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South-South: Jonathan Has Failed Us

Blame Game At Ladipo Autoparts Market


Endless Crises Amid Huge Losses

TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Vol. 29, No. 12,484


Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha (left); former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III; Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd); Vice President Namadi Sambo; and Gov. Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State, during a special convocation ceremony and special launching of N50b ABU phase two Development Fund in Zaria… yesterday.

Controversy Over New FIRS Chairman By Marcel Mbamalu, News Editor

Ministry Shortlists Six Candidates, Drops Incumbent Boss; North Kicks

ONTRARY to the convenC tional practice, the Ministry of Finance may,

cise is expected to help the Ministry zero in on just one of the candidates. Incidentally, the FIRS is one of the few MDAs that expressly preclude such process of appointment in the enabling law — the Federal Inland Revenue Act, 2007, in FIRS case —, thus raising fresh controversy on the legitimacy of the process. But Max Ogar, a constitutional lawyer with special interest in public interest litigation,

today, conduct a final interview for six shortlisted candidates vying for the chairmanship of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). This is the first time such interview and selection process will be adopted for the FIRS or related appointment in Federal parastatals and MDAs. The outcome of today’s exer-

yesterday, said the move could set a dangerous precedent, as it was the exclusive function of the President to make such appointments. Anchoring his argument on the law {Section 3(2)(a)} — Federal Inland Revenue Act, 2007 — that vests the President with the Authority to appoint any person of his choice into the office, therefore, Ogar urged President Jonathan not to set “a bad precedent,” subjecting the FIRS chairmanship

position to undue political maneuverings through such “tests” as planned by the Finance Ministry. “If we allow the ongoing joke to go, then, we shall get to a point where Nigerians will insist on the President declaring vacant Ministerial positions — the National Security Adviser, the Chief of Staff (COS), among others — and subjecting the selection process to screening/interview; may that day never

come. “Specific to the FIRS job, it is the President’s exclusive right, subject only to Senate confirmation. I expect the President to take absolute charge of the process by looking at whoever he feels can deliver. Nobody needs to screen/interview anyone for Mr. President,” he said. Ogar’s grouse against the ongoing process of screening/interviewing candidates for the position is not an isolated case. He had instituted a suit against the National

Archibong Petitions Jonathan, Alleges Miscarriage Of Justice By Ehichioya Ezomon (Group Political Editor) ISGRACED Federal High D Court judge, Justice Charles Efanga Archibong, has peti-

tioned President Goodluck Jonathan to restore him to the position from which the president compulsorily retired him last Monday. In the petition, which was copied to Chief Justice of the Federation, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the judge claimed unfair hearing and miscarriage of justice against him by the National Judicial Council (NJC). He specifically asked the President to rescind/withdraw CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


2 | Sunday, March 3, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Archibong Alleges Miscarriage Of Justice CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 acceptance/approval of the NJC’s recommendation that he be compulsorily retired as judge of the Federal High Court. The judge’s troubles started last year when two petitions were written against him to the NJC. In the first petition, Chief J.B Dauda, one of the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, complained that Justice Archibong had dismissed, without a plea or considering the gravamen of the charges preferred, the grievious charge of criminal infractions against Dr. Erastus Akingbola, former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc. Some of the alleged breaches were fraudulent conversion, obtaining by false pretense, money laundering, market manipulation, loan scam, and

fraudulent and wrongful trading of securities, amounting to N346,185,841,243.75 and £10,925,649.58. The judge also reportedly made some pronouncement on the professional competence of the prosecuting team of six Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), comprising Damien Dodo, A.B Mahmoud, Kola Awodein, Konyinsola Ajayi, E.C Ukala and J.B Daudu. In the second petition by Chief Olajide Ajana, counsel for a faction of PDP in Ogun State, the judge was alleged to have issued a Bench Warrant against respondents that were not served the contempt application before him (judge) and for granting the main reliefs in an application that was not moved ex parte. Following the petitions, the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, asked for Justice Archibong’s

comments, which he gave in July 2012. The judge said he exercised his discretion to terminate proceedings in the case against Dr. Akingbola due to lack of diligent prosecution by the counsel, who, “for the umpteenth time in three years sought leave to amend charges.” “The Prosecution Team’s response to each challenge was an application to further amend charges,” the judge said. “In point of fact, at the time I terminated proceedings, the prosecution had effectively been permitted to withdraw the existing charges yet again, declined to present fresh charges but rather decided to embark on an appeal specifically prohibited by provisions of the EFCC Act.”

In any case, Justice Archibong stated that the order disbanding the team was made on the Attorney General of the Federation, adding that, “any talk of the judge frustrating an appeal by counsel of the Prosecution Team is totally baseless.” He said he did not discharge Akingbola, as widely suggested, as the accused’s properties were still attached by the State. “The effort to get Akingbola to give an account of his stewardship of his Bank was simply frustrated by the prosecution team’s incompetence, an uncomfortable but very selfevident fact,” he said. On Chief Ajana’s petition, Justice Archibong said the counsel “represented serial contemnors” and that his petition should be discarded “without much ado.”

Perhaps, not content with mere written response to the allegations, he specifically asked to be granted audience by the NJC, noting that the petitioners were people who could make representations, written and unwritten, formal and informal at various levels; a privilege he did not have as a judge. The NJC Investigation Committee did not grant him (or any of the parties) the privilege of appearing before it to defend the allegations against him. However, the three-member committee, headed by the Chief Judge of Benue State, Justice I. Hwande, sat on Wednesday, November 21, 2012, to consider the case. Noting that, “all facts were complete with regard to the submission by the Petitioners

and the response by the Judge,” the committee decided not to invite the parties, “as it had sufficient evidence before it to deliberate on the matter.” And having looked at the petitions and the response of Justice Archibong, the Investigation Committee formulated eight issues for determination, including the reported discharging of Akingbola without taken his plea; the judge describing the prosecuting lawyers as indolent and incompetent, and a drain on public purse; his alleged refusal to release the Certified True Copy of his ruling to the EFCC; issuance of arrest warrant on parties without due service on the parties; and whether the judge was in order in dismissing application that was never heard on the ground of incompetence.

Maina Alleges N60b Pension Fund Fraud From Abosede Musari, Abuja ORMER Chairman of the FTaskdefunct Pension Reform Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, has alleged that officers from the Office of the Head of Service misappropriated N60b pension funds on yearly basis before the inauguration of his task force in June 2010. Maina, in a 44-page petition, alleged that none of the “criminals” is facing prosecution; they are rather protected and treated “tender-heartedly”. The petition was partly addressed to the Senate President, David Mark, in reaction to the senate committee report, which indicted him (Maina) of fraud, and recommended the disbandment of the Pension Reform Task Team. Maina said that some of the cash and property, allegedly obtained by corrupt officers through the Pension Funds from the Head of Service, have been seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). “The EFCC, for example, has investigated and charged to court about 40 persons and companies for the role they played in siphoning pension funds. Besides, the agency has helped to recover nearly N50b in cash and assets stolen by corrupt civil servants,” Maina said. On his failure or refusal to appear before the Senate, the embattled Maina, who is currently on the wanted list of the Police, said he had earlier appeared before the Senate Committee on March 9, 2012, where he was drilled for 12 hours (9am to 9pm). He added

that he was treated with hostility during the session. While accusing the Committee of protecting pension thieves, Maina said it curiously has a good rapport with the same persons the Task Team exposed as having stolen billions of naira from the Pension Funds. “Apart from hosting one of them in his office, the Committee Chairman queried Professor Afolabi, the Head of Service, for suspending one of the Pension thieves when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) started investigating him.” In a 31-point defence, addressed to the Senate President, Maina refuted all allegations leveled against him in the Senate report. He denied having 39 policemen attached to him. He also denied misappropriation of funds, saying that neither he nor the Task Force had access to funds. He said that for the number of years the Task Team operated, no budget was appropriated to it and that all payments for operations were approved by the Head of Service.

Levi Anyikwa, Head of Corporate Affairs), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), signs the condolence register for late John Abba Ogbodo at The Guardian Abuja office...yesterday. PHOTO: EMEKA ANUFORO

Finance Ministry Shortlists Six Candidates For FIRS Top Job CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Assembly urging it to declare then Vice President Jonathan as Acting President. He also instituted a suit against Governor Liyel Imoke and INEC on the issue of tenure of office and challenged the long stay of the immediate past Chair of the FIRS in office, as

well as the e-coding agenda of the Directorate of Road Traffic Services. In a screening exercise, which dropped the incumbent acting Chairman, Kabir Mashi, from the list, the Ministry had cut down the number, from a little above 30, to six candidates, an action that has sparked hushed complaints and bickering in the race for the top FIRS job. The six candidates represented two geopolitical zones, the South-South and the South East, thus having the potential to pitch the North against the Finance Ministry. In the backdrop of the process being adopted to fill the vacancy at the FIRS, the North, as a single bloc, is insisting on either retaining the incumbent or replacing him with another Northerner. But Finance Ministry source said Mashi is not qualified for the post, going by the Ministry’s requirements; hence, he was not shortlisted for today’s interview. It was gathered that, led by a powerful governor from the region, South South is also laying claim to the position, which had been zoned to it, in view of the fact that former FIRS boss, Ifueko Omoigui-

Okauru, is from the South South. But, having thrown the position open, other regions have pressed to have it, hence the South East lobby group, which claims that the zone has been marginalised in existing key federal appointments. A former Managing Director of a bank, who is also a serving chairman of another bank, is a top contender from the South East. The Finance Ministry could not confirm or comment on the process at the weekend, as its spokesman, Paul Nwabuikwu, could not be reached for comment. Several calls put to his phone rang out. In the same vein, a text message sent to his mobile phone yesterday requesting confirmation of today’s scheduled interview was not acknowledged as at the time of going to press. The myriad of interests jostling for the position and the controversy surrounding the process of selection are hinged on alleged undue influence of the former Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mrs. Omoigui-Okauru, who is said to have already anointed one of the candidates.

Another major area of concern was the seeming irregular procedure being adopted for the appointment, contrary to the stipulated norms for all MDAs, including the FIRS. Although this measure has been canvassed in some quarters, vested interests insist that the motive behind the interview could go beyond the “mantra of transparency or using a reputable firm of management consultants like Philips Consulting.” Some of them accused the Ministry of already anointing a candidate for the job to meet the aspirations of certain global organisations and agencies. A source at the Federal Civil Service, responsible for executive federal appointments, said, since the Finance Ministry is not the only one that has MDAs under its supervision, it could, by its action, be setting a precedent, albeit a dangerous one, to openly hijack the appointment of heads of MDAs, a constitutional responsibility of Mr. President, and in some cases (like the FIRS and the CBN), subject to confirmation by the Senate. The source added that “if the Ministry is allowed to com-

plete the process, then, there would be no reason other ministers would not do the same for all other MDAs. By extension, the Minister for Police Affair could organise interviews for appointment to the post of Inspector General of Police, while Minister of Defence would do the same for Service Chiefs. So, simply put, the President’s executive powers would have been eroded substantially.” Nigeria currently has about 260 federal MDAs periodically requiring appointment of boards and chief executives by the President. About 50 MDA executive vacancies, including board positions, have, in the lat two years, been filled through presidential appointments without ministerial interviews. They include NNPC, NIMASA, NPA, INEC, NPC, among others. Similarly, the appointment of a CBN Governor has always been filled without staged interviews, the same for FIRS executive chairmanship positions that have always been filled by presidential appointment with Senate confirmation, the reason such a seemingly transparent move is drawing the ire of major stakeholders.

THe GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


NeWSHIGHlIGHTS Soyinka Receives Awolwo leadership Prize LAGOS

Boko Haram Has Declared Civil War In North — Danjuma, babangida, others

By Kamal Tayo Oropo

From Saxone Akhaine, Northern Bureau Chief ARY of the security challenge in the country, former Defence Minister, General Theophilous Danjuma, yesterday described the north as being in the middle of a civil war declared by the Boko Haram religious sect. Danjuma spoke at the launch of the Ahmadu bello University (AbU), Zaria’s N50bn Phase 11 Development project, where former Mili-

obel laureate, Professor N Wole Soyinka, is set to add yet another diadem to his in- W timidating list of honours as he receives the maiden award of the obafemi Awolowo Prize for leadership, an initiative of the obafemi Awolowo Foundation. The Foundation, following a rigorous selection process by a panel of eminent Nigerians, had announced in December 2012 that Soyinka had been picked as winner of the prize. The actual presentation of the prize, which consists of a plaque, medal and the certificate of award, will be made at a ceremony, expected to draw a wide array of distinguished Nigerians on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Soyinka is expected to deliver a lecture on the occasion. A dance performance, musical celebration, goodwill messages, as well as a documentary on Chief obafemi Awolowo and the Foundation itself, set up in 1992 to preserve his intellectual legacy are highlights slated for the event. The documentary on Awolowo, according to a statement by the executive Director of the Foundation, Dr. olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu, seeks to refresh the national memory concerning critical milestones in the sage’s political career with a view to teaching a generation, groping for direction and leadership renewal useful lessons. Former Head of State and Chairman of the board of Trustees of the Awolowo Foundation, General Yakubu Gowon, will chair the occasion, while guests of honour include other former Heads of Government, State Governors, traditional rulers and other distinguished Nigerians. The idea of the leadership prize derived from the special dialogue of the obafemi Awolowo Foundation held in July 2011 with the theme, “Transformational leadership and Good Governance: lessons from the Awolowo example”. It was observed on that occasion that one of the greatest challenges confronted by Nigeria is the leadership deficit. It was recommended at that dialogue that an obafemi Awolowo Prize for leadership be instituted for the purpose of recognizing excellence and benchmarking key leadership attributes associated with Chief Awolowo.

KADUNA tary President, Ibrahim babangida, and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammed Sa’ad Abubakar, also decried poverty and insecurity in the country, which, according to them, is being instigated lack of access to education. others, who graced the occasion, where General Danjuma was honoured with a Doctorate degree award, included the

Vice President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, Kaduna State Governor, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, Prof Jerry Gana, Niger State Governor, Alhaji babangida Aliyu and former Senate President, Ken Nnamani Danjuma, irked by the inability of government to end the insurgency of the boko Haram sect, stated that “given the challenges now

facing the nation, this ceremony affords us an appropriate opportunity for reflection”, pointing out that “this is no time to doubt or to question what others have done or failed to do”. babangida, in his address as Chairman of the occasion, argued that “the security, peace and progress we aspire for ourselves and our families are not attainable if the majority of the citizenry remain locked in the traps of ignorance and poverty.”

“The choice before us, according to him, is very stark; opt for peace,progress and happiness by contributing to the proper education of the younger generation of Nigerians; or invite anarchy that would end up consuming us all. We must therefore not insist that our governments at various levels wake up to the challenges in the education sector, but we must also, as individuals, find ways of making our contributions to this great task”.

Wife of the President of Cote D’Ivoire, Dominique Ouattara (left); President Goodluck Jonathan; his wife, Patience; and President Alassane Ouattara of Cote D’ivoire, during the arrival of President Jonathan for a State visit at the Abidjan International Airport…Friday Night.

