastrous evening. Lucky Esiekpe is a small-time poultry farmer. He ran away following the onslaught of solders in Kokori. When he returned a few days later, all his birds were gone. Before the soldiers’ invasion, Esiekpe had 700 layers and 250 bowlers. Esiekpe is a sad man; and like many of his Kokori kinsmen that fled town and later returned, he is a hungry man as well. With the total military
AT the crack of gunfire in town on November 28 at about 6.30pm when soldiers launched the second attack, everyone ran for dear life. From then on till sometime midweek last week, a lot of Kokori folks slept in the bushes. Those who had family members and friends in neighbouring communities and villages took refuge there. Those in the bushes would sneak in at night to sleep and return at dawn to avoid the soldiers of occupation. Titi (not real name), a female schoolteacher in Kokori primary school, had her shop broken into by the soldiers. She was, however, lucky, as she was not molested. But many were not as lucky. A bullet bounced off the wall and hit a woman in the stomach; she survived it. But the experience left her and her husband deeply scared. An old Egba shrine
PHOTOS: ANOTE AJELUOROU
youths came in to raid their homes. His is angry at the sad fate Kokori has been made to suffer these past four months since the kelvin debacle. He is not happy that only Kokori is being singled out for punishment even when some of Kelvin’s gang members were from Isoko and Benin City. He wondered why those two other places hadn’t been raided by the military, but only Kokori. He called on government to immediately take steps to restore peace in Kokori as the few of them that returned to town are starving with nowhere to buy anything to eat. Hear him, “We are suffering. Even in our houses, we can’t sleep at night. The soldiers keep patrolling and shooting guns. We don’t have peace here. The army came this morning; when they come we ran into the bush. Government has to look into the matter and settle it. I don’t have anywhere to go; that’s why I’m here. The army came, broke down our doors, beat men and women, took money and anything they found. “The sad thing is that they are not even looking for the people that caused whatever trouVUESE (not real name) is a civil engineer. He ble. They are just harassing innocent people in sat outside his home but on the lookout for Kokori. About a week ago, the army killed an insoldiers patrolling town. He said he fled the first nocent man; he wasn’t an armed robber. They few days but had to return to secure his property arrested the dead man’s younger brother”. ovuese said since Kelvin’s arrest, the army and when it became obvious that neighbouring government have been troubling Kokori, a development he finds strange. on the recent trouble, he said although he didn’t know what caused it, but soldiers and a team of Bakas (Vigilante) from neighbouring okpara town came to Kokori and started shooting, breaking down doors, burning houses, shrines and motorbikes, looting and beating up everyone in sight. This unprovoked action, he explained, stirred Kelvin’s boys into action and they confronted the soldiers and the Bakas in a gun battle. The soldier, he said, burnt more than 75 motorbikes in town. He explained that, “Kelvin gave Federal Government ultimatum to give amnesty to Kokori people because of the oil being produced here. That is our crime. We are still asking for amnesty because now they have destroyed all our motorbikes, the only source of livelihood for our young boys. There are no jobs in Kokori. What does government want our youth to live on? Will this not make many of them to join Kelvin’s gang since government does not care about them? In all of Ethiope East Local Government Area, it’s only in Kokori they banned motorbikes. Why is this so? “Every day they harass us; if soldiers see you on the road they will beat you to coma and then bundle you away. If the army says they kid-
blockade in Kokori, he could neither see anything to buy, as the shops are shut, or anybody to sell to if he had anything of value for sale. Esiekpe and a few others allege that boys from neighbouring communities have taken advantage of an empty town to wreak havoc by stealing the property Kokori people abandoned to seek refuge outside town. They say these thieves come in at night, break into homes and cart away whatever they see. They say it was the reason he and some others returned to secure whatever was left of their property. The local escort for this writer was also unlucky. on a previous visit, Dafe, 19, who is also a sawmill machine operator, used his motorbike to ferry him around town. Dafe couldn’t finish secondary school on account of lack of money. It’s the bike that he operates to supplement his earnings when he’s not at the sawmill workshop. But he was at work when his bike was taken out and burnt; he only returned to meet the carcas. But he’s taking the tragedy with equanimity. He wants the crisis to be over so life could resume its normal pace.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 59
Sunday December 15, 2013 59
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
NEWSFEATURE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 58 napped a whiteman and brought him to Kokori, where was he hidden? Did they find him in any of our bushes? Why are they disturbing Kokori for what we do not know about?” On why he and a few others have remained, Ovuese said, “We have to come back to secure our property. After the first day when army broke into our houses, boys from neighbouring towns come here to raid us every night. As you can see, nobody is in Kokori again. They have all run away. Landlords have become tenants in neighbouring communities. So, these boys take advantage of this to come to Kokori to steal. We’re just staying here with hunger; we can’t buy anything even with our money. “I’m a civil engineer based in Kokori here. Even when you explain that to the soldiers, they will not listen. They will beat you. Why they believe everyone in Kokori, including old men and women, are all kidnappers beats me. It does not make sense”. For Ovuese and the others, they want peace to return to Kokori and for the military harassment to stop. “Government and the military should have a list of those people they are looking for and go after them and leave innocent Kokori people alone. The army can have their patrol team in town but it should not be to disturb the peace of the town as they have done and are still doing. If I want to buy pure satchet water, I have to travel to Ughelli (about 15 kilometres) first. Why? This is not good. They should allow those who ran away to return. We have lost a lot in this crisis. We need compensation from government for disturbing our peace and destroying our lives. We need Kokori to start functioning again”. Titi, who was mentioned earlier, first fled to Warri. But she had to return, according to her, to get her credentials when she learnt of the activities of neighbouring youths looting property in Kokori. She narrated her experience thus, “Soldiers broke my store; they went from house to house to destroy things. They burnt the shrines near my father’s house. They destroyed louvres; the military action gave youths from surrounding communities opportunity to enter Kokori to raid us in our absence. On that day, when soldiers got to my store, they asked after our husbands. When I told them I lost mine years ago, they asked me to show them the grave. I told them I married an Edo man and that he wasn’t buried in Kokori. Then they didn’t worry us, but they beat up a lot of people. “The first set of soldiers was friendlier, but not this second set. Now, there is no school in Kokori; the children have all fled with their parents. Government cannot let Kokori be like this”.
