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TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Friday, February 28, 2014

Vol. 30, No. 12,846

www.ngrguardiannews.com

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World leaders, in Abuja, celebrate with Nigeria at 100 From Mohammed Abubakar and Collins Olayinka (Abuja) S Nigeria’s centenary anA niversary celebrations peaked yesterday, world leaders took turns to felicitate with the country, urging her to take her prime place in the comity of nations.

Meanwhile, free movement of Nigerians and foreign dignitaries in Abuja as the nation celebrated its centenary yesterday was hampered by fuel scarcity. Some of the leaders who sent congratulatory messages to Nigerian leader included the British Monarch, Queen Eliz-

abeth II; President Francois Hollande of France, who personally attended the International Conference on Human Security, Peace and Development: Agenda for 21st Century Africa.” Other leaders who were present at the celebration included the Presidents of The

Gambia, Yahya Jammeh; Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore; Ali Bongo Odimba of Gabon; Idriss Deby of Chad; Yaya Boni of Benin Republic; Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, former Secretary-General of Organisation of African Unity (OAU); Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of

Ethiopia. Others included Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia; Jose Manuel Baroso, President of the European Commission; Mrs. Joyce Banda of Malawi; Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania; Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali; Hifikepunye Pohamba

of Namibia as well as Mohamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic. The leaders spoke extensively on the warmth relationship between Nigeria and their respective countries. In a written message delivCONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Yoruba leaders meet, urge return to regionalism, others — Page 3

NJC okays sack of two judges, warns three others — Page 3 NNPC raises the alarm over campaign of calumny — Page 6 Rivers, PDP bicker over abduction of former Reps, others — Page 8

Presidents Helen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia (left), Goodluck Jonathan, Francois Hollande (France) and Ibrahim Boubacae Keita (Mali), during Nigeria’s centenary conference on Human Security, Peace and Development, at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja… yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

16 feared killed in fresh Adamawa attack From Hendrix Oliomogbe (Asaba), Chukwuma Muanya (Lagos), Emeka Anuforo, Karls Tsokar, John Okeke (Abuja) and Emmanuel Ande (Yola) ARDLY had the worldH wide outrage over the massacre of more than 50 students of Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, three days ago by suspected Boko Haram terrorists subsided that insurgents struck again on Wednesday in neighbouring Adamawa State, killing 16 persons. Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund

• UNICEF, ActionAid condemn Yobe massacre • Why insurgents are more deadly, by military • United Kingdom charges government on security • APC faults Jonathan’s ‘silence’ over slain students in broadcast (UNICEF) and ActionAid have condemned the killing of students in Yobe State. While UNICEF expressed worry about the seeming unending spate of such killings, ActionAid called it a violation of rights and called on government to take immediate action to stop the killings. In a related development, the

All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday criticised President Goodluck Jonathan for devoting his broadcast to the nation on Wednesday night to the centenary celebrations instead of the national tragedy involving the murder of over 50 school children in Yobe State. In the same vein, the Defence

Headquarters has attributed the action of the insurgents as a reaction to the renewed offensive carried out by the military to tackle the menace. Similarly, at the international conference to mark the centenary celebration yesterday, the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) have urged the Federal Govern-

ment to protect the lives of its citizens by tackling the turbulent security situation facing the country. Also, the Interior Affairs Minister, Mr. Abba Moro, has said that Nigeria will not refuse the presence of foreign peacekeeping forces on its territory in its determination to win the war against Boko Haram in the country. The terrorists, who struck first at about 8.30 p.m. at the border village of Kirchinga in Madagali Local Council of the state, later headed for Michika Local Council, literally roamed free, where for over

six hours they spread death and destruction. Former Military Governor of Lagos State, Gen. Buba Mohammed Marwa, hails from Michika. From there, the terrorists moved on to Shuwa, where without encountering any challenge, they systematically set fire on houses and churches, shooting and slitting throats with 12 people confirmed killed. Sources at the village confirmed to The Guardian that when the terrorists struck at CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


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Friday, February 28, 2014

APC faults Jonathan’s ‘silence’ over slain students in broadcast CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Kirchinga, many of the residents fled to Shuwa for safety but the heavily armed gang who were determined to rain terror on the residents pursued their victims to Shuwa where they killed 12 people. The source stated that the attackers came into the town in a convoy of 13 Toyota Hilux pick-up vans shooting sporadically as people scampered into different directions for safety. Another source, who called for investigations into the attack, maintained that the military personnel manning different check- points in the area were not at their duty posts when the insurgents carried out the bloody attack on the villages. A survivor in Shuwa, Mr. Kwaje Bitrus, said that the terrorists’ gang launched attack on many places in Shuwa, including the Bishop’s House, Theological School, police station as well as houses of prominent people in the town leading to the death of four people. The Chairman of Madagali Local Council, Mr. Maina Ularamu, confirmed the incident, saying that the gunmen attacked many places, including schools, residential houses, banks and a police station. Also, the member represent-

ing Michika Local Council in Adamawa State House of Assembly, Adamu Kamale, also confirmed the attack on Michika. The Army Public Relations Officer of the 23rd Armoured Brigade in Yola, Captain Jafaru Nuhu, also confirmed the incident but could not ascertain the number of casualties. In a statement in Abuja, UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Manuel Fontaine, noted: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this vicious attack on students. Many young lives were lost. Many more students and teachers are deprived of their right to education. Attacks on children and schools are unacceptable under any circumstances. “UNICEF is deeply concerned about the repeated attacks on schools in north eastern Nigeria in this context of fear and violence. Since June 2013, four attacks resulted in school closures affecting thousands of students, many of whom have had no access to formal learning for months. “When a school is under attack and students become targets, not only their lives are shattered - the future of the nation is stolen. UNICEF offers its deepest condolences to all the families and communities affected by these senseless acts and calls for greater ef-

forts to protect all children throughout Nigeria?” ActionAid said that government should be responsible for the rights of children to life and education. Country Director of ActionAid, Dr. Hussaini Abdu, said: “In the past eight months, over 100 students have been killed in different attacks on schools in the North-East. The perpetrators should, of course, be brought to justice, but the government at all levels must also be held accountable; it is their duty to protect the lives and education of children. A duty they are utterly failing to uphold.” The Director, Defence Information, Chris Olukolade, yesterday in Abuja said the dastardly act of killing innocent students is “simply typical of terrorists’ intention to intimidate the people into subscribing to their false claim to invincibility. He said the Nigerian military has strengthened its counter terrorism campaign in the country. “It must be pointed out that the current activities of terrorist groups are actually at best a reaction to the renewed offensive against the terror outfit whose operatives had infiltrated the country to support their hitherto depleted membership and counterparts in their daring acts to reinvent relevance by embarking on renewed at-

tacks on soft targets.” Olukolade said. He noted that the flight of members of the insurgents towards the border “as noticed in some areas of Adamawa State on Wednesday night” where they perpetrated mayhem attacking many communities “in desperation for money and food, they looted and burnt banks, shops and filling stations along their way through Michika as they headed to Cameroun border.” Delivering his speech at the conference tagged “The human security, peace: Agenda for Africa at 21st century” in Abuja yesterday, the United Kingdom (UK) Foreign Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds who represented the British Prime Minister David Cameron, stressed that the government has the obligatory mandate to protect the lives of its citizens. Cameron, while promising to partner with African governments to fight insurgency, warned against failure by the African governments to deliver the dividend of democracy as it would build a stronghold for insurgency. “So, the final area I want to highlight – for Nigeria and elsewhere – is the imperative of providing security for all citizens.” “Any government has the right, and indeed the obliga-

tion, to defend its territory and people from terrorism.” “The UK will partner African governments in seeking the eradication of violent extremism,” he said. Moro, who spoke on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) yesterday, however explained that at the moment, the situation in the country where troops are presently battling the insurgents was within the capability of the Nigerian government. He said that Nigeria has been contributing troops to international peace-keeping forces in other countries, so if it becomes necessary that foreign forces be invited, the government will not hesitate. He assured: “Nigeria as a sovereign state will do everything to ensure peace and stability in this country. Nigeria as a member of the international community and relatively experienced in international peacekeeping missions will seek the co-operation of the international community from the UK, USA, France and other European countries in the fight against terrorism.” In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the APC said the President’s action sends a wrong signal to the world about the value which the Federal Government places on the lives of the na-

tion’s children. It wondered what was so important about the centenary celebrations that it would be elevated over and above what in any nation would be considered a monumental tragedy, describing the President’s broadcast as insensitive, misplaced, and an embarrassment to the nation. ‘’Even as the nation is still counting the death toll from Monday night’s senseless and gruesome murder of our children, and the ceaseless killings of innocent civilians before that, the President has already switched into a celebratory mood, dwelling on the money-wasting centenary-celebrations instead of leading a clearly distraught nation in mourning. ‘’Nothing better illustrates the fact that the President showed more concern about the centenary celebrations than the calamity that befell the nation than the mention, in only about three paragraphs, of the tragedy in a speech that spanned over 40 paragraphs. ‘’This is very sad indeed, considering that President Jonathan is the head of a government that has failed woefully in ensuring the welfare and security of Nigerians, especially those of our children, which is the very reason for the existence of any government,’’ APC said.

World leaders celebrate with Nigeria at 100 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 ered to President Jonathan yesterday by Britain’s Minister for Africa, Mr. Mark Simmonds, Queen Elizabeth II conveyed her best wishes for the happiness and prosperity of the people of Nigeria.

“On the occasion of the Republic of Nigeria celebrating 100 years since the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria, I send the people of Nigeria my warmest congratulations. “I have fond memories of my first visit to Nigeria in 1956 and again in 2003 as Head of the Commonwealth. “The links between our two countries have deepened over the past 100 years and I hope they will continue to do so. “I would like to convey my best wishes for the happiness and prosperity of the people of Nigeria,” she wrote. The Ethiopian premier, in his presentations, stressed the need for African leaders to address the root cause of some of the problems confronting the continent, more especially in addressing the needs of the youths. According to him, “ensuring security means we as leaders have to address the issues that cause the untold human suffering which our countries have been noted for, failure of which have been series of conflicts. “The only way Africa can break the cycle of violence is through the promotion of

good governance evolving policies that would guarantee sustainable development of the continent.” The Liberian President, who spoke on her country’s experience, noted that the future of the continent would be guaranteed if strong continental leaders like Nigeria showed clear example. Johnson, who recalled the great role Nigeria played in restoring law and order to her country during its almost decade-long civil war, noted, however, that the country was yet to shed the toga of the conflict as has been seen from her unstable economy. Baroso, who commended Nigerian leadership both at regional and international affairs, called for co-operation from other African countries with Nigeria in order to ensure secured continent free of crisis. Simmonds, who read the speech of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said Nigeria, despite her initial challenges, had the prospect of leading other African countries, but noted that only Nigerians hold the key to its development. His words: “Nigeria has a

great future of prosperity; the choice that Nigerians make in determining their future is entirely theirs, but the UK will continue to assist Nigeria in tackling extremism and terrorism.” He used the opportunity to challenge African leaders present at the occasion to work towards producing leaders who will leave strong legacy behind after they might have gone, citing the example of the late South African President, Nelson Mandela who the world celebrated because of his selflessness and spirit of reconciliation. Banda, in her intervention, called on Nigeria not to shirk in its responsibility of leading the continent to its destiny. She deplored the recent attack on a college in Yobe State, noting: “As a mother and grandmother, I see the killings in some parts of Nigeria as shocking and saddening. But I can assure you that Malawi will continue to lend its voice on matters that will help in restoring peace in Nigeria. Among former Nigerian leaders that graced the conference yesterday included Gen. Yakubu Gowon, former

President Shehu Shagari, Chief Ernest Shonekan, former Vice President Alex Ekwueme and ex-Chief of General Staff (CGS), Lt.-Gen. Oladipo Diya. There was also former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, as well as former Minister of External Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari. Though the situation abated later in the afternoon, fuel shortage in Abuja caused gridlock as queues blocked most of the access roads within the city. Commercial taxi operators also took the advantage of the situation by increasing fares which resulted in some dignitaries’ late arrival at the International Conference Centre, venue of the event. The Guardian gathered that the inability of the country to meet its domestic fuel consumption has been linked to non-granting of autonomy to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It was gathered that government’s bureaucratic bottlenecks that have been embedded in the operations of the national oil company often resulted in operational delays, especially in the process of award of contracts for the maintenance of critical infrastructure such as refineries, pipelines, strategic reserves, among others. Some of the reasons deduced for the consistently non-performing of refineries is the lack of power to award contracts for the refurbishment of the refineries and many layer of approving authorities that the NNPC has to go through before core maintenance work can be executed.


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News NJC okays sack of two judges, warns three others From Abiodun Fagbemi (Ilorin) and Lemmy Ughegbe (Abuja) line with the promise of the IticeNChief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), JusMariam Aloma-Mukhtar, to rid the nation’s judiciary of corrupt and indolent judges, the National Judicial Council (NJC) yesterday recommended compulsory retirement of Justices U. A. Inyang and Gladys Olotu on account of gross misconduct. Meanwhile, Members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) are spoiling for another round of strike over alleged refusal of the federal and state governments to comply with the Federal High Court, Abuja’s order on the union’s financial autonomy. The Guardian had reported the misconduct of Justice Inyang in a case between a contractor and the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and his consequent probe by NJC following a petition lodged by the agency. In a statement issued by the Acting Director of Information at the NJC, Soji Oye, the commission also issued stern warning to Justice Dalhatu Adamu, the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Kaduna Division, Justice A. A. Adeleye of the High Court, Ekiti State and Justice D. O. Amaechina of High Court of Anambra State. Oye, who said these were the highpoints of the council’s meeting held on February 26, 2014, disclosed that NJC has forwarded its recommendation for the compulsory retirement of Olotu and Inyang to President Goodluck Jonathan. The statement reads in part: “Hon. Justice G. K. Olotu was recommended for compulsory retirement, pursuant to the ‘findings’ by the Council on the following allegations inter-alia, contained in the petitions written against the judge that: • she failed to deliver judgment only to deliver same in Suit No. FHC/UY/250/2003, 18 months after the final address by all the counsel in the suit, contrary to the constitutional provisions that judgments should be delivered within a period of 90 days; • she admitted before the Fact Finding Committee of the Council that investigated the allegations that she forgot she had a pending ruling to deliver in an application for joinder; • she entertained a post- judgment matter in Suit No. FHC/UY/CS/250/2003 in Port Harcourt after delivering judgment, which made her functus officio; and that • in another case, Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/505/2012, Justice Olotu failed to deliver judgment twice.” For Justice Inyang, the statement explained that he was recommended for compulsory retirement “sequel to the ‘Findings’ of the Council that: • he included in his judgment, ref-

erences to the Garnishee Proceedings, which came after the judgment had been delivered on 20th December, 2011; • he included the name of the Counsel to FERMA, Chief Chukwuma Ekomaru (SAN), who came into the matter after the judgment of 20th December, 2011 was delivered; • he recklessly signed a Writ of Execution, a day after delivering his judgment of 20th December, 2011, the same day a Notice of Appeal and Motion on Notice for Stay of Execution were filed; • he continued with the Garnishee Proceedings despite application for Stay of Execution; and that • before delivering his Judgment of 20th December, 2011, he ignored a properly filed Motion on Notice for leave to file additional witness Statement on Oath.”

Ex-Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Olu Falae (left); ex-Governor, Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba and Lt.-Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd), at The Grand Yoruba Summit in Ibadan...yesterday PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM

Yoruba leaders meet, urge return to regionalism, others From Iyabo Lawal, Kehinde Olatunji (Ibadan) and Yetunde Ayobami Ojo (Lagos) ORUBA leaders and Y groups from the SouthWest zone yesterday gathered in Ibadan, Oyo State capital to fine-tune their position at the forthcoming national conference as well as the document to be presented. At the meeting convened by Chief Olu Falae and supported by Gen Alani Akinrinade (rtd) and Dr Kunle Olajide, speakers were unanimous in their call for true federalism and return to regionalism. At another meeting in Lagos yesterday, the Yoruba Council of Elders (Igbimo Agba Yoruba) called on the race to urgently organise a summit where the region’s position will be documented and presented at the forthcoming national conference. Governor Abiola  Ajimobi of Oyo State while setting the tone of the Ibadan meeting reviewed the nation’s structural system and  concluded that the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates  had earned the country several pains and calamities. Ajimobi who spoke against the backdrop of claims by President Goodluck Jonathan that the merger has been a blessing to the nation maintained that it was indeed a ‘marriage of inconvenience.’

The event was the Yoruba Assembly for 2014 National Conference, a coalition of Leaders of Thought and SocioCultural Groups in Yorubaland held at the House of Chiefs within the secretariat complex. He also restated calls for true federalism and return to regionalism. He said: “As you all know, the Yoruba people, like every other ethnic nationalities that make up this country did not willingly join the behemoth that was to later become Nigeria. We were coerced by the British overlords in the evergreen magical marriage of inconvenience called amalgamation of 1914. “Since then, Nigeria has presented as the forcefully conjured seeds in the walnut pod. Different world-views, different ideologies, different cultures, different political beliefs, yet we were soldered into one component by the British colonial masters. “This forceful marriage has earned us several pains and calamities. It led to the 30month old civil war where the Yoruba suffered needless casualties in the course of fighting for the unity of Nigeria. The most recent calamity of our forced togetherness is the pain of being tagged as citizens of the same country with the senseless killers of children who are inflicting needless pogrom in the North.

“I imagine that when a Yoruba man walks up to fellow humans in the world and he introduces himself as a Nigerian, what comes to the mind of his naïve audience would be that he shares the same humanity, the same human and national space with those blood-thirsty hounds called Boko Haram. It is the pain of the forced identity of 1914. “The current pseudo-federalism that we practise merely gathered, as our people would say, the hen and dove under the same cage. It breeds redundancy, cheating and parasitism, it is a recipe for chaos. This is why we are very strong in canvassing a return to that system where our forefathers proved their mettle to the rest of the world as brilliant administrators of men and resources.” Falae disclosed that what was being presented was not a new document. He recalled that the journey started as far back as 1994 with series of meetings in some of the palaces of Yoruba Obas to produce the Yoruba Agenda, which was modified in 2005 and revised in 2012. Falae thereafter asked Akinrinade to present the 15-Issue Agenda to the general assembly after which representatives of the various states, groups and individuals rose one after another to make comments and endorsed the document.

Speaking at the 13th Annual National Congress of Igbimo Agba Yoruba (YCE) held in Lagos, Maj-Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo (rtd) said that the summit would enable Yoruba to speak with one voice, one purpose and to achieve one destiny. According to him, the YCE supported the opportunity given Nigerians to come together, adding “The opportunity given to Nigerians to come together and air their opinion on the way forward for the reshaping, revitalizing and reinvigorating this intricate and complex country called Nigeria was most welcomed. “There is no-gainsaying the fact that the Yoruba nation, which is one of the largest ethnic groups in the Nigeria has been the most marginalised and neglected in the scheme of governance of this country right from independence till now and this has to change.” They frowned at the way some ethnic groups are riding roughshod on Yoruba hospitality and generosity by unabashedly abusing the privileges which were unavailable in their own domains. “Igbimo Agba hereby calls on the governments of the Yoruba speaking states to call to order all such groups to forestall such security threatening actions. On the insurgency in the

North, the YCE said “The progressive escalation of violent activities of Boko Haram has defiled all entreaties of ceasefire even in the face of amnesty proclamation by the Federal Government. Catastrophic destruction of lives and property are reported daily particularly in the North East of the country. “Several unprovoked killings of security agents and innocent civilians constitute very serious threat to the survival of the country.” They also called on the government to find a way out of the Boko Haram quagmire and take serious step to revive the economy .

Plateau raises tribunal for council elections From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos S residents of Plateau State await the outcome of the February 25 local government polls, election petition and appeal tribunals have been constituted to receive complaints from 15 of the 17 councils. The Acting Chief Judge of the state, Justice Pius Damulak, sworn in members of the tribunals yesterday at the Jos High Court Complex. The Local Government Election Petition Trial Tribunal has Helima Zhi as chairman, with Jacob Lombin and Emmanuel Akhaire as members.

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How military, politicians destroyed civil service, by Fafowora, others By Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi conscious move to check mediocrity and boost meritocracy is the only way to save the country’s civil service and return it to the path of efficiency and honour, discussants at a colloquium have said. At the event organized by the Centre for Values and Leadership (CVL) in Lagos on Tuesday, as part of activities to honour two of Nigeria’s foremost former bureaucrats, Alhaji Ahmed Joda and Chief Philip Asiodu, they observed

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that corruption in the civil service could only be tamed when politicians rid themselves of corrupt practices. The discussants, including Ambassador Dapo Fafowora, former Deputy Governor of old Bendel State, Chief John Edozien, former Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education, Dr. Goke Adegoroye and Ms Maryam Bashir, with CVL’s founder, Prof. Pat Utomi as the moderator, agreed that things went wrong with the civil service after the purge of 1975 master-

minded by the military regime of Gen. Murtala Mohammed. Edozien, who joined the civil service in 1964 and was appointed Permanent Secretary in 1986, affirmed that 90 per cent of the country’s woes could be linked to lack of planning. Edozien, who was part of the team that fashioned out all the Development Plans, except the first, cited the power sector to buttress his point. He said while the private firms that had bought over the various units of the sector were

ready to key into the national grid, absence of gas is impeding their progress. “That wouldn’t have happened if there was planning,” he said, insisting that proper planning would have taken care of all the loose ends. Fafowora concurred and delved into some historical analysis. He stated that the January 1966 coup had been a big shock to the civil service at the time it happened, while the 1975 purge “was a disaster.” s “The civil service can only function effectively when

political stability is guaranteed.” He explained that the 1975 saga literally convinced the civil servants that their jobs were no longer guaranteed. He wondered why Nigerians would expect the civil servants to have integrity when politicians are stealing recklessly from the treasury. He declared: “the civil service will not change unless the political class rids itself of corruption.” Fafowora expressed regret that whereas, in the glorious years, training was

entrenched in the service, which sharpened government workers’ skills, now, he noted, capacity building is no longer taken seriously. Adegoroye observed that apart from the 1975 purge, Decree 43 of 1988 enacted by the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida administration also worsened civil servants’ plight. He lamented that due to the corruption they see politicians around them perpetrate, some senior civil servants started engaging in illegal acts.


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Friday, February 28, 2014

NIGERIA’S CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

President Goodluck Jonathan (left), welcoming President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia to the conference. President Goodluck Jonathan (right), welcoming the British Minister of Foreign Office, Africa and Commonwealth, Mr. Mark Simmonds, to the Nigerian Centenary Conference on Human Security, Peace and Development at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.

President Jonathan (right) welcoming Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamin Zuma to the occasion. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA President Goodluck Jonathan (left), welcoming President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia.

President Goodluck Jonathan (right) with the Kenyan Vice President, Williams Ruto. President Jonathan (right), welcoming European Union President, Josemanuel Barroso in Abuja.

Former National Chairman, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur (left); Senator Ahmadu Ali; ex-Commonwealth Secretary-General and Vice Chairman, BOT Nigeria Centenary Charities Trust, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, and Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Reng Ochekpe at the conference… yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

Former Chief of General Staff, Lt.-Gen. Oladipo Diya (rtd.) (left); ex-Vice President, Alex Ekwueme, former National Chairman, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and Senator Ahmadu Ali, at the occasion in Abuja. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA


Friday, February 28, 2014

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NIGERIA’S CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

The Centenary Conference in session in Abuja… yesterday.

Chief Tony Anenih (left); Minister of Justice, Bello Adoke; Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State; former Chief of General Staff, Gen. Oladipo Diya; Chief Alex Ekwueme; Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and Senator Ahmadu Ali at the Centenary Conference.

Former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan (left); ex-President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari and former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, at the conference.

Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Barde (left); Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin; Chief of Air Staff, AVM Adesola Amosu; IGP, Mohammed Abubakar and FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed at the occasion.

Governors Idris Wada of Kogi (left); Jonah Jang of Plateau; Martin Elechi of Ebonyi and Acting Governor of Taraba, Garba Umar, at the Conference.

President Goodluck Jonathan (left), welcoming President Mohammed Abdel-Aziz of Mauritania to the conference.

President Jonathan (right), welcoming President Joyce Banda of Malawi.

A cross section of heads of government at the centenary conference.

PHOTOS: NAN


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6 | NEWS Friday, February 28, 2014

Court rules on Ajudua’s application Monday

Braithwaite urges Christians to participate in confab By Kenechukwu Ezeonyejiaku LDER statesman and legal E icon, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, has called on Christians to get

Awards N20 million against NDLEA By Bertram Nwannekanma (Lagos) and John Akubo (Dutse) Oluwatoyin Ipaye of JwillUSTICE a Lagos High Court, Ikeja, rule on an application filed by Fred Ajudua, seeking to quash the N1 billion fraud charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on March 3, 2014. Ajudua is facing trial for allegedly defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd), of about $5.9 million (about N1 billion) while both were on remand at Kirikiri Prison in Lagos on separate charges. The EFCC alleged that Ajudua conspired with others (now at large) to perpetrate the fraud between November 2004 and June 2005. Meanwhile, a Dutse Federal High Court has awarded N20 million in damages to a lawyer, Mr. Victor C. Jonah, against the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for the infringement of his fundamental rights, illegal arrest and detention by the agency. The presiding Justice Sabiu Yahuza also ordered the agency to publicly apologise to him in two national dailies of high circulation within Jigawa State, having granted the plaintiff’s prayers that his arrest and detention were illegal and unconstitutional and infringement on his fundamental rights. The court further restrained NDLEA from further harassing or humiliating him.

fully involved in the forthcoming national conference, stating that it is a divine doctrine and a command of God. Speaking yesterday in Lagos as a guest lecturer at the anniversary lecture of the 50 years of Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja, titled, “The Church Today,” Braithwaite said the role of the Church of Christ should not be limited to prayers but also a great involvement with determination to salvage the freedoms of citizens. According to him, “as Christians, we must always keep in mind Christ’s word to us that we are the salt of the earth; and we are salted by fire. Therefore, we have a great responsibility through a life of righteousness, integrity, courage and prayerfulness to be a blessing to the entire community. “Prayers with hard work and doggedness are the twin sureties for a successful outcome of any lasting endeavour. The role of the Church of Christ in the impending national conference should not be limited to prayers only, we must go out there armed with faith, determination and commitment to righteousness and be fully involved in the generational duty of salvaging our freedoms.” He revealed that principalities and powers are at work night and day to sabotage the conference and “without a successful conference,

birthing a completely new country with a new constitution would be impossible. The country’s foreseeable future would be bleak.” Braithwaite, in a swift reaction, accused the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) of failing in its duty as a body and of conspiracy of silence in the sufferings that Christians are passing through in northern Nigeria. However, he condemned the use of violence or reprisal attacks. According to him, “CAN, unfortunately, has failed in this country. There is a conspiracy of silence in the evil

happening in the North. Shedding of blood should be abhorred but carrying guns should not be encouraged to fight your enemy. “If you don’t take up arms you can resist it. The church should encourage its members to resist these attacks, they should speak out in churches and condemn people openly.” He advised Christians not to lose hope but to put their trust in Christ even in the face of ongoing sufferings and persecution. He noted: “The state of the church today is in her indestructibility and invincibility just as Christ assured 2,500

years ago. “Notwithstanding the occasional persecutions, sufferings, afflictions of her members individually and/or collectively already alluded to above, the enemy is a defeated adversary so long as the Christian does not for one moment put off his armour. “The Christian needs to capture the spiritual implication of the ‘Rock’ or ‘Stone’ that Christ is, and of which He emphasized in the scripture.” He urged Christians to be ready, as only God knows what will be the outcome of the proposed conference.

Ojo, Gbadebo present roadmap against cerebral palsy By Chukwuma Muanya ONCERNED groups and C individuals are stepping up efforts to ensure that necessary tools for effective management of cerebral palsy (CP) are in place in the country. In that direction, Benola, supported by the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), has come up with a roadmap on the condition. CP is a general term for a group of permanent, non-progressive movement disorders that cause physical disability in development, mainly in the area of body movement. About 17 million people across the world are living with CP while another 350 million people are closely connected to a child or adult with the condition. It is the most common physical disability in childhood and has no cure. Benola is a non-profit organisation committed to change

and progress for persons living with CP, whose founder, AVM Femi Gbadebo (rtd), and his wife, Alaba, are parents to 17year old Olaoluwa, who was born with CP. Gbadebo said yesterday in Lagos: “Having seen the reality of the condition in Nigeria, the state of our medical facilities and the options available to families of children with CP, we at Benola worked with relevant experts and came up with a roadmap, which we hope will help relevant authorities do what is right and proper for affected children and their families. “The roadmap, which looked at challenges and constrains to the management of CP in Nigeria, also identified key issues, goals and objectives which tend to negatively affect the rights of children with CP. It further explored areas through which government at all levels could take responsibility for leadership and ensure that nec-

essary tools for effective management of CP are in place.” On his part, Ojo said: “I believe that history is being made today as this roadmap, which is an eloquent testimony to a life of dedication to the service of mankind, will change the landscape in the way we perceive the disability of cerebral palsy in Nigeria forever. “If we take into cognizance the inspiring words of my friend, Prof. Pat Utomi, that ‘this life is a life of debt, the currency of amortisation is service,’ there is no doubt that the trustees of this great initiative have paid their dues in this regard. “They have also gone ahead to create an institution that will secure our future and the future of our children’s children. This impressively fits into the words of Napoleon Bonaparte of France that ‘men are powerless to secure the future, institutions alone fix the destiny of nations.’”

NNPC raises the alarm over campaign of calumny HE Nigerian National PetroT leum Corporation (NNPC) hierarchy yesterday raised the red flag over what it termed an orchestrated campaign of calumny designed to tarnish its reputation by some “unscrupulous elements.” In a statement by the Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the Corporation by Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, the NNPC cited the “deliberate misrepresentation of the presentation made by the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) before the Joint House Committee probing the Berne Declaration Report as an example of the well-choreographed negative campaign against the corporation. “Some of the reports had sensational headlines alleging that NEITI had uncovered fresh unremitted $22.8 billion oil revenue by the NNPC. However the body of the stories were totally different from the headlines in terms of message and content,” Ibrahim said. He noted that careful perusal of the original presentation made by the NEITI Executive Secretary indicates that the sensational headlines were mere inventions calculated to cast aspersion on the image of the corporation and heat up the polity. “We wish to state that there is nothing farther from the truth. NNPC has a copy of the presentation made by Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, Executive Secretary of NEITI, and nowhere did she allege that NNPC failed to remit $22.8 billion to the Federation Account. We are convinced that there is a conspiracy by some groups or individuals to drag down the name of the corporation by whatever means possible,” he said.

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Residents of Adamawa, Yobe, Borno sates lament consistent Boko Haram attacks, border closure and others.

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POLITICS

No fewer than 33 aspirants are jostling for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket for the forthcoming governorship election in Ekiti State.

Immediate past president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Peter Esele, takes a look at the current petrol and kerosene scarcity, why the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has remained a conduit pipe for successive governments in the country, and other

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Ekiti chides govt over abandoned projects From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head, S’West Bureau) Ado-Ekiti HE Ekiti State government yesterday lamented the Federal Government’s “deliberate neglect” of projects in the state, alleging that apart from the “26 abandoned projects across the state, some of the projects meant for Ekiti were deliberately diverted to other states.” Addressing a joint conference yesterday in Ekiti, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Tayo Ekundayo and Integration and Intergovernmental Affairs, Funminiyi Afuye, alleged that Ekiti people are being marginalised by President Jonathan’s Goodluck administration despite that they voted for him in 2011. To cover up the neglect, the state claimed, it had executed many federal projects, for which it is now owed N12 billion, N8 billion of which was expended on Ekiti Ado-Iworoko-Ifaki Road.

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NAFDAC urges adoption of fortified foods By Joseph Okoghenun HE National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has stressed the need for Nigerians to buy only fortified foods from the markets because they contain micronutrients like iron and vitamin A. NAFDAC also lamented the smuggling of non-fortified vegetable oil and sugar into Nigeria markets, as well as the existence of cottage indus-

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tries that produce maize flour and edible vegetable oil without the facility to fortify the products, thereby making it difficult for the country to achieve appreciable range of fortified foods. Speaking yesterday during the flag-off of food fortification social marketing communication at Ojuwoye Market in Mushin, Lagos, NAFDAC’s Director-General, Dr. Paul Orhii, disclosed that the absence of fortified foods could lead to severe micronu-

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DAC said, was to raise awareness that micronutrients fortification is essential in eliminating malnutrition among pregnant women and underfive children. Meanwhile, Orhii, who was represented by NAFDAC’s Director for Food and Safety Applied Nutrition (FSAN), Mrs. Ugochukwu Mainasara, urged traders to only sell fortified foods, as the agency would soon start mopping up all unfortified foods in that category from the markets.

He further urged end consumers to buy only fortified foods with eye logo to safeguard their health and aid the fight on “hidden hunger.” It was also stressed that staple food among the rural populace still lacks such essential nutrients that could enable them live healthy lives, therefore, the need to embrace fortified foods.

“On arrival, I discovered that the staff morale was low and there were a lot of things to do to forge ahead towards becoming a better organisation,” she said. “I also believe that we need to look back and see where we were coming from, look at the present and determine the future. “This is the reason we are bringing our past directorsgeneral to tell us what the plan was and what they wanted for NTA and to compare it with where we are at the present, what we are doing and what we are supposed to be doing, and then suggest to us how to move forward,” she added. Olufade, who described Lagos as a major commercial centre, added that the outcome of the workshop would help the new director general place the organisation at the top.

From Kodilinye Obiagwu, Enugu S part of efforts to determine how governors have delivered on promises to the people in the provision of infrastructure, an 11man team of civil society groups has commenced an independent assessment of the performance of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) states, starting from Abia. Leader of the team, Mr. Kingsley Udo, hopes they would “do a factual assessment of the performance of the state governments,” though he acknowledged that one week might not be enough to tour any state to measure the job done in four years. Addressing the team before its five-day tour, the Abia Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Dr. Eze Chikamnayo, said in Umuahia that the state has enough to showcase to its people.

NTA moves to reposition for excellence By Isaac Taiwo AST and current officers of P the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) have stressed the need to take stock of the network’s achievements and attainments so far in line with the mission for which it was established, in order to reposition it for excellence.

According to its former director-general, Vincent Maduka, that vision was to make NTA a world-class television network, which provides excellent services worldwide and projects the true African perspective, directly in line with its blueprint. Speaking in Lagos on

‘Unqualified officers make for poor leadership’ From Karls Tsokar, Abuja OST Nigerians in positions of authority cannot provide the desired quality of leadership or satisfy the yearnings of the people because they are simply not prepared for the positions they occupy, the National President of Lagos Leadership School (LLS), Prof. Simon Irtwange, has said. Irtwange told newsmen yesterday in Abuja that there

trient deficiency disorder (MDD), including Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) and Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA). Food fortification is the process of adding micronutrients (essential trace elements and vitamins) to food as a public health policy aimed at reducing dietary deficiencies in a population. Yesterday’s flag-off of the food fortification social marketing communication, NAF-

was need for “paradigm shift from the present unprepared, accidental and clueless leadership that dots the national landscape” to visionary leadership, which could steer the affairs of the nation profitably. He tasked Nigerians to recognise the importance of leadership when they vote in political leaders, noting that “it matters who is in office, so we participate in an election to choose the best candidate

based on perceived leadership qualities,” who would implement decisions timely, completely and correctly. Stating that even “investors recognise the importance of business leadership when they say that a good leader can make a success of a weak business plan, but a poor leader can ruin even the best plan,” Irtwange said a leader must be prepared to lead before assuming the position of authority.

Wednesday during the NTA Network Centre Management Training programme, with the theme, “Repositioning for Excellence,” Maduka reiterated the goal of the organisation to network its programmes across other African countries and set standards. “We had great desire for local production and to ensure we remain at the top, we initiated competition among our stations with reward for the winner,” he recalled, adding, “Our objective was to be the first television house to be reckoned with.” In her welcome address, the Zonal Director, Adenike Olufade, said the workshop was the first training session aimed at repositioning NTA Lagos Network Centre, to make it a model and extend it to the whole NTA stations with a view to repositioning the entire organisation.

Civil groups begin assessment of PDP states

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TheGuardian SUNDAY, March 2, 2014 CITYFILE

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The Many Challenges Of Lagos’ Night Markets

S allegations of fraud and nonremittance of official revenues rage on, legislators, lawyers, economists, bankers and others are asking if it still makes good sense allowing the CBN and NNPC to remain on their own in the name of autonomy.

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Miracle Prayers At Motor Parks HIS Sunday, we bring you exclusive report on operations of ‘Men of God’ who take offerings for miracle prayers at motor parks, what motivates them and what renowned church leaders say about their ‘business.’

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POLITICS HE state of Federal Roads across the country T will always generate lengthy debates. Even with the Works Minister, Mike Onolememen, joining in the debates, it still takes good effort to make the point that the Federal Government does not have all the money to fix every Trunk A road in Nigeria. And offloading some of these roads to state governments may come handy as a solution, even as the Minister dropped hints of a public-private partnership that will create the difference. Join in the conversation this Sunday.

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8 | NEWS Friday, February 28, 2014

First Almond Attorneys pledges to change face of legal practice

Police Commission promotes 5,115 officers From Karls Tsokar, Abuja OLLOWING their successful outing at the Departmental Selection Board interview, the Police Service Commission has approved the promotion of 5,115 Police Inspectors to the rank of Assistant Superintendents of Police. A statement from the Commission yesterday in Abuja by the Assistant Director of Press, Ferdinand Ekpe, said among those promoted are four 4,628 officers in the General Duties while 487 are specialists. It said the promoted officers participated at the Departmental Selection Board interview last year and all the promotions are with effect from December 31, 2013.

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Mayowa Awe of iQube Labs (left); Chief Executive Officer, Private Sector Health Alliance, Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq; Founding Patron, Private Sector Health Alliance, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Oluwadetan Oyedele, James Fowe, Emeka Okoroafor, all of iQube Labs, winner of Nigeria’s first ever healthcare hackathon convened by the Private Sector Health Alliance, Ministry of ICT and partners, at a congratulatory meeting with Dangote in Lagos

Gunmen kill two, torch 120 houses in Plateau villagers received gunshot wounds before the arrival of the STF soldiers. The injured were rushed to the hospital. Meanwhile, over 70,000 Tivs have fled their homes for fear of Fulani attacks in Nasarawa. This has forced the traditional rulers in the state to subsequently call for assistance. However, the Emir of Lafia and Chairman of the State Traditional Rulers Council, Isa Mustapha Agwai l, yester-

day urged the over 70,000 Tiv farmers who deserted their areas over rumour of attack by Fulani herdsmen, to return to their various ancestral homes as there are adequate security measures to protect them. He expressed concern during a meeting with other traditional rulers in the state in his palace in Lafia, that the continued fleeing of the Tiv community may cause scarcity of foodstuff and a slow down in economic activities in the state.

the entrances to the compound. They carried placards that read: “Who can battle with the Lord, we say nobody”, “Leave us alone and give peace a chance”, “Govt should not be partisan”, “Take your schools away and leave our premises” and “Keep off from the church”, among others. The situation forced students and teachers who had reported to school to join the protests. For several hours, vehicular movements on the busy WTC road were halted as the clerics marched round the areas in protest against what they regarded as “Enugu government’s selective injustice and unfair treatment to the Angli-

can Church”. But the state government, in a statement by the Commissioner for Education, Uchechukwu Okoro, said the schools were handed over to the church in error based on the report of a committee set up by government to investigate complaints arising from the handover of the schools. He said: “The Anglican, Catholic and Methodist Churches were represented in the committee. The committee finished its work and submitted to government its findings listing all the schools handed over in error to other owners. The committee’s findings were based on verifiable records contained in the archives of the government.”

