S U N d A Y COVER 17
Against Time And The Odds
Alu: Boko Haram Insurgence Cannot Be Defeated By Military Campaign
e d I T I O N
Lagos: The Battle Against Street Beggars
TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Vol. 30, No. 12,841
2015: Jonathan, Anenih, Mark, Others Vow To Recapture Imo
Death Lurks On The Rails...
• PDP On Right Track, Says President • Power Comes From God — Muazu By Kodilinye Obiagwu, Bridget Onochie and Charles Ogugbuaja (Owerri) heAd of the 2015 general A election, President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, said his Peoples democratic Party (PdP) would oust the All Progressives Congress (APC) government in Imo State, even as he insisted that the ruling party’s activities are in line with international best political practices. Jonathan declared this position at the PdP’s Unity and Sensitisation Rally held at the dan Anyim Stadium, Owerri, where the party welcomed high-profile returnees from the APC and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Welcoming the returnees and their supporters led by former governor of Imo, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
An overloaded train bound for Iddo terminus from Agege, Lagos... yesterday
PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN
Confusion In US, Others Over Sanusi’s Ouster From Laolu Akande, New York ReSIdeNT Goodluck P Jonathan’s order of suspension displacing Mallam Lamido Sanusi Lamido as the country’s Central Bank Governor is causing confusion in western capitals including Washington dC, where sources say officials are conflicted on the real implication of the development. News of the suspension announced by the time US government officials woke up Thursday morning is being interpreted by the western media as a reaction and a fight back from what is
here described as the Nigerian oil cabal, but US officials in the Treasury and State department are said to be more cautionary in their attitude but without a clear interpretation of what the event means. Sources revealed over the weekend that the US State department and the US Treasury department were already aware that the CBN Governor was under investigation even before he started raising dust regarding the missing billions from the NNPC. It was learnt that the US, United Kingdom and few other eU nations had helped Nigeria set-up a financial
transaction tracking system that monitors significant movement of financial resources in and outside the country, especially regarding certain high flying Nigerians and their close allies anywhere in the world. The US for instance is believed to have been well aware long time ago regarding the claims against the CBN Governor released after his suspension by the Presidency. A report of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria has since been released in some section of the media raising critical questions about the financial management of the CBN, especially
the apex’s bank’s 2012 audited financial statements. US sources say the Nigerian government is not the only one aware of the report, but certain western nations who are not exactly sure what to make of the report. Informed sources explained that expectations within official US circles were that President Jonathan would simply let the former CBN Governor’s controversy fizzle away since he was already on his way out. Thursday’s suspension has certainly provoked an international jolt. Guardian on Sunday also learnt that President Jonathan himself had been primed to take the decision
to suspend Sanusi much earlier, but he decided to take the path of caution, having determined that suspending or trying to remove the Kanoborn former CBN Governor could easily be perceived as a fallout of his accusations against the NNPC. Besides, western governments though said to be enthralled both by the image of Sanusi and Finance Minister Ngozi OkonjoIweala, had always had a concern on the pattern of Sanusi’s CBN intervention on some religious projects and also past allegations of his links with certain extremist CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
29 die In Fresh Plateau Crisis NEWS 5
Jonathan Assures On 2nd Niger Bridge NEWS 4
Endorsement Crisis Erupts In Enugu
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
2 | NEWS Sunday, February 23, 2014
Taraba Group Decries Parallel Govts In State From Madu Onuorah, Abuja Bureau Chief vEN as the controversy E over the health status of Taraba State Governor, Danbaba Danfulani Suntai, remains unresolved, the Taraba Professional Group, yesterday, expressed relief that the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) executive, who visited Suntai, proclaimed him “mentally alert even when he might not be 100 per cent physically.” The Taraba group decried a situation, where there is a Governor ready to take over power and a Deputy Governor (Acting Governor) who is not ready to surrender power. According to the group, the situation has resulted in a Taraba State “where there are two sovereignties: there are two Secretaries to the State Government (SSGs), two Chiefs of Staff and several first ladies. The whole thing has become a joke. But while this is happening, Taraba state is suffering as it has practically stopped working.” Alleging “abnormal looting,” and collapse of the rule of law in the State, the Taraba
Confusion In US, Over Sanusi’s Ouster CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 activities. A US source added that while the Nigerian President is well aware of the influence of the global west and international capital in his government, mostly represented by Okonjo-Iweala, other competing power centers are believed to have attained the upper hand in what is sure to be the sudden removal of Sanusi, who some believe continues to embarrass the presidency, ignoring the President’s personal call to resign. Although Sanusi does not have the same strong ties with western nations and financial institutions like the Finance Minister, but he has clearly fascinated the international financial community with his perception as a reformer. While the US, some other western nations and financial institutions did not entirely trust Sanusi, they certainly admired him.
group stated that, with the position of the top hierarchy of the Pharmaceutical Group, normalcy ought to return to the State. President of the PSN, Prof OlumideAkintayo, had said: “I make bold to tell the world that the Pharmacist, Danbaba Suntai, that I saw in the company of some of my NEC Members and past Presidents of PSN on Tuesday February 11, 2014 is mentally alert even when he might not be 100 per cent physically fit.” The Taraba group said that it does not see why Gov Suntai should not take office as “what the Constitution says in Section 189 (1-5) is hinged on the fact that the Governor shall cease to hold office if he suffers from permanent incapacitation which makes it impossible to perform the duties of a Governor.” The group’s statement signed by Samson Galadima, Audu Aminu and Ephraim Atiku, therefore, condemned alleged “insubordination by persons in high places in both the executive, legislative and even the judiciary in Taraba State.” It asked “all men of goodwill, who have been praying for Suntai’s recovery, to note that this is indeed a…glad tiding. There is clear evidence to show that Suntai did not only survive the crash but is doing well in the light of a life-threatening plane crash that could have easily killed everyone on board were it not for the mercies of God. In other climes, Suntai should have been celebrated and hailed as a special recipient of God’s unique favour.”
Groom’s father, Engr. Olusegye (left) Osho, bride’s mother, Mrs. Olubukunola Babatope, the couple, Seno Osho and former Miss Tosin Babatope, Groom’s mother, Mrs. Olayinka Osho and father of the bride, Pastor Segun Babatope at the wedding between Tosin and Seni Osho at the Hoere’s Memorial Methodist Cathedral, Yaba, yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI
Editor, The Guardian Newspapers, Martins Oloja (left), Managing Director, Emeka Izeze, former Editor, Nigerian Tribune, Folu Olamiti and Managing Director, The Nation, Victor Ifijeh at the wedding between Tosin and Seni Osho at Hoare’s Memorial Methodist Cathedral, Yaba, yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI
PDP On Right Track, Says Jonathan remained the best. It is an inclusive party. The PDP is the Chief Achike Udenwa, Senator only party that can lead this Chris Anyanwu, Chief Mike country where she needs to Ahamba, Ifeanyi Ararume, be.” Top members of the PDP in Cosmas Iwu, Lambert Iheanacho and Independent Imo pledged continued supIheanacho, President port for the President and urged him to declare his politiJonathan said, “The Imo peo- cal ambition in 2015. ple have spoken. We know the Member of the PDP Board of timbers, caterpillars and jug- Trustees, Chief Emmanuel gernauts, and they are all Iwuanyanwu, praised Jonathan here. Those, who stepped for fulfilling his promises to the aside, have stepped back. South East. Presenting some Without them, there will be fresh demands on the no party in Imo; the PDP President, Iwuanyanwu in Imo has come together. said: “In 2011, Jonathan came Those still outside should and we voted for him. Today he come back.” has come back. This is his first He said the reunion of the visit since then. Mr. President PDP would make it “stronger you have fulfilled all your than we were in 1999. The PDP promises to us. We thank you has come back stronger in very much. Make Alvan Ikoku a university. You have done well, Imo.” He noted that there was no declare for 2015 and we will you.” better reason for anyone to support As party stakeholders lamentjoin a party than to seek a party with ideology, a party ed mistakes that ousted the that respects the rule of law, a PDP from the Government party that is inclusive and a House the National Chairman, party that is stable. Adamu Mu’azu, who led memAccording to him, “the PDP is bers of the National Working the only stable party in the Committee (NWC) said that the country. There will be no party lost Imo “due to internal democracy without PDP. We wrangling. Many of our party are stable and we are doing men and women left the party the right things and there is following disagreements; even no need to change. Even when the incumbent governor of we have issues, the PDP has Imo is a former member of the
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
party.” Proclaiming recent events in the party as “the dawn of a new era,” he said, “Only our first 11 will be presented in future elections. Let me remind all aspirants that power comes from God. We must cooperate and collabo rate to ensure the success of the party. When you made me chairman, I promised that we will retaliate by poaching, not only reclaiming our members but taking members of other parties. It has begun.” Chairman of PDP Governors Forum, Godswill Akpabio said: “We have all realised our mistakes. In 2015, we will protect our votes; we must learn to be united. We thank Mr. President for coming personally to rescue Imo. We have come to sensitize the people of Imo to be wary of the parties who will want to claim our projects. This is a period of reawakening and re-energisation.” Senate President, David Mark, who led all PDP members of the NASS, said, “Whatever happened in the past, we should leave them for historians to judge. We have come to take Imo back. We have not come to campaign but to welcome everyone. We are getting back
one of our own, who strayed away.” Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, congratulated Imo and told them that hope has come. We are the ones to rescue Imo from a strange government and in 2015, Imo will be a full PDP State.” BOT Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, noted that “Imo has created a record. It shows clearly that all PDP requires is to play politics of inclusion, forgiveness. Unless we are united, we will take the risk of failure. We will come again in 2015 to appeal for your support. You supported the President in 2011, we ask your support again in 2015.” The deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, promised that the mistakes that cost the party the Government House would never be repeated. According to him, PDP has taken power in all the councils in the state and the incumbent government is living on borrowed time. Chief Achike Udenwa, speaking on behalf of the returnees, thanked the president for coming to “personally receive not only me but also our supporters. We have over 15,000 APC supporters here. There are
more at home, but not enough vehicles to transport them. “By the event of today, Imo has become a PDP state; wherever I go, many will go with me. With this movement, there is nothing like APC in Imo again. All the leaders of APC are here. We were told of a rescue mission in 2011, today we are on a mission of re-rescue Imo.” Ahamba, who noted that he was delighted to return to PDP, claimed that “the opposition of today has nothing to offer. The battle for the Government House has begun and there will be no stoppage.” His fellow returnee, Ararume, hoped that there would be no accident in the future and “we will improve the performance of 2011. We are asking you to declare and we will vote for you. Those who made it happen in Imo are back together. Wherever you go is good for South East.” Anyanwu, whose defection has cost APGA the only senatorial seat in Imo, said that “with this collection of grandmasters of Imo politics, there is no one left, Imo has collapsed for PDP. It’s good to be back; it won’t happen again. We are ready to join forces to fight.
Sunday, February 23, 2014 3
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
‘Lagos Ibadan Expressway To Be Delivered 12 Months Ahead Of Schedule’ By Armsfree Ajanaku OR motorists and comFthemuters eagerly awaiting completion of the reconstruction work going on at the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, relief would come earlier than anticipated as the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen at the weekend declared that the project could be delivered 12 months earlier than the initial 48 months schedule. Speaking during an interactive forum with editors in his office in Abuja, Onolememen assured that with the pace of work and the mode of funding of the project, the contractors handling the project, Julius Berger Nigeria Limited and the Reynolds Construction Company (RCC), could deliver the road in 36 months, one year earlier than the schedule period for its com-
• Investors To Recoup Funds From Tolls • FG Roads Within 5Km Radius To Be Handed To States pletion. He said the construction project, which would gulp a total of N167 billion is been executed using a financial architecture that commits the Federal Government to providing N50 billion within two years, while the balance of N117 billion is being sourced from the private sector. “What we did was that the Federal Government will contribute about N50 billion into the common purse, and from the 2014 budget alone, we are contributing N25 billion and the final N25billion, which will now form the total of the Federal Government commitment to the project will be part of the 2015 budget. But beyond that, the outstanding money which totals
almost about N120 billion is being raised through a private finance initiative and that was how the project was approved, and that is how we are actually realising it.” According to the Minister, the private finance initiative, which is driving the project, involves the Infrastructure Bank as fund arranger, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, as well as a number of banks and financial institutions. As a result of this funding arrangement, the road will be tolled to enable investors recoup their investments and also maintain the road. “When you borrow money from the private sector to do an infrastructure project, the project itself should pay back
for that infrastructure. It is one of the things we need to do to guarantee the sustenance of our private highways across the country. “The Lagos Ibadan Expressway is a major economic arterial route. For government, doing that road is not just a social service; it is also an economic service. And because it is an economic route, it can benefit from private sector investments and such investments can be recouped even from the critical infrastructure itself,” he said. Onolememen noted that the pace of work has been very
Agbakoba, Others Get South East Nomination For National Confab By Omiko Awa HE Coalition of Eastern Human Rights and Prodemocracy Activists (CEHRAPA), which is the umbrella body of civil society organisation leaders and activists of South East extraction has nominated representatives for the planned national conference. The group in a statement endorsed by Kingsley Binitie, Senior Communication Officer, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), said, “it did so to ensure it has a good representation at the forthcoming National Conference.” According to the group’s National Coordinator, Benedict Ezeagu, the nominees are: former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, (Anambra State); Dr. Uju Agomoh, (Abia State); Eze Onyekpere, (Imo State); and the executive director, Civil Liberties Organisa-
The Managing Director, NDDC, Barr, Bassey Dan Abia (left); NDDC Director Finance, Dr. Henry Ogiri; Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko; NDDC Chairman, Senator Ewa Henshaw; and the NDDC Executive Director Project, Mr. Tuoyo Omtsuli, after the meeting of the board of NDDC with President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House, Abuja … on Friday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA
Expert Laments Inadequate Funding For Dental Care By Gbenga Akinfenwa NADEQUATE funding has been identified as a major challenge confronting dental health practitioners in Nigeria, in ensuring easy access to dental treatment and managing of medical emergencies that may arise in practice. This was the position of the President of Nigerian Dental Association (NDA), Dr. Akanbi Olurotimi Olojede, at a media briefing held in Lagos at the weekend ahead of the second ordinary general meeting of NDA slated for February 25 and 26 in Abeokuta, Ogun State, with the theme, Management Of Emergencies In Dental Practice. Compared to other health sectors, Olojede observed that dental offices could hardly be found in major areas in the country, making it difficult for treatment of patients due to scarcity of funds. He revealed that tooth decay remains a major concern for children and adults
in Nigeria and other countries across the world, with an estimate about five billion people worldwide suffering from the disease, despite the fact that it can easily be prevented. “The mouth is both a gateway and mirror of your body’s overall health. Research shows that dental diseases like cavities; gum disease and oral cancer may be linked to other health problems. Fitting brushing and flossing into your everyday routine and visiting your dental professional regularly are more important than ever. “Good oral health means preventing tooth decay and gum disease. In addition to contributing to appearance and self-esteem, healthy teeth and gums help you to speak clearly and eat nutritious food. Nowadays, with improved oral hygiene habits, better access to preventive care, and modern dentistry treatments, more and more people are keeping
their teeth longer into their adult lives,” he said. While describing dental emergency as a condition responsible for acute pain related to the teeth, gums and supporting bone, or other structures in or around the mouth, the dentist noted that sudden loss of a dental restoration, causing cosmetic concern or difficulty in eating is also sometimes referred to as a dental emergency, since there is only rarely a threat to life. “Medical emergencies are likely to occur during and after local anesthesia, primarily during tooth extraction and root fillings. In the United States and Canada, studies have shown that fainting is the most common medical emergency seen by dentists,” he stated. Olojede assured that the conference would serve as a platform for intellectual discourse on topical issues that will propel the course of dental profession in the country.
impressive, adding that the contractors are moving faster than expected, just as he expressed optimism that the two sections would be completed before the 48month period. On the perennial disagreement between states and the Federal Government over the repairs and refunds of Federal roads within states, the Minister revealed that the Federal Government would soon offload Federal roads that are within five kilometers of cities to states. The policy is informing the construction of by-passes to remove the Federal Government from the responsibilities of internal roads in the state capitals.
tion, Comrade Ibuchukwu Ezike, (Enugu State). Ezeagu explained that the representatives were selected by civil society organisations from the South East zone at a meeting held on February 15, 2014 at the Christian Retreat Centre, 22 Forest Crescent, Enugu, specifically convened for the purpose of selecting the delegates. “The meeting was attended by over 40 civil society organisations represented by their leaders. The criteria considered in selecting the representatives include competence and knowledge of the issues, integrity, spread, gender and willingness to serve. “Each of the above named nominees has a minimum of 20 years’ experience in civil society work in Nigeria and considerable international experiences in the field of human rights, security, justice and development,” he declared.
Guber Race: ‘I Am Heeding Sokoto People’s Call’, Says Suleiman By Gowon Akpodonor ORMER Sports Minister, FthatYusuf Suleiman, has said his ambition to become governor of Sokoto State in 2015 is to put the state on the right track after lagging behind in socio-economic development for so long. He also said that joining the governorship race is to heed his people’s call for a quality candidate capable of uniting party members and bringing considerable members of the opposition party to PDP. In a telephone chat with The Guardian, Suleiman said, “Sokoto State people are solidly behind his ambition to occupy the governor’s seat next year, adding that the return of former governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, to the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has further boosted his chances of clinching the ticket.” Speaking on PDP, the former Sports Minister said the party remains the leading party in Sokoto State, adding that it would be difficult for the opposition to withstand its
members in all the local government areas of the State. Suleiman, who is happy for the return of Bafarawa to the PDP said, “the decamp of the former presidential aspirant of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, to the PDP is a good omen for his governorship campaign in 2015.” One of Suleiman’s supporters told The Guardian yesterday that the people of Sokoto would not be deceived by any opposition party in the coming election saying: “For the last 13 years, the party in the state has been going through series of intrigues bordering on distrust, deliberate divide and rule tactics and alienation of well-meaning party members. This is the time to pick a person with the profile that can appeal to the political mainstream and the general populace in Sokoto and Suleiman is the right candidate.” Suleiman, a member of the traditional ruling family of the Sokoto Caliphate was appointed Minister of Transport in April 2010 and a Minister of Sports in July 2011.
SAQ Boss Proffers Solution To Cement Controversy By Bola Olajuwon TANDARDISATION of cement in building and conSstruction will enhance affordability and high quality of products, which will also boost the country’s economy, as well as end the incessant collapse of building. Abdullahi Mailafia, founder of Society for Quality Awareness (SAQ) made this known in an interview in Lagos. The engineer asserted that the high level of ignorance among Nigerian consumers in addition to negligence on the part of producers have largely contributed to the current controversy over cement quality in the country. According to Mailafia, the current controversy is needless since there is no substandard cement in the country, noting that different types of cement are applied for different uses. The civil engineer said that with the new perspective and awareness currently going on, consumers need to deepen their knowledge of goods and services in the market and not just cement. “The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has already done well in ensuring the standard and quality of other building materials such as steel. So, attention must now be focused on cement. “There is proven correlation and direct relationship between falling standards (misapplication) of cement produced and the frequency of collapsed buildings in any country. Nigeria is not left out. In other words, the higher the amount of misapplication of cement types used in construction, the higher the number of collapsed buildings and physical structures experienced,” he
Fresh Plateau Crisis Claims 29 From: Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi; Jos WENTY-nine people have been confirmed dead in the crisis between Barkin Ladi and Bokkos local councils in Plateau State. It was revealed that the attack took place in two villages one of which is Rakong near Kafi Abu. Though the Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Olakpe, confirmed the attack to journalists in Jos, but was silent on the number of people killed. According to him, “there was an attack in the area, but the quick intervention of the Nigeria Police, STF, SSS and Civil Defense brought the situation under control.” In the same vein the interim administrator of Barkin Ladi local council, Habila Dung, has confirmed the attack to journalists in Jos, saying only 10 people were killed during the crisis.
Ughelli Union Meets In Lagos HE monthly meeting of T Ughelli Descendants Union (UDU) Lagos Branch, holds on Sunday, February 23, 2014 by 3pm prompt at Mr. S. Okiti’s residence, HS E 38, E close 23 Road, Festac. All Ughelli indigenes resident in Lagos are invited, signed by the President.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, February 23, 2014
NEwS NBA Election: Petitions Stall Southwest Nomination NATIONAL AwyERS of The Egbe Lin the Amofin, umbrella of lawyers South west Nigeria, yes-
President Goodluck Jonathan (left), Governors Peter Obi (Anambra), Gov. Theodore Orji (Abia) and Sen. Ben Obi, during the President’s visit to the Obi Of Onitsha, Alfred Achebe at his Ime Obi Palace…yesterday.
Endorsement Crisis Erupts In Enugu PDP From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu MAJOR crisis has crept into A the Enugu state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following the gale of endorsement by its stalwarts ahead of the congresses for the nomination of candidates for the 2015 general elections. The Guardian gathered that members are divided over pressure by some aspirants in government, especially those for the position of National Assembly, to get their endorsement. The development, it was gathered may have polarized the leadership of the party in the state, as concerns are being expressed that unless those in power drop their threat to use instrument of government as a weapon, the party might suffer massive defection before the election. In the past few weeks, Enugu has been awash with endorsement and counter-endorsement of Governor Sullivan Chime and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, by different groups in the five local government areas of Enugu west for 2015 senatorial contest. Similarly, Chief of Staff to the State Governor, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, has joined the bandwagon, moving about to get en-
dorsement from different stakeholders. A chieftain of the party, Jude Ozo, told The Guardian yesterday that the development “is causing serious animosity among PDP faithful in the state,” and cautioned the Vita Abba-led party executive to put a stop to it to save the party further embarrassment. Last week, while some groups within in Ezeagu, Udi, Awgu and Aninri local government
HE Lagos State Public ServT ice Staff Development Centre (PSSDC) Magodo, has adopted the Balanced Scorecard to drive its performance management and complement the current Staff Appraisal and Development Report (SPADEV) system in the Lagos State Public Service. The Centre’s Director-General, Mrs. Olubunmi Fabamwo, at a management retreat themed “Strategic Performance Management – An Excellent Tool for Organisational Success”, presented the Balanced Scorecard as a holistic and objective tool
chapters of the party endorsed Chime and Ekweremadu for Enugu west senatorial seat at different meetings, some government functionaries in the party in Enugu East also went to Nkanu west where they endorsed Mrs. Nwobodo as the sole senatorial candidate thereby fore-closing the chances of other aspirants who have already declared inten-
tions to contest on the platform of PDP. The member representing Nkanu west local government at the House of Assembly, Iloabuchi Aniagu had moved the motion for the adoption of Nwobodo as sole candidate for the Enugu East Senatorial District seat while Mrs. Ndidi Chukwu, the State Commissioner for Gender Affairs seconded the motion. Senator Gilbert Nnaji cur-
rently representing Enugu East at the Senate, former governor of Enugu State, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani and former Information Minister, Mr. Frank Nweke Jnr, have all declared interest to contest the senatorial election. Those who spoke on the development said it would be unfair to shut the doors of the party through endorsement to members who have toyed for the development and growth of the
2015: Ohanaeze Makes Case For Igbo Delta Governor From Gordi Udeajah -Umuahia
N addition to questing for Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction, apex Igbo organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo is also demanding to have their turn in the governorship of Delta State come 2015. Led by the chairman of the Lagos chapter barrister Fabian Onwualu, the body, which recently visited Abia State governor Theodore Orji in Umuahia, spoke on the need to produce a Delta governor of Igbo extraction, especially after the two non Igbo Senatorial Zones (South and Central) had had their turns. Onwualu urged governor
Staff Centre Adopts Balanced Scorecard Model By Tunde Akinola
DELTA Orji to throw his weight behind the agitation and help make it a reality. So far, the Delta Central zone had taken the state governorship slot through Chief James Ibori, the South through the serving Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, while the North that comprises Igbo is yet to produce a governor hence. Onwualu noted that giving Igbos the next slot is based on equity and justice principle that cannot be faulted, pointing out that this ethnic or sectional balance was applied in
the last Anambra state election, when the slot went to the North Senatorial Zone. “In Abia state, there is move to give the slot in 2015 to Abia South that has not had a chance. Delta State governor’s position should be that 2015 is the turn of the Igbo extraction in Delta North.” He commended governor Orji for his giant strides in all sectors of the state economy, urging that it should be made mandatory for succeeding governors to continue with laudable projects and programs of their predecessors. Assessing the supports of governors of the South East to
the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, he observed that, “Abia State under your leadership is the most supportive state of Ohanaeze Ndigbo; the ‘Igboness’ in you is overwhelming and we join those proposing and urging you to lake up higher political position after your second term in 2015, even as we acknowledge and support your strong support for president Goodluck Jonathan.” Responding, Governor Orji said it would be equitable and just if the Igbo Zone of Delta State produces the governor after the two zones had done so.
Ekiti Ex-governor, Aderemi Is Buried From Muyiwa Adeyemi, Ado Ekiti
HE remains of the late forT mer acting governor of Ekiti State, Hon Friday
that would enhance the centre’s service delivery by achieving its Service Charter objectives and aid the deepening of its relevance to the aspirations of the state government. PSSDC management agreed to commit to the adoption of the model because of its potential to capture and measure the salient performance indicators of their respective functions and with the conviction that public sector organisations must become more performance-oriented it they must deliver public goods effectively.
Aderemi was yesterday buried in him hometown AiyetoroEkiti, amidst encomiums from eminent Nigerians. Speaking at the burial service, the Anglican Bishop of Ekiti Oke Diocese, Most Rev Isaac Olatunde Olubowale, charged politicians to always render selfless service to humanity as a way to have a glorious end. The cleric advised that, “as there is a life after death, one should also keep a good records here that would make people not to forget you easily.” The Bishop described the former Speaker of the Ekiti State
ADO EKITI House of Assembly, who participated in the impeachment of ex-governor Ayodele Fayose, as a man who was not materialistic despite the sensitive positions he held while alive. He urged politicians to be modest in their lifestyles and build a legacy of trust and good conduct that could service as a guide to the coming generations. Speaking at the occasion, Governor Kayode Fayemi praised the simplicity and honesty of the departed former acting governor, saying the State and the country will not forget his legacies in short time. Fayemi, who urged the family to take solace in the fact that Hon Aderemi had lived an ex-
emplary life worthy of emulation said, “the late Chief Friday Aderemi served the State with diligence, commitment and courage at the most difficult time in the history of the State,” adding that, “the deceased demonstrated uncommon courage to rescue Ekiti State from the clutches of brigandage and criminality that culminated in the emergency rule in the State in 2006. “I charge his political associates, family friends, other politicians to emulate his ways and spirit of sacrifice,” Fayemi advised. The State Government and the Ekiti State House of Assembly had on Friday held separate special sessions in honour of the departed soul in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
terday, protested the inability of the Screening Committee to endorse a candidate that will represent them at the election of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) schedule to hold July. The screening committee leads by former NBA President, Mrs. Priscilla Kuye, said it reported to Egbe that two of the three candidates refused to offer themselves for screening. Three candidates, Dele Adesina, Funke Adekoya and Adeniyi Akintola, have indicated interest for the office. However, Akintola, in a letter dated February 18, and addressed to Kuye, said he could not subject himself to the committee that comprise members who have spent less than five years at the Bar. Adekoya said she could not make herself available for screening because of allegations of financial frauds against some members of the screening committee. Her petition did not mention any names. Also, some branches, including Ogbomoso, Badagry and Ikorodu, also sent petitions, which were found to fake after investigation. Only Adesina presented himself for screening, and thus the only candidate presented at the Bar Centre for the screening exercise. He was there till 3.00 pm before he left. Mrs. Kuye said the screening committee would have to report back to the leadership of Egbe on the development. She said: “I have practised as a lawyer for 47 years. I cannot allow anyone to destroy the name I have built over the years. The decision we have reached is to report back our findings and allow the leadership to take a decision. This did not, however, go down well with the multitude of lawyers who had waited at the venue since 9.00am for endorsement of a yoruba candidate. They came from different parts of the Southwest.
Ekiti 2014: Olubolade Promises Debtfree Governance EKITI From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head South West Bureau Ado Ekiti) ORMER Minister of Police Fubolade, Affairs, Navy Capt Caleb Olyesterday, formally declared his intention for Ekiti governorship office, pledging that he would not borrow money from the capital market to finance the state if elected. Olubolade also pointed out that his administration would run a programme that is tandem with the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan to bring development to the state. He made the statement in Ado Ekiti during a reception organised in his honour by members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Olubolade recently resigned from the federal cabinet to pursue his governorship am-
Sunday, February 23, 2014 5
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Jonathan Assures On 2nd Niger Bridge RESIDENT Goodluck P Jonathan said the 2nd Niger Bridge would commence before Governor Peter Obi leaves office on March 17, 2014, in view of how passionately the Governor had pursued the project. The president was speaking yesterday when he paid a courtesy visit to the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe at his Ime
Obi palace in Onitsha. The president, who said he was on the way from Unity rally by the PDP at Imo State, described Anambra State and people as very lucky to have Peter Obi as there Governor. He thanked the people of the State for their support and contributions to the growth and development of Nigeria. Earlier in his welcome, address, Igwe Achebe thanked
SOUTH-EAST Mr President for his support and love for the Government and people of Anambra State and appealed to him to extend the same love to the incoming Governor, Dr. Willie Obiano. The Monarch also thanked him for the on going work in Zik’s final resting place.
“There are many more things to be grateful to your government for, but let me single out the construction of Zik’s Mausoleum, which is now nearing completion after some sixteen years of delays, dilly-dallying and cat and mouse games between successive governments at both state and federal levels. It will go down in history that it was your administration that had
the determination and zeal to finally give our beloved Right Honourable, Chief Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, OwelleOsowa Onitsha, first President of Nigeria, and Zik’s of Africa, a befitting resting place. Mr. President, we cannot thank you enough for this gesture. “ In his vote of thanks, Gov. Peter Obi assured the President of continued support by the People of Anambra State.
PIB Will Increase Offshore Opportunities, Says Expert HE passage of the Petroleum T Industry Bill (PIB) will herald a new vista of opportunity in the offshore industry, chief executive of Seplat Petroleum Development Company, Austin Avuru, has said. According to him, the fiscal and non-fiscal enablers in the PIB could add significant value to the economics of offshore investments such that PIB only erodes between 10 and 15 per-
cent of the remaining value of existing and new offshore investments in Nigeria. Avuru, who made the declaration during his presentation at the IP Week, London 2014, while speaking on the topic, Petroleum Industry Bill: Increasing Investment Opportunities in the Offshore Nigeria, observed that non-passage of the PIB is inimical to industry progress.
NATIONAL “The oil bill is supposed to restructure the institutional and fiscal framework to promote transparency, efficiency and exploitation activities, as well as maximise economic rent accruing to government as it hopes to achieve 40 billion barrels of crude reserves and oil
production of 4 MMBOPD by 2020,” he noted. While reeling out figures to support his assertion, the respected industry professional informed that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Nigeria dropped from $6 billion in 2009 to $2.3 billion in 2010 even though the “oil sector accounted for over 60 percent of FDI inflow to Nigeria.” He also noted that signing
the PIB has become an imperative because of emergence of other oil-rich countries in Africa, a situation that has affected FDI inflow to Nigeria. Putting it in perspective, Avuru quoted the UNCTAD in saying that “between 1970 and 1990, Nigeria accounted for 30 percent of FDI inflow in Africa, but only 16 percent in 2007 due to emergence of other oil rich countries.”
NEWS Nigeria To Host Policy Dialogue On Science, Technology By Kamal Tayo Oropo HE UN Economic CommisT sion for Africa in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Ministry of ComTechnology munications (FMCT), and Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST), will hold a high level policy dialogue on the theme: Science, Technology, and Innovation and the African Transformation Agenda. Billed for on March 24 and 25, 2014, in Abuja, the planned dialogue was collaborated during the week by President Goodluck Jonathan, during the inauguration ceremony of the National Research and Innovation Council (NRIC), an event he chaired. The meeting will bring together experts from across the continent in the areas of science, technology and innovation to discuss and deepen understanding on how technology and innovations can be deliberately and purposefully applied to accelerate the transformation African agenda, improve the life chances of Africans and enhance the competitiveness of Africa’s economies.
EFCC Suspect Abducted In Lagos Court From Abosede Musari, Abuja HE Economic and FinanT cial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said yesterday that un-
First Lady , Dame Patience Jonathan (right), representative of Minister of Education, Dr. John Nwaobiala , Vice- Chancellor University of Lagos, Rahamon Bello and Chairman University of Lagos Governing Council Prof. Jerry Gana, at the foundation laying ceremony of the 15-storey Dame Patience Jonathan Female Hostel Complex at the University of Lagos PHOTO AYODELE ADENIRAN
UNN Medical College Needs N6bn To Upgrade Facilities From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu Provost, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Nsukka Prof. Basden Onwubere declared on Saturday that the college had concluded arrangement to launch a N6Million Education Fund to
upgrade infrastructure at the faculty. Declaring open, the ninth edition of the lecture series inside the faculty of Medical Sciences Main Hall at UNTH, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, Onwubere announced that the
ENUGU launch was part of a robust attempt to make the college a true centre of excellence for Medical education on the African continent. Onwubere, who is the chair-
FRSC Embarks On Massive Transformation From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri N a bid to improve the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to world standards, the leadership of the commission has announced plans to embark on a number of innovations to keep lives safe on the road. The Chairman, Governing Board of the Commission, Felix Chukwu, disclosed this on Friday, while addressing journalists at his country home, Ahiazu Mbaise, Imo State.
IMO Chukwu informed that the World Bank has intervened with an undisclosed amount of money and infrastructural facilities to enable the commission perform optimally, adding that a programme, Safe Corridors, was introduced by the bank to handle some problems on the road, including donation of tow trucks. About 18 more Safe Corridors programme, he said, would be introduced soon.
“We are expecting additional 18 Safe Corridors. This will bring down crashes further,” he said. Chukwu, who also revealed his intensions to aspire to be elected to the House of Representatives for Ahiazu/Ezinihitte Mbaise Federal Constituency in 2015, under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said the board will discuss how the commission would work out the modalities on deploying the commission’s officials to work 24 hours on the road to handle problems on the roads.
man of the UNTH Open Heart Surgery Center of Excellence, said despite the impressive performance of their graduates globally and perceived rapid infrastructural development in the college, management was still in dire need of more funds to achieve their target in line with the motto of UNN. He expressed satisfaction that in the past few years, there had been significant improvement in academic activities amongst the academic staff, as shown by the number of on-going research projects and the ever-increasing professorial chairs. According to him, “within the past four years, we have moved from less than 20 professors to nearly 60 chairs in the college of medicine, with many more at the final stages of assessment. However, we are not yet where we should
be, and there is still room for improvement in our academic work and research activities.” He said that the relocation from Enugu to the permanent site of UNTH at Ituku-Ozalla recently, had raised other challenges for the College of medicine, including medical library, student’s hostels, transportation and other essential infrastructure and modern facilities necessary for learning. “Our Alumni globally, have continued to show keen interest in the college both in upgrading of our facilities and promoting research amongst staff and students, our USAbased Alumni under Dr. Nkem Chukwumerije, recently optimized the FMS Lecture Theatre for Academic work and have set aside the sum of 30,000 dollars for an EMedical library at the college,” he said.
known gunmen abducted one of its suspects in court. The suspect, Princewill Arinze Nwobodo (alias Aboki J. Brown), was said to have been prison from hijacked warders, who were to present him in court on Thursday. The abduction was allegedly carried out by four gunmen within the premises of the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, where he was to be arraigned before Justice Aishat Opesanwo on a 4-count charge bordering on obtaining $ 92,000 under false pretence. The abducted suspect was an alleged serial fraudster and suspect in two cases being handled by the EFCC.
Traders Commend Gov. Orji For Slashing Tax From Gordi Udeajah - Umuahia BIA State traders, under A the aegis of Abia State Market Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA), trooped house government to Umuahia on Friday, in soligovernor with darity Theodore Orji for reducing the annual Taxes paid on Market Stalls to maximum of about from N3,600 N6,000.00 minimum per annum they used to pay. The traders also endorsed the urge on the governor to contest the 2015 Senate election to represent Abia Central Zone, asserting that no governor had done for traders what Orji has done, even as he has continued to provide necessary infrastructure, security, built and building new markets among others in the state.
6 Sunday, February 23, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Beggars lining the steps at Cele Pedestrian bridge
… at Malu Road, Apapa
… at Iyana Oba, Lagos
Lagos And Unending Battle Against Street Beggars By Omiko Awa A FEW years past, Lagos State government in implementing part of its environmental laws, tried to make the streets of Lagos free of destitute by arresting and deporting them to their different states of origin, while those claiming to come from Lagos were rehabilitated. Some group of people, mostly Ndi Igbo, had made a fuss over the deportation, especially with the way those destitute, said to have come from the Eastern part of the country, were dumped and abandoned on top of the Niger Bridge in Onitsha. To assure the group and Lagosians that the state government is not nursing any bad blood against the Ndi Igbo or anybody, the number one citizen of the state, Babatunde Raji Fashola, had apologised to Igbo leaders and others. But not long after that, this destitute are beginning to emerge in different parts of the state again. From Agege to Ijora, Apapa to Iyana Oba, Mile 2 to Mile 12, these beggars are daily positioning themselves at the bus stops or along the streets to beg for alms. In some locations, they take vintage positions as early as 4am and retire to their abodes later in the night. The Guardian Cityfile learnt that those of them that could not walk are brought to these bus stops by some of their family members. Interestingly, aside from begging, these destitute, especially those that can walk or are one-armed, sometimes relieve traffic wardens on the roads by directing traffic. They also serve as fronts for sly police officers, who use them to extort money from commercial motorists, while their female counterparts change large denomination of the naira notes to smaller ones, sometime with interest, for bus conductors or commuters. Speaking on ridding the streets of beggars, Chuks Nwagugo, said, “the state government may be taking its time to fine tune the policy so that what happened the other time, when destitute from the East were deported and the Igbo felt they were being hunted, would not happen again. Government cannot give in so cheaply, but it just has to tighten the law so that it will not draw much criticism again.” Disagreeing with Nwagugo, Henry Esu, who described Lagos as a land of opportunity, said no amount of arrest or
deportation will take destitute off the streets. “Can the government give them the type of money they make on the streets? Do you know that some of them make good money that enabled them put their children in private schools? “ Nigerians, especially Lagosians, are very charitable; they have large hearts and could give out anything, which is the main reason you see beggars increasing in their numbers every day. Imagine, some people come to the bus stop to distribute cooked food to them, while others just give them used clothes and food items; they get virtually all they want and little wonder, they keep breeding children.” But Mrs. Fausat Jimoh, a trader at Iyana Ipaja garage, believes that there must always be beggars among the people because everyone cannot be rich. Observing the situation closely, she said the whole thing goes beyond what we think. According to her, some people are benefiting from the activities of these beggars. “As early as 4am, you will see some people come to drop these beggars at the junctions and come back to take them away later in the evening, when people are no longer around. As you can see, some of them have cell phones and are with children, which shows
they are either married or some men somewhere are taking care of them. Besides, some people believe that if you must get mercy from God, you must give alms to beggars. So, we are not to question why they are here, but if government feels they should be moved, then they should be given a beggars’ colony, where those that want to fulfill their spiritual obligations can go and see them.” Ejikeme, a trader, said the emergence of beggars in the streets shows government is tired of carrying out its own policy and this is bad for any policy. “And I believe they are tired because they know they are the ones impoverishing the people with their policies. “ There is poverty in the land. We are blessed with abundant natural resources, yet we have so many beggars on the streets. We need to revisit our grassroots developmental projects and work with faith-based organisations to equip those with little or no formal education with skills that would make them fend for themselves instead of begging. “ I encourage government to continue to rid the streets of beggars, because if children brought up in streets are not watched, they would serve as idle army waiting to be recruited into crime,” he said.
… at Ikotun bus stop
… at Oshodi bus stop
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Lagos Anti-Smoking Law … What The People Say
No Smoking, Pls.
THE Lagos State government, last week, signed the AntiSmoking bill into law. By this legislation, it becomes an offence punishable by law for anyone to smoke in public and places so designated. To assess public understanding of the bill before it became law and also to know the level of preparedness of the public to accept the law, OMIKO AWA spoke with hoteliers, schools owners and those whose businesses deal with large number of people at a time.
conviction. The law, which is to be enforced by Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), permits enforcement officers to enter and inspect any premises designated public area.
What The Anti-Smoking Law Says The law prohibits anybody from smoking in public places such as public telephone kiosks, public transportation vehicles, private vehicles where there are more than one person, school buses, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, amusement parks, conference centres, exhibition halls or any other premises in which more than one person works. The law stipulates penalties, which range from N10, 000 to N50,000 fines or imprisonment or a term not less than one month and not exceeding three months or both, or other non-custodial punishment that the judge may deem if anybody violates the restriction. Section 12 of the law states that ‘No-Smoking’ symbol with a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a circle with a bar across should be prominently posted and properly maintained where smoking is regulated by the owner, occupier or person in charge of a public place. Section 4 says those who own or occupy public places should ensure that approved ‘No-Smoking’ signs are displayed conspicuously at each entrance and in prominent locations throughout the premises. Penalty for smoking in a ‘No-Smoking area’ is N10, 000 fine or imprisonment for a term not less than a month and not exceeding three months or both. While any person who repeatedly violates the provisions shall on conviction be liable to a fine of N50, 000 or six months imprisonment or both. The law also states that the penalty for non-compliance by owner/occupier of a ‘No-Smoking area would be N100, 000 or six months imprisonment or other non-custodial punishment that would be decided by the judge. The law further states that any person who smokes in the presence of a child commits an offence and would be liable, on conviction, to a fine of N15, 000 or imprisonment for one month or both. The law provides that owners of public facilities, such as restaurants, should designate smoking areas, which must not be more than 10 per cent of the entire size of the place as a No-Smoking area. They are also to ensure that the smoking area is properly ventilated, smoke detectors fixed and that those who go out to smoke leave a buffer of about 10 meters from the facility. Where the offence of refusal to place the sign or symbol is committed by a corporate body, the director, manager, company secretary or any person concerned in the management of the affairs of the corporate body would be liable. In this case, he or she would be fined the sum of N250,000 upon
Govt Should Create More Awareness – Saheed Makinde Restaurant Manager in Surulere. It is a good law, at least it will save our people from lungs diseases and check the youths, especially the street urchins from smoking in the public. However, we are ignorant of its existence and as such government should create more awareness of the new law, so that, people should know what to do and avoid unnecessary infringement of the law.
What The People Say
Give Us Time To Effect Change — Manager, Model Motel, Ikotun. I am not aware of the law, but since it has been made government should give us (hoteliers), those ignorant of it some time to effect the necessary changes. They should give us time to make separate places for our different — smoking and non-smoking — customers, because we need to refigure our structure to be in line with what government wants. The Law Will Go Like Others — Meg, Director, FunCentre, Ikeja. I can’t imagine myself splitting my restaurant between smokers and non-smokers, where is the space; in fact, the 10 per cent space specified is enough to take more customers. Besides, is smoking more dangerous than alcohol that most people take and start misbehaving? I believe this is another Lagos law that will die no sooner than it is created, it will go like others. It’s A Law In The Right Direction — Manager, Cy Hotels, Ikotun. As an international hotel, we know such laws exist in the industry and have structured our facilities to it meet the right standard. As you can see, we have different places for smokers and non-smokers. Lagos State government needs to be applauded for the law, while those yet to accept the law should put their facilities right and be encouraged to do so. It is a law in the right direction. It’s Part Of International Best Practices In Hotel Business
— Manager, Eko Hotel and Suite, Victoria Island, Lagos. Any three or five star hotel should know this; it is part of the international best practices in the industry and we are in tune with it. It is a way of recognising the right of every customer and making the environment healthy for all. It Will Increase Unemployment And Crime — Madam Bose, Manager Lady B Cool Spot, Bariga. Lagos State government in a way is telling small restaurant operators to close shop, or from where do they expect us to carve out the 10 per cent area for Smokers and NonSmokers, they are talking about, when in actual sense most of us are operating in a-10 by 12 shop space or open space in the street at night. This law when implemented will further make many people unemployed and increase crime in the state. The Law Will Not Stop Smoking In Public — Mrs. Philips Adegbenro School Principal. Government has the youths at hearts that is the reason they made the law. It is good, especially as it concerns youths under 18 years. But in the real sense of it, it is like we are still chasing shadows; if government wants to ban smoking in its entirety, they should go straight and stop the manufacturers from producing cigarette and its other related products because this law will not stop people from smoking in public. Besides, how can they monitor the law in the rural areas, at parties and in small guesthouses and bars? Smoking Is Fun — Mike Adeyeye, Manager, Relaxation Centre, Ijesha. Alcohol and smoking are fun; some people leave their homes to our relaxation centre to enjoy them. Our customers use these two elements to watch live sporting events and some x-rated movies, I must say, it will be hard for us to separate the areas. But since it is a state law, we just have to comply with it. The Law Is Not Fair To All — Emeka Nwachi, A hotelier, Oshodi. The law is good, but it is not fair to tobacco companies because cigarette is not the only intoxicant. How about alcohol that is doing great damage to drinkers’ internal organs? I hope this will not be another opening for government to discourage small business owners, because they will be affected the more.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Yapping With Homophones and Homographs By Adidi Uyo OULD you say that his luck ran out or that he ran out of luck? Any way you look at it, the fact remains that while he was out of the country attending a meeting in Niger, Goodluck decided it was time for him to lock up the Governor’s office. Evidently, Goodluck held the padlock to the office. Wait a minute: let me try to put all that in another way. While the Governor of our Central Bank was on a formal assignment conferencing with his West African peers in Niger, somebody who has all the while been holding a spear to his back decided to pierce him real hard. One reporter who does not want to be associated with this revelation said that when no authoritative source in Aso Rock was ready to rock the boat by telling the public what actually informed the President’s decision to suspend the Governor of Central Bank, he had no choice but to look for an informal source who told him what happened, exactly. According to this highly delectable source in the Presidency, as President Goodluck Jonathan was praying at the Aso Rock Chapel in the morning of Thursday, February 20, 2014, a voice out of the blue blew him out of
his stupor, saying: “Goodluck, Goodluck, don’t you know that you have the padlock to the office of the Central Bank Governor in your pocket? Now that this man who has made it his bounden duty to hunt you is away conferencing with other West African Central governors in Niger, can’t you see that this is the right time for you to haunt him out of office? Verily, verily, I say unto you, lock the door against the sucker, for his luck has finally run out on him! And fear not, for all is fair in war!” Well, you may not believe the story of this revelation in the hallowed chambers of the Aso Rock Chapel, but, as the saying goes, the rest is history. Indeed, as the esteemed Aso Rock source also told the reporter, who does not want to be associated with this story, the spirit in the Villa now is to win this war at all costs. If you ask me, I will say that there is a lot of merit in the theme of ‘Hunt me, I haunt you.’ President Goodluck Jonathan is not an army general, but you know that he has just appointed a Brigadier-General as his Chief of
Staff. And who knows, the theme of ‘Hunt me, I hunt you’ might have been elevated to a strategy. Generals are nothing if they are not strategists. But do not say I told you! In a discussion with Misan, my bosom friend and alter ego, I used an unkind word to describe the president for suspending the CBN Governor. Boy, you could see the rage in his eyes, as he charged: “Nonsense! What do you mean by saying that Jonathan is a mean man? Me, I bow for the man. I never thought that he could wield a bow-and-arrow the way he has done. And at a man, who is supposed to wield such a tool much better, for that matter!” “Let me tell you something,” Misan roared further, “the Governor of the apex bank has turned out to be a man whom the President could no longer bank on. He just had to do something, before the governor plucked his eyes. He did know that his cup was full, and he continued to take the President for a fool.” I could not believe that this was Misan talking, and tried to turn the table, somehow. “But with this suspension of the Governor, don’t you think that the President does not
LANGUAGE ON PARADE
seem to bother about matters that border on his integrity, or, at least, his sense of judgment?” “Integrity, my foot!” hollered Misan. “Have you seen a Nigerian president who can do better at shooting himself on the foot, or at putting his foot in his mouth? Look, I think they need to alter what goes on at that their altar in Aso Rock, I mean, the Chapel in the Villa. If they do not bring in true men of God who can tell them the truth and pray to God with them, the President will continue to hear hollow voices and mistake them for hallowed one.” “Wait a minute, Misan,” I said, deadpan. “You are confusing me. I thought you were defending the action of the President. How come you are saying all this, now?” With mischief written all over his face, Misan lunged into a classic R & B song which you may know: ‘If you don’t know me by now-w-w, you will never, never know…’ Well, Governor Sanusi has intimated that he will go to court, declaring that, ‘You can suspend the individual, but you can’t suspend the truth.’ You can bet that if he goes to court, he will court some more trouble for the President. But who cares?
How Much Is A Minister’s ‘Shit’ Worth? By Itunu Ajayi, Abuja T is the season of presentation of budget proposals and MDAs are making the best of the opportunity given them to present to the parliamentarians their budget plans for the year. In the document, it is expected that MDAs would give a vivid description of what they intend to do with the demanded amount of taxpayers money. At a review of the budget proposal of the Ministry of industry, trade and investment in Abuja recently held by the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS), it was a shocked crowd that got to know that the Ministry has proposed to utilise a whooping N4, 016, 870 to empty its septic tanks within the next few months. This amount is, however, meagre compared to what was spent on the same purpose last year. Then it was N5, 357, 948. The description was simply labelled ‘sewage services’. Except this grammar has a different meaning to the proponents of the budget, then what this portrays to the lay man is that in 2014, the Minister,
Olusegun Aganga and his team will be spending the said amount to dispose of their faeces. And the fact that the forum comprised ordinary Nigerians ranging from traders to artisans did not help matters. When the reviewer of the budget got to the portion of sewage services and mentioned the proposed amount that will be going into it, the atmosphere became charged. ‘Is it not ordinary shit?’ Someone in the crowd exclaimed. Wetin dem dey chop sef, came from another at the end of the hall. The Ministry is currently undergoing a face-lift after the initial hullabaloo that greeted the report of leaking roofs occasioned by last year rain, which made the Minister relocate to the Bank of Industry building, from where he still operates. The Minister is likely to return to his office in April or there about, going by the pace of repair works taking place in the ministry. So, if the budget has hopefully been approved by this time, it means that the quoted amount will compulsorily be used to
clear the Minister’s shit and that of his tireless team within the remaining eight months or even less, because it is the tradition that another budget with the same description of services be presented next year and the year after. Aganga will also in the next 10 months read books, newspapers, magazines and periodicals worth N3, 337, 485, N228 and N956, 982 respectively. These figures are reasonable compared to what obtained last year, when the Lagos State-born eloquent Minister read books worth N8, 790, 008, newspapers worth N2, 000, 000, magazines and periodicals worth N2, 000, 000 respectively. It is, however, hoped that all these readings would take Nigeria to the desired investment haven for the much sought-after foreign investors. Ken Ukaoha, president of the traders association said Nigerians expect policy makers to present budgets that would reflect how the lives of the people would be impacted positively and not something done out of selfishness and lack of feelings for the people. Ukaoha said
the onus is on parliamentarians to do a thorough job on this year’s budget by reading every presentation line by line. But a section of the meeting expressed fear that the lawmakers may be overwhelmed with the volume of work they have to do on budgets of all MDAs and coupled with the culture of lobbying in the country, they may decide to turn a blind eye. With the number of foreign investors thronging the Minister’s office and signing one Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) after the other, one would have thought that by now, they would be falling over themselves just to get the attention of the ministry, which should also mean that the Minister would stay more in the country this year than he did last year. But no, Aganga would still be utilising N173, 463, 873 for international travels, while N62, 389, 514 was proposed for local travels. Last year, it was N123, 409, 082 and N87, 946, 918 respectively. Though one cannot really say which of the international football clubs is
Aganga’s favourite or the sporting activities he enjoys most, but the budget reflects that in the year under review, N2, 392, 455 has been earmarked for these activities. The minister will also be eating refreshments and meals worth N2, 707, 465, while the ministry will be paying for honorarium and sitting allowances to the tune of N250, 000, 000 in the coming months. It is the norm that all MDAs have budget offices with staff on the pay roll, but the Ministry of industry, trade and investment just like others, has a different budget for budget preparation. So, this year the Ministry will be expending N2, 392, 455 on budget preparation and another N2, 940, 685 for annual budget expenses and administration. That was the puzzle no one at the gathering could put together because none was able to define what budget preparation and budget administration meant, except maybe an expert in the budget office or the consultant given the job comes forth to proffer a solution.