Gunmen Fire Grenades Into Mosque From Isa Abdulsalami, Jos HAT could have turned W out to be another tragedy in Jos, the Plateau State capital, was, yesterday, averted by men of the Special Task Force (STF) deployed to restore law and order yesterday, as unknown gunmen  fired 36 hand grenades into a Mosque located at the bukuru express Way in Jos South local Government Council of the State. A source told journalists

PLATEAU that the incident occurred at the early hours of yesterday. According to the source, about 10 people were in the mosque preparing to commence prayers when the group fired rockets at them. Spokesman of the STF, Captain Salisu Ibrahim Mustapha, confirmed the incident, saying: “Miscreants threw 36 hand grenades into a mosque but it failed to det-

onate; thereafter, they fired shots in the air and escaped. No arrest was recorded.” The area has been cordoned off to avert breakdown of law and order. Mustapha enjoined people to be vigilant and report any suspicious objects, persons or activities in their area to security agencies. He gave the assurance that ongoing investigation would ensure that the perpetrators of the act were apprehended. The STF, in a separate joint

operation with the ‘operation Rainbow,’ a Plateau State security outfit, on February 1, 2013, had discovered two unidentified dead bodies when it raided a criminal hideout in Shendam and bakin ladi local Government Councils of the State. last week, the STF Commander, Major-General Henry Ayoola, held a peace parley with youths from Jos South, Riyom and barkin ladi local Government Councils, where he advised the youths

to sheathe their swords and embrace peace. The parley was attended by Commissioner for Information and Communication, Abraham Yiljap, Special Adviser to the Governor on Peace building, Timothy Parlong, and Representative of the chairman of Jos South local Government Council. The parley comprised youths from both the Fulani herdsmen and the native berom group, who literally hugged themselves.

Amaechi, Uduaghan, Aregbesola Congratulate Adesina elTA State Governor, emD manuel Uduaghan, has • Task Media On Fairness expressed satisfaction with Friday’s election of Femi Adesina, the deputy editorin-Chief of The Sun Newspapers, as President of the Nigeria Guild of editors (NGe), succeeding Mr. Gbenga Adefaye, who served out the two-term limit prescribed by the constitution of the Guild. This comes as Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaeci, and osun State Governor, ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who sent congratulatory messages to the

new NGe President, urged the media not to lose focus on its primary responsibility to society Uduaghan, in a statement signed by Felix ofou, his Press Secretary, described Adesina’s election as putting “round peg in a round hole”, while also noting that the outcome reflects the confidence and acceptance of the celebrated columnist by editors all over the country. He said: “It is with great joy that I received the news of the election of Femi Adesina’s as

the new President of the Nigeria Guild of editors to take over from my good friend and brother, Gbenga Adefaye who I believe served the guild meritoriously. There is no doubt that Nigerian editors have put a round peg in a round hole”. Governor Uduaghan praised the NGe for conducting an election of new officers devoid of acrimony, stressing that the editors, by this feat have shown the way for other groups to follow. This, according to him, would fur-

NATIONAL ther enhance the image of the group. He wished the new executive a successful tenure and expressed the hope that the NGe would help to stamp out quackery from the journalism profession as well as ensure that journalists are paid regular wages, quite unlike the case where several media houses owe their staff for months. The governor restated his commitment to host the next conference. Amaechi, who is also chair-

man of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), hailed Adesina on his emergence. Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, David Iyofor, Amaechi commended Adesina on his sterling attributes and wished him a successful term at the helm of affairs of the Guild. He expressed the confidence that the new leadership would take the guild to greater heights. “I also believe that his tenure would well represent the Nigeria Guild of editors and cause an increase in profes-

sionalism in the field and among its members,” Amaechi said. Aregbesola, through the Director of the bureau of Communications and Strategy, office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu okanlawon, said the choice of Adesina by the body was a wise, informed and progressive one. Just like his counterpart in Delta State, the osun State governor, noted that the smooth transfer of power from one executive to another best exemplifies true democratic system that respects and recognises people’ choice.

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


NEWS Lagos Begins Fresh Round Of Polio Immunisation By Kamal Tayo Oropo AGOS State, yesterday, kicked off the second round of the National Immunisation Plus Days (NIPDs), saying it has sourced 5, 000,000 doses of oral polio vaccine through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency for the four-day exercise. “This campaign, targeting 4,395,651 children below five, would be implemented by 2,254 house-to-house teams, 1,714 transit and 778 fixed or transiently fixed post teams. Children at homes, markets, churches, mosques, major car parks and social event venues


Threatens To Revoke Unused Agric Lands would be specifically tarLAGOS geted. The house-to-house and transit components of these teams would administer only OPV to children aged 0-59 months irrespective of their immunisation status,” said State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris. The commissioner advised parents, care givers, guardians, community leaders and rulers to ensure that all under-five children are adequately immunised.  Meanwhile, the state has threatened to revoke all agri-

cultural lands from allottees that have used the same for other purposes or have abandoned them. Speaking during an Agricultural Land Allottees Conference at Johnson Agiri Complex, Agege, last week, Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, said affected allottees have 30 days to make payment and three months to commence work on the lands.

He also urged allottees with complaints to contact the ministry for assistance. He warned that no land should be left fallow because the state has limited allocations with more people still expressing interest for acquisition. Lawal told allottees that government would provide support, such as institutional framework, exposure to credit facility and latest technology in the agricultural sector and capacity building in agribusiness. He said government has set a standard at all its farm estates, by providing infrastructural fa-

cilities, access to inputs, marketing strategy and extension services that would make production easy for allottees. In another development, the state presented cash gifts to families of three deceased neighbourhood watchmen who died on active service. State Commissioner for Rural Development, Mr. Cornelius Ojelabi, who made the donation on behalf of Governor Babatunde Fashola, said the governor approved the money in order to help the families cushion the pains of losing their breadwinners. 

Lamido Signs N115.4b Appropriation Bill From John Akubo, Dutse OVERNOR Sule Lamido of Jigawa State has signed into law the state’s 2013 appropriation bill. The Jigawa House of Assembly had earlier passed the bill with no alteration to the budget total of N115.4b submitted by the executive.


Signing the bill in Dutse, Lamido thanked the legislature for its cooperation in ensuring good governance in the state. “The three arms of government must work together in synergy for the progress of the state. We must build a strong institution with zero tolerance for

JIGAWA corruption, and for good governance to thrive for the benefit of our people,” he said. The governor also assented to the N57.7b budget for the 27 local government areas of the state, assuring citizens that his administration will

use the remaining two years of his second term to draft a framework that would transform the economy. To this effect, the governor said he has set up a committee of wise men that would organise the state’s first economic summit, which would transform Jigawa to the likes of the United King-

dom, United States and China in a 50-year plan. The state government had earlier inaugurated a 20-man committee saddled with the mandate of organising the investment summit, aimed at showcasing the potentials of Jigawa to attract foreign and domestic investors.

Four-year-old Raped To Death IMO From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri OLICEMEN in Imo State P have arrested a 30-year-old man, for raping a four-yearold boy to death. Parading the suspect at police headquarters in Owerri at the weekend, the Commissioner, Muhammad Musa Katsina, said he set up an “ambush squad” that arrested the suspect who has made confessional statements that would aid further investigations. Katsina said his men also shot a notorious kidnapper in the state, Matthew Alaribe from Ngor Opkala, who made confessions before his death and apprehended two persons who had abducted a 75-yearold man. The Police chief, who has just been posted to the state, promised to make life unbearable for criminals.

CROSS RIVER Youth Body Wants Atiku, Amaechi For 2015 Polls

CROSS RIVER From Anietie Akpan, Calabar PRESSURE group, SouthA South Progressive Youth Movement, said it would prefer Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to run on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 presidential election. In a statement by its President, Mr. Austine Ibok, on Friday, the group said Atiku has ability to address challenges confronting youths in the country. The group lamented high rate of youth unemployment, which it said has resulted in the Boko Haram insurgency in the North and militancy in the Niger Delta region. It also prayed that the ticket would feature River State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, as running mate. “It has become evident that our leaders have paid little or no attention to the plight of youths. This has made them prone to violence and militancy, as way out of their idleness.

Governorship Aspirant To ‘Reshape State’s Economy’ ANAMBRA Chairman,Vigeo Power, Victor Gbolade Osibodu and the Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, at the inauguration dinner in Akure, shortly after the Governor  was sworn in… recently.

2015 Polls: UNDP Trains Civil Society Groups On Politics, Gender By Tunde Akinola HE UNDP’s (United Nations T Development Programme) Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) initiative has stressed the need to strengthen Nigeria’s democratic character by consolidating and advancing democratic governance and accountability. Dr. Mourtada Deme, UNDP/DGD Project Director, stressed the need for an all-in-

clusive democracy while addressing participants in Lagos, last week, at the opening ceremony of a five-day training for about 40 civil society groups on BRIDGE (Building Resources in Governance and Election) Module on Gender and Elections. The training, organised by UNDP, is in collaboration with the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID)

LAGOS and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). It is aimed at promoting political participation embracing a pluralistic system of political parties. According to Deme, who was represented by a national gender expert at UNDP/DGD, Hajiya Mufuliat Fijabi, the objective of the training is to “provide tools

for civil society organisations to critically assess elections from a gender perspective; improve understanding of civil society organisations on the importance of gender mainstreaming in the electoral process and improve civil society organisations’ capacity to manage interventions, pre, during and post election periods.” Deme added that the training is to provide strategic

support for the promotion of women’s participation in electoral processes particularly at a higher level. Participants included Youth Action Initiative Africa (YAIA), Gender and Development Action (GADA), Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), Center for Religion Cooperation and Tolerance (CRCT), Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), BAOBAB For Women’s Human Rights, among others.

From Uzoma Nzeagwu, Awka N aspirant under the All A Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Dr. Chike Obidigbo, has promised to reshape the economy of Anambra State. Obidigbo, who spoke, yesterday, during the monthly meeting of Anambra Women Organisation (ANWO), at Ezinifte in Aguata, explained that the state needs respite from numerous socio-economic, political and security challenges. The aspirant, who hails from Umunya, Oyi local government area of Anambra State, and from Anambra North Senatorial zone, regretted that the state has never enjoyed the benefits of good governance since its creation. Anambra needs a renaissance that will allow private sector operators shape the future of its economy, he said, stressing that he would be providing such when he is elected.

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday March 3, 2013




Kenya’s Presidential Aspirant, Odinga, Seeks Spiritual Support In Nigeria From Anietie Akpan, Calabar HEAD of the March 4 PresiA dential Election in Kenya, Raila Odinga, one of the presidential aspirants, has sent emissaries to Nigeria, ostensibly, for spiritual assistance. Odinga, yesterday, sent a two-

NATIONAL man emissaries to the world headquarters of a spiritual organisation, the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, based in Calabar, Nigeria, to court Leader Olumba Olumba Obu’s spiritual support and favour

to enable him win the race. Led by a priest, resident in Kenya, Joseph Abeng, the delegation was received inside the worship hall of the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, by Leader Obu, who is reported to have influential presence and following in that country.

Joseph Abeng said Odinga has a lot of respect for the leader of the spiritual organisation and believes that his prayers, which had helped him previously, could also work in his favour during the presidential election in his country. Abeng said Odinga, who is fac-

ing stiff opposition from one of the leading candidates, Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of the founder of modern Kenya, asked him to appeal to His Olumba Obu to similarly pray and work for him the way he did for Barack Obama of the United States of America.

World Bank Disburses Additional N25.7m To 27 Communities IMO From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri HE World Bank, through T the Imo State Agency for Community and Social Development Agency, at the weekend, disbursed the sum of about N25.7m to 27 communities in the state. General Manager of the agency, Mr. Augustine Amah, who represented World Bank officials, noted that the amount is in addition to about N450m earlier given to 71 communities for developmental projects in the state. The Principal Secretary to the Imo State Governor, Dr. Paschal Obi (represented by Director of Administration and Finance in his office, Mr. Asonye Igwe) said Umuakaku, received the second and highest tranche of N2,655,000.00m, followed by Ndiorji community with about N1,896,805.12m.

Fire at Mnet Office Ojota LAGOS HE Ojota office of Mnet was T yesterday razed by fire. The outbreak, which began at

Jigawa State Commissioner for Finance, Nasiru Umar Roni (left); Governor Sule Lamido; Speaker of the Jigawa State House of Assembly, Adamu Ahmed Sarawa and the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Mahmoud, as the Governor signs the 2013 budget. PHOTO: JOHN AKUBO

Ubah Visits Ladipo Traders, As Lagos Demolishes ‘Shanties’ By Marcel Mbamalu FTER months of occupying media space for the wrong reasons, Chairman of Capital Oil, Ifeanyi Ubah, yesterday, had what appeared a good outing with locked-out Ladipo Market traders, as he stormed the area in a security convoy to facilitate demolition of shanties close to the canal. The entrepreneur, who arrived the market at exactly 10.30 am, said he had, the previous day, held talks with the Lagos State Government over the closure of the market and arrived at a more realistic solution on how to relocate the affected traders in the long run. Shortly after his arrival, a welldressed leader of the Ladipo Central Executive Council


(LACEC) was seen issuing directives to a crowd of stranded traders, a few of whom moved into the market to take away their wares and personal effects. He warned non-stall owners not to venture into the market, as imposters would be hauled into a security vehicle as criminals. Further investigation revealed that the State Government is actually on the verge of destroying most of the shanties and shops located close to the canals, prompting Ubah’s intervention to facilitate safe removal of important items belonging to the affected traders. One of the traders said they had been informed of the State Govern-

LAGOS ment’s decision on the matter. Amid lamentations from traders and residents, the Ladipo Market, barely one week ago, was shut down by the Lagos State Government, based on official allegation of unsavoury sanitary condition of the area. Pointers to sudden, but amicable, resolution of the crisis - based on reported intervention of Southeast political and traditional leaders notwithstanding, Ubah’s explanation, yesterday, indicates, that the traders are yet to be out of trouble, but could have momentary respite. In a brief chat with The Guardian, Ubah said: “There is environmental issue. So, I met

the governor with some of their (the traders’) leaders, yesterday, and he has given me the approval to come and liaise with my people to evacuate some of the things in order to allow free flow because the government is expecting a heavy flow of flood this year. There is need for us to prepare against the rainy season. So, we have come to evacuate some of the people that are obstructing the right of way.” On whether he had the support of the market leadership, the Capital Oil boss said his visit is to ensure speedy resumption of activities at the market “Yes, I am with them, just to make sure that we move in and activate and then remove

some of these shanties, so that the market could be opened.” He said that, based on assurances from Governor Fashola, only shanties would be demolished, but stressed that his “people must have the right to take away their wares, their source of livelihood, before demolition. “They are my people; you can see that these are young people, the future leaders of this country. We need to see how we can impact on their lives. I’m not happy seeing them this way; they are my mates. We are looking at how we are going to integrate and create an enabling environment in partnership with the Lagos State Government; and the governor has consented to this.”