‘We Are Suffering. Even In Our Houses, We can’t Sleep At Night. The Soldiers Keep Patrolling And Shooting Guns. We Don’t Have Peace Here’
body ran; a handful of those who ran had returned and were picking up the pieces of their lives. In one of the houses, P-Square’s music was in the air and no less than four boys and one Kokori Grammar School girl in their late teens were dancing and generally having fun. The girl was chewing biscuit; one of the boys was smoking cigarette. One of the boys, who identified himself, as Henry Adogbeji, is bitter with the leaders of Kokori, but particularly with one supposedly illustrious son of the town, who also hails from Uruogba Street, and is a big contactor in Abuja. He was awarded the contract to construct all the streets in Kokori about four years ago, but he only managed to build his own street. But Uruogba Street is already falling apart four years after it was built. For young Adogbeji, who said he was orphaned early and so could not get education, his illustrious Kokori kinsman is a fraud and a disgrace to the community and a bad example of an elder who has danced naked in the streets. Adogbeji said he and other Kokori youths do not have jobs; not even Shell that operates in the community offers them anything, including menial jobs to keep body and soul together. His friend, Famous Ibi, fares better than him. Ibi said he’s studying at Egbo Commercial Grammar School since Kokori Grammar School for boys was handed over to the Catholic Mission and secondary education placed beyond the reach of ordinary Kokori folks, as it has become a private school for the rich. He is angry that while Kokori’s oil wealth is oiling Nigeria’s wheel of progress in other parts of the country, the source of that oil lacks every basic social amenity you can think of. Above all, Kokori is being witch-hunted because Kelvin, their local folk hero, dared to ask for amnesty for Kokori people. Young Ibi is disgusted with the leadership quality both in Kokori and Nigeria. He and his friend, Adogbeji, URPRISINGLY, life seems to be bubwant things to change for ordinary bling on Uruogba Street, two streets Kokori folks. They want a return to away from Egba shrine, where is fire still normalcy and for government to start smouldering from a log of wood in the addressing basic infrastructural abode of the desecrated deity. Not every- deficit in Kokori so that they can enjoy
their youthful days.
President-General, Kokori Development Union, Mr. Gabriel Abbunudiogba: On recent military offensive in Kokori – DON’T know how to describe it. I don’t know why the military has turned Kokori into a war zone. The kidnap kingpin, Kelvin has been arrested. So, what do they want again? Since they came in, they don’t allow us to go in or out of our own community again. Kokori now is a ghost land; nobody is there again. We thought that they came to protect us, but it’s the other way round. Our communal shrines, Egba and Ogidigbo, have been destroyed; they set then ablaze. I don’t know why they want to destroy Kokori. JTF just came to attack. I don’t know about youths attacking them first. Then, they should go after the youths and not aged men and women and the communal shrines. The shrines are in the centre of Kokori. How could anybody have hidden weapons there? It’s open. So, the second set of soldiers decided to destroy Kokori as a whole. If something is hidden in the shrine, they should have gone there to get it and not destroy the shrine a second time. What about the bridge that links Kokori Oranaka to where the health school is located? Why did they destroy it? Were weapons also hidden there, too? Well, we’re thinking of a way around this unprovoked attack. I don’t believe in violence. Soldiers will not allow me to enter my own community. The first set of soldiers that came to arrest kelvin were friendly even as they mounted roadblocks in Kokori; they were more mature in their approach. But this second set, they entered and ransacked the town. A state of emergency in Kokori? That’s what is embarrassing me! I have said they want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Kokori has 36 oil wells and oil is being drilled
daily and the community or youths have not gone to disturb Shell any day. And there’s no single development in Kokori to show for this huge economic resource for Nigeria. We are neglected. So, why this unwarranted provocation by soldiers? I don’t know why they want to kill us. We don’t have anything in Kokori in spite of our 36 oil wells that produce the best crude in the country and the world. If oil wells are threatened, why not guide them? But they are not threatened. The so-called youths they are looking for I don’t know them. Is it because we are Niger Delta that this is happening to us? Can it happen in the North or anywhere else in Nigeria? Even the North where a state of emergency is imposed, soldiers evacuate civilians before they carry out operations. Why is Kokori different? Why is the Niger Delta different? It happened in Odi before. Why? Government should withdraw the last set of soldiers from Kokori; government should remove them as a matter of urgency. They brought to destroy shrines and beat up old men and women? Is that why the Federal Government brought them? If that is not the case, they should remove them from Kokori. I think the soldiers don’t want the press to come and independently verify for themselves the extent of damage soldiers have done to Kokori. The people know the soldiers who destroyed their homes and shrines. In other words, there’s evidence of human rights violations. We love peace; that’s why we haven’t gone to court to challenge this assault on our community. But we won’t remain silent any more. The Federal Government should withdraw the soldiers because there’s no state of emergency in Kokori. Lt. Col. Ifeanyi Otu went on tour of Kokori and said things he didn’t see. How many people did he meet or see in Kokori when he visited? It’s because everybody has run away from town because of the soldiers. Did he interview those whose houses were destroyed? He took sides with his soldiers in what he didn’t see. Even the Egba priest that was arrested alongside Kelvin hasn’t been released yet. Even the ogwa (palace) of the oldest man in Kokori, Anigboro II, Okaroro of Kokori, was destroyed. What has that got to do with what soldiers are looking for in Kokori? The man is over 100 years old; he refused to leave Kokori. Where would he go? We are crying for Kokori; everybody is crying. They have taken our simplicity for granted even as we produce the nation’s wealth. They should withdraw those soldiers so we can have peace. We are not fighting ourselves; we are not fighting with our neighbours either. Why are soldiers beating us?