Next Aviation Minister: Mr. President Beware! By Chris Azu Aligbe INCE the last cabinet shake-up that saw the SPrincess exit of the former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, and her three other colleagues, many individuals, professionals and interest groups have started prescribing for the President the type of minister he should appoint. The loudest voice came from Aviation Unions and Industry Professional Associations. Some described her exit as good riddance; one or two said she has ‘taken the industry 60 years back; another said the President was slow. There is the next group who feels Oduah hurt their interest beyond imagination and is pushing, lobbying and praying that Jonathan will appoint someone who would reverse most decisions of the erstwhile Minister to their advantage. The fact is that among canvassers jostling for their voices to be heard are those with vested interest, albeit, personal, some others genuine and others vengeful. There is no doubt that Oduah was audacious in the face of the impunities that confronted her on arrival in the industry. In engaging the impunities, she adopted the philosophy of the ‘avant-garde’ that holds that ‘nonsense is the shortest cut to sense.’ She met impunities that were obstacles to change in the industry with equal impunity. She no doubt hurt quite some people, but she was passionate, focused and had great capacity for visioning. She saw
the tomorrow of the industry and wanted a world-class aviation sector. Today, Oduah is a sad casualty of concatenated circumstances, many of which were beyond her control, some within her control and some engendered by her. She stepped in and, fought in a minefield created largely by those driven by primitive egoism cocooned in a thin deceptive coat of patriotism, who are now calling for this or that type of aviation Minister to be appointed. Mr. President, you must see through this façade of pretentious patriotism. If not, the next casualties will be the aviation sector, your transformation agenda and, ultimately, the nation. The consequent disaster will bewilder and impact on our nation for years to come. Without prejudice to genuine observations of some individuals, Oduah’s vision, encapsulated in the Aviation Master Plan, is humongous and in tandem with global trend. No doubt, Oduah made mistakes, some of them very costly, just like every human being in a race for reform and transformation within a short period of time. Unfortunately, these mistakes took her out. In spite of this, she left on ground, palpable achievements that even her worst enemies cannot, but acknowledge; achievements that dwarf all the collective achievements of over 14 Ministers before her in the last two decades, from 1990 to 2010. She certainly changed the face of the industry for
the better. But curiously, what is visible is nothing comparable with what she has laid the formwork for. Her perceived misdemeanour irrespective, she will remain one of the few five-star ministers of Jonathan’s administration in this dispensation. The next minister, Mr. President, must have a clear mandate, which will be to remain focused on the Master Plan and proceed to complete the various projects commenced by Oduah. This has to be so since the projects are for the benefit of the country. For instance, the 22 decrepit airports remodeled by the Oduah do not belong to her or are they directly to her benefit. The planned Cargo Terminals in 16 airports will no doubt have unimaginable impact in produce farming, trade, cargo operations and employment. With what the highly effective Minister of Agriculture is doing, cargo terminals with cold storage facilities will rekindle great hope, satisfaction and zeal in the agricultural sector. Mr. President, those who are today calling for a professional to be appointed are missing the point. Professionals, who are not exposed to the fact that aviation, globally, has moved, since the last one and half decades, from the domain of engineers and pilots to the world of business, can neither understand nor envision new horizons, let alone drive the kind of transformation Oduah pursued. Aviation today is a huge global business that drives development.
It requires tremendous vision, thinking out of the box and an understanding of the expansive role the sector has in economic development. Without fear of contradiction, I aver that these are not attributes of core aviation professions, where competences are highly indepth, but within narrow professional jackets guided by cockpit mentality. Mr. President, there is need also to avoid handing over the portfolio to a pure politician. Political practice in our country has a challenge of its own, which I know you know very well. It does not genuflect to pensive intellection; the kind that drive reforms and transformation. Put your searchlight, therefore, on a successful, visionary businessman or woman with an instruction to look forward. Such a person should be passionate and with determination for legacies. Mr. President, Oduah’s fate became ineluctable; so she had to go and has gone, but the aviation sector reform must continue in the interest of our nation. This is your challenge and that of your new minister. You can aptly call this challenge the ‘burden of Oduah’s great performance and sad exit.’ I sincerely wish you luck while I pray for our beloved nation. Aligbe is an aviation consultant email@example.com
Sunday, February 23, 2014 9
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
PDP Lied To Jonathan In Owerri, Says Okorocha By Kodilinye Obiagwu and Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri MO State Governor, Chief IhasRochas Owelle Okorocha, described as unfortunate the claim by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that it lost Imo by mistake. Addressing journalists last night in the Government House, Owerri, the governor
said the PDP has not really won any election in Imo since the time of the former governor Chief Ahike Udenwa. According to the governor, “I beat them in 2011 even though they controlled the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the police and other security agencies.”
Describing the returnees to the PDP fold as “expired politicians”, Okorocha said that “it is painful that the president spent over N5 million to buy a product that is not worth N1 million. They must have lied to the President. They didn’t want the president to travel by road, they would have seen what we have done.
I am happy they didn’t say this government is not performing. He said, “If Achike had 15,000 followers as he claimed, he would have won the senatorial seat of Orlu. Udenwa is not even a registered member of the APC. The crowd that came there today was because of the presence of the
President; none of the people joining them can attract any people to listen to them. The governor said it was sad that despite the 1.3 million votes that the state gave to Jonathan in 2011, the president has not taken time to thank the people of Imo. “ Instead of thanking them, they
Kaduna Fair: Govt To Disburse N1bn For Agriculture From Saxone Akhaine, Northern Bureau Chief N order to boost AgriculIKaduna tural productivity in State, Governor Mukhtar Ramallan Yero, yesterday, said his administration has concluded plans to disburse N1bn loan to farmers. Yero disclosed this while declaring open the 35th edition of Kaduna International Trade Fair with the theme: Agricultural Transformation for Industrial Development: Public Private Partnership (PPP) Approach. According to the Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, the loan is part of a counterpart programme with Bank of Agriculture (BOA). He said the state would guarantee the loan at low interest rates. He pointed out that the loan would be distributed to farm-
ers for the purpose of introducing modern commercial farming methods. Yero further argued that provision has been made in the 2014 budget for procurement of additional tractors and other mechanised farm implements. Said he: “Our aim is to empower our existing farmers
and to also make farming attractive to younger generations. I believe that agriculture holds the key to cutting down on the unacceptable rate of youth unemployment and social unrest that we are presently facing as a people”. Besides, in his address, the National President of the
Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Alhaji Mohammadu Badaru Abubakar, explained that the implementation of Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan was already yielding good result, “particularly the success stories in the cement industry, where Nigeria consolidated
her position in the cement sector, which has now attracted $8 billion aggregate investment to date and has generated 1.6 million jobs for Nigerians.” In his welcome address, President of Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA), Dr. Abdul-Alimi Bello, stated that countries like Egypt,
have come to ask for more votes in 2015. What have we got to show for the votes we gave him. They have not thanked us and now they are asking for support in 2015. Three years after, they are telling us that what we are good at is voting. The projects that they are claiming that they did are our projects.”
Ghana, Turkey, India, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Senegal and Niger Republic, among others, are participating in the trade fair. Bello said the choice of the theme was to compliment the efforts of government in repositioning agriculture from development outlook to business and profitable ventures.
Cleric Tasks Political Leaders On Governance By Isaac Taiwo OLITICAL leaders have been urged to improve the lives of the downtrodden in the nation. Speaking during the Seven Super Sundays at The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Province 40, Testimony Chapel, Akure, the Parish Pastor, Goke Aniyeloye, lamented the state of the nation, hinging the situation to political
leaders’ greed and self-centredness. He said, “the nation is in the state of comatose because we have deviated from the right path, but if our leaders and every Nigerian can retrace their steps and do the will of God things will change for good. He called on those in authority to remember their campaign promises and work
to fulfill them. Calling on religions leaders, Aniyeloye admonished those playing emphasis on money rather than the Word of God to know that we are at the end time. “As Christian leaders, we should separate religion from the love of money, always remembering that love of money is the root of all evils” he said.
Commending the Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for his good works Aniyeloye called for caution against sensitive issues that are capable of creating chaos in the state. He advised governor to embark on ideas that would promote peace and unity in every area of his administration. “When we were in school, everything went on smoothly
without any sentiment in religion as well those areas where we had our differences. Since there are defined dress code or uniform for public schools, the government should distant itself from imposing any dress code to either Christians or Muslims, which may eventually result into skirmishes,” he admonished.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Backlash Abraham Ogbodo
08055328079 (Sms only) firstname.lastname@example.org
Not A Good Time To Fire Sanusi AST Thursday, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Lwasgovernor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) suspended from office. The day coincided with the resumed sitting of the Senate Committee on Finance, which is probing allegations that N20 billion was used by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to offset subsidies on kerosene. The allegation was levelled against the NNPC by Sanusi, who also said a presidential directive in 2009 had stopped the payment of subsidy on imported Kerosene even as he asked the national oil company to disclose where it got authorisation for the continued payment of subsidy to kerosene importers. Let me add that the purpose here is not to advance points to prove whether Sanusi was talking sense or nonsense. It is left for the Senator Ahmed Markafi-headed committee to string together all the salacious details and sift facts from fiction to arrive at good verdict. I am only concerned about the timing of the Sanusi sack. If the President had managed to do this long before now when Sanusi started singing like canary, somebody, somewhere would have proposed him for the prestigious award of the Most Strategic Black President of All Time. On this matter of Sanusi, I am of the opinion that Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua should actually share in the blame. It was he who passed on this culture of presidential lethargy to Jonathan. If he (Yara’Adua) had done something drastic when Sanusi, even while being screened by the legislature for the CBN topmost job started showing over sabi, all the arising issues would have been nipped in the bud. Sanusi had described the famed Yara’Adua’s 7Point Agenda as superfluous. He said the entire seven points could be collapsed into one solid point – electricity. Even if it were so, did he have to say so? I have never heard of an applicant sound-
ing so dismissive of the organisational policies right in front of the panel that is interviewing him for the job and he would not be thrown out. But Sanusi was hired, based it would seem, on his superlative performance at the Senate screening. He was allowed to savour the feeling that he was more brilliant than the entire federal structure. It was his luck. He had been technically licensed to loom unchecked because he knew better. Not even the National Assembly could put him under check. In fact, if anything, it was Sanusi who put the legislature under check. For instance, he had looked the lawmakers in the face and restated an earlier claim that 25 per cent of the federal recurrent budget went into servicing the taste of the less than 500 national legislators. The lawmakers who were angered by the disclosure could not win the argument against him. They also failed in their attempt to amend the CBN Act to bring the bank and its head under legislative control. In this democracy and perhaps elsewhere in the world, anything that rattles the legislature is a welcome development in the Executive’s corridors. And so, while the Sanusi–legislative face off lasted, the Presidency maintained a conspiratorial silence. At once, the CBN Governor became one of the many attack dogs that the Executive needed badly to rattle the legislature. Maybe, Sanusi would have been contained if the Presidency had stepped forward to tell him then; “hey, Mr CBN Governor, you cannot talk to elected representatives of the Nigerian people as if they are school children under your scholarship.” Nothing was said or done and the man continued. He never hid his ambition to become the next Emir of Kano after Ado Bayero and to enhance his populist credentials ahead the time, he literally created a directorate for charity at the CBN. He was afield donating hundreds of millions in Kano and elsewhere and got close to dislodging Alhaji Aliyu Dan-
gote as the biggest donor in corporate Nigeria. The Presidency did not do anything. They allowed him carry on like Forbes rated billionaire who has his own money to spend. I do not know at what point that the Presidency came alive and started counting the ‘sins’ of Sanusi. But in suspending him from office, government came with a long list of the wrong things he has done. Paragraphs one to three of the 13 – paragraph letter of suspension from the office the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim summarised the myriad of reasons for the suspension. No part of the letter said that Sanusi was being suspended because he accused the NNPC of illegally spending $20 billion on Kerosene subsidy. The paragraphs read: “Following the Report of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria on the Audited Financial Statements of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the year ended 31st December 2012, and other related issues, I write to convey to you His Excellency, Mr. President’s decision that you be suspended from office as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria with effect from Thursday 20th February 2014. “This decision was predicated on the loss of confidence in your ability to lead the Apex Bank towards the achievement of its statutory mandate. Of particular concern is the fact that, under your watch, the bank has carried out its functions in a manner characterised by disregard for due process and accountability. “This is exemplified by various acts of financial recklessness and unprofessional conduct which are inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a Central Bank propelled by the core values of focussed economic management, prudence, transparency and financial discipline.” Even so, the SGF’s entire letter is a further compression of the ‘Briefing Note’ (Executive Summary) of the report of the Financial Report Council of Nigeria, which audited the CBN. The summary reeled out close to 50 things that Sanusi did not do well as CBN Governor and they all seem good grounds to kill the man if that was the intention. Why the Presidency, which might have sensed danger early in the day in Sanusi’s incurable loquacity did not invoke the report of the council to settle the matter once and for all and douse all suspicion is difficult to understand. It allowed things to drag on. The other side of the story is that Sanusi saw danger coming his way after the submission of the council report and decided to move quickly ahead. Allegedly, his letter to President Jonathan on the missing $49.8 billion, which was leaked to
OVERNOR Kashim Shettima of Borno State G was exasperated last week. Twice he ran to Aso Rock, Abuja, to confer with the Commander-
in-Chief, President Jonathan on the ceaseless pounding of hapless Borno communities by members of the outlawed Boko Haram. Shettima lost his cool and poured out his heart to media men who mobbed him to extract latest information. Seeing what the man has to go through everyday and every week, going to despoiled communities and watching citizens die and homes plundered, I think the man should be pardoned for losing his cool. Anybody and any governor could have as well thrown up his/her hands and cried out loud. The new wave of attack is horrendous. Since the Islamic militants were cornered to a region in the northeast, after they had been sufficiently beaten from the flanks of Yobe and Adamawa states, they are fighting back with the last of their breath. They are doing it with so much anger that they do not bother about consequences. In their savagery, they do not spare women and children and they take special delight in inflicting horrifying pain. And you wonder, are these fellow Nigerians. I have heard many people ask that question, which they are prompted to do when they see and read the desolation that is left behind after every vicious visit from Boko Haram. What level of hate could drive fellow Nigerians to script and execute this ton of fiendish violence on their fatherland? Are these characters truly Nigerians? At times like this, the most convenient thing to do is to engage in blame game or begin to act out of confusion. The menace in Borno, as far as Borno citizens are concerned had gotten out of hand. They expected maximum protection from Nigeria, but in spite of the emergency rule and the huge defence budgets of the last three years (plus that of 2014 which is in the making) there seems to be no respite for communities in remote areas of Borno. What Shettima said was what the average Borno citizen and many Nigerians would have said. In this moment of desperation, so many expressions have to be pardoned because we are all in an emergency. The Borno experience is painful and frustrating for citizens. For Shettima to say that rag tag members of Boko Haram have superior firepower over well-trained members of the Nigerian army is not an expression all Nigerians will be in sympathy with. Is it on the basis of train-
Alabi Williams email@example.com 08116759790 (Sms only)
Unveiling The Politics Of Boko Haram ing or armament? On the one hand, when a detachment of Boko Haram descends on Konduga or Baga community and are able to ward off members of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and their civilian collaborators for hours, kill, destroy and take hostage of 20 or more teenage girls from their schools and escape with them into their hideouts, you could mistake that for superior firepower and intelligence. Parents of the school girls, relations of those who were mindlessly murdered and terrified survivors do not have any other evidence to hold on to, to justify claims that the Nigerian army is better trained and motivated to secure their lives and property. On the other hand, to use the platform of a national television to say that the army does not have capacity and motivation to deal with the enemy called Boko Haram is not a complimentary statement for the Nigerian State. If it is not corrected, it could embolden the marauders, it could send wrong message to the enemy, the international community and other citizens. It could weaken the collective resolve to deal with the situation; it could dampen the enthusiasm of the military and also cheapen the Nigerian State in the eyes of the international community. To that extent, statements credited to the Presidency, to the effect that what Shettima said was not the correct position of the army is to be expected. The military also came up to denounce that position and all of that must be expected. It is not a personal thing because the government owes Nigeria a duty to defend by words of mouth and action the integrity of the country. It is the wish of the enemy to see that the State is weakened and polarized, but it is also the responsibility of government to dispel all manner of propaganda that do not serve the interest of the country. The Borno governor made bold to confess that politics is fuelling the insurgency and that, to me,
was the kernel of all the tantrums. That was the vital information that all stakeholders must interrogate in order to move closer to solving this matter once and for all. At the inception of the insurgency, it was alleged that Boko Haram was supposed to be a militant wing of the Borno political class under former governor Ali Modu Sherrif. A commissioner in that government, now deceased, was alleged to be the link between that government and the sect. All of that information used to be in the public domain, but not many people will bother to remember because we prefer to cover facts and trade blames. I remember that the first leader of the original Boko Haram, Mohammed Yussuf, who was killed, allegedly in police custody was not an unknown quantity in the Borno State of that era, as well as Bauchi, where the sect also operated some cells. Therefore, the political origin of Boko Haram, as a follow up to Shettima’s lead might not be obscure. That is if stakeholders are willing to follow that lead. Recently, Modu Sherrif, who had been out of circulation showed up in a convoy in Maiduguri. Borno indigenes allegedly pelted him with rocks because they see his hands in the trouble they are now swimming. But the State, to the best of my knowledge is yet to debrief Sherrif of all he knows about the politics of Boko Haram. Perhaps, the intelligence departments have done all of that and in line with their trade have refused to brief Nigerians. But following that lead from Shettima, I urge stakeholders to trace the politics behind Boko Haram. Late national Security Adviser, Gen. Andrew Owoeye Azazi, at a forum in Delta State in April 2012, also alluded to the politics behind Boko Haram. He blamed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for having a hand in the insurgency, but failed to elaborate. As an intelligence expert, the
the press was part of the strategy to turn the heat off himself and put the Presidency on the defensive. The dates the report was submitted to the President and when Sanusi’s letter to President was written showed clearly that one followed the other just as one appeared a reaction to the other. The council report was dated June 7 2013, while Sanusi’s letter was written September 25. This, kind of, presents a direct deduction that Sanusi might have got inkling of the what the Presidency intended to do with the report and had immediately rushed in his letter to achieve two things: divert attention and incite the public to wake up to the monumental corruption going on under Jonathan. It was a super stroke. The missing oil money, which has come under three separate descriptions of $49.8bn, $10.8bn and finally $20bn is more like the matter on the table than an unpublicised report of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria. In fact, nobody is interested in the so-called report. People are saying that government may have actually invented the report to take out Sanusi so that the probe of the $20 billion kerosene subsidy does not get messier. We can say that the Presidency realised pretty late that it was into a game of death with Sanusi where sentiment or inaction were not regarded as weapons. Jonathan lost the opportunity to be on top of the game when he failed to pin down Sanusi with the council report before the latter could have time to invent NNPC’s non remittance of oil proceeds to launch a counter offensive. In the circumstance, suspending Sanusi from office does not give the Presidency any clear edge because the question on the $20bn kerosene subsidy payment must be answered one way or the other. It is however not the only question to be answered and that is the consolation. If government pushes hard, which is likely, the court cannot stop Sanusi from being arrested to answer to criminal charges. The council report has raised far more questions, all of which must be answered by Sanusi. For now, the opposition and the camp of civil society have adopted Sanusi because it pays to do so. Within and outside Nigeria, Sanusi is the acclaimed reformer of Nigeria’s financial sector. He has upped that profile with his recent orchestrations on missing funds from the national treasury. In effect, he is anti-establishment and also an anticorruption crusader. He strikes the right string with ordinary Nigerians and this seems the only reason why his removal on charges of financial recklessness is looking like persecution and not prosecution. man couldn’t have been jiving, but Nigerians were impatient with him. Some felt the man sat on the entire defence budget and could not rout the ragtag Boko Haram. I remember that Azazi used to be the sparring partner of a particularly columnist, whose ethnically partisan theory was that the defence budget itself was the stimulant for Boko Haram. But after Azazi’s untimely and painful demise in a helicopter crash, Boko Haram did not crash. At many levels, therefore, it could be debated that politics has indeed driven Boko Haram up to a point where the marauders turned deaf ears to everybody. At a point, Boko Haram was made to look like the military wing of the some interests. The fiercely contested 2011 presidential election could lend some credence to this perception. It was as if the PDP had stirred the hornet nest by insisting on the Jonathan candidacy and the body language was that even if he won, he would be taught some hard lessons. And no sooner had he become president than bombs were raining all over the place, in Suleja, Kaduna, Abuja, Kano and it was like the predication to make the country ungovernable was coming to pass. While all that was happening, some persons feigned indifference, as if to say, ‘didn’t we tell you?’ It was a difficult moment for the Presidency, especially as the opposition refused to assess the situation on its merit. The impression was that the Presidency was a lame duck and clueless. What else to say at a time the Police High Command in Abuja was bombed. Military cantonments were targeted and bombed with ease. The government was on the verge of loosing the game when the idea of state of emergency was broached. Even that option did not sell easily because it was subjected to political interpretations. Even with the partial emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, the battle is still fierce. So, will politicians heed Shettima’s plea and put politics aside in order to deal with this trouble? Will the governor and his colleagues allow for full emergency rule in order to give the military some allowance to rein in the insurgents? It is clearer now, that if there were some who expected to profit from anti-state activities in the manner of Boko Haram, they have miscalculated grossly, because the rain does not fall on one man’s house. We have all suffered hugely as a country. Just like in the Niger Delta, when some persons armed militants in order to profit politically from their anti-state activities. We all lost
Sunday, February 23, 2014 11
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Outlook Gays: The Limits Of Human Rights movement has millions of supporters and continues to demonstrate against RESIDENT Jonathan’s signing into President François Hollande for signing a law of the Anti-Same-sex Marriage similar bill into law. In the USA, President Bill has generated a lot of comment Obama and the Democratic Party have both in Nigeria and overseas. The major- shown strong support for same-sex-marity of Nigerians are strongly in favour, riage legislation, but only a minority of mainly because they are strongly opStates have so far approved of it, and in posed to any acceptance of homosexual some of them, such as California, the practices in this country and support any contention over it has been very measures designed to reduce the spread bitter. Changes in existing law have been of such practices. They voice indignation resisted in Russia, Croatia, India, and Ausat Western leaders who presume to retralia, and existing law has been tightbuke Nigeria and even threaten to cut off ened in African countries such as aid because of the new law. Nigerian Nigeria. Christians are outraged over a statement A great ideological battle is thus today recently put out by the leaders of the (An- being fought all over the world, in differglican) Church of England, the Archent countries and in international fora. bishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop Are Nigerians well-equipped to take part of York, who seem to think that it is more in it, using the best weapons available? important to demand ‘compassion’ and Unfortunately, many Nigerians think ‘understanding’ for gays than to reaffirm that the best thing to do is turn to their what has always been Christian doctrine scriptural authorities, the Bible or the – the sanctity of (un-re-defined) marriage, Qur’an. This may work in Nigeria itself, and the exclusive naturalness of sexual where most people are strongly attached relations between men and women. The to either Christianity or Islam, but not instatement is indeed a major cowardly be- ternationally because in the Western trayal of Nigerian Anglicans, who make world huge numbers of people do not up a large percentage of Anglicans world- practise any religion anymore and do wide. It is a relief to note that Pope Fran- not look to sacred texts to guide them on cis, heading the Roman Catholic Church, moral issues. has recently made it clear that there will Internationally, the debate centres on be no change in Catholic doctrine on this “human rights”. This is actually the platissue. form which gays themselves favour In reacting to the criticism, some promi- most. They see it as one having great apnent Nigerians have said that, while hopeal for governments and the general mosexuality is definitely not part of our public in different countries, all of which culture here, the West is entitled to go its subscribe to the Universal Declaration of own way. They say this perhaps in order Human Rights (UDHR) issued by the to show a ‘softer’ face to the critics. They United Nations in 1948. They claim that do not seem, in fact, to be very well-inalong with various other rights, every huformed. From interacting with Western man being has the right to choose to exChristian friends, I know that contrary to press his/her sexuality in the way he/she what many Nigerians assume, acceptwishes. ance of homosexuality is not part of the There are many objections to this arguWestern cultural tradition - if by ‘tradiment. In the first place, the UDHR has tion’ we mean the long-established benothing explicit to say about rights arisliefs and practices of a community. Thus ing out of a homosexual orientation. In it was only in 1967 that the practice of ho- Article 2, it says that everyone is entitled mosexuality ceased to be criminal in to various rights and freedoms ‘without Britain. Opposition to it, and to so-called distinction of any kind’, and homosexual same-sex marriage, remains strong there orientation is not mentioned as one of and in other Western countries, espethe ‘distinctions’. In recent decades, cially among people of strong religious however, some lawyers (some of whom beliefs, but the Western media (where are gay, or are sympathetic to the gay gays wield huge influence) play it down cause) have been busy trying to get sexor label opponents as ignorant, old-fash- ual orientation included among the ‘disioned, and bigoted. tinctions’, along with race, colour, sex, Last year, David Cameron’s Government religion, and so on. Then article 16 says rushed a same-sex-marriage bill through that men and women have the right to the British Parliament, ignoring all marry and found a family. However, proprotests, including the signing by more gay lawyers can point out – again stretchthan 600,000 people of a petition organ- ing the meaning of the words – that the ized by the Coalition for Marriage. In article does not explicitly say that the France, likewise, the La Manif pour Tous person a man or woman marries must be
By Adeyanju Apejoye
someone of the opposite sex. The obvious reason why it does not is that in 1948, when the UDHR was issued, no one thought that marriage meant anything else. Pro-gay lawyers now want the article amended so that marriage to someone of the same sex can also be provided for. We can thus see that there is nothing immutable or fundamental about human rights: they are what a group of people at any place or time choose them to be, and they can be changed over the course of time. In practice, despite their loud support for human rights, governments even in the Western world place various legal restrictions on the rights listed in the UDHR. The right to freedom of expression is limited by laws of libel, and by the law in many countries under which it is a criminal offence to deny the occurrence of the Holocaust (the genocide of millions of Jews by Hitler and the Nazis in the Second World War). In many Western countries “homophobia”, i.e. public opposition to homosexuality, has also been made an offence, and gays there are looking forward to the day when they will be able to stop sermons in churches or mosques from being preached against it. Laws limit the freedom of people to display their nudity in public, often on the grounds that it offends against public decency – as if the sight of two men kissing each other mouth-to-mouth in public, which often appears these days on the BBC Internet News, is not also a great offence against public decency! In most countries there are still restrictions in law against incest (marrying a sibling or a parent, for example), and also, except in countries where polygamy has a religious or traditional sanction, against having more than one spouse at a time; but it is difficult to see how, when you have redefined marriage so that it can mean “any one other person, no matter the sex”, you can – in the name of human rights – oppose the legalisation of incest, or deny one man or one woman the right to have any number of spouses of either sex if they all so “choose”. When a same-sex-marriage law was enacted in New Zealand in 2013, a group of people who believe in “polyamory” (meaning “multiple love”) immediately began demanding legal recognition for their practice; how can they be denied this “right” when marriage has already been redefined to include same-sex marriage? In most countries, suicide is against the law – but surely you have a “right” to take your own life - or to ask other people to take it from you — if you so “choose”?
One of the great flaws in the whole “human rights” argument is that, as it is used by many people in the Western world, with their love of individualism, “human rights” is synonymous with “individual human rights”. It was a healthy argument to use in the face of past tyrannies such as those of Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. But society itself has rights, which must be upheld if necessary at the expense of individual human rights. Many of these rights are also duties, because society exists to promote the happiness of all its members. It has the right and the duty, for example, to defend itself if under attack, and to enlist the services of its ablebodied men and women for its defence, if necessary by conscription. First and foremost, there is the right and the duty of society to reproduce itself, and therefore to encourage its members to marry and have children. Arising out of this is the duty on the part of society to create the conditions in which the children of a marriage can grow up in a happy and stable environment. Such an environment ideally requires the presence of two parents, a mother and a father, although it is obvious that for various reasons the ideal is sometimes or even often not attained. It is a gross mockery of the ideal to say that the two parents could be of the same sex. The child would then begin its life-journey deprived of the enriching knowledge of the complementarity of the man and the woman who were both involved in its gestation. In the Western world and in other countries where gay marriage is now legal, it seems unlikely that so-called gay couples will, through the practice of adoption, help society to reproduce itself at a desirable rate. According to reports, the majority of gay couples do not want children. Hence many people in the West, where the birth-rate is already in serious decline, are seriously alarmed at the threat that the promotion of gay rights poses to the very future of their societies. My advice to my fellow-Nigerians is that they should by all means continue to resist a devilish threat without precedent to the survival of this country and of the cultures that have nourished us. More than this, however: they should be more alive to the necessity of learning how to combat the seductive but false arguments in which the threat is so often cloaked. They should also recognize that they are in solidarity with masses of people around the world who likewise cherish and seek to follow the truth. • Adeyanju Apejoye is a lecturer in Mass Communication at the Plateau State University, Bokkos.
CONversation By Obe Ess
Sunday, February 23, 2014
anybody bribing them to remain resolute. It is not easy to refuse this kind of money. They must remain where they are for the sake of Nigeria. These people have made serious sacrifices and they need to be assured that they are on the right track. Nigeria is waiting for the heroes that will be the drivers of the new Nigeria. These gentlemen and women are the ones to be celebrated. This country is worth dying for. Our children must have a country they will call their own, which will compare with any decent country in
the world. We need to put on the real armour to withstand the storms ahead. Time will tell. From the look of things, it looks as if they have reached the point of no return in their inordinate ambition to continue to decimate Nigeria. We need to carefully manage the Bulls out of the China’s shop to forestall further colossal damage. This country is more important than President Goodluck Jonathan and PDP leaders in Nigeria. • Joe Igbokwe, Lagos.
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Editorial Saving Lake Chad RIM revelations that Lake Chad, once one of Africa’s largest bodies of fresh water has shrunk by about 90 percent in fifty years with serious implications for human sustenance and ecosystem clearly justifies the desperation of member-countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to source for N2.1 trillion ($14.6billion) lifeline to replenish the lake. The ambitious move to stem the crisis, however, seems to be coming a little too late in view of the damage already done and the enormous task of transferring water from the Ubangi River, the chief northern tributary of the Congo River — up a plateau more than 200 meters above, into Lake Chad. How far the LCBC membercountries of Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Libya, CAR and Nigeria can go with raising funds from donor agencies and development partners is another worry. Amid competing interests for available foreign funds, it can only be hoped that the prevailing regional insecurity would also not prove a major discouragement to donors. Against the backdrop of the phenomenal cost of redressing the gloomy prospects of severe water stress in the lake region, experts’ warning that inaction could be more expensive in the long term is instructive. The belief is that the planned water transfer from the Ubangi should at least play a role in balancing rate of evaporation, natural seepage into the ground and consumption, including human-induced wastage. Again, arguments in favour of water transfer should not take anything away from those of the anti-transfer proponents who see the action as a needless way of fighting nature, considering the extent of recession after years of neglect. The suspicion: N2.1 trillion may not have the desired impact at the end of the day. The argument: if such a huge lifeline would be needed, why not allow Chad to dry up? Lake Chad has been a lifeline to about 30 million Africans and a population pressure stretched the lake to breaking point. Its surface area once spanned 25,000 square kilometres but 40 years after, it has reduced to merely 2,500 square kilometres and is still shrinking. Satellite images have even shown that its surface area is now approximately 1,350 square kilometres – just about five per cent of its original size. Herdsmen, fishermen and farmers have relied for generations on the rich soil of the basin but they are now struggling to survive as extinction looms. An atmosphere of despair is palpable, understandably. A more desperate action could be needed by the regional body to stave off danger of Lake Chad becoming history. Factors aiding the lake’s journey to extinction include overgrazing in the region, loss of vegetation and excessive deforestation. On the card also is large or irresponsible irrigation projects. Between 1953 and 1979, irrigation only put a minor impact on the ecosystem but between 1983 and 1993, irrigation quadrupled. Environmentalist Paul Ghogomou of the University of Younde also listed desertification, climate change and continuous diversion of water from the rivers that feed the lake, especially from Chari being fed by its tributary, the Logone in Cameroon. (It is claimed that this provides over 90 percent of Chad’s usual volume). Above all, Lake Chad simply has been a sub-regional sore that was allowed to fester. Among the questions that need to be addressed, are: How can the potential of possible climate-induced water and food crises be defused? How should an increase in climate-induced migration be addressed? Then, how can the need for increased regional cooperation in the face of a rapidly disappearing lake with trans-border consequences be tackled? Frankly, the dilemma that Lake Chad has presented the LCBC countries calls to question their own water management, collectively and individually. If any investment was made in that regard at all in years past, it was not enough. The information that a joint environmental audit is being carried out to verify if the signatory states of N’Djamena 1964 Convention comply with the standards and best practices of water and resource management towards the restoration of the lake is a relief. LCBC has been talking of efforts to implement more sustainable solutions including the construction of a retention dam at Palambo — upstream of CAR’s capital Bangu. Talk, however, is cheap. So LCBC must act fast. The lake may not be the first to disappear but for its strategic importance to the continent as one of the four largest in Africa in its productive days, member countries must work hard to save millions of lives that are dependent on it.
War On The Treasury IR: A friend of mine just sent Sthere this text to me asking whether is proof that the defecting Reps members were bribed to return to PDP. ‘Good day sir, How do you see the defection of five APC Reps back to PDP? APC says they were induced. Are there concrete proof?’ Yes, we are privileged to get information. APC is well-connected in government circle to get privileged information. We have our tentacles, connections, and networks both in and outside Nigeria. Even in the days of ACN we do get privileged information about governance in Nigeria talkless of now that we are in a bigger family, APC. APC can no longer be ignored in Nigeria’s political landscape. Somebody once said that APC is now playing Chess while PDP is playing Ludo in Nigeria. In my previous article, I said that PDP will not give up power easily without a fight. I alerted the nation that PDP would use every raw energy, power, strength, tricks, blackmail, bribery, intimidation, force, brigandage, subterfuge and every arsenal in their house of cards to suppress, oppress and repress the opposition, APC. I wrote that PDP will use good money, choice property, choice appointments, contracts, cars, etc, to try to fight back. Today it is happening. In the coming days, PDP will employ more deadly approach. To remain in office, PDP can just do anything. Life after power has been their greatest worry. We need to encourage the leaders, governors, Senators, Reps who defected to APC without
Where Is The Air Force? I do appreciate the efforts StheIR:of series security men at curtailing of attacks in the North. They discovered the hideouts of the attackers, foil their plots and recover lots of arms from them. Despite their efforts, the rate of which the insurgents carry out their attacks and disappear is very worrisome. Each of their successful operation leaves a lot of questions to be answered by the men that are supposed to confront them during operations. On February 17, another report said Boko Haram men raided a village for five hours and killed about 105 people. My question is: how long does it take a combat helicopter to reach such area? Now if total onslaught is decided upon for fear of civilian casualty, why allow them to go freely without challenge, pursuit or ambush?
How can bandits attack a community or a bank for hours and escape without monitoring their movement as they escape? Where are the police and Air force helicopters? We must fully make use of what we have to save lives. The Borno incident to me is similar to the attack on a big Air Force Base were five helicopters were destroyed and the gang carted away as much ammunition as they could carry and escaped unchallenged from the base. Surprise attack or not on the airbase, for the invaders to have a free day is not acceptable. However, security forces should be encouraged to be more vigilant in their professional duty on our behalf. Let them with our leaders make the country safe to live in. • Onyegbunwa Stephen, Lagos.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, February 23, 2014
14 | Sunday, February 23, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, February 23, 2014
‘My New Position Won’t Stop Me From Singing’ COVER
We Need A Truly Independent INEC In Order To Advance Democracy
How Politics Has Put The Arts In Reverse Gear
P/28 BUSINESS The Waves That Blew Sanusi Away
16 Sunday, February 23,
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
ONWENU:My New Position Won’t Stop Me From Singing Onyeka Onwenu, one of Nigeria’s leading female singers is always on the move. The Elegant Stallion, as she’s fondly called, was recently appointed the Director-General of the National Centre for Women Development (NCDW), a parastatal under the Women Affairs and Social Development Ministry. As she settles down into her new job, the powerful vocalist has assured her fans and admirers alike that, rather than diminishing her productivity, the new position would bring out the best in her. In this interview with MOHAMMED ABUBAKAR, she spoke on a wide range of issues, including her new vocation, her failed attempts at political office and struggle in the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON). From journalism to singing/acting and now into government, how do you describe the transition? DON’T think there was a transition; rather, there was a seamless flow from one to the other. Most people that I know are multi-talented and multi-tasking and that is really what my career has been. I studied journalism and international relations. I have a Masters degree in Media Studies, concentrating on television. I have worked at the United Nations and upon my return to Nigeria, I went straight into television, from there into music, from music to more music and acting and still maintain the journalistic side by writing articles and doing documentaries. So, it has been a case of an unending flow of creative activities and even now in government, I’m still using my talents and all my creative instincts on what needs to be done, which is to move the cause of women empowerment forward. I’m running the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) of which much hasn’t been heard for sometime now, and I’m trying to raise awareness about how important it is to advocate women empowerment. That is nothing different from what I have done with my music or what I have done with acting all my life. What new thing are you bringing to bear to change the fortunes of NCWD? Government meant well by establishing the NCWD and I think the onus lies on the Director-General or whoever is the Chief Executive of the organisation to make use of the laws of the land that have been set aside for the special parastatal and indeed they are special. Government has provided the necessary empowerment required by the agency, and it is up to the people running it to make the best out of it. And what we are doing is to do just that. Our work covers advocacy, keeping the issue of women empowerment being part of the developmental process of Nigeria on the front burner. I’m doing it right now talking to you. I’m doing it by working very hard to make sure that the meagre resources we have are put to good use. We are running programmes and training women. Every month, we bring women from the rural areas to Abuja and train them on computer, bead making vocational training. But we are branching out and going further; we are no longer restraining ourselves to those traditionally women areas. We are now going into new terrains such as plumbing. We have just advertised and we are recruiting women for plumbing job, which will last for about two to three months. We need to teach women to build, teach them about masonry, carpentry, etc. Right now, we go to neighbouring countries to bring in tradesmen and women for these skills. But our women are here and they are capable. If you go to a building site, you will see Nigerian women carrying sand, cement and doing all sorts of things. Now, we want to teach them to become professionals, so they can earn enough for their families. They must be taught to be able to build for their own families. There are some parts of this country such as the Southeast, where women are not allowed to inherit anything. So, a woman is left on her own if her husband throws her out. We want to help women to learn how to buy land, build their own houses, let it out or live in it if they so desire. These are skills that women need to learn. They also need to know what is available for them out there. This administration has a running transformation agenda. So many laudable programmes have been planned to encourage women, but guess what? The women don’t know about them. So, we want to go on a road show to rural areas and different states to bring women together and tell them what government has provided for them, how they can access it, and continuously giving them information because it is key. When you have information, you can develop, but without it, you cannot. There are some foreign international agencies and non-governmental organisations that have good programmes for women. Even the United States government has a programme on agriculture to encourage women to package their goods to sell in a way that is internationally acceptable because it meets international standards known as African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), but women don’t know about it. But other countries are accessing this programme and we are not, and this is what we want to take out there. Of course, there are issues of money, which we don’t have nearly as much as we would have liked, but we don’t want to sit by and expect that we will go cap-in-hand and government will just fill our coffers. We are reaching out to other people to see how we can synergise and work with other agencies to push these programmes. We have just done a programme with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), where we pooled resources together and we talked about mainstreaming women issues. It is not just leaving it at the level of occasional talks; we should be
able to bring it into everything we do. Women issues are about employment, education, social inequality, early marriage, VVF and healthcare. Almost every issue under the sun belongs to women. That woman selling tomatoes in the market is paying her children’s school fees from what she makes. She needs to be encouraged. How much support are you receiving from the First Lady? I think she is just one tremendous human being. She wants to do so much, and what is exciting about working with her is that you cannot help but catch on the excitement she brings to women issues. When she is on, she just goes straight into what she is doing.
She doesn’t care what you think, she only concentrates on what she knows is right regarding working for families and the Nigerian people, and she has the strength. I don’t know where she gets it from because she works tirelessly. Coming close to her is making me learn so much, as she is unapologetic about working. Be on the look out to see what we would have accomplished before the end of this year through her encouragement, which I’m most grateful for. How are you going to manage your time as a full-time DG and your singing career? I will manage it very well by God’s grace. In a few weeks, I have a song coming out called One Nation Under God. We have gone back to the studio to re-work the song and we have just done the video shoot, which is coming out and it is my gift to Nigeria. All that we need do is to pray that the Lord will guide this beautiful country. This is my contribution to our centenary year. Don’t forget we have done the theme song for the centenary celebration. There are so many issues, and I won’t be tired going into the studio to use my talents to bring attention to those issues. I’m particularly concerned about the youths. I have two young boys and we have to preserve this country for them. So, I have my leg in music and when it comes to women issues, my whole body is in there. You find time for what you care about, for what you believe in and by God’s grace, I will continue to sing and my music will always be appreciated. Do we look at your current position as a launching spring for your
political ambition? For me, the journey has always been the destination. When I came out to contest for the local government chairmanship, people did not understand and they told me I was too much for it. But I felt otherwise because local government is the closest to the people. But guess what we achieved, even though we didn’t make it, we raised the conversation and more people started coming into the local government who, before then did not think about it until I came in, and I found that most gratifying. So, the fact that I didn’t get there because some people were afraid of having me there didn’t really matter at the end of the day. We have brought up the issues of importance of the local government and people listened and when you hear the debate going on now, we have helped to raise it to the level it is now. My taking the issues of women to the rural areas is borne out of my relationship with the local women, which was developed over those eight years that I was constantly there. My concern, love, regard and respect for the local women was borne out of that contact. So, it was not a loss, but a gain for me and I believe, for the nation. Where are you going from here? Wherever the Lord sends is where I go, but I tell you I’m very happy where I am right now. I’m very excited and optimistic. I wake up every morning thinking of what to do to advance my job. There is work to be done where I am now and I don’t sit back to think about where I am going next, I’m so filled with ideas now, and I can barely contain my excitement. So, where God takes me is where I will go. My life is in His hands; I just want to be used for this nation, to be used for Nigeria. Whichever way God wants me to go and sweep the street, that is where I’m going to be, and I m going to be happy doing just that. You were one person against certain happenings within COSON… It was not a one-person show, except that I was more outspoken. But shortly after that, the Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria (IBAN) also raised issues on what you said. Did you feel justified? It is not something I want to beat my chest and say ‘oh I feel justified.’ These are important issues. The legacy of my music is what I’m going to leave for my children, so don’t mess with it, especially if you haven’t written the songs. You don’t own songs and you are there messing with it. I’m merely saying don’t mess with it because this is our live works and we made some sacrifice to get to where we are. It is not a one-man show; it is not about Tony Okoroji, but about an industry. So, you can’t come in there and do what you want. We have got to be there to say ‘no, do it this way, you have to consult, you got there on our backs.’ And now those of us who ought to make suggestions, who want to see things done properly, are being pushed aside. No, it can’t be. I know how many songs I have in the market. The problem is that when you do only this job, desperation comes in. So, there is need to find another work by the side to earn a living and then give us all your energy. By the way, we are talking about somebody, who is hugely talented, and very hard working. We all have a great deal of respect for him and his ideas, but there are ways to do this thing so that you carry everybody along. First of all, you don’t veer COSON away from our core interest area. You don’t give out an invitation to read, ‘the Chairman of COSON invites you…’ Is it your personal property? Are we in another Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN)? And PMAN has been ruined, and when the late Christy Essien Igbokwe, Funmi Adams and I were shouting, saying ‘don’t do this to PMAN, don’t do that to it,’ people didn’t listen to us, and everything we predicted would happen to PMAN happened. The body is still struggling to find its feet and we are saying we have all come together again and work very hard for COSON to be recognised and registered, so please don’t this again, don’t take it on as a one-man show, allow everybody to come in with their ideas, to be debated by all and let’s choose what is best for us. And my interest in COSON will never go away because I’m a serious stakeholder and you can’t do anything about that. What is the position at the moment? We are still talking, still looking at the situation, still contributing to the debate and hoping that people would listen. And if it means registering more than one collective society, government should go ahead and do it so that everybody’s interest is covered because you can’t have one man sitting on top one organisation, running it as a private enterprise and nobody can’t talk or do anything about it. That is wrong, it is not democracy.
Sunday, February 23,
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Running Against Time And The Odds By Armsfree Ajanaku T could be argued that the Nigerian tendency to leave crucial tasks undone until the uncomfortable point when time becomes an enemy manifests a fatal combination of hubris, procrastination and an ingrained religiosity. Our national myth, especially in spheres like football, celebrates the comeback ability of Nigerian, especially when the chips are absolutely down. Staging late triumphs tend to be more dramatic, exciting and inspiring. It is such that unlikely football triumphs like the Miracle of Daman, which saw a Nigerian team defy the odds to return from a four goal deficit to win the game against the Russians in Saudi 1989, U-20 world Cup, among other similar feats still fire the imaginations of many Nigerians. Yet, football is a game, played over 90 minutes by two teams of 11 players each. It is not as complicated as running a nation, which is a daily affair that does not afford national planners the luxury of free kicks, half times and the final whistle. Exertions in nation building are a continuum, which requires timely and conscientious planning. Ironically, the Nigerian football myth, which harps on coming back from the dead, seems to be shaping national planning, as well as the attitude of certain key institutions to crucial national assignments. The result of this is the spurning of early and meticulous planning, and the reliance on the fire brigade approach. Nothing so illustrates this chaotic modus to events of national significance than the crowded and tardy state of things as the polity counts down to the 2015 general elections. The National Conference, which was mooted last year, is also slated for 2015. A closer look at the series of assignments the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has to deliver is leaving many who understand the peculiar dynamics of the Nigerian electoral terrain in apprehension. In the first place, INEC has its hands full, even in 2014, with two important governorship elections coming in Ekiti and Osun in 2014. Add to this the elections in 2015, which according to INEC’s own timetable begins less than a year down the line. According to the time line, the Presidential and National Assembly elections will take place on February 14, 2015, while the gubernatorial and state assembly elections will come up on February 28, 2015. Fixing the dates is just an infinitesimal aspect of the job, and that does not tell any convincing story about the state of preparedness of the electoral umpire. A thorough scrutiny of the preparations by INEC for the herculean task ahead of it is crucial. In relation to this, the first question to ask would be: what is the state of readiness of the voter register? Then, would INEC be conducting an update of the voter register while simultaneously
exerting itself to deal with the massive logistic challenges that would definitely shape the governorship polls in Osun and Ekiti? The last that was heard on the issue of voter register was that the batteries for the Data Capture machines have had to be flown abroad for charging. This implies that the machines cannot be operated until the batteries are returned. So how much of down time would the battery palaver chop off from the excruciatingly short time frame within which INEC as an institution has to deliver a flawless voter register, which is the first challenge to surmount in organising free and fair polls? So does INEC have a plan B, a second fall back option in case those batteries get stuck in mars, or wherever they were taken to? Indeed, the commission has several questions to answer in the context of the coming elections, and it must do so fast to have, and give Nigerians a concrete sense of direction. This process of self examination by the commission in the build up to 2015 is crucial because those who remember the false start of the 2011 general elections, know how much of an embarrassment and waste it amounted to with millions of Nigerians queuing up to vote across the country, with the materials failing to arrive at the first try. Moving away from that bitter, but now forgotten experience, many Nigerians would only be looking forward to an electoral process that is devoid of those kinds of nightmares. Recently, the INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, seemed to play into the hands of the naysayers and the growing legion of doubting Thomases, when he tacitly tried to lower expectations, by noting that the 2015 polls would not be perfect. He was quickly taken to task by the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC), which is increasingly fancying its chances of knocking off the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the centre come 2015. The result of this discourse around the potential imperfection of the 2015 polls is now being carried on within the context of cause and effect, with the opposition effectively warning of looming anarchy should the elections not meet their expectations of fairness and transparency. This is the more reason why INEC would have to up its game and get cracking. Nigerians trust that Jega knows he has a fundamental role to play in ensuring that there are no volcanic eruptions of violence as experienced in 2011 over electoral outcomes. The first step to doing that is to work round the clock to ensure that rabid politicians across the PDP-
APC divide do not have the ammunition to incite violence by the time the elections are won and lost. It is in this light that the Ekiti and Osun polls, coming up in June and August respectively, would serve as a litmus test for INEC’s preparedness, especially given the alarming pitfalls that defined the gubernatorial election in Anambra last year. INEC must therefore endeavour to make these precursors to the general elections spic and span. This is important for its brand, messaging and confidence building. However, in the minds of many seeing visions of looming danger, the mountain of doubts are pegged around the fact that an electoral umpire which had glaring failings when the assignment involved just one state, is vulnerable to further stumbling when it would have to organise two gubernatorial elections, less than five months before the massively challenging general elections in 2015. As far back as November 2012, INEC talked effusively of its commitment to ensuring that there would be a continuous voter registration in preparation for the 2015 elections. The intention was also to ensure that the over 73.52 million registrants of certified voting age captured at the voters registration exercise of 2011, would receive their permanent voters card, which would last till the 2019 general election. But as things stand, those permanent voters’ cards have not materialised. In the ready example of Anambra there was talk of a continuous update of the register before the flawed governorship election that eventually followed. In spite of this, one of the major complaints that trailed the conduct of the Anambra poll was the litany of complaints about names missing. So can INEC deliver two governorship elections in addition to planning for 2015 when it is yet to deliver permanent voter cards? Does it also have the funds needed to pull of this expensive exercise? Jega himself has talked about the journey towards 2015 and the challenges. He has pointed out that some of the old problems seen in the conduct of both the registration and the elections will recur, while some new challenges will emerge. “And all of these will require the re-enforcement of some old ways of engaging and imaginatively creating new ways to address emergent challenges.” These creative problem solving ways of engaging the challenges that the INEC helmsman talks about are the things Nigerians would want to see, not just the statements of intentions. It is crucial to stress this point because the road to Anambra
was paved with bags of good intentions, as enunciated by the commission. INEC had enthusiastically declared that it was determined to make the Anambra case “best election we have conducted so far, and we prepared for that election adequately – in terms of operational preparations – more than we have done in preparing for previous elections.” But again the commission had to admit that its wonderful intentions did not translate to laudable realities on the ground. The commission had to resort to an apologetic response in addressing grievances about an election that was riddled with flaws, falling just short of pleading with angry politicians to accept the exercise the way it was. By implication, the Anambra people had to settle for less. Nigerians do not want these kinds of apologetic rationalisations in more elections, which is the reason INEC must now get cracking. Beyond INEC however, the overloaded nature of 2014 can also be gleaned in the coming National Conference, which was also curiously fixed in an election year. What was in the mind of the conference planners, President Goodluck Jonathan, especially when they took this decision? Elections alone by Nigeria’s chaotic standards are combustible enough. To add a national conference to the mix is looking for trouble. The heat of from the elections should have been allowed to cool off before taking on another exercise that would surely have its fair share of hot moments. It is apparent that these decisions were not rigorously thought through. In the end, pulling off all the logistical imperatives as well as managing the impacts of both events on the stability of the polity would need some creative thinking and a very deft strategy. Therefore, the lessons to draw from the tightness of 2014 is that planning for big national events like the elections and the National Conference are ventures that require rigour and a strategy, which would put the aftershocks into consideration. If the huge resources voted for these events are not to be frittered away without results, those in charge will now have to go back to the drawing board. This has to be so because the fate of the Nigerian democracy, and the troubled polity itself could well rest on the collective outcomes and integrity of these two processes. So as everyone moves with a frenetic pace towards 2015, the drivers of the system must now put on their thinking caps, and not wait till the chips are down before fighting to stage a comeback, like it is with our soccer imaginations.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, February 23,
Continuous Voter Registration: TMG, Others Query INEC’s Failure T
where, but to ensure you that if there are 18 voters in a particular PU, we do not have 50 ballot papers there. Permanent voters cards for Osun and Ekiti like I said earlier are ready and must be distributed when the time comes, in the case of Anambra, like one of the voters said that he used the addendum register in 2011 and when we went for the CVR, instead of going to check, he had his voter card in his pocket, he did not go to confirm where these things were pasted, if indeed he was captured for the biometric process. You don’t wait for the election moment to do so, this is the moment people should go and confirm. It is true that not all those who did the CVR will have permanent voter cards, but for the over 73 million people who did, these will be distributed before the 2015 elections. On monitoring campaigns We are not here to defend the commission, naturally once I am elected for instance, as a member of the Senate, it is obvious that the activities I carry out from the day I am sworn in should indicate to my constituency that I am really representing them. If I am giving them clean water, building schools and roads, all these activities are technically campaigns, but when you have a situation where people mount billboards or place adverts, it is not INEC that says don’t do that, it is within the provisions in the Electoral Act that campaigns proper cannot commence until 90 days to the elections and ends 24hours before elections. The use of the social media for campaigns is a very interesting point and one, which no one can control as of now, apart from the self-regulators by the owners like facebook, but no law can. We should campaign in accordance with the rules set by the law, if we don’t like the law then it should be amended but campaigns in public
outside the law is not allowed. Discipline for erring INEC Staff INEC has no right to investigate, we can carry out disciplinary measures on officers we see engaging in actions that are wrong. For instance, the Anambra case is being handled by the security agencies and as investigations are going on, it is through such that those involved will be prosecuted. I don’t think in the history of this country, people have been prosecuted for electoral offences, but we can proudly beat our chest that as small as the number sounds, we have prosecuted about 200 people which no other commission has done. The police must carry out investigations properly and then offenders taken to court, we cannot do it alone, the law has its own input and we have ours. On tenure and discipline of INEC commissioners/electoral officers Their appointment is constitutional, and they can only be removed before their tenure expires if they are found guilty or wanting in the discharge of their duties. That can only be done by 2/3rd of the Senate making an address and sending to the president, the president cannot do it on his own. If you have any evidence against any commissioner, please let us have it, we will either move him around or get him out. The electoral officer that was found wanting in discharge of his duties is presently being prosecuted by the commission, based on the investigations. INEC has been in the fore of calls for establishment of electoral offenders’ commission. Situation in Northeast We understand the security challenges in Yobe, Borno and others, but the commission cannot sit down and determine, we just have to remain optimistic that issues will be resolved before 2015.