Trade, Tax Enforcement Top Agenda, As UK Minister Visits Fashola By Kamal Tayo Oropo LAGOS State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, and the United Kingdom Minister for Africa, Mr. Mark Symonds, have expressed the mutual commitment of their governments to economic growth, trade and income tax enforcement. The governor enjoined the UK government to check income and tax declaration by prospective visa applicants to the High Commission by profiling the income tax declaration made by such applicants in their visa applications. The visiting Minister had

asked how the governor links tax revenue with economic growth to achieve infrastructure development of Lagos. “We will like to know how you have raised tax revenue, linking it with economic growth and how to extend it not only to the rest of Nigeria but to the whole of Africa,” he said, adding: “I believe you deserve enormous credit for all the very significant improvement we have seen in Lagos.” Responding, Governor Fashola paid tribute to the staff of the British High Commission in Lagos saying, “They have helped us in some ways

LAGOS by checking with us disclosures made by people seeking immigrant visas in order to ensure that they are able to pay their way and that they have clearly declared their income and in that way, we have seen increasing voluntary compliance”. “People come and update their tax records. I think this is a practice that should become global really where people who don’t declare their incomes legitimately face the potential risk of having those records checked and ulti-

mately, perhaps, criminal sanctions imposed,” the governor said. Fashola said the secret behind the success of taxation as major source of revenue for Lagos was hinged on the legitimacy and integrity of the government rooted on transparency and the ability to deliver on the promise and expectations of the people. He told the visiting Minister, “On taxation, I don’t think we have done anything unusual here. We have proceeded from the very first principles, the principles of representation, being the basis of taxa-

tion. What we are seeing here is the connection between democracy and taxation. “It is a long standing principle, but perhaps I should also add that the driver for what we have done here is our legitimacy as a government. When you win an election by over 80 percent of the votes cast, clearly you know that this is a government that the people have elected and, therefore, you are able to communicate to the people in a very open and transparent manner that this is the highway to prosperity and this is its cost,” Fashola said.

about 3 pm was put under control by Lagos State Fire Service. Although no life was lost, property worth millions of naira was destroyed by the inferno. When The Guardian visited the scene, the cause of the outbreak could not be ascertained. The General Manager of the office, Mr. Felix Awogu, however, said the fire might have emanated from an electrical fault. The extent of damage could not also be ascertained at the time of this report as armed policemen cordoned off the premises preventing entrance to unauthorised person.

Aregbesola Leads New OYES Volunteers In Endurance Trek OSUN SUN State Governor, OgO beni Rauf Aregbesola, has described service as a cardinal principle of life, which must not be denied the people. He observed this while addressing the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) shortly after an endurance trek and road show, as part of comprehensive training programmes for the newly recruited volunteers. The governor, who described the second batch of OYES volunteers as champions of Osun, urged them not to deny people their services at all t i m e s . He expressed delight that the scheme has assumed international dimension, describing it as dignifying and honourable. “If there is any state, which should not embark on a money gulping venture as this, it is Osun State. This is based on its position on the Federal Allocation table as thirty-fourth,” Aregbesola said.


Sunday, March 3, 2013


Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Cityfile Co-ordinated By: Tope Templer Olaiya

Life After The Flood: ...A Report On How Govts And Citizens Manage The Ruins By Tope Templer Olaiya (Assistant Lagos-City Editor) T is the first week of March and in most homes and offices, calendars would be flipped to herald the third month in the year. Expectedly, attentions would be geared towards meeting set goals and following up on gains made in the last 60 days. Ironically too, on the climatic calendar, the countdown is gradually narrowing to the beginning of the rainy season and that time of the year when the popular nursery rhyme, Rain Rain Go Away, rents the air. From May to September, Nigeria has its rainy season and experiences flash floods, which are sometimes destructive, especially in the rural areas or overcrowded slums, where drainage is poor or non-existent. In the homes of many Nigerians, the advent of the season would remind them of personal tragedies from last year’s devastating flood, which swept through 19 states of the federation and left in its wake pain and anguish. It was a sad story of death and destruction, which displaced millions. Invaluable possessions were lost and many communities are yet to recover from the disaster that left vast tracks of farmlands completely wasted. Swept away by swollen rivers, it was reported that dangerous animals, including crocodiles, snakes and hippos, ended up in homes and communities. While the governments of affected states are still grappling with its aftermath, the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) has once more warned of heavy rainfall in some parts of the north. The agency gave the same warning last year; it was ignored at enormous cost. According to NIMET, there might be excessive rainfall in Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger and Kwara states, while the rest of the coastal states would also experience slight increase in rainfall. NIMET dropped the bombshell: “The rainfall pattern in most parts of Nigeria is likely to be similar to that of 2012.” This is the news that is getting many, especially flood victims,


worried. They do not wish to relive the experience of last year. N the wake of the disaster, the Federal Government set up the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation, appointing 34 eminent Nigerians to raise funds for flood survivors. The committee, popularly known as the Dangote Committee, so named after the chairman of the 34-man panel, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, raised funds for relief materials, which were distributed to various resettlement camps across the states. Similarly, corporate organisations, stirred by grim realities of the situation, stepped out with their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. The state governments had to immediately provide shelter and fend for the thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), empowering their local State Emergency Management Authority (SEMA) to mitigate effects of the incident. Delta State, however, took its intervention a notch higher by not only remedying the immediate situation, but also seeking ways to minimise future occurrence. It assembled a team (Technical Committee on Flood Impact Assessment) from the state university in Abraka to investigate the impact of the 2012 flood on affected communities. The move is not only novel, moving away from the ad-hoc and emergency approach to the recurring disaster; it is an intervention that could provide an exhaustive and enduring solution to flooding, by the use of intellectuals. The 18-man committee, headed by Prof. Eric Arubayi, had assessed impact of the flood on agricultural and economic activities, environment, health, educational institutions and infrastructure before making its recommendations. The flood, which has been described as the worst natural disaster in the country in the last 50 years, affected 231 communities across 12 local government areas of the state, destroying farmlands, livestock, fish farms, and adversely impacting residential and commercial buildings, and public infrastructure. The study covered the 12 LGAs in the three Senatorial Districts. These are: Delta Central – Udu, Ughelli North and Ughelli South;


Delta North – Oshimili North, Oshimili South, Ndokwa East and Ndokwa West; and Delta South – Bomadi, Burutu, Isoko North, Isoko South and Patani. The loss was estimated at N9.602 billion, with crops, livestock and aquaculture accounting for 62.7 per cent, followed by residential and commercial buildings, which accounted for about 35 per cent. The flood was devastating, due to a number of factors. First, it was unprecedented. Secondly, early warning signals were not heeded, and no efforts were made to evacuate valuable property and resources. The committee recommended short and long-term measures to mitigate the impact on victims. Short-term measures include cleaning and fumigation of affected communities; construction of new wells, boreholes and provision of pumps and overhead tanks; rehabilitation of sewage facilities and construction of toilet facilities; rehabilitation of failed sections of roads, bridges and jetties. Others are: supply of machines for grating cassava, supply of boats (dug-out boats), fishing nets and hooks; provision of fingerlings, feeds, seedlings and cuttings to farmers; and provision of grants to affected persons to help them rebuild mud houses and renovate block houses. The long-term measures, which the committee described as structural, are largely aimed at avoiding recurrence. They include construction of flood walls, dispersion/diversion structures, delay action dams and bypass structures; channelisation of flood waters; dredging of the River Niger and its tributaries; and limiting the use of flood plains to agricultural uses. The report also recommended improved flood forecasting system through effective data collection and dissemination systems. As countdown to 2013 rainfall continues, it is the expectation of the flood victims and the research team that the report would not gather dust, rather, the state government would take appropriate steps to implement its recommendations.

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013



From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba IME may have healed the pains, agony and destruction of the devastating flood, which ravaged some parts of Delta State late last year. The vast majority of the Internally Displaced Persons, who were sheltered in 22 camps, set up across the state by the government to accommodate them, may have gone back to their communities, but some will still have to live with the scars for a long time to come. At the peak of the flooding, which ravaged 231 communities in 12 out of the 25 local councils in the state, well over 42,271 persons were affected by the flash flood. With the provision of N174 million as allowance, comprising N5,000 to every adult and N3,000 to every child, who were willing to return home before the camps finally folded up, the Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Tony Nwaka, had announced that the gradual closure, which was kick-started on October 30 last year, was rounded off when the curtain drawn on Ogbe-Ijoh Camp, in Warri South West Local Council. On a visit to Okoh, less than two minutes drive from sub-urban Asaba, in Oshimili South Local Council last Wednesday, one could hardly believe his eyes. The deluge, which totally submerged the agrarian community on the bank of the River Niger and threatened to cut off the vital expressway, had since run dry. In place of the water is a sun-baked land. With the closure of the camps, the villagers went back to their ancestral home to till the land and try to pick back the pieces. They would rather forget that ugly blast from the past but they just cannot. What they met on arrival was a wasted landscape. All that they surveyed was desolation as their farmlands were completely destroyed and their houses were in ruins. The green foliage turned grey, evoking the sad imagery of a wild harmattan fire. A housewife from Okoh, who simply gave her name as Mama Doris, was grateful to the Delta State government, who stood by them during their deepest despair, by catering for the victims at the St. Patrick’s College, Asaba camp. She, however, lamented that life had been very tough ever since she returned home in December. The mother of four and petty trader, said she had to start all over again after the camp was closed. Her mud brick house collapsed to effect of the rampaging flood. She lost the little articles, which she sells to support the family. Presently, the family of six, squats in a shack. She moaned: “It’s been very tough. We are just surviving by the grace of God. It has not been easy feeding because my husband’s crops were all washed away by the flood and we are starting from zero.” Mr. Andrew, another victim, who lives on the bank of the River Niger just behind the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, wailed that the foundation of his house, a block of four flats, was seriously eroded by the water. He spent his life’s saving to build the


DELTA: Victims Recount Losses, As Hausa Community Laments Marginalisation house but now is afraid of going back now that the water has receded. From being a landlord, Andrew, who hails from neighbouring Anambra State, has since relocated to the small town of Okpanam, where he lives in a rented three-bedroom flat with his family of five. Thoughts of going back to the happy home he once knew so well gives him goose bumps all over. He explained: “No matter what, I thank God that we are still alive. I lost all my properties in that terrible flood. From being the landlord of a block of four flats, I am now a tenant. Such is life, but as they say, once there is life, there is hope.” While others are very glad that the state government stood by them, members of the 20,000 strong Hausa community of Okoh will have to live with the scar of rejection for a very long time to come. Alhaji Tanimu Ibrahim, chairman of Arewa Onions Association, is still furious that no government official bothered to visit them as they were all left to fend for themselves during the peak of the disaster. He and his colleagues lost tons of onions at the market when it was flooded and had to relocate to the safety of a camp in Asaba. His view was corroborated by Alhaji Garba Umar, chairman of Arewa Goat Dealers Association, at Okoh Market. Months after the water dried up, he is still at a loss why no relief material was given to his members, despite the fact that they lost goods worth millions of Naira. Umar said but for the benevolence of two kind-hearted landowners, who sheltered them on their vast expanse of land in Asaba for free, he can’t imagine what would have been their fate. “The Hausa community in Okoh was saved by the benevolence of an Igbo man from Onitsha, who gave us a big parcel of land where we camped. Despite the numerous appeals for help, we were ignored. No official from the state government ever visited us. We were left at the mercy of the elements. We were treated as non-Nigerians. “We only heard of relief materials on radio and television. It is,

however, not too late for government to extend its post-flood intervention to us and treat us like Nigerians. So many of our people are in penury as a result of the great loss from the flood,” he said. At the public presentation of the report of the Technical Committee on the flood impact assessment in Asaba in January 28, 2013, Prof Chris Orubu, who presented the report on behalf of the committee, said a whopping N9.6 billion will be needed by the state government to build the over 14,899 houses, which were swept away by the disaster and also rehabilitate the victims. Orubu said 231 communities in 12 local councils were affected, adding that each of the owner of the mud houses needed at least N100,000 as assistance to rebuild the structure. 5,099 mud houses and 9,800 block houses were affected by the deluge. Now that the government is fully aware of the extent of damage, the governor said the committee disbursing the fund would find ways of implementing it. “The report stated that we will need about N10 billion to deal with the damage and the Federal Government gave us N500 million. I have not touched the N500 million. Now that l have the report, they (committee members) are going back to sit down, prioritize and see what we can do with the N500 million,” Uduaghan said. He emphasized that on the issue of flood, none of the states affected did as much as Delta to ameliorate the plight of victims, stressing that the report was the first phase of the project, as it was done when the flood was still on. “Now that the flood has receded, l have mandated them to do the second phase of the report. Members of the committee have already brought a proposal on how to spend the N500 million, but I cautioned them to wait till the full technical report is out,” he said. Uduaghan added that the government would as a first step in implementing the recommendation open up all waterways or channels where people have built structures, an exercise, which has commenced in Warri, Effurun and Sapele.

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013



BAYELSA:Still Grappling With Post-flood Rehabilitation From Willie Etim, Yenagoa VISIT to the communities in Bayelsa State that A was adversely affected by flood cuts a picture of pity. Interacting with some of the victims paints even a grimmer picture, though few of the victims in the state are beginning to settle down. The state government and other donor agencies have done a lot to extend relief to affected communities, but this may not be enough to assuage the psychological and emotional trauma victims are passing through in the aftermath of the devastating flood, which rendered them homeless and swept away all they had worked for. Assessing the extent of damage, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson had pleaded that the post-disaster management should not be left to the state government alone. He had called on public-spirited indi-

viduals to contribute meaningfully to the post-disaster management efforts during the inauguration of the post-flood management committee, headed by the late General Owoye Azazi. But after Azazi met his untimely death in an illfated helicopter crash in Okoroba community, in Nembe council area of the state, there was a drawback in the activities of the committee until Chief Francis Doukpola was appointed as the new chairman. The governor during the inauguration of the new chairman had mandated Doukpola to mobilize all available resources towards the rehabilitation of victims of last year’s disaster and the rebuilding of critical infrastructure destroyed by the flood. The committee intervention is aimed at mitigating the social, economic, health and other humanitarian impact of the disaster.