From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi (Jos) and Msugh Ityokura (Lafia)

70,000 Tivs flee homes over alleged planned attack in Nasarawa

UNMEN have again struck G in Plateau State killing two members of one family

Plateau State House of Assembly, Daniel Dem, who also spoke with journalists yesterday, confirmed that two persons were killed during the incident. According to him, “the gunmen stormed the village and opened fire on an isolated house, killing two members of a family in their sleep.” Dem further said that two other family members sustained injuries and are cur-

and setting about 120 houses on fire in the northern zone of the state. Reports said the attackers came into the village at about 2:00 a.m. yesterday shooting sporadically. A man, who simply referred to himself as Adams, said: “The gunmen struck DiyamRim in Riyom Local Council Area at the early hours of today (yesterday), killed two persons and injured four others who are now receiving treatment at Vom Christian Hospital.” This development took place simultaneously at Rakok and Razat in Barkin Ladi Local Council Area by suspected gunmen. The villages have almost been deserted due to previous attacks. It was gathered that the rampaging gunmen torched over 120 houses and foodstuffs harvested from the farms and vehicles in the area were destroyed. Interim Administrator of Barkin Ladi Local Council, Mr. Habila Dung, told The Guardian that the gunmen stormed the villages in the early hours of yesterday, destroying everything on their path. Member, representing Riyom Constituency in the

rently receiving treatment in the hospital. When contacted, Spokesman of the Special Task Force (STF), Captain Salisu Ibrahim Mustapha, told The Guardian that the gunmen invaded the area. He also disclosed that some youths in another separate attack, invaded Taro and Lua villages but the STF repelled the attackers. In the process, he said four

Enugu, church feud over land From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu HOUSANDS of secondary and primary schools’ students were yesterday prevented from gaining entry into their premises for academic activities following a rift between Enugu State government and Anglican Diocese of Enugu over their premises. Clergymen of the Enugu Diocese had blocked the entry gates of the schools yesterday in protest over an alleged directive to the school authorities by the state Ministry of Education on Monday that they should stop dealing with the Anglican Church on the ground that it had repossessed the Mission Schools.

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They alleged that the state government had started allocating land in the premises of the schools to private developers, an action they considered as “punitive and unfair”. The affected secondary schools in the premises formerly known as Women Training Centre (WTC) are the Urban Anglican Girls’ Secondary School, Metropolitan Anglican Secondary School City Anglican Secondary School, as well as five primary schools. The priests, dressed in their black and white aprons and led by their chairman, Venerable Moses Peter Ifeanyieze, had arrived in the WTC road location of the schools as early as 6.30 a.m. and blocked

Rivers, PDP bicker over abduction of former Reps, others From Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt IVERS State government and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have traded accusations over the abduction of a former member of the Federal House of Representatives, Chinyere Igwe and two other chieftains of the PDP. Igwe, who represented Port Harcourt 11 Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011, was kidnapped with Chairman of the PDP in Port Harcourt City Local Council Area, Mr. Ikechi Chinda and Mr. Allwell Ihunda, at the Eagle Island area of Port Harcourt, the state capital, on Wednesday night. The tense political situation

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By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo NEW law firm, First Almond Attorneys, opened in Lagos on Wednesday with the founder and Managing Partner, Mrs. Olajumoke Patricia Bakare, promising to change the face of legal practice in the country. Bakare said the new law firm would provide a wide range of services, including general, corporate/commercial and financial advisory services, company secretary services, real estate, wills, trust and probate, alternate dispute resolution, loan recovery/litigation, capital market, project and structured financing, among others. The lady, who was First City Monument Bank’s group general counsel and company secretary for over 21 years, explained that the firm’s general corporate financial services would focus on “sundry banking and other financial matters, including but not limited to customer due diligence, drafting/review/update of template bilateral loan documentation and drafting/review/update of template security documents. According to her, their coverage will include “pledge agreement, legal mortgage agreements, all assets debentures, security perfection, financial services regulation and corporate governance.” She added that the firm’s commercial practice would assist clients in all aspects of mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, venture capital and private equity investments, regulatory compliance and strategic transactional matters.

in the state was once again heightened by the PDP chairman, Mr. Felix Amaechi Obuah, who accused Governor Chibuike Amaechi and the All Progressives Congress (APC) of being behind the abduction of his three members. He told journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday that the governor’s clamour for the redeployment of the former state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu, was primarily aimed at intimidating and oppressing his perceived enemies. Obuah, who described the abduction of the men by unknown gunmen as malicious, vindictive and well organised, warned that the

PDP would mobilise the people of the state to embark on a mother-of-all protests against the governor if he failed to secure the release of the abducted party chieftains in the next 72 hours. “After a very careful examination of the circumstances surrounding the abduction of our party leaders, the party believes that it was masterminded by Governor Rotimi Amaechi and the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government in the state. We are shocked that Governor Amaechi is playing politics with the security of lives and property in the state, thereby branding his political opponents his worst enemies. It has now become very clear that

Amaechi’s consistent and sustained propaganda for the redeployment of the former Commissioner of Police, Rivers State, Mbu Joseph Mbu, was for him to intimidate and oppress his perceived and imagined political opponents as witnessed by the abduction of Chinda, Igwe and Ihunda,” he said. The PDP chairman urged the state government to urgently ensure the release of the three abducted members of his party unharmed. He said as a political party, the PDP would by no means tolerate the oppression or victimisation of any of its members for whatever political reason. “We give Governor Amaechi 72 hours to ensure that the

abducted PDP members are released unhurt. At the expiration of that time, the PDP shall mobilise its members and the good citizens of the state to stage the mother-of-all protests against Governor Amaechi’s terrorist tactics,” he said. But the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, has dismissed the allegation and lampooned the PDP for being insensitive to the extent of playing politics with the lives of its members. Semenitari said the government condemns the abduction and has pleaded with the Police Command to expeditiously release them unharmed.

Reps panel flays AGF over conflicting statement of accounts From Adamu Abuh, Abuja HE House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts (PAC) has admonished the Auditor-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Samuel Orkura, for providing conflicting statement of accounts on the expenditure incurred by his office in the 2013 financial year. Consequently, the Adeola Olamilekan-led committee has ordered the AGF to come forth with receipts and vouchers of both capital and recurrent expenditures incurred during the 2013 financial year for verification on Tuesday, next week. Trouble started for the nation’s chief auditor when it was discovered that the AGF had superimposed conflicting figures on various monetary transactions on the voluminous documents made available to members of the committee when he appeared before the committee to defend the 2014 budget estimates for his department. The lawmakers, who were apparently dissatisfied with the manner in which the AGF prepared his statement of account, specifically pointed at N3 million differentials in the conflicting figures of N118 million and N121 million as furniture expenditure and N152 million and N149 million as expenditure for the procurement of operational vehicles for his outfit during the 2013 financial year.

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Friday, February 28, 2014

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WorldReport Teenage deaths ignite riots in Guinea

Ukraine leader cautions Russia against ‘military aggression’ in Crimea RMED men seized the reA gional government headquarters and parliament in Ukraine’s Crimea yesterday and raised the Russian flag, alarming Kiev’s new rulers, who urged Moscow not to abuse its navy base rights on the peninsula by moving troops around. “I am appealing to the military leadership of the Russian Black Sea fleet,” said Olexander Turchinov, acting president since the removal of Viktor Yanukovich last week. “Any military movements, the more so if they are with weapons, beyond the boundaries of this territory (the base) will be seen by us as military aggression Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry also summoned Russia’s acting envoy in Kiev for immediate consultations. There were mixed signals from Moscow, which put fighter jets along its western borders on combat alert, but earlier said it would take part in discussions on an International Monetary Fund (IMF) financial package for Ukraine. Ukraine has said it needs $35 billion over the next two years to stave off bankruptcy. The fear of military escalation prompted expressions of concern from the West, with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urging Russia not to do anything that would “escalate tension or create misunderstanding”. Polish foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski called the seizure of government buildings in the Crimea a “very dangerous game”.

“This is a drastic step, and I’m warning those who did this and those who allowed them to do this, because this is how regional conflicts begin,” he told a news conference. It was not immediately known who was occupying the buildings in the regional capital Simferopol and they issued no demands, but witnesses said they spoke Russian and appeared to be ethnic Russian separatists. Interfax news agency quoted a witness as saying there were about 60 people inside and they had many weapons. It said no one had been hurt when the buildings were seized in the early hours by Russian speakers in uniforms that did not carry identification markings. “We were building barricades in the night to protect parliament. Then this young Russian guy came up with a pistol ... we all lay down, some more ran up, there was some shooting and around 50 went in through the window,” Leonid Khazanov, an ethnic Russian, told Reuters. “They’re still there ... Then the police came, they seemed scared. I asked them (the armed men) what they wanted, and they said ‘To make our own decisions, not to have Kiev telling us what to do’,” said Khazanov. About 100 police were gathered in front of the parliament building, and a similar number of people carrying Russian flags later marched up to the building chanting “Russia, Russia” and holding a sign calling for a Crimean referendum.

OLLWING the deaths of two Fdents, teenagers in separate incimobs rioted in the Guinean capital Conakry and in a mining town further north, police and witnesses told AFP yesterday. A policeman in Fria, around 150 kilometres (93 miles) north of the capital, said hundreds of youths “armed with sticks, clubs and even knives looted, ransacked and set fire to the police station” and two local government buildings on Wednesday. He told AFP they were protesting against the killing by police of a teenager accused of possessing drugs. Witnesses said the crowd ransacked the mayor’s office and managed to break open the gates of the town’s prison, allowing at least 20 inmates to escape. Military and police reinforcements were deployed on the streets overnight. In Conakry secondary school pupils took to the streets on Wednesday after the death of one of their classmates in a hospital, accusing doctors of “negligence”. Moussa Mara was hospitalised on Tuesday after being kicked in the stomach during a football match in his neighbourhood.

People sit on an armoured personnel carrier in front of the Ukrainian parliament during a rally in Kiev yesterday. Deposed Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych said he still considers himself to be Ukraine’s PHOTO: AFP head of state but asked Russia to ensure his personal security.

Taiwan bans cosmetic surgery for under-18s N an attempt to protect tive immediately, with doc“As the acceptance for cosIsters beauty-obsessed youngtors no longer allowed to permetic surgery rises in Taiwan, who overlook the health form operations such as nose we are concerned that more risks of such procedures, Taiwan yesterday banned “medically unnecessary” plastic surgery on under-18s, officials said. The government ban is effec-

Uganda shrugs off aid cuts over anti-gay law GANDA shrugged off forU eign aid cuts and international criticism of its tough new anti-gay law, saying it could do without Western aid. “The West can keep their ‘aid’ to Uganda over homos, we shall still develop without it,” government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said in a message on Twitter. On Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill into law which holds that “repeat homosexuals” should be jailed for life, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and requires people to denounce gays. The signing of the law came despite fierce criticism from Western nations and key donors, including United States President, Barack Obama, who has warned that ties between Kampala and Washington would be damaged. U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry on Wednesday compared the “flat-out morally wrong” and “atrocious” law

to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany or apartheid in South Africa. Diplomats and rights groups had pushed Museveni — already under fire from key Western donors over alleged rampant graft and for stifling opposition groups and media — to block the legislation. Museveni already warned Western nations not to meddle in the east African nation’s affairs — and that he was not afraid of aid being cut — in a blunt speech after signing the law. Some donors were quick to punish Kampala by freezing or redirecting aid money, while Sweden’s Finance Minister Anders Borg, who visited the country on Tuesday, said the law “presents an economic risk for Uganda”. The Netherlands froze a seven-million-euro subsidy to Uganda’s legal system, while Denmark and Norway said they would redirect around six million euros each towards private sector

initiatives, aid agencies and rights organisations. But Opondo said Uganda’s government was not worried. “Western ‘aid’ to Africa is lucrative and (a) profitable trade, they cannot cut off completely,” Opondo said. “Slave trade, slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and exploitation, Africa must stand up to Western domination.”

jobs and breast enhancement on minors. Liposuction and so-called “double-eyelid” surgery, which makes the eyes look bigger, are also prohibited, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said. Doctors face a fine of up to Tw$500,000 ($16,600) and a year’s suspension if found in violation of the new rule, the ministry said. They could even lose their licences completely. Before yesterday’s ban, under-18s were allowed plastic surgery if they had the approval of their parents or legal guardians. However, health officials say that some lied about their ages to get treatment.

youngsters and even parents will overlook the risks and consequences,” an official said. “The ban is necessary as invasive procedures are not good for youngsters who are still growing.” Cosmetic surgery on minors is not covered by Taiwan’s national health insurance programme so there is no government data on how many procedures have been performed. But some estimates put the number at around 800 a year. The government acted after calls for a ban increased following reports of children as young as nine undergoing surgeries, some unsuccessfully.

Pope emeritus, Benedict XVI, denies resignation’s invalid OPE emeritus, Benedict P XVI has rejected as “simply absurd” the notions that his resignation might not be valid and that the Vatican hierarchy was now divided between loyalty to him and to Pope Francis. “There is no doubt at all on the validity of my renunciation,” Benedict said in an unprecedented letter published in the La Stampa daily, after it had written to him with questions about when he stepped down in 2013. “The only condition for validity is that the decision be taken in full freedom. Speculation over an invalid renunciation is simply absurd,” said Benedict XVI, whose Latin title is now “pontifex emeritus”. Benedict became the first pope since the Middle Ages to resign in February last year, when he said he could no longer carry on because of his declining health.

Morsi’s spy case on hold, as lawyers demand new judges FTER defence lawyers reA quested that the judges in the case be changed, a court in Egypt yesterday suspended the espionage trial of deposed Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi. The case, one of three already opened against Morsi, comes amid a relentless government crackdown targeting him and his Muslim Brotherhood movement since the army removed him last July. Prosecutors accuse Morsi

and 35 others, including Brotherhood leaders, of conspiring with foreign powers, Palestinian militant movement Hamas and Shiite Iran to destabilise Egypt. “The court decided to stop looking into the case until a decision is taken on the recuse request” filed by defence lawyers, presiding judge Shaaban el-Shamy said before ending Thursday’s brief hearing. On Monday, Shamy suspended another case against

Morsi for the same reason. In that case, Morsi and 130 other defendants, including Palestinian and Lebanese militants, are charged with organising jailbreaks and attacking police stations during the 2011 revolt against strongman Hosni Mubarak. Lawyers for some defendants have asked that a new panel of judges examine both the jailbreak and the espionage cases. They have also complained about a soundproof glass

cage in which the accused are held when the court is in session. The special dock is designed to stop Morsi and other defendants from interrupting the proceedings, as they have done in past hearings. The recuse request was also motivated by the alleged taping of private conversations between the defendants and their lawyers, after an Egyptian newspaper leaked a discussion between Morsi and lawyer Selim al-Awa.


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10 | Friday, February 28, 2014

Politics ‘We must commit ourselves to a new Africa’ Address by His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR on the occasion of the Centenary Conference on the Theme: “Human Security, Peace and Development: Agenda for the 21st Century” yesterday, Thursday, February 27, 2014. PROTOCOLS ODAY, as our Nation marks its first 100 years, we look back with gratitude to God and with pride in our citizens. We look forward also, to the future, with hope and confidence. In this hall and beyond, I am delighted to welcome many of our past, current and future leaders, as well as our friends and partners, from near and far, persons and nations that have stood with us in times past, and whose friendship we will continue to cherish in the years to come. It is my unique honour and privilege to welcome you all to this Conference, a shared moment, to celebrate the 100 years of the Nigerian nation; and for profound reflection on our challenges and opportunities as a continent. Your Excellencies, only one year ago, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa celebrated 50 years of the establishment of the Organization of African Unity, now the African Union. On that occasion, African leaders reflected on our history and on the state of our union and we recommitted ourselves to building a new Africa, which will usher in greater peace, security and prosperity for our peoples. But as I address you today, I have a heavy heart. Two days ago, terrorists invaded a secondary school and murdered innocent children in Yobe state, while they slept. The children, the hopes of their parents and the future leaders of our dear nation, had their hopes and dreams snuffed out, leaving behind grieving families, schoolmates, communities and a sad nation. Our prayers and thoughts are with their families at this difficult moment of loss. This gruesome and mindless act of savagery is not Nigerian. It is not African. Let me assure all Nigerians that we will spare no resource in bringing those murderers to justice. As a Nation, whose fate and destiny are inextricably linked to that of the continent, Nigeria recognizes the opportunity of the moment, and particularly, that this is the place and time to reflect on this theme of our centenary conference, Human Security, Peace and Development: An Agenda for the 21st Century. There is no doubt that Africa is rising. Today, seven of the fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa. Investment in the continent by Africans in the Diaspora bears testimony to the increased level of confidence in our continent. The rising middle class and greater penetration of Information and Communications Technologies, combined with a fast expanding financial services sector, are all pointers to a better future. But we must secure this bright future. To do so, we must seriously address the issues of human security, peace and development. Your Excellencies, as you well know, the issues of human security and peace are indispensable in the life of every nation. For far too long, in many parts of the world, especially in our continent, governments had placed much emphasis on the security of the state, and our very scarce resources were committed to military and regime security, at the expense of human security. We recognize human security as encompassing firm guarantees for human rights and good governance, that translate into expanded opportunities for economic security, food security, health and education security, environmental security, and personal and community security. A firm commitment to human security holds the promise of an end to persistent conflicts, insecurity, poverty, disease, terrorism and other scourges that undermine the attainment of our dreams.

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Jonathan We must emphasize that human security and peace are intertwined. Peace is not just the absence of violence or war. Peace encompasses every aspect of social tranquillity and wellbeing. The peace we strive for is a state marked by the absence of severe human want and avoidable fear. In our lifetime, this peace is attainable, in our nations and our continent. However, Your Excellencies, we must strengthen existing mechanisms for national and international conflict management, and create new avenues for cooperation, within and between our peoples and our Nations. Your Excellencies and dear friends, I firmly share the view that if we stay focused and work together, we can make this 21st century, the African century. A century where all our children will have enough to eat; a century where all our children will be in school; a century where economic growth and prosperity touches all, regardless of gender, economic, political status, ethnic or religious affinity. For this to be achieved, our development must be people-centred, people-driven and anchored on human security. Your Excellencies, the current state of human security, peace and development in our dear continent presents a picture of hope as well as challenges. For over a decade, Africa has consolidated on its democracy, and many countries have exited military dictatorship. There is now a heightened commitment to the tenets of good governance, and the rule of law. Nigeria has always sought security, peace and development. We are steadily developing a strong and vibrant democracy. There is enthusiastic participation across the Nation, with a purposeful government and active opposition parties. This was clearly expressed in the last national elections held in 2011, which received wide national and international acclaim, and was adjudged the freest and fairest ever in our nation’s history. But as our Nations grow, and as Africa grows, we must address some fundamental challenges to our human security, peace and development. Terrorism, which is a global menace, has extended its tentacles to Africa and Nigeria. In concert with our regional and global partners, we will continue to respond strategically and decisively to this scourge, and together with our people we shall end the killings and bring terrorism to an end.

Your Excellencies, let us work together across boundaries, not only to coordinate and strengthen our defences, but also to address any socio-economic roots on which these extreme ideologies thrive. Terrorism must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. We all must work together, collectively, to rid our world of haters of peace, who use terror to maim, kill, instil fear and deny people their rights to peace and security. The Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria is one of such condemnable acts of terror. We have continued to deploy human and military intelligence, in close collaboration with our partners, to bring an end to their nefarious activities. Greater regional cooperation in intelligence gathering and control of insurgents will ensure not only Nigeria’s security, but also the security of our neighbours. A great threat to our collective human and national security is the rising menace of the use of small arms and light weapons. Out of the 500 million illegal small arms and light weapons in the world, an estimated 100 million are in Africa, with 10% in West Africa, mainly in the hands of nonstate actors. Africa has had enough of wars. And the cost of wars and insurgencies are too high. It has been estimated that Africa loses 18 billion dollars per year from wars as well as insurgencies. Wars, insurgencies and conflicts impact neighbouring countries even more, due to displacement of refugees, illegal trafficking of arms and disruption of economic activities. When there are wars or conflicts, we all lose. When there is peace, we all win. We must deepen our resolve to regulate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, strengthen our enforcement of the regional protocols, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Their Ammunition and Related Materials; and the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control, and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa. We must do more to reduce some of the drivers of growth in illicit small arms, including human insecurity, inequalities, marginalization, ineffective disarmament, social exclusion and the culture of violence.

Africa faces a huge challenge with youth population bulge. By 2050, it is projected that about 40% of the population of Africa will be made up of young people below the age of 15 years, while about 60% of the population will be made up of young people below the age of 25 years. A major concern is the high level of unemployment among the youth, especially those that are educated and skilled. No priority for human security is more important for African countries than a sharp focus on creating jobs for this teeming youth population. Skills acquisition, entrepreneurship development, encouraging the youth to go into agriculture as a business, and providing them with access to cheaper financing to fulfil their dreams, are all needed to harness and unleash the power of our youth to secure our collective future. To foster this, we need to further strengthen intra-Africa trade to create jobs. Africa must add value to its primary products and commodities to ensure that wealth is created on the continent. This will create wider scope for prosperity for our populations. We must address the issue of inequality. There is no doubt that Africa is growing and our economies are among some of the fastest growing in the world. But this growth is not creating enough impacts in terms of improving the living standards of our people. We need inclusive growth that can stimulate broader shared prosperity among our citizens. Social policies that improve access to food, water, housing and education are crucial for inclusive growth and social participation. We must address the challenges of climate change. While Africa accounts for less than three percent of greenhouse emissions, it bears the greater brunt of the negative impacts of climate change. Increasing incidences of floods and droughts create vulnerabilities, displace populations and threaten human security. The Africa Risk Capacity, the Specialized Agency of the African Union, has a major role to play in reducing the impacts of climate change on farmers, pastoralists, food security and budgets of governments as they address the challenges imposed by extreme weather events and natural disasters. Africa must address the issue of women empowerment to improve human security. When there are wars and social conflicts, women and children bear the brunt of it. So, when we have peace and stability, women and children should be those who benefit the most. That is why I am calling today for an Affirmative Finance Action for Women. Under this action, banks should devote at least thirty percent of their bank lending in Agriculture to women farmers and women-owned agribusinesses. The evidence is clear that women rarely default on loans. This purposeful focus on women must become our priority for the post2015 MDGs. Securing women’s future will secure Africa’s future. This brighter future can only occur, if we improve governance and accountability systems. We must reduce the cost of governance and increase more of the national resources on the governed. In particular, we need to reduce the cost of elections and electioneering and shift greater focus on ensuring that the dividends of democracy are delivered to our peoples. But democracy alone is not enough. We must remain vigilant and look into our peculiar situation in Africa and identify critical factors that belies the extremism and terrorism that threatens our collective security. The enemies of the state today in Africa are often faceless, driven by religious extremism, ethnic mistrust and rivalries, and propagandas of hate. Their nefarious actions are not limited to any single country and no one is immune. Therefore, as leaders we also must change our approach and work more closely together to confront and defeat terrorists and purveyors of hate. Terrorists do not respect borders or boundaries. While we respect our national boundaries, terrorists move in and out of our borders. It is now time that we agreed as African leaders that acts of terror against one nation is an act of terror against all. We must not allow our countries to become

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Friday, February 28 , 2014 POLITICS 11

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

African choices in a new Nigerian century Being the original text of the keynote address delivered yesterday by United Kingdom’s Foreign Office Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, at the Nigerian centenary celebrations. The Minister spoke on behalf of the Prime Minister and brought a message from Her Majesty the Queen. HANK you, Mr. President. Your ExT cellencies, distinguished guests: I am honoured to represent the British Government today – and to bring with me warm congratulations and best wishes from Her Majesty the Queen, on Nigeria’s 100th birthday. It is a particular privilege to join you all as my Prime Minister’s representative, to celebrate this important day and to strengthen and renew the unique ties between Nigeria and the United Kingdom. I am honoured, Mr President, to speak today of Nigeria and Africa. I am always struck by Nigeria’s youth and vitality. I believe strongly that your country, and the countries represented here today, should be viewed through the lens of promise and ambition. I want to take this opportunity to focus on the great future ahead of Nigeria and its African counterparts face. It is a future that is closely linked to the achievement of prosperity, stability and democracy. And I believe that, as is the case in Europe, it is the choices African leaders make in these three areas that will determine Africa’s future. Nigeria’s first Prime Minister, [Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa] ABUBACKER TAFAR-WA BA-LAY-WA, said on Independence Day in 1960 that Nigeria’s relations with the UK were “always as friends.” That is as true now as 54 years ago. Our relationship is rooted in our joint history; in the large and important Nigerian community in the UK; the deep and expanding trade relationship; and our countless educational, sporting and cultural connections. So it is exciting to recognize, as we stand at the dawn of a new century for Nigeria, that the future brings with it extraordinary possibilities for your country, and for many African nations. In 1914, the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates and Lagos, brought together peoples, territory and resources that had never before considered themselves as having mutual interests. That brought challenges- and perhaps still does. But Nigeria’s diversity has brought the Country strength, resilience and a multitude of talent. It has growing international influence as a peacekeeper, as a leader in the African Union and on the UN Security Council. The Country has become the driving economic and political force of its region. A child born in 1914 in Nigeria, joined

a population of just 17 and a half million people. Now, the population is 10 times that figure. In Nigeria today, more than 18,000 children will be born. In their lives, they could see Africa’s population quadruple; its GDP triple; a world where one child in every three is African. They could witness extraordinary social, political, and economic shifts, boosting this continent’s global role as never before. But, they could also suffer from the impacts of climate change and witness unprecedented competition, at every level, and perhaps unsustainable demands on Africa’s resources and environment. They will need productive jobs and will want a political, economic and social voice. Managing these challenges will test the leadership and vision of all those here today. I believe we share a vision that we want to see realised in our lifetime. It is the vision of independent, thriving and dynamic African countries, overcoming poverty, famine and conflict. It is the vision of African families raised without disease; economies managed effectively, linked to open markets and providing jobs. It is the vision of African states governed with the consent and participation of their peoples and fundamental rights protected for everyone, regardless of your gender, ethnicity, belief, disability or sexuality. Whether it is in the tech hubs of Lagos and Nairobi or the scientific innovation in South Africa, energy and ambition can be found everywhere in Africa. This is why the United Kingdom is positive about the bright future for many African nations. This is thanks in large part to the achievements that many African governments have made, over the last decade, in lifting millions of people out of poverty and conflict. I would like to put on the record my admiration for this achievement. These achievements have brought African countries a long way. But if the vision that I have set out and which I believe we share is to be truly realised, African governments must now allow their countries to flourish. While some African governments are helping their countries to take off, others are yet to make a clear choice between building open governments, institutions and economies, or putting up barriers, oppressing minorities and ruling through fear and violence. I have no doubt about which choice Africans expect of their governments. In 1914, as Nigeria was being born, Europe stood on the verge of tearing itself apart. Europe’s future was uncertain. Its path towards democracy, prosperity and stability unclear. It was the choices European leaders made that have brought European countries to where they are today. Many of those choices brought success. But, as we sadly know, some of the choices brought terror and devastation to millions. If African nations are to avoid in the next century the mistakes European nations made over the last 100 years, then ultimately, African leaders – you here today – must make the right choices.

Simmonds It is no exaggeration that the leaders here today hold in their hands the fate of possibly 1 billion people and their prosperity. I have been privileged to see the ancient mosques of Timbuktu and to sit on the shores of Lake Kivu. I have been from Addis to Abidjan; from Cape Town to Khartoum. I’ve seen the mosaic of nations, cultures and histories that make up Africa’s richness. Africa’s variety defies easy categorisation. But I believe there may be a guiding narrative that will critical to Africa’s emergence: three areas in which the success of African governments will not be judged by rhetoric, but by outcomes. They are democracy, prosperity and security. The first choice is on democracy: African nations will need to direct themselves with determination towards democracy. This is a call from Africans themselves, who – with a smart-phone in their hand and twitter at their fingertips – want to shape and define their future; choose committed leaders and hold them accountable. By virtue of her scale and energy, Nigeria could lead the way. Next February’s elections will be a vital milestone - Nigeria’s fifth consecutive Presidential election under civilian rule. Mr President, you have committed yourself to ensuring that the elections are free and fair. I am confident Nigerians will accept nothing less. And in doing so, you and your government could be a role model for many other African governments. Secondly, thanks to the rising African middle class, strong growth rates, and increasing stability, African

economies are on the verge of take off. But, to get the wheels off the ground, African economies will need to choose to couple transparent, capable and visionary economic management with investments in infrastructure, education and energy. At the same time, the journey towards sustainable prosperity can only be fuelled through African governments taking strides to unlock barriers to markets; reducing the cost of doing business; and stamping out corruption. Here, once again Nigeria is critical to success in the region and beyond. Non-oil growth is still 6%. But there’s potential for much more: genuinely transformational growth, especially if privatisation underway in the power sector delivers what it promises. But democracies do not flourish nor do economies grow in the midst of instability. So the final area I want to highlight – for Nigeria and elsewhere - is the imperative of providing security for all citizens. Any government has the right, and indeed the obligation to defend its territory and people from terrorism. As it does so, it also has a duty to be the protector of its citizens and their universal and inalienable human rights. The defence of Africa’s people, and the proportionate use of legal force, are mutually reinforcing. The UK will partner African governments in seeking the eradication of violent extremism. But if we ignore the values that we want our own children to benefit from, we will act as a recruiter for the likes of Boko Haram and Al Shabaab. We must not forget what it is that we

‘We must build a future for Africa’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10 safe havens for terrorists. We must cooperate maximally in better managing our political boundaries. We should adopt protocols that allow countries to pursue terrorists well into their safe havens in other nations. While we cannot redefine our borders, we must re-define our collective approach to ending transboundary terrorism and insurgencies. Your Excellencies, the African Union Peer Review Mechanism needs to pay greater attention to the issues of human security, peace and development. To promote this, I wish to propose the development of an African Hu-

man Security Index that helps us to measure the progress we are making on these and other critical issues in Africa, as shaped by African countries themselves. What Africa needs more than anything else in this 21st century therefore is collective action for positive transformation for the good of Africa. There is no doubt that this is the African century. That is why I want to call on other African leaders to join me in seeking new ways to achieve our goals together, new strategies and workable solutions that advance our cause for peace and development. Let us work towards an Africa, where eco-

nomic growth leads to jobs for all school leavers, regardless of their ethnicity, their religion, or their gender. Let us work towards an Africa where we all live free from the fear of war and terrorism, and where young Africans see a future for themselves in productive employment, enterprise and education, and not in the false promises of extremist ideology. We must work towards an Africa in which human security is a priority for all governments, where genuine and lasting peace makes it possible to achieve, and where economic development works for the benefit of all. It is that Africa of peace, of equity and jus-

defend. The UK will continue to work with you all on African issues in the UN Security Council. We are partners in the Commonwealth, which African countries continue to join. We want to see a strong, ambitious African Union. We are opening Embassies and High Commissions across Africa, building linkages and strengthening our understanding. And we are expanding our network of trade and investment experts throughout African countries. UK Aid has been transformative for many African countries, tackling the roots of poverty and conflict and building the foundations for countries that can flourish. Our commitment to working in partnership on development – as here in Nigeria – remains. It is right that my government made a brave decision in 2010, in spite of the UK’s serious economic challenges, not to balance our books on the backs of Africa’s poor. We are one of Africa’s largest traders. Indeed, in Nigeria we remain the largest investor, and are making strides to meet our ambition to double bilateral trade here, from £4 billion in 2011 to £8 billion this year. As one of the world’s largest exporters and with our global leadership in education; logistics; retailing; creative industries; hydrocarbons; agriculture; banking; renewable energy; pharmaceuticals; financial services; extractives; research and development; and with businesses that pride themselves on sound ethical governance, the UK has much to offer Africa’s emerging economies. Some will say we are doing these things out of self-interest. Let’s be clear. It is in the UK interest to promote democracy, stability and prosperity. But it is also in Africa’s interest too. And it’s an indicator of Africa’s importance in the 21st Century that the UK, and many other nations, seeks to build and sustain the partnerships that will take African countries well into the next century. I want to see Africa, Africans and African nations succeed. There is a bright future for this continent; fuelled by its energy, entrepreneurship and ambition. As Nigeria has shown, much has already been achieved. Yet, the future journey will not be easy, the challenges will be great. But that opportunity that is at the fingertips of so many African people – with their governments’ help – must be seized. It is about making the right choices. It is about bringing true democracy, prosperity and stability to every one of your citizens. Last year, we saw the parting of one of the World’s greatest leaders: Nelson Mandela. His death has left a challenge to all political leaders – Africa’s included – to meet the aspirations of our people, to demonstrate the same “servant leadership” that Mandela showed us. To choose transparency, to choose reconciliation, to choose partnership and opportunity for all. So again I wish Nigeria a happy hundredth birthday. And I look forward to the next century of our partnership, and of Nigerian – and African – success.

tice that I crave and it is that Africa that seeks and secures democracy, the democracy that guarantees human happiness. Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the past is behind us and the future beacons on us. As leaders, we must build a future Africa that generations yet unborn will be happy we bequeathed to them. This must be an Africa devoid of wars and conflicts. An Africa where there are no borders. An Africa where there is free movement of people, goods and services. An Africa that is full of boundless opportunities. To this new Africa we must commit ourselves. Long live Africa, Long live Nigeria, God bless you all.


TheGuardian

12 | Friday, February 28, 2014

www.ngrguardiannews.com

Conscience Nurtured by Truth

FOUNDER: ALEX U. IBRU (1945 – 2011) Conscience is an open wound; only truth can heal it. Uthman dan Fodio 1754-1816

Editorial Nigeria and ‘unremitted’ revenues HE Federal Ministry of Finance earns full blame for dereliction of responsibility by condoning, over the years, opaque handling and retention by the national oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), of significant amounts of oil proceeds that ordinarily should have been audited regularly and remitted to the Federation Account (FA). Explanations that the unremitted funds were intact and within the system merely confirm wilful abandonment of the ministry’s statutory duty of ensuring full collection and remittance of government revenues as and when due to enable FA beneficiaries to plan and implement their budgets without borrowing or, if need be, by incurring minimal deficit as a means of providing the requisite foundation for a sound and productive economy. That foundation has, sadly, remained elusive. There are at least two areas to rummage for unremitted oil revenues. To begin with, a little analysis of the Central Bank data on liftings on crude oil by NNPC since January 2012 shows that the amount of $12 billion that could not be readily reconciled by the relevant agencies tallies with the value of approximately 47 per cent of domestic crude allocation (DCA) of 445,000 barrels of crude oil per day over the period that was swapped or refined offshore. Because the combined value of nonpetrol derivatives of crude oil that was refined offshore exceeds that of the petrol portion that was imported, the NNPC nets some profit on swapped crude oil which, after reconciliation, should be remitted in dollars to the FA. NNPC locally refines the balance of about 53 per cent of the DCA. Apart from petrol, refined petroleum products including kerosene (in practice) are deregulated. NNPC, therefore, enjoys full cost recovery and even makes some savings or profit on locally processed DCA, too. Consequently, the naira value of the entire petrol obtained from the DCA (using the world price of crude oil) should be remitted to the FA. This sum exceeds by far the Sure-P subsidy savings, which should be subsequently stopped. The foregoing shows that in addition to swelling the FA, “if NNPC properly manages the allocation of 445,000 barrels per day effectively, the availability of (various refined) products can be achieved by the NNPC alone”, as the House Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy concluded in April 2012. Twenty months on, the NNPC has stuck to its operations which are not only steeped in corruption but also withholds oil receipts from the FA thereby undermining the economy, which to all intents and purposes is an act of economic sabotage. The Ministry of Petroleum Resources exulted in self-defence at the recent reconciliation exercise that the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) had long been aware of a shortfall in FA oil accrual. That display of unconcern underscores the official unwillingness to do things right. The allegations of unremitted oil revenues, whatever figure, remain a stigma that must be cleared with thorough investigation. In the circumstance, there is need to ascertain publicly the size of the naira and dollar proceeds arising from NNPC’s less than-transparent handling of the DCA for as far back as the statute of limitations permits. Any outstanding proceeds should be remitted to the Federation Account without delay. In order to reduce the endemic corruption in the national oil company’s operations and help improve the economy, several other measures should be adopted urgently. In the first place, the domestic crude allocation should stop. Like refineries elsewhere, government or privately owned petroleum refineries in the country should purchase their crude oil in the open market at the going world price. Second, to ensure optimal performance, the NNPC refineries should be privatised as planned. Third, all volumes of crude oil and gas produced and sold by various oil operators should be published daily and by ownership for public consumption and ease of monitoring by relevant agencies and interest groups. This step will shed light on, for example, the huge differences between crude oil import data into the U.S. from Nigeria as published by the U.S. government and released NNPC crude oil export figures to that country. Nigerians in their own right should have access to such information and they should, therefore, demand it. Fourth, the National Assembly should enact the long-delayed Petroleum Industry Act to help enthrone transparency in the petroleum sector. The Act should proactively reflect the envisaged true federal structure of the country, reassign and redefine the responsibilities of the various public institution of the petroleum sector accordingly. The other area where, in the final analysis, the Finance Ministry half-heartedly attempts to get collected oil revenues corruptly withheld from the FA by various petroleum sector operators relate to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI). Last year’s end, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), inaugurated an expanded Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) of high-ranking officials. The team was charged with the responsibility of recovering all unremitted revenues that NEITI audit reports (they began to be issued in 2006) have unearthed. Regrettably, that move is a classic case of passing the buck despite Goodluck Jonathan administration’s hypocritical conviction “that once transparency is implanted in the management of the nation’s abundant extractive resources, it will boost the government’s efforts towards poverty reduction, sustainable development, social harmony as well as better investment climate.” Yet, the early NEITI reports already risk being overtaken by the statute of limitations. The truth is that NEITI audit findings and recommendations that are not counted by reports of the Auditor-General of the Federation do not require the imprimatur of further timebuying bureaucratic contraption that is again headed by the NEITI chairman before the President or the SGF, upon receipt of statutorily mandatory FMF requisition, issues appropriate directive to put the audit decisions into effect. All outstanding NEITI findings, therefore, only need to be implemented complete with associated sanctions against any defaulting firms and individuals. That would be the beginning of value for money or value for blessings for Nigerians in their oil industry.