Member, Delta State House of Assembly representing Ethiope East, Hon. O.J. Oshevire ELL, it is a security matter and the W Executive Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, is in charge of
things. And I’m supporting him to see that the issue is resolved amicably. In the circumstance, one cannot do much except to appeal to the youths to lay down their arms. Kokori is a peaceful place, but instead of seeing us in good light, this incident is painting us in bad light. We’re finding ways to talk to all concerned. What caused all this is the issue of kidnapping and the ultimatum
Kelvin gave to Federal Government. This is a trying moment for all of us in the area. Kokori people are peace-loving people. I’ve been talking to the chiefs to help talk to the boys. We hope Kelvin will have a fair trial. In fact, the entire saga is not good for Nigeria as a whole, for Kokori to be turned into a ghost town. We urge government to remove the security personnel from Kokori so that peace can return and for the people to return home and to their normal lives. We will continue to appeal to both sides and for government not to use a sledgehammer to kill a fly. Response from the military A statement from the military after a guided tour of Kokori said in part: “The Sector 1 Operation PULO SHIELD under the command of Brig. Gen. Pat Akem is deplored in Delta State to ensure security of lives, property and create a condusive environment for individuals to go about their lawful business. The crimes in Delta State include kidnapping and armed robbery among others. Kokori is notorious for its habitation by armed robbers, assassins, kidnappers, and until recently, suspected militants. The conspiracy of silence maintained by the community leaders and especially its elders fanned the embers of these criminals. It also encouraged the establishment of a kidnap/militant group led by Kelvin Ibruvwe, aka Oniara”. The army said the militant group handed down an ultimatum to Federal Government before he was arrested in September. The army accused the gang of barricading the roads leading to Kokori, and started burning vehicles, motorbikes and looted property of individuals who have deserted the town, and fired at the troop from buildings and their shrine. The army also accused women in Kokori of aiding and abetting the criminal gang, as they showed solidarity to kelvin and the kidnap/militant gang. “Efforts made to win the hearts and minds and build confidence within the inhabitants of the community failed to yield positive results as the villagers were very uncooperative to assist the troops restore normalcy in the community. Instead, they took further steps to offer protection to the kidnappers/militants as later events indicated”, it said. Again, on November 28, the army said it was engaged in a gun battle with the armed criminal gang and they were repelled. It refuted allegations that soldiers looted property in Kokori as they were fed thrice a day and their allowances promptly paid at the end of the month, adding, “Allegations of looting, stealing and burning levelled against own troops is baseless and unfounded. It is at best to draw sympathy to those who know little or nothing about the problem in Kokori and the current situation. “It is an attempt to rubbish the god works the troops are doing in Kokori aimed at restoring law and order in a community that hitherto drifted towards anarchy…” The army, therefore, advised Kokori people to cooperate with the troops so as to restore normalcy to their land and for them to shun blackmailing the military, as it would do them no good. LEARLY, these are not pleasant times C for everyone involved in the Kokori saga. The Federal Government’s tough stand has only paint it in bad light, as the actions of a few individuals couldn’t be enough justification to sack and pummel an entire community the way Kokori has been treated. Like most oil-bearing communities in the Niger Delta, Kokori is sorely lacking in social infrastructure, especially schools for its teeming young ones and any meaningful source of livelihood. Kokori is a showpiece of the criminal negligence that most oil communities in the Niger Delta suffer. Perhaps, now is the time for the Federal Government to start rewriting the rules and behaving sensibly to communities like Kokori and others. That way, alleged criminals like Kelvin might not find a ready excuse in seeking amnesty, and failing which, give government ultimatum for compensation to his people as cover for crimes against the state.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
60 Sunday, December 15, 2013
Nigeria Deserves Better Appreciation From South Africa, Says Akinboye By Kamal Tayo Oropo ANY a time innocuous sentiments from nonstate actors in the international relations find their ways into national issues and bilateral relations. This may have informed the organisers of the Nelson Mandela’s memorial service cum burial not to have accord Nigeria any significant role during the celebration of the demise of the great African leader. In spite of the incontrovertible fact of history that Nigeria, far more than any other country, played a leading role in the freedom of Mandela from prison and the liberation of South Africa. Many Nigerians, particularly those in active work life when apartheid held sway in South Africa, watched with bemuse of how Mandela’s former tormentors took the centre stage during the burial, making