Dokpola soon after his appointment embarked on a tour of the affectedcommunities to have firsthand information on the most pressing needs of the people and possible area of intervention. Dokpola, at a recent briefing in Yenagoa, the state capital, noted that the committee might not be able to satisfy all the affected persons and communities. He, however, gave the assurance that they would try to reach as many people as possible. With N500 million donated by the Presidential Committee on Flood already in the bag, the committee is set to intervene in the post-flood predicament of the victims and communities. The tour of the communities as expected clearly presented financial challenges to the committee, as the resources available could barely satisfy a quarter of the devastation recorded during the flood. One of the biggest challenges faced by the com-

mittee according its findings is the reconstruction of the road leading to the Niger Delta University in Amassoma, Southern Ijaw council area, which was completely washed off and has since been impassable. Also hit is the collapsed bridge and entire stretch of road in Kolo community in Ogbia local government area of the state. The Niger Delta University, which was completely submerged, had lost unquantifiable academic materials, including library books and laboratory equipments. In all the flood-affected communities visited, residents said the damage caused by the flood was beyond what the communities could cope with, as many of them could barely feed after the flood. Top on the list of complaints is challenges in the health sector, education, electricity and availability of potable drinking water. At Ogobiri community in Sagbama council area, Chief Macdonald Afriki, lamented that a number of their mud houses had been damaged and their farm crops washed away. The community leader pleaded to the committee to come to their aid by providing the community with assistance in farming, such as provision of plantain suckers, cassava stems, fingerlings and other aid that would alleviate their sufferings. When The Guardian visited Agorogbene community, some displaced people were still living in the community town hall. A woman leader, Mrs. Victoria Wengosua, said besides the challenge of securing accommodation, the only means of drinking water in the community had been destroyed by the flood as they now drink the river water directly. According to her, drinking from the river has posed a health problem to the community, as villagers now experience strange ailments. “We have also been living in perpetual darkness since the flood submerged the only generating plant the community had, while fallen poles and electrical wiring have since not been repaired,” she said. At the Immigrants Fisherman Primary School in the community, run by the state Ministry of Education, the headmistress of the school lamented that bats have infested the school compound and it would need urgent fumigation to be safe for teaching. Also affected is the community’s secondary school, where two trees in the school premises fell on the roof of the only block of six classrooms, forcing students to take their lectures outside. One of the students, Clement Ebidowei, explained that anytime there is rainfall, they stand the risk of closing abruptly for the day. The leadership of Isoni community, while thanking the state government for the initial intervention during the flood, are requesting that a canal be dug along the creek behind the village to prevent flood water from emptying into the community. They also want barriers to be erected on possible flood outlets around the community. Dokpola said the committee had concluded touring all the affected communities in at least seven of the council areas. He noted that 90 percent of the entire state was affected and they therefore have groundswell of request for urgent rehabilitation in public infrastructure.

EDO: Tale Of Mixed

Feelings For Flood victims From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City IvE months after the flood disaster that sent a wave of shock across most parts of the country, some flood victims in Edo State still live in pitiable conditions, as their houses, particularly those built with mud, were completely washed off. Even for those who returned from the resettlement camps to still meet their houses intact, they are yet to recover fully from the impact of their valuables destroyed by the flood. Many of the Internally Displaced Persons now squat with families and friends since the closure of the camps. Some of the victims, who spoke with The Guardian, said their misery turned worse in the aftermath of the disaster when they were still battling with the current economic hardship. “We have now been forced to not only eat from hand to mouth, but to also lay our heads anywhere nightfall meet us,” said one of the victims. They appealed to the federal


and state governments to fulfill the promises made to them during their travail. Saliu Rufai, a community leader in Ofukpo-Ekperi in Etsako central council, said they have heard no words from government regarding the promised assistance to help rebuild their houses. “As I speak with you, most of us are just struggling to resuscitate our farmland, which was destroyed. We have had to travel as far as Uromi in Esan North East local government area of the state to get farm inputs like cassava stems. “This is part of what government promised us and we are yet to get any of it. We are in the planting season for yam and by May, we will be planting rice, but we are yet to get any of these farm inputs from government as promised,” said Rufai. Another victim, Joseph Oshigbele of Osomeigbe community, bemoaned the failure of government to live up to its promise. “Ever since the disaster, all we have seen are government officials coming around from different

ministries to take statistics of affected building and properties destroyed by flood. “The only thing they did was the fumigation of the area immediately after the flood receded. What we expect from government is for soft loans to be provided to enable us fully get back to our occupation, which is farming,” he said. For Isaac Omoaka, from Ekperi, whose house and family members were affected, life is gradually returning to normal. “It was a big challenge for us. I had feared my building would collapse because of the huge volume of water that went inside it for days. “But everywhere is dry now and we are adjusting to life after the flood. We haven’t seen anything from the government since the flood relief committee came here to do head count of affected people, though during the trying period in camp, we didn’t lack relief materials mobilized by government, corporate organizations and private individuals.” In Illushi, Esan South East local government council, some victims are still counting their

losses and calling for more relief materials. A noticeable area of serious intervention is the rebuilding of the market, which was completely washed off. However, a visit to the community at the weekend

showed that both social and economic activities have bounced back, though the disaster greatly affected their yam and rice farm and seedlings. When contacted, chairman of Edo State Flood Relief Com-

mittee, Hajia Memuna Momodu, said: “We are almost rounding up apportioning what is due to the victims. As we speak, we are holding a meeting on that and as soon as possible, the beneficiaries will get their entitlements.”

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013




Rehabilitation Still In Progress From Chuks Collins, Awka HE Anambra State has just concluded the distribution of relief materials and funds totaling about 400m million naira to victims of the last year’s flood disaster in the state. The chairman of the state’s ad hoc Relief Materials/Emergency Committee and the Secretary to the state Government (SSG), Mr. Oseloka Obaze confirmed this last week. Obaze also confirmed that members of the committee including himself have been on the field in the last one week monitoring and supervising the handling and distribution of the materials and funds to ensure it was well handled. The funds received ranged from N7million to N13million being handled by local units of relief materials committee of each of the communities. There are allegations of communities being sidelined and the caretaker committees were not forthcoming with information on the distribution pattern. Officers in Anambra East and West councils evaded questions on the details and handling of the relief funds and materials. They could not hide their frustrations whenever information seekers come to them with enquiries. On reconstruction work, an indigene of Aguleri, Rev Blackman Joe Nwabueze said the people were


banking on assurances of the state government that indigenes of the areas would be given the reconstruction jobs in their relevant communities. “Nothing has actually taken off in terms of the roads, schools, hospitals, churches, but we are hopeful,” Nwabueze submitted. A visit to the Community Secondary School, Umueze-Anam, Anambra West Council, showed that classrooms, basic science lab, Junior Secondary block, school’s hall/main auditorium, the principal’s quarters were still in ruins. They collapsed as a result of the soaking of the floodwater. The three functional classroom blocks were the ones reconstructed by the community through direct labour, in concert with the school’s management shortly after the flood. The school principal confirmed that the community had spent about N4million in the project. The member representing Anambra East constituency in the state Assembly, Obinna Emenaka said the funds and other relief materials were being distributed among the communities depending on the severity of damage/need. Among communities under his constituency that have received attention according to him were, Nando, about N3million; Igbariam, about N3.5million while Enugwu-out Aguleri has received above N9million. He admitted that the feedback from among his constituents were sad as they complained of shoddy han-

Ruins in Anambra dling of both the distribution of the foodstuffs, building materials and the cash. Communities were made to constitute committees that comprised traditional rulers, church/community leaders in each of the affected areas. He however praised the efforts of the state government. Another lawmaker, Victor Jideofor Okoye, who represents Anambra West in the state Assembly, also confirmed being aware of the ongoing distribution of some materials by the state, especially materials and cash from the Federal government. He

RIVERS: No Respite For Flood Victims Kelvin Ebiri AST September, some communities in Rivers State experienced the worst flood in their history. Though the flood had receded, its devastating impact still lingers for the vulnerable populations who lost their homes and personal belongings. Lots of people in communities such as Omoku; Ase Azagah, Omoku, Mgbede, Okwuzi, Ebocha, Ndoni, Obrikom, Ogbogu, Obaji, Idu, Okposi, are still struggling to put their lives together once again. In fact, some have already adopted strategies to meet the daily challenges of being homeless and migrants. The emotional stress many of the victims went through during the period they were displaced from their communities has not abated, particularly for those who experienced losses. Pain from loss and tough times has been quite difficult for some to overcome. Mr. Saviour Ajie whose family was forced to relocate from Ogbogu to Omoku told The Guardian that after the floodwaters receded, his major focus has been on how to normalize the lives of his traumatized siblings and aged mother. Though Ogbogu does not have a natural river or stream, flood water which, reached levels of six feet deep in his house, flowed from the Orashi river, which is over twenty kilometers away to his community. “ It was a terrible experience for me and my siblings. We waded through the water, which was a mixture of mud and other dirty materials, trying to salvage the remains of our family belongings. It was one of my nastiest experience ever,” he said. Ajie explained that because of the abruptness of the surging floodwater, they were forced to abandon their furniture, textbooks, pots and pans, treasured family pictures and other valuables. According to him, when he returned to his community after the flood had receded, he realized that everything, material


property they ever had, had been ruined. “Any environmental crisis, such as a flood can significantly devastate. The amount of water that entered our house the midnight we were forced to relocate to Omoku was staggering. It was past my waist in less than twenty-five minutes. Soon afterwards, all the furniture was floating. It was a terrible experience. Thank God nobody died in the process. We are trying to start life afresh,” he said. Chief Raymond Ugoji in Okposi, whose shop was ruined by the flood, explained that victims of the flood are facing financial trouble and are in desperate need for rehabilitation. According to him, he had anticipated that the federal government funds released to affected states should have been channeled to assisting vulnerable individuals. Ugoji decried what he described as a feeling of indifference on the part of government to assist victims of the natural disaster revive their dislocated lives. According to him, the victims and their families, especially breadwinners need help in regaining a sense of security. “People like me need money. Things are tight right now. I lost the entire goods in my shop. My source of livelihood is gone, yet nobody seems to care. Where is the government in these tough economic times?  Many flood victims are in dire need of help to rebuild their lives. Government and well meaning Nigerians should try their level best to possibly, provide practical help for we the flood victims” he said. A resident of Omoku, Mr. Chukuladi Ordu, whose house was submerged, told The Guardian that on returning home after the natural disaster, his primary concern was to first ascertain if the building was still structurally sound for human habitation. The fear that the building may collapse at any time spurred him to seek the professional advise of a structural engineer, who certified that the property was okay.

recollected that the state Assembly had at that time quickly approved a supplementary budget of N2billion for the executive to use in giving succour to the victims. He was also quick to point out that that was a mere estimate, dependent on the availability of the funds. He acknowledged that the current effort was the second round of such distribution since the floods receded and people returned to what remained of their flooded homes. He also noted that in Phase One, one million naira was given to each of the 17 communities in his constituency,

while about N170m was being distributed to them this time, along with other building materials and foodstuffs. Okoye also acknowledged it was necessary to exercise some caution in releasing the funds to the people in order to avoid investing in the wrong causes. Okoye feared that since the lawmakers were sidelined in the supply of the materials to their areas, a lot of gaps would remain. As a result, more complaints were still streaming in to them from the constituents daily.

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


FOREIGNNEWS Three Killed In More War Crimes Violence BANGLADESH HREE people have been killed T in Bangladesh after demonstrators protesting against the death sentence on an Islamist party leader clashed with police for a third day running.

Delwar Hossain Sayeedi was sentenced on Thursday on charges including murder, rape and torture during the war of independence in 1971. Since then, at least 46 people have died in riots across the country.

Fierce Clashes In Raqqa EROCIOUS fighting has erupted Fcapital around the northern provincial of Raqqa in Syria –– one of several clashes between government and rebels forces. Government forces shelled several areas of the city, while running battles on the outskirts of the city since dawn had left dozens dead, activists said. Fighting also raged at a police academy near Aleppo, in the rebel enclave of Daraya and around Damascus. The violence comes amid fresh diplomacy aimed at ending the ongoing conflict. The crisis in Syria has been a cen-

SYRIA tral issue in John Kerry’s first overseas trip as US secretary of state. Visiting the Turkish capital on Friday, he said the US and Turkey believed “the first priority is to try and have a political solution. We would like to save lives, not see them caught up in a continuing war”. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said he was “personally pained and distraught” by the ongoing violence and suffering of civilians, adding that there was a “very small window of opportunity” for the Syrian government and the opposition to hold talks.

Aquino Urges Sabah Clan To Surrender PHILIPPINES HILIPPINE President Benigno P Aquino has called on members of a clan occupying a Malaysian village to surrender to avoid further bloodshed. He told the group to “surrender now without conditions”, a day after 12 members of the clan and two Malaysian police officers were

killed in clashes. The Muslim clan from the Philippines is demanding recognition as the rightful owners of Sabah province. Malaysia threatened to take “drastic action” unless the group surrender. The clan, which calls itself the Royal Army of Sulu, has occupied the village of Lahad Datu since early February.

Odinga And Kenyatta Hold Final Rallies HE two front-runners in T Kenya’s presidential election have been holding their final rallies in Nairobi, ahead of tomorrow’s vote. Prime Minister Raila Odinga and deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta are favourites to succeed President Kibaki, in the first poll since the post-2007 election violence. Thousands of supporters gathered for the two rallies in central Nairobi. The president has urged Kenyans to vote peacefully on Monday and for the losers to accept defeat. The election is the first to be held

KENYA under a new constitution, adopted in 2010 in an attempt to avoid a repeat of ethnic clashes which led to more than 1,200 people being killed and an estimated 600,000 others being forced from their homes. Uhuru Kenyatta addressed supporters at a rally at Uhuru park, around a mile north of Raila Odinga’s main campaign event at the Nyayo national stadium. BBC report, at the stadium, said the prime minister’s supporters came out in large numbers to hear the final speech of his campaign.

Mr Sayeedi’s Jamaat-e-Islami party says the tribunal is politically motivated. Yesterday’s clashes outside the port city of Chittagong, according to the BBC, began after hundreds of student activists from Jamaat-eIslami barricaded a motorway. Police said they tried to remove the barricades and a pitched battle ensued. Police fired live ammunition and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters, who attacked with bamboo sticks and stones. Mr Sayeedi is the third defendant to be convicted by the tribunal, which was set up in 2010 by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government to deal with those accused of collaborating with Pakistani forces who attempted to stop East Pakistan (as Bangladesh was then) from becoming an independent country.

Obama Signs Sweeping Budget Cuts Into Effect UNITED STATES S President Barack Obama has U signed into effect a wave of steep spending cuts which he has warned could damage the US economy. The cuts –– known as the sequester and drawn up two years ago –– will take $85bn (£56bn) from the US federal budget this year. Last-ditch talks at the White House to avert the reductions before Friday’s deadline broke up without agreement. The IMF has warned the cuts could slow global economic growth. The BBC in Washington says the cuts were designed to be so brutally painful that politicians would be forced to agree on a better way of balancing the books. However, as the midnight deadline loomed on Friday, Mr Obama and Republican congressional leaders still failed to agree on a way to avoid them. The two sides are at odds over the president’s insistence on raising taxes as part of any plan for tackling the country’s $16.6 trillion (£11tn) debt.