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LETTERS

Re: Demystifying a master strategist IR: On Friday, February 21, human capital composition ishing at a time when his reputaSlished 2014, The Guardian pub- of  Abia State, their cerebral tion and perceptive profile is an opinion article, enti- c a p a c i t y , reaching an unprecedented tled “Demystifying a master strategist” which was  written by Mr. Godwin Adindu, the President-General of the Abia Renaissance Movement (ARM). Adindu’s only irregular contribution has become so sterile that once I stumble on his name in any newspaper  I can close my eyes and declare the context without being wrong! Adindu’s interventions are stereotypical because there  is nothing to concoct anymore  except the euphoric “demystification” of the former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu. If, as Adindu rehashes, his principals have “demystified” Kalu who allegedly was the stumbling block, why hasn’t the state been able to move on and catch up with other states like Akwa Ibom, Delta, Jigawa and Lagos? Why is Kalu the only engagement and preoccupation of T. A. Orji’s administration, seven years after the mystique had  left office? Will the purported demystification continue till the next governorship election in the state next year? Will Kalu remain the same issue ad infinitum. I do not understand this newfangled obsession with the socalled elders of Abia State. Does Adindu realise      the

multidisciplinary professional backgrounds and sophistry to be talking of “Abia elders” constituting all sorts of  retirees, as representatives of Abia people?  A fortnight ago, T. A. Orji led a bunch of Kalu-haters to the office of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, to agitate that Kalu should not be readmitted to the PDP even when the party beckons on estranged members to return to the fold. It is obvious from this equivocation that there is confusion among the Abia PDP stalwarts/Abia State government and their lieutenants unleashed to continually “demystify” Kalu! The hyped achievements of T. A. Orji are only read in newspapers, viewed on TV channels and heard on radio stations! There is nothing on ground to substantiate the orchestration of propaganda. Last week, Channels TV showed Orji inaugurating few blocks of classrooms amid fanfare. Even youth corps members these days build and donate classroom blocks, let alone the governor of an oil-producing state. It is laughable to insinuate that Kalu’s profile is dimin-

crescendo nationally and internationally. One thing is clear: the PDP national leadership and most other Nigerians  know the political value of Kalu. Another reference by Adindu was that God has used T. A. Orji “to bring succour to Abians.” Which succour?  Which Abians? “Succour to Abians” must be a utopian wild dream on a fantasy island somewhere in Olokoro Umuahia. Go to Aba and visit Urata, Ngwa, Ikot Ekpene, Asa, World Bank, Faulks and Jubilee roads, to mention just a few, you will think you were in a war-torn city. The same thing applies to other social infrastructure. Meanwhile, no day goes by without propaganda of achievements, on print and electronic media nationwide! If Kalu is accused of tyranny today, Ochendo definitely was one of the inseparable tyrants he used! Adindu rounds off by declaring on a judgmental note that “Kalu has a load of moral and spiritual burden which he needs to clear….” Adindu knows himself that Ochendo and Ikuku have immeasurable existential and karmic repercussions awaiting them far more than the wild allegations against Kalu.  Without mincing words, nothing is happening in Abia State! • Ebere Wabara, Abia State


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Friday, February 28, 2014

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Opinion Northern elders as scare mongers By Constance Okechukwu N African culture, elders are the custodians Iciety of truth. They are the moral guide to the soand they do all in their wisdom to engender peace and preserve the interests of the larger society.  Unfortunately, the various elders’ groups in Nigeria – in the East, West, South-South, Middle Belt or North – are different; they observe this rule in the breach. The most typical of them is the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) which has been in the news in recent times, for its strident pursuit of sectional and parochial interests to the detriment of the well-being of the larger Nigerian nation. The elders, at the end of its meeting in Kaduna last month, alleged that the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika and some other top military officers  were involved in extra-judicial killings and strangulation of civilians by soldiers in Bama and  Giwa Barracks in Borno State, using an underground detention centre.  The Forum’s threat to drag the former Army chief to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, is not only seen as a campaign to fan the embers of ethnic discord – with its potentialities in Nigeria – it is also a campaign to diminish Nigeria before the international community. More grievous is that it is a malicious attempt to portray President Goodluck Jonathan as a violator of human rights. At a different forum, the group and the Northern Traditional Rulers Council (NTRC) accused the President of masterminding the

mass redeployment of heavy military weapons from the North to the South. As if the issue is not worrisome enough, their meeting chaired by no less a personality than the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, in Kaduna, alleged that the reason for the arms relocation was to aid the plan to rig the 2015 elections. Weighty accusations, I dare say. However, they are allegations that are as curious as they are baseless. While the spokesman for the first group, Professor Ango Abdullahi, did not mention the six other persons he alleged were involved in the Borno human rights violations, the Sultan’s group did not in any way substantiate its allegation on arms relocation. The questions that arise are many, but only two will suffice here: Why did they hide the allegations in their large babanrigas, until shortly after Ihejirika was removed as Army Chief?  And where were they when Odi, Katsina-Ala and Zaki Biam faced worse action, or are Katsina-Ala  and Zaki Biam no longer part of their North? While several groups have denounced the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), for openly discouraging the military’s efforts in containing terror — for that’s what its posture amounts to – prominent Igbo leaders say it is an attempt to tarnish the image and sterling performance of General Ihejirika as the nation’s army chief.  My worry is that the attack on the former army chief is ill-conceived, coming at a time that the military, and indeed the nation, was counting the losses in human and material terms of the war on Boko Haram.

According to Ihejirika himself, in the entire command chain of the Army, directives are issued from higher commands down to the issuance of operational orders, but at every level of adherence, the rule of engagement is emphasised with special emphasis on the preservation of human rights. Therefore, to accuse the army, a highly organised institution that does not condone indiscipline, of human rights abuses within the Nigerian territory, is to be uncharitable, considering the challenges they have had to face and the risks they have borne in the Boko Haram ‘war’. Besides, to single out Ihejirika for accusation, smacks of hidden agenda, and fuels the belief by Ohanaeze Youths, that it was an attempt to blemish the records of their kinsman who broke all records to rise to the top position of the Nigerian Army. We have always known the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) as the modern version of the old Kaduna Mafia, but when did they transform to military tacticians? Their tale on relocation of military hardware must therefore be seen as unnecessary scare-mongering. To allege too that it was part of a grand design to rig the 2015 elections is utter claptrap coming from hawkish politicians out to score some cheap points.  NEF must appreciate the impact of the ongoing reforms in our electoral system, for which President Jonathan has received acclaim and commendation from local and international organisations. Such glib allegations are senseless in a country that has increasingly widened the democratic space and moved away from shambolic

elections. We must get something clear here. The NEF stand on Ihejirika, has revealed the other side of the Northern Elders who have all paid lip service to the war on terror which Boko Haram presently symbolises. Here we have politicians who mask under some amorphous groupings to further their regional agenda, regardless of the cost to our nation’s development. While it is still within their democratic rights to oppose President Jonathan and oppose his administration’s policies, we must insist that they pursue their regional political agenda within the limits of decency.  What everybody must frown at is their insistence over time, in stoking the fire of sectional interests, and denigrating of the institution of the presidency.  The question must indeed be asked: where truly lies their sympathy? Like Senator Uche Chukwumerije said while adding his voice in condemnation of the elders’ indiscretion, their statement has revealed the depth of resentment of the campaign against Boko Haram. Chukwumerije, who said the threat was capable of unleashing ill-will on the federation, further described it as highly provocative to the sensibilities of all, who desire the unity and stability of Nigeria. While he described the NEF as biased, he believes they had opened doors into the world court for not only the Ndigbo, but also the people of Odi, Zaki-Biam and Katsina-Ala, saying they would all dust their files and head for The Hague.  I cannot agree any less. •  Okechukwu sent in this piece via Constanceokechukwu1999@yahoo.com

‘Lateness’ and ‘memory’ in Obasanjo’s letter By Okechukwu Nwafor T seems from his much publicised letter that Obasanjo is in Iroom fierce pursuit of Jonathan. In the letter, there seems to be no for courtesies or polite language much as there is no place for a refined dispute. Even death, according to Obasanjo, may not hamper his unrelenting resolve to shout out before, according to him, ‘it is too late.’ One, however, wonders the import of ‘too late’ in this open letter. I think it would do this piece an urgent good to theorize ‘lateness’ as that controversial version of humanity’s existence that would eventually haunt the Late Palestinian American scholar, Edward Said. The question is when will it be ‘too late’ in Nigeria? Is it not already ‘too late’ in Nigeria? Is it ever ‘too late’ in Nigeria? These are some of the troubling conjectures Said’s juggling engagement with ‘lateness’ may bring to mind. Indeed, Said claims that ‘lateness’ is something that is hard to deal with. In this sense, the fragmentary nature of Said’s book titled, On Late Style relates to “what gets left out” in works of art, particularly due to an artist’s looming advance towards old age and ultimate death. It is instructive that in his letter, Obasanjo made reference to both his ‘age’ and ‘death’ as though cognisant of Edward Said’s theory. Lateness enjoys some uneasy romance with timeliness. It also brings time in its wake. It is a way of remembering time no matter how badly spent. What this abstruse theory does here is to draw Obasanjo’s curious deployment of ‘too late’ into a sort of intellectual scrutiny. Said would contend that Lateness is conscious of ‘memory’ and ‘present’. Unlike his mention of ‘age’ and ‘death’ in his letter, Obasanjo obviated this important part of Said’s theory, ‘memory’ and ‘time’, smacking of either deliberate show of amnesia or sheer mischief. But Said argues that ‘lateness’ is being at the end, fully conscious, full of memory, and also very aware of the present. He also makes a point here that time, memory and an awareness of death in relation to the present thus play a significant role in the analysis of “lateness.” To make it more explicit, in tinkering with memory, it is possible to draw an allusion between Obasanjo and the above postulations. If lateness entails full consciousness and full memory and an awareness of the present, how can Obasanjo describe his romance with time during his tenure as president? One is bound to argue that it was already ‘too late’ by the end of Obasanjo’s first term in office, and as his arguments may suggest, unknown to him, he becomes a figure of lateness himself

and as such an untimely, scandalous, even catastrophic critic of his own demeanour. By his second term, it was already ‘far too late’ to contend with the scary memory of uncountable national disasters, ranging from power failure, corruption, insecurity, high cost of living, nepotism, among so many others, all starkly poking through his (Obasanjo’s) recent letter to Jonathan. It was already ‘too late’ to come to terms with increasing tension brewed by the dirty politics of godfatherism which Obasanjo promoted and which became a normalized practice in Nigeria’s party politics. A romance with memory would have reminded Obasanjo that the number one in his ‘whatever point agenda’ during his political campaigns is the restoration of steady power supply in Nigeria. First and second term in Aso Villa, and Obasanjo’s incessant promise of ‘power’ to the nation, transmuted into total blackout and cheap political lies. It is clear, therefore, that the link between memory and lateness is permanently severed in Obasanjo’s mind. While he has constructed a philosophical alternative of lateness in his phrase “too late” amounting to his holding a false totality or imagined universality, Obasanjo refused to learn from individual experience. He opened up a personal subjectivity and skilfully attempted to downplay our universal objectivity. We can argue that it has never been ‘too late’ in Nigeria if Jonathan’s government was to be juxtaposed with post-independence governance since 1960 to date. On the other hand we can equally argue that it is ‘too late’ if Jonathan’s government is to be juxtaposed with Obasanjo’s. Here ‘too late’ becomes a dialectical category addressing contentious issues and unable to reconcile, in Obasanjo’s memory, emergent crises with historical facts. It is also possible to insist that it is already ‘too late’ for any former president of Nigeria to write letters to the incumbent now. If we consider, and agree with Said, that ‘Time, memory and an awareness of death’ are necessary ingredients needed to arrest the fast plunge of ‘lateness’ into uninhibited abyss, was Obasanjo conscious of memory and death when he mentioned, during his tenure as president, that election in Nigeria is do or die affair? Was he conscious of memory when he called and confirmed Tafa Balogun ‘Ole’ and went ahead to free him? Was he conscious of memory when Nigeria was, under his blinking eyelids, bleeding from the mayhem of state-sponsored killings, just to mention a few. In the first paragraph of his letter, Obasanjo explains his fifth reason for writing the letter thus: “everything must be done to

guard, protect and defend our fledgling democracy, nourish it and prevent bloodshed”. When one considers the last two words, “prevent bloodshed,” one wonders what sort of bloodshed Obasanjo means since bloodshed has been a recurring decimal in Nigeria. And one also wonders whether more blood was not shed by Obasanjo than by the incumbent. Indeed, one can claim that Nigeria, and indeed Nigerians, have always shed blood as tears. Obasanjo’s ‘too late’ postulation, therefore, might have incited a naughty ambiguity here: that a brimful of blood spilled in extra judicial killings, murders and politically inspired assassination since the 1960s cannot, systematically, resolve the dilemma of ‘lateness’ in the phrase, ‘too late’. It suggests that ‘too late’ cannot be measured by the ubiquity of bloodshed, nor can it be measured by ‘time,’ but by the persona behind the shedding of the blood?  If this is Obasanjo’s argument, then there is a serious cause to worry over his intentions in the letter. However, on another thought, it is possible to argue that his import of ‘too late’ is too complex a postulation for ordinary judgment. Is it not ‘too late’ to raise any issue of bloodshed now? On corruption, Obasanjo alleges that Jonathan’s government stinks with corruption. It is painfully instructive that during his tenure as president Nigeria consistently maintained the 6th most corrupt country in the world. Today it seems we have risen to 43rd position. And Ikechukwu Ikeji avers that under Obasanjo “corruption was like the oxygen we breathed” and argues that “his EFCC was a selective fighter, a militant fighter” and perhaps, as I am wont to argue, a vindictive watchdog of state power. This is not to say that the current Transparency International rating of Nigeria as 43rd in the corruption index is very welcome. I thought the ranking is grossly mistaken. It is being thrifty with vulgar talk. I strongly veer from that position.  One thing is clear here. It is not my intention to diagnose Obasanjo for intended motives in perpetrating this vile deception through letter writing. I think Obasanjo committed the fundamental error of not acknowledging his role in the litany of misdeeds he accused Jonathan of. If he was fair to history and memory he would have first acknowledged the fact that it was already ‘too late’ during his last tenure in office. Therefore, justice would have beamed upon us if he chose the title “Now that it is too late”.  It seems his letter aims to smear Jonathan’s life with infamy. And to this end, it is possible to hold a strong view that his intentions, and his techniques, are questionable. • Dr Okechukwu Nwafor is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Fine and Applied Arts Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.


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Friday, February 28, 2014

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Opinion Oduah’s aerotropolis: A stellar performance? By Emmanuel Ukpong E may never see the likes of Stella Oduah W again in Nigerian public service. To start with, when she took up appointment as the Aviation Minister in July 2011, she seemed keenly aware that a good image – in other words, a good picture – is a critical factor in public perception. Thus, her official portrait is an elegant and stylish piece of work, a study in portraiture and a work of art that speaks volumes about the kind of minister she would be. It was easy to see that Princess Oduah would dare to be different, both in style and substance. I haven’t come 50 metres close to the former minister but I have spoken extensively with those who dealt and worked closely with her. Behind the soft façade was a tough and passionate hard driver who was only interested in results. Reportedly, she was very businesslike, sometimes to the chagrin of laggardly civil servants. She was said to be impatient with those without sound ideas, and could be heard telling guests to “get to the point, please.” Some agency heads were eager to be on her entourage during foreign trips. During her duty tours, it was common for agency heads, in keeping with protocol, to deploy their resources to look after the minister. But she would spurn every bit of it, preferring to use her personal or ministry resources. I feel very strongly that the fallen princess has taken a bum rap; she had been hounded unfairly by a vicious opposition and a hostile press. One newspaper wrote two separate editorials calling for her sack and many more attacking her policies. This would have been very tough for me to do when the Princess was still in the saddle. Whatever I said then would have been misconstrued. And besides, she had a massive public relations machine and it was working overtime. But how do you convince people to cut through the armoured limousine scandal and focus on the work she did for the air transport sector? Or what do you say to those who dismiss her unprecedented modernization of no fewer than 15 airports across the country as “cosmetic”? May be they are talking about the one on her face, no pun intended. She tagged the project “remodeling” but it was far more reaching than that as some terminal buildings have been taken down and rebuilt from the scratch.

To really understand what Princess Oduah was doing, you must look beyond just improving the passenger experience and creating opportunities for commercial offerings. The long term thinking evolved around the concept known as Aerotropolis. The buzzword in major cities and economies around the world, aerotropolis loosely means airport city. This bold and ambitious initiative really caught my fancy. In the words of Prof. John D. Kasarda, the apostle and acknowledged developer of the concept, aerotropolis is a “new urban development form comprising aviation-intensive businesses and related enterprises extending up to 25 kilometres outward from major airports.” He believes the cities that will thrive in the 21st century are the ones that put airports at their centre. In Europe, the United States and lately some Asian tigers, aerotropolis is no longer a concept; it is a reality. Princess Oduah wanted it to be a reality in Nigeria, and this wasn’t merely wishful thinking or a dream. She seemed determined to put Nigeria out there at the forefront with nations that proudly parade aerotropolis. As I researched this fascinating business model, I stumbled on a few pointers to her determined approach. Among them: • Aerotropolis is an important part of her Master Plan for the nation’s civil aviation sector, which incorporates her extensive airport remodeling programme, the establishment of 13 cargo terminals, some of them designated for perishable goods. • A manager has been appointed to bring the Nigerian Aerotropolis from the drawing board to reality. • To further place the project in its proper perspective, Government for the first time appointed a director of cargo services for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). • Special publications touting the concept, “From Airport Cities to Aerotropolis” are in circulation complete with a website, www.aerotropolis.com • Commercial hubs such as Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt are being primed to host the aerotropolis. There is a plan to develop a 5-star hotel close to MMIA. As conceptualised by Princess Oduah, the Nigerian aerotropolis would evolve from Airport to Airport City and then to Aero-

tropolis; it would be in two phases and driven by the private sector with huge government support. It would also generate massive investment opportunities for local and foreign businesses. The former minister took the model on the road. Nigeria made a strong showing at the 13th Airport Cities World Conference and Exhibition (ACE) in the City of Ekurhuleni, South Africa, where FAAN MD George Uriesi made a well-received presentation. It was learned that Nigerian Government used the well attended forum to establish contact with Prof. Kasarda, who was Chairman of the ACE, for possible advisory role for the Nigerian Aerotropolis project. Kasarda, who is the Director, Center for Air Commerce, University of North Carolina, also advises many regional and national governments on how to realize their aerotropolis dreams. Experts at the Conference praised Princess Oduah for the bold initiative of the project. Will the Nigerian aerotropolis take off and soar in her absence? If it does, it could safely affirm her legacy as a visionary for an industry that is in dire need of one. If Nigeria ever needed an inspiration – and lessons – for a model aerotropolis, it need not look any further than the City of Ekurhuleni, which hosted the prestigious ACE for the first time on the continent. Just to the east of Johannesburg, in the province of Gauteng, Ekurhuleni (pronounced e-koo-roo-le-ni) is the home of O. R. Tambo International Airport, which handled 37million passengers in 2012. Ekurhuleni’s network of roads, airports, railway lines, telephones, electricity grid and telecommunications rivals that of many cities in developed Europe and the U.S. It accounts for nearly a quarter of Gauteng’s economy, which, in turn, contributes over one third of South Africa’s GDP. Elsewhere, aerotropolis is not only real; it has taken root and blossomed to some of the most concrete and enduring examples to point at. Airports are no longer staging points for arrivals and departures of passengers and aircraft. Amesterdam’s Schipol Airport, believed to be the world’s first airport city with more than 58,000 people who work daily within the airport grounds, is a modern transport hub integrating people and businesses, logistics and shops, information and entertainment.

The famous Rijksmuseum exhibits art in Amsterdam’s Schiphol while the London Philharmonic performs at Heathrow. Munich Airport has a full-service hospital, a full-service grocery store, two bakeries, a swimming pool and spa, a microbrewery and a huge, open-air covered forum that serves as a concert venue. It employs well over 30,000 people. Arlanda Airport in Stockholm, Sweden, is a popular wedding venue, playing host to 6,000 nuptials yearly. During the Conference, Prof. Kasarda made the point that in the U.S., Dallas Fort Worth Airport (DFW) hosts four Global Fortune 500 headquarters. Singapore’s growth has been assisted by its impressive Changi Airport, which is noted for its rapid and efficient automatic people movers between terminals. Dubai, the golden wonder in the desert, is fondly described as an “airport with an emirate attached.” Not to be outdone, China has launched a $250 billion investment programme for its airports. Will Nigeria join this prestigious club of nations with authentic aerotropolis? A lot would depend on Princess Oduah’s successor. For now, the Princess has played her part and has bowed out. Not quietly though. She seemed to know the end was nigh. Penultimate week, newspapers ran four-page advertorials on her accomplishments and her camp produced and circulated a glossy, 24-page publication titled, “Aviation Transformation: Vision Driven by Courage.” Of all the four ministers who were offloaded, only Princess Oduah was conspicuously missing at the FEC meeting on that fateful Wednesday, January 12. She knew something was in the offing. I wonder who might have tipped her off. But even as the shadows in her tenure darkened and lengthened, Princess Oduah maintained her blistering pace of work, inspecting facilities at the Yakubu Gowon Airport in Jos and capping it with a visit to Governor Jonah Jang. She travelled to Asaba, where she laid the foundation for a cargo terminal. The day after she was fired, Oduah was scheduled to lead a presidential commissioning of the airport housing village in Abuja. Without the scandals, it all might have been a stellar performance. • Ukpong wrote via emmanuelukpong@gmail.com

To my brother, 30 years after By Ajibola Ogunshola ITH 10 years between us, you were already in the boarding W house at Ibadan Grammar School by the time I became fully conscious of my environment and circumstances. And it was about the time when I entered secondary school that you departed Ibadan to read accountancy in England. On your return, you worked in Lagos, as a qualified Chartered Accountant of England and Wales at that time would have worked only in Lagos. I was then at University in Ibadan and, four months after graduation and some teaching at your old school, I, too, left for London. Those comings and goings did not allow for as much interaction between us as I would have wished during my early years. Had I entered the world earlier, I probably would, as a kid, have smelt you long enough to imbibe more of your exceptional boyish exuberance, your unusual freedom with money, and your spirit of joie de vivre, even as it would have been impossible for me to acquire your impressive physical stamina and stockiness which contributed to your being a good footballer at school. I still remember furtively enjoying and swallowing what I later came to recognize as dangerous quantities of your “Macleans”, as I revelled in the taste of the product. The word “toothpaste” had not yet entered my vocabulary at the time of which I am speaking, as I had only just started primary school. Everyone else in the house, except the secondary school boy, still used the superior, native “chewing stick”, and mother particularly preferred the yellow, tangy genre, the orin ata. Every six-year old must have seen some adult or colleague quaffing gari with sugar, with the better-off ones sometimes adding Peak Milk; but it was from you that I first learnt the simple delicacy of ewa mixed with sugar, and because granulated

sugar had not yet become popular, the cubes had to be crushed in advance except when the meal was hot enough to melt them. Your inability, from youth, to tolerate the smell of oranges, I casually explained away by the fact that Iya Agba, our maternal grandmother, once sold tobacco snuff which she fervently believed would be rendered ineffective if contaminated by orange, and therefore discouraged having oranges around her. It was later, much later in life, that a probable explanation of your reaction surfaced: citrus fruits allergy. I never told you how the mere thought of that your right shin bone injury while splitting firewood at the backyard of the house kept me depressed and frightened for days on end. The wound eventually healed, of course, but your scar never completely disappeared. That was Oranyan, your years of adolescence. While working at my actuarial examinations in London, your visits there were for me moments of special delight particularly while I was still single and solitary as I greatly enjoyed and appreciated your taking me along to visit your friends; to watch the “latest” musical films at the cinema;and to excellent, sometimes exotic, meals at your favourite hotel, the Royal Lancaster. And after I got married, Iyabo could be numbered among your fans. But it was the outbreak of the Punch shareholders’ crisis of which you were the central victim and your attendant, high voltage, psychological trauma that gave rise to our closest emotional attachment. It is at the time of tribulations that a man knows his true and loyal supporters. You needed as much psychological anchor and independent ideas analysis as you could get, and in that, led by Chief Moyo, I hope we did our best. I visited you with far greater frequency than before, and the depth of omo iya elements that attended our discussions and interactions was far

greater than it had ever been. Why was this dispute among the shareholders so critical to your fortunes? Well, because, as the chairman and single largest shareholder (before and after your own proportion came under dispute), believing that your business and social image and stature were tied to the fortunes of the newspaper, you had pledged substantial assets with the banks to support the company, while no other member of the company had pledged his own. An unraveling of Punch could lead to your own unraveling. And, meanwhile, because Punch was perceived as an opposition newspaper by the federal authorities, the company and other companies in which you had controlling interest were starved of “import licences”, an arrangement adopted by the government at that time to ration foreign currency among importers, thus jeopardizing the viability of your companies. These pointed daggers notwithstanding, I was confident, we were confident that, with your aggressive business acumen; your innate, unbounded optimism; your ability to sniff money where others could not; your zest for life and living, you would pull through. No one could have foretold that what you were experiencing were merely the opening stanza of a deeper, more sinister tragedy, which would not only hit your family severely, but would also alter the course of my own life. The stress and the strain of the period compromised your vital immunity; you then succumbed to a terminal disease of the lymphatic system, through which you eventually succumbed. Now, today, 30 years after, what can we say? All we have to say is that the storms and the floods are over, and it’s a different world. • Chief Ajibola Ogunshola wrote this tribute in memory of the Late Chief Olubunmi Aboderin


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Friday, February 28, 2014

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Business Smuggling: Shut Nigeria’s border with Benin, group tells govt By Ade Ogidan, Business Editor ORRIED by the dwinW dling fortunes of member companies, the Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Employers Federation (CANMPEF) has called on the Federal Government to shut its border with Republic of Benin, as a strategic measure to check smuggling – induced de-industrialisaiton of Nigeria. The body forwarded this “Save-Our-Soul” request to President Goodluck Jonathan after unfair competition from smuggled goods

had forced 53 companies in CANMPEF to shut down, with job losses of over 270,000 recorded to the unsavoury saga. Indeed, CANMPEF president, Devakumar Edwin, in a press briefing in Lagos yesterday, described the spate of smuggling along the nation’s border with Republic of Benin as “alarming and worrisome”, saying it appeared as if the neighbouring country’s government itself has been promoting the unfair and illegal trading operations. Edwin also pointed out that observed anti-Nigeria dispo-

While the Federal Government has been trying to fix other challenges to production like infrastructure, we cannot afford to add the burden of smuggling to the legion of problems we have in this country. It is therefore most imperative to shut down the border with the Republic of Benin forthwith to bring about the strategic review of the situation at border posts and thereby sanitise the trade relations with the neighbouring country. sition of some neighbouring countries have been putting local manufacturers ill-atease, with provisions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOW-

AS) treaty being fragrantly abused. He explained: “With provisions of ECOWAS treaty, crossborder trading activities are

Managing Director, REDMoney (publishers of IFN), Andrew Morgan (left); General Manager/Head, Listings Sales and Retention, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mrs. Taba Peterside; Dele Olajundoye (Kole Awodein & Co); Commissioner for Finance, Osun State, Dr. Wale Bolorunduro; Chief Executive Officer, Lotus Capital, Mrs. Hajara Adeola and Director, Lotus Capital, Mrs. Lateefah Okunnu at the Islamic Finance News Awards for Osun’s Sukuk deal, in, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

SMEs remain Africa’s growth engine, say IMF, others By Godfrey Okpugie HE International Monetary T Fund (IMF), DHL and Deloitte have affirmed that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) hold the ace to Africa’s economic growth. IMF had predicted that economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa this year would2014 be slightly higher than that of 2013 with about six per cent and hinged this optimism on the more than one billion consumers on the continent, who spend an estimated $600 billion yearly, a surging middle class, which is reckoned to be the fastest growing in the world.

The Managing Director of DHL Express, Charles Brewer further affirmed that his organisation was poised to harnessing the opportunities in the continent for the SMEs with the global market place, as they are clearly the growth engine for Africa and the critical driver for sustainable economic growth. Deloitte, on its part, asserted that Africa’s middle class has tripled over the last 30 years, and that the current trajectory suggests that the African middle class would grow to 1.1 billion in 2060. According to Deloitte, “as African economies are some of the fastest growing in the

world, the outlook for the continent is very positive. “Manufacturing, though has potential to go on a large scale, is still somewhat embryonic in Africa and as such, there is a definite opportunity for SMEs to fill the gap, which are not being serviced by these large global companies. A growing SME base will create hundreds and thousands of new jobs for the growth yearning continent.” Brewer, pointed out that: “the Institute of International Finance had reported that due to many countries in SubSaharan Africa struggling with controlling price pressures, central banks have tended to

keep monetary policy fairly tight. Despite this challenge, the SMEs are expected to create growth opportunities through increased consumer spending power and expansion into untapped markets.” Corroborating the prediction on SMEs sector’s potential, an online report stated that the growing internet user penetration in Africa also provides a sizeable opportunity for SMEs and as Africa continues to adopt e-commerce as a way of life, businesses are able to leverage this online market and thus reduces traditional customer

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West Power earmarks N45b for Lagos electricity network By Roseline Okere EST Power & Gas Limited, owners of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), has earmarked N45 billion to improve its network in Lagos State over the next five years. Besides, the company has unveiled plans to have additional 400 mega watts of electricity to boost supply in the state. The Chairman, West Power & Gas Limited, owners of Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Charles Momoh, who made this disclosure commissioning of Eko forum office in Lagos yesterday, reaffirmed the company’s commitment in

W

ensuring regular electricity in the state. Momoh who was represented by a director, Tunji Olowolafe, said the money would be invested in metering, cleaning up of the system, cabling, transformers and making sure that everything was in line with what had been specified. He said: “We have the responsibility to light up Lagos and keep it lit. This is the task before us, which we must do and do profitably. He said the company would partner with the Lagos State government to ensure that power supply hurdles were crossed in the state. “It is our aim to develop a partnership with Lagos State

Government over the issue of power supply. ``We are aware that the state government is aggressively working on the power supply situation in the state to enable it pursue its cardinal developmental programmes for the benefit of its citizens. Speaking also at the forum, the Chief Executive Officer of EKEDC, Oladele Amoda, said that the company was poised to rules and regulations that exhibited customer’s best practice and satisfaction. Amoda, however, urged customers within the network to avoid contributing money for repairs of transformers, cable, and power installations.

According to him, vandalism had been a major challenge of the company and I urge all customers to join us in the fight against vandals. “We have told our customers that henceforth nobody should contribute money for anybody be it staff in the name of buying or repairing of transformers, cable and power installations,” he said. He added that the focus of the company was to have additional 400 mega watts off-grid power in the shortest possible time. He said that despite the customers’ complaints office, the company still addressed cus-

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supposed to be promoted along the sub-regional corridor. But while goods from member states flow into the country with relative ease, Nigerian exporters find it difficult to penetrate the markets of these other West African countries, through imposition of high taxes and other fiscal measures against Nigerian goods. “Consequently, while goods from these other countries, especially from Republic of Benin penetrate the Nigerian market with less hazzles, our own goods are stuck in the country and subjected to unfair competition from these imported goods. “At the same time, local manufacturers are being pushed into extinction by the resultant unfair competition which their products are being made to face in the local market”. Edwin stressed that the situation has now reached a level where it has become imperative to shut the border with Republic of Benin for some period, to enthrone sanity in the movement of goods between the two countries. He pointed out that the border shutdown option was once pursued by the Federal Government during the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying the same conditions that prompted the action “are now very

much with us”. According to him, jobs in the nation’s manufacturing sector are being threatened on daily basis through the activities of “state sponsored” smugglers, with local producers now at great disadvantage at the nation’s market. The CANMPEF boss listed endangered locally made products to include pharmaceuticals, paints, textiles, and toiletries, among others. “Already, the nation’s tyre producing companies have relocated to other economies due to influx of the product from other countries. “Even in the agricultural sector, large scale production of rice is being impaired through unwholesome and unbridled smuggling of the commodity into the market. “While the Federal Government has been trying to fix other challenges to production like infrastructure, we cannot afford to add the burden of smuggling to the legion of problems we have in this country. “It is therefore most imperative to shut down the border with the Republic of Benin forthwith to bring about the strategic review of the situation at border posts and thereby sanitise the trade relations with the neighbouring country”, he added.


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BUSINESS Friday, February 28, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Microsoft invests $75m on projects in Nigeria, others By Adeyemi Adepetun OFTWARE giant, Microsoft Inc. has invested fresh $75 million in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and other African countries. Microsoft, which is making enroute into device manufacturing lately, said Nigeria remains very strategic to its global performance. Besides, the firm said it would soon unveil its new Country Manager for Nigeria, in person of Kabelo Makwane, a South African. Addressing journalists in Lagos, yesterday, visiting President, Microsoft International, Jean Philippe Courtois said the firm planned to provide more access for people across the globe through device productions. Courtois, while acknowledging various government supports for Microsoft’s growth in Nigeria, noted that apart from the fact that the country is blessed naturally, it has abundant skill deposits. He urged Nigeria to explore the abundant skills embedded in it to develop a digital economy. According to him, 80-90 per cent of future works will require digital knowledge in Nigeria, stressing that skill development is a big investment for technology and the country. Going forward, the Microsoft President, International said Microsoft Inc. has invested lots in its African operations of late; stressing that about $75 million has gone into various investments. “I think so far in a new drive, we have invested about $75 million in the African Markets and Nigeria has had a fair share of that deal. We have invested in access, innovation, skills development, youth empowerments; software development; digital curriculum and skills among others”, he stated. Courtois, who said Microsoft is leveraging the windows platform to gain market share,

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* To unveil new country manager for Nigeria stressed that because of the immense contributions of the Nigerian market to Microsoft operations globally, the country’s status would be uplifted. According to him, in Microsoft’s new financial year 15, starting July 1, 2014, Nigeria will become a single country subsidiary, reporting directly to Microsoft’s Middle East and Africa operations, stressing that the firm will enable this through all of its assests, “this is why the 4Afrika Initiatives is particularly focused on Nigeria and few others in Africa. Nigeria is a major hub for Microsoft on the continent.” Giving more reasons for the elevation of Nigeria in Microsoft operations, Makwane listed some of the outstanding qualities to include maturity of the market; immense opportunities; economic growth; skills deposit; large enterprise, “there is need to support this

growth”, he stressed. Makwane said the 4Africa Initiatives has started in Nigeria with 18 interns and another 50, which are with Galaxy Backbone, saying that 75 per cent of them will end up in Microsoft Ecosystem. Speaking on the Microsoft’s operations globally, Courtois said the firm would soon complete acquisition of Nokia, saying that both firms are working on some regulatory structure. He stressed that when the deal has been completed, Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop will head the device division at Microsoft. The Mcrosoft boss said Nokia’s mapping system is a big investment for the software firm. He noted that with the acquisition of Nokia, Microsoft will expand cloud services in Nigeria and other markets, stressing that the initiative must be available for enterprise development.

Lagos electricity network gets N45b CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 tomers’ complaints internally to ensure customers satisfaction. The Chairman House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, and a member of House Committee on Power, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, stressed the need for customers to take advantage of the forum office which provided to ensure that consumers have a say in what happens with regards to electricity supply. Dabiri-Erewa, who maintained that consumers have the right to complain and seeks redress expressed hope that the newly commissioned edifice, would take care of some consumer issues like billing, metering. “One thing you should know is that if you have a problem with your meter, they should get it solved within five days. But I do not know whether that is hap-

pening, now with the set up of this Eko forum I hope that will happen. And I think one of the major problems of consumers has to do with metering, all of sudden meters have disappeared. They are supposed to put meters in your houses but they tell you they do not have them, especially in rural areas. So I want you to go to the rural areas and ensure that meters are supplied so that the billing problems will stop. But most important is the awareness that this service is there, and let everybody take advantage of this service that NERC is providing, because more often than not we just discovered we are not asking questions. And NERC is telling you through Eko Disco that it is your right to seek redress. It is your right to complain. It is your right to be served. And I know that this will be done under this district” she said.

Etisalat Nigeria subscriber base hits 18 million By Adeyemi Adepetun MERGING Markets E Telecommunications Services, Etisalat Nigeria has announced that it has hit the 18 million-subscriber marks in the country. This is coming after just five years of operations in the highly competitive Nigeria’s telecommunications industry. Nigeria, as at October 2013, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) currently has 119 million active GSM mobile subscription and 156 million connected lines.

Currently, Etisalat Group, at the just concluded Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain said from its 15 markets in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, it has hit the 150-million subscriber mark. Commenting on the Etisalat’s achievement, yesterday, in Lagos, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the telecommunications firm, Matthew Willsher noted that the achievement is evidence of the firm’s commitment to the delivery of experiential customer service to its customers in the country. According to him, “The swift

IMF, others see SME’s potential CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 acquisition costs. Even the findings of the 2013 National Small Business Survey, conducted by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC), also buttressed SMEs’ positive future. It revealed that the key needs of SMEs include expanding customer base, increasing sales and going global. “Accessing new markets by trading across borders is the key to growth and competitiveness and the key driver for small and medium enterprises in South Africa,” noted Mike Anderson, NSBC founder and CEO. Commenting on this, Brewer

said that the more an SME could tap into global opportunities the more it can look forward to global expansion and also the better the chances for growth. He said: “When it comes to global opportunities the key to success for many SMEs is knowledge. Knowing which markets to target, how to market products, how to identify customers, how to get paid and how to ship globally. We have 25,000 SMEs, who work with us across Africa and every day we carefully try to understand their needs better and help them to go global. DHL is well-positioned to partnering with African SMEs and helping them to connect with the world.”

and steady growth in our subscriber numbers is an evidence of the acceptance we have enjoyed from our customers and the superior products and services we offer. We are delighted to have been able to hit such a figure in just five years of commercial operations despite our position as the fifth entrant into the dynamic Nigerian telecoms market”. Etisalat, which recently got a clean bill from the Nigerian Communications Commission on quality of service, having met the set Key Performance Indicators for the month of January, has also announced outsourcing some aspects of the company’s IT function to Huawei, following the adoption of a new model, which effectively aligned with the corporate vision of creating more value for customers by improving quality, reducing costs, embedding innovation, and increasing the speed of delivery. The agreement reached by Huawei and Etisalat witnesses the first IT outsourcing program that are going to be implemented in Africa Region. Apart from this, Etisalat said the strategic agreement also leads to the transformation of the telecommunications industry in Africa.