speeches and glorifying the man their countries wished had died in the apartheid gallows. Professor and Head, Department of Political Science, University of Lagos, Dr. Solomon O. Akinboye, speaking yesterday with The Guardian, expressed shock at the way South Africa has treated Nigeria during the ceremonies. “I’m certainly not comfortable with what I call Nigeria’s passive participation in Nelson Mandela’s memorial and burial plans. This is against the background of Nigeria’s active and total commitment to anti-apartheid struggle, and the need for the country to play active role in the funeral ceremonies of the symbol and icon of that struggle. For instance, I expected the Nigerian President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, would be among the six world leaders that were slated to give trib-
utes at the memorial service. It is an irony that the only African leader that gave tribute at the occasion was the Namibian President, Hifikepunye Pohamba,” he said. While the platform was given to the United States’ President, Barack Obama, and the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, whose countries not only egged on the repressive apartheid regime in South Africa, but also labeled Mandela a terrorist, to pay tribute to the man, Nigeria was not given any chance and Nigerians from all walks of life fought tooth and nail to save this African leader and his people from the claws of their oppressors. The contribution of Nigerians to freeing both South Africa and Mandela was monumental. Nigeria, for its commitment to put an end to apartheid in South Africa was considered a leader of the
Frontline States established to achieve democratic rule in South Africa. The group raised funds and soldiers to prosecute war against apartheid. Other members of the group were Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Nigeria also played a vital role in the establishment of the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid (UNSCAA). This was partly responsible for Nigeria occupying the chair of the committee more than any other country until it was scrapped. Nigeria established the Southern African Relief Fund (SARF), which was funded with deductions from the salary of every Nigerian worker, irrespective of rank, both in the public and private sectors as well as donations from ordinary Nigerians, including students. The fund
was disbursed by African National Congress (ANC) leaders, as they deemed fit. Besides these, Nigeria provided scholarships for students from South Africa while South African freedom fighters whose passports were seized by the apartheid government were given Nigerian passports. Whenever South Africans protested against injustice, Nigerian students also took to the streets in support and solidarity. Nigerian musicians, like the late Sunny Okosun and others, waxed albums in support of the antiapartheid struggle, while Nigerian poets wrote poems to condemn racism in South Africa. Nigeria never let go of any opportunity to denounce apartheid; Commonwealth Games were boycotted while the assets of British Petroleum (BP) were nationalised.
Firm Blames Poor Visibility For Road Accidents In Nigeria By Kamal Tayo Oropo ITH the Yuletide season W drawing, 3M Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Nigeria Limited has embarked on a campaign to reduce road accidents, especially at night. General Manager of the organisation, Mr. Gregory Peter, in a chat with newsmen at the weekend blamed most of the road accidents on Nigerian roads, which occur at night, on poor visibility. According to him most of the road mishap that occur at night could have been avoided if motorists ensure conspicuity on their vehicles. Peter said the campaign was coming at the right time as the festive period accounts for increased movement of persons, goods and services from one place to the other. “This is Ember month and there are lots of accidents on our roads as well as deaths that can be avoided.
Jonathan Urges Prayers For Nation From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja RESIDENT Jonathan yesterP day urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the country, saying it is the best way to attract God’s favour and blessing to the nation. In a brief remark at the wedding of Senate President David Mark’s daughter, Ada, Jonathan noted that without prayers, surviving in the world would be very difficult. He called on the new couple, Mr. and Mrs. Inalegwu Egwa, to embrace the virtues of tolerance and perseverance. He advised them to sustain their relationship and build their union on solid foundation. Mark expressed appreciation to God for the grace to give away his daughter in holy matrimony. Appreciating Jonathan’s presence at the wedding, which took place at Regina Pacis Catholic Parish, Garki, Mark noted that the “ups and downs” of every nation bring to mind the capability of the leadership in that country.
Total Oil Partners With Govt To Boost Economy
The Redeemed Christian Church of God mass choir performing at the Church’s 2013 Holy Ghost Congress at RCCG Camp, Mowe, Ogun State.
FG Intensifies Investment In Infrastructure From Itunu Ajayi, Abuja N its determination to Iment make the Nigerian investenvironment more competitive, the federal government said it has taken measures to increase investment in infrastructures such as roads, railways, airports, as well as dredging of River Niger. The minister of state for industry, trade and investment, Samuel Ortom, gave this hint in Abuja at the opening of the 9th national conference on investment (NCI) organised by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC). He added said part of the reforms embarked upon by the federal government also include decongesting of ports, fast-tracking of entry visa for foreign investors who wish to come to Nigeria, as well as the reforms in the agricultural sector, which according to him, are already gaining
international commendation. Ortom explained that the conference was initiated in 2004 with NIPC’s realisation that the cooperation and collaboration of stakeholders is a necessity in achieving the desired objective for promoting and facilitating investment in Nigeria in line with its mandate.