HE Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) and other stakeholders are apprehensive that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not keeping faith with the requirements of the law regarding Continuous Voter Registration (CVR). Rising from a meeting put together by the TMG with the support of the Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the common position was that the current voter register is not healthy enough to deliver a free and fair election come 2015. Opening the discourse, chairman of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Comrade Zikirullahi Ibrahim noted that voter register used in the November 2013 governorship election Anambra State was still not good enough, in spite of clean up exercise allegedly carried out by INEC, because strange and fictitious entries were noticed. Thus, he raised issues with INEC’s failure to carry out continuous update of the register as provided by law. The Country Director, Actionaid Nigeria, Dr. Abdu Hussein discussed a paper titled, “CVR and citizens engagement in the democratic process: setting agenda.” According to him, there is a relationship between voter registration and citizens engagement and that the credibility of the voter registration was a major determinant of credible election. But he noted with dismay that since 1998, Nigerians have not had the opportunity to vote with permanent voters’ cards, in spite of promises by INEC. He does not agree with INEC’s episodic update of the voter register, a practice that is at variance with the Electoral Act. The Act says there should be continuous registration of all persons qualified to be registered voters. But what INEC does is to look for a convenient window to organize a crash registration exercise that is not comfortable and sufficient for voters. Representative of INEC chairman, Hajia Amina B. Zakari who is also the INEC National Commissioner-in-charge of political party monitoring gave an overview of the Commissions activities from 2010, explaining the challenges that make continuous voter registration difficult. She identified lack of manpower, loss of data due to theft and missing DDC machines as some of the challenges. The director in charge Voter Registration, Engr. Akem said continuous registration would take place in Osun and Ekiti States March 12-19. He also revealed that the commission will make use of Registration Area Officers (RAOs) for the registration at ward levels, while the possibility of using mobile platforms to carry out subsequent registration would be equally considered. According to Akem, the CVR was aimed at capturing the data of people who have turned 18 years; people who did not have opportunity to be registered previously; and then to enable INEC to correct some of the mistakes in terms of biometrics in the previous registration. Plenary discussion offered opportunity to other stakeholders to ventilate. Dr. Abiola Akiode-Afolabi identified multiple and underage registration as a major problem that negatively affects the credibility of elections. She believes that continuous registration will reduce the problems of irregularities in the voter register. She also expressed concern that INEC does not seem clear about when permanent voter cards will be ready. Chairman Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), Dr. Yunusa Tanko is concerned about the level of voter education. To him, INEC and other stakeholders, including parties should do more to enlighten voters on their rights and roles
as well. Executive Director, Centre for Advancement of Democracy and Rule of Law Barr Osita Ogbu insisted that INEC should be held accountable for the flaws in the voters’ register, adding that Nigerians need to know who the perpetrators of this act were and what happened to them. According to Ogbu, one major prerequisite of CVR is to meet the requirement of the legal frameworks, which are the constitution and the Electoral Act. He revealed that the Electoral Act criminalizes double registration. He decried the punishment for electoral offences as enshrined in the 2010 Electoral Act, which he also described as laughable. He was of the view that electoral impunity could drastically reduce should our laws be stiffened and commensurate punishment appropriated for electoral offences and offenders, so that anyone found culpable of this offence should be sentenced to at least two (2) months imprisonment without option of fine. Festus Okoye, the lead presenter said voter registration is the bedrock of any electoral system and if not credible would have implications for the entire process. He wonders why the register is still not reliable in spite of the clean-up INEC announced it had carried out. According to him, while the voter registration appears bloated, actual turnout of voters in the staggered elections that followed the 2011 elections was far from what the register announces. The question of INEC’s capacity to do all it is expected to do was raised by Prof. Abubakar Momoh, who noted the election management body may not have capacity to do what the people expect, no matter how committed its leadership. Conference made the following observation; • The success or otherwise of elections hinges largely on the integrity of the voters register ahead of elections in Nigeria • There are still concerns with the legal and administrative frameworks for the conduct of elections in Nigeria. • Since 1998, Nigerians have not voted with permanent voters’ card. • It is apparent from INEC’s proposition that the CVR exercise is going to be seasonal voter registration rather than being continuous as prescribed by law. • The timeframe of the CVR exercise should be flexible enough for people to register with ease. • Political parties need to put up a serious enlightenment programmes on the CVR by making sure that members are aware of the exercise. The conference then recommended that; Election stakeholders’ including members of the National and State Assemblies and Executives adopt, pass and assent to the recommendations contained in the electoral reform proposals presented to the National Assembly. There should be effective engagement between INEC and other critical stakeholders, including political parties, media and civil society organizations, in order to build synergies that strengthen Nigeria’s electoral processes. That a strong enforcement mechanism be put in place to ensure that all the stakeholders in the electoral process who do not play by the rule are sufficiently sanctioned. There is need for INEC to consider engaging services of volunteers who must be subjected to proper scrutiny before their involvement in the process. There is need for INEC and relevant stakeholders to undertake extensive and continuous civic/voter education initiatives to deepen the understanding of electoral process, rights and obligation of the electorate.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com 56
Sunday, February 23, 2014
COVER As political activities gather steam, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is confident that it will deliver free, fair and credible elections in Ekiti and Osun states, as well as in 2015. At an interactive section with the media last week in Lagos, the commission, represented by Dr. Chris Iyimoga, national commissioner and acting chair, Information and Publicity Committee and Oluwole Osaze Uzzi, director, Voter Education, Publicity, Gender and CSO Liaison, unveiled the Commission’s programmes for 2014 and 2015. GBENGA AKINFENWA reports. On Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) S we prepare, we have scheduled the distribution of the Permanent Voters’ Card for Osun and Ekiti for March 5th – 7th in both states, we also have scheduled the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) for both states on the 12th through the March 17th and before this, there will be displays. This is part of the problem we have in Anambra for instance, when we are moving into any state and we say we are doing voters registration, we go to each poling unit (PU) and display, so what people are expected to do is to go and verify if their names are there or not. Since the permanent cards are ready, these will be given out and those who don’t have will get theirs during the CVR. On holding all elections in one day We all recall that during the 2011 elections, we had three separate days, the first was for the National Assembly, the second for the Presidential, the third was for the governorship and the state Houses of Assembly, but we decided to cluster this into two for the 2015 General Elections. One of the reasons we did that is, we considered that doing the elections in one day would be too daunting a task for the commission. We do realise that the level of illiteracy will make it cumbersome for most electorates to be able to make their choices when you have to select five separate candidates in a particular Polling Unit in a day. I think we should put that question back to ourselves, how long will we wait for the level of literacy to increase so that people become more enlighten and not get carried away with candidates making promises which they don’t fulfill; next time they come again and when they cannot give reasons why they want to be there, they come with thugs to disrupt election and people blame INEC. We have a collective responsibility; we must show passion as citizens of this country to ensure that the process becomes not just INEC’s but the responsibility of this country, because if we allow any politician or interest to mar the process, it also affects our generation and us. On preparations for 2015 Immediately after the 2011 General Elections, we had a number of lessons, which we learnt. We needed to consolidate on the few gains we made and we also noticed a number of lapses and with that, the commission looked at three basic areas; the structure of the commission, the policy and the need to plan properly. In terms of the structure, we hope that we develop policies that will help guide us as we work towards 2015. We also realized that the key thing for any election is to have very credible voters register, that is why we went through the use of the biometrics we use in 2011, to consolidate these details and ensure that multiple registrars were eliminated and could make a perfect register – without a prefect register, there cannot be credible elections and that is why we are ensuring we live up to this challenge. Very soon we will be going on with the CVR, and we believe that the nationwide process will commence as soon as we have all the gadgets and facilities around. In 2011 we had a near failed situation when we started with the DDC machines and then we realised that the batteries didn’t last for a certain period as against the number of voters that we had, so before the commencement of the nationwide CVR, we want to ensure that we take care of every detail so there will be no cause for alarm when we commence and citizens who turned 18 years and others who did not have the opportunity to exercise their rights in 2011 or who had to relocate from one state to another can tidy up their registration processes. We also plan to issue all the permanent voter cards to all the citizens who have registered before the 2015 general elections because then, the commission is going to put to use the card readers – what we intend to do is that with your permanent voters card as you come to the queue to cast your vote, your card will be taken, swiped on the card reader and that will show
INEC Unfolds Plans Towa
• Over 60 Million Permanent Cards Produced, Awaitin •Over 200 Electoral Offenders prosecuted whether you are the authentic owner of that card, it will act as a form of verification of the authenticity of your card. We also developed a number of regulations and guidelines on the electoral process, this we think will give us better output. Finally on the 2011 experiences, we have made a number of recommendations to the National Assembly; this has to do with the legal framework. There are certain parts of the electoral processes, which we think is a hindrance to the proper conduct of our activities. The National Assembly has assured us that this will be done and we believe this will be done by July this year. Despite arrangement for preparations, we do have a number of challenges. Key among them is the issue of security; we all know that if you have visited an election poll, you would have noticed some element of thugery or violence, there are stories of ballot box snatching and all sorts of illegalities; this is a problem to the process. When we came in, we established an inter-agency consultative committee on election security and that means from the police, to the army and air force, we all came together as a team to put resources, heads and intelligence together towards security issues before, during and after elections. This has worked out perfectly for us; we also have them at the state and local levels. Funding is another matter. When INEC sets a budget people talk about the billions budgeted, of course the doors are open for people to make contributions, ask questions and verify what these funds are meant for. The language our politicians use can some times not be accommodating and friendly and you find out that there is a bandwagon effect where you have supporters literarily imitating them and this brings up the kind of violence that surfaces during elections. There is also lack of internal party democracy – the choice of candidates is usually not within the ambit of the electoral management body and a section of the constitution says it is the duty of INEC to monitor from the primaries till when the candidate is shown as the one that represents the party. On the other hand you find out that the party selects who represents them before giving the name to INEC and they do so within 3-4 days before elections and you cannot tidy your ballot papers till you get papers from the party headquarters. Another challenge is inactive participation of the citizenry; there is this situation that after people have been selected, there is a cry that some people forced the candidates on them, which would have been prevented if citizens participate actively. For the prosecution of electoral offenders, for now, INEC is saddled with the responsibility to handle such and it is a huge task. Usually, when you visit PUs, you find one fracas or the other, INEC cannot handle it all; when there is an electoral crime, it is the responsibility of the police or army to take full process of that and once you don’t have them documented and the processes legally taken, there is no way you can prosecute offenders and that is why if we don’t have a body to take care of these issues in future, the fear is that they will continue to happen. On permanent voter cards It is possible for us to deliver the permanent voters cards before 2015, we have the go ahead to produce these cards and as we speak, we have captured over 72.5 million people in 2011 after the checks and balances, the figures have dropped to a large extent. In each of the elections we conducted, if we say 1.3 million people registered in 2011 at the end of the day after these processes you find a situation where we have about 60 - 70,000 double registrations of those who were captured and were not supposed to be captured twice or more. I want to assure you that over 60 million of these cards are produced and are awaiting distribution. During the CVR, if you register two weeks before the elections, those are few cases where we may not have permanent voters card and then you can use your temporary card, but if you did register in 2011, you will have your permanent card, this is an assurance. The distribu-
A group of voters
tion of these permanent voters’ cards will be done very soon. If a citizen who resides in Lagos is registered in one of the PUs in Ikeja and by September he was posted out of Lagos to Plateau, he should still be allowed to vote because it is his right. What he will do is to approach the resident commissioner in Plateau State with his card which he registered in Lagos, whether permanent or temporary, he will be given a form to fill and data captured, (remember there is CVR going on). When his data is captured in Plateau, the one in Lagos is deleted and so he submits the old voter card to the Plateau commission and he is issued a temporary card pending when the permanent one is produced for you, this is to make sure that if your duty or schedule warrants your moving around the country, you still have the right to vote. Dealing with electoral malpractices Ballot papers are going to be codified and giv-
en in accordance with the total number of people in every PU. For instance, we talk about 120, 000 PUs nationwide, we have seen that in some PU’s we have had about 2,000 people coming to vote, that will not work and so at the end of the day we are splitting these to about 150,000 PUs. So for every PU we know the total number of people and ballot papers are going to be given in accordance with the number of voters for each PU. In other words, if a PU has 18 people, we can’t send 200 ballot papers to that PU. We are carrying along a number of lessons we have learnt which are very bitter lessons. When we talk about INEC, INEC is part of Nigeria but we do not say who are the Nigerians causing this – if we as citizens take it as a point of duty to check some of these elements that generate violence, it is our responsibility to know that our votes count and that the they must be protected. We should also assist in the process so that it is not just INEC that must be present every-
Ballot papers are going to be codified and given in accordance with the total number of people in every PU. For instance, we talk about 120, 000 PUs nationwide, we have seen that in some PU’s we have had about 2,000 people coming to vote, that will not work and so at the end of the day we are splitting these to about 150,000 PUs. So for every PU we know the total number of people and ballot papers are going to be given in accordance with the number of voters for each PU. In other words, if a PU has 18 people, we can’t send 200 ballot papers to that PU. We are carrying along a number of lessons we have learnt which are very bitter lessons. When we talk about INEC, INEC is part of Nigeria but we do not say who are the Nigerians causing this – if we as citizens take it as a point of duty to check some of these elements that generate violence, it is our responsibility to know that our votes count and that the they must be protected.
ThE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
20 Sunday, February 23, 2014
INEC Is Running Out Of Time, Ugolor Rev David Ugolor is the executive director, African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ). He spoke to ALEMMA-OZIORUVA ALIU on how to make the best of 2014/15. o you consider INEC’s well prepared for the challenges ahead? ThIS question is very important against the backdrop that INEC has announced the timetable for these elections. If we are to take any lesson from what happened in Anambra, you will agree that the reason why some of the stakeholders are raising questions as to the preparedness of how INEC will carry out these elections is important. You will not blame them and as a matter of fact, INEC took responsibility for the shortcomings in the Anambra election and one will expect that some of the lessons learnt from Anambra will help INEC to reorganise its preparation towards the 2015 general election. But there are some issues that we must look into, if we are to go back to what INEC did in some of the elections, which were not very good. I think that had to do with the time INEC set aside to prepare for elections. One would expect that before the election, INEC should be able to show clearly that they are prepared in terms of logistics, machines for the election, whether they are technically fit to conduct the exercise and even manpower preparation, all these take a long time. For instance, general election has been scheduled for February next year, February is less than one year from today and you know that three months to the election, there will be tension around INEC. My key message to Professor Jega is that they should as a matter of urgency get some good external stakeholders to review some of their activities and tap from the lessons they’ve learnt from the areas they have conducted elections recently. What were the challenges, particularly from INEC officials who have credibility challenges? But I am happy that INEC also took proactive steps by making commitment that they will be prosecuted because one of the greatest threats to having a fair and credible election is the issue of impunity; when people commit electoral offences, they are not tried and once they are not tried, it becomes an incentive for others to also commit such electoral offences and malpractice. So INEC must be prepared to prosecute those who commit electoral fraud and even staff members who connive to truncate electoral rules must be prosecuted. We need to also carry out stock assessment to see if the machines INEC wants to use are available or not and if they are available are they in good shape? Then making resources available to INEC as quickly as possible is a very important issue that we must consider; are the funds appropriated for
INEC to conduct the 2015 general elections and the states elections available? These are issues members of the National Assembly should begin to ask questions about. The voter register, which is the most important document that will demonstrate whether INEC is ready for a credible election, we must ask INEC whether we don’t have ‘Obama’ or ‘Mandela’ in the voter register again? Because those are things that make people who lose election to quickly question the credibility of such exercises. INEC should come out with a clear voter register for people and the media to validate. This will create confidence because one of the things missing now is lack of trust in the system, especially because of what happened in Anambra State. Elections are not actually rigged on the day of election but through some pre-election processes. So all these have roles to play. Is INEC is on time? Time is running out on INEC, particularly when the President decided to introduce this so-called national dialogue, which I see as a distraction. Today you can see that every key stakeholder is getting involved in this distraction than preparing for the 2015 general election and this is one area that I think could possibly affect preparation towards the election. I think it was one of the aims for the national dialogue. You can see that government has allocated N7 billion, but you will be surprised that INEC would not have access to such kind of resources that it needs. I ask what the priority of this government is. Is it to conduct a free and credible election side by
side with a national dialogue that will not end well? Is it at the time the tenure of the NASS is coming to an end that you are organising a dialogue? Why is this government more interested in this distraction than making a commitment to conduct a credible election? I think stakeholders, including the opposition parties like the APC and even the civil society should begin to demand that government makes sure that all the needs of INEC are made available and begin to ask INEC to set a time line even for external stakeholders to validate some of these key things like voter registration and to also ask INEC about the machines, about the human infrastructure; whether they are available because if we don’t ask INEC now and wait till election, I can assure you that what happened in Anambra will be a child’s play and that is not good for the country. There is tension in the country, there is no doubt. The northern part of the country, you can see what is happening there and if you now conduct 2015 elections shoddily, it can ignite violence and that will not be good for us. My message to the government is that the President has the responsibility to make sure that INEC is well funded and creates the enabling environment for INEC to conduct free and credible election. That is the solution to the potentials ahead of a non-credible general election in 2015. I urge INEC to quickly commence pre-election activities that will bring credibility to the elections. But if you don’t properly fund INEC, there is no way you will expect them to do something unusual. INEC on its part must get rid of corrupt officials and make sure that those who commit electoral violence and crime are prosecuted so as to send the right message that INEC will not condone any behaviour that will undermine the preparation for the elections. Stakeholders themselves should begin to organise public education because that is very fundamental, they should not allow the national dialogue to distract them because it is an attempt to distract them from the election. For instance, I read the interview of the Governor of Ekiti State and he shared some of his own concerns. A situation where stakeholders start to raise alarm calls for concern. Do you think civil societies are really playing the role they should play in terms of democratic development? Give it to the civil society; they have played their roles within the limit of the resources available to them. Over 80 to 90 per cent of the resources available to do their work, particularly those that have to do with elections in this country, come from outside. Who are the beneficiaries of these, it is Nigerians but how do they reciprocate? I think that we should begin to encourage
Nigerians to begin to support our civil society. They are trying their best within the limits of the resources available and as you know, those whose funds are coming from abroad, they have their own priority and that priority sometimes may not be our priority. however, I think that the priority of civil society this time is to see how they can organise, build capacity, create awareness so that people can understand the difference between these political parties. For instance, what does APC stand for? What does PDP stand for? What are their policies and do they help to create a climate of good governance? how will they help to check the issue of corruption, which is the biggest problem we are having in the country today? Voter education like you said is key. What are the challenges in that regard? That is why it is difficult for the ordinary citizen to know the difference between PDP and APC. The common belief is that APC and PDP are the same because the political parties are not doing much political education about their manifesto. For instance, if APC is to get any clear result in terms of sending a clear message to Nigerians, they must work hard to educate Nigerians on why APC is different from the PDP and what they intend to use power to do for Nigerians. But if they keep on meeting with big names and they think that is how they can win the presidential election come 2015, I wish them well; but I think it is better they understand that Nigerians need to be carried along so that people can understand the differences between the PDP and APC and even among other political parties. Even the federal government agencies that are supposed to carry out enlightenment and education see themselves as appendages of PDP federal government that is a big threat to democracy. Why would National Orientation Agency not be able to educate Nigerians about the elections? That is why I am encouraged by the step APC took in registering members across Nigeria. It has helped to raise awareness about the political party and I hope the PDP and other parties would do same soonest, because a situation where you have few individuals pocketing a political party is not good for our democracy. Nigerians are yet to have permanent voter registration cards; is that not an indictment on INEC? I think Professor Jega is doing his best within limited resources available to his commission. All we need to do as citizens is to encourage him to succeed. It is not in our interest for INEC to fail. If INEC succeeds today, it is going to be a win, win situation for all of us, even those who may lose the election. however, I expect the current leadership of INEC to take as priority the issue of permanent voter cards, but I will not use that as a yardstick to assess INEC.
OKEI-ODUMAKIN: We Need A Truly Independent INEC In Order To Advance Democracy President, Campaign for Democracy (CD), Dr. Joe OkeiOdumakin says genuine electoral reform and a legislation that guarantees “true” independence for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is inevitable. She spoke with TUNDE AKINOLA. Looking at various events in the 2015/15 political calendar, don’t you fear it is overloaded? hE year 2014 going by your observation seems to be overloaded with activities if we have to consider those crucial national events that are to take place before the year 2015 elections. The INEC in this year is constitutionally mandated to conduct governorship elections in Ekiti and Ondo states, while the Federal Government has also proposed to organise the long awaited national conference in the same year. Meanwhile, we must not fail to understand the significance of these major events considering their direct impact on the lives of the average Nigerian. As regards the voter registration exercise, I must say that there is a very low level of awareness on the part of the people and this cannot be separated from the lack of necessary voter education programmes on the part of INEC. In a couple of weeks, the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise will kick off fully in Osun and Ekiti states, but as we speak there is limitation to the level of awareness by voters in these states. It is also my view that INEC should be determined at this point in time to improve on its effort at delivering credible elections in Nigeria. INEC must use the opportunities that the Osun and Ekiti elections offer to win the trust of Nigerians and show its readiness to conduct free and fair general elections come 2015. Just few days ago, the INEC came out to assure Nigerians that the permanent voter cards are ready and will be distributed even before the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections are conducted. This in my opinion shows some readiness and early preparations on the part of INEC. What is therefore anticipated is for INEC to consolidate on this and commence an early registration of other
eligible Nigerians who are yet to be captured under the previous registration exercise. This has a way of relieving the commission of the burden of disputes that usually characterise late voter registration at times too close to election periods in Nigeria. As regards funding, I will want to remind us that INEC, as a commission is not totally independent and therefore cannot boast of having the needed fund to conduct elections in Nigeria. What is therefore needed is for us as Nigerians to advocate that the necessary financial appropriation is made by the National Assembly to the INEC in order to fast track its activities without later coming to attribute whatever shortcoming to the lack of funding. As for the possibilities of any alternative plan to funding, I will say that there is no alternative funding that can totally cater for the huge resources that the electoral system in Nigeria has been known to consume. I am not unaware that there are donor agencies and friendly organisations who support the works of INEC, but such support are not in anyway capable of being used for the conduct of elections on such a large scale like we have in Nigeria. What is most important is for Nigerians in all strata to begin to impress it on the Federal Government to provide the needed resources for INEC to carry out its activities. What factors can debar INEC from delivering credible polls? The major factor militating against the delivery of credible polls in Nigeria can be largely attributed to the absence of the necessary legislation, which guarantees genuine Independence for the INEC. What we have today is a situation where those responsible for the funding of the commission take advantage of that fact to influence the workings of INEC, thereby creating a lot of credibility question for the commission. More so is the inability of the commission to enforce its decision due to the non-cooperation of the relevant agencies. An instance is a situation whereby till date, the desire of INEC to have a special tribunal for electoral offences has not been given any consideration by the National Assembly nor encouraged by the law enforcement agencies. These are the challenges I think may be hindering
Okei-Odumakin the effort of INEC in delivering credible elections in Nigeria. Do you think an electoral reform is needed or we should make do with existing one? The need for a genuine electoral reform is inevitable and this could be seen from my earlier position. For us to attain our desired result of having a system that guarantees credible polls in Nigeria, we must not only demand a total review of our electoral act but we must also advocate a constitutional amendment that will recognise and empower INEC as a truly independent body, thereby cutting down the influence of the political class on the activities of the commission. We cannot, for any reason make do with the existing order if we want our democracy to truly advance.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, February 23,
COVER Mr. Fred Agbaje, lawyer and rights activist, told KAMAL TAYO OROPO that the 2014 calendar is too busy and could be a prelude to electoral failure and unsatisfactory national dialogue. How would you react to the 2014/15 schedule of national events? HAT is naturally defined at times proves difficult to attain; not to talk of human planning that are still subject to human frailty and disappointment. If we had benchmarked next year, 2015, as election year why are we putting so much egg in one basket? Why are we putting so much energy and activities that can nearly suffocate the noble ideals and objectives, for which 2015 has been earmarked? I see it as a deliberate ploy on the part of government planners and the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to choke the election timetable, and ultimately when the election comes and fails they will have reason to begin to adduce. In other words, they have started planning for the failure of the next year election; they are systematically planning for the failure of the election and unrealisable of 2015. So, at the end of the day when the election has failed, as a result of heavy calendar few months into the election, they will now ask the looser, who is the victim of their planlessness to go to the tribunal and while the loser is still bogged down with the tribunal they would be running illegal government. What options would your suggest? There is a lot the people can do. Part of what can be done is what your organisation (The Guardian Newspapers) is doing, which no other newspaper is yet to do. By sensistising and asking for informed intellectual opinion on the state of the country and pitfalls ahead, so as to prevent the government from leading us astray. What we need is mass enlightenment. And you have started the strategy, which your organisation is usually noted for. But the question is; are they (those in authority) prepared to listen? Do they read newspapers, even though some of them call themselves professors? They have made up their minds. Come rain or shine, at the end of the day they know one political party must win. This is why all imaginable events are put together so as to choke the election timetable and make the election unrealizable. Or, to create avenue for easier election rigging; they know what they are doing. But the way to check it is through mass mobilization. I called on Nigerians, particularly credible opinion leaders, to speak up. If the government and the INEC officials still refuse to yield, in spite of reasonable popular demands, it will be on record that ‘we have already known where you were going and you cannot fool us.’ But the fear is, for example, how many newspapers are prepared to do what you are doing? By the time three or four national newspaper write editorial opinions drawing attention to the unnecessary choking up of the polity, political leaders worldwide will call the federal government to order. That’s the only thing we can do; we cannot go up in arms against them. We can only agitate through mass mobilization and through media editorials against the planlessness of the government. Is it that government lacks good advice? Those who are working with government would rather risk misleading the government. In any case, the buck stops at the President’s table. So, if the President cannot use his own brain to decode the message and the embellishment coming from his advisers and he refuses to do the right thing, it is the President that will be blamed at the end of the day. This crop of advisers are not honest. The President maybe a good person, but the advisers are misleading him. People surrounding him are political jobbers. They are self-centered people. The point has been made that the proposed national dialogue, for example does not disturb the 2015 election, that both can run parallel and simultaneously. Why is this impossible for you? That kind of excuse can only be told to the marines. National conference is as serious as the general election. Nigeria is presently in a state of quagmire because of the result of lopsidedness in governance, in which the Federal Government has arrogated so much power to itself to the detriment of the states. In any country where you have so much power given to the government at the center, such a country hardly developes. This is why Nigeria is not developing. The power of development lies with the states. It is the states that can create employments, it is the states that can address the issue of welfare of the people better than the Federal Government, but do they have such powers? No, they don’t have it. Instead of the dog to be wagging the tail, it is the tail that is wagging the dog. So, in addressing the many anomalies in the
AGBAJE: 2014-15 Timetable Is Calamitous, Designed For Chaos constitution and having regard to the hegemonic nature of this country and the ethno-religious sentiments that are gaining ground by the day, the only way you can address it is through a Sovereign National Conference. Whatever name you choose to call it, it is a very serious matter. The country is 100 years old this year, but what has the country got to show for it? Where is the so much desired unity? It is not there! And yet you are talking of a national conference and at the same time saying the unity is not negotiable. Is that not inconsistency when you have spent 100 years together without anything to show for it? If our coming together 100 years ago has not moved us forward, why are we where we are presently? If our marriage does not enhance stability, it does not enhance growth. For God’s sake! That is why there are rules for dissolution of marriages that have irretrievably broken down. The issue of national conference is a very serious business, and when you now juxtapose the issue with a general election, knowing fully well
that Nigerians take election as serious as you can have it, you cannot put them side-by-side… haba! How are you going to marry and manage them successfully? We are all living witnesses to our last attempt at a national conference, which almost put the Obasanjo-led government into trouble. What was the result of that attempt? Chaos. Why are we not learning from history? Why can’t we say, ‘after the election, the new government in the following year can begin to address the issue of national conference?’ You carry them side-by-side and said one will not rub on the other; they will rub on each other! They will rub on each other financially, they will rub on each other logistically and they will rub on each other politically. I think somebody just wants to use both to score cheap political points. That’s what this is all about. But don’t you think Nigeria of today has advanced digitally and could leverage on that? Seriously, I know that I, Fred Agbaje was better off 10 years ago. Is Nigerian economy now bet-
The issue of national conference is a very serious business, and when you now juxtapose the issue with a general election, knowing fully well that Nigerians take election as serious as you can have it, you cannot put them side-by-side… haba! How are you going to marry and manage them successfully? We are all living witnesses to our last attempt at a national conference, which almost put the Obasanjo-led government into trouble. What was the result of that attempt? Chaos.
In any country where you have so much power given to the government at the center, such a country hardly developes. This is why Nigeria is not developing. The power of development lies with the states. It is the states that can create employments, it is the states that can address the issue of welfare of the people better than the Federal Government, but do they have such powers? No, they don’t have it. Instead of the dog to be wagging the tail, it is the tail that is wagging the dog.
ter off than what was obtainable under Obasanjo? We are not saying Obasanjo is a saint, but per capita income was better under him. Corruption has become the order of the day in the country and no one is talking about it any more. Those who blow the whistle on corruption are being haunted out of their posts. The culture of impunity is now reigning supreme. And you are telling me that the situation in the country is better off? Comparatively, the situation is now worse. Let us be candid with ourselves. The opposition political parties appear to be comfortable with the timetable. Are we not missing something here? Why would the opposition not be comfortable? They are opposition in daytime but at night go to Aso Rock to beg for political patronage. Are you telling me you don’t know what happened in the 2011 election when the people of Lagos State and many other states in the Southwest, were made to vote massively for a particular candidate? Only Osun State proved to be the exception. In a normal democracy, not the one we are paying lip service to here, what propels the sustenance of democracy and the growth of democracy is the agility, ability and consistency of the opposition group. The opposition groups are always on the throat of the sitting government. They keep the party in government on its toes and to address grave issues. Where the party in government is failing, it is the duty of the opposition to highlight it and ensure that the masses are carried along. But in Nigeria, where are the opposition parties? What is the difference between a half-filled bottle and half a bottle? That is why these days it is easy for somebody to move from PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and back to PDP and to APC again. Does that show political sincerity? Does that show political consistency? As far as I am concerned, that is the height of political prostitution. There is no difference in the nature of the two leading political parties. The APC say the PDP is corrupt, that PDP lack internal democracy, but ask them, do they have these qualities themselves? We must be honest with ourselves. I am not surprised that out of frustration, the so-called opposition, instead of aligning with the masses and remain consistent, and begin to work assiduously towards wresting the rein of government from the ruling party, they are busy preparing for election. Election, judging from indices on the ground will not even favour them ultimately. Who dictates the piper dictates the tune. They have forgotten that those who put INEC there, INEC will not turn against them at the end of the day; no matter the assurances INEC might give to anybody. The INEC will want to remain relevant. The national conference, they will want it to succeed and they will do the bidding of those who put the Okurounmus of this world there. If you blame politicians, what about other professional bodies and the civil society; for instance the NBA? Leadership style differs. Former NBA chairman, Rotimi Akeredolu, was an activist par excellence. He was very friendly with the media and he has his own approach. The current NBA chairman is making his achievement silently. He does not want to advertise it. That is a style you may call a smooth operator. They make their points without making noise. But what I like in this present leadership is the stand against the allowing only one slot for the NBA at the national conference. It is ridiculous. It shows the level of contempt some people have for the legal profession in this country. The profession is the oldest in the country. And what are you going to discuss at the conference that does not evolve around law, legality and constitutionality? Everything! Unity, devolution of power and so on; who is better informed to discuss these issues than the lawyers? But the government gave themselves away by not even pretending not to like lawyers, but publicly show that they don’t want lawyers in the conference. Does that show seriousness on the part of the government? The Federal Government and the organisers of the conference seem not to know the importance of the conference. Otherwise, the ridiculous number of space they gave to some people is uncalled for. And you cannot under-estimate the role of the NGOs, civil society and professional bodies in such a talk show. These are people closer to the grassroots and closer to the people.
thE gUARDiAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, February 23, 2014
AhMED: More Awareness is Needed to Combat Cancer On reaching schools in the state One of the running programmes at the Foundation is the LEAh Reading Club. the programme takes us round post primary schools and we are thinking of using it as a platform to talk to girls. We celebrate the international Day of the girl-child and during the 2014 edition on October 12, we shall kick start it. Before that, we will be doing sensitisation and advocacy programme to talk to children on sexual issues.
Mrs Omolewa Ahmed speaks on her foundation’s fight against cancer. She spoke with ABIODUN FAGBEMI. Vision on cancer hEN my husband became governor of Kwara State, one of my spiritual mothers mentioned it to me that she would want me to do something on the issue of cancer among women in the state. Later, when we assumed office, we made enquiries and to me then, it seemed like a huge project. i did not know it was something god really wanted me work on. Along the line, i lost two people, who were really close to me to cancer. it struck me then that the issue was not about starting in a big way; rather what really matters is to create awareness about it. that was how we started it. Later, the Kwara State chapter of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) paid me a courtesy visit, which to me was a further proof that god wanted me to go into it. Part of what previously drove me away from the project was the enormous cost of the equipment to be used. We began to take a step at a time, and here we are today. We discovered that many people did not know many things about cancer and even those that thought they knew later discovered that they knew very little about it. i have found out that the best thing we can do for our people is to let them know that the thing exists and is a killer disease, which is even deadlier than hiV/AiDS. they need to also know that when it is detected early, it is no longer a death sentence. generally, there should be more awareness on the disease so that women, who are our target on this project, can come out for screening towards having less people dying of it. On the response to awareness campaign it has been impressive. We went to a level, where our people can easily understand what we are talking about. We went on road shows, used music and playlets, drama, especially drama series such as those used when the campaign on hiV/AiDS started newly. Popular actress, Funke Akindele rose from that, when she starred in the programme, I need to know, which was a series on hiV/AiDS. through our drama series, we demonstrated to the people what to look out for, the signs and so on. For instance, previously, a woman less than 35 years was not at risk. But these days, a 12year-old girl, who is exposed to early sex, is prone to having cervical cancer. But many people don’t know this and we need to tell them, we want them to know. Also, a woman whose husband is promiscuous or smokes in the house thus making her a passive smoker, is prone to breast cancer. We also reach out to people, who in their own way are giving us material, financial, moral and technical supports. For instance, the University of ilorin teaching hospital [Uith] has given us so much assistance, especially in the area of technical supports. So also the NMA women wing, organisations, pharmaceutical companies and even some anonymously. People have truly come to our support. We still appeal to people for more assistance because there is still much works to be done. LEAh Charity Foundation is tackling the ones that are highest killers of our women, which
Public Speaking Anxiety (PSA) By Passy Amaraegbu
ight from his primary school days, both his teachR ers and colleagues knew gary as a brilliant student. Also, he has never doubted his own intellectual
are the breast and cervical cancers. We have set up more advanced screening centres. We have also gone to the level that when the individual is diagnosed, she can come for affordable treatment at the clinic centres. On women access to LEAh Foundation there must be screening. She can go to any of our screening centres for this. She can also go to Sobi Specialists hospital, Adewole College hospital and Children Specialist hospital Centre igboro, ilorin. With the payment of N2, 000, she can undertake a cervical test. She will also do breast examination there and will be taught how to do self-breast examinations on a monthly basis. A woman with traces of cervical cancer, is given a referral note to the LEAh Cancer Centre, where we have a new therapy called Chemo therapy, which is used to nip cervical cancer in the bud. the LEAh Cancer Centre is located along Abdulkareem Adisa Road, adjoining trinity School g.R.A., ilorin. At the centre, some women will need to go for further screening and the popular one is the Pap Smear. We have highly improved laboratory, where this can be done. After that, she will see a gynaecologist. We have technical supports from gynaecologists, who come regularly to the centre to see patients. Where the gynaecologist looks at the result and there is still a further need for more tests, he will order it. there is a machine for that. if after this, the patient still needs surgery, she will be referred to the Uith or Sobi Specialist hospital, ilorin. the procedure is the same for breast cancer patients. if mammography is needed, the patient is referred to the LEAh Centre, where we have the mammogram machine. if she needs a biopsy, it is also done at the centre. We also have an ultrasound machine there. And if a woman needs a full-blown treatment, she is also referred to Uith or Sobi Specialist hospital.
On bearing the costs Patients bear the cost and even LEAh Foundation is not free of charge, people still pay. the only thing is that because the centre is not set up for profit making, what we charge is the cheapest anywhere because we want our people to have access to affordable and genuine screening exercise. We have an understanding with the Uith and Sobi hospital in this respect. We are planning to have our own clinic, where full-blown cancer can be treated. On campaign awareness Currently, we are on the wheel show to all the three Senatorial districts in the state. this will enable us cover the hinterland in the state. We are also in the process of collaborating with wives of the newly sworn in councils chairmen, to set up screening centres in all the local government headquarters in the state. We also complement this with LEAh Foundation Clinic on the wheel, where we take cervical and breast screening to rural areas. On project sustainability and survival Let me say it is not a pet project, but a ministry. At LEAh Foundation Centre, you will see it is a ministry that god has used me to touch the lives of women. in the next 20 years, i think the Foundation, which is an international body, not limited to Nigeria or Kwara State will continue to wax stronger. When god gave me the vision, one of the things i did was to work on the sustainability of the Foundation. i am a businessperson, a trader, and i have been on this business for over 20 years. i took the portion of the business and ploughed it into a business venture known as LEAh height Venture. What the LEAh Charity venture was basically set up to do is clear the recurrent expenditure of the Foundation.
healing Paranoia And Overcoming Fear By Moji Solanke
ARANOiA is defined as a specific mental condition characterised by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, unjustified suspicion and mistrust of other people. it can also manifest as exaggerated self importance. Essentially, medical diagnosis shows it involves losing touch with reality. Fear can be seen as a general element of paranoia, except that it is not a case for medical attention. there are several acronyms for fear. the more well known ones are: ‘Forgetting Everything About Reality’, and, ‘False Evidences Appearing Real’. it is interesting that both paranoia and fear have something to do with reality, especially the lack or loss of it. Many employ fear as a tactic for personal or corporate gain. Advertisements use it subtly, and so can religion to an extent. instilling fear may then lead to the exhibition of paranoid symptoms, if the individual is not alert, and entertains, rather than overcomes it. it is imperative to nip fearful thoughts in the bud, before they mushroom into paralysing paranoia, since fear is the main ingredient of
paranoia. Overcoming irrational fear would go a long way in healing paranoia. Spiritual means such as prayer and faith have been found useful in overcoming fear, since it is a mental sense entertained, even though the negative consequences may be physically manifested. the medical faculty now acknowledges the benefit of spirituality as effective therapy in the treatment of paranoid schizophrenia, depression, and different forms of psychoses and mental and emotional illness. And while some medical researchers opine that intense religiosity, which differs from spirituality, may trigger paranoia, other research admits that medical studies show that non-fanatic religious faith plays a significant role in its successful recovery, especially when the therapist is amenable to the use of spirituality as part of the treatment. indeed, one of the past presidents of the Royal College of Psychiatrics (1994) strongly recommends evaluating the religious and spiritual experiences of a patient when considering a course of psychiatric treatment. Even the World health Organisation ac-
knowledges that every individual has a spiritual dimension, thus it is safe to conclude that the medical faculty is becoming more aware, that it is reductionist to assume that man is merely material, and can only be healed by doctoring the body; and they are responding accordingly. Many doctors now readily acknowledge that hope, prayer, faith, even love and other spiritual elements are vital in healing paranoia and all its etceteras. Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, written by Mary Baker Eddy states that the practice of spiritual healing, whether of physical or mental illness, always begins with Christ’s keynote of harmony “Be not afraid”. Eddy goes on to say, ‘the procuring cause and foundation of all sickness is fear, ignorance, or sin.’ She proved in her healing ministry that cases of insanity or paranoia yield more readily to the salutary action of spirituality than do most other diseases. if spirituality is acknowledged as able to heal fear, surely paranoia can be healed by spiritual means also.
prowess. he made distinction in primary six, had admission into the three secondary schools he applied to, made aggregate ten in WAEC and graduated with second class upper division in Computer Science. Now as an assistant manager in a telecommunication company, gary is unfulfilled. Why? gary is a victim of public speaking anxiety (PSA) or glossophobia (fear of public speaking). the common name is stage fright. Also known as performance anxiety, PSA is a scourge, which hamstrungs many individuals. it limits and frustrates human performance and achievements. What then is PSA? generally, anxiety is a compound term, which refers to a state of uneasiness in an individual, which is manifest in somatic (bodily) tensions. this is as a result of concentrated attention on possibilities of negative events such as failure, misfortune and danger. Anxiety disorders is a major division or subset of psychopathology, which is majorly classified under neurosis. therefore, PSA is a specialised and specific type of anxiety characterised by uneasiness, somatic tension, fright and flight tendencies whenever one is faced with the task of facing and speaking to an audience or crowd. Some of the physiological symptoms of PSA include, sweating, coldness or in some victims sudden hotness of the body, fever, headache, difficulty with breathing and vision. Some other victims may experience shivering, heart palpitation or even may faint. Of course, the task of public speaking may be poorly carried out or entirely marred. Some victims of PSA may end up in the hospital or engage in self-medication. imagine the frustration of people like gary who are knowledgeable but cannot communicate effectively or sometimes at all their wealth of knowledge! think of the agony, such intelligent people face. think of the embarrassment and loss of opportunities. One may quickly ask, what then are the causes of PSA. What predisposes people to public speaking anxiety? is it a physiological or psychological disorder? is it genetic or psychosocial? is it a nature or nurture problem? Empirical and research evidences conclude that glossophobia isn’t a genetic disorder. however, victims may possess some physiological dispositions or tendencies but there is no particular gene or chromosome responsible for PSA. to a very large extent, glossophobia is a psychosocial disorder, which is learnt. Childhood shyness has been implicated as a foundational cause of this disorder. Normally most children manifest shyness. this can be as early as three months when they begin to hold on to their mothers because of the primary function of providing their needs or their fathers for the need of protection. Contrariwise, children may refuse others they regard as strangers from touching or carrying them. if this shyness continues into latter life and adolescence, it will likely manifest as PSA. Also introverted personalities may be more predisposed to PSA than extroverts. Extreme self-consciousness and centeredness can also promote the incidence of glossophobia. Adopting a lifestyle of self-criticism can create a state of inadequacy which can predispose oneself to PSA. As we can see all these causes are major psychosocial in nature. Socialization plays a very significant role in the onset and progress of this anxiety disorder. Some researchers regard glossphobiaa as the most notorious form of phobia among people. it is more notorious than necrophobia (fear of death and end of life), arachnophobia (fear of spiders and other aracdnids), Achluophobia, scotophobia or myctophobia (the fear of darkness) or even, acrophobia (fear of heights or altitudes). there is no significant difference between the genders in the manifestation of glossophobia. Ordinarily, in some occasions and events, it may seem that either males or females are more predisposed to PSA but the general statistics doesn’t support this trend. in the next edition, we consider the consequences and cures of glossophobia. Keep living healthy.
Dr. Passy Amaraegbu, A clinical psychologist lives in Lagos. firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, February 23, 2014 23
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke with movie practitioners at the cutting of Nollywood at 20 Anniversary cake
Arts And Politics: A Romance Without Intrinsic Value By Gregory Austin Nwakunor HREE years ago, on March 21, 2011 to be pre- • creating Book Commission to take charge T cise, President Goodluck Jonathan gathand engaging of all state matters dealing ered stakeholders in the creative industry in with issues of Book, Reading and Writing; Lagos for the first time. Held at the new Expo Hall, Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, the dinner was in the hit of his campaign for his election. At the event, Jonathan promised to refocus the sector if he was elected. He also promised not to make the same mistake as other administrations by overlooking the economic potentials of the creative industry, proclaiming his commitment to opening up the Nigerian creative sector for excellence, as well as bringing the desired synergy between the sectors: literary, performing and plastic arts, making them readily available instrument for the transformation agenda of his administration. At the meeting, President Jonathan had said: “There is a lot the sector can give if government can support it, especially Nollywood, to earn foreign exchange. However, we don’t tend to take it very seriously; but every president should take the sector, seriously.” In a summation of various presentations, the creative community demanded: • fast tracking the realization of the National Endowment Funds for the Arts; and facilitating introduction of tax rebates as incentives for sponsors of the arts, • ensuring the formal launch and operation of the Nigeria Cultural Policy, • giving prime place to the cultural sector in budgeting process since it has capacity to create massive job opportunities, • establishing infrastructural and relevant facilities to back up the mobility and diversity of the creative industry, • ensuring a proactive enforcement of the copyright law so as to make the industry lucrative, • giving artists deserved visibility in matters concerning their trades in government appointment,
and • engaging the country’s vast human resources in literature, movies, theatre, television programme, visual arts, etc as tool for building Nigeria’s image abroad, • setting up the machinery for effective monitoring of all cultural agencies to ensure that they are well managed and performing to the best interest of the artistes and creative industry practitioners. Years after, Jonathan succeeded in keeping to his promise, only in part, as one of his new creation, Bring Back The Book, lasted just for a year, if not less than. The book campaign was just ephemeral. However, a section of the creative sector has enjoyed, but not as an industry. Only a few people have cornered the advantage of the famous interaction of 2011. Apart from movie stars, who are getting government largesse in different forms, either through contracts, endorsements, grants and national honours, the other sectors of the creative arts have continued to go cap-in-hand begging for alms or attention. Perhaps, hearkening to reason, after a lot of artistes had complained about how difficult it was to access the $200 million entertainment fund managed by Nigeria Export and Import (NEXIM) Bank and Bank of Industry (BOI), the presidency made a good decision by setting aside three billion Naira grants for capacity building of movie makers. This was announced at a presidential dinner held to celebrate Nollywood at 20 on March 3, 2013 and since that time; the Ministry of Finance had given out over 150 million Naira to different movie technocrats. The visit on Tuesday, February 17, by members of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and some prominent players of the Nolly-
wood to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, was a confirmation of the privilege status of the sector. In an address presented during the visit, Ibinabo Fiberesima led-AGN called on Jonathan to ensure full implementation of the revised National Film Policy (NFP) and to present the bill on the setting up of Motion Picture Practitioners Council of Nigeria (MOPPICON) as an Executive Bill that should speedily be passed into law. The Guild also said, “Nollywood does not have a single co-production treaty with any country. This is the invisible ceiling that has hindered the ordered and structured international development of the film industry and the subsequent loss of potential Foreign Direct Investment and its positive impact on job creation.” It told the President that the implementation of the revised national film policy, which provides, among other things, the setting up of community cinemas in each local council of the country, setting up of MOPPICCON and a sustainable film fund, is the most important intervention tool that the Nollywood requires to address some of its structural deficiencies. However, Ibinabo, who said the visit, was to appreciate the President for his consistent support to Nollywood, requested for a land and building in the FCT to be used as national secretariat of the Guild, which would be named ‘The Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Screen Actors House’. While thanking the President for considering members of Nollywood worthy for federal appointment, Ibinabo asked for more appointments of practitioners and equally made a passionate plea for members of the creative industry to be given a slot in the proposed National Conference. She also requested that the AGN be empowered to produce a historic film on the Nigerian centenary. Responding shortly after he was decorated as Grand Patron of the AGN, the President thanked the delegation for the visit and assured that he would look into their request. He acknowledged the contribution of the industry in promoting the image of Nigeria and expressed confidence in
the ability of Nollywood to change and redefine the country and the African continent. Many have, however, argued that government’s romance with Nollywood has undervalued the art. They note that a society without a thriving art is easily spotted. Life there is boring, programmed and without a soul. “Everything is robotic.” Critics of the trend also point to the fact that rather than creating enabling environment for the industry, government is engaging in ‘tokenism’. Virtually all the states of the South East have embraced one Nollywood practitioner or the other for appointment, thus depleting the industry of quality hands. They note that these appointments have not helped the creative industry, as it has turned those who accept them to beggars, “errand boys and girls without power to influence anything.” ISTORICALLY, art has been an imporH tant force for opening up the country to the outside world. By 1946, the late Doyen of Nigerian Theatre, chief Hubert Ogunde, had deployed it to fight colonisation in the country. Through plays like Bread and Bullet and Tiger’s Empire, he had conscientised the Nigerian people. Even years after independence, when there was problem in the Western Region, he had done a very satirical piece, Yoruba Ronu, to bring the injustice and treacherous happenings in the region to the people’s attention. Perhaps, the play had a hand in the eventual Wild, Wild, West and Operation wetie, perhaps, not. In the 70s, the new breed of radicals and leftists began to use the art for alternative government purpose. From Femi Os-
CONTINUED ON PAGE 25
24 Sunday, February 23, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
How Politics Has Put The Arts In Reverse Gear By Chuks Nwanne F there’s any sector in Nigeria that has succeeded in putIform, ting the country positively on the international platit is the Arts. From Nollywood stars to musicians, playwrights and dramatists, fashion designers, visual artists… these creative minds, over the years, have laundered the image of Nigeria, globally, even without government support. A few years back, the ‘rebranding Nigeria’ project initiated by the then Minister of Information, Prof. Dora Akunyili, gulped millions of naira, mostly expended on producing jingles, TV and radio commercials, newspaper and magazine advert, pamphlets and signposts. Yet, no meaningful result was achieved, except for the rhetoric from politicians at government functions. However, if you truly wish to know how the arts sector has promoted Nigeria’s culture and tradition, globally, take a trip abroad. It doesn’t have to be Europe or America. A visit to any African country such as Ghana, Kenya, Gambia, South Africa, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Congo, Liberia and the rest will show you how popular Nigerian artistes have become. No thanks to DSTV’s African Magic, Channel O, Studio 53 and MTV Base. From films to music, fashion, artworks… Nigeria seems to dominate the continent in terms of cultural and artistic outputs, thereby portraying the nation as a strong brand. Unfortunately, the sector has attracted less attention from government. At home, it is relegated to the background and among civil servants, culture workers and administrators, it is considered less attractive, no, a dead zone. The culture communicator, Ben Tomoloju, captures it this way: “We have not had more than three appointed culture administrators that have performed above average. All they are interested in is to fly from Abuja to anywhere in the world. Enjoy hotel accommodation and pick estacodes.” If not, how would anyone think of selling the home of arts, the National Theatre, to hoteliers and mall operators? Could this be the best way of appreciating a sector that has brought smiles to the faces of Nigerians, home and abroad? Selling their home for commercial purposes? Over the years, government at different levels seems to be paying lips service to the development of the arts; everything seems to be all about rhetoric. Aside from individual efforts by practitioners, who deploy their hard earned resources in building the sector to what it is today, art is yet to achieve it’s true potentials. Unfortunately, when the Jonathan administration attempted to intervene especially in Nollywood, by providing funds for practitioners, the whole exercise was politicised, with practitioners moving against one another. And, in the last few years, Nollywood seems to have been caught in a political quagmire that has set the industry in reverse gear. How Government Interest Politicised Nollywood LTHOUGH, there had been efforts by previous governments to support the arts, it is President Goodluck Jonathan, who has genuinely showed interest in the sec-
A location shot
tor. Many, however, see his romance with Nollywood as a ploy to actualising his political ambition. Nevertheless, the truth remains that the President came with a genuine intention to develop the sector, having gone through proposals and documents from practitioners, who sold the idea to the presidency. Be that as it may, instead of utilising the newly found relationship with the number one citizen to better the industry, practitioners have become selfish, putting their personal interests first. Little wonder, in the last three years, actors and actresses have become regular visitors to Aso Rock, usually to dine, dance and smile with government functionaries. For sure, cash usually exchanges hands. For those in the good book of guild leaders, who usually organise these visits, it has become a welcome development eating from the President’s table. But for many others, who have fallen out with the leadership of Nollywood, especially due to internal wrangling, it has become a case of bad blood flowing. A look at the industry will show that most of the A-list actors and actresses in Nollywood are no longer working as they used to. Those who work actually produce for themselves. It has become a one-man show thing. Did you ask why? All right, how long does it take to shoot a movie in Nigeria? Maybe three weeks to one month right? Fine, how much do artistes get for a lead role today? Now, which is easier; to spend weeks on location and go home with maybe N300,000 or to attend a dinner with top government officials for just a night and smile home happily with loaded pockets? That’s the problem with Nollywood. Today, it is no longer about making the best out of the career; it’s about what gets into the pocket, which is dangerous to the creative industry. The Governor Godswill Akpabio’s N50 million largesse to Nollywood is still generating heat. Practically, it has torn the movie industry into shreds, as the ‘sharing formula’ has become a major issue. While some are of the opinion that the money should be used to endow a movie award in the name of the President (in line with the request of the donor), some have suggested that the money should be used in a physical structure for Nollywood, with offices for all the guilds in the industry. But for those, who have become so used to ‘pocketing cash’ from politicians, ‘the money must be shared among practitioners.’ In fact, this matter got to EFCC, as some aggrieved member petitioned some guild heads for ‘squandering public fund.’ Now, you see how government’s interest is killing the industry? Just put your ears on the ground and you will discover that the recent visit by the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) to Mr. President, is already generating controversies, especially from actors and actresses, who were left out of the ‘parole.’ Oh yea, Mr. President promised a land in Abuja for the AGN to build their national office, but watch it, most of the practitioners are really not interested in the project. In years to come, this issue of National Secretariat will come up again; it’s not a new topic. If you are still in doubt, just take a closer look at the practitioners; most of the guild leaders (past and present) are far richer than the associations. While the guilds are occupying rented offices mostly in Surulere, some of their leaders own
luxury apartments with choice cars for themselves and their wives. Today, being a guild president has become an attractive position. So, if you wonder why movie practitioners are constantly in leadership tussle, this is it. Before now, Nigerian filmmakers would tell you that funding is a major challenge in the industry. But since Jonathan set up the $200 million Entertainment Fund, which is administered by Nexim Bank and Nigeria Industry Bank, and an additional N3billion grant for capacity building, how many of these Nollywood filmmakers have been able to access the fund? Except for some few established names and foreign-based practitioners, who else got money through the fund? How many of these filmmakers actually have proper business plan that will attract investors? Yes, everybody knows about the strict conditions for accessing the fund, but why has there not been any serious agitation from Nollywood? Was the issue discussed during the recent visit to Mr. President? Well, from all indication, the issue of advancing Nollywood seems to have been overtaken by selfish interest of some practitioners, who are bent on stuffing their pockets rather than moving the industry forward. How Internal Wrangling Has Worsen The Situation ROM inception, Nollywood guilds have been depending primarily on the goodwill and creativity of national and state executives to raise money for their day-to-day operations. This has placed the guild at the mercy of such officials, as they will use every available means to recoup their expenditure before leaving office. In such situations where these executives are hoisted out of office by rival interests, the affected officials tend to feel cheated and a sense of loss thereby retiring or in some cases resorting to run rival organisations such as production houses in order to get back at the Union. Take for instance the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN), every election year is a time of trouble. From the national level to state chapters, AGN is known for leadership crises, with sit tight board members. Checkout the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), there’s always political agitation. In all these, the interest of the association usually comes last. Everyone is thinking of his or herself. No wonder, the sum of N250,000 was demanded for purchase of form in the last election of AMP. Call for an intellectual engagement that will better the industry and see how many of the practitioners will turn up. If you are an insider, you are sure to know those that will show up at such events. But when it is a dinner with the President or say a visit to one governor or another (mostly South-South governors), you will be surprised at the turnout. Believe it or not, Nollywood is living on past glory. Except for a few thorough filmmakers, who have shown no interest in the politics of the industry, the movies have gone watery due to lack of creativity. When practitioners that should be working on improving their talents and developing the industry, turn political jobbers, opportunities are created for mediocrity; that’s the situation of Nollywood right now.