Friday, February 28, 2014 17

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

TheMetroSection ‘Save us from epidemic outbreak’ • As rainy season approaches, Gowon Estate residents cry for help over looming cholera disaster By Seye Olumide S the rainy season is fast approaching, residents of Gowon Estate, Mosan Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Lagos State, have made a “save our soul” appeal to President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Babatunde Fashola, former military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, the Federal Housing Authorities (FHA) and other relevant government agencies over the dilapidated state of infrastructure in the estate and the consequent danger to their lives and property. As a matter of fact, many of them are already jittery and even considering the possibility of relocating due to what they went through during last year’s rainy season. The helpless residents include occupants and officials of the Nigerian Army, Navy, Police, Customs and other security agents. As at last Sunday, the occupants were waiting to count the number of disasters most likely to befall them as the 2014 rainy period is on the way. Part of the terrible experience they had last year was the death of five teenagers, who were washed by the flood into the popular Tinubu Market situated within the estate due to poor and non-functional drainage systems. Two children were also crushed to death when a balcony of one of the old and dilapidated structures fell on them. Perhaps, very soon, there may be the disaster of collapsed buildings in the federal housing estate. The bad and completely collapsed state of almost all roads, indiscriminate structure construction, poor sewage system among others, are already causing the helpless residents “sleepless nights.” The worst and perhaps, their most fearful anxiety, is not the raging flood they have been facing for years, or blocked drainages or the illegal structures-all these of course have taken lives and destroyed property worth billions of naira, but the central sewage system, which has been neglected ever since the estate was built. That “is a disaster waiting to happen.” Indeed, when The Guardian visited the estate last week, there was the fear that an outbreak of cholera was imminent. A resident, who moved into the estate right from day one when it was completed and allocated said, “the once state-of-art and beautiful Gowon Estate, is now a shadow of itself.”

UNERAL rites for Falode FMonday, Oloruntoba will hold on March 3, after a funeral service at Trinity House, Water Corporation Road, off Ligali Ayorinde Street, next to Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos at noon, according to a statement by the family. It will be followed by interment at Vaults&Garden, by Rodio Nigeria, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos at 2.00p.m

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The protesting youths Falode

Open air crusade at St. Paul’s Anglican Church T. Paul’s Anglican Church Sglican Diocese of Lagos West (AnCommunion), 164A,

Collapsed portion of 411 Road in the estate A resident, Mr. Mike Ajara, who has been living in the estate since 1988, described the state of infrastructure as terrible “and as if those residing in it are not Nigerians,” urging President Goodluck Jonathan to set up a panel that would look into how FHA is allocating lands and spaces that are not meant for building construction and markets for such purposes. This among, other shady acts, are responsible for the killer flood we usually experience in the estate yearly.” Ajara noted further that all the spaces earmarked for recreational centres and Public Health Centre have been illegally allocated as people continue to erect structures on drainage channels.” He also faulted the Lagos State government, whose major concern was

The overgrown central sewage system to collect Land Use Act charges, but is abdicating its responsibilities claiming that the estate is a federal -owned property. “For instance, what is the estate benefiting from the proceeds the state government is realising from Bola Ahmed and Aregbesola markets,” he asked. Specifically, the roads into the estates are not motorable while the drainages are also blocked. At any slightest drop of rainfall, “the entire environment would be flooded such that vehicles could not move.” Worst hit are 34 and 411 roads. The erection of shanties and shops on road median, conversion of available spaces to mechanic workshops and others, are not helping the situation. On Sunday, some of the youths were forced to the streets to register their

anger about the deplorable state on infrastructure in the estate. They urged President Jonathan to look into their plight. However, Mrs. Titilayo Oladokun said the issue of the central sewage system needs to be attended to urgently “otherwise, an outbreak of epidemic was imminent.” According to her: “The central sewage system is a great threat to the lives of over 1,000,000 people residing on the estate.” A visit to the sewage system did not only confirm what Oladokun said but revealed a complete state of neglect and nonchalant attitude of the authorities in charge. The terrible odour and toxic gas oozing out of the central sewage system is not good for human health.

Lagos to immunise 4.8 million children this weekend By Wole Oyebade O further reduce child sicknesses and deaths in the state, no fewer than 4,795,312 under-five children will be targeted in Lagos, as the first round of 2014 National Immunisation Plus Days (NIPDs) campaign begins this weekend. The campaign holds in Lagos, like other states of the federation, between March 1 and 4, 2014. The immunisation campaign is to ensure every child is given the opportunity to be vaccinated against preventable childhood killer diseases such as poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, diphteria, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis, yellow fever and measles. At a briefing, ahead of the programme beginning this Saturday, Special Adviser to the State Governor on Public Health, Dr Yewande Adeshina said Lagos State has completed all arrangements, including availability of the bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV), to ensure a successful campaign. Adeshina stressed that polio vaccine is very safe and well tolerated by children. According to her, vaccinators have been trained to give only two drops of the OPV vaccine into the child’s mouth, followed by the marking of the left

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Briefs Oloruntoba Falode for burial March 3

little finger of the child. She said: “The service is free and the vaccine effective. All children ages 0-59 months will receive OPV, irrespective of their previous immunisation status.” The nationwide exercise is in collaboration with the Federal Government, United Nations and other development partners. Adeshina said while Lagos has not recorded any case of Wild Polio Virus since last December 2013, the continuous immunisation exercise is important, especially for its prevalence in Northern part of the country (53 cases recorded in 2013) and daily influx of migrants into Lagos. She said: “The state continues to address, among others, the challenges associated with a huge number of migrants on daily basis, which contributes in no small measures to the number of un-immunised children. “But as parents, caregivers, guardians, community leaders and rulers, we should ensure that all under-five children living in our environment are adequately immunised as cases of rejection by parents and caregivers constitute a risk to other children in the same neighbourhood.

“This four-day campaign, targeting 4,795,312 children less than five years of age would be implemented by 2,174 house-to-house teams, 1,712 transit and 752 fixed/transciently fixed post teams. “Children at homes, markets, churches, mosques, major car parks and social event venues would be specifically targeted. The house-to-house and transit components of these teams will administer only OPV to children aged 0-59 months. These teams will also encourage the eligible children in the houses to visit the immunisation posts for the other antigens, which will be offered to such children based on their immunisation status.” Adeshine said further that the responsibility of children immunisation is not that of the parents and caregivers alone, but rest on everyone to ensure that our children are fully covered. She urged all leaders in the community, politicians, councillors, traditional leaders and religious leaders to take full responsibility in ensuring that every child in their community receives polio antigen during this campaign and other scheduled immunisations. The next round of the campaign exercise will hold in April 2014.

Obafemi Awolowo Way, Alausa Ikeja, Lagos is hosting Alausa community during its fiveday open air crusade tagged: “Alausa City Crusade, which began on Wednesday at Alausa, Central Market Odewale Street, Ikeja, Lagos at 6.00p.m. daily. It will end on Sunday, March 2, at 7.30a.m. and 10.00a.m. respectively at the church auditorium. The vicar is Rev. Oluwole Ibikunle while Rev. James Olusola Odedeji will minister.

Atijere indigenes meet HE general meeting of AtiT jere Indigenes, Lagos chapter, holds on Sunday, March 2, 2014, at noon at Agbonifo Crescent, Unity Bus Stop at Unity Estate, via Egbeda Idimu Road, Lagos. It will be presided over by Chief (Mrs.) Lola Agbonifo, who is also the host of the meeting. Some dignitaries expected, according to the General Secretary, I. A. Edema are Chief P.F Ikuomola, Chief (Mrs) Bisi Iwajuomo while the Special Guest is Oba Olumide Edema , the Molokun of Atijere land.

Grace Emodogo, 70, for burial today UNERAL rites for Mrs. Fmunity Grace Emodogo, a comleader and devout Christian, who died at the age of 70, began yesterday with the lying-in-state/vigil at Matthew Emodogo,s compound, Ugabi Street, Mission Road, Agenebode, Edo State. She will be buried today after a funeral service at the same venue at 11.00a.m.

Emodogo


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18 Friday, February 28, 2014

Ikeja Golden Lions Club donates classrooms to special school By Chijioke Iremeka T was a burden lifted for the special needs children of Bola Memorial Primary School, Ikeja, Lagos, when Ikeja Golden Lions Club, District 404B Nigeria, officially handed over a block of six classrooms to the management of the school recently. Commissioned by the District Governor of the Club, Gbolagede Adebisi, the block of six classrooms, according to him, would help the pupils to study under a well-conducive environment and atmosphere, which would equally increase their learning ability. According to him, serving their immediate society and doing good to humanity, is the bedrock of the club’s existence, adding that the club encourages people to serve their community without personal financial rewards, as well as encouraging efficiency and high ethical standard in commerce, industry, professionals, public works and private endeavours. He said: “Golden Lion Club

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provides a forum for open discussion on matters of public interest, provided that partisan politics and sectarian religion are not debated by club members. We hold friendship as an end to a means; true friendship exists not on account of the service performed by one to another, but true friendship demands nothing but accepts service in the spirit in which it is given.” Speaking on the project, the club’s President, Lion Mercy Aje-Omosun, said the building was in the worst state of dilapidation with its roof fallen off, cracked walls and at the point of collapsing before her club came in to salvage it in the interest of the students. “I was on my way back from church and my spirit directed me to the school. I saw an unbelievable state of this building and I enquired of the principal if we can rebuild the block for the students, and she gave us a go-ahead order. With this, we obtained permission from

the Lagos State Ministry of Education, and I adopted it as my year’s project for the club; and as God will have it, it has been completed today,” AjeOmosun said. She noted that the club tasked themselves to ensure they deliver on the project, which cost them over N7 million. “Government cannot do everything, so we can help the government do some of the charity works for the humanity’s sake. It wasn’t easy but we had to go extra miles. It took us four months to rebuild this block because we saw the urgency involved. But we thank God that it has been commissioned and handed over to the school so that they would continue their schooling.” “There is no condition that does not present with solutions and ability. There is ability in disability and we cannot look hope on them, she said.” The head teacher, Mrs. Kayode Esther Modupeola, who was overwhelmed and thankful to the club for such phil-

anthropic gesture, said the building had been in such state for years and nobody came to their aid. “We have spoken to many people, including Ministry of Education but none of them did anything but Ikeja Golden Lion Club came uninvited, to wipe away the tears from our eyes.” However, the State Commissioner for Education, who was represented by Director of Special Education, Oluwatoyin Olayinka said education is a key and the best gift one could give to humanity, especially the younger generation and thanked the club for the assistance, adding that everybody is free to partner with the government on developmental projects. The head teacher seized the opportunity to call on wellmeaning Nigerians to emulate what the club has done to help them in any little way they could, adding that it was her prayer that God continue to bless the club members in their quest to do good for humanity.

Briefs Ahmed, Akpabio get awards HE Kwara State Governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed has T bagged the City People’s Award for the Best Governor in Youth Empowerment.

Ahmed was honoured at a colourful City People’s Political Excellence Awards 2014 in Lagos for his inspirational programme in gainfully engaging the youths of Kwara State through revolutionary platforms, especially the nationally acclaimed Kwara Bridge Empowerment Scheme (KWABES). According to a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Kwara State Governor, Abdulwahab Oba: “The organisers noted Ahmed’s 2000 jobs for KWABES applicants, 2000 permanent jobs for the youth, creation of data base for job recruitment, and the planned employment of 5000 people, mostly youth, this year.” Receiving the award on his behalf, the Special Adviser on Communication Strategy to the Governor, Alhaji Abdulraheem Adedoyin, who promptly dedicated it to the great people of Kwara State, most especially the teeming youths who have keyed enthusiastically into the Ahmed administration’s Shared Prosperity’s programmes, thanked God and the City People for the honour. Also, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, has been voted NewsAfrica Leader of the Year 2014. He is the second person to be so voted in the 14-year history of the magazine. Kofi Anan, a one-time Secretary-General of United Nations, was the first person to have won the award in 2002. A press release issued Tuesday in London by publisher of the magazine, Moffat Ekoriko, said Akpabio was voted “for showing uncommon leadership in a country where leaders see their success in office in terms of personal wealth; for taking initiatives others shy away and for giving hope of a greater future for Nigeria, a key country in Africa.” Ekoriko noted that Akpabio’s feat in transforming Akwa Ibom State, which was once a backwater into Nigeria’s fastest developing state, has made him “the poster boy of the Nigerian political class, so much so that the performance of other office-holders is measured in relation to his.” To emerge as NewsAfrica Leader of the Year, the publisher hinted that Akpabio scored higher than presidents, business leaders, and even religious leaders with multi-million congregations. As NewsAfrica Leader of the Year 2014, Akpabio is expected to deliver this year’s NewsAfrica Global Lecture on “Delivering the Dividends of Governance: An African Experience”. The lecture, which holds in London in May 2014, will be attended by political, business and civil society leaders from all over Africa and the Caribbean as well as selected European ministers. NewsAfrica’s Leader of the Year is an African on the continent or in the Diaspora who has demonstrated unique leadership capabilities in tackling the problems of development, inequality, poor leadership or crisis bedeviling the continent.

WIMBIZ to reposition women at yearly lecture HE Chairperson of Women in Management, Business and T Public Service (WIMBIZ), Osayi Alile Oruene has reiterated WIMBIZ’s commitment to addressing the issues of

The classroom block

Gov’s wife gives 32,000 breast self-examination kits to fight cancer, empowers 108 persons living with HIV/AIDS From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head South West Bureau, Ado Ekiti) O fight the scourge of breast cancer in Ekiti State, wife of the state governor, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi, has distributed 32,000 units of Breast Self Examination kits to women. Fayemi, who distributed the kits yesterday to the officials of the 16 local councils of the state at the Funmi Olayinka Diagnostic and Wellness Centre, Ado-Ekiti, advised them to stop patronising unorthodox medical practitioners. She said: “If you observe a lump in your breast, please don’t go to the nearest herbalist, don’t go to the nearest worship centre for a solution. And don’t ignore it. Don’t carry your Bible and say: ‘it is not my portion’. “The amount we need to examine ourselves at any standard health facility like the Funmi Olayinka Diagnostic and Wellness Centre is negligible compared with the money we spend on Aso Ebi during social engagements. “For those of you that believe in the saying that what you don’t know cannot hurt you, I must tell you that what you don’t know can actually kill you.” The project was a joint effort of the Office of the Wife of Governor and the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria

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aimed at creating greater awareness around breast cancer. The governor’s wife emphasized the need for self -examination of breasts by women for early detection of lumps; while she also encouraged husbands to remind their wives. The event witnessed practical demonstration of the use of the kits for breasts self-examination and how to improvise with soap and water where it is not available. Fayemi’s wife stressed that breast cancer could be easily treated when detected and presented early at a standard health institution She alsodistributed another set of empowerment materials worth over N5million to 108 People Living With HIV/AIDS in the state. Fayemi, who is also the Chairperson of Ekiti State AIDS Control Agency, said the gesture underscored the commitment of the state government to giving the beneficiaries a new lease of life. The exercise, which was the third since the Governor Kayode Fayemi-led administration came on board, took place at the Office of the Wife of Governor on Wednesday. The beneficiaries, who converged under the aegis of the Network of People Living With HIV and AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), received deep freezers,

computer sets, video cameras, sewing machines, grinding machines, photocopy machines and clothing items, among other items. The EKSACA boss pledged the continued support of the government for the NEPWHAN members to live a meaningful life, adding that a lot more was being done to reduce the HIV/AIDS prevalence to the barest minimum in the state. She said, “When I became the Chair of SACA, I insisted that in everything that we do around HIV/AIDS in Ekiti state, we should ensure

that we empower people who are living with HIV/AIDS and we should be able to tell people that being HIV positive is not the end of the world. “We need to be able to set an example and demonstrate practically what it means to be living with HIV/AIDS and still have hope. Testing positive is not the end of the world.” She appealed to those yet to know their HIV status to visit the nearest health facility and submit for testing and counseling.

Maria Obiekwe, 54, passes on HE death has occurred on Sunday, February 9, 2014 of Mrs. T Maria Ijeoma Obiekwe, nee Sunday, Roseline Ejiaka Umeasomugha. She was aged 54. According to a statement issued by her husband, Mazi Richard Obiekwe (Aghaunokaegbu), burial rites begin on Thursday March 6, 2014 at 4.00 p.m. with a Christian wake at her residence, No. 258 Ijegun Road, Ikotun Lagos, by Saints Joachim and Anne Catholic Church, where she was an ardent member. Another wake by Unubi Development Union Lagos holds on Saturday, March 8 at Unubi Town Hall, No. 9 Brown Road Surulere Lagos at 9.00am. On Thursday, March 13, Requiem Mass/Funeral Service holds at Emmanuel Ibiekwe’s compound, Unubi Nnewi South Local Council of AnamObiekwe bra State at 10.00am followed by interment.

gender inequalities in the workplace and business and to assisting women in managing these challenge in their everyday living even in public service. Oruene was speaking at the 2014 WIMBIZ Press Parley and pre – Annual Lecture meeting which took place at Best Western Starfire Hotel, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos. She said WIMBIZ was established to strategically create a networking, training and mentoring platform to build value added business relationships and leadership capacity among women.

Nigerians urged to always celebrate mothers By Adebisi Olonade HE Managing Director of R-Wells Media and Advertising Company Limited, Jibe Ologeh, has urged Nigerians to always celebrate their mothers. He said this during a press briefing on the forth- coming Mother’s Day fiesta, which would hold on March 29, 2014 at Cinema Hall, National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos at 10.00am. He said children have not been appreciating and celebrating our mothers well enough. Ologeh revealed that being a mother is honourable as no live is born without a life being ‘dying.’ “A mother of one dies once, mother of three, three times. For your mother to have you, she has died for you,” she explained. “Raising children right from the tender age, till he/she grows up to become an adult, is a big role and responsibility and for a woman to undergo such a difficult task is not easy. So they should always be celebrated.”

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Firm holds API examinations in Nigeria FIRM, Gennesaret Resources Nigeria Ltd, a leading specialA ized international training, certification, inspection and consulting company to the Oil and Gas, Power Generation,  and Construction Industries, has announced (American Petroleum Institute (API) examinations are back in Nigeria. According to its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Akinwale Eso: “The American Petroleum Institute (API) examinations are back in the country and they are no longer paper based Test but computer based Test CBT. Each prospective candidate for the examinations is expected to register directly with API in which they are to supply information requested, submit copies of credentials and make payments. On completion, they will be given API authorization identity with which they will log onto the Pro-metric site and schedule their preferred date to write the examinations out of the 10 days examination window provided for each of the API programme.


CBN’s reforms: A postscript

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Friday, February 28, 2014 19

Weekend

Arts & Culture P. 35

Autowheels P.44

Business Travels P.46

BMW seven wonders on wheels

Handlers restate integrity of media reward scheme...

Questions on Nigeria’s aerial vehicle yet to be deployed into airspace


20 WEEKEND Friday, February 28, 2014

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Gains, challenges of Central CHIJIOKE NELSON examines the various measures adopted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since Mallam Lamido Sanusi’s appointment as Governor five years ago, to explain why opinions differ over the wisdom behind the bank’s adoption of certain measures ARIOUS reforms of the banking sector in V Nigeria had their roots in the quest for repositioning the sector to meet the challenges of the competitive global market. Much as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) tried to evolve a seamless system capable of enthroning a stabilised monetary policy, the results have been mixed, leading, sometimes to unintended contradictions. Mallam Lamido Sanusi’s appointment as the CBN about five years ago has had a tremendous effect on the sector. Various positions have been taken. While some laud him for doing the right things, others have picked holes in his policies and their effects. But Sanusi had, on several occasions, also said that whoever asked him for explanation should also be ready to make out time and listen. Perhaps, his many explanations were part of his greatest undoing and had contributed to his unpopularity, especially among the political class. Sanusi, was formerly a Chief Risk Officer at First Bank, before when he was elevated by the Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to lead the apex bank. His first public controversy started when he picked holes in the federal government’s Seven-Point Agenda. This elicited mixed reactions and possibly became a “warning sign.” The second came up almost immediately, when it appeared that the 2004 banking consolidation exercise under Prof. Chukwuma Soludo had matured to the point of launching Nigerian banks to the global stage. However, there was a problem, which was fundamental to the sector’s operations, hence it needed a structural reform. As a result, the universal banking, e-banking, e- business, and e-commerce came into operation. These elements of financial innovation were needed to obtain economies of scale in the banking industry. When Soludo took over at the nation’s apex bank in 2004, he initiated the consolidation exercise, aimed at ensuring strong banks with strong capital base. The exercise raised the minimum capital requirement of banks to N25 billion, with 18 months notice from official announcement of the banking reform policy. There were 89 banks back then. The most capitalised bank then had capital base of $240 million. However, the industry was heavily concentrated, with the 10 largest banks controlling 50 per cent of the assets and deposits in the Nigerian banking system. In the end, only 25 banks emerged. Nevertheless, Sanusi discovered that the resulting mergers and acquisitions in the banking services sub-sector, was primarily to satisfy the new, enhanced minimum capital requirement, meant to pursue economies of scale for greater profitability, efficiency and effectiveness in the banks’ service delivery in a globalized economy to the advantage of the CBN’s monetary policy programming and effectiveness. To him, the liberalization of the monetary and financial markets, which had taken root from the deregulation regime, needed strengthening for the effective monetary policy operations of the CBN. He ordered probe into the affairs of banks. The result showed weak corporate governance, operational indiscipline and global financial crisis as the major causes of the weakness and prescribed further decisive banking reforms to forestall total collapse of the sector. According to the report, Nigerian banks could no longer fulfill their obligations to depositors, “a situation which suggested that banking consolidation of 2005 was concluded on false declarations and fraud, lack of depth and almost qualified as a wasteful application of national human, financial and material resources.” For now, 21 banks are operational. But the prosecution of defaulting Chief Executive Officers is still on, with only one officially concluded. But the move that was adjudged the “saving grace,” attracted strong criticisms from various quarters. For example, a school of thought held that the way and manner the banks’ examination was conducted had a taint of bias

Jonathan and revenge mission on some banks and their chief executives. Others said that the announcement of the report was blown out of proportion, with attendant effects on foreign direct investments, and provoking confidence crisis on banks’ customers. The stakeholders of the assessed failed also alleged that they were not given a fair hearing before major decisions were taken. There were alleged issues of multiple re-run of examination on some banks as a way of indicting them and reclassification of non-performing loans. There was also some controversy surrounding the N600 billion bailout funds for banks. The launch of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria was another shift in policy that attracted controversy. To assure international financial institutions and investors on the stability of the Nigerian banking system, Sanusi on August 2009, in London, explained the various reform policies. The CBN also took an extraordinary action

of guaranteeing all foreign credit lines and interbank placements and extended the guarantee until December 31, 2010. Further reforms were also introduced, like changes in the accounting practice for the banks in June 2009; a policy that required all the banks and their subsidiaries to adopt a common accounting year, with same deadline. The apex bank also mandated banks to adopt International Financial Reporting Standards, which the Financial Reporting Council said the CBN is yet to abide by, while the banks are fully complying with at present. The reforms were also extended to the microfinance sub-sector and Bureaux de Change. The CBN also endorsed the creation of the credit bureau and encouraged lenders to use the bureau’s services. While the existence of a credit bureau enhances the provision of credit in Nigeria, the bureau faces some significant challenges in its operations – the lack of an acceptable unique identifier of individuals in Nigeria, the general lack of understanding of credit bureaux and

The job of a Governor of the Central Bank of any nation is a very important one. His responsibility over the conduct of monetary policy and regulation of the banks and other financial institutions in the country has serious implications for the economic development of the country. It is therefore important to have the right person in that position.

their operations, the lack of reliable, accurate data collection systems and weak consumer protection laws and rights generally. So far, microfinance banks have been reduced to about 800, but recently, speculations were rife that about 600 would soon fall in one swoop. The CBN has refuted the allegation. Nearly 300 BDCs’ licences were revoked last year. Some of the operators have alleged that the process was not properly done, as some were reinstated after the initial purge, due to certain errors. In an interview with the Financial Times of London (December 18, 2009), Sanusi said he would continue the fight to ensure that the Nigerian financial sector, particularly the banking sub- sector, is adequately strengthened for greater efficiency and effectiveness within the private sector, without necessarily resorting to nationalization of the financial institutions. “The bail-out initiative of 2009 is essentially a credit option,” he had stated. Under his leadership, the development of the National Payments System was revolutionized and the bank implemented the nationwide Cheque Truncation system from June 1, 2013 to enhance the efficiency of cheque clearing and settlement, which resulted in the reduction of the clearing cycle from T+2 to T+1; extended the N150, 000 limit on encashment of third party cheques to minimise fraud and other risks associ-


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Bank’s reforms ated with paper-based instruments; granted commercial licence to two additional mobile money operators, which brought the number to 22; licensed one third party processor company; and developed the format of evidence for electronic transactions for gazetting as subsidiary legislation, among others. Earlier, the pilot project of the cashless scheme in Lagos and subsequent applications of the overthe-counter withdrawal limits attracted criticisms. This was due to initial frauds, system failures, operational hitches and low awareness associated with the new system, which made no allowance for people to revert to old ways without being charged. Specifically, over 50 per cent of banks’ customers must use the Automated Teller Machine (ATM). This is because the greater percentage withdraws less than the limit allowable over the counter. To avoid charges associated with it, all in this group must use cards. But users’ ability to effectively take advantage of it has been an inhibition for effective operation of the current banking reforms. At several ATM points, there are many people who do not know how to operate the machines. Their card numbers and personal identification numbers are easily compromised as they beckon on anyone that is willing to assist them to make withdrawal. This has aided fraud, while sending the wrong message to greater number of the unbanked. At the centre stage for the past two years is the issue of price stability, which bordered on interest and exchange rates management, predicated on inflation and demand/supply issues. Sanusi’s action was a radical departure from the previous regimes in the conduct of monetary policy during the post-bank consolidation regime, embodied in the operation of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). The MPC, chaired by him, has the responsibility of setting its Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) and other monetary policy inputs after its periodic assessment of the country’s macroeconomic situation report on monetary and economic conditions over its operational period, in relation to the immediate preceding period. But there was difficulty in taming the interest rate, while foreign exchange rates kept tossing the naira around. Some have argued that the challenge and logic of excess liquidity being propagated by Sanusi, was his own creation, through the change from dollar to Naira for the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee. There was also the argument that the variability of the MPR and consequently, the interest rate structure, should truly be the hallmark of the conduct of monetary policy, characterized by a market-driven, liberalized economy. But these measures seem to have defied all economic orders, as the real sector seeks affordable funds without success, while the regulator raises alarm over excess liquidity. Sanusi had, during his tenure, made extensive use of the monetary policy tools. The Open Market Operations of the CBN, which had become a veritable instrument of monetary policy since the early 1990s, became a more regular instrument for the liquidity management of the deposit banking institutions, especially when excess liquidity of the banking system is reported. CBN’s discount windows, as well

Okonjo-Iweala

Sanusi

Sanusi had, during his tenure, made extensive use of the monetary policy tools. The Open Market Operations of the CBN, which had become a veritable instrument of monetary policy since the early 1990s, became a more regular instrument for the liquidity management of the deposit banking institutions, especially when excess liquidity of the banking system is reported. as the re-purchase agreement, enabled the CBN to influence the liquidity management of the institutions in the financial markets, through the deposit money banks. The interest rates at the discount windows and for the re- purchase facilities provide some mechanism through which the interest rate structure in the financial markets is influenced by the CBN, both as a result of its own innovation and in response to the development of liquidity management. For example, direct purchase by the CBN often occurs when there is need to stabilize liquidity in the financial system. This is especially so when the excess liquidity effect of government’s fiscal operations occurs, such as when there is disbursement of funds to the three tiers of government, or when there is surplus revenue-sharing to governments from excess crude oil revenue. In each of such cases, there is the tendency for the financial system to be awash with excess liquidity, thereby prompting the CBN to carry out “mopping up” operations in the financial system, using stabilization securities. Such monetary challenges, notwithstanding, financial deepening and intermediation efficiency improved during this era. A very singular monetary policy innovation during this era was the replacement of the Minimum Rediscount Rate (MRR) with the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR). MPR became operational in December 2006, as the nominal anchor for the structure of interest rates in the financial markets.

A report from CBN conclusively stated: “From the highlighted monetary policy episodes, thus far, we have learned at least four lessons for Nigeria’s monetary policy transmission mechanism. First, the Central Bank of Nigeria has applied the traditional monetary policy inputs in its monetary policy experience. The second follows from the first: that virtually all the monetary policy transmission mechanism channels were implicitly known to have been in operation in one form or the other without any empirical analysis being carried out to establish their existential functional relationship. Third, the CBN has functionally focused its monetary policy on the growth of output and, hence, the real economy, even though the financial markets have not robustly played their expected role in complementing CBN’s growth objective of strengthening the real sector of the economy. Finally, the fiscal operations of government have negatively impacted CBN’s monetary policy by undermining, in most cases, the monetary policy stance of the CBN. Perhaps the most prominent of Sanusi’s personality trait is his oratory power and loquacious nature, with acclaimed lucidity. To him, it means saying things as he sees them. But politically and economically, there are consequential effects. This has earned him uncomplimentary remarks too, even when he seems to be fighting a just course. One of such situations came when he faced the National Assembly head on, over the nation’s recurrent expenditure profile, which he identified as too

much for few Nigerians. The next one was the economic implications of the state of emergency declared in some North Eastern states, which appeared controversial and perhaps, set the tone for unfriendly relations with the Presidency. It might also be that he has a different thing in mind as he speaks, but the audienceNigerians, have independent minds and are free to interpret his statements variously. A former federal permanent secretary and former Deputy Governor of the old Bendel State, Chief John Edozien, once appeared indifferent over Sanusi’s declaration of non interest in second term of office, but said that “the job of a Governor of the Central Bank of any nation is a very important one. His responsibility over the conduct of monetary policy and regulation of the banks and other financial institutions in the country has serious implications for the economic development of the country. It is therefore, important to have the right person in that position. I believe there is a profile for such a person already in place.” But for Prof. Pat Utomi, “CBN as an institution is so fundamental in the nation’s development drive such that it cannot be taken for granted, especially those who lead it. My comment now and those in past are not meant to hurt any person, but I still hold CBN responsible for the regressive nature of Nigeria’s economy. To me, it is the weak link in the nation’s economic travails. “Like Barack Obama, we need strong institutions, not strong men. CBN top job does not require

Recently, in Sanusi’s letter to the President on September 25, 2013, he claimed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) paid only 26 per cent of oil earnings to the Federation Account between January, 2012 and July, 2013, adding that $49.8 billion, representing a whopping 74 per cent, was not remitted by NNPC. The amount he claimed NNPC kept away, was bound to raise the adrenalin of millions of Nigerians and nonNigerians across the world.

a strong man, but a man who will make the institution strong. This is my first criterion- an institution builder. We have always towed the wrong line in this regard and we have always paid dearly, even till now. “There are various perceptions of where Nigeria is headed whenever a policy is made, hence central bankers should be people of very few words. Granted, there are people who are intelligent and can do well in other public assignments, but their personality traits may not be suitable for central bank job due to the sensitive nature of the institution. CBN now needs somebody who is calm, with nerves of steel under pressure, one that realises that there are so many perspectives and dimensions to an issue, hence cannot be all in all. He must be a good listener, not hastily foreclosing. The person should be stake-free from financial institutions, in terms of shareholding. The governor should have respect for entrepreneurship and property rights, always taking into cognizance the environment in which the apex bank operates.” Obviously, these were part of the many assessed sins of Sanusi. Recently, in Sanusi’s letter to the President on September 25, 2013, he claimed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) paid only 26 per cent of oil earnings to the Federation Account between January, 2012 and July, 2013, adding that $49.8 billion, representing a whopping 74 per cent, was not remitted by NNPC. The amount he claimed NNPC kept away, was bound to raise the adrenalin of millions of Nigerians and  nonNigerians across the world. And it did. After reconciliation meetings involving stakeholders, the figures were whittled down to $20 billion, then $12 billion, but the Minister of Finance Dr. NgoziOkonjo-Iweala, insisted that un-reconciled figure was $10.8 billion. At last, he agreed. Again, while appearing before the Senate Committee on Finance on February 6, 2014, he brought new figure of about $20 billion and the reconciliation is ongoing. The first recant, may have laid credence to critics’ argument that he is an alarmist, always raising controversy and unable to substantiate his claims to the end, besides, the economic and political consequences are still unfolding. But a Constitutional Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome, speaking on the backdrop of the FRC report, which indicted him and formed the basis of his suspension, said that Sanusi brazenly politicized his office, committing serial infractions and violations of laws and regulations governing his exalted office. “When he mounted the exalted office nearly five years ago, the Naira was exchanging for less than N140 per dollar. Today, the exchange rate hovers anything between N165 naira to N172 per dollar, the highest and most shameful in the history of this country. “Whilst conceding that Lamido did a great job in sanitizing and deodorizing the banking system, leading to the emergence of stronger commercial banks, he has not fared well in the area of calm conduct, sober carriage and the magisterial disposition expected of his office. He has conducted himself more like a proud, arrogant and boastful politician, an unrepentant pseudo activist and a social critic even of his own central bank policies, aside the economy of Nigeria that he gleefully tears to shreds and tatters.


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Friday, February 28, 2014

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BusinessRound-Up NIGERIA PREPARES TO HOST THE 24TH WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM ON AFRICA bility is increasing and I think for us the fact that when we measure our global competitiveness report every year, we always take note of the fact that Nigeria has a huge dynamic internal market place which in itself is a great driver for economic growth and for driving competiveness. You have that critical mass which could enable the country to become a real economic hub, we have here a world regulated finance sector, obviously there are HAT will be the highlight of this event? areas where the economy is to improve like in What can we expect? Well, other parts of Africa and indeed emerging markets one thing we can expect is a huge but there is genuine interest here and I think the amount of interest in Nigeria. For one thing, timing is very good for us to be in Nigeria. we have a lot of global organisations, heads of But what sort of investment opportunities can the states from across Africa and further off that private sector hope to get from WEF Africa? will be coming to Abuja in May for this three Well, the private sector are here to learn and it’s so days meeting. It’s essentially a meeting all important to say that it’s not just about business, about how to forge inclusive growth, create jobs for Africa. It’s the first time we are in West- the world economic forum in Africa, -we’d like to ern Africa so there’s a huge amount of interest think that the spirit of Davos which we would like for that reason alone. We’ve been to southern to bring to Africa- is bringing leaders from internaAfrica in the past, we’ve been to eastern Africa tional organisations from civil society. It’s all a matbut this is our first time and I think it’s a very ter of how we can come together, leaders from relevant time for us to be in the country. For a business, civil service, and politics to have the disfact, Africa is the fastest growing continent on cussions, to come up with some actions and some real solid ideas, initiatives, projects and investthe world and western Africa is the fastest growing sub region in Africa so there’s a huge ments to drive forward Africa in terms of business, in terms of social transformation as well. amount of interest and I think also a lot of thinking in businesses about how they can be part of this growth story, invest in Africa and Now you mentioned Davos and there was a huge how can they can make the biggest difference representation of Africa in DAVOS but what was to help drive the transformation we are seeing the general feeling of WEF Africa at Davos and are expectations high? in the continent right now. Yes, I don’t want to be subject or guilty of hype but I guess a lot of people might want to know why there’s unprecedented levels of interest in Africa this year. I have to say that there was a strong repNigeria and why is this such an important time for Nigeria to host this event. Well of resentation from Nigeria of course led by President course, Nigeria is the most populous nation in Jonathan but also on the business side, one of our Africa, it’s becoming a growth hub, and there coachers was Aliko Dangote of Dangote group, very very high profiles. Mr Dangote as well as Presiare plenty of acronyms going around the dent Jonathan had very high profile roles in the world for emerging markets. MINT is one of them, which is Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and public programs and in a number of our leading Turkey of course is just becoming more visible. sessions. In terms of across Africa, we had I believe Nigeria is just becoming more visible, its visi- twice as many African heads of states in Davos this

In association with

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NIGERIANS NEED TO BE PROACTIVE AGAINST TERRORISM By Dara Rhodes

This year, the focus is on forging inclusive growth and creating jobs. CNBC Africa’s Didi Akinyelure discussed what to expect with OLIVER CANN, Associate Director, Media Relations World Economic Forum.

N EFFORTS to face terrorist activity in the north-eastern part of Nigeria, the government has shut the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. Boko Haram is a terrorist and militant group based in north east Nigeria, north of Cameroon and Niger which has been terrorising the northern part of Nigeria since 2009. “First of all, we have to understand that Boko Haram does not operate by themselves. They are working with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Now they are the largest group in West Africa right now,” Chris Moghalu, CEO of BTK securities told CNBC Africa. “The reason AQIM is very important to what is going on in Nigeria is because they [al Qaeda] are aligning with Boko Haram and what they are doing. They are providing tactical support to Boko Haram, they also provide weapons for Boko Haram and they also provide ideological support.” An estimated 3,600 people have been killed since the Boko Haram insurgency in 2009 and they have recurrently attacked churches, mosques, markets and schools. “There’s another problem that we have, there is an infiltration and expansion of another section of terror groups...They are recruiting young unemployed youths and they are also providing funding. Funding is a major aspect of what is going on in Nigeria right now with the terrorists,” he added.

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OLIVER CANN year that we’ve had in previous years. If you match that optimism and enthusiasm within the sub-Saharan Africa with the enthusiasm and interest from the wider world, in emerging markets, in Europe, in North America, in the far East, then I think it’s, again not wishing to delve into hyperboleit’s going to be a very interesting meeting. Do you get the sense that Nigeria is actually ready to host this event? I know you are here for 24 hours but on your trip do you get that sense that we are ready? Absolutely. I’m here for another 24 hours so I have plenty of time to formulate my opinion but so far, the preparations I’ve seen have been magnificent. It’s now about making sure, if anything that we have stability in Abuja to create a bigger meeting, I don’t want to go into too many details right now but we are looking at what we can do to meet this growing interest within Nigeria and as I said, across Africa.

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TANZANIA GROWING THE NEXT WAVE OF AFRICAN MILLIONAIRES By Wilhelmina Maboja ANZANIA’S nurturing of dollar millionaires is quickly turning it into a haven for luxury goods and a new niche market to capitalise on. “It’s starts from quite a low base, which obviously helps to boost growth, but also there are a number of sectors that are doing quite well in Tanzania, including banking, construction, tourism, manufacturing, retail and transport and logistics as well. Those sectors are driving growth particularly in the millionaire space,” New World Wealth analyst Andrew Amoils told CNBC Africa. According to the African 2013 Wealth Book report, the East African region’s newest mil-

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lionaires are now likely to come from Tanzania. Other key findings from the report include the discovery that over 30 per cent of Tanzanian millionaires live in Dar es Salaam, the capital city, and that the sectors expected to drive growth in the country in future are the telecoms, healthcare and insurance sectors. “The biggest sector is still basic materials, but it hasn’t been growing as fast as some of the other sectors,” said Amoils. He added that a number of African countries have a spillover trend, where growth not only occurs among the wealthy or within the economy but also spills over to the middle class. The millionaire growth in Tanzania is also growing in correlation to the country’s GDP. Angola, for example, is the fastest growing country in terms of GDP growth over the past decade, and that growth has spilled over into the growth in wealthy individuals as well. “At the same time, some countries that don’t have very developed banking systems often experience strong GDP growth without necessarily experiencing strong wealth growth. [This is] because of the fact that people don’t save their money, they just spend it, so the wealth doesn’t necessarily go up,” Amoils explained. “So you often find countries that have more developed banking systems like Namibia, they are the ones that have really benefitted heavily from the

economic growth over the past decade.” A number of companies are nonetheless capitalising on the growth in millionaires through the introduction of luxury goods into markets. While it’s still early days for luxury goods markets particularly in Africa, countries such as South Africa, Nigeria and Morocco are slowly building that niche market with success. Brands such as Porsche, Gucci and Louis Vuitton can now be purchased on the continent. Bridging the economic divide in not only East Africa but the rest of the continent will however be essential to the sustained growth in millionaires, GDP and the continent’s other sectors. “There are certain countries that maybe start from a slightly higher base economically, where you’re starting to see the middle class grow quite significantly in places like South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria. Some of the other countries start from a particularly low base in terms of average wealth, such as Ethiopia. They’re obviously experiencing quite strong growth in millionaire numbers without it really spilling through to their middle class,” said Amoils.