He said that the forum over the years has succeeded in establishing a permanent platform for cross-fertilisation of ideas among stakeholders in investment promotion capable of engendering networking that would provide the basis for formulating appropriate investment policy framework that is internationally competitive and ca-
pable of making Nigeria the preferred investment destination among emerging markets. Ortom, who was represented at the event by the permanent secretary, Dauda Kigbu, observed that the conference with the theme, ‘Building linkages for competitive and responsible entrepreneurship’, was
appropriate, coming at a time when economies are making attempts at becoming more competitive in order to attract investments into their locations. In his remark, the executive secretary, Mustafa Bello, said for any economy to develop, the small and medium enterprises must be encouraged.
Niger State Shops For N12bn To Execute Projects From John Ogiji, Minna OR the third time in three Fernment years the Niger State govhas gone to the capital market to raise N12billion for the execution of capital projects in the state. This brings to N27billion, the total amount so far collected as bond by the government in the last three
years. According to the government, the money will be spent on the completion of the ongoing Kwakuti-Gwada road, Eastern by-pass, the construction of Shiroro bridge as well as the development of Garam Industrial site in Tafa local council area. Other projects are the construction of an international market and park in Suleja.
In a remark, Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu said government will spend the money judiciously to fast track the socio-economic development, saying the previous money collected had been spent to provide basic facilities in the state. Governor Aliyu announced that the repayment of the first bond of N6bn would be at the end of the month.
The governor dismissed speculation that the money was collected to pay staff salaries and other allowances. “It is not possible for money from the capital market to be used for other purposes other than what it is planned for because the issuing houses carry out meticulous inspection of projects before approving releasing it.”
From Joseph Wantu, Makurdi multi- national oil firm, A Total exploration and Production Nigeria, TEPNG is partnering with Nigerian Governments as well as Non Organisations to boost economic development of the nation and well being of the people. This was made known yesterday by the Executive Director, Human Resources and Corporate Services of the company, Mrs. Edith OfiliOkonkwo, during the launch of Awango Solar Entrepreneurship Programme in Makurdi, Benue State. Represented at the event by the Executive General Manager, Corporate Services, Vincent Nnadi, the Executive Director maintained that sound energy services were fundamental to human welfare, saying, it constitute an important precondition for economic and social development.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, December 15, 2013 61
FOREIGNNEWS President Yanukovych Suspends Mayor Of Kiev UKRAINE HE president of Ukraine has susT pended his deputy security chief and Kiev’s mayor over the police vio-
Former wife of Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela Madikizela (left), and his widow Graca Machel wipe their tears upon their arrival with the remains of South African former president Nelson Mandela at the airport in Mthatha. Mandela, the revered icon of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and one of the towering political figures of the 20th century, died in Johannesburg on December 5 at age 95, and will be buried in his home town, Qunu… today. PHOTO: AFT
lence against protesters on 30 November. Prosecutors are investigating claims the two officials put pressure on Kiev’s police chief to use violence. Meanwhile tens of thousands gathered in Kiev to show their support for President Viktor Yanukovych. Protests erupted last month after the president pulled out of an integration agreement with the EU. The violent crackdown energised the pro-EU protesters, who are now camped out in the capital’s Independence Square. Organisers –– who are demanding Mr Yanukovych’s resignation –– have called for another big pro-EU rally today. The BBC’s correspondent in Kiev, says the pro-government rally is just 100 metres from the pro-European encampment. While protests have gripped the capital and other cities in western and central Ukraine, President Yanukovych retains support in the east and south. Those who want closer ties with Brussels believe meeting EU standards on competition, regulation and investor protection would make Ukraine’s economy more open and
Kidal Attack Kills Two UN Peacekeepers MALI WO United Nations peacekeepT ers have been killed in a car bomb blast in the north-east Malian town of Kidal.
The blast hit a bank guarded by the peacekeepers and set fire to a UN armoured vehicle, eyewitnesses said. Three other people have been wounded. More casualties are feared as the bank building col-
Worker Dies In Stadium Fall WORKER has been killed after A falling from the roof of the Amazon stadium where England open their 2014 World Cup campaign. The man is reported to have died in hospital in Manaus after falling nearly 35 metres (115ft) when a cable broke. The stadium is behind schedule and work is under way day and night to complete it by Fifa’s end of year deadline. It is the latest of several deaths during construction of Brazil’s World Cup stadiums. Two workers were killed in an accident on 27 November when a crane fell and destroyed parts of Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians stadium, which will host the opening game on 12 June. Several more construction workers were hurt in the Sao Paulo accident, which delayed the stadium’s comple-
BRAZIL tion date by several months. The worker who died in the Amazon stadium was named as Marcleudo de Melo Ferreira, 22, by the company building the facility. The firm said he was employed by a company subcontracted to construct the stadium’s cover. Brazil has admitted it is struggling to have all 12 venues completed on time. The country’s preparations for the World Cup have also been hit by cost overruns and public protests over what is seen as wasted resources. Last week Fifa’s General Secretary Jerome Valcke appealed to Brazilians to support the contest saying it was the “wrong time” to protest.
Obama Marks First Anniversary Of Sandy Hook Massacre UNITED STATES S President Barack Obama has U marked the anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shootings by urging Americans to push for tighter gun control. He said the United States had to “do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on guns so easily”. Twenty children and six school workers were killed at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, a year ago. On Friday, two students were shot and wounded by another student at a school in Colorado. The gunman later died, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Mr Obama and his wife Michelle observed a moment of silence at the White House and lit candles in memory of those who died. In his weekly radio address, Mr Obama urged Americans to do more to restrict gun ownership and improve mental healthcare –– or, as he put it, “heal troubled minds”. “We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for,’’ he said. President Obama called for stricter gun laws following the tragedy, but Congress has rejected every one. In the town itself, some of the bereaved held small ceremonies but the media were asked to stay away.
lapsed. The dead are believed to be Senegalese. There was no immediate claim for the attack which happened
early yesterday morning. French troops defeated Islamist rebels in northern Mali almost a year ago, but insurgent attacks
have continued. Kidal is a stronghold of separatist Tuareg rebels, who said they were ending a ceasefire two weeks ago.