Sunday, February 23, 2014 25
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
SPECIALREPORT What Practitioners Say About Artists Involvement In Government By Shaibu Husseini DON’T support it. It has not helped the industry and even those who accept the appointments. It has turned them to beggars. I’m even against it because they don’t even appoint them to the right offices. The question is, are they made ministers or commissioners or director generals of the appropriate agencies and ministries they are qualified to head? No. Except for Richard Mofe Damijo, who is commissioner of culture, others are appointed as errand boys and girls without power to influence anything. And instead of them to give up the job and come back to face their jobs, they hang on there and will be receiving crumbs and abuses. Most of them are special advisers on protocol and hospitality. Is that the best position to place creative artistes? So, until they give them positions that they have competence to do, I will say a dead no to accepting such appointments. Give them such portfolios that relate to them and they will do well because they are wearing the shoes and know how and where it pinches. Not special adviser or DG on women affairs, on protocol and on arranging people for oga at the top. What contribution can such a person with such a portfolio make to the growth of the industry?
became a governor left and Hollywood did not die. As they leave to take up appointments, there will be more stars to fill the gap. And somehow, it does not stop them from still acting only that they might not be too committed or not give it enough time. But the arts have nothing to lose. Let government appoint more, Nollywood will still stand. In fact, some of us are advocating for a Ministry of Entertainment because we boost the economy of this country.
There is ministry of sports why can’t there be a ministry of entertainment? STEVE EBOH (AJEBO) Actor and producer
CONTINUED ON PAGE 26
CHIEF EDDIE UGBOMAH, Filmmaker and one-time chairman of Nigeria Film Corporation Yes, I support them to take up government position. Just that those who have taken up such positions have done well for themselves and those who appointed them. But for the arts, I don’t think they have done very well and that is not solely their fault because we in the industry have not presented a common position to them of what we want from them. Though a few of us have approached them individually, it is not like going as an industry. So, collectively, have we rallied round all those in these positions? And to be fair to most of the artistes in these positions, it is not easy to get to their principals. They might have lofty ideas, but they don’t have the approving power. They still have to depend on the man who appointed them. It is not easy to get their proposal through. I know of a colleague, who resigned because he was just going around without a defined portfolio. It is not that easy, but we look at it from the outside and think it is easy… hey, they are enjoying and all that. But have we assisted them too? The industry has not articulated what we want for these people in government to do for us. It is not affecting the arts in any way. The American actor who
... Not A Fresh Breath Of Jonathan CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23 ofisan to Bode Sowande, Kole Omotoso to Niyi Osundare, Odia Ofeimun and Tanure Ojaide, Festus Iyayi to Tony Afejuku, art became a tool for political emancipation and fight against corruption as seen in works such as Farewell to Babylon, Who is Afraid of Solarin, Violence and many others. The trend continued to the latter generations of Esiaba Irobi, Isi Agboaye, Ogaga Ifowodo and Dipo Kalejaiye. In all these, art was sublime and the quality was commendable. Though high art that appealed to mostly the elite, the masses also had a feel of some of these works, especially when the ivory tower interacted with the community in Town and Gown, as seen mostly in Wole Soyinka’s Guerilla Theatre days of University of Ife — Before the Blackout, Before the Blowout and Ethical Revolution. On the music scene, there were consistent, persistent and committed artistes who wanted a Nigeria that was devoid of corruption and colonial mentality. The late Abami Eda, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, was the hegemon in this movement. Sonny Okosuns, Terra Kota, Orits Wiliki, Ras Kimono, Mandators and their ilk were concerned about the system. It was the spread of injustice, inequality, corruption and nepotism that gave the arts a push between the 70s, 80s and 90s. But with the economic crises, the fleeing of intellectuals from the country and the general brain drain that followed the 90s, it became noticeable that art was not enough. There was need for political patronage to make it flourish. Art was no longer for art sake, but for commerce sake. Art was now for mercantilist endorsement. In other words, there was need for political patronage for it to be an economic hegemon of last resort. This development, in fact, led to the beginning of the end of a thriving sector. From President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s (IBB) endorsement and support of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), to the two million man march of Abacha, and now solidarity visits to Jonathan, it has become evident that art is now economically dependent on the government, therefore, nobody should expect that desired sublimity that characterised the early years. It would be artistically futile to do art that is anti government, that is high in intellection and that is creative to the point of following all the cannons of creative excellence. The subterranean implosion has weakened creative ideas that the new language of artists is ‘proposal to government to sponsor’. Remember, ‘he who pays the piper,
calls the tune’. Suffice it to say that since IBB’s intervention in the Nigerian art and the subsequent appointment of Ogunde as the consulting artistic director of National Troupe of Nigeria, government has secretly taken the mantle of a benevolent hegemon and sustainer of Nigerian arts. Though many would say that the art is not getting enough, but the simple truth is that government now has the art at its beck and call. EYOND provision of infrastructure and enabling enviB ronment, foremost theatre practitioner and former Artistic Director of National Troupe of Nigeria, Bayo Oduneye, told The Guardian recently, “government needs, as a matter of urgency, set up the National Endowment for the Arts.” According to him, “we need for the theatre and arts to flourish. For once, you don’t need to go to government. You just apply to them —NEA, if available— and based on the strength of your proposal, you get their support.” In a lecture delivered by Prince Yemisi Shyllon at the Freedom Park to Art Stakeholders on Saturday, November 23, 2013, entitled, Problems of Art Development in Nigeria, he said, “if the Nigerian society continues to regard art and culture as luxurious entertainment, we will remain an uprooted people, with neither memory nor desire.” Shyllon noted, “in any environment where art is engaged as a real humanising enterprise and as a driving force of culture and civilisation, the importance of art history to the rooting and perpetuation of the resulting heritage cannot be denied.” According to him, “the problem of art development in Nigeria derives from the ineptitude in the administration of art and indirectly from the ephemeral interest of government. Since the culture sector is poorly funded, it is easy to lay all the blame for the sorry state of affairs in the sector at the door of government. But a critical look at the issue will also question the effectiveness of those in art administration in terms of proffering and execution of ideas in a way that can engender creative and imaginative system of generation of funds.” Arts communicator and activist and former Deputy Editor of The Guardian, Ben Tomoloju, believes that it won’t be fair to put all blames on government. “We are all at fault. Government, on its own part, has generally failed in the appointment of tested and proficient professionals to administer the sector,” he said. According to him, except for a few, most culture admin-
istrators are mere jobbers. “Some see their jobs as platform or springboard for political jobs. Nothing special about what they are doing, just doing it for the sake of survival. It impacts negatively on the fortune of those performing the arts.” Tomoloju said the only way out of the present scenario is for practitioners to engage and influence the system in a positive direction that transcends mediocrity. A feeling that Sam Dede, director of Rivers State Tourism Board, also echoed. Like most independent cultural producers, Dede finds so-called cultural managers in the various ministries vastly illiterate about what they administer and so hard to work with. He said, “another problem is that the culture sector is 80 per cent in the hands of civil servants. What you see is that the culture sector is completely ignored. The civil servants work in the creative sector but are not creative themselves.” Dede, speaking in one of the major panels of the 2013 Port Harcourt Book Festival themed Literature and the Sustainability of Cultural Heritage, said: “National Arts Festival (NAFEST), organised yearly by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Orientation, is just a repetition each year. We need to invigorate the culture sector by involving investors; it’s a goldmine but we need to package it properly. We need to encourage business people to invest.” He noted, “the problem we face in Nollywood is about those who started the business of Nollywood, although I give them credit for starting it. Nollywood wasn’t something I wanted to do because of (poor) content. Those of us from the theatre didn’t want to do anything with it, but we realised it was telling African story, our own story. So, it was an unconscious mistake made from the beginning when experts failed to move in and change it by chasing away the rodents and lizards. Now, it’s hard to change it as it is because of the lack of enlightened investors. People there put in a little but take away so much.” For Dede, the only way to reposition Nollywood would be through enlightened collaboration with experts so as to revamp content of films. According to him, “let’s make our culture for global audience. But we don’t know what to package because all sorts of people are doing it, which affects the content of films. Most people doing films don’t have background in film. So, we do not know what to package for foreign audience.” He concluded, “we need to create a new breed of directors and producers to change Nollywood through enlightenment. We need continued process of engagement with Nollywood the way it is currently constituted.”
26 Sunday, February 23, 2014
Ethnic Chauvinism… A Major Headache In The Arts By Chuks Nwanne IKE in every sector of Nigeria, ethnicity is a major hindrance to the development of the art sector. Instead of concentrating on what each practitioner has to offer, where you come from seems to be of more importance in the industry. At every election period, every art association battle with quota system, with less attention to who is best suited for the job. From the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) to Nollywood, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Society of Nigeria Artists and the rest, tribalism is usually a big issue. In fact, some professionals, who had shown interest in contributing to the industry, are usually scared away by ethnic sentiments — the story of the Nigerian Civil War is still very fresh. Though other sections of the arts seem to have found a way around this, the movie industry is heavily affected, with factions springing up every day. Before, it used to be Nollywood for the Igbo and Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP) for the Yoruba. Today, there’s Kannywood, somewhere in the North, while the South-South block within Nollywood are gradually gaining grounds. Even within the once united ANTP during Jide Kosoko’s era, things are no longer at ease. Some aggrieved members of the ANTP have since formed a parallel association, Theatre Arts & Movie Practitioners Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN). The new association, which emerged after about six hours of crucial meetings in Ikorodu, Lagos, had some major stakeholders in the Yoruba faction of the movie industry, who are said to be enjoying the consent of major marketers and distributors in Idumota, leading directors and producers. The implication of all these divisions is that once the public loses its confidence in Nollywood, which is regarded as the African entertainment industry, it will eventually affect their willingness to participate or support ventures and content from the industry. Slowly but steadily, foreign movies are finding their ways back on our movie shelf. And with DStv constantly coming up with latest Hollywood films, it appears Nollywood audience already has an alternative. Unfortunately, some practioners are still carried away by the fact that Nollywood is rated second in the world, behind Hollywood. But for those, who are in touch with reality, that rating is still on paper. “Yes Nollywood is respected outside the country, but is it for the quality of the films produced? There is no denying the fact that some productions are good enough to earn Nollywood some respect outside this country. But what use is it when a small boy or girl can predict how a film will end by simply watching the beginning? In such a film there is usually no suspense, no intrigue, and no excitement,” said filmmaker Bolaji Dawodu. Though he agrees there are some areas of improvement, Dawodu noted that, “we still have a long way to go. Emphasis should be on proper casting and getting the right people to do the right thing; not casting people in a movie because they know one or two people at the top.” On the way forward, the filmmaker suggested that, “those of us that are professionals have to get our acts together. In the first place, members of the various associations and guilds should stop fighting amongst themselves; let us stand as one solid organisation and stop creating factions. By the time we get our acts together, we would be able to control the industry.” Reacting to the division in the industry, notable movie producer, Disckson Iroegbu, however appealed on the warring filmmakers not to allow largesse from politicians tear them industry apart. Citing the cash gift from Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio, Iroegbu who is currently the Executive Assistant, Creative Entertainment and Tourism, under the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Youth and Students Affairs, is disappointed that the money can bring about rancor among movie practitioners. “Sharing the money among the guilds is not what transformation is all about; Nollywood is in need of good stories to bring about this transformation. There are filmmakers, who will do great films and tell good stories if they have money. The story of Nigeria has not been told. So, there are more important things that will bring transformation more than what they are doing now. Besides, this fund should not tear Nollywood apart. The fund is not even enough to make good film, so why should people tear each other dragging the names of both the Governor and President Jonathan to the mud as a result of
their actions. They should behave in a manner that will attract such privileges in the future,” he stated. To actress Halima Abubakar, ethnicity is a major factor militating against development in the country’s film industry. “I have experienced tribalism, I know people would say it is a lie, but that is the truth. Why have those from a particular group not reached out to people who are not specifically from their areas? I have worked with a lot of Igbos; my marketer is an Igbo. I have worked with a lot of them and I know those I have not worked with, have not seen the right roles for me yet, but I believe they will come. But how about others, who are independently shooting movies, does that mean those are the only set of actors in Nollywood,” she quizzed in one of her recent interviews. She observed that, “there are people who want to see fresh faces; we need to give others opportunity to showcase their talents. I’m saying, stop tribalism and bring everyone under the umbrella of AGN,” Halima said. To producer Yomi Fabiyi, it is high time practitioners began to collaborate. “I can only say some people took advantage of the industry since they are aware of the enormous interest of the Nigerian audience at home and abroad. This is a heritage given to us by our forefathers in the film industry and we can’t afford to laze away with what they
laboured to build. There is no doubt, we enjoy undiluted support and patronage of Nigerians on our films and this is because the pioneers were doing it right. Some people have gone far and wide, just to see beyond quality, but with complete greed, and search for cheap popularity, they started embracing quantity production.” As far as actor Funsho Adeolu is concerned, the greatest enemy preventing the structural growth of Nigeria film Industry to attain a global standard and maximize its potentials is division. “If you meet professionals in the industry and say ‘Nollywood,’ they would tell you they don’t know what you are talking about, but I don’t want to say that because I am a practitioner right now. It should be a name that is meant for all actors in Nigeria, Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba, but the whole issue is mumbled up now because we have various associations. These people will say they are not Nollywood people and they are not in any way connected. We also have Actors Guild of Nigeria and people under AGN would say they are Nollywood people. But what is Nollywood when we have a national association?” Adeolu noted, “the movie industry is meant to have gone beyond this level, but we are still at that same level, because we have mediocre persons handling the affairs of the industry; a person that doesn’t know anything about the
movie industry is representing us in Abuja, at the end of the day, they would get money”. For director Teco Benson, selfishness on the part of practitioners has affected the growth of the industry. “Every profession has an association to protect the interest of its members and Nollywood is not an exception. Recently, a lot of people due to poverty and lack of job discovered that getting such office would yield money. Some of them will even direct the money contributed by its members for welfare to themselves. It’s affecting the industry and sending a wrong message to corporate world and the world as a whole,” Benson said in a recent interview. Veteran filmmaker, Chief Eddie Ugboma also hammered on tribalism as a huge challenge in the creative industry during his recent visit to The Guardian. “Do you know this country called Nigeria, the country is sick of tribalism; that’s what is killing the creative arts. We have a society that does not understand the position and power of creativity. Art is a very important aspect of a country; it is the identity of a nation. But here, it is ignored. I don’t go to church or mosque but I believe in God; God has given this nation everything but entrust us with leadership; for the people in arts, this country owe them sanity.”
A cross section of artistes with President Jonathan on Tuesday
Artists Involvement In Government CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25 I have severally advocated for artiste to get involved in government because the change we need and the support we desire from government can only be influenced from within, this I have been able to glean from my little knowledge of how government works. So, I encourage it. We must get in and even get involved in politics. We need to get to the level of the executives so that decisions that concern us can be supported from an informed member of say the Federal Executive Council or the Senate or the House of Representatives. So, I totally support it. Yes, you might say that it depletes the rank of practitioners, but that is a practitioner who has a busy schedule. I don’t think it stops anything. I don’t think that there is any hard rule that stops you from getting involved once you are appointed. It’s really a matter of choice and what time you have at your disposal. So it doesn’t stop anything. In any case, others will fill up when the rank is depleted.
Getting involved in government and accepting government appointments? Why not? Absolutely nothing wrong with it. The benefit far outweighs the disadvantages. It helps our cause and makes it easier for matters concerning our profession and the arts to sail through and be speedily implemented. However, it is one thing to get appointed and it’s another to actually use the position for the betterment of the arts. It is first of all an individual thing and the other thing is whether the individual is in a position to help. So our prayers should be for them to be appointed, for them to get in there, be given the right offices and for their principals to give them a listening ear. What even stops an artiste from being the President or Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives? It is possible, but to do that, we must get into politics and not just be used to produce jingles and adverts and be used as decoration at rallies. We should join parties and support those who are there.
STEVE OGUNDELE Vice President of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Practitioners
FRANCIS ONWOCHEI, Actor and Producer
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Sunday, February 23, 2014 27
Business CBN’s Sanusinomics On Trial By Marcel Mbamalu UDGING from the altercations trailing the suspension of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Central governor, it would appear politics has sneaked into the management of Nigeria’s financial system. Alhaji Bashir Borodo, president of the Federation of West African Manufacturers (FEWAMA) and former president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) alluded to this in a telephone conversation with The Guardian yesterday. Borodo, who merely described the altercations as “unfortunate, said President Jonathan and Sanusi had worked together in providing a measure of interventions in the real sector. “Yes, Sanusi did well for us, but he was supported by Jonathan,” he said. “Frankly speaking, we owe them a lot of gratitude. Jonathan was in our office before the 2009 election he had with Yar’Adua and promised us that they will not neglect the real sector,” Borodo added. “Yar’Adua,” according to him, “didn’t come at the time because he was incapacitated and was flown to Germany for treatment. It was a promise made and delivered, because when Jonathan eventually became president, he intervened through the seven percent loan scheme; Sanusi came to deliver it. If that relief did not come, no one will be manufacturing by now. How do you expect to work with 20 percent loan as a manufacturer?” Since last Thursday, when President Jonathan, through a letter signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, suspended the apex bank governor following a Financial Reporting Standards Council (FRC) investigation that unearthed fraudulent transactions in CBN’s 2012 accounts, analysts have taken extreme positions. While pro-Sanusi analysts allege witch-haunt (citing previous alarm by the CBN governor that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation failed to remit oil revenue — the most recent being $20 billion kerosene subsidy), those in support of the Presidency insist the ‘sack’ was overdue. Love him, loathe him, Sanusi’s allegation at different times against the banks he supervised, the Federal Government, the Civil Service, the National Assembly, and the NNPC, among others, has kept him in full public glare as news maker — a reporter’s delight. Insisting on financial autonomy, he fought hard against any form of supervision, including NASS oversight; and in all of those battles, he won (or so it seemed). Rather than have an all-powerful CBN governor, the like of Prof. Pat Utomi had called for strengthening of the CBN as an institution, a position both Sanusi and his supporters kicked against on grounds that strong institutions do not exist without strong men to drive them.
Fraud in Apex Bank A closer look at Sanusi’s letter alleging that $49.8 billion oil revenue was not remitted to the Federation Account indicates that the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), which investigated CBN’s 2012 account, had already indicted him of fraudulent activities, abuse of due process and wastefulness. The briefing note, which was addressed to the President, was dated June 7, 2013; whereas the suspended CBN governor’s letter alleging $49.8 billion shortfall in NNPC remittance, which was leaked to the press, was dated September 25, 2013. The FRC, in its report, identified “Facility Management of N7.034 billion in 2012; N5.751 billion in 2011. According to the FRC, Facility Management” is just “an expense head, where the leadership of the CBN dumps what ordinarily should have been accounted for as their Benefit-in-Kind for tax purposes.” The report said it was used for fraudulent activities with items like “Profit from sale of Diesel,” indicating that the “CBN at some point operates in the downstream sector of the Petroleum industry.” The report further observed: “Currency issue Expenses” of N1.158 billion and Sundry Currency
Sanusi charges of N1.678 billion under “CURRENCY ISSUE EXPENSES.” As they are in 2011, so are similar expenses in 2012. These are difficult to understand. According to the report: “Within the “Administrative expenses” is an item they referred to as “Loan write-off.” This accounts for loans supposedly given to staff and written off thereafter. It came to a total of N3.855 billion in 2012. There is the need to review the Board approval for this loan write off if any, the report said. “Within the “Administrative expenses” is an item they referred to as “Fixed Assets Clearing Account.” These are properties acquired by the CBN for which it does not expect to derive future economic benefits. These properties are written off by the CBN on a yearly basis. This came to N4.076 billion in 2012; up from N1.324 billion in 2011. This should not be mistaken for “Disposal of Fixed Assets Schedule. “Foreign Bank accounts that have been closed offshore were still operational in the General Ledger for over six months after they had been confirmed as closed accounts by the offshore Banks. A thorough investigation will reveal how the balances in the now fictitious foreign accounts are treated. “There are long outstanding invoices that make up the liability account from as far back as 2005. The External Auditors have to request, in their draft management letter, the management or whoever deems it fit to carry out a thorough investigation in this
area to ensure items standing in this account are valid invoices. “The “Know Your Customer” policy is not properly followed by the CBN to the extent that the CBN has an unknown customer with account balance of N1.423 billion since 2008. The CBN claimed that they are taking steps to obtain the required details regarding the address of the customer. “Real time Gross Settlement Clearing Account, that is supposed to be reconciled on a daily basis, has long standing reconciling items that could not be substantiated. The external audit revealed debit/credit balances of sundry foreign currencies without physical stock of foreign currencies in CBN Head Office account. At no point should one expect to have fictitious Naira balances without the foreign currencies to back them up. It is important to know who is or was with the foreign currencies at the time,” the report noted. The FRC wondered how an organisation with an additional brought forward to General Reserves Fund of a mere N16.031billion in 2012 could still go ahead to spend recklessly in 2012 and in some cases even increase the expenses. It said the CBN spent “on promotional activities; N3.086 million in 2012 up from N1.084 million in 2011; even when the CBN does not have a competitor in Nigeria, which may require a “fight” over brand and customer size. The figures are too high. “Expenses on Newspapers, Books and Periodicals excluding CBN’s Publications is N1.678 billion in 2012; up from N1.670 billion in 2011.
The CBN was gracious enough to reduce their “Legal and Professional Fees” from N20. 202 billion in 2011 to N0.460 billion in 2012. What could the CBN have had to spend N20.202 billion on in 2011? They also reduced their “sundries” unexplainable expenses from N1.197 billion in 2011 to N0.690 billion in 2012. One is at a loss why the CBN still carry “unexplainable expenses” and of this magnitude. “The CBN also magnanimously reduced expenses on “Ethics and Anti-Corruption” from N34 million in 2011 to N18 million in 2012. This is an area that they are supposed to strengthen their activities and unearth unethical and corrupt practices. The CBN preferred to reduce their financing by almost 50 per cent. The CBN, outside the agreed audit fee of N300 million paid to their External Auditors and which was reviewed upward in 2012 from N200 million in 2011, the CBN showed within “Administrative Expenses” that they paid the External Auditors another N140 million. Section 6 (3c) of the CBN Act, 2007 provides that the Board of the CBN is to make recommendation to Your Excellency on the rate of remuneration to External Auditors. An investigation needs to be carried out to know whether the Board secured your approval on this review. The leadership of the CBN also wrote off loans to the tune of N3,856 billion in 2012. Since this was disclosed in under “Administrative expenses”, it was supposedly made to staff mem-
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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, February 23, 2014
Lamido Sanusi: As The Hammer Comes Down… By Armsfree Ajanaku T was William Shakespeare who found poetic expression in the delicate nexus between a man’s face, particularly his eyes, and designs of his mind. By the time the stream of his creative muse exhausted its flow, Shakespeare’s conclusion was simple: There was no effective way of deciphering the intentions of the mind from the face. But then, Shakespeare’s creative genius tended to generalise. The stream of his muse did not capture the reality of a long list of great men whose faces blatantly gave away the machinations of their hearts. Adolph Hitter’s disturbed and darting gaze, complete with an esoteric patch of moustache, should have forewarned his dazed countrymen and the world of the desperate wickedness that lurked in the inhuman recesses of his mind. On another level, the rotund and defiant face of British war-time Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, for discerning foes should have served sufficient notice of a desire to preserve British sovereignty and heritage, the magnitude of the adversary, notwithstanding. From the uncompromising contortion of Churchill’s face as he mulled the earth shattering implications of a Nazi triumph in Europe during the second World War, those stirring lines of his battle cry, calling on Britons to be ready to give blood and sweat by “fighting on the streets, on land and on the beaches,” but never entertaining the thoughts of a surrender of their heritage, could be read several times over. Sanusi Lamido squarely falls into the category of those men whose facial window tend to give a fairly eloquent account of the directions of their minds. His pair of daring eyes peering through the rectangles of his spectacles should have put everyone on notice that an irrepressible character, who could only be ignored, with perilous consequences for “vested” interests, had entered the room. Add to the picture his lean and Spartan frame, which contrasts sharply with the overtly chubby and well-fed physique of the typical politician, gave him his own brand. His restless and revolutionary visage, which his critics would most likely describe as arrogant and mischievous meant he tended to magnetise controversy. President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua nominated Sanusi as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on June 1, 2009. His appointment was confirmed by the Senate on 3 June 2009, in the middle of a global financial crisis, with Nigeria struggling to withstand the aftershocks. Close watchers of the financial sector were of the view at the time that the choice of Sanusi with his revolutionary mien, which contrasted sharply with the reserved scholarly disposition of his predecessor, Chukwuma Soludo would arrest the stench from sharp practices oozing out of the banks at the time. It would appear that the financial institutions seemed to have been given a leeway to twist the concept of corporate governance according to their whim. As soon as he settled in, those restless eyes led Sanusi to the banks’ books via a special examination. Soludo had been too busy pushing the grand
scheme of consolidation via the shoring up of bank capital base that he probably forgot to check the books. Like the man that sought and found, Sanusi turned the pages and came to terms with the reality of a banking sector that had not been audited since 2005. The implication was that organised looting of depositors fund had gone on for almost half a decade. He swung into motion with revolutionary zeal such that by August 2009, Afribank, Intercontinental Bank, Union Bank, Oceanic Bank and Finbank had to be bailed out with the sum of N400 billion of public money. The chief executives of these banks were summarily fired, and those alleged to have engaged in the looting of their banks were charged before courts. With all of these dizzying interventions in the banks, the atmosphere was charged with allegations that there was a partisan or sectarian agenda in the takeover of the banks. But Sanusi in his magisterial riposte talked of the need to send a strong message that would serve as deterrence to those who had the intention of ripping off their financial institutions through shady deals in the future. He said: “We had to move in to send a strong signal that such recklessness on the part of bank executives will no longer be tolerated.” 16 senior bank officials faced charges that included fraud, lending to fake companies, giving loans to companies they had a personal interest in and conspiring with stockbrokers to boost share prices. In a conversion with the Financial Times in December 2009, Sanusi defended the reforms that he had initiated since he took the helm at
the apex bank. Having dealt with his former colleagues in the banking sector, Sanusi also drew the ire of the National Assembly when he declared with little qualms that the institution was gulping 25 percent of the nation’s resources annually. An angry crowd of lawmakers summoned him to appear before it. He did, but refused to walk back on his earlier assertions, insisting that the figures he used in reaching his conclusion came from the budget office of the federation. All of these controversies, although cut for him the picture of a populist reformer, in turn won him few friends and a multitude of powerful enemies. But again firm visage told the story of a man who did not “give a damn” about making powerful friends. As such, his strategy of swimming against the tide, and taking the battle to the domain of his adversaries courtesy of his sharp tongue and quick wit tended to have worked. There were those you knocked him for being too loud and visible for a position as sensitive as the Central Bank top job, which required a lot being done in the background, rather than shouting on the rooftops. Sanusi however rode all his storms, until President Goodluck Jonathan came to the conclusion last week that he could no longer stomach the temerity of the Central Bank czar. The President, in an apparent attempt to knock Sanusi to a morally unflattering ground, cited the report of the Financial Reporting Council, which allegedly found Sanusi wanting for financial recklessness. In effect, Sanusi skillfully succeeded in forcing the hitherto contact sport shy Jonathan, to make a hard tackle. Sanusi’s friends swear
in a manner akin to football fans that the presidential tackle was made in the 18-yard box, implying that their man deserves a penalty, and the President a red card. But those cries will fall on deaf ears because as things stand, the presidency is both referee and an active player in the game. The penalty calls by Team Sanusi has everything to do with the legality of the presidential action. But the other side is savouring the triumph of removing what effectively had become an unending pain in the neck. Since Sanusi’s traducers are in possession of the knife and the yam at the moment, it is a tall order not to expect them to begin the victory party, after his exit. But for Nigerians who love to enjoy the free drama shows offered by their governing elite, the Very Important Ogas at the Top, the suspension of the banking czar, is just round one of what promises to be an exciting bout, especially with the 2015 general elections in the mix. Sanusi had thrown a number of lacerating jabs hitting the administration hard by his audacious allegations about humungous amounts of monies meant for the national treasury that more or less grew wings and vanished into thin air. Nigerians with their knack for believing in demons, spirits and witches, with the capability of commandeering aircrafts, must be imagining now that the national treasury has been playing host to these unidentified flying entities. The amounts involved in the Sanusi allegations are really benumbing, with what seems a transition from disappearing billions to vanishing trillions. It is on this basis that the former CBN helmsman would be trying to quickly win and hold the moral high ground, especially with the Jonathan administration suffering image problems revolving around its alleged softness on corruption. Sanusi’s story line, which he is already developing to a devastating effect, would be that he was axed by the presidency because he had exposed the actions of those who have allegedly been bleeding the country to a quick death. Nonetheless, there is the question of the believability of the accuracy of the figures he has been reeling out, since he has had course in the recent past to apologise, and retract the first pronouncement he made on the missing $20 billion, which was later given as “only” $10 billion. However, his wider allegations with respect for payments on kerosene subsidy would have to be investigated to ascertain the figures and reconcile them. For a man who has been garlanded by the influential The Banker and Time magazines, this certainly is not the end of the road for Sanusi. He has also made it known that he would embark on the academic exercise of challenging his suspension in court. In a year of politics and a manifold of unseen machinations, the opposition could be the biggest beneficiary of this fallout. Already the political opposition is doing nothing to hide its fondness for Sanusi. How that relationship pans out will be an interesting second part of this roforofo fight between Sanusi and the Jonathan administration that has now bared its fangs.
‘No Law Supports Jonathan’s Decision’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 28 do in the first instance was removal. What the President has done is to embark on, very sadly, on what I called the ‘Isa Ayo Salami treatment.’ For instance, when you know that the Constitution or any law has provided an obstacle that will not allow you achieve your intention of removing a public officer that has a security of tenure, you illegally suspend him, thereby making nonsense of the remainder of the tenure of that person. As a matter of fact, if Sanusi should go to court to challenge the suspension, the Attorney General of the Federation will pontificate and declare that the matter has now become sub judice,
and that the Federal Government can no longer take any decision on the matter until it is resolved by the law court. That was how the former president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, was thrown out the bench for two years in this country. The National Judicial Council (NJC) that flagged off that inappropriate suspension in all penitence recalled him and told the President, Goodluck Jonathan. They realised their folly and the man should be recalled back. But he refused and remained adamant. Can the President exercise power of suspension or discipline over the CBN Governor outside the CBN Act? No, and this is for two reasons. The first reason is that although the CBN governor is a public officer in the ac-
cording to Section 318 of the Constitution, the Public Service Rules do not govern his appointment. And this is in spite of the audacious provision of rule 01001 of the Public Service Rules, which says: “The public service rules apply to all officers except where they conflict with specific terms approved by the Federal Government and written into contract of employment or letters of employment.” We are a society governed by laws and there is nothing in the CBN Act or any other law that authorises what the President has done. If you move from the CBN Act and go to the Public Service Commission Rules to find if there is something that validates this, you will find nothing. The CBN is a statutory corpo-
ration or agency created by its own Act just like a federal university. Every Act establishing a university has a disciplinary procedure for the sanctioning of a lecturer or even the vice chancellor for acts of gross misconduct, at the instance of the governing council. A desperate elopement from the provisions of those legislations and a resort to the public service rules to achieve a desire of an ouster from an office that enjoys a statutory flavour is illegal. Secondly, even if it is being suggested that in the instance of the CBN governor, the rule of suspension from office pending investigation of allegations of act of misconduct, as provided by Rules 04302-04306, and 04402 of the Public Service
Rules, which the President may have invoked. But in the actual sense, the President cannot invoke that rule because it is only the Federal Civil Service Commission that can invoke the disciplinary powers. For the avoidance of any doubt, Rule 04305 provides that “suspension should not be used as a synonym for interdiction. It shall apply where a prima facie case, the nature of which is serious, has been established against an officer, and it is considered necessary in the public interest that he should forthwith be prohibited from carrying on his duties. Pending investigation into the misconduct, the Federal Civil Service Commission or the Permanent Secretary/Head of Extra Ministerial Department
(if within his delegated powers shall forthwith suspend him from the exercise of the powers and functions of his office and from the enjoyment of his salary.” Since the CBN is not answerable to the Ministry of Finance, in that regard, it is an autonomous body made so by the legislature in order to guarantee its efficiency. It is called statutory autonomy, and everybody agrees on this. So, from the purview of the constitution, the president has acted illegally. Regardless of the claims of what is being claimed that he (CBN Governor) may have done, he is now playing a whistle blowing role and he is now the peoples’ advocate, exposing corruption while the president and the ministers are defending.
THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, February 23, 2014
The Waves That Blew Sanusi Away FRC To Lead Investigation By Geoff Iyatse MID increasing uncertainty in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), The Guardian was informed, at the weekend, that full investigation into the 22-point allegations leveled against the suspended governor of the regulatory body, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, would commence next week. The investigation, which sources said would be headed by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC), will determined the extent of violation of the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) and other alleged infractions raised in the report. Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, with other relevant cabinet members are said to have started work on the investigation modalities. The process, a source revealed, started immediately Sanusi’s suspension was officially announced. Further findings also uncovered activities by key members of the federal cabinet to deter President Goodluck Jonathan from pursuing the content of the document that nailed Sanusi to logical conclusion. The document, prepared by FRC, alongside the financial statement of the Central Bank was initially referred to Chief Economic Adviser, Dr. Nwanze Okidegbe, for treatment and appropriate advice. But his response was “there was no issue” in the account that would warrant the President’s attention. Unsatisfied with the response, the President referred back to Jim Obazee, chief executive officer of FRC, demanding more clarification and advice based on sections 8 1(e) and 11 1 (d) of the FRC Act of 2011. It was at this point that preliminary investigation into the entire gamut of ‘Sanusi’s sins’ commenced. Section 8 1(e) says the Council shall “advise the Federal Government on matters relating to accounting and financial reporting standards” while Section 11 1(d) specifies its objective to include ensuring “accuracy and reliability of financial reports and corporate disclosures, pursuant to the various laws and regulations currently in existence.” Sources said that Obazee held series of meeting with Jonathan in Lagos and Abuja on the “seriousness of the infractions and possible impact on the economy” if left unaddressed. The most recent was held in Aso Rock in mid-January during which the suspension letter was drafted. Obazee was said to hold a two-hour meeting with the President during which implications of the contraventions were further examined. For months, Obazee came under intense pressure to drop his allegations against the Central Bank. A source said the apex bank made juicy offers to top FRC management to induce them. But they insisted in discharging the mandates of the Council. At different occasions, investigation suggested that Sanusi met with Obazee on the matter and pleaded with him to drop the case but the FRC’s boss resisted. Towards the end of last year, representatives of Sanusi reportedly visited the FRC’s office in Lagos to entreat on behalf of their principal. Shortly after Sanusi’s suspension, The Guardian reached Obazee for comments on the allegations. But he said it would be premature to speak on the matter. On whether it has the power to examine the account of CBN, he referred to section 11 (b), 8 1(e), 11 (d) and 62 1 (c). Section 11 (b) says the objective of the council shall be to “give guidance on issues relating to financial reporting and corporate governance to bodies listed in sections 2 (2) (b), (c) and (d)” of the act.” The corporate bodies listed in the section include: the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, the Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, the Corporate Affairs Commission, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Federal Ministry of Commerce and the Federal Ministry of Finance. Others are the Nigerian Accounting Association, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National
Insurance Commission, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the National Pension Commission. The organisations are represented in the board of FRC currently chaired for former chairman of ANAN, Maryam Ladi Ibrahim. Section 8 1 (d) says the Council shall “receive copies of annual reports and financial statements of public interest entities from preparers within 60 days of the approval of the boards” while 11 (d) notes that the Council shall “ensure accuracy and reliability of financial reports and corporate disclosures, pursuant to the various laws and regulations currently in existences. Section 62 1 (C) says it “may investigate or cause to be investigated any material irregularity notified to it.” It was a tug of war getting CBN to file its financial statement with FRC for examination last year. Sanusi reportedly held on to its independent status as reason the statement could not be examined by any body. When it did eventually, the two institutions locked horns over the inconsistency of the apex bank’s 2012 financial statement with the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS). FRC was said to have raised objections over the irregularities that eventually led to Sanusi’s suspension. But the Central Bank insisted the newly-formed financial reporting regulator had no ground to question the statement because it is “autonomous.” Instead of responding to the explanations sought by FRC, Sanusi was said to have resorted to blackmail. That was when Sanusi reportedly incited the Bankers’ Committee to get at FRC by demanding the whereabouts of their contributions to the proposed IFRS Academy, which it (FRC) spearheads. Meanwhile, Executive Chairman of the Society for Analytical Economics, Nigeria (SEAN), say there is nothing autonomous in the CBN governorship beyond his power to discharge the monetary policy mandate. He said the Central Bank has only misconstrued its autonomy as a cloak for perpetrating illegality. Owoh wondered how Central Bank, which operates under the executive arm of government could lay claim to complete autonomy. He said what the CBN Act calls “independent” is restricted to instrument autonomy. He noted that the act quoted to make case for Sanusi does not cover allegations bordering financial malpractices, which carry the weight of criminal activities. He argued that the President must be convinced (in the past 10 months the investigation has been ongoing) that there is need for full investigation, which should naturally demand that Sanusi steps aside. “This is not negligence of duty or ordinary misdemeanor. They are allegations of criminal offence. There is no other process it should take other than criminal procedure.
Obazee, FRC’s Boss There is nowhere in the world where somebody accused of stealing is expected to stay in office under the cover of law; it is not administrative misconduct, dereliction of duties, income or conflict of interest,” he noted. Owoh also noted that even the recent actions of Sanusi, which seemed to have openly disparaged the position of the President, amounted to insubordination that could be relied upon to relieve him of his duty as provided by the CBN Act. Notably, the economists said Sanusi could not have single-handedly committed the alleged financial misconducts without the active involvement of other staff of the CBN and the connivance of its board. He called on the government to broaden the investigation to ensure that no accomplice escapes judgment. Similarly, Mike Ozekhomhe, a senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said Sanusi could not have remained in his office in the face of “weighty allegations of missing funds being forensically audited… Not only did the suspension come too late, it should also have been outright sack or dismissal. I am one of the strident critics of President Jonathan for being too tardy in taking crucial decisions on critical matters that affect the country. This is one such tardy decision coming too late. “Like the American Federal Reserve Bank, the CBN by its Act, is supposed to be banker to banks, spearhead stability in prices and control interest rates, in a way that makes them moderate, maximize employment opportunities. It is also expected to conduct the mon-
etary policy, supervise and regulate banking and allied institutions, conduct research into the economy and make it buoyant.” Director of the Nigerian Development and Finance Forum (NDFF), Jide Akintunde, said Sanusi deserved the suspension because his job, as senior member of the administration, was not expected to assume the role of a whistleblower. He said he should have resigned immediately he felt he could not continue to bear the pang of corruption perpetrated around him. “It is unconventional behaviour… The CBN governor is not anti-corruption agency. Good that he has access to information the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Still, he was not expected to raise public alarm. He could have leaked the information to the media (for the good of the system) but it must not be traced to him,” he noted. At the screening of Sanusi for the CBN job was in 2008, it was obvious late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua himself who nominated him knew little about him. He comes from traditional power bloc, worked with the United Bank for Africa Plc and the First Bank of Nigeria Plc (highly conservative institutions) where he served as risk manager. On this basis, Sanusi was expected to be a pro-establishment individual. But Akintunde recalled that to have stood up against the policies of the government Sanusi was about to join even before he was confirmed meant that Yar’Adua, an extremely quiet individual, only nominated him on the basis of façade rather than fact. The fact: Sanusi has been extremely contentious in the past five years.
President Acted Illegally, Says Ogunye Following the suspension of the CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, constitutional lawyer and public interest litigant, Jiti Ogunye, in this interview with Daniel Anazia, examines the implications of the action for the economy. HAT is the position of the W law on the suspension of the CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi? The law is clear about this. But many Nigerians have concluded without the benefit of legal opinion. I am certain the President had the benefit of legal opinion but he decided to brush it aside it asider to achieve a desperate
end. The provisions of the CBN Act state clearly the rule of appointment of the governor and his removal. Section 8 covers the appointment, while section 11 governs the tenure of appointment. To be appointed as CBN Governor, two-third majority of the Senate must approve of the appointment by vote, and to be removed, it will also require the same two-third majority of the Senate. When the letter that the CBN Governor wrote to the President was allegedly leaked to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, an accusation was made in the wake of the letter. The media reported it and it was not denied that the President, ruffled by the disclosures, called on the governor Ogunye to resign. Sanusi, according reports, told the President he won’t would not go willingly, he pushed resign because of the security of his him out. I think this has serious implicatenure. In actual sense, what the President has done is that since he tions for the rule of law and due
process. Recently, the CBN governor carried out an extra-ordinary measure by buying some money in order to stabilise our foreign reserve so that the value of naira would not plummet. This tells you, how critical the state of our economy is right now and the President amidst this carried out this measure. He knows what the law says but has decided not to abide by it. Yes, the President may claim he has not removed the CBN governor from office but merely suspended him. That would be a mischievous justification to be given because the CBN Act is clear on the provisions. Once the legislature has not give to any authority the power of suspension, he cannot operate outside the provision of CBN Act while it is clear that what he wanted to
CONTINUED ON PAGE 29
THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, February 23, 2014
BUSINESS BOYO: Autonomy For CBN Does Not Mean Lack Of Total Control Sanusi’s Cup Was Full Henry Boyo, an economist, has been at the forefront of the crusade for alternative monetary policy thrust dating back to the era of Joseph Sanusi as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). In this interview with GEOFF IYATSE, he says the weightiest charge against Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was the creation of inappropriate money supply mechanism that enriched the apex bank, while impoverishing Nigerians. What is the scope and implications of CBN’s autonomous status? HE subject, autonomy, is misconceived by a number of people. Autonomy of the Central Bank relates technically to policies and strategies of the institution in maintaining price stability. You cannot have a fully autonomous organisation existing side by side with the federation. The autonomy of the CBN does not mean it is outside all forms of control or regulation. Unfortunately, the legislature has been reluctant to challenge the Central Bank on the issue of excess liquidity and inducement in creating excess liquidity in the market. The Constitution says all money should be paid into the Federation pool. It does not say only naira but all money. The account should be able to take all receipts, whether daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. This includes dollar receipts. This is because you cannot ban the Federal Government from maintaining domiciliary account when the right is granted to ordinary citizens. It is expected that the three tiers of government should be able to maintain accounts into which they can pay incomes distributed to them whether they come in naira or dollar. The Constitution does not say the money must be converted to naira (during which excess liquidity is created) before it is distributed to different levels of government. What the current system does is stopping the government from maintaining domiciliary accounts. Otherwise, it means in practical terms that they have to wait for you to change the money earned in dollar into naira first after which they can re-convert to dollar. And it is the same CBN that captures the dollar in the first place that will still sell the government. This system is terrible, yet the legislature has never taken the CBN up on the practice. What does autonomy mean? It implies that whatever the government must do to ensure price stability, it can do independently. But this is not a sufficient ground to say the bank is devoid of control, and that it can lend money to China at the same time Nigeria is going to the Asian country to borrow. It does not mean that the issue of creating excess naira every time cannot be questioned? What is the guarantee in the CBN Act that the person occupying the office of CBN governor cannot be unduly victimized if he falls out of favour like Sanusi is alleging? Has any CBN governor been threatened in any way? Here you have a governor who appears inconsistent. He comes up with spurious allegations and makes a u-turn at will. You have a governor who said money laundering was getting very serious in Nigeria and that people bring huge money to the country launder it and take it to Dubai. Hence, he would reduce sale of dollar at bureau de change by $250,000 weekly. Within two months, he said they would not do that again. How many presidents will tolerate that? If you were the President and you go to the banks Sanusi has been lending money to borrow to fund while the governor sits on $40 billion, won’t do something? Is government and economic advisers not aware that the reserve was there when they decided to go borrowing at alarming rate? That is a self-serving question. Does the process I explained induce price stability? Does it guarantee low interest rates for different sectors of the economy? If the CBN is doing things that compound the possibility of achieving price stability, there must be somewhere or some way of regulating him.
Boyo All the allegations made by the Presidency are quite weighty, especially N160 billion spent on CBN’s intervention without appropriation. There is no law that says the CBN has to intervene in education, health, aviation and others. There is nothing like that. It is not inappropriate for the government to say these are the allegations we have against Sanusi. To me, the most important allegations are what I have been stressing. If the CBN governor openly confesses that for four years he has been involved in the charade of giving government’s money to banks and borrowing it at 12 per cent while keeping the money borrowed at such exorbitant rate idle, you must wonder whether the person is alright. The autonomy of the CBN revolves around monetary policy practices. And if the monetary policy practices are not working, the man should be kept on track because the CBN Act is clear on this. The Act says: maintain price stability. On the basis of that alone, you can sack him if he fails to perform his mandate. If not the kind of partisan politics we play everywhere, it is a simple thing to remove any CBN governor on the basis of failure to maintain price stability. He should go to Europe to find out how they do it there. He should ask Zimbabwe how it brought its inflation rate to one per cent? Why can’t we do the same with all the intellectual people we have in charge of the economy. They will not be sincere to approach the problem from that angle because they know what they benefit from the rot. Should the government have waited for over four years to remove Sanusi when it was obvious that he was getting it wrong long ago? What if those in government have not realised
that he has failed in monetary policy regulation? If any other thing, he was being celebrated. How can we be celebrating inflation rate of eight per cent, whereas that will eliminate all your incomes every 12 years? The income of Zimbabwe will take almost 100 years to be wiped compared with Nigeria’s 12 years. Has the government really just realised? I think what we saw recently was the high point of everything. We watched him for so long and suddenly he came up with a shocker that $49.8 million was missing. Later, he said it was $12 million and most recently he said it was $20 million. If Jonathan refused to act, people would say he has problem. How could a CBN governor say his disclosure was not a result of complete investigation? Sanusi’s cup was full? What came to your mind when you heard the suspension? What came to my mind is not as important as the fact that they are making Nigerians poorer. What came to my mind was good riddance. And that was the same thing I said when Prof. Chukwuma Soludo left. They both failed in the primary mandate of the Central Bank – price stability. How come they have not seen anything wrong with over 20 per cent interest rates banks lend to the real sector? What precedent does the suspension set for future governors? It means that future CBN governors will not take their mandates for granted because they perceive nobody will do anything. The first mandate of the governor is price stability. This encompasses inflation rate and price stability. What we should do about the CBN Act on this issue is simple. To scientifically judge the success or failure of CBN governor, the Constitution should specify what we consider as price
stability in its three areas. In the area of interest rate, you take the best global practice, which is the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). With that, if any CBN governor creates an environment that makes cost of fund higher than LIBOR benchmark, he has failed and should be asked to go. Then on inflation rate, if he cannot achieve four per cent inflation rate, he should go. That should be enshrined in the Act. For years, they have refused to listen to the argument that they are making people poorer by creating excess liquidity. You fill the system with excess naira, which creates excess liquidity, unaffordable interest rate and exorbitant inflation rate that make it impossible to have petrol without subsidy. Without defining the prime mandate of the Central Bank with specific figures, the governor will tell you he has succeeded because he brings inflation down from 12 per cent to eight per cent. Unfortunately, the implication of the rate is that you will lose your income in 12 years. We should define the mandate in terms of indices that tally with global practices. Immediately, the governor falls bellow the specified mandate, he should tender his resignation letter. We don’t manage our money supply well, otherwise, how come we become poorer when we get richer. Why does naira become weaker when we earn more dollar? Recall in 1996 when we had $4 billion reserve, which was four-month import cover. What was the exchange rate? It was N80 to a dollar. Now we have grown the reserve 10 times with about 15 month important cover. Interestingly, the exchange rate has moved up to N170 to a dollar. The CBN should stop creating excess liquidity by capturing dollar and printing naira in exchange. Once this is done, the system will run on its own. These things are done to enrich the banks. The whole problem starts with excess liquidity. Interest rate rise because of this; inflation rises because excess liquidity; exchange rate goes up because of excess liquidity. Doesn’t the suspension unveil the structural defect of the CBN? If another person chairs the board of the bank won’t there be improved oversight? That is speculation. Supposing you bring another person to supervise the governor, what happens when he sees the benefits in the system? It is just like the nominated CBN governor. Very soon, he will become an ex-managing director of a bank. He has been tutored along the line of feeding fat on excess liquidity and liquidity mop up. Who will they bring to head the board? Is it Soludo, who was doing the same thing? Stop CBN from capturing the dollar earnings. That is where it is getting all these intervention funds; that is why it can go to China to invest at three or four per cent while we are borrowing from the same country at seven per cent. As the bank accumulates huge money through dollar capturing, it creates higher interest, inflation and exchange rates that impoverish Nigerians.