Last week, the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima said that Boko Haram members are better armed and better motivated than Nigerian troops and that given the present state of affairs, it is absolutely impossible to defeat the terrorist group. “Well what I know is that we are probably going to have our own 9/11 one of these days. We are going to get to that because we are very complacent in Nigeria. We are taking a reactive approach instead of a proactive approach,” he said. According to Moghalu, the government is trying to curtail this however, because of the inefficiencies we have, they are now 10 steps behind Boko Haram. He believes that the solution lies with the general public as they need to get involved. “The government is not going to deal with this alone. The oil companies, banks and all the other multi-national companies need to begin to train their staff on security awareness programs. Part of what my contribution to this is, is to train not their security personnel but their staff because they need to be aware of what is happening,” he explained.


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INTERVIEW

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NESTLE NIGERIA FY REVENUE UP 14%

A

term growth strategy. What’s your view on the long term potential of the West African market? My answer would be, it’s exactly the same as it’s been for a long time and that is, over a long period we want to be recognised as the leading nutrition and health Wellness Company certainly in Nigeria, certainly in West Africa and certainly it’s our ambition for the rest of the world. What we mean by this, how we bring tastier healthier choices to our consumers, how we help fight micro nutrient deficiencies, how we bring that at a value price that consumers can afford and at the same time make sure that our operations are efficient, make sure that our operations are able to adapt and be flexible enough for a change in dynamic environment.

T FIRST GLANCE, the earnings look very good. The full year numbers are good, however, if you take a close look at the Q4 earnings, you’ll see that sales went up 18.9 per cent year on year. PBT however went down 16 per cent, of course as a result, profit after tax also went down. What weighed in on your profitability in Q4? I think firstly, when we have to respond to consumer challenges, you know in a much softer market that we’ve seen in a long time, the intensifying competition, we need to invest more money. We need to invest behind consumers, we need to invest in giving healthier choices to our consumers. What we did, is we increased marketing spend, we looked at resourcing our sales operations, serving our customers better, seeking more value for consumers comes with investment and because we are a longer term focused business, we believe that we did the right thing in focusing on adding more value to consumers, serving customers better which obviously comes at a certain cost. It was really what we believe, a responsible reaction to serious challenges in the market place.

..we’ve been here for 53 years already, it means we pretty much are very part of the Nigerian fabric. .. In our operations people live the nestle culture within the Nigerian context so it’s not something that happens overnight. It comes with a lot of effort over a long period but I think it’s really about understanding the local content and bringing our work as practices...

Nestle Nigeria posted a 14 per cent increase in its full year revenue to 13.3billion naira on Wednesday. The food company also saw profit after tax rise by 5.3 per cent to N22billion naira from N21billion in 2012. Dharnesh Gordhon, CEO Nestle Nigeria joined Didi Akinyelure in this exclusive interview to discuss the facts behind the figures. lenges we have to rise up to and seek the opportunities in them. Where does the company go from here? The track record of growth over the last 5 years is hard to beat. What are your investment and growth targets going forward? If you look at what we call the Nestle model which is, continue to have revenue growth with being discipline with resource efficiency. Certainly growth is non-negotiable in terms of our ambition and I don’t think anyone wants to have an ambition of having no growth. We believe we have the necessary resources and we will invest in more resources to be able to seize opportunities because there are opportunities. Will Nestle consider acquisitions to drive growth in the Nigerian market? Any in the pipeline? Well, you know, it’s always a question and looking at opportunities, we have got to look at what we can do better. You only do an acquisition when somebody else is doing better than you or somebody else can do something better than you. I’m not sure we are in a situation today where we’ve seen something that is really exciting for us to cease as an acquisition right now.

ful in the difficult Nigerian consumer market? If you think about it, we’ve been here for 53 years already, it means we pretty much are very part of the Nigerian fabric. We certainly have industrial footprint and manufacturing footprint that is well entrenched. In our operations people live the nestle culture within the Nigerian context so it’s not something that happens overnight. It comes with a lot of effort over a long period but I think it’s really about understanding the local content and bringing our work as practices, our work in science and technology into the Nigerian economy and certainly into our manufacturing and operations. Then, thinking about how we get closer to our Nigerian consumers and how we serve you as a consumer better.

Let’s get your thoughts on the competitive landscape for key segments of your business. Do you anticipate more players joining in? Absolutely, I think if you look at the Nigerian landscape, the competition is intensifying. What I call the grab for Nigeria is intensifying because everybody sees the opportunity of a vast population with a rising middle class. When you have competition, it also makes you smarter, it also makes you sharper to be able to respond and I think for us, it’s very clear that if we bring consumers, tastier healthier choices with the science and technology, with our investments in product development, it will make us stronger as an organisation and certainly at the end of the day, give the consumers that Still on the earnings, the company declared a What are the greatest challenges that you face as tastier, healthier choice. So actually competition dividend of N24, that’s a 2.18% dividend yield. It a company operating in Nigeria today and to is healthier. is also a 29.7% increase in the N18.50 paid in FY12. what extent did this constrain the 2013 performGive us insight into Nestle’s dividend policy go- ance? In a lot of How well positioned is Nestle to withstand the ing forward. Can we anticipate any change competition from the inflow of imported our performances, there’s been a lot of talk from the trend we’ve seen in recent years? about whether there are economic and social brands? Well, I think dividend policies really challenges in different parts of the country. I I think the uniqueness of Nestle as an organisadriven by what the responsible capital structhink for me, Nigeria is probably the most inter- tion is that we tailor our international brands to ture of the business is. So the way the board esting country in that each state of the country local taste profiles. Yes we also have the ability to What were the drivers for your full year earnlooks at this is, the financing resourcing we is so different and each city is so different. So import but we don’t believe that’s a long term ings in 2013? need, how we responsibly pay out our value how do we better understand that in order to strategy. Our long term strategy is to invest in loWell, I think the three pillars for what we did shareholders so I don’t think there’ll be much serve, we have to understand the landscape bet- cal operations and we certainly have some very was, one, seeking more value in terms of how change, in fact, we don’t believe there should be ter which has probably been our biggest chalstrong brands in Nigeria that would stand the we could bring new products into the market a change. lenge. Yes, there are logistical issues, yes there test of time. We are continually evolving our at a faster rate. How we get prices to be sensitive are infrastructural issues but these are things own portfolio and in fact at a faster rate than Talk to us about what makes Nestle so success- we have to just overcome and these are the chal- we’ve done in the past because it is about being to consumer needs and understanding the challenges that consumers have in pricing. So bringing more value in terms of pricing was a key factor. Onto of that is really, by intensifying our market operations, bringing promotions that excite market consumers, bringing new products with those promotions comes when By Nicole Cassandra Naidoo we see the value and customers see the value. I think overall, we are quite pleased that we see OUTH AFRICAN power utility, Eskom indi- Dames indicated that the national electricity the evolution of the way the year went last year, grid would remain constrained until new cated that its power system remains vulreally intensifying competition and we feel generating capacity comes on line and essennerable going into winter. much more comfortable that we reacted retial generation maintenance is done, as did “With the projected demand and current sponsibly. public enterprises minister, Malusi Gigaba, trends in planned maintenance and in plant who requested that customers be prudent performance, extensive use of open cycle gas Interest expense increased 16.1% YoY. Is this with the electricity usage. largely due to the depreciation in the naira dur- turbines (OCGTs) is anticipated resulting in “The power system is currently tight and will limited operating reserves to deal with volatiling the financial year? We know that about 50% remain like that until new generating capacity in demand or generation performance,” of Nestle’s loans are dominated in foreign cursaid Eskom chief executive Brian Dames at the ity comes online. We therefore appeal for susrency. How do you plan to hedge yourself Quarterly State of the System briefing on Tues- tained savings throughout the day in order to against that risk going forward? reduce demand on the electricity grid. The Yes, well, we certainly take measures in terms of day. “We call on all customers particularly the mu- less electricity you use, the more electricity hedging the risk and I think if you look at the will be available to go around. The electricity nicipalities and the commercial sectors to full financial year, we see that we are still in a manage and cut out all electricity wastage. The system remains tight and will remain so for a much more responsible situation today. Capiindustrial and commercial sector can make sig- foreseeable future,” he said. tal efficiency is the important part of how we nificant contributions particularly in large of- Eskom declared two system emergencies last run our operations and hedging the risk befice blocks and shopping centres. If this is done, week however, no rotational load-shedding tween devaluation of the naira, taking foreign was done. Nicolette Pombo-Van Zyl, proloans- but we also take local loans- so balancing it will ensure a stable power system and reduced costs. We thank all our customers who gramme director for African Utility Week, the two is quite important. continue to assist by reducing consumption.” stated that it is the responsibility of each indiLet’s get some insight into the company’s long

S.AFRICA’S POWER SYSTEM REMAINS VULNERABLE:

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ACUMEN PURSUING GROWTH IN RWANDA’S COFFEE INDUSTRY By Nicole Cassandra Naidoo CUMEN’S INVESTMENT in Rwandan coffee exporter, KZ Noir is expected to further develop the country’s coffee industry. “This is exciting for Rwanda for one main reason – Rwandan coffee is already world-famous. The fact that they’re providing market access to international buyers [means that] Rwandan coffee remains at the top of mind of a lot of buyers and consumers in the world,” Acumen East Africa’s business development manager, Kenneth Macharia, told CNBC Africa. “Our investment is going to help them scale up their business to be able to reach more farmers but also to produce more coffee and to be able to export more coffee.” Acumen, a global venture fund, recently made a 1.2 million-dollar convertible debt investment in the Rwanda based speciality coffee producer. “Acumen is really excited by this 1.2 million dollar investment in KZ Noir. One of the main reasons is that in Rwanda, coffee is one of the main sources of foreign exchange – it accounts for about 45 per cent of export revenues and 20 per cent of the Rwandan population depends on coffee,” Macharia said. “KZ Noir has been quite invested in this sector – since 2008 the price of coffee has dropped quite significantly and that has affected the livelihood of farmers. They do a lot of outreach to support farmers with training on how to grow better coffee beans and that has a huge impact in terms of the quality of the coffee that’s produced.” Macharia also emphasised KZ Noir’s ability to be able to provide market access into international markets for the farmers. “KZ Noir has been quite successful in terms of recruiting farmers that want to supply them with coffee. What’s exciting about that is that there’s a lot of support that’s going to training the farmers and that enables the farmers to feel that the company’s supportive of them. In addition to that, the ability for them to have a steady income over a long-term period – that’s very important for them,” he said.

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NIGERIA TO HOST THE 24TH WEF CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23 Talk us through the road to WEF Africa, has it been challenging? It’s a continuous process in that the forum doesn’t stop after the Africa meeting 2013 which was in Cape Town. We are already moving on by that time of course, Nigeria was just known as the host country for 2014. Has it been challenging after that? Certainly logistically, it’s always a challenge because you are dealing with a super high profile participant and there

ESKOM vidual to use power responsibly. “We know we’re in a tight spot capacity-wise, and winter is on its way. We need to make sure that by the time the season changes, we are thinking differently about how we use electricity, so that we don’t put ourselves or Eskom under undue pressure,” she explained. “Not only looming power shortages, but also the implementation of a carbon tax, coming into effect in January 2015, should be a spur for businesses to explore alternatives to carbon production and improve their internal energy efficiency. While it is Eskom’s responsibility to provide power, it is ours to make sure that we use it responsibly.” Dames also highlighted Eskom’s five-year plan, which is aimed at ensuring a sustainable generation fleet, at the Quarterly State of the System briefing. “The plan will see us target 10 per cent of our generation capacity on average through the year to do fixed planned maintenance, to address reliability and environmental issues at our power stations. In the short to medium-term, this will introduce higher risks to balancing supply and demand. In order to manage these risks, the country must continue to focus on additional supply options, energy efficiency and some form of an energy conservation scheme as a safety net.”

Friday, February 28, 2014 are a lot of people who are going to be here, over at least a thousand participants as well as other people who will also be in Abuja for this meeting. So planning wise, it’s been a challenge but only as much as all our meetings are because a lot of work goes into making sure that the transport logistics work and security is in place, and we have the facilities and the hotels but every time we’ve had a challenge, our partners in Nigeria have stepped up to the mark, we are having a look at the facilities that are available and ready now in Abuja and it’s been really impressive and really inspiring. What sort of interest are you getting from WEF’s global partners? Well, you just have to look at the coachers. As I mentioned, we have seven coachers, we have a stellar cast of able companies, GE, Mckenzie, Heineken, Barti Enterprises, of course Dangote group as well. So we are heaving Western based companies, we’re having eastern based companies, Asian companies, telecom groups in South Africa, so we are having some real champions. You know, the spread is absolutely global in terms of interests from global businesses. I can also say that the level of interest from our strategic partners, these are the global companies that we are most engaged with, on an all year round annual basis is unprecedented again. We have more strategic partners coming to Abuja than we’ve had at all previous meetings where we’ve been in Africa. Are you confident that Nigeria will capitalise on all of this foreign interest coming in? I think so. It’s a very good question. The will is certainly there, I know from the conversations I’ve been having with my colleagues in the planning committee that the enthusiasm is sky high in making sure that this is a show which really goes off and leaves a very positive lasting impression and there’s a lot of companies and businesses that still need to know a lot more about Africa. So I think there’s going to be a lot of emphasis on introducing them to the growth opportunities this country and the companies I’ve been speaking to over the last six months tell me that when they actually come into African market, they are positively surprised by the growth story that they weren’t aware of that was there. So there’s a lot of positivity from people who don’t know the continent as well as they might and I think will probably upgrade their views afterwards. Now one very quick question. We know that it will be hosted at Trasncorp in Abuja but are there any other venues that will be used? Yes, there will be. We will be having a daylong meeting at the Sheraton in Abuja. That is for our initiative which we co-organise along with Nippon and the African union. It’s the grow Africa investment forum. I know we’ve been working with your colleague at CNBC Africa, Bronwyn has been a great champion of this movement. It’s a food security initiative and we’ve been going for three years now and the whole idea of this initiative is to help small holder farmers create viable vibrant businesses and keep people farming not for subsistence but for a decent livelihood by helping them all organise themselves to take advantage of synergies and economies of scale with the latest technology and the latest innovations. This is two or three years project and it will be a big year this year. We’ve unlocked a lot of commitment in terms of investments from global businesses and from other organisations and governments and I think we are going to have some big news coming out of that on the 7th of May.

SOCIAL MEDIA CHANGES JOB HUNTING FIELD IN NIGERIA By Dara Rhodes S BROADBAND penetration in Nigeria continues to increase, experts believe that the unemployed need to start leveraging on social media. “On Linkedin for example, in Nigeria we have about 4.8 million Nigerians on Linkedin currently and that is a big leap from where we were before, so you find a lot of recruiters in Nigeria actually looking for people on Linkedin,” Olujimi Tewe, CEO of Inspiro Consulting told CNBC Africa. According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the country’s current unemployment rate is 23.9 per cent and with the country targeting a fivefold increase in broadband penetration by 2017, social media should be the next frontier for job seeking. “First and foremost, people need to understand that social media is quite powerful, people are looking for good people and so, you must position yourself. I’ll stick to Linkedin, you must have a professionally well written profile on Linkedin where you are able to document your achievements, not just your certifications and that makes you more visible,” he explained. Statistics by the Alder report for social media in Nigeria showed that the internet contributed 2 billion US dollars to the Nigerian economy. “Another thing you can do is, there are groups on Linkedin that you can actually participate in and that takes you from operating within the organisation to outside the organisation,” he said. According to him, jobs search in the country has become a lot more sophisticated as there are more recruiters using twitter talking about job opportunities and websites like jobberman.com. The opportunities are not just for the unemployed as Tewe believes that the employed too can benefit from social media. “As you grow in your career, one of the key things is not just what you know but who you know and who knows what you have. So, networking is very key and social networking is one of the major privileges of social media,” he added.

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LARGEST SOLAR ENERGY PLANT IN AFRICA DAWNS IN NAMIBIA By Wilhelmina Maboja AMIBIA is paving the Africa alternative energy route with a recent deal that will see the country build a solar power PV plant. The plant is a partnership between Namibia Breweries and the Ohlthaver and List Energy group, and was recently announced and approved. It will be the largest roof-mounted PV plant in Africa to date. “It’s a 1.1 megawatt plant and we have decided to go the green sustainability route, really trying to look at alternative energy. There’s a number of projects we’re currently embarking on, and we have had available that large roof at Namibia Breweries, where we mounted the plant on top of 4,200 solar panels,” Ohlthaver and List Energy group executive chairman Sven Thieme told CNBC Africa. “[It] also lends itself very well because of the air circulation to be more efficient, so there’s more air than on the ground.” The partnership between the two companies was primarily spurred on due to Namibia Breweries’ large and growing demand for energy. Thieme added that the move was also a means of using environmentally responsible ways to increase electricity production especially in a region that is particularly short of it. “Right now, [the plant] will only contribute towards our own consumption. During the day, when the sun shines, we will meet about one third of our own consumption,” Thieme added. Namibia will however require certain skills in not only building the plant but also maintaining its function. The plant is currently being designed in Germany, and German engineers will also be imported to oversee the establishment process in Namibia. There will nevertheless be a partnership with locals to transfer knowledge and skills. The project, in isolation, has the potential to create roughly 100 direct jobs for the period of energy consumption. Some building materials will also be imported. “The total investment was 22.8 million. It has a guarantee of 25 years, but it’s estimated to [last] 30 to 40 years, and it produces 1.9 million kilowatt hours per year. We have further projects with Namibia Dairies, where we will invest into a bioenergy plant which makes energy from cattle manure,” said Thieme.

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S. AFRICA'S BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS URBAN AND HOUSING DEVELOPMENT By Nicole Cassandra Naidoo OUTH AFRICA will be focusing on unlocking city development and municipal service delivery, according to its finance minister. “Our development plans focus on overcoming the spatial fragmentation of South Africa’s built environment, improved public transport and accelerated investment in human settlements,” Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday at the presentation of the 2014 National Budget. “An integrated city development grant has been introduced to strengthen long-term city planning and encourage private investment in urban development. It will amount to 814 million rand over the medium term. The assignment this year of the human settlements function to metropolitan municipalities is a vital intervention in accelerating housing investment and integrated urban development.” According to the National Budget, which was presented to Parliament in Cape Town, spending on housing and community amenities increased from 132.1 billion rand in 2013 to 142.9 billion rand in 2014. As a result of this, local government and community development will receive 80.3 billion rand expenditure, housing development will receive 34.8 billion rand and water supply will receive 27.8 billion rand. “Over the next three years, national government will allocate 105 billion rand to municipalities for free basic water, sanitation, electricity and refuse removal services. In rural districts, Minister Gugile Nkwinti’s development initiatives are gaining momentum and water supply and sanitation programmes are in progress,” Gordhan said. “Three point nine billion rand has been allocated to capacity building programmes over the MTEF, targeted at small towns and rural municipalities. Special initiatives include: 3.7 billion rand in conditional grants to municipalities, 857 million rand for the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency [and] 276 million rand for the human settlements Upgrading Support Programme in 53 municipalities.” Other special initiatives also see a new grant of 300 million rand a year to assist metropolitan municipalities in managing the human settlements function and a further 180 million rand as part of the human settlements development grant earmarked for settlement upgrading in mining towns.

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Friday, February 28, 2014

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BusinessRound-Up NIGERIA PREPARES TO HOST THE 24TH WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM ON AFRICA bility is increasing and I think for us the fact that when we measure our global competitiveness report every year, we always take note of the fact that Nigeria has a huge dynamic internal market place which in itself is a great driver for economic growth and for driving competiveness. You have that critical mass which could enable the country to become a real economic hub, we have here a world regulated finance sector, obviously there are HAT will be the highlight of this event? areas where the economy is to improve like in What can we expect? Well, other parts of Africa and indeed emerging markets one thing we can expect is a huge but there is genuine interest here and I think the amount of interest in Nigeria. For one thing, timing is very good for us to be in Nigeria. we have a lot of global organisations, heads of But what sort of investment opportunities can the states from across Africa and further off that private sector hope to get from WEF Africa? will be coming to Abuja in May for this three Well, the private sector are here to learn and it’s so days meeting. It’s essentially a meeting all important to say that it’s not just about business, about how to forge inclusive growth, create jobs for Africa. It’s the first time we are in West- the world economic forum in Africa, -we’d like to ern Africa so there’s a huge amount of interest think that the spirit of Davos which we would like for that reason alone. We’ve been to southern to bring to Africa- is bringing leaders from internaAfrica in the past, we’ve been to eastern Africa tional organisations from civil society. It’s all a matbut this is our first time and I think it’s a very ter of how we can come together, leaders from relevant time for us to be in the country. For a business, civil service, and politics to have the disfact, Africa is the fastest growing continent on cussions, to come up with some actions and some real solid ideas, initiatives, projects and investthe world and western Africa is the fastest growing sub region in Africa so there’s a huge ments to drive forward Africa in terms of business, in terms of social transformation as well. amount of interest and I think also a lot of thinking in businesses about how they can be part of this growth story, invest in Africa and Now you mentioned Davos and there was a huge how can they can make the biggest difference representation of Africa in DAVOS but what was to help drive the transformation we are seeing the general feeling of WEF Africa at Davos and are expectations high? in the continent right now. Yes, I don’t want to be subject or guilty of hype but I guess a lot of people might want to know why there’s unprecedented levels of interest in Africa this year. I have to say that there was a strong repNigeria and why is this such an important time for Nigeria to host this event. Well of resentation from Nigeria of course led by President course, Nigeria is the most populous nation in Jonathan but also on the business side, one of our Africa, it’s becoming a growth hub, and there coachers was Aliko Dangote of Dangote group, very very high profiles. Mr Dangote as well as Presiare plenty of acronyms going around the dent Jonathan had very high profile roles in the world for emerging markets. MINT is one of them, which is Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and public programs and in a number of our leading Turkey of course is just becoming more visible. sessions. In terms of across Africa, we had I believe Nigeria is just becoming more visible, its visi- twice as many African heads of states in Davos this

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NIGERIANS NEED TO BE PROACTIVE AGAINST TERRORISM By Dara Rhodes

This year, the focus is on forging inclusive growth and creating jobs. CNBC Africa’s Didi Akinyelure discussed what to expect with OLIVER CANN, Associate Director, Media Relations World Economic Forum.

N EFFORTS to face terrorist activity in the north-eastern part of Nigeria, the government has shut the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. Boko Haram is a terrorist and militant group based in north east Nigeria, north of Cameroon and Niger which has been terrorising the northern part of Nigeria since 2009. “First of all, we have to understand that Boko Haram does not operate by themselves. They are working with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Now they are the largest group in West Africa right now,” Chris Moghalu, CEO of BTK securities told CNBC Africa. “The reason AQIM is very important to what is going on in Nigeria is because they [al Qaeda] are aligning with Boko Haram and what they are doing. They are providing tactical support to Boko Haram, they also provide weapons for Boko Haram and they also provide ideological support.” An estimated 3,600 people have been killed since the Boko Haram insurgency in 2009 and they have recurrently attacked churches, mosques, markets and schools. “There’s another problem that we have, there is an infiltration and expansion of another section of terror groups...They are recruiting young unemployed youths and they are also providing funding. Funding is a major aspect of what is going on in Nigeria right now with the terrorists,” he added.

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OLIVER CANN year that we’ve had in previous years. If you match that optimism and enthusiasm within the sub-Saharan Africa with the enthusiasm and interest from the wider world, in emerging markets, in Europe, in North America, in the far East, then I think it’s, again not wishing to delve into hyperboleit’s going to be a very interesting meeting. Do you get the sense that Nigeria is actually ready to host this event? I know you are here for 24 hours but on your trip do you get that sense that we are ready? Absolutely. I’m here for another 24 hours so I have plenty of time to formulate my opinion but so far, the preparations I’ve seen have been magnificent. It’s now about making sure, if anything that we have stability in Abuja to create a bigger meeting, I don’t want to go into too many details right now but we are looking at what we can do to meet this growing interest within Nigeria and as I said, across Africa.

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TANZANIA GROWING THE NEXT WAVE OF AFRICAN MILLIONAIRES By Wilhelmina Maboja ANZANIA’S nurturing of dollar millionaires is quickly turning it into a haven for luxury goods and a new niche market to capitalise on. “It’s starts from quite a low base, which obviously helps to boost growth, but also there are a number of sectors that are doing quite well in Tanzania, including banking, construction, tourism, manufacturing, retail and transport and logistics as well. Those sectors are driving growth particularly in the millionaire space,” New World Wealth analyst Andrew Amoils told CNBC Africa. According to the African 2013 Wealth Book report, the East African region’s newest mil-

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lionaires are now likely to come from Tanzania. Other key findings from the report include the discovery that over 30 per cent of Tanzanian millionaires live in Dar es Salaam, the capital city, and that the sectors expected to drive growth in the country in future are the telecoms, healthcare and insurance sectors. “The biggest sector is still basic materials, but it hasn’t been growing as fast as some of the other sectors,” said Amoils. He added that a number of African countries have a spillover trend, where growth not only occurs among the wealthy or within the economy but also spills over to the middle class. The millionaire growth in Tanzania is also growing in correlation to the country’s GDP. Angola, for example, is the fastest growing country in terms of GDP growth over the past decade, and that growth has spilled over into the growth in wealthy individuals as well. “At the same time, some countries that don’t have very developed banking systems often experience strong GDP growth without necessarily experiencing strong wealth growth. [This is] because of the fact that people don’t save their money, they just spend it, so the wealth doesn’t necessarily go up,” Amoils explained. “So you often find countries that have more developed banking systems like Namibia, they are the ones that have really benefitted heavily from the

economic growth over the past decade.” A number of companies are nonetheless capitalising on the growth in millionaires through the introduction of luxury goods into markets. While it’s still early days for luxury goods markets particularly in Africa, countries such as South Africa, Nigeria and Morocco are slowly building that niche market with success. Brands such as Porsche, Gucci and Louis Vuitton can now be purchased on the continent. Bridging the economic divide in not only East Africa but the rest of the continent will however be essential to the sustained growth in millionaires, GDP and the continent’s other sectors. “There are certain countries that maybe start from a slightly higher base economically, where you’re starting to see the middle class grow quite significantly in places like South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria. Some of the other countries start from a particularly low base in terms of average wealth, such as Ethiopia. They’re obviously experiencing quite strong growth in millionaire numbers without it really spilling through to their middle class,” said Amoils.

Last week, the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima said that Boko Haram members are better armed and better motivated than Nigerian troops and that given the present state of affairs, it is absolutely impossible to defeat the terrorist group. “Well what I know is that we are probably going to have our own 9/11 one of these days. We are going to get to that because we are very complacent in Nigeria. We are taking a reactive approach instead of a proactive approach,” he said. According to Moghalu, the government is trying to curtail this however, because of the inefficiencies we have, they are now 10 steps behind Boko Haram. He believes that the solution lies with the general public as they need to get involved. “The government is not going to deal with this alone. The oil companies, banks and all the other multi-national companies need to begin to train their staff on security awareness programs. Part of what my contribution to this is, is to train not their security personnel but their staff because they need to be aware of what is happening,” he explained.


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28 ARTS Friday, February 28, 2014

VisualArts YECA... Engaging youth in creative enterprise Stories by Tajudeen Sowole NCREASING economic and social challenges Itiative, in Nigeria seems to have inspired a new iniYouth Empowerment through Contemporary Art (YECA). The YECA project, spearheaded by a Lagosbased group, African Artists Foundation (AAF), which is just in its fourth week, is complementing government’s new consciousness on skill acquisition via vocational programmes. And coupled with the rise in appreciation of Nigerian art, at home and in the international markets, the visual arts can’t be left out of any youth empowerment that may add value to growth of today’s generation for a strong nation tomorrow. In fact, Nigerian artists are quietly earning proceeds of their creativity in foreign currency, courtesy of art auctions and exhibitions and fairs – specifically for African art - organised in Europe. Across Lagos, vocational centres established by Lagos State are on the increase over the years, just as the government’s new policy on

vocational studies is raising consciousness on alternative skills to prepare youth for future challenges. In fact, YECA, according to the director of AAF, Azu Nwagbogu, “is inspired by the government’s policy on vocational education.” Nwagbogu added that with the support of the Lagos State government, YECA has sourced participants from public secondary schools in less privileged communities of the state. Art skill acquisition projects for the youths via workshops and similar outlets are not exactly new, particularly in Lagos; artists, gallery owners and collectors have been organising such. But YECA’s method of taking the project to sections

Aina Street, Old Worksyard School Complex, Mushin Lagos. While commending the state government, particularly “the Deputy Chief of Staff, Mrs. Mojisola Rhodes, for making the schools available,” Nwagbogu explained that the criteria for selecting the schools basically, was based on challenges in teaching art. “Schools that are inadequate in the area of art teaching are the priority and focus of YECA.” Although, the project was not exactly designed to make future artists of the participating youths, it is, however, of importance that focusing on the axis of the state that are high in unemployment takes into consideration the alternative skill benefit the creative sector provides. This much Nwagbogu confirmed: “The participating youths may not necessarily become artists, but they are prepared for challenges of tomorrow.” In schools where art is not taught, would it not be complex task choosing participants? “Passion seen in the potential skills of the youth is all we need.” The community of artists in Lagos, including expatriates and other enthusiasts, have lent supports to the project. Some of the facilitators, so far, include Olayinka Stephen, Ubong Akpabio, Wunika Mukan , Obinna Makata, Uche Uzorka, Ikechukwu Francis (Nigeria); Joseph Gergel and Cecelia Stucker (US), joined by Kenyan Cyrus Kabiru and Guy Campos from the U.K. of the society that are mostly inflicted with socio- One of the facilitators and a coordinator of economic imbalance appears like a precision ap- the project, Wunika Mukan said the workproach in engaging the youth. shop goes beyond tutorial benefits as some The AAF’s focus and methodology is  attractive of the youths would be given opportunity enough to have generated the interest of the pro- under AAF projects at mainstream profesject’s sponsor Ford Foundation just as a target of sional practice. “YECA 2014 pilot programme ‘four to five schools’, will be met in the first atwill include six- month workshop sections in tempt. A day ahead of YECA’s team continuation three selected communities in Lagos: of the workshop at a school in Mushin, NwagMushin, Lagos Island, and Ifelodun, with a bogu noted that YECA’s concept has energised focus on visual arts and photography. StuFord Foundation’s interest in art. It is great to see dents identified in the program will be chothat Ford Foundation still believes in power of art sen to participate in the 2014 edition of the to inspire and communicate change.” LagosPhoto Festival and the Female Artists DeCurrently YECA is at Euba Secondary School Olu velopment Project.” She also added, “YECA will develop a curriculum to be presented for adoption in public secondary schools in Lagos State.”  Apart from being known as the organisers of a yearly National Art Competition and a photography festival LagosPhoto, AAF also has its education department engaging young artists in workshops. It could be argued therefore that youth empowerment is not excontributing to the development of his country, actly new to AFF, having provided opportunity, for example, to young artists and no matter how little, he dumped Spain, and rephotographers in the past. One of such outturned to Nigeria.  “Seeing other street artists in lets is AAF’s yearly Lagos Photo Amateur PhoLagos, woke me from my complex after taking tography Competition in collaboration with up several odd jobs, including as a security Etisalat. One of the editions, This is Lagos proman.”  duced new photographers who later particiFrom being a security officer back home, the pated in the mainstream international push to go back to art kept resonating.  In 2009, gathering, LagosPhoto Festival. he started picking the pieces of his career toAnd in Ford Foundation, AAF mat find a gether when he used  “my last salary of N10, trusted partner as the former is not new to 500, to buy art materials and quit the job, fiart as a source of youth empowerment. For nally.” example, in August 2006, Ford supported From then till date, Omojola has proven that Tera Kulture in a juried and talent exhibition with creative skills, self-assurance and determiof 22 artists titled, Celebration of Talents. nation, man’s destiny lies in what he makes of himself.

Power of Vision...Omojola broadens grassroots art appreciation AINTER, Funso Omojola’s inspirational and P spiritual themes have become the hallmark of his art, so confirmed the just held street art exhibition titled Power of Vision at Ikosi, Lagos. Most of 0mojola’s works derive inspiration from words on marbles taken from speeches of notable names, living and departed, across the world. His previous shows at both formal space and on the street in the past few years included, My Experience and Unseen Expressions. For over a decade, Omojola has taken art appreciation from the elit-

One of Funso Omojola’s works from Power of Vision

ist terrain into the streets, bringing aesthetic and decor contents with intellectual value. When he had his previous show, Unseen Expression at Yusuf Grillo Gallery, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, it was an assertion of the confidence his art possessed, perhaps, proving that his choice of expression was not for lack of intellectual depth. This much he continues with works such as Way Out, Echoes of the Soul, Africa Historicist and Togetherness. Taking his followers through some of the wordings that are either familiar or spiced with painterly strokes, Omojola’s art complements the spirituality of being. Among the inspirational texts of visual contents of the works shown comes an urge: “But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” Omojola interprets “joy” in the colourful emission and effect of happiness. He breaks down the notion of joy, saying it has no “effect until it is expressed.” The painter argues, “joy cannot be done in isolation, it brings brightness and add color to the world.” For example, he traces the content of joy to the value of creativity, stressing that “art colours our world.” And another work The Dawn touches the importance of setting out and getting motivated by the spirit of the early hours of every endavour. He adds: “A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”  Omojola, a native of Ekiti State, holds a diploma certificte in Textile Design from the Rimax Institute, and another diploma in General Art from Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. In his previous show Omojola had shared his personal and professional experience via the canvas by taken followers through his past struggling against the forces of retrogression.  He put into visual contents his escape from the mentality of slavery that keeps attracting African youths to Europe and the US. Realising that his future and prospect lies in

‘Abuja Biennale logo the next few weeks, the National Gallery of IitsNArtgradual (NGA)-proposed Abuja Biennale may start journey into reality, so suggests the unveiling of logo scheduled for March. Few days ago, the Director-General of NGA, Abdullahi Muku disclosed in an exclusive chat that the logo of the Abuja Biennale has been selected and “will be unveiled to the public before the end of March this year.” Planned to debut last year as a replacement for the rested African Regional Summit on Visual Arts and Exhibition (ARESUVA), the proposed Abuja Biennale, according to Muku will now hold in 2015. “We can’t hold the Abuja Biennale this year until 2015 because, as you know, the Dak’Art, is holding this year in Senegal.” The unveiling of the logo, he hoped would provide enough time for awareness. “A logo has been selected, and as soon as the budget is out, we will unveil the logo so that we can start preparation very early,” Muku stated via a

phone conversation. At a Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA)-organised Distinguished Lecture Series held in Lagos, last year, Muku, who was the special guest of honour, disclosed that NGA plans “to organise a new event to be known as Abuja Biennale”. The disclosure confirmed an earlier statement by his aide, Mufu Onifade, who, on his behalf, during the British Council-led Nigeria’s preparation for Venice 2015, in Lagos, informed the gathering about the planned biennale. At each pronouncement, there was silence on the fate of ARESUVA. With its debut in 2008, ARESUVA had its second and last edition in 2009. In 2010, Muku – then acting after the erstwhile boss, Chief Joe Musa was suspended – announced that it would no longer hold as a yearly event, but “as biennale”, to commence the following year, 2011. In fact the odd year outing, it was stated then, would be good for ARESUVA, as it


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For Ojeikere, Stephens’ head-dressing ladies glows in London Stories by Tajudeen Sowole HEN Art 14 Fair opens its W second edition in London, UK, today, visitors will

Gary Stephens painting, drawing and performance shown in Lagos last year and showing in London from tomorrow.

for unveiling in March’ does not clash with the popular Dak’Art Biennale in Senegal. Across the world, art fairs, art expos and biennales have become part of the branding strategy in promoting creativity and enhancing the tourism potential of host countries. In fact, in Africa, the Dak’Art Biennale, in Dakar, Senegal, has in the last two decades, become one of the most visited international art events on the continent, playing host to artists within the continent and the Diaspora. Also, the Jo’burg Art Fair in South Africa has made a mark as a market for art of the continent and beyond. Meanwhile, Muku has assured that some of the yearly events of the NGA that did not hold last year will resume. He blamed non-capture of the events in last year’s budget for the break. One of the major events on the yearly programming of NGA, Art Expo Nigeria did not hold. In August 2008, Art Expo Nigeria de-

buted at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos as a “franchise” designed after the popular international event, ArtExpo New York. One of NGA’s events held last year, tagged First National Children Art Exhibition at Cyprien Ekwensi Centre for Art and Culture, Garki, FCT, Abuja included a lecture segment with guest speaker on artist and architect, Prince Demas Nwoko. Annual Distinguished lecture, National Symposium On Contemporary Nigerian Art The Director-General of NGA, Abdullahi Muku

paintings and drawings titled, Ankara Portraits, at Omenka. Ojeikere personified monochromatic presentation of photography in Nigeria and the Diaspora; His work is widely in black and white. Stephens said though he had been showing great interest in headdresses across the genders ahead of his first visit to Nigeria, but in Lagos ladies’ styles, “I got more fascinated.” He added that his drawings of braidded hairstyles have been boosted during his visit to Lagos, “it was great meeting Ojeikere and I immediately showed interest in his works of hair styles.” Enhancing the artists’ presentation, according to Enwonwu, is a performance by Stephens, which holds on the Day-two inside booth M28 at Art 14 Fair. The performance section described as exploring “notions of beauty and examining the influence of modernity and the spread of globalization on post-colonial Africa,” features about four braiders who demonstrates art of hair plaiting. Stephens calls performance Final Cut, a depiction of braiders and their sitters as known on the streets of Johannesburg and Lagos. Stressing the international direction of  Omenka in promoting African art, the curator assured that more artists within Africa and in the Diaspora are already on the radar of the gallery for exposure. “This initiative is part of Omenka’s increased participation in major international art fairs around the world including Art Dubai, UAE, the Joburg Art Fair, Cape Town Art Fair,

Loop, Barcelona, Cologne Paper Art, Art14, and 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, both in London” For over five decades, Ojeikere documented Nigerian women headdress known as gele as well as the native pattern of hair plaiting. He had shown some of his works across the world and published a book on the subject. Stephens has documented the topography of Johannesburg not as a visual sequence but as an interlocking series of rhythmic sounds affording the audience the opportunity of partaking in the performance by recognizing and identifying with the familiar that evoke memories while attempting to imagine the market banter, and the impatient honking of motorists amongst several possibilities. Thus the work merges the cities with performance and sound in new and innovative ways, creating a dynamic moving installation. Overall, the works are strongly individual, their providing a sense of urgency to an immediate purpose – to challenge the various stereotypes thrust on the Africans.