Nairobi Bus Hit By Deadly Explosion KENYA T least three people have been A killed and several injured by an explosion on a bus in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The blast hit the 32-seater bus near the Eastleigh suburb, which
is home thousands of Kenyan Somalis and Somali immigrants. Some reports say a grenade was thrown onto the bus. The Eastleigh area has suffered several attacks, blamed by officials on Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militant group.
The group was behind the attack on the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi earlier this month in which 67 people died. Police said the bus had been close to a girls’ school when it was hit. The Kenyan Red Cross said on its Twitter feed that 15 injured people had been taken to hospital.
Pyongyang Lands Jade Rabbit Robot Rover On Moon HINA says it has successfully C landed a craft carrying a robotic rover on the surface of the Moon, the first soft landing there for 37 years. Yesterday, a landing module used thrusters to touch down, marking the latest step in China’s ambitious space exploration programme. Several hours later, the lander will deploy a robotic rover called Yutu, which translates as “Jade Rabbit”. The touchdown took place on a flat plain called Sinus Iridum. The Chang’e-3 mission launched atop a Chinese-developed Long March 3B rocket on December 1 from Xichang in the country’s south. The craft began its descent just after 1300 GMT (2100 Beijing time). State television showed pictures of the moon’s surface as the lander touched down and an eye-level view of the landing site was released yesterday. Staff at mission control in Beijing were shown clapping and celebrating after confirmation came through. The official Xinhua news service reported that the spacecraft reached the surface at 1312 GMT after hovering above the surface for several minutes finding an appropriate place to land. The probe’s soft-landing was the
CHINA most difficult task during the mission, Wu Weiren, the lunar programme’s chief designer, told Xinhua. It is the third robotic rover mission to land on the lunar surface, but the Chinese vehicle carries a
more sophisticated payload, including ground-penetrating radar which will gather measurements of the lunar soil and crust. “It’s still a significant technological challenge to land on another world,” said Peter Bond, consultant editor for Jane’s Space Systems and Industry told the AP news agency.
Tehran Sends Monkey To Space For Second Time IRAN RAN says it has successfully sent a Itime monkey into space for the second this year as part of a programme aimed at manned space flight. President Hassan Rouhani said the monkey –– named Fargam, or Auspicious –– returned from space in perfect health. However, the success of the first monkey flight was disputed when a different animal was shown in images released after the landing. Iran’s space programme has raised concern among Western countries. Some fear the technology could be used in ballistic missiles. Iran is already under international scrutiny over the scope of its
nuclear programme, which opponents say aims to develop nuclear weaponry. President Rouhani congratulated the scientists involved in the space mission, according to a message posted on the English-language version of his website. On the Persian-language version, he said it was carried by a liquid fuel rocket - Iran’s first use of the technology. There were few other details, including when the flight took place. In January, Iran said it had sent a monkey to an altitude of about 120km (75 miles) in a Pishgam rocket for a sub-orbital flight before returning intact to Earth. But the release of images showing two clearly different monkeys prompted international observers to wonder whether the animal had died in space
62 Sunday, December 15, 2013
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
We no go gree….Players of Insurance FC during the protest to the Government House
When the going was good for Bendel Insurance FC
Oshiomhole…A Comrade Governor With Many Troubles In Sports By Gowon Akpodonor am a football fanatic, but it is sad that I have “I not been able to demonstrate my passion for the game by taking Bendel Insurance FC to the top where it was before.” These were the words of Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole recently, while reviewing the ‘poor’ position of the Benin ‘Arsenal,’ one of the few surviving oldest clubs in Nigeria. For years, Insurance FC had been on the downward side with problem of irregular payment of sign-on fees, salaries and match bonuses and the few steps taken by Oshiomhole to rescue the club had not yielded positive results. It came to a point when some political opponents in Edo State wanted to capitalize on the club’s poor stand to throw stones at Oshiomhole’s government, but the Comrade Governor won’t give his ‘enemies’ such opportunity. While inaugurating a seven-man Interim Management Committee recently to manage the affairs of the club, Oshiomhole said: “We have been troubled about the situation in Bendel Insurance, no matter how generous I want to be with myself. I can’t claim that we have done much or achieve anything significant in the area of repositioning the club.” Bendel Insurance got a new lease of life at the beginning of Oshiomhole’s administration with a firm pledge to turn around the fortunes of the club with a new set of players, a coach and state of the art training pitch at the Sam Ogbemudia Stadium. With such pledge from a an Executive Governor, the former chairman of Bendel Insurance FC, Chief Igbinowanhia Ekhosuehi was motivated by using his personal resources to finance the club. But the man soon lost interest with mounting bills for the players, as the government failed to keep faith with its own part of the bargain. That bargain required that the government
pay sign-on fees of N1.2million for each of the three players the club bought from Railway FC of Jos, Kano Pillars and Rangers FC of Enugu, as well as salaries of between N30, 000 - N45, 000 per month/player on the 37-man squad. Match bonuses ran into millions of naira. Many football-loving Nigerians, especially former players who used the club to rise to the pinnacle of the sports career became uncomfortable with the situation. On their part, the players resorted to threats not to honour future matches, both home and away, as their morale for play was dampened by the prolonged delay in payment of their salaries. Many players lost their accommodation due to inability to pay rent, while others have their children withdrawn from schools over inability to pay school fees. When it became clear to the players the government was not bothered, a peaceful protest was staged to the Government House in Benin City, where a spokesman for the players, Robson Atuayuwa, who doubles as assistant captain, said the players had a feeling that “the government is not interested in the club.” Sensing more troubles, Oshiomhole approved the payment of the 8month arrears of signon fees, salaries and match bonuses due the 37 players and Governor their handlers. But it Oshiomhole has not been able to save the once conquering Insurance FC from its slumber, as the club finds it difficult to return to the elite division. But Oshiomhole wants good results this time around and he