Sanusinomics On Trial CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27 bers. “Non compliance with laws and relevant regulatory guidelines could lead to reputational damage for CBN. Examples are: The provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the CBN and other Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) on Banking Resolution Sinking Fund are not being complied with by the CBN. “A Board of Trustees (BOT) to manage the fund has not been put in place since it was established in 2010. (The BOT is supposed to consist of two representatives of the CBN, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, a representative of the Debt Management Office and five members of the eligible financial institutions. The CBN went ahead to issue the Nigerian Treasury bill investment using part of the money in this banking
resolution sinking fund account without the settling up and approval of the said Board of Trustees in accordance with the signed MOU. “Some parastatals deposit accounts with the CBN have debit or overdrawn positions. This is contrary to government policy on the CBN’s management of parastatals accounts with the CBN. Amongst the MDAs listed by the CBN, with overdrawn positions to which the CBN is now accounting as loan provisioning are Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, Nigerian Security and civil Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Federal Civil Service Commission. It will be necessary to circularise these MDAs to ascertain the veracity of this claim by the CBN.” But the suspended governor insists he is not guilty of any of the “allegations” contained in FRC’s
report. According to him, there is nothing fraudulent in CBN intervening in education and other sectors of the economy. Insisting that truth cannot be suspended, Sanusi told CNBC, shortly after he heard news of his suspension in far-away Niger Republic, that he would challenge his ‘ouster’ in court just to avoid a dangerous precedence for incoming governors. The court, two days ago, ordered security agencies to refrain from arresting him. Sanusinomics During his five-year tenure, Sanusi moved against the status quo, enthroning controversial risk-management culture that has kept banks in perpetual fear, almost risk-averse. He cast aspersions on the banking reforms/consolidation of his predecessor, Prof. Chukwuma
Soludo, and initiated a new wave of reforms, which many at the time considered controversial. Two weeks after his appointment by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Sanusi, on August 14, 2009, removed chief executives and executive board members of five banks — Intercontinental Bank Plc (run by Erastus Akingbola), Union Bank (managed by Barth Ebong), Afribank (Sabastine Adigwe), Oceanic Bank (Cecilia Ibru) and Finbank (Mr. Okey Nwosu) — injected N400 billion tier-two capital and acquired the banks in a manner the former owners described as curious. He, immediately, appointed new chief executives — Mr. John Aboh (Oceanic International Bank Plc); Mr. Mahmud L. Alabi (Intercontinental Bank Plc); Mrs. Suzanne Iroche (Finbank Plc); Mrs. Funke Os-
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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, February 23, 2014
BUSINESS Sanusinomics On Trial CONTINUED ON PAGE 30 ibodu (Union Bank Plc). He had explained that the banks’ officials were removed due to high level of non-performing loans arising from poor corporate governance practices, lax credit administration processes and non-adherence to the credit risk management practices. “As at June 4, 2009, when I assumed office as Governor of CBN, the total amount outstanding at the Expanded Discount Window (EDW) was N256.571bn most of which was owed by the five banks, Sanusi said. ”A review of the activities in EDW,” he explained, “showed that four banks had been almost permanently locked in as borrowers and were clearly unable to repay their obligations. A fifth bank had been a very frequent borrower when its profile ordinarily should have placed it among the net placers of funds in the market. “Whereas the five banks were by no means the only ones to have benefited from EDW, the persistence and frequency of their demand pointed to a deeper problem and CBN identified them as probable source of financial instability, most likely suffering from deeper problems due to non-performing loans.” The action on the five banks was followed with the takeover of two other banks — Bank PHB (managed by Mr. Francis Atuche) and Equatorial Trust Bank — and injection of additional N200 billion in October of the same year, although the latter was subsequently given a soft landing to recapitalise and later form a merger with Sterling Bank Plc. Bank PHB was said to have been cleared by the apex bank examiners, who allegedly indicted the first five bank executives. Spring Bank (now Enterprise Bank), which was bought over by Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank), was also taken over by the CBN. The sacked bank executives were arrived in court for allegedly compromising ethics and issuing out loans to cronies. Executive directors of the affected banks were also barred from taking up board positions in the financial services sector, a ban that was lifted one year after (June, 2010) in a manner Sanusi’s critics described as hasty. Eight months later (June, 2010), reports indicated that the “CBN was secretly giving clearance to executive directors of the rescued banks, raising questions as to why they were sacked in the first instance.” A copy of such letters signed by Sanusi read in part: “Please, refer to my order dated 14 August 2009, directing your removal as an Executive Director of…bank. Following the said order, several representations were made to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for a review of the circumstances leading to your removal from office. “The management has duly considered these representations and wishes to state that your removal does not amount to being blacklisted by CBN. Accordingly, CBN hereby confirms that it has no objection to your seeking employment in the financial services sector subject to the express approval by CBN where required. “However, it should be noted that the position stated above does not constitute a waiver of any action which CBN or any other agency of government may take against you should the on-going investigation in … bank reveal any serious misconduct or any infraction of extant laws or regulations. “All relevant agencies are being advised to release your travel documents or any property in their possession,” the letter stated. The new sect of managers appointed by the CBN trimmed down personnel and practically supervised the acquisition of the banks by newly established Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON). Curiously, some of the CBN appointed managers of the acquired banks got entangled with scandals and financial indiscipline, which were quietly managed. The managers were relieved of their jobs. As the situation stabilised, the apex bank reeled out regulatory policies in such quick successions that banks were left more confused on how to implement them. This came as CBN fights for the kind of independence that leaves the governor all-powerful. By the CBN Act, the governor leads the apex bank’s Board and all relevant ‘committees’ making him a judge in his own case. While the Sanusi-Jonathan drama plays on, politicians are already taking leverage, even as the economy looks on.
Reactions trail Sanusi’s suspension By Chijioke Nelson and Chijioke Iremeka HE suspension of the embattled Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, on allegations of financial recklessness and abuse of processes, has elicited several reactions. Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf, said the Presidency should have exercised further restraint, especially as he had only three months to go and then the full investigation can begin. According to him, the allegations against him are not issues of yesterday, but over the years and three more months would not have made it everlasting, especially as the office is strategic to the flow of foreign direct investments. “How will government be able to separate the development from the ongoing investigations of misappropriation against the
NNPC, which he is a major part? This is a wrong signal both to investors and our credibility for the fight against corruption in the country,” he said. Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives, Bismack Rewane, said that the Federal Government, which appointed him in the first place and now decided to remove him, may have acted in the overall good of all, just as the government claimed. He however, said: “The financial market has its own constituency. This means that anything that causes uncertainty from the regulatory point of view will equally make the system unstable. This is general everywhere in the world and caution is more important now. “Already, the foreign exchange and capital markets have been closed to forestall panic and negative reactions by investors and may be opened when everything about the suspension and continuity of the system is clear,
otherwise, everything now will tend towards negative due to fear of uncertainties.” Also, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), said it notes with regret the removal of Sanusi, who has been suspended from office by the President, pending investigations into “various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct, which are inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a Central Bank propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence, transparency and financial discipline”. The Lead Director of CSJ, Eze Onyekpere, said: “The presidential statement announcing his suspension said he had been removed pending ‘investigations into breaches of enabling laws, due process and mandate’ of CBN, however, raises a lot of issues. First, the action of the President seems unjustifiable in law. The CBN Act in section 11 specifically made provisions for this.
General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Shehu Yusuf (left) presents a gift to the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Sir Bassey Dan-Abia, when he paid a courtesy visit to the Commission in Rivers… last week.
Why President Can Suspend CBN Governor By Chuks Nwachukwu T is correct that the CBN Act provides that the President may remove the CBN Governor with the consent of two-thirds of the Senate. There is debate as to whether a suspension from office constitutes a removal for the purposes of the provision. Similar debate arose when the President suspended the former President of the Court of Appeal in respect of which office a similar provision is made in the Constitution. It is a matter that the Supreme Court would have to settle. I think that a distinction should be made with regard to the two offices in that while the one is statutory, the other is constitutional. Also, the danger of delay to strip the holder of the office of the powers thereof while approval is sought from the Senate is not the same in both cases. While it is difficult to see what such danger might possibly be with regard to the President of the Court of Appeal (except where interference with investigations into financial impropriety is suspected, which can be taken of with arrest and detention) it cannot be doubted that there is a real danger in allowing a CBN Governor, who is
suspected of infidelity and financial recklessness to remain in office and holding the keys to the national treasury. It would be needful for the President, in such a case, to act immediately to suspend the Governor. But such should be accompanied with a report to the Senate of the need for the action. The Senate may then investigate the report and either give its blessing to the action or reject it. It must be appreciated that the initial responsibility to interpret a law is that of the President This derives from the vesting of executive powers on that office by which the holder has the responsibility to act to execute the law. To execute the law, the President must advice himself as to its meaning or interpretation. In the case of Sanusi therefore, until the courts say to the contrary, the President’s interpretation that suspension is not the same as removal as it relates to the office of the CBN Governor is the one that applies. On the justification for the removal of the CBN Governor, I had written to the IMF and World Bank to catalogue the questionable actions of Sanusi that robbed mil-
lions of Nigerians of their investments in favour of interests, which he favoured and pre-selected. I showed from the initial reports from Sanusi’s so-called forensic reports of the banks detailing what volume of loans of the respective banks where bad and to what extent such depleted their capital and shareholders funds, and consequently how much each bank required to be on the clear, the allegation that these banks remained insolvent after AMCON had mopped all those bad loans and paid the banks in bonds and Sanusi himself had injected billions into them as capital, could not by any means be true. I pointed to Sanusi’s failure to return the over N191 billion recovered from Oceanic Bank, and his failure to account for the funds despite a court order, while he had no scruples about selling the same bank to Ecobank Plc for a paltry N25 billion to show that Sanusi was never interested in assisting Oceanic Bank and its shareholders but in stripping the bank and its shareholders. The same is true of Akingbola and Intercontinental Bank. If Sanusi had the interest of the
bank at heart he would not have sold it to Access Bank for N50 billion when the bank was claiming over N400 billion from Akingbola so that if Akingbola should pay that money it would be to Acces Bank not Intercontinental Bank. Sanusi only came to take some banks away from their owners and hand them over to people he favoured for one reason or the other. He played on the ignorance of the public who supposed that these banks were owned in every material respect by their chief executives whom he had painted black. The public did not realise that these persons own only about five to 10 per cent stake in the banks and that the balance was owned by millions of individual small-time shareholders and institutional investors, including mutual funds and pension funds. Sanusi merely employed sophistry, specious arguments, demagoguery and grand-standing to warm himself into the hearts of unsuspecting Nigerians and international media. He should have been removed a long time ago. Nwachukwu is a lawyer
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A Grand Push To Grow Aquaculture By Fabian Odum OR the staggering national annual fish Fdown import of about $330m (N53billion) to be cut and scarce foreign exchange conserved, Nigeria needs to increase attention to fish farming. In a bid to achieve this target, the West Africa Agriculture Productivity Programme (WAAPP) and the National Institute for Fresh Water Fisheries Research (NIFFR) in New Bussa, Niger state, among others are working together to
WAAPP, Fisheries Institute Explore Fresh Options step up fish production. WAAPP-Nigeria, according to its National Project Coordinator, Prof. Damian Chikwendu the institute is being turned to a National Centre of Specialisation in Aquaculture with the goal to develop and release top-notch technologies in the trade for adoption in Nigeria and ECOWAS countries. This is to help in boosting fish farming productivity in the region.
To further drive home the activities of the Programme, a document from the organisation said, “selected fish hatcheries from across the country were assessed and individually commissioned to upgrade their production facilities, access professional fish health advisory services and treatment where needed. “In addition, develop high quality brood stock and produced a combined total of
Members of All Seasons Agro-Allied Development Initiative (ASAADI) led by its Principal, Mr. Theophilus Sado with representatives of the farmers affected by last year’s flood during the distribution of yam seedlings at Anegbette, Edo state recently.
250million high quality fingerlings (catfish, carp and tilapia) in the first year for use by selected small-and-medium scale fish farms in the country,” it said. Other ways of fast tracking fish production, which activities have been executed also include enabling the selected fish farms to become the output market for the fingerlings produced by the hatcheries, help stakeholders maintain the highest standards in aquaculture practices especially, where the criteria for qualifying for Certification of Fish farms and Aquaculture products in Nigeria are followed and facilitating the exportation of fish products. In achieving the export requirement, WAAPPNigeria will empower the fish processor in drying, deboning, packing and developing other fish products and assisting marketers enter the national and export markets for packaged fish. In a WAAPP brochure, it states that Nigeria consumes about 2.6million metric tonnes of fish annually, of which about 60 per cent (1.6million metric tonnes) is imported. Of the remaining 40 per cent, which is locally sourced, aquaculture accounts for 60,000 metric tonnes while the rest 940,000metric tonnes is captured from the nations waters, both inland and coastal. In recent years, fish consumption has increased and continuing its upward trend but in spite of this, FAO estimates that Nigeria’s per capita consumption of fish is only 11kg, about half the global average fish consumption. It warns that Nigeria needs to increase local production in order to meet domestic need and reduce foreign exchange expended on fish importation. However, capture fishery in Nigeria is unregulated and open to abuse such as overfishing and use nylon nets while it can be unpredictable and unsustainable due to strong effect of environmental conditions and techno;ogies employed in hunting. In the interest of the fish sector sustainability, the Aquaculture value chain under the Agriculture Transformation Agenda has proposed to produce one million tonnes of table fish and 1.2billion fingerlings by 2015.
Knocks, Kudos As Stakeholders Scrutinise 2014 Agric Budget By Armsfree Ajanaku
ETWEEN the uninterested and the uninitiated, figures have a way of confounding. But for the keen faces that showed up at the Nugget Hotel Utako, Abuja venue of the stakeholder consultation on the 2014 budget of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the above average span of attention to the figures reeled out was striking. Many times during the deliberations, the mood of the audience alternated between approval and disapproval, as it digested the implications of the billions proposed for spending in 2014 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Even during the tea break, participants discussed animatedly about the efficacy or otherwise of the spending proposed. The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) with support put the event together from the Federal Public Reform Programme (FEPAR) of the UK Department of International Development. Early on, the point was stressed by the President of NANTS, Barrister Ken Ukaoha that the consultation was not meant for participants to engage in bashing or a directionless criticism of the government. He said the forum was for Nigerians to distill ideas that could help government shape its priorities within the context of the budgeting process. Ukaoha commended the Federal Government for what was described as the great strides taken in the push to revolutionise Nigerian agriculture. The session thus got underway with a pointer to some of the positive realities and prospects of the 2014 Agriculture Budget. At a time, when public discourse has focused on the recurrent-capital expenditure debate, a good omen for agric in 2014 was spotted in the fact that the budget provided more monies for capital expenditure compared to what was provided for recurrent. But further
analysis of the proposal spotlighted several ambiguous items in the proposal, which were queried by the representatives of civil societies gathered. For instance, the proposal had several items for the purchase of “seeds, seeds and seedlings, improved seeds, access to seeds/feeds,” all appearing at different times, with hundreds of millions allocated. Those who drew up the budget, it seemed, did so without providing a clear picture or detailed explanation of these fuzzy proposals. Many in the audience could not understand the difference between items like “seeds, improved seeds, and access to seeds.” Another example was found in the various proposals for “inorganic fertilizer, organic fertilizer, and access to fertilizer.” Participants were astounded at the proposal for “access to fertilizer” with many derisively asking what exactly this means as a line item in the budget. There was also a curious provision for a “school feeding programme and feeding less privileged members of the public in six poverty stricken states of the federation.” For this, N170 million was proposed, but bemused stakeholders wondered what business the ministry has with implementing a “school feeding programme,” which should ordinarily be within the purview of the Ministry of Education. The gathering also frowned at repetitive items in the proposals for overheads such as provisions for “local travel: training, local travels: others,” as well as items such as “medical expenses and purchase of drugs,” which ordinarily should be under the purview of the Ministry of Health or should be taken care of by the National health Insurance Scheme, to which all staff of the ministry should be registered ordinarily. Beyond the specifics of the line items, however, the consultative forum attempted to analyse the proposals within the context of the Key Programmes Policies and Projects (KPPPs), as enunciated in the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA). Out of the entire 2014 federal
budget of 4.6 trillion, 66.6 billion was allocated to agriculture, which is just 1.47 percent of the total federal proposal. That represents 1.78 percent contraction of the agric size of the agric budget from 2013. Agriculture provides livelihoods for 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population. The drop in the agric budget has also raised questions about Nigeria’s commitment to the Maputo Declaration, which commits African countries to spending at least 10 percent of their national budgets on agric sector, to create jobs and reduce poverty. The conclusion was that government does not appear to be putting its money where its mouth is, with respect to the KPPPs. Analysis of the agric budget pointed at grossly inadequate provisions for projects in the budget that would have had a direct bearing to the KPPPs. One example is the proposal for “Capacity Building for Agric Extension Managers and agric field officers on agric value chains selected under the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA).” This activity, which stakeholders reckon to be very critical in the light of the role of the extension services to transforming agriculture, was provided with a paltry sum of N5million in the budget. On the whole, it was discovered that budget provisions with a direct link to the KPPPs amounted to N45 million out of a total of N66.644billion in the 2014 budget. Then there was talk about funding gaps. In the area of fertilizer for example, the ATA KPPPs project an investment of N10 billion in 2014, but the 2014 agric budget only provided for N2.7billion. These all tended to suggest that the government is not following up on the areas it already documented would be of topmost priority in terms of spending. Research, for instance, shows that the average fertilizer use in Nigeria is 13kg per hectare compared to the world average of 100kg per hectare and 150kg per hectare for Asia. The ATA envisages 50kg per hectare of fertilizer usage for Nigerian farmers. Researches show that only five percent of Nigerian
farmers could access improved seeds and they operate with only 10 tractors per 100 hectares compared to 241 tractors per 100 hectares in Indonesia. These are some of the areas across the KPPPs, where civil society expectations were raised that public spending on agriculture would address. But the 2014 agric budget seemed to have dashed those expectations. Subsequently, the gathering picked little cheer from the fact that annual budgetary allocation to agriculture had been nose-diving yearly since 2009, declining from 6.20 percent of the total budget in 2009 to 1.47 percent in 2014. A “best practice” comparison was therefore drawn between Nigeria and Sierra Leone, which like Nigeria has resolved to make agriculture the engine of its economic growth. It was noted that unlike Nigeria, Sierra Leone had long matched words with action by consistently ensuring that the percentage allocation to the agricultural sector from its annual national budget grows from 6 percent in 2011 to 7.2 percent in 2014. Nevertheless, reservations were expressed that pushing for more funding without evaluating the impact of specific projects on farmers could be counterproductive. For instance, the fertilizer component of the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) has come under increasing scrutiny, because it has been dogged by hitches such as the arrival of this critical input, long after the planting season in many parts of the country is over. Since the budget was about dealing with agricultural issues, these were naturally raised. A representative of the Maize Growers Association called for viable seeds to be given to farmers. He also kicked against the purchase of big tractors that were too expensive, and difficult for farmers to maintain. He, therefore, admonished the ministry to invest in smaller 300 horsepower tractors, the type being used by farmers in China. In the area of mechanisation, there is a National Centre for Agriculture Mechanisation based in Ilorin, Kwara
State, but it does not have the muscle to provide tractor hire services in other far-flung parts of the country. Similarly, calls were made for the ministry to turn tracts of virgin lands across the country to cultivable land on which farmers can work. The consensus was that it would be extremely difficult for farmers themselves or the private sector to clear such land because it takes not less than 10 years to recoup such an investment. As such, there was no mistaking the fact that government alone has the capacity to deal with making virgin lands cultivable. However, for those who had an issue with what was deemed the funding for agriculture, a sector with a demonstrable job creation potentials, attention was drawn to the fact that there were several other sources of funding, especially borrowed funds, which were available to the Ministry of Agriculture. There was unease that much of these special funds were not even being appropriated by the National Assembly. Such funds are simply being accessed and spent according to the whim of the executive, ignoring extant laws that make it mandatory that the National Assembly appropriate for all expenditures by government. Such funds include the National Food Security Fund, and the FADAMA IV, amongst others. Possible solutions to effects of late passage of the budget were also mooted, with suggestions that multi-year budgeting would be crucial for a sector like agric, especially as farming remains a seasonal vocation. With the late release of capital provisions having negative impacts on programmes such as the GES scheme, the result is seen in several aspects of agric. According to the plan, results of the consultations would be forwarded to the National Assembly to aid its assessment of the 2014 proposals for agric.
Sunday, February 23, 2014 33
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Junior Guardian WORD POWER GAME Brim a) top b) wide c) hope d) light Laudable a) loud b) nice c) worthy d) beautiful Cranky a) hole b) nasty c) bad-tempered d) blast Slither a) glide b) slippery c) dangerous d) wise Lather a) soap b) climb c) wear d) poor Splendid a) fine b) brave c) doubt d) clear Haughty a) proud b) bold c) naughty d) dirty Caustic a) harsh b) corrosive c) scrape d) lash Hurl a) draw b) throw c) crawl d) dash Lull a) pause b) little c) pet d) smooth
Sunshine Sammy’s World Of Words AMMY Benson Scourt from Port Harsent in 10 words starting with letter G for your enjoyment this Sunday. You too can be a part of the fun by sending in 10 new words beginning with the letter G. Sunshine Sammy is always happy to
learn and share new words with the readers. Galaxy Gallop Grumpy Gauge Gradual Grandiose Glimpse Gentle Grasp Guillotine
POEMS My Boss And I When I take a long time, I am slow; But, when my boss takes a long time, he is thorough When I don’t do it, I am lazy When my boss doesn’t do it, he is busy When I do something without being told, I’m trying to be smart; When my boss does the same, that is initiative. When I please my boss, I am apple-polishing; When my boss pleases his own boss, he is co-operating When I do good, my boss never remembers But when I do wrong, he never forgets!
SOLUTIONS TO BRAIN TEASER (19) DISTURB DEADLY
By Janet N.U Obianyor, Kaduna-
Real Thoughts Real thoughts enhance, promote and nurture one’s mind R – Be Realistic E – Be Encouraging A- Achieve L- Be Loving, long lasting T- Think H- Hopeful, Honour O- Be Observant U- Be Understanding G- Be Great H- Be Humble T- Be on Top S- Be Specific, Sensitive Modify your thoughts and let them be qualitative thoughts that bring joy and happiness.
By Bamidele Salome Tettehfio Elias International Schools, Oke Odo
Please send your contributions to: The Junior Guardian Desk Rutam House P.M.B. 1217 Oshodi Or kikelola_oyebola@y ahoo.ca
Pupils of Creme de la Creme Pre-school after celebrating Valentine Day in their school located in Oduduwa Way, GRA-Ikeja, Lagos... last week
How To Improve Mathematics Skills In Children ATHEMATICS is the M bedrock of all scientific study and its application in our daily life is immeasurable. However, mathematics is the most dreaded subject by pupils, despite its relevance in improving a country’s technology. The handling of the subject by teachers needs to be re-examined if significant progress is to be made to rouse pupils’ interest.
ISSUES The best period to develop mathematics as a skill, to my mind, is during the tender ages, because the subject requires a good deal of attention and an ability to relate objects in their proper perspective. From the various reports on this subject, it is easy to conclude that scant effort is made by teachers and even parents to develop interest in the subject.
PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN
Mathematics skill can be improved by constant practice. Parents should encourage their children to solve mathematical problems daily. Apart from the recommended textbooks, a child should be given a wide range of books in the subject to read to build up the child’s sense of logic. Children should be made to have their own book corners at home, where books of their choice can be kept. Early reading of literature should be encouraged to enable the child develop a thought pattern. Students that perform well in the subject should be awarded gifts to spur others to emulate them. Although high marks are desirable, this is not a good incentive to spur the student. Frequent competition should be organised by MAN and names of winners published in newspapers and gifts given to outstanding students. A mathematics award committee should be set up at all levels of our educational system to honour students who perform well in the subject, as this will promote healthy competition amongst students. Lastly, it is my contention that mathematics teachers should be made to teach the subject right from the primary school level so that a proper foundation for the subject is laid, as a shaky start will lead to a shaky end. By Uyai Umana, Springfield School, Port Harcourt COMPILED BY KIKELOLA OYEBOLA
34| Sunday, February 23, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Boko Haram Insurgence Cannot Be Defeated By Military Campaign, By Alu Pastor Moses Alu, born into a multi-religious family of the late Alugbi chiefdom, the Chief of Wane in Eggon, Akwanga Local Council of Nassarawa State, is the Overseer of Bride Assembly Church, Ijesha, Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos. He recently turned 56 and in an interactive session with EMMA EKE, the Air Force officer-turned clergy gave insight into what is needed to achieve the synergy between religious leaders and government towards creating peaceful atmosphere for turning around the misfortune of the less privileged and guarantee even development in the country. You hardly look 56, what is the secret behind that? T is simply by having peace of mind and striving to observe the secret of healthy living. I’ve discovered that whenever someone is emotionally traumatised, there is the tendency for it to affect the overall wellbeing. But when you have no problem or don’t allow worries, you exude peace and look radiant. But this doesn’t mean I don’t have any challenge because there is nobody that doesn’t. It only means I don’t allow it to weigh me down. Not everybody was able to reach 50 and even go beyond that. It’s only by the special grace of God that I’m one of those still healthy at that age. I know many of my classmates, course mates, etc, that have died; many of them did not have the opportunity of reaching 50 and that’s why I’m thanking the Lord for the privilege. What was your profession before now? Actually, I lived all my life in the military. I was a Flight Lieutenant in the Air Force. The last place I served was at Logistics Command, Ikeja and I had some problems that got me out of the Force. I was detained at Ikoyi Prison between 1989 and 90 and it was while I was there that I met with the Lord. Before then, I had nothing to do with religion. I come from a family of both Christians and Muslims, and I was not serious with any of them, as I was leading my life the way it pleased me. In my family, religion was not an issue, but when I gave my life to Christ in the prison I turned a new leaf that has seen me acting differently from how I used to be. From 1990, when I was released, I have been visiting prisons in all parts of the country and all around Africa with my organisation, West African Prison Outreach. It was an NGO. Through it and with my prison experience, I have since discovered that no effort of man can change the prisons and the inmates unless the Lord intervenes. Given my experience in the prison, there is nothing in Nigerian prisons that can correct any criminal. In fact, if anything at all, it is a breeding ground for more criminals, because whoever goes in there comes out worse. I rose to be a pastor in the prison and when I came out, it buoyed me to take up the challenge, which led to my frequent visits to the prisons. This took me out of the country and exposed me to other countries’ way of handling prisons until 1998, when this ministry started. Why were you sent to Ikoyi Prison? I was in detention at the Ikoyi Prisons as a result of financial misappropriation at the Ikeja Air Force Command, where I was the Paymaster at the time. But after, the case was investigated, I was not culpable and I was released. It was not that I was sentenced into prison, in the real sense of the word. I had no option than to resign, more so, I had received the Lord and was facing another aspect of life in line with the calling, which saw me taking up the cause of prison inmates. The exposure made me conclude that there is nothing that is on the ground for real reform of inmates. … And why were you not put in a military prison? I was courtmashalled as soon as the problem emanated, but from what came out of it all, I think God knows what He was planning for me.
What was your prison experience and how did your family cope? To every serious-minded person, detention offers the best opportunity to reflect over life. As I said, I wasn’t so interested in church matters. But my wife, Clara was and this was a major issue, when I was asking for her hand in marriage. Her parents wouldn’t allow me because they are devoted Christians and I wasn’t. But she kept saying that one day; I would start living for Christ. Before my detention, we were just two years married, and she was visiting and bringing food for me; most times, she would pray for me, but I was still not yielding. However, something eventually happened. I believe her steadfastness in prayers must have gone a long way in transforming me. A fellow inmate had invited me to a prayer session led by a visiting pastor and I reluctantly went with him though I was having health challenges then. They prayed for me alongside others, and suddenly it was as if a new lease of life came into me. I later went to the pastor and said to him: ‘The prayer you people said for me seemed to have healed me.’ He opened up the more and told me that Jesus is real and that He heals. Not only that, he gave me a Bible and followed this up with the words. Behold, as the word was being administered, I felt like I was under arrest, and at the end of it all, I surrendered to the Lord, Who not only granted me instant healing, but also anointed me with many gifts, including healing others, proclaiming the word and prophecy. When my wife came on her next visit, she was surprised about what had happened. She thankfully prayed with me to the good Lord to sustain the grace. Remember, this was a man, who wasn’t giving serious thoughts to the issues of God. It was surprising to many of the inmates, who were with me how I later turned round to be a carrier of the Bible. But God did a lot to confirm His calling by giving me the healing ministry right there in the prison. You can imagine me, a non-believer approaching the inmates with message of God. Apart from giving me the healing ministry, God also gave me the word of knowledge, before anything happens, He usually reveals it to me till date. I would tell my fellow inmates that I saw this and that happen and it would come to pass. From there, many of them started believing the message I had for them. And whenever any of them fell sick and I prayed for him, he would be healed. The same goes for my family members that approached me for such prayers. Are you worried that despite so many churches and mosques, crime is on the increase in the country? Yes, that‘s true. But imagine how it would have been if there were not enough churches and mosques. I believe though that we can do better. The country can be better off if we (the clergy) carry on the way we should, such that our followers emulate us. It is unfortunate that some church leaders have adopted an attitude whereby criminals are comfortable in our midst. We have adopted an approach, especially in the Christian faith, which tends to promote materialism, such that many are now worshipping material things, instead of the other way round. It appears that the fear of God and love for humanity is no longer preached in many places. Thus, the same thing that unbelievers run after is what the Christians are after too. Tell me, how can churches influence the society differently if there is no change of attitude from it. Yes, increase in the number of churches should change many things. How were you able to start a prison NGO, being a military personnel, didn’t all of this affect your retirement benefits? No. In the first place, since the military, as an
institution is not against assisting the society, the authorities d i d n ’ t frown at my step. Also, I had b e e n properly retired,
meaning that my forming the NGO Alu had nothing to do with the military as an institution. More than anything, it is a way of helping the government see the reality of the prisons from one who has been there. Some leave their churches for prayers in Bride Assembly, how do fellow pastors take this? With my understanding of how God works, there is no need splitting hair over such development. I know there are pastors that erroneously rejoice that somebody has left a particular church for their own and with testimonies of God answering their prayers. Such pastors think they are higher than the church from where these people came. But that is not the correct approach, after all, where they are coming from, people are receiving miracles and giving testimonies too. However, I believe there is always a reason for God allowing many things to happen. I don’t rejoice that someone left his church to come here and receive testimonies. Rather, I usually thank God in humility. What makes me happy is if a non-believer comes and gets converted. Other church leaders go by higher titles than Pastor, when will you be promoted? Bride Assembly Church is part of the endtime revival church started by an American, William Marrion Branham. He was born in 1933 and passed on in 1965. He began a movement aimed at restoring the original apostolic church, thus we’re not after title than prescribed in the Bible. Being a Pastor is a duty and not a title, my title is Brother. We address one another as brethren. Other step in the Bible that we follow is the fact that nowhere in the early church did women play any administrative role. So, when many church leaders, with titles such as pastor, bishop and archbishop make their wives next in command, it is an error, which the revival church movement like ours is trying to correct. And we are always glad when someone comes here and accept this true teaching than may be the person is looking for a fruit of the womb and you’ve got it. In fact, ‘brother’ is the title used in the Jesus
With my experience in the prison, I feel there is nothing in the Nigerian prisons that can correct any criminal, in fact, if there is anything at all. It is a breeding ground for more criminals, because whoever goes in there comes out worse
Christ Ministry. Therefore, my title is brother and being a pastor is just an office because it is my work to oversee the church. Do you still have time for prisons with your tight schedule? Till date we are still reaching out to the inmates and maintaining our NGO. We can’t afford to stop that no matter how busy I tend to be. We involve them in all programmes of the church. What is your view on the insecurity in the country, especially that of Boko Haram saga? There is hardly any country today that does not have one security challenge or the other. And I believe that the new service chiefs, most of whom are actually my course mates, have solution to the issues of insecurity in the land. If I have any advice, I know how to reach them. But I hold the opinion that some people have misled a lot of young people, and the bad economy is not helping matters. Specifically about Boko Haram, I strongly believe that having tried the use of force for some time now, another approach should be tried. Mind you, it is not a full-scale war, whereby your enemy and the battlefield are easily identified. It’s not a conventional war for the military to showcase their prowess, so the best thing to do is try another approach. The human right community and the Western world are threatening Nigeria over signing the Anti-gay Law, what’s your view? First and foremost, gay marriage or homosexuality is an abomination and even the Bible tells us that Sodom and Gomorra was destroyed based on this same act. We of the end-time church are aware that this is part of the signs of end-time, where a lot of abominable things will begin to happen. So, it only alerts us to be prepared, as the end- time approaches. But the irony of the whole thing is that some churches have directly and indirectly endorsed the act. On the threats of the West, it is so because, as a country, we have allowed ourselves to fall into their hands, no thanks to corruption. The sanction they are threatening is against corrupt leaders whom the West helps to preserve their ill-gotten wealth abroad. Otherwise, what do we lack as a nation that will make us depend solely on the aid from the West? To prove their (West) hypocrisy, they relate well with China, Saudi Arabia and other countries that openly violate the rights of their citizens. But Nigeria that says ‘no’ to Gay marriage, an immoral act is to be sanctioned. I thank God the law has been signed.
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Sunday, February 23, 2014 | 37
I Shall Not Die (3) By Gabriel Agbo BEDIENCE is key to defying premature death. When we live a holy life and totally walk in obedience to God’s laws and leading, then, it will become almost impossible to die untimely through sickness, diseases, enemy’s attacks, demonic arrows, etc. And I hope you know that obedience includes respecting natural, spiritual, psychological, health and even nutritional laws; for they all stem from the divine laws. For example, when you smoke, live in drugs, or in immorality, take alcohol, you are already breaking spiritual and health laws and you are inviting death. When you live in bitterness, unforgiveness, fear, hatred, envy, anxiety, impatience, etc., you are breaking psycho-
logical as well as spiritual laws. When you don’t eat right, you don’t expect to live long and healthy because you are already breaking a law that God put in place to help you. This is also the same when you break physical laws like lack of exercises, overworking yourself, exposing yourself to physical dangers, etc. God said we should be wise in all areas of life. And that is complete wisdom. True! Now, you can ask why the older generations lived longer, healthier and were even more spiritual than us. Now, back to Jesus, He was able to defy and conquer death because He totally lived in obedience to God. He was always conscious and anxious to observe divine laws as written. He was always eager to seek and obey directives from
Springs Of Wisdom
His Father – ‘His will be done.’ He was working for the Kingdom interest. Heaven cannot afford to lose you, when all you think and do every moment of your life is to protect, propagate and proclaim the gospel and goodness of Jesus Christ. When you give yourself totally to the work for God, all the machinery of heaven will be put in place to secure, protect and keep you. This is just what preserved Jesus, while He was on earth. And that was what He meant when He said that if you work in the light you will not stumble and the darkness (and its instruments) will not overshadow or defeat you. Get up today and throw yourself totally into His work and His grace will totally preserve you. Don’t expect to live long, when you are not adding any value to the king-
dom business. He also told us clearly in Mark 16:17,18 that no power of the enemy or sickness shall be able to overcome us. Listen to it, “These signs will accompany those that believe…They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place hands on the sick and heal them.” Praise God! He didn’t go back with these grace and power. He left them behind for us. And the snakes here mean all the powers of Satan and death. The poison represents all physical and spiritual agents that can be injurious to our health, organs and wellbeing. Rev. Agbo is a minister with the Assemblies of God Nigeria. email@example.com
Ahmadiyya Leader Calls For Virile Muslim Homes By Bisi Alabi Williams HE head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim elders group (Majlis Ansarullah), Alhaji Mukaila Odukoya, has called on Nigerians to build virile homes for a sustainable society. Speaking at the annual workshop of the organisation in Lagos, Odukoya said the call is a grave concern and becomes imperative in the face of the fast degenerating family values in the Nigerian society, which has led to unprecedented moral decadence across the country. According to him, the choice of this
year’s event was specifically chosen to address the growing problems in the society. In his words; “the issue of home and the society is not a thing to be taken lightly if we want a virile society; hence we need to stress the importance of home often.” He urged members of the Ahmadiyya community to be worthy examples of builders of virile homes, where the fear of Allah and strict adherence to the practices of the Holy Prophet Muhammad are imbibed. Alhaji Odukoya stated, “we should make ourselves, not only shining exam-
ples, but also be emulated, when it comes to the building and maintaining homes that can be depended upon to serve as bedrock of a virile society.” To underscore the significance of the event, lectures on the lessons from life of Hazrat Yaqoob by Barrister Missionary Uthman Robiu, Home, bedrock for a virile society by Alhaji Abdul Alatoye, Naib Amir South West, Will and inheritance were delivered. Participants were also informed about some important health issues including diabetes and the HIV/Aids pandemic.
Ven. Obiora Uzochukwu being inducted as the new Sub-dean of All Saints Cathedral, Onitsha by Bishop on the Niger, Rt. Rev. Owen Nwokolo
Let’s Revert To True Family Values By Gabriel Osu ANY years ago, I was a keen fan of a popular television drama titled: ‘Adio’s Family’. I am sure many of the older generation would be very familiar with this very entertaining network programme that featured the likes of Jab Adu, Femi Jarret, Mrs. Adams, etc. The drama, which was centred on the up-scale Adio’s Family, depicted the joy, triumph, sorrows and challenges that the average Nigerian family faces in their daily existence. Aside portraying the need for families to stick together no matter the vicissitudes that come their way, the programme also provides insight on how to handle pertinent issues relating to domestic affairs and nurturing of children, particularly the adolescents. Though this beautiful programme has long been rested, I believe many of us benefitted immensely from it.
Every man born of a woman grew up in a family of sorts. It could be a happy, God-fearing and peaceful one, where true love permeates or in a rusty, lopsided environment devoid of any form of affection or amusement, and with little regard for the good things of life. Yours may be like the ‘Adio Family,’ where each member of the family learns to accept and assist each other in their journey through life, or a cranky home, where the father is never around, leaving all the responsibility on the shoulder of the mother alone or even in a foster home with other motherless children. Whichever is your experience, the truth is that your background does have some form of influence on your attitudes, mannerisms, temperament and disposition to life. It does also, to a large extent, influence what you become in life. It has been proven that major-
ity of the vices we are experiencing in our society today stem from the family unit. What does this mean? It means that our family values are crumbling. The things that we once hold sacred are now being desecrated in the name of civilisation. Those good old values and godly training that many of us received at home from our parents are now being watered down as a result of western influences. The result is that we are now breeding a crop of disoriented youths, who would rather build and live in a mansion and own a fancy car in the twinkling of an eye without recourse to any form of hard work. We are all living witnesses of the inhuman carnage going on daily in the northern part of the country. How did it happen? Are those perpetuating the acts not humans like you and I who grew up in a family set-up? What sort of grooming did they
receive from their parents or guardians that made them so susceptible to hatred, violence and murder? Have you for once paused to ponder why there are so many cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and murder in our society? Have you wondered why there is so much racketeering going on in our higher institutions of learning or why our young girls are going into prostitution, while their male counterparts are joining blood-gurgling cults? It all boils down to the home front. A child that grew up in a home laden with violence and hatred would more often imbibe those negative traits. Also, when a child is showered with love and care, he or she would respond appropriately. The Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph offer us a good model worthy of emulation. Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic
By Pastor W. F. Kumuyi
Never Seek A Revenge HE world thrives on the principle of survival of the T fittest. Most people are unwilling to allow the infringement of their rights, nor project themselves as weaklings. They would, therefore, not tolerate any act against their persons, but rather take prompt steps to exact revenge or retaliation. It is such a fashionable attitude that men have even spurned such antithetical expressions as “sweet revenge.” Truth is, there is nothing sweet about revenge. If it exists at all, it is only in the myopic eyes of the avenger, but definitely not in God’s eyes. “Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” the Lord Jesus Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount. “But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And, if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him take thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” These are among some of Christ’s most misunderstood, misinterpreted and misapplied words. Both the old time religious people and modern day pacifists, have issues with parts of these words. But not having “the Spirit of Christ”, many people are mystified by these otherwise profound statements of the Son of God Himself. To properly understand and appropriately apply these messages in our lives, we must possess the Spirit of Christ, the mind of Christ and the love of Christ. A diligent study of the life of Christ is of great importance here because it shows how He applied the words in His own life. The life of Christ is a perfect interpretation of, and commentary on every portion of the Sermon on the Mount. It is also important and very helpful to know what Christ had said in other passages of Scripture concerning revenge and retaliation so as not to make Him contradict Himself. “Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” This was given to the judges in Israel so as to maintain justice, law and order in the nation. The main intent of this Mosaic legislation was to control excesses and restrain crime. The punishment was made to fit the crime and not to be in excess of it. This law, to be administered in the proper court of law, worked far more equitably than the system of fines. The system of fines allowed rich men to offend with impunity, but this law was a great check on the criminal tendencies of the poor and the rich alike. The Pharisees and scribes of Christ’s time ignored the fact that this law was for only judges to administer. They made it a matter for personal application. They removed the law from its context and setting, and gave licence to their followers to take revenge on those that offended them. We must remember that even the Old Testament did not give this enactment to the individual, but rather to the judges. The vengeful spirit is contrary to the Spirit of Christ. Christ demands that our personal relationships must be governed by the spirit of love and not by the rule of law. How can our lives then, be devoid of retaliation? “But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil.” It is necessary to “rightly divide the word of truth” here. Just as the earlier part of this statement was not given to individuals to take laws into their hands, so also the latter section was not given to regulate the relationships between citizens and the government, children and their parents, learners and their teachers, disciples and their masters, employees and their employers or the wife and her husband. Also we need to understand that from the life of Christ, our perfect Example, to “turn the other cheek” is not to be interpreted or observed literally. “And when He had thus spoken, one of the officers, which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, answerest Thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?” The incident here shows that when Jesus said, “resist not evil,” it does not mean that we are to deliberately expose ourselves to danger. In Christ’s teaching, “that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also”, He was directing us to be dead to self and not seek revenge, whatever enemies or neighbours do. In other words, His life was a model of love and righteousness. Similarly, Jesus expects from us a life of practical love, peace and righteousness. References: Matthew 5:38-42; Exodus 21:22-25; Leviticus 24:1922; Deuteronomy 19:15-21; Esther 3:5,6;Judges 15:1-8; 1 Samuel 22:9-19; 24:4-6,16-22; Job 31:28-30; Matthew 5:39; Proverbs 20:22; 24:29; 25:21; Romans 12:17-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 2:20-23; 3:9-12; Matthew 5: 6, 20; 1 Corinthians 6:1-7; Romans 12:19; Proverbs 3:27,28; Deuteronomy 7:3; 1 Kings 21:24; Matthew 7:6; 20:23; 1 Timothy 5:8; Luke 6:35,38; Galatians 6:9,10. (All scriptures are from Kings James Version).
36| Sunday, February 23, 2014
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Sunday School God Can Use You Too Memory Verse: “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none,” - Ezekiel 22:30. Bible Passage: Romans 8:28-39. Introduction God is still looking for vessels to use. Vessels that are weak, despised and overlooked. Vessels considered unusable. When He uses such vessels everyone will concede that this is indeed the finger of God. Requirements God’s requirements include: • Faithfulness – Lk. 19:17; I Cor. 4:2; Jer. 5:1. • Availability – Ezek. 22:30. • Obedience – Deut. 28: 1-14; Prov.13:13; Eccl. 12:13-14. • Being Teachable – Jn. 14:23; Matt. 10:24. Hindrances • What are the hindrances?
... With Pastor Enoch Adeboye
• Faithfulness is degraded by – Sin, impatience, prayerlessness. • Availability – is reduced by, competing demands of work, family and others. • Teachable – is impacted negatively by pride (‘an attitude of I know it all.’) • Obedience – is hindered by hard heartedness and pride. God is no respecter of person(s) and is sovereign. He will use whosoever He pleases. Consider some of His vessels; • Moses: fearful (Ex. 2:14), had low self-esteem. (Ex.3:11), stammered (Ex. 4:10, Num. 12: 6-8) • Gideon: a doubter (Judges 6:11-13; Judg. 6:36-40), also had low self-esteem (Judg. 6:14-15, Judg. 7:19-25). • David: was least in his father’s house (1 Sam.17:14a; 16:11-12), became an adulterer (2 Sam.11:2-4), murderer (2 Sam 11:14-17, 1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:21). • Zacchaeus: enriched by corruption (Lk. 19:2), short in stature (Lk. 19:3, Luke 19:5; 9), an extortionist. • Peter: slept at time of prayer (Matt. 26:37-44), denied Christ
Transformation Through Christ HERE is too much noise in our society T today about transformation, as an agenda for all human development. Many people have posited that a better social and economic stability in this country could only be achieved through transformation. In fact, restructuring, reorganisation and modification are ongoing in several sectors of the government, as a proof of consent to the new order. While we applaud the introduction of this nomenclature in our developmental lexicon, we need to draw our attention to the fact that physical transformation cannot sustain the desired human economic and social revolution of our generation. The only transformation that could uphold any endeavour that will advance mankind is the one championed by God Almighty, for we know the physical reality is a product of spiritual reality.
Jn 1:1-3 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” From the above, we can understand that our Lord Jesus Christ made all things and all things derived their existence from Him. He is the Creator, as well as the Sustainer of the universe. Any endeavour that receives not His blessing is destined to fail. For the work of transformation must comply with the tenet of the Scripture. Psalms 127:1 says, “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” Except the Lord takes preeminence in all human endeavours, men will labour in vain. If the Lord is not with them their designs will prove failures. So was it with
the Babel builders, they said, “Go to, let us build us a city and a tower” and the Lord returned their words into their own bosoms, saying, “Go to, let us go down and there confound their language.” In vain they toiled, for the Lord’s face was against them. All who have ever laboured without Him come under the same sentence. Intelligent, intellectualism and physical strength are instruments of vanity unless the Lord be the Master builder. But when Solomon resolved to build a house for the Lord, matters were very different, for all things united under God to aid him. Even the heathen were at his beck and call that he might erect a temple for the Lord his God. In the same manner God blessed him in the erection of his own palace. Without God we are nothing and can do nothing, thus without Him our transformation will be in vain. Ambitious men have built great houses, but like the baseless fabric of a vision, no one could tell
The Word Of God And Prayer By S.K Abiara LESSED be the name of our LORD Jesus Christ, who has given us His word of life. He is worthy of our praise for the precious opportunity to share the truth in His word through this medium. I am sure of one thing, that is, the forerunner of any miracle by God is His word. If there is any great expectation you have, it will be established through God’s word. “He (God) spoke and they were healed – snatched from the door of death” - Psalm 107:20. In a nutshell, anytime you are opportune to hear or read the word of God, you can activate it by taking the necessary step required of you. That is where the miracle lies. On the other hand, you can make God’s word ineffective in your case if you refuse to act accordingly. If you are in the group of the former you are wise but if it is
latter, you are a fool so says the Lord Jesus, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on a solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse, because it is built on rock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds and floods came and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash” - Matt. 7:2427. Meaning that you cannot just afford to hear and read God’s word without allowing it to impact your life. It will result in tragedy. Brethren, the truth I am led to share with you this week is, ‘God will not do everything for you. No matter how long you can pray and fast, that would not change God. He will not take up your personal responsibility for you. At the same time you cannot do the
Living Waters By Pastor Lazarus Muoka today where once they stood. So, except we abide in Him there will be no meaningful transformation. Jn 15:4-5 says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” The whole history of the world has demonstrated that fruitfulness is only found in union with Christ. So also good transformation could only be actualised, when we surrender ourselves to Him. This is because we cannot appreciate the physical transformation without the transformation of the heart/soul. As the branch, however, good in itself, cannot bear fruit from itself, and cannot be supported than it continues in union with the parent stock, neither can we, unless we abide in our Creator.
Double Portion Anointing (1) part of God for Him. I am not against being prayerful and self-denial through fasting, rather it is better to be sensitive, while you do that spiritual exercise, as the Bible recommends, “Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you…” Matt. 26:41. However, you must be more sensitive to the word of God. A lot of people can pray, fast and even have the grace to go on marathon vigils. Unfortunately, they are just zealous with little or no knowledge of what the Word of God says about them and their situations. While some know the Word but refused to obey it but continued in prayer, as if it will cover for their disobedience. Basically, when you pray you are simply talking to your Heavenly Father. Like your children or friends engage you or you engage them in conversations. Unfortunately, many people
By Seyi Ogunorunyinka,
He said: “God told me to convey the message to Nigerians. I had a dream 19 years ago, in which I saw vehicles loaded with large number of people and there was a river behind the vehicle and as the vehicle was moving along the line, it began to sink into the river. Upon reaching the bottom, it stood still and couldn’t move forward or backward anymore. “And God told me that the vehicle was Nigeria, that is the killings, bombings and destructions of property worth millions of naira and God has said if Nigeria wants to come out of that river, Nigerians should
KINGS 2 gives us the account of Elijah, when he was being called up to heaven. At that time, Elijah had many sons but surprisingly, Elisha was the only one of these sons, who persisted in following him to the end, to ensure that he would receive the double portion of Elijah’s anointing. Many obstacles were placed in Elisha’s way, but because God was on his side, he was able to attain that which he was seeking. The first obstacle that Elisha came across was when Elijah told him to stay in Gilgal because the Lord had sent him to Bethel. 2 Kings 2:1 states “But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they went down to Bethel.” Gilgal is the location, where the children of Israel encountered hindrance on their way to the Promised Land. It is also the place of religious activities with no power. There are a lot of places like that in the world today, where religious activities take place but nothing is happening. The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 3:5 to avoid all those that have a form of godliness but deny the power of God. We should not stay in our comfort zones where nothing is happening, but move to a place of fire because that is where God is. Elisha’s second obstacle, which we can see in 2 Kings 2:4, took place in Bethel. There, Elijah told him to wait because God had sent him to Jericho; again,
tend to monopolise the conversation, so they fail woefully at that level and prayer becomes a burden and uninteresting. Some rush into prayer and rush out. Proper and constant meditation on the word of God will ignite your prayer like a fire in the bush during the dry season. Prophet Abiara, General Evangelist, CAC Worldwide. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cleric Advises Jonathan To Declare Three Days Fasting And Prayer By Paul Adunwoke HE founder of Christ Church of Grace, Ajangbadi, Lagos; Prophet Cornelius Adetunbi, has advised President Jonathan to declare three days fasting and prayer for Nigerians. This, he said, will help Nigerians to overcome all their challenges, and stand strong as one nation. The Prophet, who was at The Guardian’s corporate headquarters, said the prayer will work, when observed with Psalm 51 on the first day, Psalm 126 for second day and Psalm 136 for third day.
thrice (Mk. 14:66-72, Matt. 16:16-19, Lk. 22:31-32; Acts 2:40-41; 3:6-8). Rewards God always rewards – Matt. 6:3-4; Rom. 8:28-32; Ps.118:6-7; Matt. 10:39; John 3:16b. • The just – Deut. 25:15. • Faithful workers – 2 Chro.15:7; Jer. 31:16. • The righteous – Ps.58:11. • Sacrificial Christ – like service – Matt.19:27-29. Matt.25:34-40; Luke 14:13-14. • Those awaiting incorruptible crowns. – I Cor.9:25; Righteousness - 2 Tim.4:8; Life – Jms. 1:12; Rev.2:10; Glory - I Peter 5: 4. • Overcomers – Rev.2:7, 17. Conclusion We need to die to self-interest (Jn. 12:24-26). Yield to Him completely. God can discern every motive (Heb. 4:13; Ps 33:13-15). Serve Him with sincerity and press on in dedication and commitment Phil.3: 12-14.
seek Him in repentance. They should read Acts 3:19 and Joshua 3:3-10. Everyone needs repentance and from house to house, after which if God answers our prayer, the vehicle will come out of the river and we can develop. God is not happy with the killings, lawlessness, hunger, sufferings, impunity and such others in Nigeria. Let us seek forgiveness by declaring three days fasting and prayers. “Some parents, who are supposed to send their children to school do not have money and the children are doing conductors and touts because there is no money.”