be privileged to see the first post-J.D. Okhai Ojeikere exhibition, just few weeks after the death of the renowned photographer. Courtesy of one of the emerging art galleries in Lagos, Omenka Gallery, the show, titled, Networks and Voids: Modern Interpretations of Nigerian Hairstyles and Headdresses, continues a two-artist show that the late photographer started with Johannesburg-based American painter, Gary Stephens. In October, 2013 the two artists showed Network and Voids at Omenka Gallery, a show Stephens disclosed was inspired by his love for Ojeikere’s photography works, particularly, on the headdress theme. Omenka is among art promoters from Nigeria that are participating in the two editions-old Art fair, one of the participants, Arthouse Contemporary is showing Sokari Douglas-Camp, Kainebi Osahenye,, George Osodi, Victor Ekpuk and Victoria Udondian. Ending on March 2, 2014, at the Olympia Grand Hall in London, the fair is expected to receive an estimated 30, 000 visitors. Speaking on the works of Ojeikere and Stephens, the curator of Omenka Gallery, Oliver Enwonwu stated that the contents of the two artists’ show, which include photography, linoleum prints and charcoal on paper, highlight Nigerian hairstyles and headdresses (geles). Specifically, the works Enwonwu explained are “fashioned from hand-woven aso-oke and expensive imported textiles including damask, brocade and metallic-like jacquard.” Enwonwu noted how the artists rove over the loud fashion themes of Lagos society, and “capture the creativity and opulence of social gatherings.” As Ojeikere’s work take a part of Nigeria’s fabrics history and Stephens’ painting aligns with the hairstyle as well as the headdress aspect, an element of ethnic modern cultural values energised in the nation state of Nigeria cannot be overlooked. Enwonwu, therefore links the trajectory of fabrics used in Nigerian to “the complex web of trade and negotiation between Africa and the West as well as the country’s socio-political development during the oil boom.” When the two artists showed in Lagos Stephens’ work exposed the artist’s steady step in developing a chain of thematic works, folFrom Ojeikere’s photography of headdress and hairstyles lowing his earlier solo of


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Heritage Pregnancy, childbearing, and traditional practices in Owerri By Okere Rose Chinyere WERRI North is one of the nine Local Government Areas in the Owerri Senatorial Zone of Imo State. The Local Government is made up of different autonomous communities with its headquarters at Uratta. The towns that make up this Local Government include Naze, Obibiezena, Enni, Egbu, Awka, Agbala, Ihite Ogada and Ukwo. The Local Government was carved out from the old oratta clan of the then Owerri province of Eastern Nigeria. Owerri North consists of group of people with cultural homogeneity. They speak the same dialect and also have a common traditional religious belief for example, they believed in “Ofo” which is the symbol of Authority, “Amadioha “ the god of thunder and justice; Ohajiokuji; the god of yam and “Ala” which represents the god of fertility and crops and a pantheon of other gods. The people of Owerri North believed these deities served as intermediaries between them and the Supreme Being. These communities also share common economic activities, political organizations and social ties. This study therefore seeks to explore the people’s cultural uniformity and perceptions about pregnancy and child-bearing practices in the olden days. Pregnancy process in Owerri North The People of Owerri North believed pregnancy is a blessing from the Supreme Being and this could be achieved through the help of the god of fertility (chiomumu). In those days, pregnancy was carefully handled. To them, it (Pregnancy) calls for joy and sacrifices to the woman’s Chi (small god) and in most cases, both woman’s chi and the family’s chi were appeased. This was done to know whether the child coming would be a good child or not. Pregnant women were also given special care and attention, for instance a pregnant woman then, was taking the best of the family meals. Mothers-in-law as well as the biological mothers of the expectant women would buy special locally made delicacies for their pregnant daughters-in-law and daughters respectively. Such delicacies include mashed bread-fruit (utara ukwa), Akarajiakpu (Cassava balls), liver and other nourishing locally made food to enable them have healthy babies. Men who were hunters would apportion the best of the bush meat to their pregnant wives. However, pregnant women were not given grass-cutter meat (Anu nshi). According to tradition it was believed to prolonge labour. More-so, throughout the duration of a woman’s pregnancy, the family diviner (dibia) would be consulted on regular basis to ascertain the condition of the woman and to know if any sacrifice is needed to

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be made to the woman’s god (Chi) or not. Any finding by the diviner was taken seriously and sacrifices when prescribed were offered as instructed. Though bareness and impotence were not very common in those days, however, if occurred, they were regarded as a curse which solutions could be divinely corrected by diviners. Child-bearing process The birth of any child in a family is seen as a joyful moment by members of the family and the communities at large. A child’s birth was usually announced by the midwives, first to the child’s father or any member of the family that accompanied the woman to the delivery point. A child’s birth also attracts an ovation by the women of the community on getting the information. The ovation is known as ‘Oronwa-o-o.’ This ovation could be classified into two ways for example if the baby is a boy, the ovation is sounded four times and for a baby girl, it is sounded two times. The ovation also attracts both children and adults alike, who usually rush to the family to witness the arrival of the new baby. These categories of people are entertained with Nzu nnu (kaolin) and white powder as a mark to show that one visited a family where a new baby has just been delivered. The father of the child having gotten a new baby pours out libation by thanking the god of fertility for the arrival of the child and safe delivery of the mother. It is important to know that maternal mortality rate was very minimal in those days, unlike now where several cases of maternal deaths have been recorded as a result of lack adequate antenatal care, including complications. In some cases, gunshots also follow the announcement of birth, depending on the financial strength of the family According to tradition, four days after delivery, the father of the child would go to his in-laws place with four of his kinsmen to perform a ceremony called ‘mgbawiga Egbe’. This ceremony is performed with a cock, two jars of palm-wine, two tubers of yam, a head of tobacco and a bottle of hot drink. Eight days after delivery is the observance of ‘ITOHU OKU EZI’. This ceremony was being performed by a woman who puts to bed. She would cook white soup (mgboro-ocha) with enough snails, dry fish, stock fish, crayfish, including pounded yam and invite her fellow women to come and eat which signifies the presence of a new baby in a family. Confinement period (Omugwo)

Child birth marks the beginning of the confinement period known as ‘omugwo’. It lasts for a period of twenty-four days from the date of birth. Confinement means a period whereby a nursing mother is restricted from going out or undertaking any chores. She is only expected to stay indoors, eat, breastfeed her baby and sleep. During this period, she would be rubbed with the native chalk called nzu (kaolin) so also the baby. The period of confinement was also the community affairs until a child is given a name. The concern of the community in this regard, indicates love among themselves. The community automatically takes over from the baby as well as fetching of water and fire-woods. Some even offered bringing palm-wine to the nursing mothers which assisted in inducing the breasts of nursing mothers for easy flow of breast-milk. It is quite unfortunately, that these traditional methods of feeding babies are mostly neglected today by most mothers. Naming ceremony On the twenty-fourth day of delivery comes the ceremony of nri omugwo proper. Early in the morning of that day, children in the family would bring the child out into the compound. The sex of the child determines the sex of children that would do the presentation. As they present the child, people would be giving gift items to that child. Thereafter, a demonstration of the community’s ways of life, their economic activities such as farming, and traditional wrestling matches would be displayed by boys in mock form, while girls would demonstrate the roles of women such as mock cooking, mother care, etc. The naming ceremony proper usually takes

Campari projects cultures through almanac By Florence Utor AMPARI, one of the leading global alcoholic spirits, has launched the 2014 edition of the annual Campari Calendar with the celebration of global cultural heritage as its main focus. With the theme “Worldwide Celebrations”, each month of the calendar focuses on a unique festival from a number of different cultures around the world. Through this intriguing new theme, Campari intends to highlight how cultures around the world have become more global than ever before, and reinterprets each celebration through its spirit made of passion, style and charisma. The Campari Calendar is one of the world’s iconic artistic calendars. Distributed in international limited edition of only 9,999 copies, it is a small, collectible luxury for the few that receive it, and is a tribute to the world-class talents and photographers that make it come to life every year. The 12 images of the Calendar have been inspired by the followings festivals across

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all the continents: Spring Festival – Beijing, China; SautizaBusara – Zanzibar, Tanzania; Mardi Gras – New Orleans, USA; Hanami – Tokyo, Japan; Feria de Sevilla – Sevilla, Spain and Midsummer’s Eve – Stonehenge, England. Others include Rhein In Flammen – Bingen, Germany; Festival y Mundial de Tango – Buenos Aires, Argentina; RegataStorica – Venice, Italy; Festival de lasCavaleras – Aguascaliente, Mexico; Melbourne Cup – Melbourne, Australia and Reveillon – Copacabana, Brazil. Hollywood actress, Uma Thurman, 2003 Golden Globe Best Actress Award winner, is the sole star of the project while the shoot was done by Paris-based South African Photographer, Koto Bolofo. According to Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Gruppo Campari, “The unrivalled legacy of the Campari Calendar is set to continue this year with the aim of delivering even more invigorating and inspiring imagery. Once again, boundaries will be pushed in order to stimulate people’s imaginations with a voyage of discovery

each month to explore worldwide celebrations, and the theme of this year couldn’t be more appropriate to do so. The Campari Calendar 2014 is dedicated to the pleasure that can be enjoyed from travel and discovery around the world. With this in mind, we are very much pleased to unveil the 2014 Campari Calendar.” Campari is a contemporary and charismatic classic. The secret recipe, which has remained unchanged, originated in Novara in 1860 and is the base for some of the most famous cocktails around the world. Campari is an alcoholic spirit obtained from the infusion of bitter herbs, aromatic plants and fruit in alcohol and water. With its vibrant red colour, intense aroma and inspiring flavour, Campari has always been a symbol of intrigue and pleasure, which unfurls itself into a captivating drinking experience. These are the values that have made the Campari brand famous throughout the world as an icon of passionate Italian style and excellence.

place in the evening of that day. Members of both families (i.e. maternal and paternal kinsmen) and well wishers would gather at Obiri i.e. (family forecourt) or in the compound where the ceremony is being performed. The event starts with the presentation of kola-nuts, thereafter; the traditional musical groups would entertain the people. After eating of kola-nuts, the oldest member of the kindred would pour libation with palm-wine and bless the occasion, after-which, the eldest in the family carries the child and blesses him or her and finally gives the child a name, i.e. names that most often explain circumstance of birth or other events. The child is finally welcomed as a full-fledged member of the family. Giving of names is immediately followed by ovation by women i.e. Oro-nwa-o-o. As the custom demands, second name is given to child by the parents at the end of which follows another ovation of Oro-nwa-o-o. Members of the mother’s family are third in line to give the child a name and this is done by the oldest member of the child’s maternal family which is also followed by Oro-nwa-o-o ovation. Gift items are presented to the child. Such gift items include soap, powder, wear, and money etc. After which guests and members of both families would be entertained with different dishes such as white soup (mgboro ocha), Owerri soup (ofe owerri) with pounded yam and fufu including palm-wine. A closing prayer follows after entertainment and the prayer said by the eldest of the family. During the session, the new baby would be formally introduced to the gods of the land thereby calling on them to guide the actions of the child and see him through in all his dealings on earth. Rose Chinyere discussed this topic with the National Museum Study Group in Port Harcourt recently.


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Revue

NMMA 2013 award winners with Governor Kayode Fayemi in Ekiti in December 2013

Handlers restate integrity of media reward scheme... By Kabir Alabi Garba

As NMMA triggers controversy over 2013 winners

cities and capitals across Nigeria from 2003 beginning from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. It has, so far, berthed in Port Harcourt (2004); Bauchi (2005); Ilorin Media Merit Award (NMMA) as a trust for (2006); Osogbo (2007); Kano (2008); and the promotion of excellence in the media Enugu (2009). In 2010 and 2012, it returned industry in Nigeria has lifted the image of to Lagos, while Akure hosted it in 2011. the profession as well as the practitioners Last year, it was the turn of Ado Ekiti as greatly. NMMA caravan comprising nominees, From the first 10 award winners at the maiden presentation ceremony in Lagos on trustees, panel of assessors as well as other stakeholders had swell time at the Ikogosi July 11, 1992, the scheme has grown to Spring Resort where the grand award presbecome one of the foremost platforms for entation ceremony took place. celebrating exceptional performance with Although, pomp and pageantry always trail 53 categories of awards in print and broadNMMA wherever it goes in the last one cast media now on offer. decade of rotational hosting, the great chalIndeed, journalists and media outlets lenge, which Akeju also admits is preserving across the country have embraced the scheme as performance measurement index the integrity that has, more or less, become the NMMA emblem as well as sustaining the as they look forward to it year in year out high profile event it has become. with great enthusiasm. Akeju noted, “the major challenge has been The success story of NMMA in the past two that of meeting the high profile hosting of decades could be attributed to the solid the event. The media award got a great foundation laid by the pioneer Board of flavour when, for the first time, it moved Trustees headed by the late Dr. Ismail Babatunde Jose, whose credibility, integrity, from Lagos and the whole of NICON Hilton was taken over by journalists in Abuja. There and managerial acumen did rub off on the was a big celebration in the air, interacting project as notable corporate organisations as well as distinguished personalities began with the then Minister of Federal Capital to associate with NMMA right from inception. That tradition of attracting big and credible sponsors and endowers subsists till date. Noteworthy also was the involvement, right from the outset, of Ideas Communications Limited as NMMA Administrators with the sole responsibility of strategising for its continuous upliftment in addition to ensuring that integrity and credibility remain its defining values. Chief Executive Officer of Ideas Communication, Yemi Akeju, who doubles as NMMA’s Chief Administrator is happy that the project has kept faith with the vision of its founding fathers. He is also satisfied that the introduction, in 2003, of rotational hosting of grand award presentation ceremony among the six geo-political zones of the country has enhanced the status of media in the society. The initiative has also afforded journalists the opportunity to interact with different parts of the country more closely. For 10 years (1992 to 2002), NMMA stayed in Akeju Lagos. But its train began to move around O doubt, the decision on December 12, N 1990 by leaders and veterans of journalism profession to establish the Nigeria

Territory on a one-on-one basis. It was a unique experience for everyone.” He rationalised the movement out of Lagos as conscious efforts “to celebrate media practitioners; to make them feel appreciated that, at least, three days in a year are devoted to honour them. And it should not just be in Lagos; it should be such that since media practitioners are concentrated in Lagos, you want to take people away. If you cannot find more than 10 per cent of journalists in Nigeria in Yola, for instance, so, when you take journalists to Yola, it means that you are moving them away from their usual abode to a new place which is like ‘come and see what is happening in this city, come to be celebrated, recognised; to network and feel relaxed’. And you are getting this because of your industry and commitment to excellence. That is the main objective of the rotational hosting.” But the rotational arrangement has equally attracted varied interpretations from a cross section of media analysts and observers. They express concern that too much involvement of political elites as reflected in the last 10 editions of the award

Prof. Akinfelele

But the rotational arrangement has equally attracted varied interpretations from a cross section of media analysts and observers. They express concern that too much involvement of political elites as reflected in the last 10 editions of the award ceremony whereby a state governor automatically becomes the chief host and pick the bills can, sooner or later, stain the integrity of the scheme. ceremony whereby a state governor automatically becomes the chief host and pick the bills can, sooner or later, stain the integrity of the scheme. Also, it is being argued that hosting such a large team of media workers and managers for three days during which one whole day is dedicated to touring ‘real and imaginary’ projects within the host state can expose journalists to manipulation as they become instrument of propaganda in the hands of ‘unscrupulous’ politicians, who may want to use “hosting NMMA” as an endorsement, in spite of the reality of non-performance. In the area of awards on offer, two categories — Newspaper/Magazine of the Year and Editor of the Year — have also come under the scrutiny of observers alleging that criteria for determining winners are not as “transparent and open” as expected. In fact, suspicion is rife that the two award categories are mostly influenced by a number of factors including “ rotational hosting” of the yearly presentation ceremony. But Akeju stoutly debunks these insinuations while insisting that, Ideas Communications, as a matter of principle, does not participate in the process leading to award of prizes in all categories. “I would love you to talk to the Chairman of the Panel of Assessors, Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Engineer Vincent Maduka. Both have the authority to comment on awards and how

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… Integrity, transparency remain Panel of Assessors’ watchwords, says Akinfeleye CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 they are given. But I would make a very simple comment as an observer, because we (Ideas Communications) do not give awards; we do not participate in deciding who wins the award and that is the truth of the matter. Ideas Communications is simply the administrator and the schedule in NMMA is that the award panel determines winners and the process is very cumbersome. “What I mean is that before any newspaper becomes a winner, the process is usually very rigorous. In the past, the panel would first carry out an opinion poll among stakeholders such as media scholars; special advisers of companies; people in NIPR and advertising worlds. These are consumers who advise their clients on where they want to place their advertisements and PR message when you want to get some mileage. “So, these people are generally well informed about the media and what is happening. So, therefore, you are looking at a complete picture. For instance, in breaking news, which paper comes with it first? Which paper is more detailed in investigation? When you now look at the winners… I remember, people had raised the questions, ‘how come a newspaper that has not got more than two or three winners becomes the Newspaper of the Year.’ It may be that those people who are writing those beats do not put in their entries. If that happens, you are not only doing yourself a disservice, you are also doing your organization a disservice. “I know that certain newspapers, because their reporters do not come on board, the rating that they would have got from public space would be high, but by the time you look at the net of what they had put together as entries, the paper may not win. There are scorings and parameters through which winners in those two categories emerge. “For instance, public opinion, 25 per cent; performance of reporters, 25 per cent (I am not saying that is exactly what the panel does, this is just an example); the opinion of the panel members, 25 per cent; and may be one other criterion and by the time you aggregate the scores, three newspapers that now score highest points will be listed as nominees, and subsequently another round of analysis will be done to determine the ultimate winner… I am talking as an observer, but I have seen things done with transparency.” And on the allegation of whether “rotational hosting” has influence on who wins the Newspaper of the Year Prize with reference to 2013 edition that produced The Nation as winner with Ekiti State, believed to be one of the patrons of the newspaper company, as host, Akeju retorts, “ko posibu” meaning “it can never happen.” He explains further, “I need to clarify certain points. When did Awards Panel submit their report for the 2013 event? It was in July! When did we begin to explore the possibility of Ekiti State hosting the event? It was towards the end of October when we were holding the Christ’s School dinner at Intercontinental Hotel! I went to China in November, and I was called to be informed that Ekiti was interested in hosting it, while the panel that determined who wins what submitted its report since July. “At the dinner in October, the governor of Ekiti came and the question was asked, ‘where will NMMA be hosted this year (2013)? I said, we had talked to some states, but I did not mention any name. Host does not know anything about who wins a particular category; they can never influence it. Before we go into the award, the state is not important. Looking at the process it takes, it is not possible for the host to influence it and sometimes the award panel does not know where we are going before they do the assessment.” Describing the NMMA “as the foremost award granting institution”, Prof. Akinfeleye also vouched for the integrity and transparency of the process that lead to emergence of winners in all categories including Newspaper of the Year as well as

Chief Administrator of Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA), Mr. Samuel Yemi Akeju right; Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi; Chairman, NMMA Board of Trustees, Engr. Vincent Maduka; and Chairman, Panel of Assessors, Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye(left) at the grand presentation ceremony of NMMA 2013 at Ikogosi Warm Springs Resort last December la

Editor of the Year. “The Panel of Assessors is jealously composed of distinguished people from the industry, academia, regulatory bodies and professional associations. “These are people who know the nuts and bolts of the profession. These are people who have good reputation, who cannot be sold or bought and place emphasis on integrity and transparency. As you are aware, we have listed ten criteria and each person to be nominated and award winner must have a cumulative point of 70. In other words, assessor A must give 70; B must give 70 and so on. “The criteria, we are talking about social responsibility, depth, grammar, syntax, invoking the mood, we are talking about diversity, sequence of writing, as well as social responsibility. NMMA is an organisation that is very serious and that is why you notice that 2013 edition, about six categories were not given because many of the entries did not meet the 70 points mark. It is not that there must be winners every year. “As assessors, we always like to present winners in all categories, but if entrant does not make 70 point, he/she can’t be declared winner and we communicate our final decision to donor, to ensure that there is an improvement in next edition. We do a post mortem every time when we do not have winner(s). And by NMMA standard, Panel of Assessors’ assessment is not final, we only recommend three nominees for each category to the Board of Trustees. The Board will check our recommendation with a view to ensure that the quality control is there. The panel may recommend, and the Board may not approve. But so far, the Board has always approved 99 per cent of the panel’s recommendation. This is because the process is always rigorous. I could only recall one instance when the Board did not approve a particular photo recommended by the panel.” As Chairman, Panel of Assessors, the communication scholar shed light on how Newspaper of the Year winner always emerges. “It was not even easy for us (assessors) to come to the conclusion of Newspaper of the Year. We debated it. And what we do, we start from day one, like the one for 2014, we have started collating the publications of those newspapers, the areas they are focus-

Pioneer Chairman, NMMA Board of Trustees, late Ismail Babatunde Jose

ing on, their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and at the end of the day, we would collate all these vis-à-vis other competitors. In the immediate past, it was possible for a paper E to be Newspaper of the Year and Editor of the Year to be paper B. But we found out that it is not consistent. This is because if there is a newspaper of the year, then the editor should be the Editor of the Year. That is how we have been able to balance it now. “Apart from that, the newspaper, magazine, radio and TV of the year, if you come out and we found that you have not paid your staff, you will not be declared a winner. It has to be seen that winner of this special category fulfill all obligations to staff and the society. If you are owing salaries, we are not going to declare you. In fact, we have had cases of that in the past three years, whereby a potential winner was discovered to owe a backlog of salaries, so, the panel decline to recommend the medium. It is an aberration to declare you Newspaper/Magazine/Radio/TV of the Year, when you are not paying your staff as at when due. It is NMMA’s contribution to entrenching professionalism and strict adherence to ethical conduct by practitioners and owners.

Apart from that, the newspaper, magazine, radio and TV of the year, if you come out and we found that you have not paid your staff, you will not be declared a winner. It has to be seen that winner of this special category fulfill all obligations to staff and the society. You owe salary, we are not going to declare you! In fact, we have had cases of that in the past three years, whereby a potential winner was discovered to owe a backlog of salaries, so, the panel decline to recommend the medium.

Immediate past Board Chairman, late Hadj Alade Odunewu

That is another criterion that is hidden, that people do not understand.” Now that submission of entries for 2014 edition is open, Akinfeleye urged journalists to “put in their entries on time. They must follow the advertised guidelines, because every year we advertise and give guidelines. Some people were disqualified because they did not follow the guidelines and they must also make sure that it is their own work, not corporate work. As you are aware, when we give award, we give plaque, certificate and cash prize of N100, 000 to individual. Corporate Award, we do not give money, just plaque and certificate. So, we are very careful who gets what and we also display the document that is winning the award.” From the administrator’s point of view, Akeju insisted that NMMA would continue to improve on the quality of assessment, “because the award principally is about the quality of assessment and winners.” Besides, the project is planning additional benefits for winners such as capacity building and skill acquisition. “It is grace to start something in 1990 and through the various challenges of life you have not stopped doing it. There is no year we did not do award but there was one year we did not declare the winners. The winners emerged but we did not do the ceremony, because the Board felt the media was being unfairly treated. We had the list of winners, but we did not declare them. It was in 1994,” Akeju recalled. With confidence, he said, “if there had been any error in NMMA at all, it cannot be more than 10 percent, because the room for any manipulation is not allowed. If any, it is a product of human nature.”


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Film A digital film house for Half of a Yellow Sun Stories by Shaibu Husseini Filmhouse Cinemas, which is undoubtedly the fastest growing cinema chain in Nigeria. The cinema and distribution company, which clearly comes first in digitization, first opened its doors to cinemagoers in December 2012 when it launched its first two cinemas in Surulere, Lagos and at the Calabar Marina resort. It opened another outlet in Dugbe, Ibadan in 2013 and Mkparu disclosed that Filmhouse is currently in the last stages of construction and fit-out of five cinemas in the first half of 2014. ‘’We shall in the first quarter of 2014 launch five more cinema houses in Samonda, Ibadan; Port harcourt, Asaba, Kano and Apapa, Lagos and they are all fitted with high definition gadgets, because for us at Filmhouse, it is about taking the big screen viewing experience to the next level by actually investing in the latest sound and picture presentation equipment to create a whole new movement that will revolutionalize cinema going in Africa’’ Mkparu said. But beyond operating cinemas with digital capabilities, the Filmhouse boss also disclosed that the outfit has launched a digital laboratory,

AINLY, the meeting, last Wednesday, was M aimed at showcasing Filmhouse cinema’s digital media capabilities and how the facility has joined big international players in setting the trend in digital cinema technology in Nigeria. But Managing Director, Film house, Kene Mkparu seized the occasion to share good news that the distribution arm of the Film house has acquired the rights to distribute the much anticipated big budget feature, Half of a Yellow Sun in Nigeria. In fact, he declared that the film directed by Biyi Bandele and starring BAFTA and Screen Nation award winning actor, Chiwetel ejiofor will premiere on home soil as from April 11. The movie, which is based on Chimamanda Adichie’s book of same title, was first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2013. It also had an impressive showing at the 2013 British Film Institute’s London Film Festival and was programmed to show at the 2013 African International Film Festival (AFrIFF) held in Tinapa, Calabar, Cross river State, but the producers of the show pulled out of the festival for reasons that have not been publicly stated. Since then, there has been some unusual quietness over the film, which sources say gulped over $8 million. There has been no news about its distribution plans until Mkparu broke the news that the funders have finally decided to bring the movie home to roost. “Although this is not the reason for this gathering, but we are happy to announce that our distribution company has acquired the rights to distribute Half of a Yellow Sun in Nigeria and it will premiere on April 11,” Mkparu said at the briefing.

which has made it easier for Nigerian film makers, content producers and corporate advertisers to produce the highest grade of picture quality here in Nigeria at far reduced costs. According to Mkparu “this digital lab can convert hD films, adverts, commercials and promos to international standard cinema compliant Digital DCP format.’’ he spoke of how Filmhouse recently reworked rukky Sanda’s Nollywood film, Gold Diggin from a regular hD feature to a high grade DCI compliant DCP feature with an upgrade to 7.1 Surround Sound. According to Mkparu, the upgrade made the presentation quality of the movie far superior to what has been seen at the other cinema chains of the same film.  “So the roll-out of Digital Cinema has indeed commenced in a big way so we can comfortably say that cinema goers in Nigeria are in for a whole new world of digital experience this year, the days of low quality Nollywood films are soon to be a thing of the past.” Mkparu surmised.

Kene And the other big news that Mkparu broke was that cinemagoers would no longer wait until they travel to europe and America to enjoy films that are projected in best quality. Mkparu who is reputed as the first to access the $200 million Federal Government intervention fund dedicated to the development of the entertainment industry declared that cinema goers can for the first time experience 3D features with 7.1 digital surround sound system in Lagos, Calabar and Ibadan, courtesy of

Centenary honour for Fagunwa, Ogunde, Ozokwo, Olu Jacobs hree practitioners of the film and T Nollywood industry-the late Chief hubert Ogunde, popular actress Patience Ozokwo, pioneer home video producer Kenneth Nnebue and veteran actor Olu Jacobs featured prominently on the list of 100 persons that have been named as winners of Nigeria’s Centenary honours Award. They were listed in the category of internationally acclaimed artists, literary icons and journalists. Also on the list are seven internationally acclaimed writers including the late Pa Daniel Fagunwa, Professor Wole Soyinka, Professor J.P Clark and the late Cyprain ekwensi. The late Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the late highlife musician Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe and the late Kalangu music exponent Alhaji Mamman Shata Katsina were also listed on the honours list that also featured two legendary artists the late Ben enwonwu and the late Dr. Ladi Kwali. The centenary award will hold today at the Banquet hall of the State house, Abuja at 7pm. Although impressed that at least, some distinguished and accomplished members of the literary community made the honours list, some stakeholders say they await explanation on the criteria for selection of the awardees. One of them particularly wondered how popular actress Patience Ozokwo and Kenneth Nnebue made the list in a sector that has produced icons such as Dr. Ola Balogun (Nigeria’s first known professional filmmaker), Pa Francis Oladele (who produced the first indigenous Nigerian film Kongi Harvest) the veteran actress Taiwo Ajai Lycett, Lanre hassan aka Iya Awero among many others.

Ashaolu

Aliu

hOSe who predicted that the lates four years single term for T centre would no longer hold national officers. for the Association of Nigerian But barely a week after judg-

Ozokwo

Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP) even after a court in Ibadan, Oyo State had declared Comrade Victor Ashaolu President of the ANTP were right after all. Members of the association who are obviously dissatisfied with the outcome of judgment delivered by Justice Bolaji Yussuf have formed a parallel association. Justice Yussuf had upheld the September 2010 election of Comrade Victor Ashaolu and had also restrained Prince Jide Kosoko and Dele Odule from conducting another election to elect new national officers of the association. Justice Yussuf ruled that the 2005 harmonized and approved constitution of the association, which was adopted in compliance with an order of a Federal high Court remains the authentic legal document of the ANTP. The court therefore ruled that Comrade Ashaolu remains the national President of the ANTP since the harmonized 2005 constitution of the ANTP stipu-

ment was handed down, prominent members of the ANTP from across the country, numbering over 150, met at a location in Ikorodu and after a meeting that spanned several hours, announced the formation of an association to be known as Theatre Arts & Movie Practitioners Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN). The news of the formation of the body and names of advisers as well as names of state coordinators and interim executives — members of the National Working Committee- has since been trending on social media. Listed, as members of the NWC are practitioners believed to be ‘prominent advocates for change in the ANTP’ and they include Yemi Solade, ebun Oloyede, Toyosi Adesanya, ronke Ojo, Yomi Fash-Lanso, Akeem Alimi and Femi Adebayo. Also listed as advisers are two former Presidents of the ANTP Chief Adebayo Salami aka Oga Bello and Prince Jide Kosoko.

Veteran actor Yinka Quadri, Lanre hassan and Adewale rasaq are the other names that featured on the list of advisers of TAMPAN. however, reactions have continued to trail the formation of TAMPAM, which though is enjoying growing support. Pioneer President of the ANTP Chief Jimoh Aliu said he has been in practice long enough to know that associations that are founded “just because people want to be in-charge” do not always last beyond the tenure of the founders. he advised ‘aggrieved’ members of the association to allow reason to prevail and to close ranks and work with the ANTP president to restore normalcy to the association. On his part, Comrade Ashaolu said he has only read the news of the formation of TAMPAN in some print media but will not bother because he has a mandate to lead a united and indivisible ANTP. ‘’Like I said before, my immediate plan will be to reconcile all factions and restore the association,’’ he said.


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38 ARTS Friday, February 28, 2014

Alex Ekubo, Anthony Manjaro, others headline 9th Screen Nation Awards in London HE Screen Nation Film and T Television Awards, also known as the black BAFTAs took place on

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Sunday, February 23, 2014 at the Park Plaza, Riverbank London. Hilarious Nigerian comedian, Ali Baba compered the event alongside the gorgeous LA-based British Nigerian actress, Caroline Chikezie. In attendance were Film and Television stars from the uK and Nollywood. The line up included Jimmy Akingbola (ex Holby City); Chucky Venn (Eastenders); Alex Ekubo; Anthony Manjaro; Ashley Walters (Actor and Rapper); Pauline Long (founder BEFFTA Awards); Ken Smart (Meet the McKenzies); T-Boy (Comedian Don’t Jealous me); Beauty Queen Alexalyn Owuadey (1st Princess Miss Black Africa); Choice FM’s DJ Abrantee among others.

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Alex Ekubo an

Submission of application for FPF closes today By Shaibu Husseini uBMISSION of application for Scomponent the Film Production Fund (FPF) of Project ACT-

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tress

h Nollywood ac

wit Ashley Walters

Realness, courage, fun in Legend’s new TVC

Nollywood will close today. Project Coordinator of the funding initiative, Dr. Supo Olusi, enjoined all would be applicants in the Nigerian motion picture industry to submit their applications online before the closing date. The coordinator further stated that 250 applications have been received so far, and that grants for disbursement to eventual winners of the FPF are in two categories – one for up to N10 million – with preference given to films already under implementation; and the other for “special movie projects that have the potential to position Nigeria on the global stage of movie making and to raise the bar on innovation, quality and experience in Nigeria’s motion picture industry.” Project ACT is an initiative of the Federal government of Nigeria. The fund is being managed by the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation. The fund was approved by President goodluck Jonathan to be disbursed to practitioners who meet the criteria so as to encourage the sustained growth of Nigeria’s movie industry and to enable it realize its potential as a significant creator of employment and contributor to national gDP.

Valentine booties for By Florence Utor HOugH the valentine day set aside T to celebrate love comes on the 14th of every February, the whole month

Mimicking the Head Honcho, the staff was telling his co-workers that they are henceforth barred from fun and realness, in a new television discussing football, visiting dating websites, YouTube and Twitter durcommercial. What better way to showcase these ‘Legendary’ attrib- ing office hours. utes than producing a TV commer- A fellow employee complained about the rules “being too hard to cial that depicts typical everyday swallow.” Sarcastically, he suggestoccurrences. An employee, obviously mimick- ed that they should be “washed ing the company’s CEO, is seen reel- down with bottles of Legend Extra Stout. ing out ‘new’ company rules. HE STOuT brand with a unique T bitter taste, Legend Extra Stout, is promoting the traits of courage,

True to word, they move to a bar after work hours and savour bottles of Legend beer; as the employee continues mimicking the CEO. As he chats on, the big boss emerges from the background. He continues to blab, unaware that the CEO is watching. Fellow employees even try to signal him to keep quiet by making odd signs and facial expressions. But this did not work.

He eventually sights the CEO and becomes sober for an instant. But like the true Legend drinker he is, he ‘mans’ up, looks the CEO in the face and confesses to the CEO that they were just unwinding, as ‘body no be firewood.’ The boss is seen letting down his guard and joins them in savouring his own bottle of Legend Extra Stout. The new TVC is currently running on selected television sta-

just lingers with several activities to mark the event. One of such events is the Valentine special edition of Who Wants To Be A Millonaire? organised by ultima studios, producers of the popular game show as well as Aduke hotel sit-com series. Mr. & Mrs. Arogbodo after answering a series of question, that would have taken them to the two million naira mark, fell back to Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand naira, which they took home because they got the answer wrong. ultima studios however gave their two days old baby who they came along with for the programme a gift of One Hundred Thousand Naira. Speaking shortly after the programme the Arogbodos expressed their joy and gratitude to the producers of the programme. “That we feel great is an understatement.


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ArtHouse KSA to give his best at Glo Evergreen series

HIEF Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye popularly known as King C Sunny Ade the Juju music legend and one of Africa’s greatest music maestros, will be celebrating his 50 years on stage alongside the forthcoming Glo Evergreen Series, the KSA edition in Lagos on February 28, which is specially for him. D’banj and Yemi Sax will be performing at the concert too. The event will be coming up on February 28, and it will feature the best of his performances in his 50 years on stage. “The Glo Evergreen Series has opened a new vista in the Nigerian music industry and it will go a long way in uniting the country’s entertainment Industry,” said KSA.

Ghana to host Nigerian actors

HE cordial relationship that exists between Ghana and T Nigeria will be moved a notch higher next month when a delegation from the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) goes to partner the Ghana Actors Guild (GAG) in a number of engagements to commemorate Ghana’s 57th independence anniversary. The 35-member Nigerian delegation is expected to arrive Ghana on March 2 and spend a week absorbing some of Ghana’s interesting sights and sounds while participating in a number of activities lined up for the visit. There will also be a dinner and an awards event at the Banquet Hall in Accra on March 8.

Yoruba Movies Academy Awards to hold soon

FTER the event debuted in 2012 in Ogun State, there were A anticipation for the second edition, which was to be hosted by the Oyo State government, just as the Ogun State government did in 2012, but due to some hitches, it never held last year as planned. The event, against all odds, will now hold on Sunday, March 30, 2014 at the prestigious Ibadan Civic Centre Agodi Ibadan amidst fun, excitement, glamour and paparazzi.

Youssou N’dour performimng at the etisalat Prize for Literature award on Sunday at The Marquee, Federal Palace Hotel…in Lagos

Compiled by: Florence Utor

UNIC Lagos, Harare, jointly observe Mother Language Day ITH the resounding W echoes of the Yoruba folksong, Iya ni wura iyebiye, Iya ko see f’owo ra – ‘A mother is a gem… a mother is priceless’, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos set the tone for the joint observance of the 2014

International Mother Language Day by UNIC Lagos and Harare and kick-started the first collaborative programme implementation between two Centres. The programme, a video conference between a group of Nigerian students and their

Cross section of participants at the event

Training

counterparts in Harare Zimbabwe, was facilitated by the UN Department of Public Information, New York, to discuss the role of mother language, its impact in teaching and learning, its limitations in teaching Science as well as the influence of foreign languages on local culture and youths. Welcoming the students to the Centre, the UNIC Lagos Officerin-Charge, Ms Envera Selimovic, enjoined the students and their parents to preserve their culture by constantly nurturing their mother language. ‘Do not look down on speakers of mother languages as inferior and non-educated,’ the National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun, added. In the message of the UN

Secretary General, which was jointly presented by three students from Lagos and Harare, Ban Ki-moon noted that Mother Language would help ‘deepen and enrich our global knowledge base with more traditional but often overlooked scientific wisdom.’ He called for the promotion of linguistic diversity and multiligualism as a key element of building a better world. In her preamble, the Subject Matter Expert at the Lagos end, Ms Funke Treasure Durodola, observed that speaking mother language also instilled in the speaker, the values of the language culture which, according to her, could lead to socio-cultural development of the child. During the interactive session,

the students, both from Lagos and Harare, were unanimous in their views: “In schools, subjects are taught in English Language but I would have a better understanding if I am taught in my mother tongue,” said Miss Jesutofunmi Soremekun, a Yoruba-speaking 14-year old student of Covenant University Secondary School, Ota, Ogun State. Michael Felix of Government College, Eric Moore, Lagos confirmed, ‘Surely, I understand English but I prefer Igbo, my mother language.’ For Miss Ogechi Kanu of Fountain Heights Secondary School, Surulere, Lagos, ‘If we don’t speak our mother language, there is something missing.’ The programme attracted

other friends of UNIC, Lagos including Ms Shohini Ghosh, a Bengali speaking Indian and Mr Victor Asije a journalist and a Nigerian minority language speaker. Ms Gosh underscored the importance of mother tongue when she admitted to the audience that her first thought always was in her mother language while Mr. Asije highlighted the important role the media play in preserving mother languages. The event was attended by 40 participants comprising of students and teachers from five schools; representatives of five media organisations and the Head, WHO Lagos Office, Dr Mejebi Phillips. The International Mother Language Day is observed every February 21.