Putting The House In Order For Effective Foreign Relations By Kamal Tayo Oropo F the country’s role in the West Africa sub region, and indeed globally, would be more effective and appreciated, the need to rethink Nigeria’s domestic policy and over reliance on oil has become imperative. This and the need to be extremely cautious of intervention in the Malian crisis, formed the kernel of debates when foreign relations experts recently came together to examine Nigeria’s role as a hegemonic power. Gathered under auspices of Nigerian Society of International Affairs (NSIA), which recently held its annual lecture at the auditorium of the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, (NIIA), Lagos, various external relations experts, including diplomats and those in the academia, agreed that without an effective and well-thought out domestic policy reflective of modern thread, the country’s efforts in the West Africa, Africa and the rest of world will remain unappreciated and also unrewarding to the country. Speaking under the theme: ‘A Hegemon in a Peripheral region of the World: The Future of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy’, the guest lecturer, former ambassador to Germany, Prof. Akinjide Osuntokun, stressing that the dominance of Nigeria in West Africa is clear, however, he said such dominance carries its own burden and challenges. The fact of Nigeria being a hegemon in the West Africa is firmly established and based on economic and demographic factors. Osuntokun noting that the country’s wealth is largely due to the fact of its possession of hydrocarbons deposits, which are wasting assets and which by current estimate may last only for another 40 years, said there is need for a total restructure of the Nigerian economy to anticipate what would happen in the near future. “The future may not even be as distant as the next 40 years”, Osuntokun said, taking cognisance of the determined effort by the western countries to reduce energy dependent. More worrisome is the fact that apart from the ECOWAS secretariat in Abuja and the now moribund scientific commission of the Africa Union in Lagos, the country has nothing tangible to show from its dominance. They contend that Nigeria needs to make its presence felt in relation to its financial support for these two organisations. The event, which attracted scores of international relations experts, was chaired by former Foreign Affairs Minister, General Ike Nwachuckwu. Others included president of the NSIA, Prof Jide Owoeye, former ambassador to the US, Prof. George Obiozor, Director General of the NIIA, Prof. Bola Akintenwa, Prof Kayode Soremekun of Covenant University, Head of Department of Political Science (University of Lagos) Prof Samuel Akinboye and a host of others. Nwachukwu pointed at one of the paradoxes of the country’s external relations and self-image when he asked: “How realistic is it to play in China’s league when our economic and social infrastructure are weak and in some cases non-existent… and where corruption appears to define our political culture?”. In other words, and as Osuntokun also remarked, any rethinking and reforming of foreign policy must begin with an earnest effort to clean up our act, domestically, by creating an exportable Brand Nigeria as well as undertaking a harnessing of our soft power indices. Consider, for example, that the lecture itself was held in the face of a national strike by the Association of Academic Research Institutes, which includes the NIIA, venue of the lecture. Persistent underfunding and refusal of government to honour outstanding agreements are the main grouses of the association. And, so we are dealing with a political elite stashing away enormous financial resources to contest the 2015 elections but which has no time or patience with properly funding the research institutes which constitute its brain box. Osuntokun reiterated that there is a nexus between foreign and domestic politics, stressing that: “A country that is strong at home would be influential abroad. Domestic strength largely depends on economic and political stability. Therefore, for Nigeria to crave continued influence in the sub-region, it must do something about its economy. The credo of economic diversification should not only be the belief of the country’s political leadership, but should be seen as imperative and desirable practical politics. Deliberate efforts must be made to support small-scale industries or enterprises, which in other climes do not only create wealth, but also generate huge employment. In order to strengthen its economy, Nigeria must embrace market economy as much as possible while not completely removing the role of the state in investing in critical area that may not be attractive to private investors.” For the first time in the Nigeria’s wielding of its influence in West Africa, the country had to compete with South Africa in contrast to what was obtainable in the recent past where only two powers, Nigerian and France, existed. Osuntokun, in this light regretted the country’s role in the Ivorien crisis. He said, though Laurent Gbagbo, who is now facing criminal charges in The Hague, should have left power after losing the election, “but a situation where a former colonial power intervenes to remove a sitting African president and with Nigeria’s being complicit in this removal raises a fundamental question in one’s mind”.


IMILARLY, the country’s support for the removal of Libyan President, Squestion Moammer Gaddafi and his eventual killing by NATO bombing, also raised the that Nigeria’s foreign policy in recent times has been hijacked by the

Jamaat-e-Islami activists march with sticks and set fires in the street during a clash with police in Chittagong… yesterday. Bangladesh police opened fire at the group protesting the war crimes' conviction of one of their leaders, killing three people outside the port city of Chittagong. PHOTO: AFP

West and if the country is still sensitive to the question of sovereignty. This, according to Osuntokun, is why the country must tread carefully in its present entanglement in Mali, even though the country is supporting a worthy cause. He disclosed that a section within the Nigeria foreign relations family has started grumbling aloud that it appears Nigeria is too willing to carry out the biddings of the western powers. The biddings in many cases are targeted towards undermining Islamic sensibilities. However, going hand-in-hand with economic integration is ideological re-orientation of the politics in the West Africa sub region. According to Osuntokun, it is now clear that development must be anchored on democratic rule, because it is now proven that without adherence to fundamental human rights and the basic liberties and freedom, man would not be free to think through problems and to innovate and these are necessary conditions for development in a knowledgebased world. In the past and even under military rule, Nigeria pursued a policy of spreading democracy in the region; a system of government, according to Osuntokun, denied its citizens at home. “We must never in the future be in this invidious situation. In our sub-region, Senegal, Ghana and Benin are well ahead us in the march towards democratic governance”. Speakers also lamented loss of credibility the country earned in its peace keeping operations due to corruption and the “Nigerian factor” where troops have sometimes been provided with poor arms and equipment leading to their performing below par and consequent UN criticism of Nigerian troops’ ineffectiveness and lack of courage, saying the country’s honour is at stake. “If we are to continue to be relevant in this respect, we must adopt best practices in kitting, provisioning and arming our troops with weapons that are new and conformable to UN military standards. This in any case is a reimbursable expenditure and the UN pays for services that meet its standards and there is, therefore, no reason to buy cheap or second hand weapons for our troops”, Osuntokun said.


Sunday, March 3, 2013 | 11

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Outlook Reversing The Failing Industrial Economy By Felix Oragwu

HERE has recently been a lot of discussion and heated debate in economic development circles on the state of Nigeria’s industrial economy. The debate is centered on why it has not been possible for Science and Technology activities undertaken in Nigeria over the years to play their historic role of transforming Nigeria’s economy into a self-sustaining competitive industrial economy since the termination of British Colonial Rule as has been the case in other former colonized countries such as South Korea. This is in the face of enormous resources invested in education and scientific research including investment development policies for Science and Technology activities for development in Nigeria since 1970 as well as massive endowment in natural resources (Agricultural and Minerals (solid, liquid and gaseous)). In the ensuing debate and discussions, attention is called to the following industrial and economic development situation in Nigeria, namely: The existence of little or no domestic endogenous capability and or capacity to produce and manufacture modern technologies and industrial goods (capital and consumer items) including industrial materials in Nigeria’s economy, The observed Nigeria’s near total dependence on foreign produced technologies, foreign produced industrial goods and foreign professional scientific and engineering personnel to sustain the commanding tasks of Science and Technology in Nigeria’s economy, in which all technology projects are contracted out to industrial nations, a manufacturing sector which cannot produce competitive modern technologies, industrial capital goods and industrial materials, or process abundant Nigeria’s primary raw materials into industrial materials for use in the economy or for export, and The continuing near total dependence solely on primary raw materials (agricultural and minerals (solid, liquid and gaseous)) for Nigeria’s export revenues. Modern Technology (i.e modern Technique of production and services in an economy) which changed the scope and complexity of industry and economy in Europe in 18th century AD is neither a miracle nor “manna” from Heaven but a result of human effort and ingenuity. It is what Albert Einstein, a leading World Scientist described as 99 per cent perspiration and one per cent intuition. It is modern Technology that introduced a “manufacturing sector” into the extant Conventional and Traditional economy of pre-17th century AD of human heritage to usher in an “Industrial economy” in 18th century AD. An Industrial Economy creates far more wealth and generates a lot more employment beyond the scope of the Conventional and or Traditional economy of human heritage. An Industrial economy is inanimate energy specific in particular, electrical power, and is sustained by equipment, machines and instruments etc, produced mostly by Scientists, in particular Physical Scientists, Engineers, Technologists, Technicians and Craftsmen including skilled instrument makers, machinists, welders, fitters, mould makers, material casters , etc . A nation’s endogenous capability and or capacity for R&D, Technology production and Technology Innovation in her economy remain the recipe required to sustain a globally competitive industrial economy. This explains why Britain during the Colonial Rule excludes R&D, Technology Production and Technology Innovation as integral part of Science and Technology activities, which is a deliberate economic policy to allow Britain provide Nigeria



without competition with the modern technologies and industrial goods required to sustain Nigeria’s domestic economy in exchange for Nigeria’s enormous primary raw materials (agricultural and minerals) which Britain required to sustain her own prolific industrialisation and the competitiveness of her industrial economy. Unfortunately Nigeria did not allow this economic policy to die a natural death at the termination of Colonial but instead resurrected it. It is the consequence of the above Colonial economic policy that led us to believe that Science and Technology activities begin and end with education and scientific research in the disciplines of Science and Technology with the total exclusion of R&D, technology development and technology innovation as integral part of Science and Technology activities in the domestic economy. This is why today we have excellent scientific, well trained and very knowledgeable research personnel equal to any in the world but lacking in endogenous capability and or capacity to produce modern technologies and industrial goods in Nigeria’s economy. Even when genuine efforts were later made from 1970, to build the institutions for R&D, Engineering design and fabrication , technology development and technology innovation through the establishment of Centers and Agencies such as FIRRO, PRODA, NOTAP, RMRDC, NASENI among others, these Centers were not well supported with required adequate and relevant Science, Engineering and Industrial Manufacturing Infrastructure needed for technology production and technology innovation activities and therefore understandably are unable to develop, produce and manufacture globally competitive modern technologies and industrial capital goods in Nigeria’s economy. In the absence of an industrial production base and or competitive industrial economy, Nigeria has remained a captive and or battle ground of industrial market of industrial goods of industrial nations. Today, Nigeria with a population of over 160 million people can only produce about 5000 mega watts of electricity, the prime energy for the manufacturing sector of the economy instead of 60000 – 80000 mega watts of electricity needed for such huge population. For purposes of ease of comprehension, what one knows as Science and Technology activities which take place in globally competitive industrial nations include, namely:

Education in the disciplines of Science including Physical, Biological, Agricultural, Engineering and Medical Sciences respectively , Scientific research ( discipline or problem oriented) in the above Sciences, Research and development (R&D) ie development of output of scientific research and or inventions into prototypes products and or technical processes for production and services in the economy, Technology production ie production of modern science based techniques of production and services in the economy, and Technology innovation i.e modification, and or upgrading of existing technologies to produce new technologies. Based on our colonial legacy of Science and Technology activities, such aspects as R&D, technology development and technology innovation were excluded and not undertaken as an integral part of Science and Technology activities throughout the period of British Colonial Rule and not much has taken place since the termination of British Colonial Rule. Nigeria’s industrial manufacturing sector of the economy is mostly the outposts of foreign industrial establishments operating in Nigeria with no R&D and Technology innovation divisions at the workshop floor of industry since they obtain their production technologies and related industrial inputs including industrial materials from their home industries. This is why today Nigeria depends on foreign produced technologies, foreign industrial capital goods and industrial materials, as well as foreign professional scientific, engineering and technical personnel to sustain the commanding tasks of Science and Technology in Nigeria’s economy. Nigeria now aspires and rightly too, given her enormous potential resource endowments to join the league of 20 top world industrial nations of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Republic of South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, and European Union. These countries including RSA, the only nation from Africa, have one thing in common namely domestic endogenous capability and or capacity to produce some globally competitive modern technologies including production technologies and industrial capital goods and industrial materials in their respective economies. So what can we do to reverse our failing domestic industrial economy to enable it produce and manufacture globally competitive modern technologies, industrial goods including industrial materials and create wealth for the economy? A review of our Science and Technology development policies, industrial development policies and industrial and economic investment policies respectively seems critical and imperative. In my view, such review should be along the following lines, namely: (a) Science and Technology development Policy: In this case, Science and Technology activities should be given maximum priority not just to acquire scientific knowledge and inventions but more importantly to acquire domestic endogenous capability and or capacity to produce and manufacture modern technologies and globally competitive industrial goods in Nigeria’s economy. This means vigorous domestic capacity building for R&D, technology production and technology innovation in Nigeria’s economy. There should also be a review of institutional building for Science and Technology activities so that there is adequate training in quality and

quantity for various scientific, engineering and technical manpower required to drive a competitive industrial economy. In this respect, Scientists, Engineers and senior Technologists are to be trained mostly in Universities, most Technologists at the middle level in Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology and most Technicians and other skilled craftsmen at Technical Colleges and Crafts Schools respectively. In this review, it is important to have a proper mix and ratio of one University to four Polytechnics / Colleges of Technology to thirty Technical Colleges / Crafts Schools so that we do not run into the problem of producing more “Chiefs than Indians” where Chiefs represented by Scientists and Engineers supervise and guide the Indians represented by Technologists, Technicians and Craftsmen, as this may lead to having unemployed, under employed and unemployable University Graduates in the economy. (b) Research and Development (R&D) Institutional Review: R&D institutions should be well equipped with necessary science, engineering and industrial manufacturing infrastructure including core scientific and engineering personnel, technologists, technicians and skilled craftsmen in all aspects of engineering design and fabrication work, technology alert entrepreneurs , quantity economists, the relevant industrial materials, equipment, machines, engineering tools, scientific measuring and control instruments, good laboratories, engineering workshops and libraries for technology production, technology innovation and industrial production tasks to take place in the institutions and products made available for use in Nigeria’s economy and for export. A mechanism should be in place to monitor the work of the Institutions for compliance and to avoid their reversion into scientific research in competition with University research scientists whose prime mandate is to generate scientific knowledge and inventions for R&D institutions to convert into modern technologies. (c) Industrial Investment Policies Review: Nigeria should have a clear industrial and modern economic development vision and related investment policies to drive that vision. In this respect, the manufacturing sector of the economy which drives the industrial economy should be vitalized so that manufacturing enterprises have R&D and Technology Divisions at the workshop floor of their operations so that technology innovation drive their production and manufacturing activities. (d) Budget for Technology Production and Innovation Review: As Technology and capital goods production including power technologies is capital intensive, it is imperative for Government economic development leaders to have a clear vision of the role of science and technology activities in driving modern industrial economy and the need to pay the price for a globally competitive industrial economy. In this respect, an Annual Budget provision of at least 30 % of Annual Capital budget for Science and Technology activities in particular for endogenous capability building in Nigeria’s economy is desirable and imperative. (e) Review of Nigeria’s Colonial Legacy for Science and Technology activities: We must accept the reality that an industrial economy whose manufacturing sector cannot produce modern technologies, industrial goods and industrial materials and which depends almost totally on these foreign produced inputs for its commanding tasks is a failed industrial economy. Oragwu, a Technology Development Consultant in Lagos was University Lecturer in Physics from 1960s and retired Pioneer Director in charge of Science and Technology Policy, Planning and Development, 1977-1987 in the Federal Public Service.