Elisha refused to stay and insisted on accompanying Elijah. Abraham and Jacob were both at Bethel and Saul lost all he had at Bethel. Bethel could be called a place of major decisions; it is a place, where you wrestle with God, where you yield yourself and die to your own desires. It is a place of complete consecration. When you consecrate yourself, you set yourself apart onto the Most High God. The third obstacle can be seen in 2 Kings 2:6, in Jericho. Again Elijah asked Elisha to remain in Jericho and wait for him but Elisha refused. Jericho is the place, where Joshua met with the captain of the Lord of hosts. Therefore, Jericho is a place of warfare against the devil and a place of spiritual opposition. It is a place of conflict, where you fight and to fight the enemy successfully, you need the power of God. In 2 Kings 2:7, for the fourth obstacle, Elijah and Elisha stood by the banks of the river Jordan, being watched by 50 other sons of Elijah from a distance. There was no discernible way of crossing the river, but Elisha still remained by Elijah’s side. Because he was so close to him, he was able to observe how Elijah struck the river with his mantle so that it parted and they were able to cross on dry land. Pastor Ogunorunyinka, General Overseer, The Promisedland Restoration Ministries, Surulere, Lagos. pastorseyiogunorunyinka@gmai l.com
Sunday, February 23, 2014 35
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Does Every Utterance Of A Man Or Woman Of God Has God’s Backing? In Christendom today, people experience the good, the bad and the ugly, a situation that has given room to so many things. The Bible is supposed to be the benchmark upon which every action of a man or woman of God is judged. But whether this is the case or not among these people is an issue. Or, how does one explain a situation, where church members are lured to the riverside for special prayers and sacrifices? All in an attempt to hoodwink and lull them into believing that every utterance they make from the pulpit has the backing of God. The length to which some of these people of God would go to achieve their agenda is simply unbelievable. For instance, some have asked their single and marriageable ladies to don wedding gowns and come to church, when actually there was no wedding ceremony. They were asked to sow seeds of faith. Similarly, those expecting the fruit of womb or seeking employment have also been asked to sow seeds by buying ‘holy water’ and stuff like that. The only assurance members get from the supposed man or woman of God is: ‘I am led to do this.’ The question to ask is: does every word or utterance of a man or woman of God or from the pulpit have the backing of God? How authentic is this word that the man of God issues from the pulpit, are they to be believed hook, line and sinker and never to be interrogated? Are they not arrogating to themselves the power that belongs to God and finally, how can members of the church avoid being deceived? CHRIS IREKAMBA, ISAAC TAIWO and PAUL ADUNWOKE spoke to some clerics on this.
‘Once I Have Accepted To Be A Pastor, There’s A Limit To Which I Can Go’ (Pastor (Dr.) Oyeleke Owolabi, President, Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nigeria (Western Nigeria Union Conference and Prochancellor, Babcock University) HE Bible tells us that the T root of all evil is the love of money. Corruption in Nigeria is at an alarming and epidemic level. Unfortunately, however, many think it is only those in politics that are corrupt. But now it can be seen that even people in religious institutions are equally corrupt, if not worse than the so-called politicians and those holding government positions. The Bible says: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” Many churchgoers are not Christians and many Christians are not Bible students. If you do not know what the Bible says, you are likely going to be deceived. And this is why thousands of people are being deceived today, because they lack knowledge and truth about the word of God. But if you know what the Bible teaches, it becomes difficult for any man of God to hypnotise you, because you are already equipped with the truth. For instance, if you see fake currency you will know, but if you do not know the original, how can you detect the difference? Many people do not know the original and that is why they are facing destruction. After Christ fed multitudes of people and they were satisfied (John 6:2) they said: ‘the King and Messiah has come,’ as they thought of making Him King over the people of Israel, but Christ escaped. The Bible says the following day, greater multitudes came, not for salvation, but for what to eat and drink. When Christ gave them the gospel truth they said, oh, this is hard, who can believe it? And the Bible records that they departed from Him, even the so-called disciples and Christ looked at the 12 that were left, and asked: ‘will you also go away?’ Many who go to church today, do so to get riches, undue promotion, have wives, husbands and children. It is not for the purpose of serving God wholeheartedly and in spirit or for specific reasons. Those that come to Christ for bread shall live by bread. We have solution and salvation, and although they sound alike, they are two different things. Those looking for solution will be deceived. People looking for fruits of the
womb, for instance, will be given holy water, and will be asked to sow seed and before you know it, the man of God will start sleeping with all the church members. Yet, they still follow such leaders. Is that not stupidity? Such people are looking for solution but when you are looking for salvation in Christ — Jesus the truth, the way and the life, it is quite different. In salvation, there are different compartments — riches, good health, long life, protection, provision, promotion, childbearing, good husband, good wife and good children. It is a total package inside salvation. But today people care less about salvation. All what they think is ‘oh, I’m 35 years of age, I want to marry by force.’ It is anxiety and the wanting to run faster than God that gave the so-called men of God the opportunity to exploit their members. Christ said: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. ...” He didn’t say ‘look for anointed great man of God’ there is nothing like that! Greatness belongs to God and not to any one of us. I am privileged to be called by God into the ministry, maybe most favoured to be a spiritual leader of the Church in Nigeria, but that does not make me a replacement of Christ. I do not have the capacity to arrogate the power of Christ to myself. Of course, the destruction of anyone doing that is near. All those pastors that think they have the power to do and undo and have replaced themselves as the head, we shall see the end. When Jesu Oyingbo was operating, his house was almost like a mecca of sorts, but where is he today? I remember in the early ’80s, when a Pentecostal
leader was selling paw-paw seeds for N1000 and those looking for fruit of the womb were rushing to buy it. There are so many of them like that. I am Pastor Owolabi, head of Seventh-day Adventist. Today, I am here, but one day I will go and somebody else will come. I came in because somebody left. It is only Christ that can never go and come. He is permanent, and I always tell my members: ‘don’t be deceived. Know Jesus Christ rather than any ‘great’ man of God because if you do, He will settle you. The Bible says “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”— Isaiah 8:20. There must be a basis for judgment and evaluation. If I say ‘go and bring your wife to sleep in my house for 10 days,’ and then I start sleeping with her, is that in the Bible? It is stupidity for anyone to believe every utterance coming from so-called men of God. The entire abracadabra some of them are doing is for the purpose of making money. There’s nothing scriptural about it. Religious leaders have lost the sense of judgment. Once I have accepted to be a pastor, there’s a limit to which I can go. I should be able to control my desire for materialism and become conscious of my spiritual responsibility. Many people have lost sense of their calling; they are into politics, juju and all kinds of things. Members should be very wise and know the basis for the word of God. Not what the man of God says, but what the Bible says. And that is why preachers should be conscious of the fact that if we mislead members, their blood shall be upon us. Members should believe every word that is rooted and based on the scriptures. If a man of God says, ‘come and sow’ and he’s richer than you, tell me, when are you (members) going to reap? We do not learn. Nigerians are like people that went to a burial ceremony and wept profusely for the dead. But three to four hours later, they were already consuming amala and had forgotten about the dead person. Before following any man of God, look at his fruits and what he has produced in the past 10 years, judge his preaching and way of life and compare it with the scriptures. When you have done this, no man can deceive you.
‘I Have Heard Of Cases, Where Church Members Demanded Refund’ (Rev. Francis Ejiroghene Waive, General Overseer, Fresh Anointing Missionary Ministries Inc., Senior Pastor, Church of the Anointing) AN of God here has been M described with the word ‘so-called’ and as such should not be believed. But even for a genuine servant of God, there is a limit to humanity. Not every utterance from a man of God or from the pulpit or elsewhere has the backing of God. The impression created to make people believe may have its root in the ‘faith movement,’ which try to create faith in the heart of their listeners. But this has been extended further by some charlatans whose god is their belly and the needy have fallen for it. Completely unbiblical and in some cases fetish practices have been introduced in the name of prophetic actions or acts of faith. Church members should read their Bible and depend upon its provisions for salvation. Every extra-biblical practice should not be honoured, no matter the big name or miracle-record of the so-called man of God. Of course, when these promises do not come to pass, members are disillusioned and confused. But these socalled men of God do not give up. They are ready to fake some testimonies to make members feel that the problem is with them. ‘But others are getting results,’ they say. I must add that because God is sovereign, even
a genuine word from Him can delay or appear impracticable. Where the promise is generic in the sense that it was made to several people on the altar, the man of God has a cover to say that you did not have faith, hence yours did not happen. But where it is more specific and fails to come to pass, it exposes the lie. I have heard of cases, where church members demanded a refund. It is so bad. Church members should grow up and base their faith on the Bible alone. On whether these men of God are not arrogating to themselves the power that belongs to God? Definitely! God doesn’t act on the whims and caprices of men! God does not exist for man. Rather man exists for God. We must not allow anyone to play God in our lives. I am not against a man of God
being wealthy. I can’t describe myself as poor, but taking advantage of the people to become wealthy is definitely a crime. To avoid being deceived, people must realise that hardship is one of the signs of the end-times in which we live. This will help to prevent shopping around for a magic wand. Genuine repentance and worship of God for Who He is rather than for what we are told we can get from Him is also vital. Christians must place their faith in God alone and not in ‘men of God.’ A sound knowledge of the Bible and dependence on its provision is a solid security from these wolves. We must renounce the system in our fetish backgrounds, where the Babalawo wields so much power. The Christian minister is not equivalent to a native doctor. Again, thorough biblical training is required for a man of God not to goof. A man that claims to have spiritual gifts, but has no solid Bible knowledge will at best imitate others and or do what will profit him the most. I urge church members to cross check the credentials of their pastors and their antecedents before committing themselves. If you are already in a sect that abuses and takes advantage of its members, I encourage you to get out and join a church, where the Bible is preached, believed and practised.
‘Check The Lives Of These Men Of God If They Are Out To Glorify Jesus Or Enrich Themselves’ (Pastor Ezekiel Joel, General Overseer, Full Salvation Believers’ Assembly Int’l, Nnewi, Anambra State) HE truth is, the end-time is T characterised by deception, false prophesies and denial of the Lordship of Christ (Mat.24: 4,5,11; 11 Thesa. 2:10-12; l Timo.4: 1, 2; 11 Pet.2: 1-3). It’s ungodly to hoodwink gullible, hapless seekers into making them believe that every utterance from the pulpit is the voice of God. No “man of God” has the right to make himself into the “god of man.” Christ’s death and
faith in His name are what we need to receive our miracles rather than the so-called sowing the seeds of faith, visits to the Bar Beach or any sacrifice, buying of prayer mantles, holy water or anointing oil. Even if the false promises come to pass, it is no proof those behind it are of God. We must check the fruits of their lives and see if they are out to glorify Jesus or enrich themselves (Deut.13: 1-4;Matt.7: 15-17). Following balanced teaching of sound Biblical doctrines will save the believer today.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 38
38| Sunday, February 23, 2014
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IBRUCENTRE By Ernest Onuoha
‘For to this end we labour and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe,’ I Tim. 4v10.
From The Rector
HE apostle Paul draws the attention of his son T in the Lord, Timothy to this very fact. That Christ Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor is the hope of every believer, He is the chief corner stone and in Him is the salvation of all mankind. The Bible made it incontestable thus: ‘and in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved,’ Acts 4v12. Therefore, Timothy, as a good minister and a believer, is called upon to have his eye, hope and trust permanently fixed on Christ. Jesus died and rose again, St Paul noted: ‘and if Christ hath not been raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins,’ I Cor. 15v17. But Jesus is alive and that gives us hope and more re-assuring is what He said to all believers: ‘and if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, `there’ ye may be also,’ John 14v3. I think being in the presence of Jesus should be a thing of joy to the believer; we are no longer intimidated by the whims and caprices of men. His presence ushers a new wave of life and we enjoy eternal bliss thereafter. It is unfortunate that in the time of Paul, many
Christ Our Living Hope false teachers were found banding about a lot of inconsequential teachings. Prominent among them was what we read in I Tim. 4v1-3: ‘But the Spirit saith expressly, that in latter times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, `and commanding’ to abstain from meats, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by them that believe and know the truth.’ Notice, they were talking about avoidance of marriage and of tagging of food as clean and unclean. Even today, a negation on marriage teaching has persisted but the scripture told us in the
Does Every Utterance Of A Man Or Woman Of God Has God’s Backing?
‘Church Members Believe Their Leader Is Knowledgeable Spiritually And Biblically’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 (Prophet Kayode Taiwo, Shepherd in-charge of Celestial Church of Christ, Osolo Way, Ajao Estate, Lagos) WAS 21 years old, when power of God descended on me. I had not gone out with any woman then and was still living with my elder brother. I did not go to any pastor or retreated to the desert, but God gave me power to see. After the power descended on me, I had a dream, where I was ordained as a shepherd and it later came to pass. I might be in the church and if somebody is at home to see me, a voice will tell me. It has been established long ago that people tend to believe their church leaders. For instance, if there is problem at home among married couples, or in business places that seem insoluble, the next thing is to go to their church leader, because they believe he/she is knowledgeable spiritually and Biblically. Before a person would become a church leader, he must have gone through certain stages and acquired lots of experiences about life. Once a leader is made, the followers have no option than to follow him. But
leaders are only human and so, are liable to make mistakes because they are not perfect. It is only Jesus Christ that is perfect. Here in our church, we only pray for single ladies, tell them to come to church and feed them with words of God. We also relate their problems to certain things that happened in the Bible before. We tell them to wait for their own men because for every woman there is a man and they can only wait for the ones that are theirs. Not that they should wear wedding gowns. Some church leaders might be doing it, but we don’t. But if they want quicker response, there is a way they pray to God. We encourage them to put all their problems at His doorstep in the night, and eventually God will sort them
out, because every problem has a solution in the Bible. There are some men of God that are into healing, some are gifted spiritually, some have ability to see, hear and interpret dreams; all these are gifts from God. Some have power from God, while others get theirs from wrong sources. Those who take their members to the desert or Bar Beach are only following what Jesus Christ did at the Bethesda in John 5:1-18, when He asked a leper to go and bath at the River Jordan. But I can tell you from my own experience that it is the Holy Spirit that directs where to go to deliver a person. Some of the prayers cannot be carried out within the church premises; because you might deliver the person from an unclean spirit and it would enter another person. We believe in taking a person affected by an unclean spirit to the Bar Beach or desert, and after delivering him/her, the demon won’t enter others, rather it remains in the bush or river. Some prefer to go to a quiet place to pray, where their prayers will be answered. As we all know, Jesus Christ worked so many miracles on the seashore and that is why people want to imitate Him.
Through Blessing Of Water, Many Have Testified To God’s Goodness’ (Prophet Oluwademilade Omololu Akpata, General Overseer, Divine Ewulomi Evangelical Church of Christ, Lagos) OBODY is God. We are all N servants of God and working under His grace, without which any of us can do anything. Personally, I believe in holy water. From my blessing of water, many people have testified to what God did for them. I also believe in blessing oil for people. But I do not sell either the water or the oil. Members bring them and we bless them leaving the rest to their faith. For church leaders selling water, oil and even handkerchief, I do not know from where they got that doctrine. It is nothing but a figment of their imagination and the selfish purpose to enrich themselves to the detriment of their members.
My personal belief concerning the Bar Beach is that Elisha also made use of river Jordan to heal. It is on this premise that I have gone to pray at the Bar Beach and have also taken people there to pray. Other denominations, apart from white garment churches, used to go to Bar Beach to pray until
the Lagos State government put a stop to it, probably due to the excesses of some white garment churches or the danger posed by the upsurge of Atlantic Ocean. In the case of church leaders asking their members to wear wedding gowns to church and other forms of manipulation to extort money, it is true that a lot of church leaders today formulate their own ideas for the purpose of extortion. I do not know the scriptural backing for asking people to wear wedding gowns to church and be sowing seeds of faith. I know that a lot of church leaders deceive their members today, assuring them that there is peace when actually, there is no peace, telling them there is joy, when there is no signal of such.
beginning God made them male and female. More so, He said: ‘it is not good for the man to be alone and He made a help meet fit for him,’ Gen. 2v18. Interestingly, in the conversation between Peter and Cornelius, we had earlier been warned not to tag some food as clean or unclean, Acts 10v15. The undertone of such teaching was to make people think less of Christ the living hope of believers. Because once they are entangled with this sort of loose teaching, it will give room to people behaving anyhow and not falling back to the source of life. St Paul admonishes the young minister Timothy to focus on Christ, the living hope of every believer. We can appreciate what Jeremiah was labouring to put across in Jeremiah 10v116. He made caricature of those who depended
on idols that are false instead of putting their hope in God, Who made heaven and earth. It is to such that the believer is called upon to shun if he or she must be in touch with heaven. My hope is built on nothing else, Than Jesus blood and righteousness, I dare not trust my sweetest frame, But only lean on Jesus name, On Christ the solid rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand 2x Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. www.ibrucentre.org
Managing Divisions For The Greater Good By Taiwo Odukoya
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing—Life forevermore. (Psalm 133:1-3) HE phrase, ‘Africa Rising’ T has achieved buzzword status, touted by political and business reports across the world. According to The Economist, over the past decade, six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies were African. A boom in commodity prices and a steady rise in manufacturing and services are contributing to growth across the continent. Africa, in the last 10 years, has reportedly grown faster than East Asia, including Japan. In considering some of the promising countries within Africa, the Brookings Institute, one of America’s foremost research bodies, tipped Nigeria as a key destination for foreign investments. Nigeria, which contributes 65 per cent of West Africa’s GDP, is regarded, arguably, as Africa’s most dynamic country and is positioned to take over from South Africa as the continent’s economic powerhouse. With a projected GDP of nearly USD4 trillion by 2050, an annual average real GDP growth rate of around 6 per cent, and a growing youthful working population, a 2013
PricewaterhouseCoopers report projects that Nigeria will rank 13th among the world’s economies by 2050 if it can realise its potential. Simply put, the Nigerian project is one of the most exciting things developing out of Africa, and the whole world is watching. The question is: what does it take to realise its potential? For Nigeria to live up to its full potential, it must combat what Koffi Kouakou, a Professor at the University of Wits in South Africa, considers Africa’s six horsemen of poverty, inequality, unemployment, crime, corruption and insecurity. But the truth is, none of these can be effectively curtailed without sound political leadership. And this has less to do with ideological leanings, but rather the establishment of a democratic system that emphasises the capacity and willingness to deal with the real issues of development. It is in this regard we must view the emergence of a new opposition in Nigeria’s political landscape as a positive development. Not so much as a new ideological bloc, but as a pre-requisite for a liberal, rather than an illiberal democracy, where Nigeria
hitherto was heading. What this does is to introduce the sort of healthy competition that keeps everyone on their toes, allows for checks and balances, and enhances accountability and good governance. The idea of a national confab is another positive development and points the way to achieving the kind of unity that Nigeria needs to realise its aforementioned potential. Democracies thrive on dialogue, referendums and elections. One of the philosophies of a confab is that every group comes to the table with its own interests, needs and demands. But what makes for success is the willingness to sacrifice some of these demands to accommodate the interest of others. For any group to insist on being the dominant tribe or dominant religion is to insist on anarchy. Effective dialogues succeed on the premise of give and take. No single group should expect to push its agenda through 100 per cent. There will be a need to shift ground to accommodate the legitimate interest of others. There are fear and prejudices on all sides. What we must do is to take advantage of the forthcoming national conference to allay those fears. And so, those representing political, ethnic and other constituencies must approach the national confab with the mind of reaching consensus, strengthening unity, and engendering nation-wide development. NIGERIA HAS A GREAT FUTURE Pastor Taiwo can be reached on email@example.com
Adeboye Prays For First Born, Says They Are Covenant Children By Isaac Taiwo HE General Overseer, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Adejare Adeboye, while praying for first born in a special service that drew a mammoth crowd at the RCCG headquarters (The Throne of Grace), urged them to dedicate their lives unto God by living acceptable life that would make Him fulfill His promises in their lives. He told them that by virtue of their birth, as first born, they were born to excel because the first born belongs to God, but that they also need to fulfill their own part by living acceptable and obedient life. “As God has His covenant for the first born to make them excel, He can also raise anybody in the family and bless him with the blessings of
the first born like David,” he said. In his contribution, the Pastor in-charge of the headquarters, the Personal Assistant to the General Overseer, Administration/Personnel, Johnson Odesola said the mammoth crowd was just the replica of what happened the previous year. He said that the 100 days fasting and prayer declared by the General Overseer was part of his desire to bring about holistic transformation to the nation and Nigerians alike. He commended the Federal Government on the issue of national confab, saying there should be kudos to President Jonathan for kicking against gay marriage, which according to him, is neither supported nor permitted by the African culture.
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Update: OAU Trash EKSU 4-1, Defeated By EBSU In Volleyball; UNIPORT Sweeps 10 Gold, 9 Silvers In Swimming BAFEMI AwOlOwO University, Ile-Ife football team walloped their Ekiti State University (EkSU) counterpart by four goals to one (4-1) in the opening match of the ongoing NUGA Games (OAU 2014). A first half brace from Captain Ayokunle Faleti and second half strikes from Ajibola Olarenwaju and lukman yusuf, ensured the hosts institution threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the country that they are serious contenders for the gold medal. Though EkSU dominated possession in the early stages of the game played at the OAU Sports Complex, but careless tackles in their penalty area saw
the team concede two penalty kicks in the first half that were smartly converted by Ayokunle Faleti. In the second half, OAU dominated every department of the game and got the third goal through a volley from Ajibola Olarenwaju. However, EkSU managed to get their lone goal through a defensive mishap from OAU, while lukman yusuf sealed the win for the host institution in the closing minutes of the encounter. Speaking after the match, OAU Coach, Egbunu Olimene said, “It is a good start to the competition and we hope to keep winning in other to achieve our aim of winning the gold medal.” In the match between University of
lagos (UNIlAG) and University of Jos (UNIJOS), both the players and Coach has alleged poor officiating after losing 2-1 to University of lagos. The team alleged the officiating was tilted in favour of UNIlAG because of their proximity to the competition venue. Life Campus gathered tension mounted as players of the UNIJOS team almost assaulted the officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), but for prompt intervention of other officials. The NSCDC officer had attempted to calm the UNIJOS players when they got infuriated. Also the UNIJOS team did not allow journalists to interview their coach as they threatened to break
LASU Re-Opens Tomorrow To Meet NYSC Deadline By Daniel Anazia
February 24 (tomorrow) as the resumption Following the intervention of the lagos State date for the school to enable it meet up with NySC mobilisation deadline. House of Assembly, lagos State University The Senate made up of Provosts, Deans and (lASU) will resume February 24, after being shut down for about four weeks following stu- Directors after several hours of deliberations directed that the university be re-opened to dents’ unrest. The University was shut on January 23, after students protested over the allow final year students across all departclosure of the school portal for registration by ments sit for their 2012/2013 academic session second semester examinations and meet up the school management. Life Campus gathered the school Senate had with National youth Service Corps Batch B in a memo dated February 14, fixed Monday, mobilisation in June.
their gadgets. In the Volleyball game, Ebonyi State University defeated the host institution, OAU in male category. The game ended 2-3 in favour of EBSU team as the host team failed to live up to their fans’ expectations and their opponents dominated the match. In the game between University of Agriculture, Makurdi and kwara State University, Makurdi beat kwara 3-0, while Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ogun State defeated University of Uyo (UNIUyO) 3-0. Foluso Onagoruwa, Director of Sports, TASUED, said the institution’s contingent is determined to win several gold medals at the Games.
For Pepsi Consumers
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Greener Pasture Syndrome HE LABOUR of our heroes past shall never be in vain’ A very familiar line from the Nigerian National Anthem, that should indeed become food for our thoughts as a people. This piece seeks to examine the irony in migration trends within Africa. There are parts of Africa that have been declared as hopeless, failed states, etcetera. Somalia is a classic example, no new know. However, economic projections and business analysts around the world have also identified that Africa, as a continent, is a gold mine in itself. How so with all the challenges that we find around us? Africa, as an emerging market, has continued to go through reforms and development in diverse sectors, Africa is truly emerging. One of the major characteristics of this emergence is that there are gaps and vacuums that present opportunities and solutions, by way of great investments, and promise even greater returns. For example, telecommunications in Nigeria is only a few years old. Before the advent of GSM phones, that aspect of Nigeria’s economy was lying fallow, yet there was the need for digital communication. Today the focus seems to be on industries like e-commerce, in Nigeria today over $100 million has been invested in e-commerce. All these are indicators that the land is green. Developed economies have been proven not to present the diverse opportunities that Africa does. The risks of investing in an unstable continent may be unarguably high, ranging from ethnic and political instabilities, but so are the returns when investments with Africa pay off. They return in folds, because these ideas are solutions based, they solve real problems in our society. If we looked around us, we will see that the potential in Africa
is truly limitless. The obvious form of colonialism that is characterized by chains and an iron rod has been over for decades, but there is a neo form of the same that is prevalent within Africa. Freedom of humanity is indeed beyond what meets the eye. The opinion expresses spawns from an obvious trend and ideology within Africa. The belief that ‘Greener Pastures’ lay beyond Africa only. What has this done to the mindset of its victims? They believe that life ‘Abroad” is filled will luxuries and bliss only, and that all they need in life is an opportunity to leave Africa. Hollywood hasn’t helped so much as well, people who do not know any better assume that the larger than life society they watch on the screens of their television is what is obtainable in reality. Observing embassies around Nigeria, it is as though people’s lives depend on migrating to the West. The whole idea seems very palatable but there are realities to it as well, ‘’Nothing is Free in Free Town’’. To earn a living anywhere in the world you must work hard, there are no short cuts to it. A lot of Africans have migrated to the west and are doing very well but make no mistake, they had their share of struggles, and a lot of hard work goes before success in any society. Again, there are millions of Africans stuck in different countries ‘Abroad’ and feeling very lost. The desperation for a life in the west has driven many to a place of helplessness and confusion. There are people who are permanently in hiding, because the authorities could have them deported at sight, as they do not have the right permits to live or work in these societies. Others have subjected themselves to horrible conditions, all for the pursuit of a life in the West. Even more seriously, lives
have been lost and families broken as a twig of the bid to live outside Africa at all cost. Is this exodus always worth it? It would interest you to know that much of the investments by capitalist ventures have a focus and a following on Africa. Although classified as low risk economies, not a lot goes to Europe and other parts of the west as does emerging economies like India, China and Africa. This is an indication that the world still believes that Africa can live up to its potential. More interestingly is the in flock of foreigners into Africa, not on a vacation, but to live and work therein and belong to the society. What do they see in our Africa that we haven’t caught a sight of? We may say that they not only come in with business ideas, but the requisite funding for these ideas, however, it remains a pointer that it can happen right here in Africa. Let our minds be illuminated today by the fact that there are options when it comes to geographical placements, as being a factor to succeed. It always seems greener on the other side, but don’t give up on your Africa.
HSC Programme May Return To Schools, As Total Renovates King’s College By Daniel Anazia As part of the renewed commitment to improving the standard of education in the country, the Supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, has said the Higher School Certificate (A Levels) programme, may return soon in the nation’s school system. The programme was part of the 6-5-2-3 education policy, which enabled pupils to obtain HSC that qualifies them for direct admission into university in the 70s and 80s. The minister, made this known at the inauguration of the renovated lecture theatres and assembly hall of the King’s College, Lagos, by Total Upstream Nigeria. The minister, represented by his Senior Assistant, Mr. Lambart Oparah, gave the indication while reacting to a request by King’s College Principal, Mr. Oladele Olapeju. The principal had called for the return of the programme from the next academic session. Olapeju said, “I am appealing to the Federal Government to allow us run
our A’ Levels come next session. Let us have King’s College as the first public school that will run A’ levels because we actually pioneered it in this country. We have the facilities to run the HSC. The structures are ready and the teachers are ready. He added, “A pupil does not need JAMB when he passes his ‘A Levels’ very well, he enters the university straight with the result. We cannot say since other schools are not ready we have to wait for them, every schools should be left to develop at its own pace.” Reacting to the appeal, Oparah, said the Federal Government, at present, is interested in ensuring qualitative education, and note that it could allow schools such as King’s College to run the HSC programme soon. He said, “The Federal Govt is more concerned now that the secondary schools are of high standard. For HSC programme to be introduced again the foundation must be right and that is the reason one cannot jump the gun.”
ASUP Strike: Poly Ibadan Students Urge Governor To Intervene, As Ilaro Demonstration Peaceful FG Denies Reneging On MoU Reached With ASUU
Oladimeji, sought the intervenLife Campus gathered lecturers of the tion of the governor, and implored By Daniel Anazia school under the auspices of ASUP have the lecturers to suspend the strike and engages government in diaATEST NEWS on Academic Staff been on strike since last December to Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) strike protest against the alleged underfund- logue. He said, “ASUP of the Ibadan is that students of the Polytechnic ing of the school, non-completion of Ibadan, Oyo State has called on the state their hazard allowances and the failure Polytechnic must at this point governor, Senator, Abiola Ajimobi, to of the government to constitute a gov- bring to the fore the interest of Nigerian students who they have take steps that would urgently end the erning council for the institution. been claiming to be fighting for. strike embarked upon by the lecturers Speaking at a media briefing, the in the institution. Students’ Union President (SUG), Iyiola They should do so by engaging the state government and the management in further dialogue, while returning to class without powered by hesitation.” Also, students of the Federal firstname.lastname@example.org, Polytechnic, Ilaro, embarked on peaceful protest against the strike. Life Campus gathered that ASUP National Secretariat ordered the institution’s chapter to re-join the strike. “Why are your own things always differPresident of the Students’ Union ent.” When you discover what is differGovernment of the school, Olaoro ent/weird about you and you learn how Folarin, said the students have to sell it, then that is true packaging. resolved not to leave the campus Someone could be ashamed of the fact Uki Dare until after the completion of the that he sold pure water, recharge cards semester. “We had already spent or even food in school but if he learns week.” computer, “I am so sure they will pick four months at home before the how to package it, then it becomes an While strike was suspended, we are not Experience is the best teacher, but the me.” edge that makes people admire his Tina was reveling in her great perform- Panelist C: “Please there was a girl named ready to go back home,” he said. tuition fee is very high... resilience. Someone ance at home, the other interviewers and Chioma, she shouldn’t fall into the others He, however, urged the Federal might be a scatter brain who always foro. She got high scores but her explicit I were going over our scoring of all the Government to meet the demands gets where they keep things. You just Get Weird candidates. We were discussing and try- dressing will put people in trouble” of the lecturers. “We are tired of might be chosen as a perfect marketer ing to decide on which 5 to call back and educational privilege, we want “Average doesn’t win award” – Mavi Panelist B :“Yes, but we also have to take for a company that sells Key Holders our conversation sounded a little like educational rights because educaIsibor, Group that intelligent funny one who said he with SIM Cards in them. Whatever it is this: tion is our right and not a priviC.E.O, Poise Nigeria was selling pure water in school and still about you that makes you feel weird: lege,” he stated. came out with a 2:1.” Reacting to the students’ N MY VIEW, there is no reason to be Panelist A: “Most of them sounded the If it is good: Embrace It same to me. I am looking at the names demands, the Registrar of the instinormal. The problem with being Panelist A: ”I almost forgot him, great! and the CVs and I am struggling to even tution, Mr. Christopher Adeosun, normal is that normal is normal Add him as well. Does anyone remember You don’t want to stand out for bad persaid management had to comply and most of the time, it is average, reg- remember half of the things they said.” any other person that stood out? For good formance so, if it is bad: Overcome It with the union’s directives. He said ular and unremarkable. Sometimes Everyone nodded. oh! Not the one that wore jeans and was If it is neither good nor bad: Enhance It that the institution would re-open being good enough is not enough, saying he could not remember what the Panelist C: “What about that Emeka as soon as the strike was suspendyou need to be abnormal. Please let vacancy is for because he sent is CV to so guy?” When you are done: Package it ed or called off by the union. me explain with a personal experimany places.” In another development, the ence: Panelist A: “Yes! The one that said he ran To be abnormal can also mean ABOVE Federal Government has denied Everyone roared with laughter and the an NGO while in school.” Everyone NORMAL. So, in all you do, feel free to fol- reneging on the Memorandum of Tina returned from her interview so excitsmiled, and comments like “I liked him”, session ended. low the guidelines, don’t break the rules Understanding it reached with the ed. It had gone very well, so well in fact, “sounds intelligent”, “I recommend him” The sad truth is that I do not know Tina. but please, embrace your individuality Academic Staff Union of better than she expected. She went over flowed. Her name could have been Titi or even and don’t be afraid to Universities (ASUU). This is coming all the questions that the members of the after the leadership of the union panel had asked her and she knew she Panelist B: “There was also that girl that Tope. She is a representative of all those …GET WEIRD who scored high but blended into the accused the FG of reneging on the answered them well. I can testify to that spoke so passionately, what was her crowd because they followed good agreements that led to the suspenbecause I was on the panel, we interPS: Please do not throw away your preparatory name?” guidelines to the point of losing their manuals for interview skills, you only need to sion of the over five month ASUU viewed about 27 people that day. Tina knew she Panelist C: “Ah! I cannot forget that one, individuality. Though they did well, learn how to let your personality shine through. I strike in 2013. The National Treasurer of ASUU, answered us well because she downBola, she seems to have so much drive. I they were all grouped together as ‘the also teach interview skills (with a twist) at Poise’ others’. Dr. Ademola Aremu, in Ibadan, loaded an interview skills manual from think she will bring new life to her Graduate Finishing Academy so feel free to stop ‘Get Weird’ is not saying that you Oyo State, told journalists on the internet and when she cross checked department if we choose her.” by if you want some tips. email@example.com should just be weird for the sake of Saturday that Federal Government after the interview, she was proud of how is yet to release the N55bn for the close to the manual her answers were. Panelist A: “She is chosen already, no con- being weird. I am not saying that you should be different just for the sake of first quarter as contained in the She followed the format perfectly, she test. Let us call those two back add any being different. Just embrace the agreement. used the rights words and so on, “Lucky three of the others that got high scores, things about you that make people say me!” she thought, she shut down her just pick any three. Let’s see them next
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JOBS & CAREERS
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JOBS & CAREERS
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FROM THE DESK OF THE CEO
Leadership In The 21st NICHOLAS OKOYE, Founder EMPOWER NIGERIA Initiative,
Dictator “Vladimir Lenin” when he was referring to the locus of the national economy, he used it to pacify the communist hard liners who felt he was moving too fast and too far in letting citizens own their own businesses. He told the communists that the people will only own and control small businesses, while the national government will own and control the commanding heights of the economy. I use this term today because in Today’s world there is no longer a battle of ideas as to who should own and run the commanding heights of the economy. The Private sector has won that battle. The real argument now is how do we reposition the commanding heights of the economy for sustainable growth and improvement.
ntrepreneurship and Leadership go together. You cannot be a successful entrepreneur without being a great leader. And the reverse is also the case, great leaders in most cases also make great entrepreneurs. Please note that I said great Leaders make great entrepreneurs not business managers. In fact in most cases the visionary leader or the entrepreneur seldom makes a good manager. Management is left to the professionals that have been groomed and trained for management purposes which can be sometimes repetitive and even sometimes boring, for the entrepreneurial mind set. So we know that great entrepreneurs need great managers to complement their drive, their zeal and their tenacity . And in the same way great managers need great entrepreneurs to take risk, create wealth and provide The five areas are: direction in a complicated system of opportunities.
As EMPOWER NIGERIA takes off on this journey of educating, inspiring and motivating our next generation of business leaders on the Path to Entrepreneurship, we will examine what are the major factors that contribute to the overall success of the Global Entrepreneurial Leader. Personal Development: we will look deeply at the issues around the development of the individual and highlight areas that may be holding you back. Such as was mentioned before inaccurate thinking, self-discipline, mastery of fear, a positive winning attitude etc. National Development: We will look that those areas of the development of the nation state Nigeria and how Government policy whether it be municipal, state or federal government. We will also look at the new public policy strategies which make monumental impact on pushing the Entrepreneurship agenda forward, and hopefully our public officers will be reading and listening. Cultural development; many of the World’s present crisis and complex problems are driven or have arisen from strong cultural tendencies which have held millions of people back from achieving higher standards of living and creating wealthy societies. This is very obvious in Nigeria, as tradition, religion and culture have destroyed entire societies and subjected people to poverty, people who otherwise should be doing very well. Clear path to entrepreneurship; as we educate ourselves in the drawbacks we must avoid, and clearly outline the philosophy we must embrace, we will always provide the link to entrepreneurship and how the Nigerian youth population can get of the unemployment line and into the work place by getting on to the clear path to entrepreneurship promoted by EMPOWER NIGERIA Initiative and managed by the Anabel Leadership Academy.
Commanding Heights of the National Economy The commanding heights of the national economy can best be described as the areas that hold the direction, that command the spending and that take precedence in both public and private sector investment and attention. The Term “Commanding heights of the National Economy” was first coined by the old era Soviet Union
Energy: Energy represents a great percentage of the commanding heights of Nigeria. Under energy we have oil, gas crude oil, power, the infrastructure that drives all these elements. Those who operate at this level are at the high level of the economic heights. Although there are the SME’s that fuel the pyramid at the middle and the bottom but the folks at the top control. Structural frame: This contains the steel industry, cement industry the land, the road. Now what do we mean by structural frame, may I say our structural frame as a human being is our skeleton. If we remove the skeleton what happens? You are going to fall apart, your flesh is gone, and your body will lose shape. The structural frame is like the skeleton, holds the economy. Human needs: Water, food, health, education. Economic movements: how you move goods. Aviation, rail, road, shipping. Support: Capital, financial banking.
Business Ideas that will change your life andle making has been a part of human lives for thousands of years. What started out as a fascinating hobby for some has C grown to become a very lucrative venture and a major source of income for millions of people all over the World. The materials for producing Candles are inexpensive and easily accessible, which means that you can get started without much led time. The barriers to entry are also quite low so any young person with very little funding can study the art of making candle and then you are in business. Candle making is one of the businesses that can be categorized on al the scales depending on how the entrepreneur would like to start. You can start large scale, medium scale or small scale. Candle Making Machine Either way you start you will have profits in the bank if you are serving the right market. Candles have several uses, they can be used for decoration as well as for emergency lighting, candles remain a high-selling item that almost everyone especially in the stability. It helps to overcome the problem of 'bending' which is rural areas buy and use. Three main raw materials are needed for sometimes experienced with wax candles in hotter climates, and also candle production. These materials are: helps in the release of candles from moulds. Candle Wax - This is the major component and the most imporWick - You find this thread at the middle of the candle. It is made of tant raw material used in candle making. The solid white matter burns and melts when lighted. It is sold in the market as large pel- bleached twisted cotton yarn lets. Fully refined waxes, which are ideal, are translucent to opaque Fragrance and Dye- additions used in making decorative scented in appearance, colourless, odourless, tasteless and hard or firm in consistency at room temperature. They have a melting-point range candles. In the manufacture of candles, it is essential that the fuel being used of 46° to 68°C. Those waxes, which melt at around 58°C, are ideal (Wax + Stearine) is heated to the temperature required, and mainfor candle making in temperate climates, although wax with a tained at that temperature for the duration of manufacture. higher melting point is required for use in hotter climates The most important aspect to be considered in the design and use of equipment is safety. It is important that the wax is not overheated; Stearine - This crystalline fatty acid is usually colourless and heating above 150°C can result in unpleasant and dangerous fumes odourless. It is a saturated fatty acid with an 18-carbon chain. Stearine is a component of many animal and vegetable fats and has being given off. It is also very important to prevent wax from being become an important material in candle making. It is important as spilt on to a naked flame, as this would present a very serious fire haza hardening agent for paraffin wax owing to its good temperature ard. To find out about candle making or any other business idea listed here please visit our website www.empowernigeria.com, visit our showroom: Block W2, Nigerian Army Shopping Arena, Ikeja Military Cantonment Bolade Bus Stop, Oshodi, Lagos +234 1 2771388
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EMPOWERNIGERIA GUIDE TO PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT Clear path to entrepreneurship a. Determine what is your passion b. Visit empower nigeria.com and register c. Choose a business idea or business related to your passion d. Sign up for funding assistance with one of our partners e. Order your business tools, machines and equipment f. Get 360 degree entrepreneurship training and certification g. Participate in empower Nigeria entrepreneurship network activities
Guide to ground breaking business opportunities 1. Bakery, Mixer/Bread Ovens: Believe it or not but over two million loaves of bread are consumed in Lagos alone every morning. And the demand is growing not only in Lagos but all over the country. In addition the Nigerian tastes are changing; the next generation of Nigerians are redefining the bakery industry by demanding all kinds of sophisticated products and delicacies. Innovation can be introduced into this industry by any of the EMPOWER NIGERIA members either with the types of bakery products you sell or the way you plan your distribution. No one has started direct delivery cup-cakes in Lagos YET, you could be the first. Think about it, and if its you that will change the bakery industry then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or with the contact information below for more information. 2. Frozen Drink & Slush Machines: This is always a winner in any tropical country. Anyone that has been on vacation to Jamaica or Trinidad would tell you how popular frozen drinks are on the streets or at the beach. Guess what folks, Nigeria is a tropical Country and sometimes the heat can be unbearable, any budding entrepreneur can take this opportunity and run with it. Preparing and supplying frozen drinks to our thousands of building sites where hard working construction workers are sweating all day may be the next big thing for our next generation of entrepreneurs. If you want to own and run a frozen drink and slush business please contact us at email@example.com or with the contact information below. 3. Honey Processing Machine: in case you haven’t heard, brown sugar and honey are not part of the so called white poisons, which includes white sugar. Health conscious people everywhere in Nigeria are warming up to using honey in place of white sugar for cooking, for their beverages and so on. You may have a bee hive already or you know of a bee hive nearby, then all you need now is the Honey processing machine from EMPOWER NIGERIA. If you want to own a honey processing business please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or with the contact information below. 4. Ice Block/Ice Cube/Ice Flakes Machines: well you got that right, Nigeria is a hot country. And since we are a very happy people as well, we are always having parties, celebrations, weddings, political gatherings, village meetings, owanbe, ofala etc. Whatever the occasion the chances are that we will always need ice cubes, ice blocks or ice flakes to cool our drinks. This business can be a very hot pick for a city or a community based entrepreneur, as parties and occasions happen in both locations. Here is an idea, team up with your local party planner and you will have constant demand for many months and years to come. If you are interested in becoming the next ice cube, ice block or ice flake manufacturer then contact us on email@example.com or with the contact information below. 5. Ice-cream and Cone making Machines: So it’s official Nigeria and most Nigerians have a sweet tooth, so the demand for Ice cream is growing and growing. And here is the great news you can be the one smiling all the way to the Bank. Why can’t you make a fortune from a very obvious life style that has creep into Nigeria only in the last five years? Set up the neighbourhood Ice Cream stand and become the darling of the local children. Again if you have a friend that is a party Planner then you are a winner as you could be the one supplying to all her parties from now on. If you would like to become the next Ice Cream man or woman then contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or with the information below.
YOUTHMAGAZINE CASE STUDY GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURAL LEADER
1967 at the age of 16 Branson set up a magazine called ‘The IfirstnStudent’, his aim was to create a voice for young activists, his issue debuted in 1968. The headmaster of Stowe where Branson was a student wrote ‘Congratulations Branson. I predict you will either go to prison or become a millionaire’. Richard filled the pages with articles and interviews from luminaries such as Jean-Paul Sartre, James Baldwin, Alice Walker and Robert Graves. The magazine never generated income but young Branson was not deterred by that fact. He then came up with the idea of selling records through the mail at discounted prices, he ran adverts in his magazine "The student" and in a short while, his record business soon became more lucrative than the magazine. Taking advantage of this newfound market, Branson rented an empty shop above a shoe store, put up a few shelves, recruited the staff of "The Student" and opened a discount record store he dubbed ‘Virgin’ because everyone involved was a complete virgin at business. Having built a cult following Richard felt he could integrate backwards by developing the material he knew his customers wanted to listen to. So In 1973, he launched Virgin records and released Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular bells’ which became a worldwide hit and put Virgin records on the map. By 1977, Virgin records became the world's largest independent record label with an array of stars such as The Rolling Stones, Peter Gabriel, UB40, Steve Winwood and Paula Abdul. By 1983, Branson’s empire had grown to over 50 different companies involved in almost everything from film making to air conditioner cleaning, generating a combined sales of $17 million at that time. In 1984, he set up Virgin Atlantic Airlines, after he was treated badly on an airline and felt there was room for a customer focused airline which was no too expensive. His investors and colleagues kicked against the move, saying he was crazy. He was undaunted and felt major airlines especially British airways were no longer responsive to their customers’ needs and felt he could offer more affordable and enjoyable experience. The response was tremendous and the airline soon became known for its superior service and lavish amenities, which included in-flight massage, free ice cream during movies, seat back video screens in every class. By 2010, Virgin Atlantic carried 5.3 million passengers making it the 8th largest UK airline. In 1992, he sold Virgin records to Thorn-EMI a sale that generat-
ed nearly $1 billion. In 1997 Virgin trains was awarded a 15 year franchise for the intercity west coast UK with the promise to introduce 40 high speed trains and reduce travel hours considerably. It was in the eighties and nineties that Richard Branson was known all over the world for doing whatever it takes to get the Virgin name out in the market place. He has shown up naked in public events, dressed as a woman to serve passengers on one of his airlines and even driven a military tank into the crowded New York times square. He nearly lost his life not once but twice whole flying round the world in a hot air balloon. Branson also developed a business approach, which he calls ‘Branded venture capital’. This enabled Branson to launch businesses with minimal investment. The key to this strategy lies in licensing the Virgin name, in exchange for a controlling interest while the partner does the funding. As a result, Branson now holds interest in more than 400 different companies. A few of these include two airlines, Virgin Interactive Entertainment, Virgin Radio, Virgin Studios, Virgin Hotels, Virgin Bridal, Virgin Clubs, Virgin Cola, Virgin Publishing, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Net, the Virgin Megastore chain, V2 (a global record company), a financial planning network, a blimp business, a modelling agency, a life insurance company and the highspeed European railway Eurostar. He is the now the 4th richest UK citizen with an estimated worth of $4.6 billion. He is currently on the verge of sending a shuttle service into space that will be aired live by NBC, stating that ‘space is virgin territory’.
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Art Blakey And The African Connection By Benson Idonije AYO Martins, Ferdinand Eklu, Tony Allen, James Menne, Remi Kabaka, Willie Bestman are some of Nigeria’s top jazz drummers who have made recognizable impact as great percussionists. And I am pretty sure that if they had the same opportunities and lived in the same environment they would be as great and influential as Art Blakey. Again, it is one thing to make all the opportunities available and it is quite another to take advantage of them. Drummer Art Blakey took advantage of the eclecticism and other possibilities that the ‘bop’ movement offered in the forties to reach out for African percussion. Evidence of his sojourn to Africa during which he visited Nigeria can be found in some of his early albums sponsored by the American State Department, a dynamic institution that has now degenerated into the Jazz Ambassadors arrangement. In those days, visits were very well coordinated and given high profile promotional support. And in the case of Art Blakey, he made a pragmatic use of the opportunity of his visit because he wanted to learn. Apart from playing concerts with his own outfit, he made sure he teamed up with African groups. He recorded with cultural groups in Lagos and Ibadan and proceeded to what has now become Delta State where he enjoyed playing with Ijaw and Urhobo groups whose ensemble sounds are reminiscent of the great Omokomo. Blakey went to other parts of Africa where he imbibed the culture of keeping extremely busy as a percussionist -as opposed to the unobtrusive time-keeping technique that attended jazz and Western music forms. Blakey played with such force and fury that he eventually lost much of his hearing and at the end was simply playing strictly on instincts. This was a trait he picked up from African drummers who, in addition to breaking the barriers of time-keeping, sounded very loud. Critics described his drumming intensity as being equivalent to six African drummers. It was forceful, intense and profound. Blakey influenced a whole generation of drummers including Billy Higgins, Jimmy Cobb and even Elvin Jones who was later rated best drummer. Blakey maintained the Jazz Messengers as the idiom’s foremost repertory band from its beginnings in the late ‘40s and mid ‘50s into the ‘90s; it however initially began as a cooperative effort between him and pianist Horace Silver until it disbanded. And it is ironical that despite their separation, Silver was still attracted to the Jazz Messengers under the leadership and full control of the percussionist. Silver was part of the early albums where he wrote a bluesy-type song called ECAROH which was “Horace” spelt backwards. The Jazz Messengers was a hard bop outfit that challenged the abilities of young musicians. They became attracted to the Jazz Messengers because of the solo opportunities the band gave to musicians and the intricate African-oriented rhythms that Blakey generated. The Jazz Messengers became a training ground for almost all the musicians of that period who used the opportunity as stepping stone and avenue for reaching out to higher levels. The roster of great jazz men whose careers Blakey nurtured included Donald Byrd, Hank Mobley, Jackie Mckean, Johnny Criffin, Bobby Timmons, Benny Golson, Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Branford Marsalis, Wallace Roney, Javon Jackson, Bryan Lynch, Keith Jarrett Chuck Mangione among many others. Art Blakey nurtured almost all the horn men as well as pianists. Blakey felt, by his drumming approach, that every man should find his own way in the group. He operated on the principle by which children are thrown into the water to see if they can swim. Most of the time, it worked, but some of the criticisms which were levelled against him was really a matter of immaturity of his soloists. At least that was the perspective from which Blakey saw it. He was called loud, which he often was, but he was also accused of dictating to, rather than accompanying his soloists, overshadowing them and forcing them into his patterns. Of this, Blakey said, “I play the way I feel and try to get my message across. If the horn man knows who he is and has something to say, he’ll make himself heard.” Naturally, some musicians have been at odds with this theory, one of them being sax-
Tiwa Savage on stage
Valentine Rave For Pepsi Consumers Speaking on the occasion, Head of Marketing, Seven-Up Bottling Company, Norden Thurston, said, “Pepsi is consumercentric and continually looking for ways to at Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos. The special Valentine’s event drew lovers from delight its consumers. Bringing together all walks of life to a refreshing moment with per- some of the best talents in Nigerian entertainment on Valentine’s Day was to create a lifeformances from Pepsi music ambassador, Tiwa time memory for our consumers.” Savage; American R&B star and multi-talented Some of the guests expressed their feelings. instrumentalist Mario Winans, and some of the best talent Nigeria has to offer. The concert is in One partygoer, Miss BimpeAdeleye, a student of the University of Lagos, who came for the tandem with Pepsi’s new global thematic camconcert with her boyfriend, could not hide her paign, ‘Live For Now’, which provides platforms for the Nigerian youth to celebrate and live in the emotions, as she screamed, “Oh my God! This is my best ever Valentine’s experience in now.
years..” In the same spirit, another audience member said, “my boyfriend has just proven to be the best guy by bringing me to Pepsi’s Big Valentine Rave. The show is just the best and it’s a perfect Val’s gift for me, and life is sweet right now.” The event also featured some of the best music-filled nights ever witnessed at Eko Hotel, including: Davido, Sound Sultan, Chidinma, and Praiz. Spinning on the decks were some of Nigeria’s finest Disc Jockeys — DJ Jimmy Jatt, DJ Big N, DJ Neptune and others.
ophonist Benny Golson. At the time when Golson was musical director of the Messengers, the group was quite highly regarded, but Golson’s conception was not entirely to Blakey’s taste. “He’d come in with an arrangement and it was a good one,” said Blakey, “but he’ll tell me when to use sticks and when to use brushes and what cymbal to play and I just couldn’t do that.” Golson was operating along the arrangement pattern of the Modern Jazz Quartet for which pianist John Lewis wrote in this manner. But it would not work with the explosive Art Blakey. Golson left as a result so that both musicians could express themselves freely, the way they chose. The fact that Golson left amicably, without any friction between them, was indicative of Blakey’s philosophy: he did not want his men to stay with him forever, but rather looked forward to the time when they felt ready to go out on their own. Another ex-Messenger was pianist Bobby Timmons who made such a success with Moanin, a composition he wrote for Blakey, that earned him several lucrative offers. One came from altoist Julian “Cannonball” Adderly. While with Adderley, Timmons wrote a gospelstyled piece, This here, that became the biggest jazz hit in several years, and gave Timmons much wider recognition than he had previously enjoyed. Inspite of this popularity, he continued to give credits to Art Blakey whose Jazz Mesengers nurtured him. Blakey was a leader who built other leaders. Timmons summed it all up in appreciation, “Not many men are really leaders, it has to do with a lot more than music. Miles is one, and Art another. “You learn decorum with him, and how to be a man. That little speech he gives at the end of his sets, about how jazz is our native cultural contribution to the world. Who else could get away with that speech? Some people laugh at him when he gives it, but he stands up there with dignity. “He knows how to handle people. One fellow was bringing in arrangements that Art didn’t think were quite right. He made the guy musical director, and the guy was happy, but when we got on the stand we played what we wanted to, anyway. He believes that jazz is feeling, the same was I do. But he knows about music. He’s the one who taught me to build a solo to a climax.”
lucky enough to appreciate the potential of African percussion as early as the 1940s. Most jazz men did not realise this until the 60s. Blakey just laid down the rhythms and progressions, which he made exciting and attractive enough to challenge the musicianship of his numerous sidemen. Until his death in 1990, Blakey admitted a steady stream of talented new musician’s intent on beginning their careers under the banner of the Jazz Messengers. As Bobby Timmons once summed it up, “Art’s a builder who doesn’t like to live in a finished house.”