has charged the committee to do everything possible to bring Insurance back to life. “I think that even my worst critic will agree that we have made some progress in the area of infrastructure particularly in education, roads, job creation, rural and urban electrification, provision of water even in the most difficult terrain. We made some investments in sports, the new look Ogbemudia Stadium, and several other things we have done.” Oshiomhole disclosed that his government has tried some approaches in reviving Insurance FC, which have not worked, adding “we have been troubled by the situation and I know that just throwing money at a problem does not solve the problem.” “Management goes beyond provision of money and nobody is going to give what he does not have. You cannot manage if you don’t have the skill in a particular area of business”, he noted. Speaking further, the Governor said: “we are blessed in this state with seasoned people who have made their mark not only in Nigeria but outside the shores of this country. Why should we have a collection of such and we are still in the kind of situation that we are. As they say, better late than never. “We must try and do things differently if we are going to have a new outcome. It is as a result of this that we have reflected and we need to rebuild the house from the scratch, not patching it, because at times patching a dilapidated building might be more challenging than building a new house.” Turning to the committee, which is headed by the Secretary
to Government, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, the Governor said: “Help us to rebuild a complete new team. Whatever we can do we will do within our limited resources. But I also believe that we all know that funding football is not like funding government agencies. It ought to be as independent as possible. “We have an open mind and I have no doubt that you help us to lay the foundation for a new beginning. There are lots of issues you need to address: what is the financial status of the company. You might look at the possibility of rebuilding a new team rather than all these transfers,” the Governor said. Though the committee has three months to do its job, but many football-loving Nigerians are of the opinion that reviving an ailing club like Insurance FC does not necessarily need a top government functionary. “If actually the Governor has good intention of bringing the club back to life, why the choice of the SSG as chairman of the committee?” one die-hard supporter of the club asked in a television sports programmee in Lagos during the week. “Insurance FC was once the darling club of all and I don’t see any special thing coming from this committee because I believe the SSG has too many things on his table. Is there anything the Governor is trying to hide from the public? Why the choice of an SSG as the chairman of the committee?” the supporter asked repeatedly. While searching for a lasting solution in Insurance FC, some observers want Governor Oshiomhole to also beam his torchlight in other sports so as to return Edo State to its position, particularly in the biannual National Sports Festival. Edo, which hosted and won the 2002 edition of the festival managed to finish fourth at Eko 2012 fiesta with 25 gold, 23 silver and 44 bronze medals. The 19th edition of the sports festival will hold in Calabar in 2014 and many sports followers are looking forward to see Edo State challenge Delta, Rivers and Lagos for the number position.
Sunday, December 15, 2013 63
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Messi on duty for Argentina
Three Memorable Moments For Messi in 2013
HIS year 2013 has been another memorable one for T Lionel Messi. Both in his national team and with Barcelona, the Argentinian has once again shown the explosive talent, goalscoring ability and leadership skills,
Messi in action for Barcelona
which have made him a unique talent in the game’s history. Admiration for him has continued to grow, even in a year in which he has been troubled by injuries. It is hardly surprising, then, that fellow footballers and coaches have once again voted for La Pulga to be in contention for the FIFA Ballon d’Or, with the forward looking to claim the prize for the fifth time in a row. Here, FIFA.com looks back at three of Messi’s most memorable moments this year. Celta Vigo - Barcelona: 19 in a row in La Liga-30 March 2013 In the 71st minute, Messi made it 2-1 in Vigo and set a new record by scoring against all of the teams in La Liga in consecutive rounds of the competition. During that streak, which began on 11 November 2012 against Mallorca, Leo netted 30 goals in 19 games. The Argentinian scored four at home to Osasuna; two against Zaragoza, Mallorca, Levante, Athletic Bilbao, Betis, Atletico Madrid, Granada and Rayo Vallecano; while one versus Valladolid, Espanyol, Malaga, Real Sociedad, Valencia, Getafe, Sevilla, Real Madrid, Deportivo and Celta. “I don’t give importance to it,” a humble Messi said afterwards. “The important thing is to keep winning points.” Barça were held 2-2 at Celta in the end, but the result did little to affect the Catalans’ cruise to the title. Paraguay - Argentina: qualification clinched and a new landmark reached-10 September 2013 In a key 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil qualifier in Asuncion, Messi scored two and set up another goal in a historic 5-2 win which sealed Argentina’s passage to Brazil 2014 with two games still to spare. The goals also saw the Albiceleste captain move above Hernan Crespo and into second place in the list of all-
time top scorers for Argentina, with 37 strikes for his national side. “We had some big tests and we passed them against some quality teams,” said Messi after the match. “We are on the right track, but we still have a long way to go before we can think about being world champions.” Leo ended the campaign as the second-highest scorer with ten goals, behind only Uruguay’s Luis Suarez. Barcelona: another trophy for the collection-20 November 2013 Although sidelined through injury and out of action until 2014, Messi was all smiles in Barcelona as he received an unprecedented third Golden Shoe for finishing as top goalscorer in European leagues in 2012/13. La Pulga contributed 46 goals in 32 games as Barcelona secured the title with a club-record 100 points. It was the third time that Messi had claimed this prize in his career, moving him ahead of German great Gerd Muller, Portuguese trio Eusebio, Fernando Gomes and Cristiano Ronaldo, Romanian Dudu Georgescu, Scottish striker Ally McCoist and Frenchman Thierry Henry, all with two awards. “It’s a very special recognition, but I dedicate it to the entire group. Without my team-mates, I wouldn’t have achieved anything,” Messi stated amid applause from Barcelona colleagues Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez, Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas, among others.