LEC adopts e-marking, empowers invigilators

By Florence Utor HE League of Muslim School Examinations Council (LEC), the T organ of LEAMSP (League of Muslim School Proprietors) in charge of conducting yearly examinations for pupils in terminal classes in member schools has adopted e-marking for scoring the candidates in this year’s edition of the exercise. At her 7th invigilators’ training exercise held in Lagos on Saturday, February 22, a total of 66 participants and 10 members of the Council were in attendance. The first 50 schools to register as well as the best three candidates in the examination slated for Saturday, March 1, would be awarded at the next LEAMSP annual summit. As against 1, 541 candidates from 199 member schools last year in Lagos, 1, 700 candidates had been registered for this edition with additional 700 in Oyo, and 491 in Ogun states. The uniqueness of this year’s programme is worth noting in the sense that it is a test-running exercise, involving the aforementioned three states; and the success would be a signal to the possibility of including other states of the federation next year. According to Mr. Raji Yekini, the Registrar of the Council, in his welcome address “since the beginning of LEC examinations in 2004, exactly ten years ago, the marking of candidates’ scripts had been done manually. We started online presentation of results five years ago and commenced online registration last year. The increasing ubiquity of the computer in educational environments, along with the growth in its sophistication as well as the ease-of-use of the e-marking packages, has dramatically changed the means of marking examinations in the contemporary world. This informed the decision of the Council to move a step ahead and exploit the possibility of marking the candi-

dates’ scripts electronically this time around. Hence the theme of the training: Enhancing Examination Integrity through E-marking. He further states, “as the programme is fast, consistent and reliable in scoring the candidates, the new approach would forestall several human factors in the conventional marking that may impinge on the integrity of the examination as well as its results. Apart from making the results enduringly available in soft copies for easy access, the scripts of the candidates would also be preserved for a minimum of three-year duration for verification – if need be.” He concluded by saying, “whatever works for you today is already dated as better ways of doing it abound. You should also note that everybody, as well as everything, grows old daily; you can only remain new and relevant by learning something new and doing something great every day of your life. This is the tradition of the Council which we believe all of us can emulate on our path to greatness.” On “why LEC?” The Deputy Registrar, Mr. Adedeji Liadi, the lead speaker at the training listed the objectives of the capacity building programme. According to him, it is designed “to improve the pupils academically; afford our member schools healthy competitions and enable them assist their pupils in weak areas; serve as a forum for positive interaction among schools/pupils from various zones/states; as well as a means of laying solid foundation for future academic relationship” including enhancing the confidence of the pupils, while preparing them for statutory examinations. The training, he insisted, was also to demonstrate to the larger world that it is possible to conduct examinations not

fraught with the prevalent examination malpractices. Liadi announced that the result of this year’s examinations would be released on March 5 and expressed optimism about the use of ICT in all LEC operations soon. In addition to being in partnership with the Ministry of Education in each state of the federation, LEAMSP has ever remained supportive of all the programmes of both national and international educational agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Community Participation for Action in the Social Sector (COMPASS), Department for International Development (DFID), and Developing Effective Private Education in Nigeria (DEEPEN).

The Registrar, LEC, Raji Yekini (left); Deputy Registrar, Adedeji Liade; and Logistics Officer, Anthonio Sulaiman Kolawole during the training programme


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Friday, February 28, 2014

AutoWheels BMW seven wonders on wheels

BMW 7 series

By Dele Fanimo HE coy look bellies the power; the conservaT tive vintage design masks it elegance, yet it is said that the taste is in the pudding. It is another wonder on wheels from BMW The full-size 7-Series sedan is the largest and most luxurious model in BMW’s lineup. Turbocharged engines with six, eight or twelve cylinders are available, as is all-wheel-drive and an extended-wheelbase variant. While the previous-generation 7-Series ushered in the controversial Bangle era of BMW styling, the latest model takes a much more conservative (and arguably elegant) approach while continuing to offer responsive driving dynamics along with an updated version of the automaker’s iDrive infotainment system. Recent Changes The 7-Series benefits from a host of new standard equipment for the latest model year, including remote services, BMW Apps, real-time traffic information, BMW Assist eCall, BMW Online, BMW TeleServices and a dynamic instrument cluster. Additionally, the iDrive infotainment system now features a touchpad for “writing” numbers and letters for tasks like entering navigation destinations or saving phone numbers. BMW gave the 7-Series a mid-cycle refresh for the previous model year. Enhanced powertrains, an upgraded infotainment system and a heavily revised. ActiveHybrid 7 model were among the most significant updates for the sedan. Overview Outside, the styling changes of the updated 7Series are decidedly subtle. The twin kidney grilles, which each feature nine slats in place of the previous 12, are now encased in larger chrome surrounds. The headlight design was tweaked, with adaptive LED units now on the options list. The full-width air intake in the lower front fascia was also redesigned and incorporates new fog lamps and chrome strips along its outer sections. The cabin continues to follow in the BMW tradition of understated elegance coupled with simple, easily decipherable instruments and controls. The one control that provided a great deal of controversy when it made its debut in the last 7-Series - iDrive - has received a host of updates

over the years that make it a relatively intuitive and user-friendly device. The electronic shifter, however, can take a little getting used to. The back seat, a major selling point for cars of this class, is suitably commodious, especially in extended wheelbase “L” form. The navigation system was recently revised with crisper graphics and new 3D elements, and BMW has added an enhanced voice recognition system that allows the driver to dictate and send emails without removing his or her hands from the wheel. Other nifty electronic touches include Remote Services, which lets smartphone users remotely start their car, turn on the A/C or, in the event of a crowded parking lot, honk the horn or flash the lights to locate the vehicle. BMW Apps lets passengers users access Facebook, Twitter, web radio services and more through iDrive, while BMW Online provides access to Google local search, restaurant and hotels guides, telephone directories and more. Powertrain Updates The 7-Series can be had with three separate powertrains, each designated by a unique model name The “entry-level” 740i features a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six with 315 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. The mid-grade 750i employs a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 with 445 ponies and 480 lb-ft. The range-topping 760Li boasts a twinturbo 6.0-liter V12 that pumps out 535 horsepower and an impressive 550 lb-ft of torque. The big twelve-cylinder can propel the car to 60 mpg from a standstill in just 4.5 seconds. All three motors are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the smaller two can be optioned with BMW’s xDrive all-wheeldrive system. Fuel economy is rated at 19/28 city/highway mpg for all 740i variants (up from 17/25 mpg). The 750i returns 17/25 mpg, while the 750i xDrive, 750Li and 750Li xDrive return 16/24 mpg. The 760Li is good for 13/20 mpg. Though its size and weight prevent it from cornering with the zeal of a 3-Series, the 7-Series still provides accurate steering along with a good tradeoff between ride comfort and handling. ActiveHybrid 7 Offered only with a long wheelbase, the ActiveHybrid 7 is the gas-electric version of BMW’s 7-Series full-size luxury sedan. The ActiveHybrid 7 is based on the 740Li, with

both sedans featuring a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six. The ActiveHybrid 7 goes a step further by adding an electric motor electric motor housed within the car’s eight-speed automatic transmission that essentially takes the place of the torque converter. Total system output is rated at 349 horsepower and 367 lb-ft of torque. Those figures that represent noticable gains over the 740Li’s 315 ponies and 330 lb-ft, but the extra weight of the ActiveHybrid 7’s electric motor and battery pack effectively negates any acceleration advantage. The ActiveHybrid 7 also offers little in the way of a fuel economy advantage, returning 22/30 mpg to the less expensive 740Li’s 19/29 mpg. Like most other hybrid vehicles, the ActiveHybrid 7’s gas and electric engines are capable of operating independently or together. Given a light enough right foot, the car can be coaxed into covering 2.5 miles using only the electric motor. The top speed on electric power alone is 37 mph. High Tech Barrage: Driving Dynamics Control, Eco Pro, Coasting Modes and Dynamic Damper Control All 7-Series models boast a Driving Dynamics Control system that allows the driver to personalize a wide-range of the car’s systems to suite his or her tastes, including accelerator response, engine response, power steering characteristics, stability control thresholds, transmission and damper settings and more. Drivings Dynamics Control offers five pre-set settings, with Eco Pro being the most notable. Eco Pro optimizes a host of vehicle elements, such as the powertrain and programming of the heating and air conditioning, heated seats and exterior mirror heating, to operate with maximum efficiency. When used in conjunction with an efficient driving style (which the system actually offers tips for), Eco Pro can help reduce fuel consumption by up to 20 percent, BMW says. Eco Pro also features a coasting mode that decouples the engine when coasting at speeds between 30-100 mph. It wouldn’t be a full-size German luxury sedan without a world-first feature, and the BMW says this requisite distinction is provided by a Dynamic Damper System. Standard throughout the lineup, the system is reportedly the first electronically controlled damping system with shock absorbers that are adjusted individually at each wheel based on the condition of the

road surface and the driving style. Standard and Optional Features All 7-Series models come standard with leather upholstery, heated front seats, a navigation system with voice command functionality, genuine wood trim, a moonroof, a rear parking camera, dynamic cruise control, a proximity key, a 10-speaker, 205-watt AM/FM/CD sound system with Sirius Satellite Radio, HD Radio and AUX and USB inputs, a 20 GB hard drive, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity and four-zone automatic climate control. Highlights from the options list, which approaches the length of the Illiad, include heated rear seats, soft-close automatic doors, a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium sound system, a Head-Up display, a rear entertainment system with dual LCD screens and a four-wheel steering system that provides heightened maneuverability at low speeds and greater stability at high speeds. Also available is a power trunk that can be opened or closed by making a kicking motion under the bumper - it’s especially handy for times when one’s hands are full. An available M Sport package brings an aerodynamic kit with aggressive front and rear bumpers, 19-inch wheels, Shadowline exterior trim, anthracite headliner and an M Sport steering wheel with paddle shifters. Occupant Safety Every 7-Series model is equipped with dual front, side and side curtain airbags along with traction and stability control systems and a crash sensor that disconnects the alternator, fuel pump and starter from battery, automatically unlocks doors and turns on hazard and interior lights in the event of a collision. For longer journeys, an Attention Assistant feature evaluates the driver’s control inputs and issues an encouragement to rest if it detects signs of fatigue. Even more safety features can be had with the driver assistance package, which brings an active blind spot warning system and a lane departure warning system with Collision Mitigation (which applies the brakes when an impending collision is detected). The package also includes side and top view camera, which provide extra side-view visibility, and Speed Limit Info, which displays the local speed limit at the top of the instrument panel.


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from a total makeover last year, the Nissan Altima also Fto RESH known as Teana has opted out of the mid-sized sedan segment provide customers with premium experiences and high technologies for the 2014 model year. Nissan says, it is enhancing the Teana’s package with better value proposition to keep it fresh against increasing competent rivals. Teana’s innovatory features are designed to reposition the car way ahead of competitions such as Toyota Camry that underwent full model change recently and the Honda Accord as well as Mazda 6 and the imperious Volkswagen Passat. The Teana according to Nissan is in spite of this new twist, affordably priced than its rival and is ultimately the game changer in the increasingly competitive entry D-segment. “We are simply re-emphasizing leadership in the D-segment not only by enhancing class-above premium and thought-provoking technologies but by introducing class-leading driving pleasures,” Nissan assured. Some of Teana’s distinctive features are to be found in the customizable 3D meter, HMI voice communication and full mobile connectivity, as well as the complete set of around video monitor and intelligent transport system. The 2014 Teana unlike its predecessor comes equipped with a darkened grille slats at the front end which gives the car a bold and sophisticated appearance with seamless bumper and projector type headlights and a duck tail spoiler at the back. This is in addition to a longer sloping rear roofline and raised trunk that creates a more fluidic silhouette that is supported by a sloped A-pillar angle and a raised waist-line that gives a lower coefficient aerodynamic drag. And down the flanks, there are additional details such as sculpted side sill covers running beneath the doors as well as blind spot warning (BSW) radar system that warns drivers, using LED lights mounted inside the base of the side mirror. Nissan also stressed Teana maximum efficiency for its conventional version that constitutes the lightest in this group. That’s not all; the Japanese automaker says Nissan’s class-exclusive use of a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is to achieve an impressive 76km per gallon on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highway driving cycle for the 4-cylinder model but urged customers who are obsessed with performance to opt for a potent V6, a rare feature in the family sedan category. Although previous incarnations of the Teana 2.5L featured beige interior along with wood trim that gave it two-tone elegance and

New Nissan Teana

Nissan Teana returns with class-leading features luxurious ambience, the 2014 version is a lot more improvement with cabin – black leather seats and dashboard that gives a premium feel. A change of colour does not however take away the fact that the cabin is spacious with copious amounts of head and legroom even though the Teana still comes with a wheelbase of 2,775mm. Mr. Amit Sharma, Head - Sales and Marketing, Stallion NMN, the Nissan national sales distributors also remarked that the Teana is undoubtedly exceptional and comfortable for long drives; and when stuck in traffic through the usually crawling pace he noted; it definitely offers a less fatiguing experience. He thus described Teana as Nissan’s solution to the market customers needs, adding that the car shows top-level fuel economy and acceleration supported by the CVT with wide gear ratio and less friction and a thicker torque engine. The Teana though achieves dynamic driving with the support of newly structured Rear Multi – Link active under-steering

Peugeot unveils three new products By: Dele Fanimo OR Peugeot car enthusiasts, the golden era in the FNigerian market appears to be in the horizon, yet again. With about 170million population, Peugeot France could not have looked elsewhere in Africa than Nigeria. So, on Tuesday at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, Peugeot Nigeria Limited unveiled to the public three products from its stable. Indeed, at the launch, Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, who midwifed the birth of Peugeot Nigeria limited (PAN) in 1972, was the cynosure of all eyes present as he regaled them with tales of the good old days of Peugeot brand. Gowon who bemoaned the gradual decline in the fortunes of the automotive sub sector, alluded the free fall to harsh econmic climate and policy inconsistencies in the polity. He was, however, grateful to God for witnessing the growth in the fortunes of the company which was largely the effect of the intervention of the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON). According to General Gowon, with the new Automotive policy which would attract further investment in the sector, the economy looks brighter and prosperous. Gen Gowon was con-

ferred with the Brand Grand Patron of the company at the event. Managing director, PAN, Ibrahim Boyi, Said “Unstable government policies, inadequate tariff protection for local assembly plants, global financial meltdown and weak management in different degrees affected the fortunes of PAN Nigeria ltd in the last decade. He stated further that car Sales Quantity and Turnover declined from 11,768 vehicles and N31.75b in 2007 to 659 vehicles and N1.96b in 2013 respectively. Direct employees of the Company were reduced to 230 from 1,120 over the last decade, while dealership networks and service centers along with over 70 local auto component manufactures were all decimated. The agreement with Peugeot France was also suspended in 2010. According to him, these developments have not in any way affected the condition or state of readiness of our assembly plant. In its current form, it remains the best and most comprehensive assembly plant in the west coast of Africa. “In 2012, AMCON acquired the debts of the Company and converted a portion to equity, leading to 80percent shareholding in PAN Nigeria Limited, acquiring Board and Management control. A new board, led by Alh Muhammed Munir Ja’afaru, and Management was appointed by AMCON in July 2013 with the mandate to

turnaround the fortunes of the company to realise the objectives of its foundation”. He said “We are certainly on course in realizing our mandate in most of the areas listed above, as evidenced by today’s commercial launch of our products. The recently unveiled Auto Development Plan is designed to restart the local auto assembly plants and local components manufacturers. PAN and Peugeot France have keyed into the policy and I am glad to announce that assembly of Peugeot vehicles at our Kaduna plant will re-start in June this year”. “We are conscious of the strong emotive streak running through our customers with regard to the brand experience. We, our parents or grandparents at one point or another have had a PEUGEOT car. It is our intention to relive that experience for the benefit of the next generation”. “PEUGEOT vehicles have evolved to meet the modern customer’s requirements in terms of beauty, brains and frills, while retaining the key value of the brand in reliability, performance, safety and emotion. PEUGEOT have achieved a new high in economy of ownership of its vehicles. These are embodied in higher fuel efficiency, longer service periods, fewer replacement parts and precise repair technology”.

control and refinement in body rigidity and braking system its highpoint is the car’s creamy – smooth engine options of 2.5SV, 2.5Sl or 3.5SL that lets out a pleasantly distinctive rumble when revved. The 2.5-litre EFI (electronic fuel injection) QR25 petrol engine for instance, has six in-line cylinders fitted with 24 valves and a DOHC (dual overhead camshaft) with the ability to displace close to 2,496cc along with a pounding toque yield of 244Nm, 180ft-ib @ 4000rpm with an incredible 135.7kw and 182bhp @ 6000rpm - a remarkable design for Nigerian roads and traffic conditions. In addition, Teana’s VQ35 (3.5SL) engine, which is currently the only engine in the world that has been awarded world’s 10 Best Engines for 17 consecutive years since 1995 churns out 135.7kw, 340.31Nm and 270bhp at 6400rpm. Mr. Sharma said beyond Teana’s remarkable engine configuration, “Teana’s suspension absorbs the shocks from bumps and potholes smoothly just as its dual climate control air conditioning keep occupants pleasurable on the cozy leather seats.”


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Quote of the week

BusinessTravel

My message going forward is that I want to remind everyone in the aviation industry - especially those who manage aviation companies and those who regulate aviation - that we owe it to our passengers to keep learning how to do it better. ——-Chesley Sullenberger ibeuwaleke2012@yahoo.com 08033151041 (SMS only)

Questions on Nigeria’s aerial vehicle yet to be deployed into airspace

President Jonathan. security chiefs and Air Force Engineering Corps at the launching of the drone in Kaduna. By Ibe Uwaleke HE joy and anticipation that T greeted the launch in December, 2013 when President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, unveiled the country’s first indigenous unmanned aerial vehicle (drone), codenamed, GULMA, designed and constructed by the Nigeria Air Force, seem to be waning as nothing on ground indicates that this technological breakthrough has been deployed to its proper use.

This is aggravated going by the recent carnage of 29 students of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi in Yobe State, slaughtered by insurgents suspected to be members of Boko Haram. GULMA by the Nigeria Air Force Engineering Corps was designed for surveillance, for intelligence and information gathering for the security agencies and the government to monitor oil pipelines and help checkmate insurgents’ incursion in areas that have security challenges.

Getting rid of aerophobia Imagine yourself in a safe place, somewhere you feel comfortable and safe, perhaps your bedroom, or on a beach. Take yourself there with your eyes closed and relaxed. The idea is to take your mind off the little things that make you nervous about flying and focus on the positive aspects of your journey.

Between December and now, media reports have it that the killing and maiming of innocent citizens by the outlawed Boko Haram in the northeast area had been on the rise since. It is also on record that pipelines vandalism and destruction of power infrastructures have not abated either since then, thereby calling to question the usefulness of the launched drone that suppose to carry out proper surveillance in areas of need to nip these security challenges in the bud. President Jonathan at the launch in Kaduna said that the unveiling of the vehicle marked another landmark moment in the nation’s history. He noted that besides ‘its diverse military application, the vessel would provide a range of benefits in disaster management, power line surveys and law enforcement’.

His words: “The vehicle will also be useful in aerial imaging/mapping, telecommunications and weather monitoring. “It is also rapidly becoming an important tool in news coverage, environmental monitoring and oil and gas exploration. “Considering the potential impact of its benefit and versatility, I cannot but say how proud I am of the men and women of our Armed Forces,” the president said. He continued: “Apart from their commitment to the protection of our sovereignty, they are helping to keep our nation ahead in military science and technology and to keep their civilian counterparts on their toes. “Today, as we stand in appreciation of the gallant men and women of our Air Force, we are reminded that hard work and diligence can break many barriers,’’ he said. Jonathan commended the

Chief of Air Staff and all officers and men of the Nigeria Air Force for the achievement, noting that it would strengthen the security of the country. He also said that it would also enhance the nation’s role in peacekeeping and conflict prevention. The president said that he was optimistic that this stride by the Nigeria Air Force would mark a turning point for indigenous technology in every sector of the nation’s life. “Let me assure the Air Force of the federal government’s support for this and all other research projects. We will encourage and assist private sector concerns to key into mass production of the project to achieve the highest and best commercial use of this prototype unmanned aerial vehicle. His words: “As I said in my Independence Day address, our nation is made great by the big and small efforts of regular

citizens. Indeed, indigenous initiatives remain indispensable in achieving national greatness. “To retain the country’s importance on the global stage, we must continue to produce leaders in science, technology and engineering, and invest more in ideas,” the president said. In his remark, the Supervising Minister of Defence, Labaran Maku, said that the development of a surveillance aircraft by the Nigerian Air Force was a bold statement of government’s resolve to provide security for the Nigerian populace. Indeed, the GULMA is made to afford the armed forces a window of immense opportunities in its task of acquiring timely intelligence and combating criminality. The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, (now Chief of Defence Staff), at that occasion said that the GULMA was designed to meet vast expectations and needs adding that it would be employed by the armed forces and security agencies for the protection of the country. He explained that the Air Force envisaged partnership with agencies such as National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, (NAMA), for proper deployment and weather forecasting. However, it appears that it is this collaboration with relevant agencies that is delaying the full deployment of this drone according to industry watchers. Industry experts said that for the drone to be effectively deployed into the Nigeria airspace, the Nigeria Air Force needed to collaborate with NAMA so that they could work out an acceptable procedure as it concerns the enroute chart which is domiciled with NAMA. The nation’s airspace is solely managed by NAMA, which ensures safety of all aircrafts and all space users.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 47

MMA2 is a success story, says NAMA boss ANAGING director of the Nigerian M Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Mazi Nnamdi Udoh, has described the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2), operated by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), as a big success. Udoh said this at a dinner party organised for major stakeholders in the country’s aviation industry by Bi-Courtney at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. According to him, “any architect worth his salt looking at MMA2 will agree with me that the design is something else; it is something every Nigerian should be proud. No wonder, the design of six or seven newly-renovated airport terminals in the country looks like a replica of MMA2.” Udoh, who recalled that he was the Master of Ceremony (MC) at the foundation-laying ceremony and the inauguration of MMA2 during the former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration praised the resilience of Bi-

Courtney to keep the terminal clean at all times, saying “that is why it is a big success.” He said that since then, he had been emotionally attached to MMA2 as a terminal and as an engineer of over three decades standing and has been to different parts of the world, he was sure that the terminal is one of the best. Other speakers on the occasion, including the Managing Director of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (nahco aviance), Kayode Oluwasegun-Ojo and his counterpart at Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCOL), Oluropo Owolabi, said that MMA2 was a kind of terminal every Nigerian should be proud. They praised the resilience of BASL for keeping the terminal running almost seven years after, despite the harsh environment in which it operated, appealing to the operator to sustain the improvement of MMA2’s facilities. Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of Bi-Courtney Group, Dr. Olawale Babalakin, praised all the airlines, the regulatory agencies,

the tenants, the concessionaires and other users of MMA2 for “keeping us in business”. According to him, MMA2 was planned as a “onestop shopping complex” where aircraft will fly in and take off and where a user could do everything he wanted to do within the airport environment with ease. He expressed gratitude to all the airlines, concessionaires, tenants, passengers and others for their belief in the terminal, saying Bi-Courtney would not relent in its efforts to sustain the high quality of facilities at MMA2 and keep it clean at all times. The Chief Executive Officer of BASL, Mr. Christophe Penninck, who presented visuals of all MMA2 achieved in 2013 and its plans in the New Year to make its users comfortable, while thanking all the stakeholders for their support last year, pledged the commitment of Bi-Courtney to keep up the high standard of the terminal. Besides, he announced that like other high class terminals the world over, BASL had automated the Multi-Storey Car Park at MMA2 with a view to

eliminating the delay associated with manual parking, adding that the company had also started the installation of new escalators at the terminal as part of its infrastructure renewal project. Apart from Udoh, Ojo and Owolabi, others present at the event are the managing directors of Dana Airlines, Jacky Harthyramani, Medview Airline, Muneer Bankole, IRS Airlines, Yemi Dada, the Chief Financial Officer of Aero, who represented the managing director, Tunde Pampam, President, Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Femi Adesina, managing directors of Spakleen Professionals, Mrs. Bose Ogunsanwo and Precise Limited, Mrs. Olaosebikan, Dr. Abiodun Olayonu, Professor Gbenga Ogunmoyela, Segun Ahmedu, Wale Akoni, Chief Operating Officer of BASL, Ms. Adebisi Awoniyi, Chief Financial Officer, Olusola Olayinka, Group Head, Internal Audit, Mrs. Yosola Popoola, representatives of Discovery Airlines and many others.  


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British Airways showcases customer investment with ‘Flight of Fancy’ By Ibe Uwaleke RITISH Airways recently B brought together the best of Britain and South Africa at 30,000 feet over Johannesburg to showcase how its £5 billion investment is benefitting customers. Some 200 guests including top Springbok, try scorer, Bryan Habana, lock Flip, Van der Merwe, Freshly ground singer, Zolani Mahola and a host of others were treated to two hours of non-stop entertainment and extravagance on board British Airways’ new A380, the airline’s largest and most modern aircraft. Guests enjoyed a special Champagne high tea at take off created specially by The Saxon and South Africa’s top chef, David Higgs, featuring a raspberry union jack macaroon and vanilla biscuit dress. The A380 became the longest runway in the sky for a fashion show of British designer collections for the summer season presented by Harrods, the world’s most famous luxury department store. Looks were shown from Stella McCartney, Jenny packham, Alexander Mcqueen, Victoria Beckham, Mathew Williamson, Ralph & Russo and Temperley and teamed with Jimmy Choo shoes and jewellery by Astley Clarke, Monica Vinader, Shaun Leane and Lara Bohinc. It then doubled as a 30, 000 foot-high stage for a live performance by multi-award winning Afro-fusion band

Freshly ground, who’s lead singer Zolani opened the 2010 World Cup singing Waka Waka with Shikira. Freshly ground performed a unique rendition of Shake it and Flower Duet Lakme, British Airways’ iconic theme tune. During the past fortnight the aircraft has visited three major cities in South Africa. Since January 27th it has been based at King Shaka International Airport for flight crew training. During this time winners of the Man vs plane online challenge got to try and emulate Bryan Habana’s 2013 race against the A380, which became a YouTube sensation. Then the superjumbo paid a fleeting visit to Cape Town for a world first fly past over Table Mountain, before arriving in Johannesburg for the launch event.  Modern, fuel-efficient aircraft are the mainstay of British Airways’ five-year investment programme in products and the A380 is the third of 12, all of which will be in daily service by 2017. It has also ordered 24 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and is the first airline in europe to operate both aircraft types. The aircraft began operating between London and Johannesburg on February 12. This is only the third route to be confirmed after Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Initially it will operate three times a week, with the other 11 Boeing 747400 weekly frequencies. The A380 service will increase to six weekly services by March 6,

resulting in a net capacity increase on the route. British Airways operated by Comair, which operates domestic and regional flights in southern Africa, is also currently enhancing its fleet and recently took delivery of its first 737-800, next generation Boeing. Comair is investing R3.5 billion to replace its current fleet of 737-300 and -400 aircraft, with the more modern, fuel-efficient aircraft. A second 737-800 is due to be delivered in the half of 2014.British Airways has a history of innovation in South Africa. Speaking at two-hour launch flight, Frank van der post, British Airways’ managing director, brands and cus-

tomer experience, and erik Venter, Comair chief executive, outlined the enhancements being introduced for domestic, regional and international customers. It has worked with top chefs to improve the quality and choice of food on board with the A380 First service includes a five-course tasting menu. Locally Comair runs its own in-flight catering operation, food directions, to provide customers with top-quality, fresh, tasty meals including hot, cold and snack meal options.  On the ground, a new international departures lounge, modelled on the Galleries Lounges in Terminal 5, has just opened at Cape Town

the German LthatUFTHANSA, flag-carrier, has confirmed it would roll out mobile connectivity across its entire long-haul fleet of over 100 aircrafts this year as it has been delivered with the first B747-8 to be fully line-fitted with the Aero-Mobile in-flight mobile service by Boeing. The airline has received the landmark delivery, which will open the path for all future B747-8s to be fitted with Aero-Mobile connectivi-

ty. A registered mobile service provider for the aviation industry, Aero-Mobile provides the mobile network for airline passengers to roam on in-flight. Aero-Mobile has roaming agreements with more than 240 mobile phone operators worldwide, including German networks T-Mobile, Vodafone, e-plus and O2 Germany, as well as AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States of America and ee, O2, Vodafone and Three in the

Questions on Nigeria’s aerial vehicle yet to be deployed into airspace CONTINUED FROM PAGE 46 Air traffic experts who were contacted by The Guardian said that the two organisations were working round the clock to provide an acceptable procedure for the drone to commence operation from its base. What this means is that NAMA has to map out traveling lines for the drone within the procedure chart to allow for safety of other airspace users. It must be recalled that this device is already in use in some African countries like South Africa and Kenya among others. In these countries surveillance and security have improved tremendously. GULMA, the Nigeria device, is said to be technically grounded because experts in NAMA and the Nigeria Air Force are yet to come out with an acceptable procedure chart. While this is being awaited, the security situation in the northeast and other parts of Nigeria is deteriorating by the day.

United Kingdom. Lufthansa has 19 B747-8s set to enter their fleet. Nine of these aircraft have already been delivered and will be retrofitted this year. The additional deliveries will leave the Boeing facility in Seattle fully line-fit with Aero-Mobile connectivity. According to the airline, once all of the aircraft have been delivered, Lufthansa will have the largest B747-8 fleet in the world, all with full mobile connectivity. The aircraft, which accom-

Arik Air lifted 2,745,400 passengers in 2013 By Chika Goodluck-Ogazi eSpITe all hiccups includD ing some technical challenges coupled with some

Lufthansa fits aircraft with aero-mobile technology By Chika Goodluck-Ogazi

International Airport. The departures lounge at O.R. Tambo, which has been reconfigured to accommodate the A380, will be refurbished towards the end of the year. British Airways operated by Comair’ lounges, known as the SLOW Lounges, have proved popular with travellers and have set new standards for South African airport lounges, winning numerous local and international awards. Owing to high

modates 362 passengers and is the world’s longest passenger airliner, will be routed to destinations such as Washington, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Delhi and Bangalore. Two aircraft types have now been cleared for Aero-Mobile line-fit at Boeing: the B777300eR, with recipients including Thai Airways, etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines and the B747-8. Aero-Mobile also operates on B747-400 and B737 aircraft.

demand, the Cape Town facility will be expanded later this month, providing more space and comfort. A new British Airways credit card, launched this week in partnership with Barclays, offers priority check in and other benefits, and the best Avios earn rate in South Africa.  “We’ve long been clear about how important South Africa is on our route network. Over the past 82 years we’ve grown our schedules, established and developed local partnerships and invested in our customers. We’ve just announced that we’re increasing our Cape Town schedule by three a week this winter. This and the introduction of the A380 to Johannesburg is a further, unambiguous demonstration of our confidence,” Keith Williams, said. erik Venter said that over the past 18 years many South Africans’ first experience of British Airways had been on a flight operated by Comair. Its new aircraft, improved onboard catering, more opportunities to earn frequent flyer benefits and privileges and seamless connections with international flights gives customers even more reason to fly British Airways. 

passengers’ brouhaha Arik Air, one of the largest carriers in Nigeria, still claimed it lifted a total of 2,745,400 passengers in 2013. This figure represents 18.6 per cent increase over the 2012 passenger figure of 2,315,247. In March 2013, the airline recorded the highest passenger figure for the year with a total of 260,132 passengers carried across its wide network of 30 destinations. This was against the 171,794 passengers carried in the same month in 2012. A significant increase was also recorded in April, 2013 when a

total of 249,854 passengers were carried. This represents about 33.7 percent increase over the 2012 figure. The Managing Director, Mr. Chris Ndulue has attributed the steady growth to the airline’s continued adherence to safety standards, unequaled extensive domestic coverage and good service delivery. He said: “The figures for the period just ended are very encouraging and reflect the steady growth that we have been experiencing since launching our operations on October 30, 2006. We have gone through a rapid expansion over the years and the last two years have been used to consolidate new markets. We are the success story of Nigerian commercial aviation”.

Awards inspire Virgin Atlantic’s latest safety video By Ibe Uwaleke WARDS fever has hit Virgin A Atlantic, as the airline plays homage to cinema in its latest safety video, taking inspiration from iconic titles such as Brief encounter and 2001, A Space Odyssey. Despite its plethora of sophisticated in-flight entertainment options, the safety video is one film that is watched more than any other. Viewed by every passenger on every flight, it is the most important video shown on-board and since then, the airline launched its movie inspired offering. Created by art and graft, animated characters take the viewer on a theatrical journey through different movie genres, including film noir and western, to capture the attention of passengers and inform them of the aircraft’s emergency procedures.

The production manager of the airline Leon Trigg, described the package as unparallel. His word: “As the pioneers of in-flight entertainment, we wanted to create a video that reflected the airline’s love of cinema, whilst continuing to advance our reputation for quality and innovation. This video will be shown thousands of times weekly, so it is essential it has the cheeky Virgin Atlantic edge we’re renowned for.” He continued: “Art and graft have embraced our focus on films, which runs throughout our marketing and advertising campaigns, to create a video which should amuse and engage passengers, whilst demonstrating the airline’s key safety messages.” Comedienne Morgana Robinson complements the video with her quirky voiceovers, setting the tone with different accents and impressions for each movie genre.

Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to offer all passengers individual TVs and interactive TV entertainment in all classes. Its latest system, Vera Touch, was launched in

2011 and offers touch screen entertainment along with the ability to plug in your own portable devices, including phones, cameras and ipods.


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Friday, February 28, 2014

FridayWorship By Afis A. Oladosu

In the name of the Almighty, the beneficent the merciful “O ye Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you...” (Q 7: 26) RETHREN, Islam is sui generis in its B concern for decency and modesty. It has therefore laid down certain guidelines and regulations for Muslims in reference to the dressing styles that the Almighty is pleased with. For example, it stipulates that the female puts on the Hijab. This refers to the head covering for women. Some among Muslim sisters, in obeisance to this injunction, choose to cover their entire bodies, including their faces and hands. Each time I am confronted with the question of whether the covering of the whole body, particularly the face and the hands, is compulsory for Muslim women, my response is usually tempered by my knowledge of theological and jurisprudential dynamics in Islam. In other words, there are two close companions of the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w) –Abdullah ibn Abbas and Abdullah ibn Masuud- two interpretations of Quran 24:30. The first says the covering of the whole body is compulsory for women; the second says no: the face and the hands are exempted. Thus, no matter the choice you make, the Muslim woman is expected to put on the hijab on her cloth before she ventures into the ‘world’. Aisha, the

“Surely, the religion with Allah is ISLAM,complete submission”... Qur’an 3:19

On ‘sagging’, tatoos and masculinised girls (2) wife of the prophet is reported to have said that Asma, daughter of AbuBakr, once entered upon the Apostle of Allah (s.a.w) wearing thin clothes. The prophet turned his attention from her and said: “O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this” (and he pointed to her face and hands. For men, the minimum part of the body to be covered is between the navel and the knee. Again brethren, you and I know that no matter our gender, our clothes should be loose on our body, not tight. It should be loose enough so as not to outline or distinguish the shapes of our body. Skin-tight, bodyhugging clothes are not permitted for the Muslim male and female. In other words, reference to clothing materials that are loose means that Muslim males and females should avoid seethrough materials. Our prophet (s.a.w) once warned that in later generations, there would be people “who are dressed yet naked.” See-through clothing is not modest, for either men or women. But, ironically, one measure of the pressure of modernity in our lifestyle nowadays is that sometimes when our clothes satisfy all these conditions, they are decorated in such a way that they become like that usually worn by those in show business. In

other words, of what value is the cloth that calls attention not to your brain but to your body? Of what use is that fashion, which sexually objectifies you and pollute the minds of the other gender in the society? Some critics of Islam and Muslim culture have assumed that the head covering of a woman is meant to show her inferiority to men. This could not be further from the truth. In Islam, a woman who observes the hijab commands respect; she is considered to be modest and through her modesty she becomes free of rampant sexual harassment in the society. Further, Islam teaches that the consequences of immodesty fall not only on the individual but also upon the society that encourages women to display themselves and compete with one another over illicit sexual exposure. This is particularly evident in the advertising industry where the success of every commercial product is hinged on the extent to which the woman’s body is labeled and exposed. But this is part of modernity. But Islam says no. Islam says the liberation of the woman lies in the content of her character, not in the unwarranted display of her physical features. Islam says the liberated woman is she who is not enslaved to her body; it is she who does not consider herself as sexual boon for men who are actually liberated. Brethren, Islam encourages Muslims

to be proud of their identities. To be proud of your identity is to refuse to look like the other- a useless imitation of people of other faiths around you. Thus my sister should be proud of her femininity and should not dress like men; my brother should be proud of his masculinity and not try to imitate women in their dressing. For this reason, Muslim men are forbidden from wearing gold or silk, as these are considered feminine accessories. The messenger of Allah cursed men who made themselves look like women and women who made themselves look like men. He says: “There are two categories among the people of the Fire …people who have whips like the tails of cattle with which they beat people, and women who are both dressed and naked, who are deviant and make others deviant. Their heads resemble the humps of Bactrian camels. They will not enter the Garden nor even smell its scent, and its scent can be discerned at such-and-such a distance.” Thus dressing with modesty is nothing but one aspect of the Islamic standard. It is not modesty for you to be clean in appearance but dirty in action. Islam also discourages a situation where the real reason you put on your clothes is to gain the admiration or sympathy of others; you cannot find any justification in Islamic law or lore for any indulgence in incivility

and vulgarity. Brethren, the real message behind this sermon today is that we must constantly make Islam our standard. We must endeavour to avoid the temptation to make other people’s way of life a benchmark for ours. Once you accept a ‘standard’, you can never win, in a world, which is fashioned after struggle and toil, unless you measure up to that standard. Once we accept the un-Islamic standard, we will never be called winners until we become supremely unIslamic. What grieves me more today is simply not the tendency for the youth to be copycats: “carriers” of fashion trends from outside our shores. The real problem which lies in that is that this fashion statements go against the will of the Almighty as exemplified by the prophet: that men should avoid adornments that are meant for women and vice versa; that it is a grievous sin to seek to change your nature through tattoo. Brethren, exactly what ‘fashion’ lies in wearing trousers in a way that shows your underwear? What style of parenting is that which sees boys wear earrings only to dismiss it as the latest ‘fashion” in town? Brethren, these fashion trends speak to the mentality and world-view of this generation: a generation which is born and raised in Africa but whose thought is fixated on America; a generation which purports to face the Kaaba but whose mind is fixated upon Atlanta. As parents, we shall be held responsible for the virtues we imparted into our children; we shall answer for the vices, which corrode their humanity while they subsist under our care. (08122465111 for texts only)


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Friday, February 28, 2014

MarketReport EQUITY MARKET SUMMARY

AS AT 27-02-2014

PRIMERA AFRICA www.primera-africa.com


Friday, February 28, 2014 MARKET REPORT

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MARKET INDICATORS

AS AT 27-02-2014

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NSE records marginal growth, indices appreciate By 0.06 per cent By Bukky Olajide RANSACTIONS on the T Nigerian Stock Exchange recorded marginal growth yesterday with the market indices appreciating by 0.06 per cent. The All-Share Index appreciated by 23.06 points to close at 38,885.93 against the 38,862.87 posted on Wednesday. Similarly, the market capitalisation, which opened at N12.483 trillion, grew by N7 billion to close at N12.490 trillion. Guinness led the gainers’ table, gaining N8.58 to close at N180.36 per share. Presco came second on the gainers’ table with N2.10 to close at N44.10, while Dangote Cement inched by N2 to close at N237 per share. Unilever gained N1.68 to close at N45 while UBN rose by 34k to close at N9.20 per share. On the other hand, Flour Mills topped the losers’ chart, dropping N4.12 to close at

N78.38 per share. Oando dipped by 82k to close at N19.18, while Ashaka Cement lost 74k to close at N17.90 per share. GT Bank dropped 45k to close at N24.30, while Zenith Bank depreciated 39k to close at N20.60 per share. The volume of shares traded dropped by 45.11 per cent as investors exchanged 197.101 million shares valued at N2.10 billion in 4,228 deals. This was against the 359.064 million shares worth N3.46 billion traded in 5,815 deals on Wednesday. The Financial Services sector remained the most active as Zenith Bank was investors‘delight with a total of 22.51 million shares valued at N463.15 million exchanged in 379 deals. UBA trailed with 20.58 million shares worth N156.36 million traded in 207 deals while Access Bank accounted for 18.39 million shares valued at N142.47 million in 198 deals.