By Obe Ess


12| Sunday, March 3, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Editorial Dollarisation As A Fad T

HE House of representatives’ focus on the “growing trend in the use of some foreign currencies, especially the US dollar, for payments of school fees, hotel bills, real estate, rent and purchase in bars, night clubs, luxury goods shops, etc, in Nigeria” is very interesting. The legislators’ observation that “the trend has led to the high demand of these foreign currencies in Nigeria and is contributing seriously to the weakening of the naira against such currencies with its resultant negative effects on our economy” is also worthy of note. Their adoption of a motion on the “need to ban the use of foreign currencies in domestic transactions in Nigeria,” was, however, cosmetic because the House self-contradictorily left out sale of foreign currencies in the open. Generally, individuals acquire and hold as store of value any realistically valued currency that is stable and has a tendency to appreciate. The naira lost both qualities long ago, which reflects the CBN’s failure to effectively apply its enabling law to manage and sustain public confidence in the naira. The noted creeping dollarisation cannot be reversed through legislation or foreign exchange controls as the CBN Governor Lamido Sanusi reportedly intimated could be a way out at the last IMF/World Bank meeting in Tokyo, Japan. Also CBN Deputy Governor, Tunde Lemo’s defence that the resoundingly rejected N5,000 note offered convenience which would have prevented the use of dollars locally misses the point. The weakening of the naira informed the proposal to introduce the high denomination just as the depreciating naira and the expectation of its further softening have led to dollarisation. In the circumstance, domestic transactions in dollars between willing parties will continue to flourish. But an unwilling party cannot be compelled to pay for domestic transactions in dollars. He has the CBN Act on his side. Historically, from the 1980 naira exchange rate of N0,5484/US$1 to the current rate of about N158/$1, the naira has suffered a loss of over 99.7 per cent in relative value. It is the price the country has paid for unintended excessive fiscal deficits brought about by the fiscal and monetary authorities. Dollarisation, which waxed as the naira declined, was opportunistically further boosted in 2006 following the IMF/World Bank policy support instrument arrangement whereby Federation Account oil dollars withheld from the three tiers of government began to be disbursed by the CBN through the wholesale Dutch auction system (WDAS) and bureaux de change (BDCs) for resale to all-comers. The WDAS produces artificial naira exchange rate that makes the naira permanently overvalued and weak. Oil dollars denied to the tiers of government but released to BDCs for resale account for a significant proportion of dollars being either used for dollar transactions domestically or illicitly carted abroad. Such dollar funds facilitate smuggling, stashing away of proceeds of treasury loot and other anti-economic activities. Together WDAS and BDCs undermine domestic production and impede diversification of the economy. Notwithstanding the travails of the naira since the 1980s, the public yearning for a strengthened naira that would be preferred to the dollar is easily attainable. Towards that end, the revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission should stop the Federation Account Allocation Committee from prematurely disbursing naira funds in place of Federation Account accruals not earned in the country’s legal tender so as to avoid the excessive fiscal deficit levels that are harmful to the naira and the economy. The appropriate stage for invoking the use of the legal tender by definition is at the point where the governments begin to spend money on government business transacted in Nigeria. At that very point, it is imperative for Federation Account beneficiaries to convert dollar allocations received through domiciliary dollar accounts to naira through banks of first recourse or resort, namely, deposit money banks. That way Nigeria’s inherent net exporter status will be brought into play. As official and the ample autonomous supply of foreign exchange seeks conversion to naira funds needed for domestic settlements, the overwhelming demand will result in progressive strengthening of the naira in the open foreign exchange market not to mention a healthy and steady accruals to external reserves. At that stage, the naira will become the preferred currency for store of value. Thereafter individuals who foolhardily accept or purchase on the streets any dollars for domestic transactions will suffer losses and badly burn their fingers. And then, the Nigerian economy will be on a smooth road to genuine growth.


Jonathan’s New Task On Aircraft Duty Waivers Ir: President Goodluck Based on the report, the then SedJonathan must be commend- Minister of State for Aviation, for his inclusion of the issue Chief Femi Fani-Kayode wrote a of import duties on aircraft and spare parts in his 2013 budget speech. The Presidential directive if implemented is supposed to reduce the cost burden of airline operators in the area of aircraft maintenance and acquisition. Having had such directives in the past without implementation however, the President has a new task of influencing the speedy implementation of this repeated directive. In 2006, The Task Force headed by Air Chief Marshall Paul Dike (rtd) was set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo as part of moves to tackle the decay in the nation’s aviation industry after the disastrous crashes of Bellview and Sosoliso Airlines in 2005. The Task Force recommended in their report that the Federal Government should cancel the percentage of tax charged on aircraft spare parts as part of measures to assist commercial airline operators to improve their business.

letter ref Number: FMA/PrSD/7378/1/15, dated March 22, 2007 titled, “request For Implementation Of The Grant On Custom Duty Waivers And Test Equipment.” On March 29, 2007 (one week later), President Obasanjo granted the approval through the then Finance Minister, Mrs. Esther Nenadi Usman and the then Comptroller-General of Customs, Jacob Gyang Buba. This approval was never implemented and local airlines in Nigeria have continued to groan over high operating costs, including the cost of importing aircraft spares and payment of high duties. The late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on assumption of office, gave his support to initiatives on reduction of operating costs for local airlines. However, the existing directives and approvals of zero tariff on importation of aircraft spares was not implemented.

In the last quarter of 2012, President Jonathan again directed the removal of import duty on aircraft and spares acquisition. According to the President, “this will appreciably improve safety in our skies as newer fleet and less onerous maintenance will prevail.” This new directive is yet to be implemented. The delay in the implementation of this repeated presidential directive has adversely affected the importation of airplanes and aircraft spares, while hampering the bid by airline operators to reflect and maintain aircraft at lower cost as a means of achieving better economic record. If Nigerian airlines are allowed to acquire aircraft without paying 10 per cent of the total value of that aircraft, the measure will help them minimise the hurdles in their fleet renewal programmes and reduce their costs of operation. President Jonathan should therefore, go beyond pronouncements and directives and take concrete steps to ensure that this critical policy is implemented in the interest of Nigeria’s aviation industry. Albinus Chiedu, Lagos

Marginalisation And The rest Of Us When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo degree programme and a good friend also. I hope he remembers and understands that my nation? How many roads did he take on this stems from an aniconstruct in Ogun State, not to mated, divinely-sanctioned talk of his Owu people! The same responsibility to actively stakeFalae who is now making frantic out for truth, mankind and the effort to come across as an apos- motherland. tle of accountable governance President Goodluck Ebele and equity, was part and parcel Jonathan has failed us all. It is of the IBB cabal that foisted SAP not a sectional thing. And that on Nigerians, despite vehement is why every Nigerian, includpublic outcry and objections. ing elder statesmen like Chief Perhaps, we should remind our- Olu Falae, should mobilise to selves that the nation is yet to vote out the current occupant come out of the aftershock of of the Presidential Villa and his that obnoxious policy. party, come 2015. Needless to add that Chief Falae’s son was a course-mate of Aileohi Onime, Lagos. mine at the iconic capitalist

Ir: Are the Yoruba truly marginwas the President of Nigeria, SGoodluck alised under President Jonathan’s administra- what did he do for the Yoruba tion? Is any ethnic group really favoured in the current alienation of the populace? Do the people of Niger Delta and even Bayelsa State have better access to social infrastructure and the good things of life than the other segments of the Nigerian state? Like the grandstanding Pa Edwin Clark, I think Chief Olu Falae should be advised to keep quiet. At their ages, one would expect them to strive to be statesmen rather than making facile remarks that make them seem like ethnic zealots and partisan hawks.

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013



THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013





88 Garlands For The Quintessential Mallam By Joseph Onyekwere ORMER president Usman Aliyu Shehu Shagari is a modest man, whose austere lifestyle since he left power is quite instructive to our present day political leadership. He has deliberately shunned the limelight, glamour, extravagance and opulence of the noble, but instead settled for a humble demeanour. His conduct is simple and exemplary. At 88, Shagari is easy-going and seems to enjoy good health. In a country where life expectancy has been slumped ridiculously, attaining the enviable age of 88 is no mean feat. It is an evidence of the manifold grace of God and the discipline of Spartan living. As president, Shagari showed passion, commitment and desire to transform the country. He came on board at a time the country needed to scale up on its technological capacity. His administration gave practical expression to the promotion of science and technology, by establishing the first fullfledged ministry of science and technology. Shagari’s commitment to making life meaningful for the majority was exemplified in his government’s priority attention to issues of housing and food production. His administration invested in decent, low cost housing schemes across the country. He promised to construct 2000 low-cost housing units in each state of the federation. The idea, he said, was to ensure as much as possible that every Nigerian has access to decent and affordable home in a clean environment. On April 14, 1980, a few months after the commencement of his administration, he formally launched the ‘Green Revolution scheme. Unveiling the blueprint, Shagari said it was conceived not only to boost agricultural production, but to ensure rural development through the establishment of agro-based industries, the construction of feeder roads, the provision of housing, education and health facilities, water and electricity to stem rural-urban drift. His administration also initiated a program on mechanized farming with a view encouraging mass production. As a backup, government established river basins to provide water for all year round farming. In the area of education, Shagari’s government was passionate about the quality of teaching staff in country’s primary and secondary schools. He established Federal Colleges of Education across the country to improve teacher education. To provide technical hands to man the country’s emergence as moderate power, Shagari’s government established federal polytechnics in many sates, with the promise to have one federal polytechnic per senatorial zone. Federal Universities of Technology were also established to provide a training base for those who would help realize the dream of technological advancement. In 1982, the Shagari government completed the Delta Steel Complex that was initiated by the previous military and invested a lot of money in the Ajaokuta Steel complex and Steel rolling mills in Osogbo and Katsina. The fall in oil price as a result of a glut in the international oil market in 1981 began to affect the finances of the Federal government. Shagari responded by initiating an Economic Stabilization Programme to help protect the threatened economy and to steer it towards positive growth. Key objectives of the program were to limit import licenses, reduce government spending and raise custom duties. The economy was slow in response to the measures put in place to create stabilization, causing some to regard it as a failure. That government is remembered for launching an austerity measure that was designed to reduce unbridled consumption pattern among the populace. But the government that was supposed to show example did not. Heavy consumption among the political elite created a perception of a corrupt and reckless government in the minds of the populace. While the man Shagari remained austere, his ministers became notorious for champagne and rice imports. Import license were diverted and misapplied by politicians and the government soon began to quake under the heavy weight of corruption. For instance, the term kickback (which is the percentage of bribe offered by a contrac-


tor working on government project) became a familiar refrain in the Shagari years and soon, a cloud of doubt began to envelop the noble ideals Shagari espoused as a person. When the military led by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari decided to strike on December 31, 1983, the political class had no sympathy among the populace. Shagari was put in a house detention, but no crime of financial impropriety was found in him. Since then, the man has lived among his people in Shagari village, Sokoto State, offering his people and the country from his wealth of experience, as a teacher and politician. For him, life after power has been that of devotion to Allah and to the service of the people. If Shagari were not in his village, he would likely be in Sokoto, the state capital, where he has a modest house built many years ago. His house in the village is also a modest onestorey structure located in the centre of the village. Some key members of the village visit him regularly to keep him company. They also inform him about developments in the village. When there is a problem requiring government attention, whether at the local or state level, they channel their complaints or requests through him. Shagari’s sojourn in the village has brought him very close to his people. This closeness has also opened his eyes to their needs, which he has spent a lot time and resources trying to meet. His life is that of commitment to the welfare of his people. He has touched their lives in a positive way. He gives money; clothes and farm produce to his people. He also plays the role of both religious and political counselor, settling conflicts whenever they arise. Shagari also established a tuition-free Islamic school called Margaji Rufai Islamic School for primary, secondary and adult classes. He pays some of the teachers from his personal resources, while some are on loan from the local government education authority. He also provides teaching material and makes annual financial contributions to the school. The institution also receives donations from the government and other individuals, all of which form part of its source of funding. Apart from farming, Shagari also runs a nongovernmental organisation known as Shehu Shagari World Initiative for Good Government, based in Sokoto. The role of the NGO is to enlighten political leaders on how to cash the cheque of democratic freedom, in terms of delivery of public goods, public welfare and public safety. Shagari is deeply religious. Just within his premises is a personal mosque, where he goes to meet his spiritual needs. That, perhaps, explains why he shuns all sorts of worldly inclination in retirement. He shuttles between his Sama Road residence in Sokoto metropolis and his Shagari village. Of late, Shagari has shown statesmanship at the national level, by attending meetings of the Council of State, where former leaders join in providing solution to critical challenges of nationhood. He was at the flagging off of the Centenary celebration to mark Nigeria’s 100 years after amalgamation in 1914. Shagari was born in Shagari Village, to the family of Magaji Aliyu and Mariamu in 1925. He was taught recitals at home and later went to a Quranic school at the age of four. However, he was obliged to attend elementary school at Yabo, a town close by. After, he went to the Sokoto Middle School and later to Kaduna College. After finishing at Kaduna College, he became the pupil-science teacher of Sokoto Middle School. Shortly after, he was appointed the science teacher at Zaria Middle School. In 1945, after the end of World War 11, he moved back to become the science and also history and geography teacher of the Sokoto Middle School. Six years after, he was posted to Argungu, as the headmaster of the new primary school there. In 1958, he was appointed parliamentary secretary to the then Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. Shagari later went on to hold the positions of minister of Economic Development in 1960, minister of Internal Affairs in 1962 and minister of Works and Survey in 1965. In 1970, as part of a movement to broaden his government, Gen. Yakubu Gowon made Shagari a minister of Economic Affairs and later Finance. In the 1979 election Shagari became the first civilian president of the country under the platform of the defunct National Party of Nigeria.

For instance, the term kickback (which is the percentage of bribe offered by a contractor working on government project) became a familiar refrain in the Shagari years and soon, a cloud of doubt began to envelop the noble ideals Shagari espoused as a person. When the military led by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari decided to strike on December 31, 1983, the political class had no sympathy among the populace. Shagari was put in a house detention, but no crime of financial impropriety was found in him. Since then, the man has lived among his people in Shagari village, Sokoto State, offering his people and the country from his wealth of experience, as a teacher and politician. For him, life after power has been that of devotion to Allah and to the service of the people. If Shagari were not in his village, he would likely be in Sokoto, the state capital, where he has a modest house built many years ago.