We had some big tests and we passed them against some quality teams. We are on the right track, but we still have a long way to go before we can think about being world champions.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Arsenal’s German defender Per Mertesacker (second right) tackles Man City’s French midfielder Samir Nasri in yesterday’s English Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. Man City won 6-3.
Man City Overrun Arsenal In Nine Goals Thriller ANCHESTER City delivM ered an ominous message to their Premier League title rivals, as leaders Arsenal were thrashed 6-3 yesterday. At the Stamford Bridge, Petr Cech made a string of second-half saves as Chelsea hung on to edge past a rejuvenated Crystal Palace and move within two points of leaders Arsenal, just as Everton moved back into the Premier League’s top four with a resilient victory over Fulham. Manuel Pellegrini’s Man City closed the gap on the Gunners at the top of the table to three points with another in a growing list of devastating attacking dis-
Results Man City 6 - 3 Arsenal Cardiff 1 - 0 West Brom Chelsea 2 - 1 Crystal Palace Everton 4 - 1 Fulham Newcastle 1 - 1 Southampton West Ham 0 - 0 Sunderland
plays at home this season. And they have piled on the agony for North London’s two contenders as Arsenal suffered following City’s recent 6-0 demolition of Tottenham. The visitors may point to some questionable offside calls and a rejected penalty claim - but in reality they were ultimately blown away by sheer firepower of a City side, who have now scored 35 league goals at home this season and in 58 consecutive games at Etihad Stadium. City are not simply beating teams at home, they are dismantling them and if they can replicate part of this form away from home they must surely be title favourites. Sergio Aguero’s early goal was cancelled out by Theo Walcott but Alvaro Negredo put City back in front before half-time. City’s potency was not reduced by a calf injury to
• Narrow Escape For Chelsea • Everton In Four Star Performance Aguero, with Fernandinho extending their lead before Walcott’s second restored some optimism for Arsene Wenger’s side. But the hosts were coming at Arsenal from all angles, with David Silva and Fernandinho again finding the target before Per Mertesacker’s header made it 5-3 in stoppage time. City’s brilliance deserved the final word - and so it proved as Yaya Toure’s penalty gave them another six goals in what is become a catalogue of virtuoso performances at home. Fernando Torres tapped in to put the Chelsea ahead at Stamford Bridge after Willian’s shot rebounded off a post. Palace equalised via
Marouane Chamakh’s volley from a Joel Ward cross before Ramires curled Chelsea back in front. Cech denied Jason Puncheon, Damien Delaney and, crucially, Stuart O’Keefe
as the hosts scraped to victory. With the Everton in control during the first half, Leon Osman curled in. But Fulham improved and drew level via Dimitar Berbatov’s penalty after Gareth Barry fouled Alex Kacaniklic. Everton then had to dig deep as Seamus Coleman tucked in Steven Pienaar’s cross
before Barry redeemed himself with a header and Kevin Mirallas grabbed an injurytime fourth. Roberto Martinez’s team overtook Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the table and after winning plaudits for their attacking displays this season, this was a victory more allied to perseverance.
Worker Dies In Brazil Stadium Fall worker has been killed A after falling from the roof of the Amazon stadium, where England open their 2014 World Cup campaign. The man is reported to have died in hospital in Manaus after falling nearly 35 metres (115ft), when a cable broke. The stadium is behind schedule and work is under way day and night to complete it by Fifa’s end of year deadline. It is the latest of
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several deaths during construction of Brazil’s World Cup stadiums. Two workers were killed in an accident on 27 November when a crane fell and destroyed parts of Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians, which will host the opening game on 12 June. Several more construction workers were hurt in the Sao Paulo accident, which delayed the stadium’s completion date by several months. The worker who died in the Amazon stadium - Arena Amazonas - was named as Marcleudo de Melo Ferreira,
22, by the company building the facility. The firm said he was employed by a company subcontracted to construct the stadium’s cover. Brazil has admitted it is struggling to have all 12 venues completed on time. The country’s preparations for the World Cup have also been hit by cost overruns and public protests over what is seen as wasted resources. Last week Fifa’s General Secretary Jerome Valcke appealed to Brazilians to support the contest saying it was the “wrong time” to protest.