Honeywell posts N41b revenue in nine months By Helen Oji ONEYWELL Flour Mills H Plc (HFMP), has posted a revenue of N41.03 billion in

What Happened? The NSE All-Share index increased by 6bps (0.06%) and closed at 38,885.93. This represents a year-to-date performance of - 5.91% Market Capitalisation also appreciated 0.06% to close at N12.490trillion. Total value traded decreased 39.29% to N2.10 billion and total volume traded decreased 45.11% to 197.10 million units

Where?

At the close of trading, the banking sector represented 59.23% of the total market value traded, while the breweries sector represented 3.81% The Top 5 stocks as a % of total market value traded were: ZENITHBANK (22.02%), GUARANTY (10.29%), FBNH (8.72%), UBA (7.43%) and ACCESS (6.77%). On a volume basis, the Top 5 most traded stocks for the day were: ZENITHBANK (22.51m), UBA (20.58m), ACCESS (18.40m), TRANSCORP (16.93m) and WAPIC (16.49m).

its nine months’ operations against N33.04 billion achieved in the corresponding period of 2012. According to a statement made available by the company, the 24 per cent increase in revenue was driven, largely by the increased production capacity of the company, having recently added 1,000Metric tonnes via two new mills. The cumulative effect of revenue increase and reduction in costs grew the company’s Profit after Tax (PAT) by 18 per cent, from N1.7 billion in the comparable period in 2012 to N2 billion during the period under review. The income statement also showed that gross profit for the period rose to N7.76 billion, from the N5.48 billion in 2012, which, according to the company was primarily attributed to the company’s ability to manage input costs that resulted in a slower increase (relative to revenue growth) in the cost of sales. Increase in operating costs, which rose by 42per cent from N3.04 billion in 2012 to N4.33 billion in 2013, was due to increased overheads necessary to operate the expanded production capacity, rising finance costs and increased marketing expenses needed to maintain brand equity, to increase consumer awareness and increase product visibility. The company explained that rising finance costs had an adverse impact on profitability as the company fulfils its obligations on the debt component of funds used to finance the additional production capacity,

noting that the Management of the company is currently exploring several strategic options to reduce this cost. It added that insecurity in some Northern states and growing infrastructural deficits especially bad roads and poor power supply, has continued to pose serious challenges to the smooth operation of HFMP’s activities, even as the Management expressed confident in the company’s ability to continue to thrive within the tough operating environment. “The expansion activities, contributed to the growth of the Company‘s Total Assets from N55.4 billion as at March 2013 to N66.2 billion as at December 2013, a 20per cent increase. Recently, HFMP announced that it has commenced the development of the Honeywell Foods and Agro-allied Complex in Sagamu,Ogun state where work has commenced on the development of a Pasta plant to increase its current production capacity by about 200per cent. HFMP is also set to raise the bar in the quality of feed available for poultry and fish in the Nigerian market with the development of an integrated animal feed plant within the complex. Both factories are expected to be completed within18 to 24 months.” It added. Commenting on the results, the Executive ViceChairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Babatunde Odunayo,, said, “the company’s results are in line with our expectation for revenue growth stemming from our recent expansion and as we move closer to the end of the financial year, we expect to record an even stronger financial performance in the final quarter.”


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ISSUE

The cement war: An alternative view (2) By Etim Inyang

Continued from yesterday UT of the three major O grades of cement traded globally, namely 32.5N/m2 42.5N/m2 and 52.5N/m2, two main ones are traded in most countries, including Nigeria. These are 32.5 N/m2 and 42.5 N/m2. 32.5 grade cement is used for lighterweight construction such as plastering walls, for pavements, culverts, among other uses, while 42.5 is used to erect buildings, flyovers and other more solid structures. The notion is that 32.5N/m2 is applied for usage where 42.5N/m2 is required, thus compromising human safety. This revelation has sent shockwaves round the industry and the nation at large, with associations like the Block Moulders Association of Nigeria (BMAN) calling on the government to verify the claim. The appropriate authorities should not hesitate to address this situation. Thankfully, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is on hand to address the situation. It must however be pointed out that the regulation, monitoring and attempts to ensure strict compli-

ance to standards are not for SON alone. Indeed, SON has been in the eye of the media, and rightly so, but we should also not forget that stakeholders comprise a wide array of groups and organizations. SON must be commended for its herculean efforts in upgrading national quality infrastructure such as the enumeration of standards, upgrading of testing laboratories like the one which offers testing of building materials in Enugu, among other quality infrastructure which SON has put in place. It is noteworthy to state that 32.5 is not a bad grade for cement. It has served and will continue to serve many purposes. However, the right type of cement must be used for the right type of construction. The advantage which the higher grade of cement has over the lower is that the higher (42.5) can perform most functions which the lower (32.5) can perform, but such is not obtainable when the reverse is the case. I have travelled far and wide and the practice is the same. All over the world, countries are very stringent with the supervision and regulation of cement standards, because of its direct connection to the physical preservation

of life. The global practice is for cement manufacturers to clearly specify what they are producing in terms of cement type and grade. This is unmistakable, as the consumer can easily read and understand what cement grade he or she is buying. It’s quite unthinkable for a company to bag lower grade cement and label such as being of higher grade. In other countries, it is an unpardonable sin. Nigeria must tow same line of intolerance. In the packaging of 50 Kg P.P Bags, 50 Kg 3 Ply Paper Bags, 1 Metric Ton Jumbo Bags, 2 Metric Ton Sling Bags, standards for Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) detailed standards are enumerated. In China, the standard code for cement associated with 32.5 is GB175-2007 based on which there is clear specification on the uses and applications for plastering and other functions. This not compromised by the Chinese in terms of what it is used for and what it is not used for. Countries like USA have as much as 96% of their cement produced to meet the requirements and applications of 52.5 grade-type. Other countries like Great Britain and Europe as a continent have their standards and application requirements in

line with global best practice. It is heartwarming to note that Nigerian standards are in line with global standards. The country does not fall short of international requirements in the cement industry. The challenge is in the misapplication in practice, for which enlightenment and re-orientation is needed along with intensified supervision to ensure the right practice is enshrined. SON must as a matter of urgency, call a technical committee of stakeholder’s for a review of the current practice, taking into consideration what happens in other countries. This shall involve the coming together of decisionmakers who are linked to the building and construction industry in terms of product standards, with particular reference to cement. The coalition of civil society groups should also be invited, so they can witness firsthand, what goes on in the industry and what the true situation is, while making their valued contribution. This meeting of the technical committee will be to the benefit of manufacturers, architects, engineers, foremen and practitioners under their respective associations and groups, as well as arti-

sans and of course, the general public. SON has already done well in ensuring the standard and quality of other building materials such as steel are of international standard, so attention must now be focused on cement. The fact that some blocks crumble even at the slightest touch is evidence that the common man knows what this debate is all about. There is proven correlation and direct relationship between falling standards of cement produced and the frequency of collapsed of buildings in any country. Nigeria is not left out. In other words, the higher the practice of misapplying cement types used in construction, the higher the potential for collapsed buildings and physical structures. Let us look at this intervention from a futuristic standpoint, in the sense that standardization of cement can be the entrance door to the corridors of affordability and high quality combined, with regard to cement. If the cement dispute is effectively resolved, it will make the work a lot easier for everyone including the cement manufacturers, who can now free their minds from the tasking demands of multiple stan-

dards for multiple use. We can conclude that high level ignorance among Nigerian consumers coupled with the negligence on the part of producers, have largely contributed to the current controversy on cement quality. With this new perspective and awareness, consumers need to deepen their knowledge of goods and services on offer, not just about cement, but all other goods in the market so long as such goods have been placed in the market for purchase and consumption by the general public. It is also imperative for the decision makers to take a stand on the cement dispute, with a view of taking a decision that is in the best interest of Nigerians. It is only appropriate and fair to all parties concerned, that we wait for an expeditious outcome of the technical committee meeting on the review of standards. This will provide the country and all stakeholders with the right guidelines for sustained activity in Nigeria’s cement industry, keeping in mind, the overall well being of the economy and its people. CONCLUDED •Inyang, a civil engineer and Founder, Safer Construction Network (SCN), writes from Lagos.


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Sports Ahead Brazil 2014 World Cup

We can’t throw Eagles camp open, says Amokachie • Deploys scouts to monitor players in Europe From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja UPER Eagles Assistant Coach, Dan Amokachie has ruled out the possibilities of throwing the team’s camp open ahead the Brazil 2014 World Cup. Amokachie, who represented Coach Stephen Keshi yesterday in Abuja during the unveiling of the newly designed Super Eagles’ jerseys, said throwing the camp open would not give the technical crew the required materials they need for the World Cup. “There is nowhere in the world that a senior national team coach throws camp open. That generation has passed because we have limited number of players to invite to camp. Our responsibility is to try to get the best legs for the tournament. I want to also let Nigerians know that they have a role to play in this project. Anyone who knows a player doing very well somewhere should let the coach know about him,” he stated. Amokachie also defended the delay in the submission of the 40-man Eagles pre-World

S

Cup team list as directed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), arguing it was deliberate to enable the Eagles technical crew see the performance of the new invitees in the friendly against Mexico in USA. “Ordinarily, the question of whether we have submitted the 40-man list as directed by the NFF should be channeled to the head coach, but you know that we have not done that because we need to see some of the new players we invited for the friendly match against Mexico in America. “Keshi needs to see their contribution before he finally makes up his mind on those that can make the list and those to be left out. So, for now, no 40-man team list has been submitted to the NFF,” he said. On if there is still room for new players in the team, Amokachie said, “yes, there is still room to see new players outside those invited. If we still find a Nigerian doing well in Europe, in Niger Republic, in Nigeria and other parts of the world that can make positive input in the team, we can still consider him.”

Super Eagles’ players, Ejike Uzoenyi, Abdullahi Shehu and Chigozie Agbim modeling Nigeria’s new jerseys ahead of the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

CAF Confederations Cup

Warri Wolves arrive Cameroun, set for Union Duola

Petrosmith, HSK win, as Lagos Polo By Gowon Akpodonor lAYERS and officials of P tourney enters final run Warri Wolves, one of Nigeria’s representatives in ETROSMITH and HST, two The results extended the this year’s CAF P of the teams rated high in Ibadan teams’ winless run in Confederations Cup compethe low Cup of the on-going the competition, as they have lagos International Polo Tournament, began their quest for honours in the competition with opening day victories at the prestigious Ribadu Road home of the game of kings. In the opening group matches of the low Cup yesterday, Petrosmith beat Ibadan Eleyele 7-4½, while HST also proved superior to Ibadan Oluyole with a 7-1 win.

lost all their four group matches in the first week where they featured in the Dansa Cup. Kano Susplan edged city rivals Titan/Aitek 6-5½ to brighten their qualification chance in stream 2, which also has HST and Oluyole. lagos Goodfellows joined the list of winners in the low Cup as they defeated Raven Rojo 12-4½.

tition are targeting the three maximum points in tomorrow’s clash against Union Doula FC in Cameroun. Wolves’ contingent of 18 players and 10 officials left lagos at 11.10 am yesterday and landed at 12.30pm with officials of the host FA on hand to take them to their hotel. The team was led by a board member of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF),

Emeka Inyama and Chief Executive Officer of Warri Wolves, Davidson Owumi. Also in the contingent is USbased former Super Falcons Coach, Sam Okpodu. An official of the team told The Guardian on arrival yesterday that they were shocked to discover that the Akena City hotel booked for them by the host FA had no water and the beds were “too small.” According to him, the President of Union Doula FC, Frank Happy, was unhappy with the hotel arrangement, but claimed it was the Cameroun FA that provided

Eagles’ new jersey will bring us ‘goodluck’ in Brazil, says Maigari From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja RESIDENT of the Nigeria P Football Federation (NFF), Aminu Maigari, declared yesterday that the Super Eagles would do well at the Brazil 2014 World Cup, especially now that the players have been propelled with a newly designed jersey by Adidas. Maigari, who spoke at the unveiling of the new Eagles’ jerseys at the new NFF secretariat at the package B of the National Stadium in Abuja, noted that the shirts would bring Nigeria success in

Brazil. The shirts, designed by Adidas in dominant lemon green, was unveiled by CHAN Eagles trio of Ejike Uzoenyi, Shehu Abdulahi and goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim. Also speaking at the ceremony, Chairman of the House of Representatives Sports Committee, Godfrey Gaiya, said the jerseys’ unveiling would pave the way for Nigeria to cause an upset in Brazil in June. He also appealed to Adidas to

make the jerseys available for Nigerian fans, who want to buy it. President Goodluck Jonathan was presented with jersey No 01, while Vice President, Namadi Sambo was handed a shirt No 2., with Senate President, David Mark, getting jersey No 3. Reacting to reports that the NFF was influenced by a communication outfit in Nigeria in the choice of the design, the NFF Head of Marketing, Idris Adama, said the players made inputs into

the design when the team went to Nuremberg, Germany late last year. Meanwhile, the NFF said yesterday that the Super Eagles will play a friendly match with a yet to be disclosed country, probably Scotland, in london on May 28. NFF Secretary General, Musa Amadu said that the friendly match would be Nigeria’s last international warm up game before the World Cup. The Eagles will play against Mexico in Atlanta, USA on March 5.

the accommodation. The players, who travelled include goalkeeper, Okiemute Odah and Ambrose Vanzekin, defender Goodluck Onamado, Ike ThankGod, Ojo Mine, Oke Ogagotewho, Uche Ossai,

Egbeta Michael, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, Musa Najare and Achibi Ewenike. Others are Oghenekaro Etebo, Dimgba Stanley, Joshua Obaje, Efe Yarhere, Bright Akpojuvwewo and Kola Anubi.

Police Baton, Oluyole Warriors in DStv Basketball League opener By Adeyinka Adedipe lUYOlE Warriors will take O on Police Baton in the opening game of the DStv Premier Basketball league, which dunks off today at the sports hall of the National Stadium, lagos. Though a ceremonial game, both teams are expected to show some of what they have to offer basketball fans in the 2013/2014 season, especially the Warriors, who are coming back to the elite division after a long absence. The Baton, who missed the play off after finishing fifth in the Atlantic Conference last season, will test their might against the Ibadan team, as they hope to make it to the final eight at the end of the regular season. After last season’s gruelling battle, which saw teams playing back-to back game at the same venue, the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF),

organisers of the league, have reverted to the home and away format, which will see each team play 14 games in the regular season. Observers are of the view that the new format will keep the teams fresh for the weekend games, while it will also reduce the financial burden on the management of the various outfits. However, others fear that it may take away some excitement from the league. President of the NBBF, Tijan Umar, allays such fears and calls on stakeholders to support the federation in taking basketball to an enviable height. While admitting that the new league format would reduce the number of games that would be played, he, however, noted that it was in line with the agreement reached with the teams and other interested parties at the stakeholders’ forum held last month.


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60 SPORTS Friday, February 28, 2014

Heroes Of Gabriel Okon: Junior athlete who Till date, former Nigerian junior international, Gabriel Okon, thinks and dreams athletics. From his elementary education days at Salvation Army Primary School in Surulere to his post elementary sojourn at Baptist Academy in Obanikoro area of Lagos, the young Okon was adored for his track records. After dominating the short sprints (100m and 200m) in his elementary school days, Okon made big headlines in 1983 when he set a new national record in 200m race during the National School Sports Festival in Ibadan. His record of 21.02 seconds, which erased the old one of 21.09 seconds, remained unbroken in the country for many years. He was in his fourth year as a student of Baptist Academy Secondary School when he achieved the feat. Okon was still in school when he made Lagos State team to Bendel ’81 National Sports Festival in Benin City, winning a gold medal in the 4x100m and placing fourth in the 200m. He started appearing in national colours as a junior athlete as far back as 1981 when he won a place in Nigeria’s team to the World Junior Athletics Championship in Mexico, though, the country later pulled out due to lack of fund. As a senior athlete, Okon was appointed assistant captain of Nigeria’s team to Atlanta ’96 Olympic Games and he was one of the reserved athletes in the relay team. That was after being part of the country’s gold winning 4x100 relay team at Nairobi ’95 All Africa Games in Kenya. Speaking with GOWON AKPODONOR during the week, Okon, who was elected Chairman of Track and Field Coaches Association of Nigeria (TAFCAN) last year in Calabar, where he defeated former Edo Sports Commissioner, Brown Ebewele, spoke on a number of issues concerning the nation’s athletics. These include his support for the engagement of two Americans, Angie Taylor and Eric Campbell by the National Sports Commission (NSC) to strengthen Nigeria’s sports system, just as he admitted that his engagement in school sports laid a solid foundation for his life. To return Nigeria’s athletics to its glorious days, Okon challenged coaches at local government and state levels to give upcoming athletes the attention they deserve to enable them realise their dreams of becoming leaders of tomorrow. OT many Nigerian athletics followers see N Gabriel Okon as a ‘major contributor’ as far as the country’s track and field business is concerned. But going by his track records, from his schoolboy days in Lagos to his achievements, both as a junior athlete and at senior level, Okon has been able to prove his worth as a good ambassador of the country. From a humble beginning, Okon, who is the current chairman of Track and Field Coaches Association of Nigeria (TAFCAN), commenced his sporting career in the ever-busy Surulere area of Lagos, where his passion for athletics was fanned. As a child, Okon set a target for himself in sports, especially in the track and field, after watching the 1973 All African Games, which Nigeria hosted at the National Stadium in Lagos. By the time he commenced his elementary education at Salvation Army Primary School in the mid 1970s, Okon had already made up his mind on the direction to follow in sports. “My romance with athletics started immediately I stepped into Salvation Army Primary School in Surulere,” Okon told The Guardian. “I was always in my school athletics team whenever we went for inter house sports competitions because I was one of the best in the short sprints (100 and 200m) within the school.” Okon hails from Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, but was born and brought up in Lagos. “I will say that growing up in Surulere area opened the gate for my athletics career because I had the opportunity of watching athletics and other sporting events from childhood.” The seed of his athletics career may have been planted at Salvation Army Primary School, but it was watered and nurtured to stardom the moment he gained admission into Baptist Acad-

emy Secondary School in Obanikoro area, also in Lagos. Here, the young Okon established himself as one of the leading track and field stars in Lagos State, making waves in Shomolu. He soon became a warlord in the local government with the 100m, 200m and relays as his area of specialty. Perhaps, what served as the first major test for Okon’s athletics career came in 1981, when he was included in the Lagos State team to the National Sports Festival held at Ogbe Stadium in Benin City. The schoolboy Okon emerged as one of the stars of Bendel ’81 fiesta, winning a gold medal in the 4x100m relay after finishing fourth in the 200m event. “It was as if we won a medal at the Olympic Games. I ran the first leg and handed the baton to Victor Edet, who in turn, gave it to Patrick Udoh. He ran a fantastic race and by the time he handed the baton over to our anchorman, Kehinde Bakare, everybody was celebrating at the other end, waiting for him to cross the finish line. We celebrated late into the night,” he stated. It was the beginning of Okon’s journey to stardom. The following year, he won the 200m race during the junior athletics championship in Kaduna, and in the middle of 1983, he made Lagos State proud, as he emerged champion in both the 100m and 200m in a junior athletics championship hosted in Calabar. By this time, Okon’s confidence in the sprint events had risen and he was becoming a household name in the junior athletics circuit.

Okon The city of Ibadan played host to the 1983 edition of the National School Sports Festival and Okon made big headline once again, setting a new national record in the 200m race. Running against some of the best sprinters in the land, the young lad returned at a time of 21.02 seconds to erase the old record of 21.09 seconds. A schoolboy athlete running 21.02 seconds in the 200m at that time was a major achievement for the country. Okon became the most sought-after junior athlete in the land, but his quest for quality education took him to the United States in 1984. Reminiscing on his schoolboy exploits in

Nigeria before jetting out to USA in 1984, Okon recalled with nostalgia: “After we won a gold medal in the 4x100m relay at Bendel ’81 National Sports Festival, I was invited to the national camp in preparation for World Junior Athletics Championship in Mexico. I actually made the team, but Nigeria could not attend, maybe due to lack of fund.” In 1985, Okon gained admission into the University of New Mexico in USA. Here, he set records as if there was no tomorrow. In 1986, he set the school record in the indoor 55meter dash and in 1987, Okon set the school records in the 100 and 200 meters and swept the events at the WAC Out-door Champi-


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School Sports ruled from Salvation Army to USA onships. He was voted the school Athlete of the Year in 1987 after winning four medals in athletics. He set a new Conference record of 10.27 seconds in 100m and won the 200m in a time of 20.39 seconds. He also won the 4x100m and the 4x400m. “I was two years ahead of Frankie Fredricks of Namibia in the school and he later broke my record about two or three years later,” Okon said. In one of his outings for the University of New Mexico, Okon ran a Personal Best time in the 100 metres in Stockholm, Sweden, in May 1999. The University of New Mexico track and field programme built its winning legacy with championship formula. Okon and other athletes who passed through the institution earned All-America honors 70 times, won 11 NCAA Championships and claimed 202 Conference titles. While combining his studies with sporting activities in America, Okon never lost torch with national assignment back home. In the build up to Los Angeles ’84 Olympic Games, he was invited for the trials in Port Harcourt. Okon distinguished himself and was included in the team for the training tour ahead of the Games. But he sustained injury while on the training tour in USA. “I got injured in one of our meets in USA and the injury became worse when we relocated to Germany in continuation of the tour. That was why I couldn’t make it to Los Angeles ’84 Olympic Games,” he said. Okon recovered soon after the Games and fought his way into the Nigerian team preparing for the 1986 Commonwealth Games held in Edinburg, Scotland. But a boycott by Nigeria and 31 other Commonwealth Nations, angered by the attitude of the British government towards the South African apartheid regime, prevented Okon from competing in the Games. In 1987, Okon was again in Nigeria’s team, this time for the All Africa Games in Nairobi, Kenya, where he competed in two events, the 200m and 4x100m relay. The relay team won the gold. Okon helped in qualifying the team, but he did not run in the final. But he was part of Nigeria’s 4x100m relay gold winning team in Harare ’95 All African Games. Nigeria’s team to Atlanta ’96 Olympic Games had Mary Onyali as captain with Okon as her

With his wife Lisa and last son Jonathan

assistant. “But when the competition began, Mary had so many commitments at hand and I assumed the role of team captain of the entire contingent,” Okon stated. The Atlanta ’96 Olympics remains Nigeria’s best outing ever, as the country won two gold medals through Chioma Ajunwa (in long jump) and men’s football and three silver medals from Onyali (200m), Falilat Ogunkoya (400m) and Duncan Dokiwari (men’s Super Heavyweight boxing event). Before he finally bowed out in 2000, Okon assumed the position of athlete/coach in 1999. He coached the spring team that won a silver medal for Nigeria at the World Athletics Championship in Seville, Spain. Incidentally, the medal won by the Okon-tutored sprint team in Seville, where France Obikwelu and Gloria Alozie won silver in the men 200m and women 100m hurdles events respectively, was the last for Nigeria before Blessing Okagbare broke the jinx last year in Moscow, Russia. Okon was also part of the success story last year in Moscow and was rewarded by Delta State Governor, Emm a n u e l Uduaghan, when he hosted Okagbare, the local coach that discovered her, Daniel Etsebiminor, and officials of the AFN in Asaba. To revive the nation’s school sports, Okon said every hand must be on deck, adding: “The NSC and the AFN is already working in that direction and every sports-loving Nigerian has to support the programmes being put in place. The High Performance Programmes, if given the support it needs, will take Nigerian sports to greater height. It will have a spill over effect into our school sports system,” Okon said.

It was as if we won a medal at the Olympic Games. I ran the first leg and handed the baton to Victor Edet, who in turn, gave it to Patrick Udoh. He ran a fantastic race and by the time he handed the baton over to our anchorman, Kehinde Bakare, everybody was celebrating at the other end, waiting for him to cross the finish line. We celebrated late into the night.

With his wife Lisa

Okon

With AFN President, Chief Solomon Ogba


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GolfWeekly

Late Edet Umoh (left), eyes his drive from the Hole One tee-box of the IBB Golf and Country Club, Abuja, while Ghana’s Vincent Torgah, approaches to take his turn during the 2011 President Cup at the club

PGAN releases schedule for 2014/2015 Q-School Stories by Eno-Abasi Sunday HE Professional Golfers’ T Association of Nigeria (PGAN), has released a detailed programme for its 2014/2015 Qualifying School (Q-School). The Executive Committee of the body, at its recent meeting declared opened the Q-School effective February 17th, 2014.  Though the venue and final date for the Q-School is yet to be unveiled, the body has made public, necessary timelines, requirements on the part of the prospective trainees and trainers leading up to the grand finale.  A statement endorsed by Operations Director of the PGAN Femi Olagbenro, states that for one to qualify to serve as a trainer, he: “Must be a head resident golf professional with not less than 10 years experience as a member of the association and fully equipped with all training facilities and must not train more than three trainees. Also, “any member of the PGAN with 10 years experience in the association under a head resident golf pro can only train trainees subject to the approval of the head resident golf pro

with a letter of consent to the association.” The release informed that, “All trainees must be resident in the same club where they would undergo their training. A monitoring team would be set up by the PGAN to visit Trainers from time to time to ascertain the level of training given to Trainees. “All Trainers are expected to collect a minimum of N200, 000 as training fee from each trainee, out of which 10

per cent would be remitted to the association,” the release stated, adding that to qualify as a trainee, one must be a registered golfer in any recognised golf club; must have distinguished himself as a good golfer with good character in golfing circle and must possess a minimum educational qualification of WASSCE, SSCE/GCE (ordinary level) or its equivalent. A two-day seminar/pre-qual-

ifying round for trainees at a date and venue yet to be fixed, is slated for shortly after all training forms had been submitted on or before May 31st. Attendance/participation in this exercise is compulsory for trainees and it would attract a seminar fee to be paid on or before the seminar date. However, the date for the Qualifying School finals, venue and other requirements the association said,

would be communicated to interested persons in due course. “Upon satisfactorily fulfilling the conditions of the Qualifying School, new intakes would be required to pay the prevailing Joining Fee,” before being admitted to the ranks of the body. The PGAN last handed out 15 applicants it temporary membership cards after they emerged tops at the last Q-School at the Le

Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, Akwa Ibom S t a t e . They were: Ikemefuna Vincent, who was the overall best perfoming applicant at the Q-School; Balogun Michael, Friday Akpodiete, Akinwande Oladipo, Francis Christopher, Ideria Solomon, Assam Victor, Dangofa Johnbull, Izang Azi, Odeh Paul, Shehu Isa, Moruf Bello, Ojo Alaba, Nnamdi Chima and Manir Musa.

Colleagues, friends in shock over Umoh’s sudden death AYS after the Professional D Golfers’ Association of Nigeria (PGAN), was jolted by a shock of seismic proportions, occasioned by the death of Edet Michael Umoh, members of the association are still dazed over the sad incident. Umoh, 32, slumped on Sunday in Abuja during a football match. He was, however, pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital he was rushed to for resuscitation.  Abuja-based pro golfer, Aminu Baba was one of those that last interacted with

Umoh before he left for the venue of the match, which was partly in celebration of the arrival of his twins, barely two weeks before his death. “I am still in shock over Edet’s (Umoh) death. And this is because we were together barely two hours before the incident. Both of us were officials and had just finished officiating in a match between Nigeria and foreign nationals at the IBB Golf and Country Club. “Shortly after that, he left for the venue of the match, which was partly in celebration of

the arrival of his twins. So, you can imagine how shocked I was to receive a call about the incident,” Baba stated. On getting to the scene, Baba, who said he could not come to terms with what had just happened until “the point where some of his personal belongings were handed over to me at the mortuary.” He continued, “since that day, I have remained in shock especially when I see his pictures at the club. Edet (Umoh) was a very nice person, whom we shared a lot and we were open-minded to each other.

As a professional, he was hardworking and always trying to be the best. He will be sorely missed by his friends and family.” In a statement, Umoh’s primary constituency, the PGAN said they received the news of Umoh’s death “with great shock and disbelieve on Sunday evening…” The association added that Umoh was turbaned Seriki ‘n Golf by the Emir of Kano after winning the Emir of Kano’s Golf Championship in 2011. He represented Nigeria in the World Cup of Golf in Malaysia

in 2010. He was a dogged and serious professional golfer during his lifetime, and his early exit from this world and professional golf circuit would definitively be felt by the association and the golfing community at large. The deceased, who turned pro in 2006, represented the country at the pre-qualifier of the World Cup of Golf in 2011 in Seri Selangor in Malaysia. He was number two on the PGAN Order of Merit 2011 and finished 4th and 12th position in 2012 and 2013 respectively.


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Friday, February 28, 2014 63


TheGuardian www.ngrguardiannews.com

Friday, February 28, 2014

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

By Toyosi Akerele S a youth and education development campaignA er, I often get the chance to visit different parts of our country to interface with students, discuss and understand their challenges, gather data and offer same as a veritable tool of guidance for private sector institutions, government, regulatory agencies and other members of the society who may have the need for it. In January, I visited Edo State and engaged with stakeholders in government, young people on the streets, teachers, students and other ordinary citizens. In the coming weeks, I will be doing a series on Nigeria’s Education woes and conquests with the view of aggregating relevant information useful for Nigerians to see the need for our collective commitment and investment in Nigeria’s education system. In the last five years, or thereabouts, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has taken measured steps, even drastic actions, to raise the standard in the troubled education sector. Most recently, 836 Primary school teachers were relieved of their jobs on account of age falsification and incompetence related issues. Some of them ought to have retired some 10 years ago at the maximum or five years ago at the minimum, but chose to corruptly retail themselves in the state’s service; thereby blocking their children’s and grandchildren’s employment into the state’s teaching service and stultifying the steady pace of educational advancement in the state. In the light of the foregoing, there is a lot to contend with in the nation’s education sector if education givers like teachers at the formative school stage are themselves embroiled in roughish conduct that spells doom for the future of education in Nigeria and for the younger generation. The second is that of a female teacher early last year who demonstrated disastrous illiteracy that reminds one of kindergarten literacy. The incident forced the Oshiomhole Administration to embark on a total overhauling of the comatose education system that was left to decay. It is the second incident of a teacher who could not read a single sentence that gave away the other’s antics of age falsification. The government in 2012 had sent 41 zonal inspectors and chief inspectors of education and local government education officers packing over non-performance and negligence of duty in a bid to sanitize the education sector. I believe the decision was the outcome of a thorough performance audit carried out by him. The crises coincided with the demotion of the Vice Principal of New Era College, Mr. S.E Akhabue, from Grade Level 15 to Grade Level 14 for being a perpetual latecomer.  The time-book of the teachers, which the governor went through showed that the vice principal sometimes got to the office as late as 9:55a.m. The punitive measures taken didn’t go down well with political opponents who exploited the sentiments of some labour leaders who made spirited efforts to revert their punishment. In addition to that, the teachers’ recruitment saga embarked upon by the state in 2011 was later discontinued due to massive money-for-employment scam by officials of the State Universal Basic Education, SUBEB, and even though some of the teachers had worked for upward of two months or so, the government paid them their fees and asked them to apply afresh; this time with thorough scrutiny. He didn’t stop at that. He swiftly dissolved the board and sacked all officials who were remotely involved in the racket. This has reined in, to some extent, the corruptive tendencies of SUBEB officials and others in the ministry of education. The lapses in the education inspectorate came to the open when the  governor paid a series of unscheduled visits to public schools across the state where he was gob smacked by discoveries bordering on absenteeism or by teachers. Teachers, as it were, are the backbones of any nation because they are responsible for shaping and nurturing the leaders of tomorrow, if indeed such nation is ready to remedy and rescue the future from the present. They, therefore, have to be sufficiently equipped to undertake the task of knowing how and what to teach the pupils, coupled with moral values. They must be responsible to the pupils as much as the state must be responsible to them, with descent working conditions, regular trainings and livable wages, so that they would not have any reason to be distracted from their core duties of impacting positively and cognitively on the younger generation. It would be foolhardy to expect any government to fold her arms after spending billions of taxpayers’ money renovating schools and pupils turn up only

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Enormity of rot in Nigeria’s education system

to be left on their own to count and admire the beautiful ceilings, ceiling fans, attractive walls and the alluring aesthetics while the inspectors that are saddled with the responsibility of making sure these schools are run effectively abandon their jobs. The question is should the government seek a truce with those who think they can subvert the system and then take refuge under the pavilion of mercy? What kind of education can a teacher who is incapable of reading or writing properly offer? The people of this country at large may not have been sufficiently kept abreast of the realities of the parlous state of the nation’s educational system until the recent Oshiomhole-primary School Teacher’s-drama. The Edo incident offers the country classic evidence cum example of the collapse of the foundation of education in an astounding dramatic form. A female primary school teacher who had taught for about 20 years was unable to read her own age declaration affidavit even when the governor encouraged her by reading the text and asked her to repeat after him, she floundered. This pseudo Nollywood flick lasted for few minutes. That depressing video as viewed by Nigerians

on television and online has, though, become the butt of everyone’s joke on the internet yet is not Edo specific. It is a national crisis, which deserves decisive response. The incident, which attracted wide commentary including some critical editorials, is most shameful, to say the least. It is a serious indictment on the teachers and the supervisory organs of our primary education system. As this was shown across the country and beyond, via print, electronic and social media, it sends the wrong signals to the World that we are less likely to meet the 2030 UNESCO target for equitable and qualitative education. It was a grand spectacle of the enormity of the suppurating rottenness, its cancerous effect and corrosive toxicity we are passing on to the future leaders of this country as education. As demonstrated in Edo State, teachers’ credentials audit may have unfurled some of the worse cases, but what is most critical is how to redeem the system from harm. An embarrassing and destructive issue such as this calls for a tough policy decision. The good of the society, achieved through training of the mind – the essence of education – is in danger. Therefore, government is encouraged to, not only

The YOUTHSPEAK Column which is published daily is an initiative of THE GUARDIAN, and powered by RISE NETWORKS, Nigeria’s Leading Youth Development Centre, as a substantial advocacy platform available for ALL Nigerian Youth to engage Leadership at all levels, engage Society and contribute to National Discourse on diverse issues especially those that are peculiar to Nigeria. Regarding submission of articles, we welcome writers‘ contributions by way of well crafted, analytical and thought provoking opinion pieces that are concise, topical and non-defamatory! All articles (which are not expected to be more than 2000 words) should be sent to editorial@risenetworks.org To read the online Version of this same article plus past publications and to find out more about Youth Speak, please visit www.risenetworks.org/youthspeak and join the ongoing National Conversations’’. Also join our on-line conversation

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sack the teachers found culpable in the certificate forgery and perjury scandal, but to also prosecute them. This, in my opinion, is the only reasonable action to take in order to save the future of the Nigeria child. As always the case, the policy makers of our States and National Houses of Assembly are less likely to spare a thought on the national embarrassing state of education in the country, from up to the bottom. For them, making laws that forcibly mandate 13-year old girl child into unconscionable marriage is the solution to Nigeria’s mirage of woes. The general belief is that political will is needed to right majority of the wrongs in the state’s educational sector. It’s believed amongst Nigerians; even elsewhere that veil timidity, sympathy and tomfoolery are antithetical to good governance when the moral health of the society is being treated with kid gloves by political jobbers.  So many states across the country are yet to checkmate the profiteering syndicates that rule the employment of teachers by the officials and personnel of state Schools Management Boards. One of the ways to ensure that we do not get to this embarrassing state where teachers can’t read even their own document in the future is to subject teachers’ recruitment and employment process to external bodies and experts who may not have applicants’ affinity to the political party in power. There is no way we can separate the teachers employment racketeering and the attendant disgrace like the one we just witnessed in Edo State from politicians who are notorious for bending the rules for political patronage. The primary school teacher’s scandal evokes the question of death of the Inspectorate Division in our education system. In the past, inspectors made unscheduled visits to schools to investigate teacher’s punctuality and performance in the classroom. We must as a matter of urgency return to the weekly or monthly monitoring of our public and private schools by tested and trusted inspectors who will not compromise the value and quality of the nation’s education, no matter the size of the financial inducement. As I noted earlier, Edo State is not alone in the disheartening destruction of the nation’s educational system. In February, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Education, Usman Mohammed, at an education summit, stated that 1,300 out of the 1,599 state teachers failed arithmetic and basic literacy tests. The 1,300 teachers scored below 25 per cent. Similarly, in Kwara State, 259 teachers, among them university graduates, flunked a test meant for primary four pupils in 2008; while 16,000 teachers in Ekiti State (primary and secondary), shunned a competence test that Governor Kayode Fayemi had set for them in June 2012. That there is a grand rot and purposeful pervasion by the minders of the nation’s education system across the country to ruin the most critical sector of the supposed national pride is to stress the issue to a breaking point. The collateral damage of equal indifference visited on the unsuspecting kids at the formative years is partly, if not wholly responsible, for the quality of graduates churned out every year, and their inability to write comprehensible application letter for employment. Obviously, there is cause for alarm at  a time Nigeria is in dire deficit of UNESCO’s education set target - Education for All (EFA) by 2030. The nation is still struggling with itself to keep the over 10 million children of school age off the streets; have them enrolled in schools, as a mechanism to checkmating destitution and security challenges that plague the country in recent past.  In its  2006 Education Policy Series, UNESCO suggested that all new teachers should participate in quality induction and mentoring programmes; make working environment in schools learning friendly for both the educators and students; reinvent professional development for teachers and ensure better pay for teachers who demonstrated knowledge and skills that contribute to improved student achievement. The Oshiomhole-female-teacher’s tragic episode in Edo calls for ethical rearmament: a total overhaul through national education policies that will reinvent the wheels of inductive education, qualitative mentorship and practical teaching of the kids. The modest achievement Governor Oshiomhole has made in the last five years would remain a flash in the pan if there is no institutional sustainability. These days I am fascinated with Mobile Learning and Education Technology and that will form the core of my next Article on this Page. • Akerele of Risenetworks wrote from Lagos. toyosirise@risenetworks.org/ +2348022352535.

Fri 28 Feb 2014  

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