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013



Shagari with Jimmy Carter, US President

Chief Richard Akinjide, a stalwart of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and close ally of former President Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, reminisces on the qualities he has seen in the former president who now clocks 88. Akinjide, who was Shagari’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, shares his deep thoughts of the man with KAMAL TAYO OROPO. As one of Shagari’s close associates, what can you say of the former President? LHAJI Shehu Shagari is one of the finest rulers this country has ever produced. His term, as a minister, and his term, as president of Nigeria, will stand as golden ages in the annals of history of Nigeria. He loved the country, he loved Nigerians, and for him, as far as Nigeria is concerned, the sky is not the limit. I had the privilege of being in the federal parliament with him before independence, when he was representing Sokoto West and I, representing Ibadan Southeast. We were also together at the time of independence, when Alhaji Tafawa Balewa was the Prime Minister; and since then I know we have a lot in common. When he was in parliament, I was in parliament and then he became a minister and later also became federal minister of education. So, he served before independence as I did, he served by the time of independence as I did. He was extremely lucky, and I believe I was also lucky, as both of us had the privilege of learning from matured people. People I adored, people who loved the country, people who didn’t regard money as anything and those who regarded Nigeria as the best in the continent. And under Balewa, we had the parliamentary system of government, and I became federal minister of education, which I enjoyed very much, until the military interred. Though, I was not harmed at that time, but I was detained like all other politicians in the country and later on, we were released from detention. The military came and ruled for 14/15years and they left. But the golden age remained when Alhaji Shagari was in the parliament and the cabinet and the time of the coup and another golden age came when we realised presidential system of government and he became president and I became attorney general of the Federation and minister of justice. The type of rapport we had while working together was so uncommon. So, I had the privilege of going to Sokoto, knowing his home, and also I had the privilege of crossing by land out of Nigeria from Sokoto. So, I will regard Alhaji Shehu Shagari as my brother and a member of my family. To him, the question of one being from North or South does not arise. The question of language does not also arise at that time. The number one pri-


AKINJIDE: Shagari Is Noble, Patriotic

And Should Be Celebrated ority to us was the interest of the country. This attitude was exemplified by his support for the Lagos railway network. I had the privilege of looking at the contract because federal government approved and guaranteed the contract. It was a French company and it would have been one of the finest in the country. Is that the Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande Metroline project… ? Yes. Alhaji Shagari actively supported it and embraced it, even though it was project from rival political party. At the same time, the same French company was doing the same Metroline project for Egypt and again one of the finest you can think of. So, both Lagos and Cairo were to have the same thing. That of Cairo was also approved and guaranteed by the Egyptian government, just as that of Lagos was also approved by the federal government and guaranteed; it was a project of Lagos State government but with guarantee of Federal Government. At that time, the plan was that after we had taken off with the Lagos edition, we would do the same thing in Ibadan, in Kano, in Port Harcourt and gradually extend it to every other part of the country. Also, Lagos State at that time was going to do a massive water project for the state. But after the coup, the military cancelled the two projects; or they did not allow it to take off. It is one of the greatest disasters that befell the country. Of course, when the military took over, the gentleman from Katsina (General Muhammadu Buhari)) became the Head of State and his number two was General Tunde Idiagbon, also from the North (Ilorin); and his number three, also from the North (Minna) General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, became Chief of Army Staff. From that time, the political mathematics of Nigeria shifted. That balance between the North and the South was destabilised and the consequence is what we have till today. Talking of the Metroline project, there was belief in certain quarters that President Shagari was hostile to the project. Is this correct? That’s a lie, that’s not true. I personally vetted the contract. I had the instructions of Alhaji Shehu Shagari and it was him who guaranteed the money for the French company and the Lagos State government paid the deposit of either 60 or 70 million dollars, guaranteed and signed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari. When the project was to be opened, Shagari was primed to be the chief launcher. He was a lover of the project,

he supported it. It was the military government under General Buhari that ruined everything. Was Shagari a weak leader, even though he was not corrupt? That is rubbish, absolute nonsense, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, as president, was very strong and you need to see him when he addressed the United Nations then in New York. It was glorious. The thing is that when the military overthrows a government, they try to give a lot of justifications for doing so, including telling lies against the government they overthrew. The whole world can see today who and who abused office and acted with impunity. Alhaji Shagari, working in the international circles, contributed immensely to the eventual liberation of South Africa. At every point, whether domestic or abroad, he displayed strong character and uncommon statesmanship. I have told you about the modern railway network on the same level and quality as those in Europe and America; and there were already consultants working on it, but when the military came they cancelled everything. Shagari was a strong president, very noble, great and I respected him and I will always respect him. If he was such a good president, why did the military topple his government? One, greed for power; not love for the country. Two, dominance. At that time the military had a crop of officers hungry for power and money; and these were the two primary reasons why they came to power. When the military came, they destroyed the Nigerian Airways. They destroyed the Nigerian Navy. In fact, they virtually destroyed even the Nigeria Army. You will remember also that the dichotomy within the army led to the civil war. The civil war was not caused by the civilians; it was because of dichotomy and misunderstanding within the military –– and I challenge anybody to deny that. However, in the military, I must concede we have some officers who are excellent, who are very good, noble and patriotic, but those were not in ascendancy at that time, but when the military left we had a core of military officers who are very good and they are still there till today. Nigeria has one of the finest military settings in the world and indeed in Africa. But the period of military rule for 15/16 years was a very bad time for the country. And that is why Nigeria, instead of moving forward, has been moving backward. We had a number of civilian leaders who were excellent; I mean, Balewa was excellent as a

Prime Minister. I challenge anybody to point out any wealth or money Balewa had. And the same thing with Shehu Shagari. How much does Shagari have today? Practically nothing. We know the wealthiest and the richest people in the country today. We know their source, their origin and their pedigree. Incidentally, many of them are retired army officers. But among them too, I must concede, there are excellent officers, who are not greedy, who did not steal any money, who are noble and who are patriotic. But then, we have a dichotomy between the good and the bad. The bad are domineering and the good ones are in the minority. Happily now, I will like to indulge in the belief that the emerging dominant ones among the military are the noble ones. Who are these people you are referring to? I will like to refrain from mentioning any name. I know a couple among them who are excellent officers and they are doing extremely well. How well has Shagari discharged himself since leaving office? When he left office, the military punished him by detaining him unnecessarily. He was investigated and they discovered that he had nothing. The only property he had was his old Sokoto house, which he built even before he became the president. They, the military, had no choice but to let him be. If people like that and people like Tafawa Balewa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Azikiwe, Okpara, Osadebey, Akintola are the ones at the helm of affairs today, the sky will be the limit for Nigeria. What is responsible for the leadership deficit we seem to have today? It is part of the dichotomy malady that has bedeviled us as a people and as a nation. But don’t think everybody is corrupt or everybody was corrupt. We have before and now, very good Nigerians, who are very noble and who regard the interest of the country as number one. We produce a lot of oil and gas. We also produce of cocoa, groundnut, a lot of rubber, palm kernel and a host of others. The wealth of Nigeria is limitless. I will like to indulge in the belief that of all the countries in Africa, Nigeria is the greatest. What we need is the right leadership. Once we have the right leadership, we have no problem at all. I believe by now, we are solving our problems and should be getting the right leadership.

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


NEWSPEOPLE Why do you think some Nigerians jubilated immediately after the December 31, 1983 coup? That was stupid. It was a jubilation that they later regretted. I subscribe to the notion that the worst civilian government is far better than the most benevolent military government. The military has no right to govern anybody. The

You Can’t Help But Admire Shagari’s Simplicity, Says Utomi

.... A Role Model For Leadership In Africa

Professor Pat Utomi, who served under former President Shehu Shagari in 1983, says the 88-year-old statesman is an embodiment of simplicity. He spoke to MARCEL MBAMALU in Lagos.

gun they carry and the uniform they wear are the product of the taxpayer. So, if you demolish democracy and replace it with the rule of the gun, what do you get? Stagnation! Cromwell did that in Britain in 1849 to 1860 and this period is written down as one of the worst in British history. Cromwell came from a noble family and he went to Sussex College in Cambridge, a college where many of my children attended, and part of his body is buried in that college today. But in spite of that, the British history does not forgive Cromwell for the role he played. If you are in the military and want political power, don’t stage a coup, leave the military and go and contest election. Examples surround us. Look at the United States of America, one of the finest democracies in the world. Look at India, one of the largest democracies in the world. And look at South Africa, Nelson Mandela did only one term and called it a day. Today, in my opinion, Mandela is the finest politician the world has ever produced. This is the type of people I respect. Many people grab political power effortlessly or through bullet because of ignorance and for reasons, which they later regret. Because after acquiring all the wealth, what did it become? Nothing! Can you share with us one major remarkable moment of which you remember Alhaji Shagari? First and foremost, Alhaji Shagari is a great democrat. Second, he believes in the goodness of this country. Third, Alhaji Shagari is not a tribalist; whether you are Igbo, Ijaw, Yoruba or Fulani, it’s all the same to him. In his cabinet, the entire country was adequately represented, regardless of political considerations. Indeed, when it comes to character, I can beat my chest that Alhaji Shagari is flawless. When it comes to love of the country, he is among the most committed you can hope to meet. One of the reasons often adduced for the present spate of brazen corruption is when current office holders see those who held similar offices in the past living in deprivation, poverty and are unappreciated, they tend to re-define the rule of comportment. Has the nation appreciated the effort of people like Alhaji Shagari well enough? One of the things that sadden me greatly is that people seem not to get their arithmetic very right when it comes to performance in office. I have not seen the best books on Balewa, on Ribadu, on Inuwa Wada, on Nnamdi Azikiwe, even on Awolowo and on S.L Akintola, as well as on Okpara and so on. We have produced a lot of great Nigerians, who should be role models for the rest of Africa. I believe people speak, one, out of tribal sentiments, two, out of ignorance. Thirdly, because our education is fast collapsing. I was minister of education in the country when the nation’s priority was excellent education. But now, to many people, their number one priority is to make money and more money, which is stupid. One of the poorest former presidents in the world today is Nelson Mandela. But the most noble and most respected human being today is him –– Mandela. If you go to London, you will see Mandela’s big stone statute in the House of Commons. To me, that is greater than anything you can think of. And the number of such things is almost limitless. It is sad that here we often get our mathematics wrong. I repeat we have a lot of noble Nigerians, who should be role models. We have many good Nigerians and it is that number we strive to multiply and then make it limitless. But can you be a bit more specific on what you expect the country to do for Alhaji Shagari in his lifetime? I think Alhaji Shehu Shagari deserves to be recognised as one of the most committed leaders this country has ever produced. I will like to see, apart from this street in Abuja named after him, other things done as a way of recognizing him. Nnamdi Azikiwe has been recognised by naming the Abuja airport after him, the airport in Lagos has been named after Murtala Mohammed and others like that. I believe other leaders deserve such recognition and one of them is Alhaji Shagari, who has been very

Having served under the Shagari regime in 1983; what kind of man would you say he really is? NE thing I must talk about is his simplicity in nature. It is a big plus in a country of big men. One of the reasons this country doesn’t work is because of the big-man mindset. The big-man concept really goes against the rule of law. Everything is according to who you are. It is damaging. Shagari was a very simple man. He didn’t actually want to be president. What happened was the politics of the NPN as the juggernaut. They wanted somebody who would be acceptable to everybody. Yes, he was a teacher but had a public life. He was a Minister in the first republic. He was one of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa’s people. One of the things I am frightened not to note is the disappearance of public life in Nigeria. It is unlike our First Republic leaders, who went into public service not thinking about themselves but only hoped they could add value to the society. When the gladiators battle each other, it became very bad. Of course, many will remember the challenges of the economy during his time. What is forgotten is that he was a learner. He learnt very quickly; but things did not go as they should go. The nature of the NPN, that is represented in its worst possible way by the PDP, is that it was a party of different interests. That kind of arrangement meant that he went into government in 1979 as a manager of the desperate interests. Ministers were loyal to different bases than the president. He also struggled to manage the oil madness. He got to power about the time of the Iranian revolution. Under the revolution, oil prices went through the roof by the standard of the time. That was the first time, I can remember, when both Times and News Week used exactly the same words on their cover. It was an unbelievable coincidence — The World Over A Barrel. Oil prices went to $40 dollar per barrel. It was unthinkable at that time, because oil prices were usually around $10 or $12. Nigeria’s revenue went up and they were ambitious of all kinds of possibilities. Import substitution industrialisation strategy was at its height. They said they would establish steel industry. And every State said they would have it — Warri, Alaja, Katsina and Jos. We are paying for that till today. The idea was dominant; nobody really faulted it, because it was the dominant thinking of how to develop an economy at the time. It came from Latin American scholar called Raul Prebisch and


Shagari was a very simple man. He didn’t actually want to be president. What happened was the politics of the NPN as the juggernaut. They wanted somebody who would be acceptable to everybody. Yes, he was a teacher but had a public life.

was domesticated into our sub-region, which led to a black winning a Nobel Prize in Economics. The import-substitution strategy was what Shagari pursued with vigour. That was when I just returned to the country. I returned as a critic of import-substitution industrialization strategy. I argued, instead, for economic strategy based on our natural endowment and export of the value chains of the endowment. For example, about those who asked me about me about the Volkswagen? I suggested to them that they should shutdown. Why? Because of the import- substitution strategy! It was not going to sustain them. What we needed to do, which I suggested, was that we should do a deal with Peugeot. Let Nigeria take its natural endowment, like rubber, and become a global leading manufacturer of one or two components of motorcar and supply to the global chain of Volkswagen and the rest of them instead of worrying about Nigerian car. That was my view. The day, by strange coincidence, I ended up in Volkswagen, that was the position I took. But the import substitution strategy also had its merits at the time…? The original logic was that developing countries were importing manufactured goods from the developed economies. And what they were shipping was fresh air. And the shipping cost then was very expensive. If you save shipping cost by just producing the component and assemble at the other side, you will gain at two levels: You gain in reduction of shipping cost and creating jobs and learning that will lead ultimately to backward integration and local production. That sounds logical and great… The way it translates that you take away from people focusing on their competiveness, which is the whole logic of comparative advantage — doing best what you can do. Indeed, what happened, in the case of Nigeria, is that we went into all kinds of prestige issues. We wanted to be car manufacturer. Can Nigeria really be competitive in the structure of motor industry? Those kinds of thoughts were not really true. I would rather take something that comes out of hydrocarbon or hydro chains, something that comes out of rubber value chain, to become the biggest producer of its variant in the world. Some people think you played a role in the collapse of Volkswagen? I wanted it to die from day one — not to die as an organisation but to die as a construction that will never get Nigeria to make progress. And the only person that understood my economic thought that time was the deputy governor of the Central Bank. Did you work towards what you wanted? I didn’t have authority to work towards that particular thing. But that was my position, which I advanced. In fact, a director of a company from Germany, Dr. Peter Frank, at a board meeting, where I spoke, said ‘I thought you said there are no smart people in this country.’ Then, he left the room and called me. He said what you suggested is what your country should be doing. He said, ‘we cannot rely on your country and say you should produce all the components because, one day, there will be coup d’état and you will shut the borders.’