T was a night filled with fun and excitement, as IValentine’s Pepsi delighted partygoers with a special Day concert tagged, Big Valentine Rave,
As a man who was financially secured and whose greatest musical innovations were perhaps behind him, Blakey could relax and survey the musical situation with a certain amount of detachment. He left his professional life almost completely in the hands of his manager whom he trusted implicitly, and professed to be uninterested in the material aspects of such. “I want to play the kind of music I like and see young guys come up through the band and make a reputation for themselves. And when the time comes, I want to get out of the business gracefully.” Art Blakey was a great drummer who was
Yoruba Movie Awards To Hold In Ibadan MIDST fun, excitement and glamour, the A Yoruba Movie Academy Awards (YMAA) will hold on Sunday, March 30, at the prestigious Civic Centre, Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State. The award is a celebration of creativity in the Yoruba movie industry and a date never to be missed in the entertainment calendar of the country. The award will honour and celebrate creativity and distinguished movie actors and producers who propagate the Yoruba culture and race globally through their works. According to Tunde Oshinibosi aka Laface, YMAA executive producer, the event will kick off at 5pm with the stars dazzling on the creatively designed Yoruba red carpet. The main event will begin at 7pm prompt. The awards’ categories include Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Leading Role, Supporting Actor in a Leading Role, Supporting Actress in a Leading Role, Best Marketer, Best Comedy Act, Best Comedy Film, Most Promising Actor, and Most Promising Actress. Others are Achievement in Cinematography, Achievement in Directing, Best Crossover Act, Best Musician in an Acting Role, Best Picture, Achievement in Editing, and Best Cultural Movie. Laface further stated that the honours category would celebrate movie greats like the late Kola Ogunmola, the late Duro Ladipo, Adebayo Faleti, Lanre Hassan, and Professor Akinwunmi Ishola. He said: “All nominees are advised to
Oshinibosi encourage their numerous fans to log on and vote at www.ymaawards.com and follow the voting instructions carefully. A carefully selected YMAA jury committee made up credible and distinguished individuals will also be set up to oversee the final nomi-
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Birthdays ALI, Senator (Dr) Ahmadu, administrator, politician and former chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be 78 on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Born on March 1, 1936 at Gbobe near Lokoja, Kogi State, he was educated at the Nigerian College of Arts between 1955 and 1957 before moving over to University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan from 1957 to 1963. He was also at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh. He was former Federal Commissioner for Education between 1973-76. ADEBOYE, Pastor Enoch Adejare, former university teacher and General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), will be 72 on Sunday, March 2, 2014. He was born on March 2, 1942 at Ifewara, Osun State and started his elementary education in the state. He later crowned his laurel with Ph.D. Degree in Applied Mathematics (Hydrodynamics); he was a sen-
ior lecturer in University of Lagos, when he received the divine call of God to work in His Vineyard. He had a strict Christian upbringing that was engineered by a church going culture, which was the prevalent style of Christianity of those days.
day, February 25, 2014. Born on February 25, 1960, he has a Diploma in Public Health from the Ogun State College of Health Technology. He was Chairman of the Ogun State Task Force on Building Project, Ijebu North Local Government, Ijebu-Igbo between 1996 and 1997 and was elected as member of the House of Representatives between 2003 and
2007 for the Ijebu North/East/Ogun Waterside constituency. He was elected a Senator for the Ogun East Constituency in 2007 and was appointed to Committees on Niger Delta, Interior Affairs, Commerce and Capital Markets till the end of his tenure in 2011.
MUSTAPHA, Senator Ramoni Olalekan, administrator and politician will be 54 on Tues-
Compiled by Gbenga Akinfenwa email@example.com
Pastor Olufemi Ibironke, the General Overseer of The Assembly of Faithful Church (Worldwide)(left) and Pastor Sam Ikpea, General Secretary, Nigeria Football and Other Sports Supporters’ Club (right)cut their birthday cake with Mr Rafiu Oladipo, President General, Nigeria Football and Other Sports Supporters’ Club recently at the church auditorium in Lagos.
Head Divisional of General Services, Wema Bank Plc, Fola Ajanlekoko (left), Head of Commercials, Leadway Assurance Company, Tunji Amokode, Senior Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Justices, Lanre Akinsola; Group Managing Director, Cryslad Group, Banjo Onanubi, and General Manager, Cryslad Group, Kunle Olayemi during the commissioning of trucks, warehouse, road and launching of Kasstul water in Lagos.
Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji (right); and Sir Marc Wabara, during a recent civic reception hosted by the Abia South Senatorial District Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party in honour of the governor in Aba.
Information and Branding Director, Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) Lagos Chapter, Uzo Odunukwe (left); its Lagos President, Peter Ineh, Chief Operating Officer, Digital Encode Ltd, Adewale Obadare and Administrator, ISACA Lagos, Moyosore Adefihan during a courtesy visit to Digital Encode Ltd by ISACA Lagos Chapter.
Roseline Eyinike (left), Adefemi Olutayo, Founder and Team Lead, Clique Africa, Olalekan Gbadamosi, Ademola Odunlade and Samuel Isichei at the Clique Africa Hangout of young professionals held in Lagos.
Mr. Tokunbo Piarse (left), Abiola Sapo, Mrs. Harrisat Agusto, Mrs. Fumilayo Garik, Williams Apabio and administrator of the school Rev. Monsignor Edmond Babashay Akpala, Old Boys and Girls of St. Gregory’s College (1969-1970s) set during the school annual inter house sports competition held in Lagos… on Friday. PHOTO: PAUL ADUNWOKE
Registrar, Department of Community Health and Primary Care, LUTH, Dr Yetunde Duzie (4th left), Baale of Orile Idi-Araba, Ilupeju Lagos during Evexia Medical Outreach, in the community.
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Tension, Violence Mount Ahead Council Poll NASARAWA
Stories By Gbenga Akinfenwa ITH barely one month to W the March 22, 2014 date scheduled for the conduct of Nasarawa State council poll, the fragile security situation in the state has gone from bad to worse, as a result of orgy of violence trailing the declaration of winners of local government election primaries conducted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) a fortnight ago. As at the last count, the Light House Hotel owned by the Interim state chairman of the party, Stanley Buba, and APC secretariat in Nasarawa local government area have been burnt down by enraged youths, while incidences of matcheting and shooting were reported across the state, all within the spate of two days. The section of the hotel building located along Wamba road in Akwanga local government area, was burnt last Sunday morning by youths who were allegedly angry over the primaries conducted by the party. The carnage was linked to imposition of candidates by the chairman after Emmanuel Lawen, a chairmanship aspirant was declared winner of the Akwanga of the council area. One of the grievances of the youths, according to reports, was the delay in the announcement of the result, which held between February 7 and 8, but dragged to February 15. Sources also disclosed that the matter couldn’t be unconnected with the recent suspension of the state deputy governor, Dameshi Barau Luka from the APC over alleged anti-party activities.
The party chairman, Buba, came out to defend the party, saying that the delay in the announcement of the results was due to human factors, which included over-voting and violence in some areas. He added that they finally announced the results after scrutiny, and looked into the issues of over-voting, hoodlums’ invasion, and violence in some polling units across the state. Report has it that protests characterised the exercise across the 13 local government areas because of alleged theft of membership slips by some aspirants. There was a wave of violent clashes resulting from anger over alleged disappearance of APC membership slips used in the exercise. The Guardian learnt that although the state governor Umaru Tanko Almakura tried to pacify apirants on the need to have a consensus candidate, they all insisted on going for primary elections. In Akwanga local govern-
Al-Makura ment, two government officials were beaten to pulp and detained in police custody for safety, while two people were reportedly shot at Obi are currently receiving treatment in Lafia. In keana, avail-
able reports revealed that one person was shot, while one was also matcheted in Lafia. In Keffi, ballot papers were destroyed in the premises of the Police Area Command along Akwanga road.
members to remain calm, patient and respect constituted authority, adding that their complaints would be looked into objectively. He restated the commitment of the party leadership to initiate good policies that would bring speedy development to the party, and called on the people to live in peace and unity irrespective of their ethnic, religious and political affiliations. Meanwhile, the state Governor, Al-Makura has empowered the State Independent Electoral Commission (NASIEC) with three Toyota Hilux vans to hasten their operation ahead of the poll. While presenting the keys to the chairman of NASIEC, Abdullahi Modibbo in Lafia, last Tuesday, the governor urged the electoral body to ensure that the forthcoming election reflects the wishes of the people. He said the vehicles were part of government’s commitment to ensure adequate logistic support for a hitch free election, charging them to provide a level playing field for all parties before, during and after the election.
Council Boss Tasks Youths On Job Creation, Community Development HE executive chairman of Ewekoro local government, Ogun State, Ogbeni Zaccheaus Oludele Soluade has enjoined youths in the country to create jobs by focusing on what they are good at, rather than pursuing white-collar jobs. He also charged them to be agents of change in their various communities by fostering unity and leading by example, to bring the needed change for the de-
EWEKORO velopment of the grassroots. Soluade, who spoke at the investiture of new executive members of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Ewekoro local government Chapter, last week, lamented the rising cases of youth unemployment, which is becoming worrisome to government and society at large, and which negatively impacted on the develop-
ment of the country. “I enjoin you to look inward and create jobs, instead of running after white-collar jobs. Try and build on what you can do best and turn yourself to employers of labour rather than job seekers,” he said. While speaking on the investiture, the chairman who stated that the occasion was a step to a new beginning for the youths as leaders of tomorrow, charged the new officials to lead by example and
Women Strategies For Grassroots Representation made at the workshop, such as balancing family OR female political aspiNATIONAL Fsuccessfully jointly signed by the state commitment and work, rants, whose aim is to vie women leaders and the Execcampaigning with limited for political offices, win elections and impact positively in the lives of people at the grassroots, reliance on godfatherism and diversion of public funds have been described as nonviable options to achieve their dreams. This was part of observations contained in a communiqué issued at the just concluded five-day capacity building workshop for women politicians from Ekiti and Osun States ahead of the forthcoming elections. At the workshop organised by Community Life Project (CLP), a non-governmental organisation that promotes popular participation in governance, especially by grassroots people, and held at Pope John Paul II Pastoral Centre, Ikere Road, Ekiti, women political leaders were also advised on the need to unite and work across party lines to enhance women’s political participation and increase the number of women in political offices and party structures. They also observed that for women to upturn male dominance in politics, they must
It was a stalemate in Awe, till evening of Sunday, election material were yet to reach the local government. Sensing what appears to be a looming crisis after announcing the result, the party immediately set up an appeal committee to listen to petitions and complaints to be raised by aggrieved party members. As at last Wednesday, the party said it has received over 50 petitions from individuals and groups, challenging the results. The Interim chairman, Buba, who said the appeal committee became necessary to unite members for the peace, progress and development of the party, added that they unanimously calling for redress of the primary elections. “In their petitions, most of the aggrieved members are challenging the outcome of the primary elections because they are not satisfied with the results. I want to assure them that the appeal committee of the party will be fair and just in handling their cases for the overall development of the party. Buba enjoined aggrieved
take the lead in introducing best practices into Nigeria’s electoral culture and also redress the imbalances in the representation of women and men within political party structures. Organised for 62 female political leaders and four women journalists from the two states, the participants comprised women leaders from All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who have mostly been in politics between 15 and 39 years, including those who had contested for various positions both at state and local government levels. Part of what was achieved was building of women capacity in the area of campaign, fund raising, how to campaign effectively with limited resources, negotiation and lobbying skills, among others. They also brainstormed and shared experiences on the challenges faced in previous elections in which they contested and how to overcome such challenges in the 2015 elections. The recommendations
utive Director of CLP, Ngozi Iwere, charge party leaders to take urgent steps to ensure increase in the number of women in top decision-making positions within party organs and that certain top leadership positions within party structures should be reserved exclusively for women, to be contested by only female candidates. “The major political parties should make concerted efforts to ensure that a minimum of 35 per cent of candidates fielded in the 2015 election are women. INEC and top leadership of major political parties should do more to work together to ensure that the 2015 elections are fair, inclusive and free of violence and intimidation in order to mitigate the barriers to women’s effective participation,” the statement read. The workshop, part of CLP’s broad-based initiative to enhance the quality of governance, especially at the grassroots, was designed to help female politicians and aspirants overcome their most challenging issues,
resources, building coalitions and effective communication. According to Francis Onahor, ICT Manager of CLP, empowering women for impact participation in decisionmaking, especially at the local government level and engaging government officials will strongly influence and shape both the process and outcomes of governance in favor of women, disadvantaged grassroots communities and citizens. He stated that since the return of civil rule in 1999, very few women have been elected into public offices. “At present, out of 469 members at the National Assembly, only 32 are women. This situation is replicated in the states and even worse at the local government level. “In Ekiti state, only four of the 27 members of the State Assembly are women, while none of the 16 local governments is headed by a woman. In Osun, of the 30 local governments, only two are headed by women and there is no single woman among the legislators,” he said.
tolerate one another to achieve their aims. “I implore you to extend your membership to the nooks and crannies of this local government. Don’t limit your membership because this group belongs to everybody and it’s not partisan,” he said. In his address, the new coordinator, Comrade Gabriel Adesanya, who disclosed that one of its priorities is to rescue teeming youths in the area from any mess, especially from companies who maltreat people, tasked the chairman and other stakeholders to rise up to the oc-
casion and reposition the youths to the expected status. “We want government to formulate policies that would make life more meaningful to youths. We want companies to put NYCN in their programmes and maintain the full recognition of this body as partner in progress in the area of employment and security. These are areas where we can be of immense help as partners,” he stated. The event was also used to award eminent personalities that have contributed immensely to the growth of the council area and the launch of N5m NYCN building.
Oranmiyan Foundation Boss Mobilises Grassroots In Osun HE Irepodun and Orolu T local government areas of Osun State came alive recently, when the chairman of Oranmiyan Foundation in Dublin, the Republic of Ireland, Dr. Oluwole Yekeen Alabi, visited the constituency and mobilised members and supporters of All Progressives Congress (APC) to participate in the just concluded party registration, saying their support for the party would guarantee abundant economic opportunities, qualitative education and sound health. Shortly after registering at the polling unit six, ward five, Jagun Street in Ilobu, headquarters of Irepodun local government, Alabi, who was accompanied by party faithful, commercial motorcycle operators, market men and women, also visited IfonOsun, the headquarters of Orolu local government, and Erin-Osun, where he advised people to cultivate the habit of asking their leaders questions on how the affairs of government are run.
IREPODUN/OROLU The consultant gynaecologist, disclosed that the efforts of the governor in the state needed to be complemented by other government officials by reporting the people’s needs to the appropriate quarters and by following it up to ensure government’s positive response. He explained that meaningful representation cannot take place in any society by sharing money among the people, but by influencing passage of relevant bills that will address people’s problems and tackle unemployment at all levels. Alabi also commended the people for turning out en masse to welcome him and enjoined them to eschew violence during and after the registration exercise, while also calling on Prof. Atahiru Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to learn from the orderly manner the party had conducted its membership registration nationwide, saying discipline is the hallmark of the party.
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EzE: We Do Not Need Indiscipline And Bitterness In Our Polity By Nkechi Onyedika
A politician, diplomat, entrepreneur, philanthropist and mobiliser, Ambassador Justina Eze is a woman of substance, who has scored many firsts in her life. The amiable, humble and eloquent Adaoha (daughter of the people), as fondly called, was not born with a silver spoon, as she lost her father at the age of two, but through hard work, discipline, perseverance, her mother’s support and the help of God, she rose from grass to grace, venturing into areas believed to be exclusive reserve for men. Growing up WAS born into a humble family, where hard work was the watchword. I did not grow to know my father, as he died when I was only two years old, but my mother raised us through earnings from hard work. The only resting day we knew was Sunday, and in those days, once we came back from school, we had to follow our mother to the farm from where we proceeded to the stream, which was almost one mile away, to fetch water. We then returned home to cook and the following morning, we had to wake up at 4 am to fetch water again after which we swept the compound before going to school, which was far from home. Because of this routine, energy and hard work became part and parcel of us. Going by history, my father was a very rich man in his days. He was the first man to buy a lorry in Nsukka in 1944, but having died prematurely, his brothers confiscated everything to the extent that my mother and the other wives had to toil hard to raise their children. My mother insisted we went to school and had to work hard to achieve this. My very humble background pushed me into becoming a nurse. Through this, I had a deep experience dealing with the downtrodden and is the reason I am different politically compared to other women. It never occurred to me to oppress others simply because I had the opportunity to occupy a leadership position. People should use their positions to lift up others. I went into nursing because my younger brother was going to drop out of school and I swore he must be a graduate. So, I had to withdraw from the Nursing school in my third year to pick up a job with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), where I worked as an accounts clerk. With my salary, I was able to pay his school fees and today, he is an economist based in Canada with his family. After the war, I left NPA to trade. I went into the so-called male-dominated areas and set up a block industry called Vintina Block Industry in Enugu in the early 70’s. From there, I ventured into the distribution of cement, as well as Golden Guinea and Premier drinks. I was always on the road whether pregnant or nursing a baby. I kept struggling until I built my first house in 1978, which was a 30-bedroom hotel called Nucon Hotel. With this, I made a lot of money. I rode my first car, a Mercedes Benz 230 in 1975. Going into politics In1978, my people said that I should go into politics since I have all it takes. I was kind to the poor, regardless of their background. I also paid the school fees of some children even up to higher institution and paid the hospital bills of some other people. My political life wouldn’t have been possible without such people as Igwe Agbarakata of Igah, who was my mentor and Chief Frank Olotor. They both belonged to the defunct NCNC, and seeing my lifestyle, they encouraged me in 1979 to contest for the House of Representatives. That was how I became a legislator and the first woman from the Southeast and one of the first three women in the history of Nigeria to go to the House. Also, the late Mrs. Jennet Mokelu was one of my mentors. She bought for me a book on eloquence, and this helped me in public speaking. She was always telling me to carry myself well and never to allow myself be abused by any man. This was why I could speak with boldness and talked to anyone of them. I kept to my job, gave respect to others and no insults. That is one thing I want female politicians or women aiming to be politicians to emulate, but these days, they just get nominated. Career and family Luck was on my side because I had a wonderful husband, who gave me all the support and encouragement. I never neglected my home though, as my family came first. All through my political career, I ensured there was always food in the house and that there were lesson teachers
for my children. I had full-time personal assistants and many relations, who helped my mum, take care of my children. I have seven children and all of them are graduates. They followed in my steps and are very hardworking. I believe it would be of great help if Nigerian women would imbibe the virtues of humility, gratitude, remain focused, respect their husbands and give quality time to their children and family members. There are no greater politicians than women, because we have access to other women, who are almost half of the population of Nigeria. Women are lagging behind because they don’t assist one another to grow. They don’t project their own. During our days in the House of Representatives, my house in 1004 Flats was more or less a guest house for any woman from any part of Nigeria, who came to Lagos and had no place to stay. Whatever I had, we cooked and ate. I never discriminated against anyone. Every woman has her own gift, but a politician must be a good public speaker to send out the right message. You cannot send out what you don’t have. My days in politics were full of charisma and very captivating because I sold what I had and always carried other women along without any discrimination or exclusion. But what you find today is politics of exclusion, greed and discrimination. That is what is making everything difficult. Political positions held I became the Chairman of the Housing Corporation, Enugu but the military later struck. During the Fourth Republic, I was one of the people that made frantic effort to ensure that Obasanjo became the president and during his tenure, I was appointed the Nigerian Ambassador to Guinea Bissau from 1999 to 2003 with concurrent accreditation to Cape Verde Island. During the impeachment plot against Obasanjo, he drafted me from Guinea Bissau to become his Political Adviser on House of Representatives matters. I went round and appealed to my people from the Southeast zone, giving them reasons they shouldn’t impeach him and allow democracy to thrive. They listened and withdrew from the meetings of impeachment. I am presently a member of the Board of Trustees of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Then, political parties were like a union of brothers and sisters, but that is not what
obtains now. There is so much quarrel, bitterness and intrigues even within the same party. There is also lack of order and respect for people in authority. They now have politics of indiscipline and this is what is causing problems in the PDP. Women participation in politics Nigerian women are struggling and most of them are incapacitated. The women in the north are having things easier compared to their southern counterparts because their men are considerate. When they see that a woman is capable, they allow her but in the south, it is like a tug of war. The men here find it so difficult to give the woman a chance, but the women are not giving up. If only they would allow everybody go through a voting process, it would be a different thing. But there is now this arrangement of consensus candidate and once they do that, no matter how hard a woman tries, she would lose out because before the election period, they would have told all the ward members whom to vote for. We need to uphold the 35 per cent affirmative action to ensure 35 per cent women representation in both elective and appointive positions. Her views on state of the nation As a concerned mother, I am highly worried about recent happenings in the polity. I am using this medium to call on people of integrity and former Heads of State such as Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Babangida, Yakubu Gowon, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Olusegun Obasanjo
and other statesmen to find time, leave their comfort zones to meet with the people that are heating up the polity to reduce the tension and stress they are giving President Jonathan. What brought us to where we are today in Nigeria was not caused by Jonathan. It is the collective responsibility of these former leaders, because a country that has so much has been neglected for so many decades. I remember that in 1982 when we (Members of the House Committee on Industry) travelled to Rio De Janairo and Korea, they begged us to allow them come and build refineries in Nigeria. That was during President Shehu Shagari’s administration and we made the submissions to the Executive but it never saw the light of the day. So, why is everybody now blaming Jonathan? All the past leaders should be blamed for the rot. Educational background Born into the Ugwunamonu family in Nssukka, Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State in November 24, 1942, Justina attended St Mary’s Catholic School, Ukpabi Nimbo, in Nsukka from 1950 to 1958. She proceeded to St Dominic Teacher’s Training, Abatete, Anambra State from 1958 to1960, where she obtained Teacher’s Training College II certificate. She got married to Engr. Umezue Eze. O. Eze from Afikpo in Ebonyi State in 1968. Fashion I love natural looks and I am not into makeups. I love people wearing what looks good on them; therefore, I prefer what looks good on me.
I believe it would be of great help if Nigerian women would imbibe the virtues of humility, gratitude, remain focused, respect their husbands and give quality time to their children and family members. There are no greater politicians than women, because we have access to other women, who are almost half of the population of Nigeria. Women are lagging behind because they don’t assist one another to grow. They don’t project their own. During our days in the House of Representatives, my house in 1004 Flats was more or less a guest house for any woman from any part of Nigeria, who came to Lagos and had no place to stay. Whatever I had, we cooked and ate. I never discriminated against anyone.
Sunday, February 23, 2014 53
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Opinion Dear Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala HAVE often disagreed with your work in the government. There are two principal reasons for this. The first is that you serve as the arrowhead of a change scheme known as President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda, which I hold to be deceptive and inoperable. I do not believe that the kind of fundamental change your government claims to lead can succeed because it does not enjoy the ownership of the people as it is not set in the credibility of personal example. A leadership that cannot demonstrate it understands the power of sacrifice and character leads only itself. For me, your failure to attack this issue of credibility has, despite your international profile, made you a part of the untrusted. The Transformation Agenda’s endless preachment is widely received as being pompous and deceptive because of the evidence of duplicity Nigerians see around them. The second reason behind my doubt of you is the history question. You were a critical part of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s widely-celebrated National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) 10 years ago. That reform scheme promised to be the last economic reform Nigeria would ever need, but in less than one year, it collapsed on its head. The resources that went into NEEDS, including assistance received from foreign friends, disappeared. Some of those resources include over $2.5 billion recovered of the Sani Abacha loot. Your successor in Finance, Nenadi Usman, who is now a Senator and who I am sure you run into in the privileged corridors of Abuja, told Nigeria that the funds were given to five Ministries for certain projects. The funds—$2.5 billion—and the so-called “projects” vanished. Those were just the Abacha funds. I know President Obasanjo later moved you from Finance to Foreign Affairs, following which you made the right decision to leave the government and return to Washington, DC. But you then made the other, even more courageous decision to return to serve in the govern-
ment of Mr. Jonathan, accepting overall responsibility for the economy. I found it difficult to reconcile your silence on NEEDS with the suggestion that it is possible to improve Nigeria, indeed transform her, without reference to the NEEDS story. Having provided that background, I write to commend you upon your recent speech at TEDx Euston in London in which you focused on election campaign finance in Africa. You declared that unless a legitimate means is found for funding election campaigns, politicians would continue to seek funds from such sources as business people, whom they would then be in dangerous private debt with grave public consequences. “If we don’t solve this problem, people will continue to find unorthodox means of financing their elections, of financing the implantation of democracy. And this very means may be the root of some of the corruption we do not want, which may totally affect the way we do business.” “I want us to start a conversation: what if we decide that we want a certain percentage of each of our countries’ revenue to be dedicated to (election campaign finance) and that people need not run around to look for means and stress themselves to finance political parties or election campaigns, but that it is a legitimate public good that we have said we want in each country we want democracy?” In principle, every country, which professes a democracy such as ours, ought to be concerned about this question; you are to be celebrated for raising it for the consumption of African countries. As for me, however, the issue is not Africa, it is Nigeria. If Nigeria gets it right, Africa will get it right, and Nigerian government officials will once again enjoy the moral right to preach abroad about issues such as this. But the problem for a Nigerian is not Africa, it is Nigeria. This is why I am always disturbed when a prominent Nigerian such as you would say these things elsewhere, but choose to remain silent within our shores.
The election campaign debacle can be no worse than it is in Nigeria, and in “Beyond, And Beneath, N65,” an article I published in January 2012 following that month’s civil protests, I advocated a new Campaign Finance Law. The trouble is that campaign finance is only one symptom of a broader disease. That ailment, of which your government is regrettably a key part, Madam Minister, is the deep corruption that is eating Nigeria alive. The Transformation Agenda is a ruse because it is planted in the very soil of corruption. Apparently, that was not the plan. The month before you assumed duty, in July 2011, the Secretary to the Government, Mr. Anyim Pius Anyim, told the American ambassador in a public event that the Transformation Agenda would engender institutional changes that would arrest corruption. Similarly, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, the former Minister of National Planning, said in October 2011 that the Transformation Agenda would be substantially different, as it would address the corruption question as a platform. “We have to emphasize the rule of law, judicial system and the policing system,” he told a press conference. “When you know that there is a 99 percent chance you would be caught when you steal and 100 percent chance that you would go to jail, you won’t steal.” That was why I quickly gobbled up the document as soon as I found it, only to find that on corruption, it is eloquent only in its silence. Your government avoided this combat. And so we wind up with a conundrum where we claim to be fighting corruption but cannot find the courage. It is called hypocrisy. We claim transparency, but some of the most powerful officials of the current government number among those alleged to be the most corrupt. An allegation, of course, is not guilt. But there is no process in the current government to sift the innocent from the guilty. The government famously announced, in 2012, that it would mark its own scorecard. The famously guilty are famously pardoned. The president powerfully
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @Sonala.Olumhense
swore he would not publicly declare his assets. In other words, when you say that campaign finance is an issue and leads to corruption, you speak only half of the sentence. The full story is that the social contract, the relationship between the electorate and the elected, has broken down in Nigeria. The government is not responsible to the people. This explains one of the problems on your desk: an embarrassing recurrent expenditure profile that makes it impossible to fund capital projects. Everyone the world over knows that that is because our public officials see in office not a chance to serve, but an opportunity to leap from comfortable to wealthy. By all means, Madam Minister, let us discuss campaign finance. But we cannot discuss it outside a responsible electoral law. Most of all, to pretend that such a discussion can be undertaken in the same abstraction in which the Transformation Agenda tries to distance itself from a rigorous anti-corruption campaign is a little disingenuous. Hopefully, you understand the concept of credibility. A credible government must focus on demonstrable service, not propaganda. Your government is not credible because it cannot distance itself from the lootocracy. Nigeria has a lot to offer Africa and the world. If you want to be a genuine contributor to that process, I suggest that you shed
Of UI’s Toilet And Olumhense’s Ranting Sunday Saanu FEEL highly disinclined to join issues with Mr. Sonala Olumhense for obvious reasons: He is an elderly man. Respect for elders is one of the cardinal imperatives of our traditional customs in this part of the world. Again, Mr. Olumhense is a respected senior colleague in the media industry with vast experience and exposure. More importantly, he is an alumnus of the University of Ibadan (UI), where he studied Political Science between 1975 and 1978. An old masquerade, you may say! However, his recent write up entitled “University of Ibadan’s shameful secret” published in The Guardian on Sunday, February 16, 2014 coupled with yet another one of August 18, 2013 in Sunday Trust captioned “Obasanjo, the first 419 President,” in which he unwarrantedly lambasted the UI Vice Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole, when taken together, compel one to interrogate the respect one has for the columnist! In what he called “UI’s Shameful Secret”, Olumhense had heavily and solely relied on some computer manipulated toilet pictures purportedly taken by one Ibukun Babarinde, depicting poor state of students’ toilet in Mellamby Hall of residence, which were published on-line, to deride his university and the Vicechancellor. According to him, “Babarinde’s pictures show toilets so dirty. It is difficult to believe that they belong to a public institution. I have seen cleaner toilets in Lagos markets. How can a student learn in such an environment?” What an error of hasty conclusion! Has he independently investigated the credibility of the pictures? Does he know the motive of the source? Were the toilets so dirty as portrayed in the pictures? When were the pictures taken? When were they posted on the internet? Olumhense in the article under review, came for his target. His words: “At UI, are Prof. Adewole’s standards really superior to those shameful toilets at Mellanby? I guess that when his guests complain they have encountered one of those facilities, he laughs and tells them they should have come to his own.” This is certainly a mere hilarious anecdote from Olumhense as his guess is far away from the truth. His second piece of entitled “Obasanjo, the First 419 President” was informed by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s remarks at the 4th Annual Ibadan Sustainable Development Summit organised by the Centre for Sustainable Development of UI. The UI VC was the Chairman of the occasion where Obasanjo hit former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu and others on political matters. But hear what Olumhense wrote about the UI, VC who never had control over what Obasanjo may say “…. at the
event, Vice-chancellor Isaac Adewole shamelessly swallowed the baloney Obasanjo had just spilled all over Nigeria’s oldest university.” The question is, what should Prof. Adewole have done? To order former President Obasanjo to stop talking? Or to walk out on the former Army General? Altogether, one is tempted to believe that frustration, perhaps with the Nigerian situation are beginning to take toll on our revered senior colleague. Indeed, it does appear that Olumhense’s unconcealed disdain for the UI, VC, who incidentally graduated from UI the same year with the columnist makes insinuation inevitable that Olumhense is only envious of his school mate who has now occupied a more prestigious position in life. Back to the issue of toilet facilities, the truth is that there are some old facilities in the toilets. They are old but not dirty. As a matter of fact, the university spends close to N10million every month to ensure that the toilets and the entire university campus are kept clean and neat. Perhaps, the best answer to Olumhense’s article on his so-called “UI’s Shameful Secret” is found in the words of former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,” whatever was true in it was trite and whatever was not trite was not true.” Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) went on six months strike over poor state of facilities in the universities. So, what is the news in saying that the Nigerian Universities lack modern toilet facilities, library, laboratory, and other appurtenances of learning? Columnists, we were taught, are respected on the basis of the authenticity of their views as well as the scientific test of their surmises. What respect does a columnist who relied on a questionable secondary source of information hope to get when his guesses are doubtful? Column writing is characterised by perspicacious effort with search and search and more research. Little wonder they say, “if in doubt, find out, if still in doubt, then, leave it out” Certainly, a tirade of mendacious presumptions, predicated on raving without reasons can only attract disrespect from discerning reading public. As confessed by Olumhense himself, the last time he visited UI was in the 1990s. He obviously does not know that the university has been transformed beyond what he used to know. He probably does not know that Prof. Adewole’s vision has revived the wavering confidence in the system. On a regular basis, people from town now troop to UI campus to buy UI fish, UI meat, UI bread, UI water, UI oil, UI eggs as of the olden days, courtesy of Prof. Adewole’s strategic vision. Here is the VC who recently sent student union leaders to some top universities abroad so that they could be exposed to international best
practices in leadership. A VC that sent his students abroad could not have neglected their toilets. Since his assumption of office, Prof. Adewole has done so much to the extent that the students and workers have described him as the Gynaecologist of the 21st century University. His cost rationalisation and resource optimisation strategies have made Ibadan campus a true place of information, reformation, transformation and innovation. Consequently, we would not allow anybody, no matter highly placed in the media industry, to take counterfeit innuendoes to the market place of ideas unchallenged. Failure to respond to Olumhense’s needless attack would be taken as an indication of no objection, hence this write up. If it is not pure mischief, why would an alumnus be persistently attacking his alma mater? Is that how Olumhense plans to pay back UI for teaching him Political Science and the Use of English? Is that his own way of giving back to the University that made him? Did he have any score to settle with Adewole over girlfriend in their undergraduate days? Thousands of those who have benefitted from Ibadan’s well of wisdom have been coming back to assist the University. They are proud of UI. For instance, Sina Kawonise who did his Master’s in Sociology in 1990 came to UI recently and renovated the Head of Department’s office to the tune of Two million Naira in appreciation of his education in UI. The Nation on Sunday Editor, Mr. Festus Eriye, a UI alumnus spoke so passionately about UI recently when I met him in Lagos. He willingly assisted me, saying he would do everything possible to assist the University that made him. In the same vein, The Saturday Sun, Editor, Mr. Bruce Malogo did not hesitate to assist the UI when I sought his help. As I was thanking him, Mr. Malogo said “Sunday, UI is my school. UI made me, you should not thank me. I am only appreciating my school by doing this”. Sunday Tribune Editor, Mr. Sina Oladeinde is never tired of assisting UI and its Principal Officers in his own capacity. Likewise others too numerous to mention. But why is our own highly respected Olumhense not appreciating UI for training him? His portrayal of his alma mater dramatises the tendentiousness of his inclination to ridicule the school and the VC. But why? Of all the good things in UI, it is only dirty toilet that interested him and his co-traveller. Why is he so strong in vitriol when it comes to UI matter? Sunday Saanu is with Directorate of Public Communication, University of Ibadan. email@example.com
54 | Sunday, February 23,
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Opinion Alaba Consults Trouble LABA, as far as Trouble could understand, was the typical ‘child-wiser-than-parent’ of our people’s myth–omo-gbon-jubaba – and it was not easy to say who was consulting who. The consultation lasted for forty-five minutes and Alaba the client spoke for forty-four minutes while the consultant/adviser spoke or did not speak for one minute. Alaba began by declaring that usually, around the world, parents and guardians brought up children and wards and then later, the children and wards brought down the parents and guardians. Say that again, requested Trouble. Alaba kindly obliged. Parents bring up children. Children bring down parents. That’s how the world operates. Please elaborate. Meaning, can you please explain further. Parents bring up children to reach for the stars. Children bring parents down to earth. That is how the world changes and moves on. First we go up to the stars, then, we come down to dirt earth. And what has this got to do with Queue Consulting? Everything shall be explained. Through generational warfare the world advances. Only in Naijiria has this not happened and that is why we stand still. Trouble mulled over this statement and then, again asked for further clarification from Mr. Know-All Alaba. And before Alaba could go on, Trouble read to him the Star Horoscope of the day: “Life doesn’t always have to be tough. We don’t earn our place on this planet by suffering and struggling. Pain may sometimes lead to gain but it is perfectly possible to have plenty of one without any of the other. This weekend’s question is not “Have you earned a break from stress and strife?” It is “Are you able to see that you deserve this, regardless
of what you have or haven’t done?” Some pleasing developments are about to come your way. Have the grace to accept these gifts with gratitude.” Alaba listened anxiously and, ignoring whatever Trouble was trying to tell him, moved on to his next point. My parents taught me never to tell a lie. The spiral image could go down or up as you wish. But it goes this way: he or she who lies can steal. He who can still can kill. So he who can lie can kill, Q.E.D. But at the same time I was instructed to lie to our neighbour, and with no explanation either. Nor did they provide accompanying motivation for me to commit murder. Sometime when someone is talking to you, you respond to them in your head, without saying what you are countering to them in your head. Trouble felt this way now. He wanted to say to Alaba that the challenge in Naija had nothing to do with generational warfare and bloodshed. It had to do with the ingrained response to life that there must be pain before any gain. Even far worse is the lack of measurement for the pain in comparison with the suffering that Naija people are prepared to undertake. The more difficult something is to achieve, the greater their happiness. And when the gain comes, nobody asks if it is commensurate with the pain that preceded it. In fact if something comes easy because it has emanated from a managed process, the Naija person feels uncomfortable. If an instruction on a package says that something has to be twisted anticlockwise in order to open, the Naija person would twist it clockwise because that is how everything needs to be twisted. So, the Naija
person would twist and twist until the thing is ruined. Trouble would like to shout and say stop it. Don’t do anything until you have reexamined the situation. But Alaba was still going on. .. You see, my best friend’s mother made marvellous aadun or robo (rounded sweets made/fried from a mixed dough of melon seeds, ripe plantain and peanuts). Unlike those my mother made, my friend’s mother’s robo did not break your teeth, being much softer and kinder to your molars. Naturally I loved them. But then I was told that I must never eat anything in my friend’s house. Like nothing? Don’t eat breakfast there. Don’t eat lunch there. Don’t eat dinner there. What about robo? What is it in nothing that you don’t understand? Is it the ‘no’ or the ‘thing’? You eat nothing in that house. So next time I was at my friend’s house and his mother offered me something to eat, I told her that I have been instructed to eat nothing in her house. She immediately took my hand and led me to our house. My mother must have thought that I was being hurled to her attention because I had done something hideous outside. But my friend’s mother confronted my mother by repeating to her what I said about being instructed to eat nothing in her house. My mother said don’t mind him, I never said
such a thing to him. Maybe his father told him so. But his father has been dead for many years, how can he instruct him from the great beyond? Maybe he dreamed that his father instructed him. As soon as my friend’s mother was gone, my mother began to flog me with words. She would never beat me. Nor would she hire any of her brothers, my uncles to flog me, much as they itched to do the service free of charge. Rather, she would torture me with words! Why did you tell her that you should eat nothing in her house? Alaba countered: Why were you so cowardly that you denied that you instructed me to eat nothing in her house? Couldn’t you have told her you were not hungry, that you have just eaten and that you stomach was full? I would be lying and you said that lying is taking lessons from the devil to learn how to murder. But there is a time for everything, my mother shouts! There is a time to lie and a time not to lie. There is a time to say you are hungry and a time to say you are not hungry. And a time to say that I could do with a snack of robo? Listen Trouble, such generous amorality is what is destroying Naija. A time to kill and a time to hill/heal? No such time. There must never be a time to kill, Mr. Trouble! What do you think?
Sanusi: Much Ado About Timing By Ohio-Michael Elakhe RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan’s latest cabinet reshufflement is symptomatic of his government’s poor timing response to critical issues of national importance… the President, like most of our top government functionaries, has a predilection to act too little, too late.” Considering the timeliness of this quote, taken from Rev. Chris Okotie’s latest article on his facebook post titled: “A Governments stuck in Timing response Snafu”, it is not out of place to call the Pastor-Politician a prophet, given the comprehensive manner in which he captured the saga of President Jonathan’s suspension of the CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Before I dwell on the Sanusi controversy, let me recall some crucial comments from the Reverend about the President’s governance style: “Some of the ministers that were reluctantly eased out of office by way of soft-landing, left after they had inflicted serious damage on this administration. Bamanga Tukur was asked to step down as PDP national chairman, but his exit did nothing except being mere damage control to the beleaguered party”. “What distinguishes a leader from the led is his ability to see the end from the beginning. Since Mbu was a major factor in the Rivers State crisis, and keeping him there would cause more harm than good, the officer should have been deployed a long time ago.” Poor timing is not just the issue with the President, but poor judgment as well, as the Sanusi case shows vividly. According to the Federal government, Sanusi had been under investigation since May last year, over his running of the CBN. The government had accused the Governor of gross misconduct, incompetence, fraud, etc, based on the 2012 audited report of the Apex bank. Abuja-based Leadership newspaper edition of Friday, February 21, 2014 summarised the government’s reasons for suspending Sanusi as follows: ”Engaged in procurement of goods and services worth billions of naira each year without complying with
JAW JAW By Didi Onu
the Public Procurement Act, unlawful expenditure of about 163bn on 63 intervention projects’ across the country, questionable writing off of N40bn loans for a bank, spending of N1.257bn on private guards’ and lunch for policemen’ in 2012, expending N20.202bn on legal and professional fees’ in 2011”. Sanusi’s response to these grave allegations did not satisfy the President, according to his media spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, who addressed the press on the issues last Thursday. Now the big question of timing? Why didn’t the President nail Sanusi when his back was on the wall last May? Why wait until the CBN Governor started raising issues of failure of the NNPC to remit crude oil proceeds, put variously at $49, $20 or $10 dollars to the federation account? These are serious questions begging for urgent and direct answers. Predictably, Sanusi’s sudden exit will continue to raise more questions than answers, chief of which is: why send him packing after he blew the whistle on corruption in the NNPC? Like Gov. Babatunde Fashola and others have said, why not just allow him to serve out his term, which ends in June 2014, instead of suspending him and raising a whole lot of dust? So much for poor timing response! An issue of timing that may have been temporarily overshadowed by this incident is the election of the President next February 14, 2015, a Valentine Day! “Wrong timing response is indicative of lack of perspective planning, ineffective coordination of government policies and a weak bureaucracy”, according to Rev. Okotie. For sure, Valentine’s Day is not the best day to vote for a new President in an election as crucial as this. A day already widely acknowledged and celebrated as Lovers’ day should not be competing for the attention of voters in the Presidential elections of this magnitude. In understanding my point of view with regards to this scheduling, we must recall the days of the juntas. Between 1985 and 1998, the military regimes found an ingenious way of dousing rising tensions, which was believed to portend disfavour for their policies. Government-sponsored sport broadcasts, especially football,
was used to engage us, and arrest the possibilities of unrest amongst the people. They used these opportuned times of international sporting engagements of the then Green Eagles and the junior teams to execute their agenda, believing that we’ll be too consumed with our passion for sports to even notice the anomalies being perpetrated, and even when we do, we can’t muster enough umbrage to react. Was it possible that anybody in INEC mentioned the importance attached to the day by this generation, to Prof. Jega? Again, was it possible that Prof. Jega, in notifying Mr. President of the election timetable mentioned this observation? We do not know. Beyond the celebration per se, we need to understand the economic importance of Valentine’s Day. Aside the Christmas, New Year and Easter holidays, which retailers take advantage of to make extra income, Vals Day is probably the next major festivity to make seasonal sales. As the 2015 Valentine season approached, restaurants, eateries, shops and stalls exhibited their wares and activities, expecting public patronage to mark the day. By fixing elections on this day, a Saturday, it invariably means it will be a work free-no movement weekend, till about 4 – 6 p.m. While it may be good for couples who rarely have time together because of their demanding work schedules, the economic downside of that decision points to poor judgment on INEC’s part. Because of restricted movement, adequate patronage may not be enjoyed by Valentine related businesses, as it will only be a gamble, which might end up as a colossal loss because of the possibility of low traffic after the elections. Like in the days of the juntas, we may be looking at the use of Valentine’s Day as a douser of emotions for the explosive Presidential elections. But to deny thousands of legitimate businesses the opportunity of making sizeable income is unfair. • Ohio-Michael Elakhe is a Futuring/Trend Specialist, and wrote from Lagos
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, February 23, 2014 55
President Yanukovych Says He’s Not Leaving UKRAINE MBATTLED Ukrainian President E Viktor Yanukovych insisted in an interview aired on Ukrainian TV
yesterday that he is not resigning and not leaving the country. Around the same time, an opposition leader and former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, was freed from prison. Ukraine’s Parliament voted unanimously to remove Yanukovych from office. It’s not clear if this is binding. The Parliament also voted to hold new elections on May 25, a key opposition demand. Yanukovych recorded his defiant statement in Kharkiv, a proRussian stronghold in the eastern part of Ukraine. He said he would continue to work to stop the bloodshed and prevent further division within the country. It came after his absence from the capital, Kiev — a day after he signed a landmark peace deal with
the opposition to end days of bloody protests — fueled speculation he might heed opposition calls for him to stand down. At the presidential residence in a Kiev suburb, groundskeepers and gate personnel kept watch over living quarters that were vacant. Gone were the Ukrainian President’s guards. And opposition leader Vitali Klitschko said Yanukovych had left town, a day after European Union leaders helped broker the peace agreement. “Unfortunately, President Yanukovych who did not hear the people has withdrawn from his constitutional duties himself. And today he has already left the capital. Millions of citizens see only one option in the current situation — it is calling the early presidential election,” Klitschko said yesterday. The President’s residence, government buildings, protest gatherings and the central city were devoid of police and of security forces that had opened fire on protesters this week, dropping many dozens of
them to the ground. A senior U.S. State Department official said Yanukovych had left Kiev for Ukraine’s second’s largest city of Kharkiv for a meeting after Friday’s peace agreement. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had been on the phone with
Ukraine’s foreign minister. That’s “not unusual,” the official said. Yanukovych has strong support in the East, where many ethnic Russians live. The raging opposition he faces was triggered by his loyalty to Russia and a decision in November to turn away from a
deal with the European Union. In many parts of Ukraine, people have toppled statues of former Russian communist leader Vladimir Lenin, a founder of the Soviet Union. The communist empire had included Ukraine, and the country gained independence after the USSR fell.
Matteo Renzi Became Youngest PM NEW Italian government led by cenA tre-left politician Matteo Renzi has been sworn in. Mr Renzi, 39, will be the youngest prime minister in the country’s history, and one of its least experienced. He rose to prominence as the mayor of Florence, but has never been elected to parliament or served in a national government. He has chosen a comparatively young cabinet team, about half of them women. The BBC in Rome says Mr Renzi will be judged on whether he can reinvigorate the eurozone’s third largest economy. Unemployment in Italy currently stands at a nearly 13 percent - and above 40 percent among the young. Mr Renzi has promised to overhaul the jobs market and the tax and education systems within four months, but our correspondent adds that he leads an awkward coalition that will not make his task easy. The new prime minister has named the chief economist at the Paris-based
ITALY Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pier Carlo Padoan, as his finance minister. Angelino Alfano, who heads the New Centre Right party, one of the Democratic Party’s coalition partners, remains as interior minister. The government will have to win a vote of confidence in parliament, expected tomorrow (Monday), before it starts work officially. On Friday, Mr Renzi formally accepted the mandate to lead a new government and named his cabinet. Announcing his team, he said: “It’s a government that will start to work from tomorrow morning.” The swearing-in took place on yesterday in the ornate presidential palace in Rome as the new prime minister and his cabinet - with the exception of Mr Padoan, who had not returned from Australia in time for the ceremony - took the oath of office from President Giorgio Napolitano.
Drug Lord ‘Shorty’ Guzman Arrested MEXICO EXICAN police say they have arrested the country’s most wanted drug lord, Joaquin Guzman, known as El Chapo or Shorty. He was the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, which smuggles huge amounts of illegal drugs into the
US. Shorty Guzman had been on the run since escaping a high security prison in a laundry basket in 2001. He was arrested in Sinaloa State, in a joint operation with United States anti-drugs forces. The US state department had offered a reward of up to $5m (£3.2m) for information leading to his arrest.
Anti-government protesters sing the Ukrainian national anthem at the Independence square in central Kiev… yesterday.
Pope Francis Appoints 19 New Cardinals OPE Francis has appointed 19 P new cardinals at a ceremony in Rome –– the first such appoint-
ments of his papacy. Cardinals are the most senior Roman Catholic clergymen below the pontiff. Correspondents say the inclusion of prelates from places such
ITALY as Haiti and Burkina Faso reflects the Argentine Pope’s commitment to the poor. Former Pope Benedict XVI - who retired last year - also attended the ceremony at St Peter’s Basilica.
The new cardinals received the traditional red hat and robes at the ceremony, known as a consistory, which was conducted in Latin and followed ancient tradition. One by one, they knelt in front of Pope Francis to receive the hat and gold ring of office.
Funeral Under Way For Dumor GHANA UNERAL ceremonies for BBC TV Flastpresenter Komla Dumor, who died month in London at the age of 41, are taking place in his home country of Ghana. As is customary in Ghana, they are being held over three days. The funeral service itself took place yesterday in the forecourt of State
House in the capital, Accra. It will be followed by a private family burial and there will then be a thanksgiving service at the capital’s Roman Catholic cathedral today. Friday saw a requiem mass at the Roman Catholic cathedral in Accra, where his body then lay in state until the funeral. Ghanaian President John Mahama said the nation had lost one of its finest
ambassadors with the death of Mr Dumor. “He was very passionate about Africa, he was very passionate about Ghana. I think Komla is one of the gifts we gave to the world,” Mr Mahama told the BBC. Dumor, who featured in New African magazine’s November 2013 list of 100 most influential Africans, joined the BBC as a radio broadcaster in 2006 after a decade of journalism in Ghana.
Support For Global Green Economy Surges But Crucial Gaps Remain By Kamal Tayo Oropo OVERNMENTS, businesses, investors and others are embracing the ‘green economy’ idea, but differences in the way they interpret it pose barriers to sustainable development, according to a report set to be published tomorrow (Monday) but made available to The Guardian by the International Institute for Environment and Development and the Green Economy Coalition. The Green Economy Barometer report, produced for a three day conference on ‘real green economies’ this week, provides a current analysis of who is doing what, where, and why. “The green economy concept is an antidote to the prevailing brown economy, which is a major driver of environmental degradation and inequality,” says Convenor of the Green Economy Coalition, Oliver Greenfield. “Its purpose is to improve both society and the natural environment. Right now though, the most powerful players are backing a narrower goal of ‘green growth’, which risks being discredited unless it more effectively tackles inequality.” The report outlines ways to bridge this and other gaps that could jeopardise the transition towards inclusive, sustainable development. While the United States and most Latin American coun-
tries have not pursued the green economy or green growth concepts, many other nations have. These countries include: China; Denmark; Ethiopia; Indonesia; Mauritius; Mexico; Morocco; Peru, Vietnam; Philippines; South Africa; South Korea; Thailand, Rwanda, and the Caribbean region. Other emerging leaders include research institutes, civil society organisations, consultancy firms, the ‘B Team’ group of business leaders, investors, development banks and bilateral donors. Development banks are providing billions of dollars to support green growth and encourage private sector investment. While countries, rich and poor, are developing national green economy strategies and legislation. OMPANIES and international institutions such as the C World Bank and UN agencies are developing ways to measure the social and environmental performance of
economies, with metrics that go beyond tradition GDP and shareholder value. New ‘green financial products’ — such as green insurance bonds — have also come onto the market. Some of the world’s largest investment banks have drafted voluntary guidelines for the development and issuance of green bonds. While the players are beginning to align their views and activities, there are important gaps. Chiefly among is the
question of equity. Although governments and international institutions have stressed the benefits of ‘inclusive green growth’ for poor people, they have ignored the emerging crisis of rising inequality – which is undermining the economies and political systems. The nascent global and national architecture for a green economy is ill equipped for delivering more equitable outcomes. “The challenge is to marry a broad concept of green with equity and inclusion, creating growth at all levels of the economy and ensuring that everyone shares in the benefits” says lead-author Emily Benson. But while the gap between “green economy” and “green growth” has narrowed, it still poses challenges. Most ‘green growth’ models still envisage that welfare gains will trickle down through existing channel, rather than resulting from progressive economic and social policy. “In contrast to green growth, which has focused on attracting investment, green economy targets wider and deeper reform to create an economic system that better serves society,” says head of IIED’s sustainable markets group, Steve Bass. “A green economy should start where the majority of people are, tackling poverty and helping them to develop their assets and meet their needs and aspirations. So it should actively include the informal economy, small and medium enterprises, and locally
56 Sunday, February 23, 2014
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2015: Women Ask For More Opportunit By Bisi Alabi Williams, Geraldine Akutu and Ijeoma Opara
MARRIED Nigerian woman seems confronted by a dilemma. On the one hand, her religion enjoins her to submit totally to her husband after marriage. This, if well considered, means the husband has dominion over her and could do with her as he pleases. On the other hand, however, family members still expect her to display some reasonable degree of loyalty towards them, regardless of the fact that she is married. Thus, she is often torn between these two demands, which give rise to friction in her matrimonial home and psyche. This issue is made all the more serious by the fact that many Nigerian cultures are patriarchal, thereby emphasising male dominance. Only a few parts of the country, such as the Southeast, embrace matriarchal culture, whereby the woman is allowed to have a say in what happens to her and around her. But this is not all. Often times, the married Nigerian woman has also to contend with some fierce obstacles, when desiring to occupy public positions, especially when contesting a political post. In such cases, the hypocrisy and insincerity of the society suddenly rears its ugly head, as she is required to go back to her father’s state or hometown to vie for such political posts. But prior to this time, she had all along been considered her husband’s ‘asset’ and all that this connotes. So, the pertinent questions to ask are: who owns the woman? Is it her father or husband? What should she do in the situation, where her husband’s place and people ‘disown’ her and direct her back to her father’s place because it has suddenly become expedient for her to vie for a political post there? What should be done to protect the woman’s interest? Tracing the genesis of it all, Dr. Lydia Umar, Executive Director, Gender Awareness Trust (GAT), an NGO is of the view that not all customary law practices are bad, discriminatory, repugnant or inflict violence on women. “African countries generally have many rich cultural practices, which are humane, unique and allow for true bonding in the family with emphasis on unity, which is the social fabric of the society. However, within the different cultures are some practices that are discriminatory and lopsided against women in particular and are archaic in a modern world and could, therefore, be summarised generally as being repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.” She points out that the social, political and economic life in Nigeria is rapidly and radically changing, thereby, making the question of modification in customary law one of great importance. For instance, it is not uncommon to discover that certain old practices and customs have disappeared and are being replaced with new ones, which appear better able to deal with new situations. “It is puzzling that cultural practices, which discriminate against women in Nigeria, refuse to change with changing situations. For instance, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has changed a number of times to accommodate modern changes. And so, there is no reason why customary laws, which are closer to the way of life of the people should not also be subject to changes,” she says. Under Statutory Law, she explains, the procedure for a valid marriage ceremony is explicitly stated in the Marriage Act without any gender discrimination. However, male dominance is exhibited in practice by over-zealous officials, who demand the presence of the father of the bride or in his absence even where the mother is present, a male adult from the paternal side of the bride. Which then confirms the customary belief that any child in a family belongs to the father and his lineage. “Usually, bride price is recognised as an integral part of customary law marriage. And unlike the Indian culture, where it is the woman that pays the bride’s price to the man, it is the other way round in Nigeria, where it is the man that pays to the woman. Marriages have been delayed or cancelled outright because of nonpayment of the full bride price or because of some disagreement during the negotiation process. In Igbo culture, the bride price was considered to be on the very high side, which was causing late marriages among the Igbo women and anguish for the men. This suggests that the task and decision of the fixing of bride price lies with the elderly male from the paternal side of the bride in agreement with the groom’s family. Usually, the bride price is not negotiated on behalf of the bride or for the use of the bride.
Women at a rally
She does not even share in the proceeds. Rather, it is the family members that benefit from the bargaining and the payment seals the customary marriage,” she explains. Jacqueline Odiadi, Lawyer and the Executive Director, Development Support Institute is quite delighted that many NGOs have been active in attempting to rectify the problems of discrimination against women. She is worried though that while the law of inheritance and succession under the English law is reasonably settled, the aspect dealing with customary law is not, which breeds conflict and acrimony among heirs. And what’s more? The law discriminates among the beneficiaries. While some are accorded rights of inheritance, others are not. Consequently, the customary law falls under the repugnancy doctrine test and more importantly, the international conventions against discrimination. To buttress her point, she refers to the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), an international document that establishes standards of equality between women and men. “CEDAW provides a framework for developing and applying equality norms to specific conditions in different countries and legal systems. This international bill of rights for women also stands as an agenda for action to guarantee these rights. In its preamble, the convention states that extensive discrimination against women continues to exist, and it emphasises that such discrimination violates the principles of equality of rights and respect for human dignity,” she explains. In Bini and Onitsha communities, for instance, the deceased’s property devolves to the eldest son exclusively, in accordance with the rule of progenitor, under which the eldest son is expected to look after younger children and may sell the house against the wishes of other children or treat it as his own property. In such cases, she wonders whether it
wouldn’t be better if the wife were also accorded a right of inheritance. In her view, acting otherwise amounts to an injustice, which contravenes the Biblical injunction that husband and wife are but one flesh. Also, Executive Director of Gender and Development Action (GADA) points to the phenomenon of gender flexibility among the Ibo of Nnobi, as a tool for women to increase their material base by acquiring “wives,” as well as societal importance by bearing children through these wives. “The institutions of female husbands and male daughters among the Ibo of Nnobi allowed women not to have sexual relations with women whom they marry but to claim the children borne by these women. In effect, they thereby gain power and control over the resources, including children.” She explains that this enables the people to surmount the social stigma attached to childlessness, as well as enhance their productive capabilities. Also, fostering children with childless women enabled them to adjust their position and relevance within society. Among the Yoruba and Hausa-Fulani, fostering of children of relatives provides opportunities for childless women to play mothering role. On his part, Dr. Fashola Denrele, the Amir of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jumaat, said discrimination against women is both political and civil. He says the discrimination of women in property
ownership still exists under customary law. He explains that in both Christianity and in Islam, there is a presumption of the inequality between women and men that did not necessarily exist in pre-colonial religion. And in spite of Islamic provisions for the equality of all believers, purdah and polygamy are considered obligatory. “In Christianity, the orthodox position is that women should be submissive to men. Women’s restricted access to information in Islam likewise encouraged them to accept a submissive role. Even in the case of Christianity, education and a re-conceptualisation of the role of women is necessary if significant progress is to be made. Any prescriptions or conditions that may be found in the definition of the role of women in the Bible remain inadequate. Thus, both religions contribute to the continuation of discrimination against women,” he says. To him, there are also legal and administrative measures, which perpetuate the inequality of men and women within the family. For instance, adultery is considered sufficient grounds for divorce only where women are concerned. He is worried about such nagging issues as non-guaranteed access to social security in old age and unequal access to and control over children in divorce, which imposes multiple discrimination on women since they are expected to be primarily responsible for childcare. “Among Muslims, divorce by repudiation is still
The procedure for a valid marriage ceremony is explicitly stated in the Marriage Act without any gender discrimination. However, male dominance is exhibited in practice by over-zealous officials, who demand the presence of the father of the bride or in his absence even where the mother is present, a male adult from the paternal side of the bride. Which then confirms the customary belief that any child in a family belongs to the father and his lineage.
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ties, Better Laws
acceptable. Under customary law, women have a right to support and housing, but not to the husband’s property or incomes. Likewise, men have no right to their spouse’s property or income. A divorced woman could return to her lineage, where the head of the lineage could grant her access to property.” The story is told of how Ayo Isinyemeze, the Oloza (King) of Ugbodu Community in the Delta State, who is a strong advocate for women takes steps to protect the rights of women and girls in his community. He believes that since women sustain the economy of his community, they should be supported and encouraged in any way possible, through education, provision of quality healthcare and an enabling policy environment. The Oloza argues that men did not stay longer than women in the womb and so, should be treated equally with women. On the political scene, especially as 2015 draws near, it has become imperative for women in politics to be more encouraged to realise their political ambitions, certain measures need to be taken to alleviate their plight. And despite the clamour for better deals for women in this regard, Joe OkeiOdumakin, President, Campaign for Democracy, is of the view that not much progress has been recorded. “The place of women in Nigerian politics is still very poor compared to their male counterparts,” she says. “The challenges, concerning the place of origin is one of the issues we are trying to address in the National Assembly Constitutional amendment process. We mentioned that for effective participation of women married to men from another state should be able to claim their husbands’ states.” Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi of Women
Advocate Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) would also like this aspect of Nigerian women’s fortunes and happiness to be addressed. “It is so irksome this situation, whereby a woman becomes stateless, when it comes to political contest. And we have had this problem for a long time in Nigeria, even in terms of appointment. The well-celebrated Finance Minister, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala also had that challenge, when she was getting into politics. She is from Delta State, while her husband is from Abia State. We also have Dosumu Awolowo and several others. It is true some of them have been able to scale the hurdles for whatever reason, which could be that they were much needed for a particular post at the time. So, government felt it had to do all the necessary negotiations to get them there,” she says. But this is not the only obstacle limiting the Nigerian women’s political exposure, as Akiyode-Afolabi also fingers the issue of capacity on the pat of the women. “Statistics in schools shows that the majority of drop-outs in the country are women. So, there is a challenge in our literacy level in Nigeria, which really is a problem. Women also lack the capacity to play politics the way the men do. Women in politics are regarded as prostitutes and so, the negativity around politics also discourages women.” To tackle these obstacles and move forward, Akiyode-Afolabi would want INEC to implement and truly follow up with the document, in which the UN advocates an increase the number of women in politics by 35 per cent in 2015. “There have been a lot of women in political positions that are showing that if women are given the chance, they can actually change the face of politics.” On her part, Okei-Odumakin feels that the idea of some political parties waiving financial obligations for women is not enough. “What is of paramount importance is the ability of all political platforms in Nigeria to have internal democracy, where men and women are treated equally and political parties’ machineries are deployed positively for all aspirants without discrimination or bias.” For Akiyode-Afolabi, the development ordinarily should have been positive, but feelers from the beneficiaries indicate otherwise. “We learnt from the female beneficiaries that such waivers were used against them. I think the best thing is for political parties to deliberately have openings that make it compulsory that the quota for women is filled.” So, for the genuine betterment of the lot of Nigerian women in politics, Akiyode-Afolabi advocates negotiating with political parties. “By virtue of the last census, Nigerian women represent about 80.2 million of the country’s population. It is, therefore, important that women use their power to vote, to ask political parties that they ensure to reflect this in their manifestos. As a matter of fact, it is high time we established a women’s voters network so that through such, we can determine the people we want, discuss our agenda and engage political parties with such agenda. “Women can do a lot to change the political state to an issue-based one because what affects the country affects women. And for women in politics, they should mobilise as many women as possible not just to be clappers and cheerers, but as active political members. They should also negotiate with political parties for better and fairer deals.” Okei-Odumakin says that the National Gender Policy, which government has adopted, but yet to be implemented is one window of opportunity. “The 35 per cent affirmative action for women in all governance process will open up space for women in Nigeria to participate more in politics. Also the
There Are Paid Saboteurs In Oyo PDP — Balogun taged the party in 2011 were not being faithful to the party. For that reason and others, they decided not to join us to hold the congress with renegades and saboteurs and they chose to hold theirs at Olubadan Stadium. I was part of the so-called legal and authentic congress at the Awolowo Stadium. The outcome of the congress at Awolowo did not smack of any legitimacy in terms of the party’s constitution. This is because even if we are going to have consensus candidates, they will have to be Your party lost the governorship position in 2011 subjected to election. But we never did because the conbecause some of your members teamed up with the gress did not start until about 4:00 p.m. But that was opposition. Is the PDP reconciled now? where we had the official panel from Abuja, which HE people, who made it impossible for PDP to authenticated the wishy-washy result of the congress. The other faction at the Olubadan Stadium did not have win in 2011 are the same set of people that are a single representation in the list of so-called executives arrogating to themselves, the leadership of the party now. The same people are either being used by drawn at the Awolowo Stadium congress. Worse still, even the results of the so-called concocted congress the existing government to further destabilise this party so that whatever the level of their low perform- were further bastardised, distorted and manipulated by Teslim Folarin, who owned up to doing so and who ance in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), they still think they will be able to win again in 2015. warned us before the congress that, “they will write the result and get a stamp to authenticate it in Abuja.” And Some of these people are saboteurs and are alleged that is precisely what is happening. That is enough reato being paid to sabotage the efforts of PDP in Oyo son for any transparent party leadership to nullify that State. Others are afraid that because they sabotaged kind of congress and its results. Not only that, the result us in 2011 and now that they want to be at the helm of affairs, that some other people will make it impos- of the congresses that were held at the lower level was also changed. sible for them to win. So, it is a question of, if you If we want genuine reconciliation, those who stayed can’t get it, spoil it. These are the two aspects of the away and held their own separate congress for genuine problem that I see in the PDP. Doesn’t that speak volumes that your party lacks dis- dissatisfaction with the system, should be integrated cipline? into the new executives. Initially, we were toying with the idea of harmonisation, but this was not allowed to Yes, and this is part of the problem. In fact, indisciwork because those who manipulated the list insisted pline is the kernel of Oyo PDP crisis. But does that that no one should touch the names on the list as manifest only at the level of the state? Don’t you see approved by them it at the national level? Indiscipline is the problem. What is the relationship between Jumoke Akinjide and Otherwise, how could a so-called leader go to the radio and assert that he worked against his own par- Alao-Akala; some say there are at loggerheads? It is not true. You know some people will like to exploit ty in the 2011 elections and yet the leadership at the any given situation to their own advantage. In this case, national level will be doing business with that kind there are a few people who initially were not happy that of person without applying sanctions. Is that heard Akinjide and Alao-Akala are very close. To start with, of in any disciplined party? I can’t deceive myself; Akinjide benefitted from the support Alao-Akala gave to there is a large measure of indiscipline in PDP. What are your plans towards ensuring that the party her when the latter was the governor. Even when she does not fail again in 2015? was to become minister, Alao-Akala’s support was also there, though anyone else could have also made contriThe way out is to restructure the leadership of the party completely. And what I mean by restructuring butions here and there. All these are recognised and is removing all the executives and starting all over. I appreciated by Akinjide. Immediately she became a hope we have seen the problem and have learnt our minister, the mutual understanding, the confidentiality were there. Most of the things, as a minister, was sadlessons. I believe many of the leaders, if not most of dled with, in terms of welfare of the people, she was us, will be ready to accept reality, that they are only channeling through Alao-Akala either directly or leaders in the situation that they have followers. If through the nominees of the former governor. But they have followers, they will not be afraid of any some people are not happy about that and started sayelection at any given time. So, let us re-organise all over again, all the congresses from ward to local gov- ing ‘you are the leader’ and so on. This created some kind of gap. But that has for long been taken care of. For ernment and then to the state level. Genuinely acceptable representatives will emerge as now, Akinjide and Alao-Akala are doing very well together because we insisted that that is how it should be and officers from the fresh congresses and they will win the confidence of their colleagues, the leadership of how we can make headway. their followers and the confidence of their mentors. Can the two of them take PDP in Oyo to greater heights If I see myself as a leader, no matter how highly I feel, in2015? I still look up to my mentor. So, if we allow a genuine I will say that everybody must come on board because, congress to take place at every level, genuine leaders if they can even do it, they will do it easier and better with the support of everybody. Figure nine cannot at the various levels will emerge and then there become 10 if its stands aloof. But if the two groups and won’t be this struggle about who is the leader other leaders, that is, Akinjide and Alao-Akala and other because genuine leadership will emerge. With this, leaders come together, nobody will be able to stop us. we will be able to harness the potential of the PDP and such potential is tremendous in Oyo State by my assessment. Many PDP leaders have written several letters to the national secretariat on the need to re-structure the party in the state without any meaningful outcome. If that does not happen, what would you do? I am not a fortune-teller; I am not clairvoyant. But from my experience in politics and from my study of history of different parts of the world, PDP is not likely to make any headway unless there is a re-structuring of the party in Oyo State. Why? This is because the people who openly sabotaged the party in the last election and who continue to boast of their ability to sabotage, are getting the support of some leaders at the national level because of their past officesex-this, ex-that, which they still tie on to, unbeknown to the national officers that these former office holders are living in the past. Attachment to former offices will not hold any water because some of them, while holding such offices, really made things bad for themselves. They made enemies of themselves because they never assisted the people who voted them there. In spite of this, the party hierarchy at the national level continues to fraternise with them. This is counter-productive in terms of political relevance in Oyo State. The built-in contradiction in this matter where saboteurs are seen as tin gods is a problem for PDP- the people they hold in high esteem at the national level are nothing here in Oyo, but are imposed as leaders. You parted ways during the congresses held in the state in 2012. Why? We had the problem of two parallel congresses on March 17, 2012. Those who held theirs at Olubadan Stadium felt that those of us who held our congress at Awolowo Stadium with people who openly sabo-
Dr. Saka Balogun is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State. He spoke to Journalists on the crisis rocking the party and obstacles to President Jonathan’s chances in the state in 2015. GBENGA AKINFENWA reports.
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Kano: Fighting Menace Of Drug Counterfeiting From John Akubo, Dutse T LAST, what looks like a re-birth for Kano’s A pharmaceutical industry, long left almost lifeless, is on course for resuscitation. And that is if the plans up the sleeves of the controlling bodies are pursued to a logical conclusion. Amid an economy-ruining counterfeit drug business that had stared the state long in the face, the Kano state government in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Kano branch, and other relevant bodies, have been throwing the right punches at the crippling menace.
issues are falling in line in favour of the fight against the menace. Just late last year, the Federal Government made a pronouncement that open drug markets should cease to exist in Nigeria come 2014. Government also directed that all imported drugs and those manufactured in Nigeria should be supplied to mega Drug distribution centers owned by private individuals or state medical stores owned by the state governments. Investment lifeline To overcome the problem of low level capacity for local production, the society is also calling on Investors in pharmaceutical industry to come to the North because they would benefit more from its drug market potential that is worth more than N200 billion annually. This is critical because when standard drugs are produced locally at affordable prices from world-class pharmaceutical industries, the fake drug merchants would be out of business. According to PSN, one of the reasons why nonprofessionals took over the pharmacists’ job in Nigeria is because of lack of finance. Most practicing pharmacists lack funding and the banks are reluctant to give them credit. That is why quacks took over the market because they have the funds and the drug companies are ready to give them goods unlike pharmacists, who may want to collect the drugs on credit. To this end, the PSN Kano started looking for ways to increase funding for the pharmacists so that they can participate fully in the pharmaceutical business. Fidelity Bank says it has a special product for pharmacists, all they need is for the beneficiary to pledge his certificate as collateral; a wholesaler will get N10million, while retailer will get N5million and the PSN will be the guarantor. But according to Gana, the facility is not being enjoyed in Kano. “We don’t enjoy such facilities like our colleagues in the south despite our efforts to access the Fidelity Bank special product; it has been difficult. And we don’t know why, hence we decid-
ed on floating a micro-finance bank of our own. “Through that we give our members loan. We know our members and those that are credible and we know how to go about monitoring. That was when the idea of the micro-finance Bank was conceived and we have gone far on it.” He said they have already picked the directors and are about to appoint the Managing Director of the bank. He said the potential directors are seasoned bankers. Some of them are retired managing directors of banks. Others are pharmacists that have experience in business. “When we establish the micro-finance bank we are sure that there will be source of finance for pharmacists to engage in pharmaceutical business. “We have already approached the Kano state government to see how they can assist us. We are not asking government to give us money to do this because this is purely business, we are not looking for charity either, but there are ways we can collaborate.” At a time during the course of the campaign against the menace of substandard and counterfeit drugs he said there were threats to his life. “You see it was a struggle between evil and good and when such things happen some of those affected resort to this kind of thing. Those perpetrators don’t care a hoot, they sell drugs that kill human beings, they are not bordered selling substandard drugs. I was not surprised when they threatened me after all, I am just a person. Their nefarious activities kill millions of people so what is there if they kill one person. So, that is why they threatened to harm me, but what I know is that my life is in the hands of God so no human being can do anything to me except God permits it. I am not bordered about it, moreover people are praying for me, I am also praying so that this evil they want to unleash on people will not happen.” When the open drug market was closed in 2012, the professionals quickly looked inwards on how they can provide alternatives because the absence of the open drug market crippled the
War against fake drugs Before now, it is the story of proliferation of quacks and the sale of substandard and counterfeit drugs in open markets. The market is described as a haven for fake, adulterated and substandard drugs. Poor-quality drugs constitutes health hazard, as it opens the gap between the enormous effort in therapeutic research, policy decisions and implementation of good quality medicines. The greatest danger lies in the capacity of the Kano market, which is a hub that supplies most of the states in the north and some west African countries that depend heavily on the state for most of their pharmaceutical demands. Corruption, low level of local capacity for the production and protection of the identity of genuine drugs as well as inadequate vigilance and advocacy by regulatory agencies are among factors identified for the widespread drug counterfeiting that had taken over the Kano Sabon Gari market. This circulation of fake and substandard drugs has spurred the government, the PSN and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to take proactive measures to address the menace. Recently, drugs of questionable quality worth hundreds of millions of naira were destroyed, following a month-long crackdown on illegal and nocturnal pharmaceutical outlets across the state. Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso in company of the Director-General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, jointly supervised the burning of more than 10 trailer loads of counterfeit drugs. Kwankwaso said that the government would not leave any stone unturned till “those merchants of death are rid of in the state.” He, therefore, announced last December 31 as the deadline for dealers in fake drugs in the SabonGari market in Kano metropolis to stop their destructive business. For a state that was considered one of the biggest depots for fake drugs in the country, with its inherent public health risks, the state government started the fight as far back as 2009. The government created a board headed by the director, pharmaceutical services, a pharmacist as the representative of the state in the board and PSN having its representative too. The fight attained crescendo as the current administration brought all arsenals to bare to safeguard the health of its citizens. According to the chairman, PSN Kano Branch, Muhammed Ahmed Gana, Gov. Kwankwaso does not tolerate drug abuse because he knows that it is something that is debasing the society and destroying the youth of the state. “In addition, there is the serious issue of substandard drugs, all lists of drug of abuse and substandard drugs; have one source; Sabon-Gari drug market. Unless Sabon Gari drug market is done away with all these problems will persist.” He said the full support the government has given the task force more biting force. The chairman said they offered professional advice on how to go about the fight in which they participated fully and by 2012 to 2013 the task force was able to confiscate N3bn worth of fake Gana drugs, which were destroyed publicly. “Before now, a trailer load of cough syrup (codeine) will be supplied to the market and all would be sold inside the open market. But now all You see it was a struggle between evil and good and when such things happen some of that has stopped. This is the very reason drug those affected resort to this kind of thing. Those perpetrators don’t care a hoot, they abuse has reduced drastically.” Youths, especially in the Northern region have sell drugs that kill human beings, they are not bordered selling substandard drugs. I started discussing issues about drug abuse. Drug was not surprised when they threatened me after all, I am just a person. abuse has been a very serious issue because the youth and also some married women were Their nefarious activities kill millions of people so what is there if they kill one person. So, that is why they threatened to harm me, but what I know is that my life is in the involved as victims. Through the drug national distribution guide- hands of God so no human being can do anything to me except God permits it lines, which were inaugurated February 2013, all
pharmaceutical business in the North, particularly in Kano state. Local manufacturers cannot compete with importers of fake and substandard drugs quacks because they sell cheaper. That is why PSN carried out a survey to ascertain how many pharmaceutical companies are in Kano and how operational they are and what should be done? Those that have closed down what do they need to come back? “So we were able to find out that most of the companies were not operating at full capacity because of inadequate capital. We went further to find out how much they needed and 11 of them indicated they required about N1bn for them to operate optimally; some N200m, others N40m, all having their own needs.” Job creation He pointed out that in addition to the 11companies, they added some new ones because the PSN was already partnering with Technology Incubation Center in Kano. The centre has engineers that specialise in the fabrication of pharmaceutical equipment. Though the machinery are not up to standard, we are planning to collaborate with these fabricators through the Technology Incubation Center, who will blend their skills with the help of professionals in the University system to make standard products. The new companies that were considered will use part of that money to kick-start this partnership of producing machines that would be standardised. With this pilot project the PSN will have a full-fledged technology section, where their machines would be produced. They would no longer need to go to India or any foreign country to purchase the machines. The society will create employment and at the same time technological advancement for our local artisans. This according to PSN was how most of the developed world started. “We discovered from our survey that the market is worth about N200bn annually and only N10bn of that market share goes to the pharmaceutical industries in Kano. The bulk of N190bn goes to companies outside Kano. “We discovered that we could establish 200 pharmaceutical companies in Kano to absorb that market. In order to optimise this opportunity, the society has decided to carry out feasibility study of the market with which they can approach prospective investors for them to be acquainted with the opportunities in the industry in Kano. “If your interest is in establishing capsule making industry we will show you how you can go about it. PSN will give you professionals who we will guarantee to collaborate with you. “If you want to go into capsule formulation or injection syringes we would show how you will go about it and your possible profit within a time frame; the same with cream and ointment. “We will market the feasibility studies to prospective investors. They can come and open these factories. If we are able to get these 200 factories they will generate 40, 000 jobs.” The potentials are in pharmaceutical industries alone, when other supporting businesses like bringing in raw materials, those that will be producing packaging materials and those that will be producing other things are put into consideration, then the effort of PSN would be appreciated. A cluster of pharmaceutical industry with the supportive services around would help the pharmaceutical industry to grow faster. “The fabricators of standard machines would be there, micro-financing will be available so that in a short while we will create our silicon valley and all these will add value to the economy of the country. He said the Association of Community Pharmacists are very important because it is where the people get their drugs. “We want to network the community pharmacists in Kano. If you visit a community pharmacists and you hand in your prescription and one of the drugs is not available, all they need to do is to search for the drug in the internet and they will tell which shop has the stock where you can get the drug so you don’t need to visit 10 shops before you can get the drug. “What we want to do is when you log the name of a drug on your phone all the shops having the drugs will show so you don’t need to suffer, you only pick from the shop nearest to you. It will restrict the incidence of going to meet the quacks. To this end the Kano PSN wants to institutionalise pharmaceutical care, which is a global concept. There is the pharmaceutical care concept which is world over that differentiates the professionals from the quacks. The chairman indicated that the institutionalisation would be such that patients will meet the pharmacist just like Doctors. “They will tell him their problem, and he will look at the prescription to know whether they are the ones they can take, he will advice the patient he wants to access the services of a pharmacist.
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PERSPECTIVES By Tunji Olaopa
N the first part of this series, we examined how the Nigerian civil service began its centennial evolution from the colonial administrative logic, which was initially meant to facilitate the exploitation of the colonies. From the perspective of hindsight, the history and the evolution of the Nigerian civil service constitutes the sum total of an outstanding start; enduring, immature and weak structures; ambivalent decisions, bold steps, compromised reforms and fortuitous breakthroughs. The Nigerian civil service has passed through the eye of the storm on its march to greatness. Yet it has not arrived at its mandated destination. In this part, we will take historic hindsight further by examining some dynamics of misses and losses that intervened in the evolutionary progression of the Nigerian civil services and, in some senses, short-circuited its early success, especially in the immediate post-independence period. When the Nigerianisation Policy was launched, its intention was to put the nascent civil service in Nigeria on a trajectory that would facilitate a smooth and efficient transformation of government policies into noticeable infrastructural and socioeconomic goods that the citizens can identify with. Or, ask Norman Tebbit, how can people be governed by those who do not speak their language? The language of the people is the language of good governance and the machinery that enables that language is the civil service system in any state. Thus, the Nigerianisation Policy was intended to redefine the colonial administrative system in such a manner that its language would be clear and meaningful to Nigerians. The first snag to this worthy governance intention was the unintended clash between the administrative principles of representativeness and efficiency with regard to the placement of Nigerians who will replace the expatriates. The eventual subordination of merit to representation diminished the capacity the civil service required to facilitate socioeconomic growth and development. This was further complicated when the leadership of the civil service were seconded to the various regions. The secondment became, in the long run, a paradox. On the one hand, it further depleted the capacity quotient of the federal civil service to oversee and direct the administrative trajectory of Nigeria along the path demanded by post-independence expectations. On the other hand, it enabled the regions to achieve outstanding administrative success, which, quite tragically, is what Nigeria is still attempting to recreate in terms of the multiplicity of genuine reforms. The essence of the success of the regional civil service, especially as demonstrated in the Southwest, is the one-to-one rapport between the political and the administrative leadership. This prescribed relationship constitutes the dynamic framework that activates the efficiency required to utilise manpower and implement policies. This relationship would be moderated by a strict code of political accountability within which ministers would be accountable to the government and civil servants are expected to be apolitical and impartial while serving as confidential advisers to the ministers. This arrangement consolidates a politics-administration nexus that defines public administration today. Thus, between Chief Simeon Adebo and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, there developed a very strong and professional synergy that transformed the socioeconomic landscape of the Southwest. This outstanding success was achieved in varying degrees in the Eastern and Northern regions. The visible infrastructural effects are still with us today. The Awolowo-Adebo model of administrative partnership demonstrates poignantly the truth of Peter Keen’s assertion that ‘complexity and trust go together.’ The Southwest administrative experiment, which is the most celebrated, teaches a simple lesson: to achieve governance requires unparalleled cooperative effort and political will that would turn policies into wonders of effective execution. If the essence of the lesson had been imbibed, it would have been enough to change the contour of our centenary as a
THE AMALGAMATED PAST: Reflection
nation. The story would have been qualitatively different today. We have been attempting to relearn the simple lesson of the Awolowo-Adebo experiment since independence. And progress has been excruciatingly slow as genuine reform initiatives have been punctured by political misadventures, global hiccups and national reversals. For instance, the hope of ever getting the Nigerian civil service on course was dashed with the advent of military intervention in politics in 1966. It is quite unfortunate that some of the most genuine and promising reforms were initiated during the long period of military executives. Let us consider first the attempt by Adebo and Udoji to domesticate the essence of the Fulton Report within the Nigerian administrative context. This 1968 Report was an urgent attempt to bring the civil service into the twentieth century within the strategic demand for professionalism and managerial competence in public administration. The Nigerian civil service had been operating within the originating framework of the Northcote-Trevelyan administrative dynamics rooted in Max Weber classic bureaucratic model. Yet post-independence and its governance imperative demand more in term of skills and capacities. In 1971, the Adebo Commission was the first to confront the deep managerial issues in the organisation and structure of the civil service (outside of its mandate of wages and salary). At this juncture, the military had already initiated a ‘new federalism’ that placed the government solely at the ‘commanding height’ of the Nigerian political administration, and characterised by increased centralisation of political authority, ascendancy of federating forces, greater structural differentiation of the constituent states, and expansion of the policy-making and execution functions of the Federal level. The Udoji Commission of 1974, recommended by Adebo, clearly clarified the deep intent and imperative of the Fulton Report as well as the fundamental challenge of the Nigerian civil service, which it considered to be inability to respond to and internalise global best practices that can be appropriately deployed within the complexity of modern administration for development purposes. Specifically therefore, the Commission recommended wide-ranging institutional reappraisal. Central to this reappraisal is a new style public service infused with ‘new blood’
working under a result-oriented management system rooted in project management praxis operated by professionals and specialists in particular fields. It also recommended the standardization of conditions of service, increase in public sector wages, a unified and integrated administrative structure, the elimination of inefficient departments. Unfortunately, the deeper implications of the Udoji Commission Report were jettisoned for the implementation of its wages component. And the Nigerian civil service lost its second transformatory moment. What followed was the acute breakdown of democratic governance tradition under the debilitating command structure of the military as well as several reform attempts to arrest the gradual but steady degeneration of administrative structures. When the 1975 purge of the civil service happened, it represented the climax of the erosion of the essential capacity of the civil service system in Nigeria. The structural adjustment programme of the early 80s then became the last act in an administrative drama that ensured that a very strong colonial legacy turned into a shadow of itself, without capacity or competence. From the 90s onward, there followed serious reform agenda saddled with the task of
making sense of the challenges of the Nigerian civil service and how the rot can be arrested. Yet, the foundation of the lacklustre performance of the civil service had already been laid, and the status of the Nigerian centenary had already been decided. The best we can do is to look forward to another centenary of achievements on a better foundation. ‘The important things of tomorrow,’ says Andrew Grove, ‘are probably going to be things that are overlooked today.’ So, our redemption is to look forward to tomorrow with a willingness to reappraise yesterday so that we can recover all that we left behind. THE first two parts of this serial were dedicated to a sober reflection on the evolution of the Nigerian civil service within a centennial progression beginning with the commencement of colonialism and down to the postindependence institutional operations of the civil service system. Unfortunately, the hindsight of evolution could only furnish us with a long litany of what could have been but were not. In other words, the future of the Nigerian civil service still needed to be rescued from the realm of possibility into that of administrative actuality of capacities and competences that would activate a professional unfolding into a world class institution capable of efficiently and effectively pro-
Unfortunately, the deeper implications of the Udoji Commission Report were jettisoned for the implementation of its wages component. And the Nigerian civil service lost its second transformatory moment. What followed was the acute breakdown of democratic governance tradition under the debilitating command structure of the military as well as several reform attempts to arrest the gradual but steady degeneration of administrative structures. When the 1975 purge of the civil service happened, it represented the climax of the erosion of the essential capacity of the civil service system in Nigeria. The structural adjustment programme of the early 80s then became the last act in an administrative drama that ensured that a very strong colonial legacy turned into a shadow of itself, without capacity or competence. From the 90s onward, there followed serious reform agenda saddled with the task of making sense of the challenges of the Nigerian civil service and how the rot can be arrested.
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Sunday, February 23, 2014
ns On The Centenary Of The Nigerian Civil Service
viding the service delivery of public goods to Nigerians. For Richard Hooker, the English theologian, ‘Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.’ Transforming the Nigerian civil service is the only foreseeable mandate worth considering if the next centenary would constitute a huge dossier of administrative achievements within the overall dynamics of nation building and national development in Nigeria. A functional and professional civil service system in Nigeria is still possible. And, as we highlighted in the second part of the serial, that possibility had been amply demonstrated in the regional governance framework that brought administrators and politicians together in a synergy never before witnessed in the history of Nigeria. We cannot therefore abandon the future; rather, the civil service in Nigeria need to step into its true history: ‘the coming into being, the bringing forth of the new,’ according to Herbert Aptheker. How do we activate this true history? I will suggest that we make effort to retrieve the two transformatory moments that could have launched the Nigerian civil service on the path of institutional consolidation after its colonial evolution. The first moment was defined around the inability of the federal civil service to tap into the wealth of administrative competence and experience represented by Adebo, Udoji, Akilu and others who were the beneficiaries of a civil service system dedicated to professionalism and service. The Federal Government’s loss was the regional government’s gain. The second transformatory moment was defined by the Adebo’s and Udoji’s recommendations that would have reconstituted the operational dynamics of the civil service along the managerial and performance-oriented framework that ensure continuous organisational learning that keeps the civil service abreast of current global best practices adapted to local exigencies. Since the return to democratic governance in 1999, there has been serious and genuine attempts to come to term finally with our administrative dilemma and jumpstart real reforms strong and committed enough to redirect the trajectory of service delivery on behalf of the Nigerian citizens. The three programmes of civil service institutional renewal since 1999—the Obasanjo Civil Service Renewal Programme, the Yar’Adua public sector reform and the current Jonathan Transformation Agenda—all have the objective of transforming the civil service into ‘a world class institution for the efficient and effective execution of government policies
The first condition for the success of reform is, surprisingly, passion, the express statement of the enthusiasm that one is ready to commit into the enterprise of organisational transformation. It is this combination of enthusiasm and commitment that gives any project its first animating force. If reform must persist through its many complex phases, then it requires a statement of intent like the one provided in the NSPSR document outlining where we are and where we intend to be; it is a commitment to the next century of the Nigerian civil service. Such a document commits Nigeria to fighting in her own cause rather than trusting the experience of others. ‘We seriously undervalue the passion...a person brings to an enterprise. You can rent a brain, but you can’t rent a heart,’ says Mark McCormack. and programmes with professionalism, excellence and passion.’ This objective is captured in the irreducible reform blueprint titled National Strategy on Public Service Reform (NSPSR). The NSPSR is fundamental because it represents the first time in a century that the objective of civil service renewal would be captured in figures, charts, projections and genuineness. We can say that, with the NSPSR reform blueprint, Nigeria has already made a very solid institutional commitment to the century. The first condition for the success of reform is, surprisingly, passion, the express statement of the enthusiasm that one is ready to commit into the enterprise of organisational transformation. It is this combination of enthusiasm and commitment that gives any project its first animating force. If reform must persist through its many complex phases, then it requires a statement of intent like the one provided in the NSPSR document outlining where we are and where we intend to be; it is a commitment to the next century of the Nigerian civil service. Such a document commits Nigeria to fighting in her own cause rather than trusting the experience of others. ‘We seriously undervalue the passion...a person brings to an enter-
Arriving at an adequate dynamics of good governance goes beyond the politics of policy making; it requires the unique administrative inputs that will make explicit the trajectory of execution and the best way to achieve it. This was what Adebo achieved for Awolowo in the regional civil service of the Southwest. When the Action Group declared its slogan to be ‘Life More Abundant,’ it was not just paying lip service to a biblical statement. Rather, it was a call to service, to ‘work more abundant’ between the politicians and the administrators, as Adebo testified. The essence of the second transformatory moment that must be recovered for the next centennial of the Nigerian civil service is the urgent need to put in place a system of new professionals who are willing and ready to engage the dynamics and demands of a performance-oriented civil service system. The managerial imperative behind the Fulton Report, which Udoji recommended, is a call to public service and organisational performance. This managerial imperative asks a fundamental question that drives the execution of reform objectives: How do we undercut organisational complexity to increase performance and efficient service delivery? Performance management is the framework by which we connect our reform enthusiasm with reform objectives; it gives strategic direction to reform trajectory through channelling the capacities and competences of the civil service professionals. The dynamics of performance requires that data on performance be regularly published to enable benchmarking. This will not only allow the public officials to judge their work vis-à-vis others, it will also allow the public to understand and assess what they are paying for. To step solidly into the future, therefore, requires that we should annex to the NSPSR document (a) a viable model of politicsadministration synergy that can adequately confront the complexity of reform; and (b) generate a performance management framework that can utilise the capacities in pursuit of effective service delivery. The last century is gone, and we can no longer cry over spilt milk. The next century is what we must re-envision and energise. ‘Great ideas,’ says C. D. Jackson, ‘need landing gear as well as wings.’ The transformation of the Nigerian civil service for the next century needs more. Concluded.
prise. You can rent a brain, but you can’t rent a heart,’ says Mark McCormack. The important point to note, especially with regard to the business of reform, is that those with the passion and commitment alone do not necessarily outperform everyone else. Rather, there must also be a will to push through to excellence. The complexity of reform is so vast that passion can fail. While commitment to the cause of reforming the civil service system in Nigeria can launch us into the next century, what is needed to sustain and make a success of the hundred years is will and resolution. Let us reconsider the essence of the two transformatory moments we are attempting to recover for the next centennial of the Nigerian civil service. First, Chief Simeon Adebo succeeded in the Southwest because he got the unflinching commitment and the political will of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. From the Awolowo-Adebo model, we learn the essential lesson that creative cooperation is the soul of reform success. And, for Nancy Kline, ‘Synergy takes place best in structure.’ The politics-administration dichotomy is founded on the necessity of the political and administrative leadership combining their strength towards adminis- Dr. Olaopa is Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry tering and achieving service delivery that of Communication Technology, Abuja will humanise and deeply satisfy the public. firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, February 23, 2014
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Sunday, February 23, 2014 63
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Sports By Gowon Akpodonor ER appointment as Director of the High H Performance Centre, which is aimed at transforming Nigerian athletes into world champions, was greeted with mixed reactions few weeks ago, but the former American national coach, Angie Taylor, says: “We can prove to the rest of the world that Nigeria is alive in all sports.” Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi, recently handed Taylor the plum job saying that she will produce medal-placing positions in various Olympic sports for the country. She was appointed alongside another American, Eric Campbell, who is to design and run programme for the Athletics Federation Of Nigeria (AFN). Their appointment was greeted with mixed reactions, especially from some Nigerian coaches, who were of the view that a Nigerian should have been considered for at least one of the positions. The coaches buttressed their claim by referring to a similar situation in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), where the minister stopped the Aminu Maigari-led board from hiring a Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet as its technical director. With the dust raised over her appointment gradually settling down, Taylor told The Guardian last weekend in Ijebu-Ode that it is time for work. Taylor ruled American athletics for decades, both as an athlete and as a coach. An AllAmerican 100m hurdler at Illinois State University, she also served as USA team captain and picked up “Most Valuable Track and Field Athlete” honors. Taylor graduated in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication. While unveiling Taylor as the Director of the High Performance Programme in Abuja recently, the Sports Minister made reference to the Team Nigeria’s poor outing at London 2012 Olympic Games saying: “One of the key lessons we learned was that at this time and age, no country can hope to perform and achieve podium success at the global level without a robust high performance system that translate talent into excellence.” At that occasion, Abdullahi revealed that the NSC engaged the service of one of the best recruitment agency based in the United Kingdom to get the positions filled, adding that the duo (Taylor and Campbell), “we can get anywhere in the world.” “Their appointment was revolutionary and it will mark the turning point in the history of sports in Nigeria. All the technical facilities required to drive the Centre will be put in place,” Abdullahi stated. Though, some Nigerian coaches have faulted the minister, arguing it might be an exercise in futility bringing the duo from USA, where “things work perfectly” to a country like Nigeria, “where things don’t work the normal way.” Some have said that Eric Campbell failed to deliver as a coach in Saudi Arabia, “where things work perfectly.” He is said to be on a monthly payment of $10, 000, (about N1.7 million), a car and a befitting accommodation Abuja. Taylor’s responsibility, according to the NSC boss, is to put together and run a high performance programme that can deliver podium success for Nigeria at global competitions in athletics, weightlifting, wrestling, boxing and in Taekwondo. At the Ijebu-Ode Stadium last weekend, all focus was on Taylor and Campbell. The AFN had oganised the Over Distance event to prepare the local athletes for the challenges ahead this season, which include the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, next month, Texas Relay in Austin, Texas, USA also in March, MT SAC Relays in Walnut, CA, USA in April, Penn Relays in Philadelphia, USA in April, IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene, USA in July and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, in August, among others. Speaking with The Guardian, a relaxed Taylor expressed excitement in the opportunity of working with talents in Nigeria, promised to work with other stakeholders in ensuring the success of the programme. She said: “This is very new. Obviously we have to start from the ground level. The expectation from the NSC, the Minister and the DG is to put up a comprehensive High Performance centre,
Blessing Okagbare set a new African record of 10.86s in the 100m at the London Anniversary Games. She went on to win a silver medal at the IAAF World Championship in Moscow. Taylor says the High Performance Center in Nigeria will make athletes like Okagbare do better at Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Giving Nigerian Sports… The American Theories which encompasses a task force committee working together with various federations and coaches. Different stakeholders will also be part of it to implement a programme so that we can achieve the best practices and strategic plans for the country to record successes at the Commonwealth Games, the World Championship and Rio 2016 Olympic Games. “High performance is a variety of things, which include facilities, medicals, paramedical, staff, coaches and education programe. It is just a fundamental idea or a template so it does not matter who is in the position. It can be followed by everyone. Asked if she put into consideration what Nigeria has in stock the things she will need to perform her job well before accepting the offer, Taylor said: “Well, obviously at talent level, Nigeria has plenty of talents as evident in the past years. In terms of facilities, I have visited the facility in Lagos, Abuja and I am looking around as well. In doing the High Performance, we are going to take what we have. “We have the facilities, but may be they have not been maintained effectively. My primary goal is to look at everything and evaluate with the team working with me. We are going to improve on those things we have shown weakness and we are Taylor
going to take a look at our opportunities, strength and weaknesses and improve upon them.” Taylor is quite aware that after the game of football, the next sports Nigerians are so passionate about, is athletics. She is also aware that Nigerians want immediate results, starting with this year’s Commonwealth Games, African championships in Botswana and Youth Olympics in China. “We are working with each federation and those federation have a responsibility from the president, the technical director and others. For example, we have Eric Campbell working in athletics, so we are working together a collaboration and synergy where everyone is on one page. It is a working relationship and not one person,” she told The Guardian. In 1997, Taylor was named the head manager for the US team at the Junior Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba and in September of 1998, she made her international coaching
debut at the World Cup of Track and Field in Johannesburg, South Africa, where the US women won the championship. In 1999, Taylor worked as an assistant manager at the Indoor World Championships in Maeboshi, Japan. She served as head manager for the 2002 World Cup, and led Team USA as the women’s head coach at the 2003 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Paris, France. She is not the only one talking, as Eric Campbell, who is saddled with the responsibility of taking Nigeria athletics to a higher level says the country has the potentials to produce top rated athletes in the world just as he is committed to seeing such happens in no distant time. Campbell told The Guardian that that he is fully equipped and has the requisite knowledge to make Nigeria athletes achieve the fate, declaring that a coach has to be able to possess some qualities to enable him achieve such result. He said: “One, you never know when an athlete is going to pick, you will have to know what their talent level is going to be next year. You have to have the knowledge of somebody that is willing to spend some time with you and I have taken that mentality into my coaching. Take time with athletes and find a way of understanding that every single athlete is different and I have to treat them that way. There are two components, the science that comes behind the sports and the theory behind these athletes to make them better. The reason why every athlete that I have worked with has improved is not because I am a great coach and not because I know the theories. I never give up on an athlete. “I accepted the job because I know I will be able to bring everything I know to help Nigeria become greater in athletics. My job is to make the country better by applying the sciences and applying the right education. But Nigeria must be ready to do what the rest of the world is doing and we must try to surpass them with more innovation,” Campbell said.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Ahead FIFA U-17 Women World Cup
Flamingoes Tour Portugal With 25 players EAD Coach of the Nigeria U-17 Women team, Bala H Nkiyu has picked 25 players for the training tour billed for Faro, Portugal in the final phase of their preparation for the 2014 FIFA U-17 women World Cup in Costa Rica. A 33-man delegation of the Nigeria team made up 25 players and eight officials departed the country’s capital, Abuja Friday night, for a training tour of Faro, Portugal aboard on a Lufthansa Airline flight. In the team were team captain Biawo Tessy Kesiena and Chinwendu Ihezuo who both starred at the last U-17 Women World Cup in Azerbaijan. On the list also are Uchenna Kanu, Esther Elijah, Ugochi Emenayo, Aminat Yakubu, Mary Aku, Cynthia Ologbosere, Joy Duru and Joy Bokiri.
Sunshine Stars In Ghastly Accident T least five players were A critically injured and are currently in hospital after a
Everton’s US goalkeeper Tim Howard fails to stop the ball under pressure from Chelsea’s English defender John Terry leading to the winning goal from a free kick by Chelsea’s English midfielder Frank Lampard in yesterday’s English Premier League match at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea won 1-0. PHOTO: AFP
Terry’s Goal Sinks Everton, Arsenal Hammer Sunderland OHN Terry grabbed a stoppage-time winner as Chelsea beat Everton to move four points clear at the top of the Premier League. Olivier Giroud marked his return to action with two goals as Arsenal romped to 4-1 victory over Sunderland, just as Manchester City kept up the pressure on title rivals Chelsea as they beat Stoke to stay three points behind the Premier League leaders. In-form West Ham earned their fourth consecutive
Man City, Hull, West Ham Also Win league victory after coming from behind to defeat Southampton. At the Stamford Bridge, the Blues captain Terry slid in with goalkeeper Tim Howard to meet Frank Lampard’s inswinging free-kick, denying Everton a fully deserved point against their lacklustre hosts. Neither side created many clear chances but the Toffees
looked sharper for much of the game, only to lose out in agonising fashion. Chelsea 1-0 Everton: Late goal was best time to score-Jose Mourinho. The league leaders lacked cohesion, despite a promising opening and a marked improvement in the final stages. But the victory, their 12th in 14
home league games this season, means they move four points clear of Arsenal and six points ahead of Manchester City, though the latter have two games in hand. Everton’s hopes of ending Jose Mourinho’s remarkable home league record, which now stands at 74 games unbeaten as Blues manager, were dealt a blow in the warm-up.
Lacina Traore had to be replaced in the starting lineup because of a hamstring injury, but the change seemed to unnerve the hosts more. The fit-again Terry, Gary Cahill and their defensive colleagues struggled to deal with Everton’s movement and lack of an out-and-out striker. Arsenal defeated Sunderland 4-1. Olivier Giroud stroked home an early opener after a deflected Jack Wilshere shot fell to him, and capitalised on a poor Santiago Vergini backpass for his second.
Ghanaians Ask For More Games, As Victor Ochei Wheelchair Basketball Tourney Ends By Gowon Akpodonor rd
S the 3 edition of Victor A Ochei International Wheelchair Basketball competition was concluded yesterday in Lagos, players and officials of Team Ghana say the competition has brought ‘a great turn around’ in the life of many physically challenged athletes in West Africa and beyond. They pleaded with other well meaning Nigerians to come up with similar sponsorship programmes for wheelchair basketball in the country. In yesterday’s final match at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos, Oluyole Warriors (Team Oyo), which paraded four foreign-
Oyo Beats Edo To Emerge Champions based player, won the trophy and N5 million prize money, after beating Edo 51-12. The Edo State team had stopped Lagos in the semifinal on Friday, while Oyo defeated Delta to reach the final. In the female category, Delta defeated their Lagos State counterparts to win the title. Team Ghana male wheelchair basketball team finished fifth last year, but was
able to appreciable impact this time around, beating FCT 6-4 after recording a walk over against Togo. They lost their third game to Team Edo. The Ghana female wheelchair basketball team also won two games, but went down 2-4 to Benin Republic. Speaking with The Guardian shortly before yesterday’s final match, coach Bismark Kygi, who led Ghana’s male
team to Nigeria said the trip was ‘rewarding’ in many ways. “The game of wheelchair basketball has been going on in my country (Ghana) for about ten years now, but I must confess that we have learnt a lot from this Victor Ochei competition. Now, my players can tackle their opponents very well and their shooting ability has improved. I thank the sponsor for empowering young men and women on wheelchair.”
Three Ghanaian players, Hannah Owusu Dwomoh, Francis Agbozo and Baah Frimpong also showered praises on the sponsor and organisers of the competition for a job well done. The sponsor, Victor Ochei who is the Speaker of Delta State House of Assemble said at the closing ceremony yesterday that he had put in place solid sponsorship programme that will make the championship to run even after he leaves office.
Published by Guardian Newspapers Limited, Rutam House, Isolo, Lagos Tel: 4489600, 2798269, 2798270, 07098147948, 07098147951 Fax: 4489712; Advert Hotline Lagos: 7736351, Abuja: 07098513445 All correspondence to Guardian Newspapers Limited, P.M.B. 1217, Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria. (ISSN NO 0189-5125) Editor: E-mail email@example.com ABRAHAM OBOMEYOMA OGBODO • A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation •ABC
Sunshine Stars bus was involved in an accident on Friday. MTNFootball.com was reliably informed that Sunshine were on their way from a training base in Ijebu-Ode to Akure when their team bus was involved in an accident. Sunshine striker Dele Olorundare confirmed the accident, but said he was not on the bus and so could not offer more details. The team bus was a complete wreck as the front was mangled, the wind screen completely off in a road mishap involving at least another vehicle. Efforts to reach many of the players on telephone have proved impossible. Such mishaps are common in Nigeria as most clubs travel hundreds of kilometres across the country to play matches.
Oboabona Scores Second Own Goal In Turkey player, Eagles UPER Sa second Godfrey Oboabona scored own goal in Turkey,
as Bursaspor beat Rizespor 20 in a league game. Oboabona turned the ball into his team’s own net in the 67th minute to give Bursaspor, who paraded Taye Taiwo, a 2-0 advantage. Bursaspor are eighth on the league table with 31 points from 22 games, while Rizespor are in relegation troubles, 16th on the table with 21 points from 22 games. MTNFootball.com reported yesterday that this is the second time the former Sunshine stars captain will score own goal for Rizespor, the first being the 80th winner in a 2-1 loss at Konyaspor on December 2.
Premiership Results Chelsea 1 - 0 Everton Arsenal 4 - 1 Sunderland Cardiff 0 - 4 Hull Man City 1 - 0 Stoke West Brom 1 - 1 Fulham West Ham 3 - 1 Southampton