The Shagari administration supported the import-substitution industrialisation aggressively. But, in my view, the thought was wrong. The Asia understands the shortcoming of the strategy and moved on to export-led manufacturing instead of pursuing local production. Shagari administration also went into housing estates. No regime since then has ben able to do half of what he did in urban development. Probably because the regime had the money at the time… Yes, there was money. When I returned in 1982, or early 1983, my views were expressed very strongly. Then Alex Akwueme, after following what I was doing, invited me for discussion on policy matters. Then, at a meeting the following day, he just casually said: ‘yesterday Shagari approved you to replace Prof. … My first reaction was why? I was not aware that I was being considered for any post. Many people did not know that Shagari was a chain smoker. He was so disciplined in office that nobody knew. What other credit would you give him in terms of official and personal life? The universities of technologies were part of his initiative. He embarked on expansion of the university system. There were abuses; but you could see ideas. The fist thing I mentioned was his simple nature. Maybe, that is very attractive to me because my personal goal is simple life. He was a smoker. The first opportunity I got to interact with him was when he left his office to go and smoke outside. His Chief Press Secretary had his office downstairs while the President’s office was upstairs. Sometimes, when I was at the Press Secretary’s office, he would come down to smoke and I would greet and have a chat. He was always very gracious. Those were things I admired about him. Now, people talk about corruption during that time. I think everybody knows that Shagari remains not a very rich man. He never really made any money. After the duty, he did not have a house. His house in Sokoto was built by the State Government. Interestingly, Dr Alex Ekwueme, who was a millionaire, became poorer when he was in government. How did the two men abstain from corruption? Then, people had conscience and sense of nation building. Today, it doesn’t exist; it is cash and carry. What do you think other leaders can learn from Shagari? Shagari’s first term had these challenges we mentioned. But he made sure that his second term was different beginning with the kind of people in the government. Had the military not rushed to intervene, Nigeria would have been a different country today. We would have been 50 years ahead where we are today. The military sent us back. That reminds me of the interview I granted New York Times, which was published January 8, 1984, where I said Nigeria would, one day, remember that they threw away the baby with the bath water. Anybody, who does not realise that today obviously has no sensitivity. They (the military) really moved us backwards.

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


LIVINGWOMAN With loving parents that provided a solid home and inculcated in her virtues to enable her become focused and independent, Regha Onajite has always made her mark wherever she found herself. And this approach is helping her hold her own at E-payment Providers Association of Nigeria (EPPAN), where she is the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer. She told OLUWAKEMI AJANI that people could be whatever they aspire to be, provided they are willing to give what it takes. Growing up T was fun. I had a few friends because I had a lot of sisters and brothers. We were satisfied with ourselves. We did things together and hardly allowed anyone between us. We were very creative and I could come up with a story that would run for hours and even weeks. My parents had so much time for us and inculcated in us the need to develop virtues that would help us stand out in life. They made us read newspapers and watch the 7pm news on NTA Benin, Bendel TV Comprehensive news at 8pm as well as the 9 o’clock National news. On Fridays, we watched Indian movies. We were lucky to have video players and we also watched movies on Saturdays. As members of ECKANKAR, we were privileged to travel often and we stayed in different hotels and visited so many cities in Nigeria and abroad. Childhood dreams I had a lot of them. For a while, I dreamt of being a teacher, and then I noticed that teachers were not properly remunerated. Then I dreamt of being a lawyer, of having an orphanage, and then a mechanised farm on a large expanse of land, and later I thought it would be fun to be a lawyer. Oh my, if I had to live out all my dreams, I wonder what I would have been. Educational background I read mass communication and project management. I was born in Edo State but hail Ughelli from North in Delta State. I started my primary education at Aunty Maria Nursery and Primary School and finished up in Adesuwa Primay School. I later went to Saint Maria Goretti Grammar School for my secondary education in Benin City. Immediately after my secondary education, I secured admission to study Mass communication in Auchi Polytechnic and obtained Ordinary National Diploma (OND). I later gained admission to the Delta State University to pursue a degree in Mass communication. I also got involved in some short courses to complement my career. I come from a large family. Ours was a tightknitted home and my siblings and I have grown to love and support ourselves in every circumstance. Work experience I worked in different industries before EPPAN. I worked for a short while with an oil and gas servicing firm before joining Citibank where I worked for over three years. Later on, I worked with Intermarc Consulting firm where I rose to become a partner in the firm. About her Association E-payment Providers Association of Nigeria (EPPAN) is a not-for-profit organisation formed with the aim of providing a platform for all the stakeholders of the e-payment industry to interact and reach common agreement on various industrial issues and to represent the Nigerian e-payment industry and its stakeholders, with a holistic, results-oriented approach to driving the growth of the industry. E-PPAN strives to create a thriving business environment to further advance the businesses of its members. Our defined priority is to assist members in influencing the development of appropriate standards for the common benefit of the electronic payment industry, end-users, consumers and regulatory authorities, and to provide a forum for cutting edge discussions and projects on issues surrounding e-payment and self service amongst others. The body is poised to serve as a change driver, facilitating and ensuring the implementation of all required legislation and resolutions, which will ensure a successful business environment for all stakeholders. Our vision is to become the most authoritative and respected industry forum for promoting e-payment and self- service businesses in Nigeria.

‘It’s Possible To Achieve Dreams With Belief And Focus’


Onajite We desire to be the source of credible information in public policies that affect e-payment and self-service adoption and implementation; to serve as an educational resource to our members and the industry. The Association takes a research-based, collaborative and strategic approach towards addressing key issues in the industry, and ensuring the execution of progressive resolutions. Effectiveness of e-payment in Nigeria E-Payment is a success story in Nigeria. We may not be celebrating what we have yet because Nigerians have high standards. If you look back, 20 years ago, there were no cards at all in the country. Now we have millions of payment cards. We also have over 200,000 POs terminals in Nigeria. Nigerians are getting comfortable using the available POs. Despite the challenges of connectivity, a lot of air travellers are comfortable buying tickets online, and we have big online shops like Jumai, Konga, Mocality and Dealfish among others. People are gradually using the mobile payment also. We agree that there is still a long way to go, but the steps we have taken so far show that with a little more efforts we will achieve the success we desire. Challenges

Every country has its own challenges. In Nigeria, we can find ways around our challenges, and hope that the government puts the right infrastructures and frameworks in place. Although electricity is a major challenge and thus increases the cost of providing services. This means service providers spend more than necessary to provide the common services, which other countries take for granted. Though illiteracy is high, but it is not equal to numeracy. People who can neither read nor write still use the mobile phone somehow. There is a huge prospect for electronic payment in Nigeria. According to a report jointly released by the Microfinance Information Exchange (MIE) and MasterCard Foundation, over 80 million Nigerians do not have access to financial services. This implies that all the brick and mortal branches have not succeeded in providing the much-needed financial services to Nigerians. And this is because the penetration of banking is quite low and restricted. You cannot blame the banks or the regulators. It is very expensive providing conventional banking, especially with the state of infrastructure in Nigeria. So what channels can we use to address the challenge? We now have to turn to electronic means. There are channels like mobile payment, which can provide cheap

access to finance. Cost of service on this type of channel is rather low and with the rapid expansion and adoption of mobile phone in Nigeria, we can count on such a channel. The nature of my work requires that I regularly consult for other clients. One of such is an association of fruit sellers. They are highly organised though not very formal, and for the past two years they have been unable to secure loans from the microfinance banks, because the banks have not captured the intricacies of our financial nature into their modus operandi. When we are tackling the problem of financial exclusion, we cannot but help to understand what the stakes are. You cannot run a micro-finance institution as if it were a mini commercial bank and expect to succeed. The commercial banks are unable to capture the people at the bottom of the pyramid and that was why the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced micro-finance bank. So why should the micro-finance banks think that by repeating what the commercial banks are doing they can make a difference, which can only be made by using electronic payments? The micro finance banks need to incorporate electronic methods to reduce the cost of serving their customers. Women and leadership position A woman’s unbridled quest for power can affect the family especially the children, but if it is controlled this may not be the case. Every woman must realise that it is a God-given opportunity to be a mother, and this role must not be handled with levity. It is alright to aim for the top in anything one chooses to do in life but individuals must get their priorities right. At what cost are you pursuing that dream you have? Top on my list of values is my family. No matter what, I think we should always list out our values and let them guide us in our decisions. Your child will always be your child but you can lose that job or that target. And remember, children grow up so quickly that they are gone from your grasp before you realise it. Recently, I had to take a decision between sending my son to the boarding school or letting him go from home. After a serious consideration, I told myself, ‘when he gets into higher school I may not see him for more than 10 days in the whole year. So, what is the hurry to send him away?’ Other mothers will also have to weigh their options, but for me there was no need. I have trained my children to be independent as I travel quite a lot and they can do house chores effectively. Also, when they are right under my nose, I can notice any negative trait I wish to correct and take actions. Women need to balance their roles as mothers and career women, and it is something I think I am managing to do well. Views on gender equality My religion ECKANKAR teaches me that we are all souls and children of God. To that extent, I think we are all equal. But there is hierarchy in the world and even in heaven. In a harmonious setup of individuals there must be a leader. I do not think that men are superior to women, but I believe that a man should be the head of a family where it is applicable. Women should be given equal opportunities as men and not judged by gender. Anyone who can best fit into a job should be allowed to do the job. It should not be a competition. Managing home and work It comes trouble-free though it is really a lot of work. I love what I do and I enjoy doing it. I have a great family and a very supportive husband. My children are very wonderful so the whole family cooperate with me to ensure that stress is greatly reduced. I also hire some good hands to undertake certain domestic chores that can be delegated and this has been very helpful. My parents and my siblings are my cheerleaders. I enjoy a strong foundation and support from my network of friends and family. In the office I have some very dependable people that I can trust to handle parts of my work and this reduces my workload. There is nothing like having a strong team working with you. I have learnt a lesson in life that work literally never ends. So, when I am tired, I take a break. Leisure I relax by reading. I enjoy travelling for holidays when I stay in good hotels and get pampered. I enjoy going for safari. But for a quick one I go for sauna and massage Word of advice Whatever anyone can imagine they can achieve. The road to success is not always smooth and easy but with determination and God’s grace people can go places.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013

SPOTLIGHT Lara Mfon is the Founder/Director of Projects at Vital Woman in United Kingdom. She is also the owner and Creative Director of Pamper Me Jewels Ltd., which was established in 2000. She had the early part of her education in Nigeria and returned to England for her post-secondary education. She studied Financial Management and later Business Studies at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. She had also taken several other courses in the field of Teaching, Coaching and Mentoring in a bid to enhance delivery of the services she offers within her various businesses. Her professional training was in Accounting and she worked for many years in the industry before stepping out to start her own business. She is married to Bayo Mfon, a lawyer with deep involvement in other fields including real estate, consulting and corporate coaching. She spoke to GERALDINE AKUTU about her work, life and other issues. About Vital Woman magazine HE magazine is one of our products at Vital Woman and it carries with it our entire vision. The need for Christian female entrepreneurs and ministers to have access to sound biblical encouragement, motivation and inspiration as we go about running our businesses and ministries, was recognised. The need to also connect and network with other female Christian entrepreneurs and ministers on a global scale is an absolute essential, as you find a comfortable platform where outsourcing and collaboration with like-minded people can easily take place. Vital Woman magazine is a complete Christian lifestyle magazine where we showcase and celebrate businesses for the purpose of inspiring and encouraging our readers. Our magazine covers other areas such as health/wellness, fashion, youth culture, real estate, devotionals, home, and careers and other areas that affect our lifestyle as a whole. Established in 2009, Vital Woman is a platform set up for Christian women. It is for the Christian woman interested in having a platform where she may launch her business or ministry whilst also having the opportunity to network with other businesses. It is also for the Christian woman, who has already launched her business or ministry and is looking to increase her client base and connect with others. We provide different forums for such women to connect through our networking sessions. Networking and connecting is central to what we do. We help connect people with the services, products or people they may need, whether it is in getting your business off the ground or moving it to the next stage. The magazine was born in response to the call to encourage, empower and enlighten women to rise to their place in the society, as they embrace their God-ordained destiny. We organise specific forums for both new and existing businesses to showcase their business/ministry. The singular purpose for this is to help increase client base and rub minds with ‘similar-minded’ individuals while growing their business. To this end, we hold periodic exhibitions, workshops and seminars. So far, we have held events in a couple of cities in England and Barcelona, Spain. Plans are underway for seminars, workshops and exhibitions in Nigeria. Vital Woman magazine is packed full with “real” content. Our focus is on empowering our audience by providing intelligent information, which keeps them encouraged and enlightened. We are not interested in the superficial; we share “real” stories of “real” women, which our readers can easily relate to and identify with. We cater to those who are looking for practical ways to improve their lifestyle as a whole. The magazine is read by both Christian and non-Christian women; those who are interested in having useful and impactful information and who are interested in growth, achievement and success. In the future, it will reach more women globally via online access and hard copy format. Inspiration Prior to initiating the Vital Woman concept, I had run several businesses and had the opportunity to meet many women who desired to run their own businesses but were held back due to various challenges. Each of these women had amazing business ideas but were sometimes lacking in selfesteem, to believe enough in themselves that they could make their business work successfully. Others just did not have enough information to step out, while some could not figure out how to reach their target audience or how to adequately offer their customers the kind of service they knew they deserved. As a result of my desire to help women, who found themselves in any of these situations as well as those faced with other challenges, I embarked upon a mentoring programme. Presently, I mentor some of these women and help them achieve their dreams and goals of setting up and growing their businesses. This is where Vital Woman comes in and here is one of our favourite quotes: “Vital Woman was set up out of my passion to see women encouraged, empowered and enlightened. Vital Woman is all about you, for you are a vital part of the community. Without your contribution, there is a void.” Views on Nigerian women Nigerian women are not only intelligent and


amazing people, who work tirelessly to provide our clients with the excellent service they deserve. We believe we have been called to serve and our passion is to do so with excellence. We know no other way. Challenges With any challenges, the ability and opportunity to work through and turn them into learning curves and stepping-stones soon makes it difficult to remember them as challenges. These situations pose themselves like challenges, but, once they are overcome, they automatically become good lessons. What we have encountered is therefore opportunities for growth and we have learnt to grow alongside them and we emerged better equipped and more knowledgeable of our industry and our clients each time. Other interests I run other personal businesses, which consist mainly of a fashion business, where we manufacture various ranges of jewelry and two clothing lines. hardworking but are also very resourceful. The her household. I also write regular Christian devotionals as I believe this is what keeps her going and this is part of my ministry, which serves as encouragNigerian woman does not give up; she is what enables her eventually accomplish her resilient and highly optimistic. ing and teaching tools as we journey through The quality I admire most about the Nigerian goals and dreams against all odds. life. woman is her faith— that tomorrow will be bet- God’s faithfulness is what we experience over Views on wife battering and over again at Vital Woman. To start with, God This is a subject that should not even exist ter, and that she can try again and again; the faith that God has a wonderful plan for her and has blessed us with an awesome team, truly amongst human beings, to be honest. God did not create marriage for the purpose of manipulation or degradation. It is simply inhumane and barbaric! No woman should be subjected to or allow herself to be subjected to such cruel and demeaning existence. Women have enough challenges to face in life, as it is. These include trying to find their place and standing for what they believe they have been called to do and fighting against all odds to express themselves. Society at large must frown upon wife battering and deem it unacceptable regardless of the circumstances. Many women have lost their lives to this evil and too many children have become motherless while societies have lost great potentials in the gifts these women carried. Government should rise to the challenge of making the act a punishable offence, also. When this begins to happen, we will then begin to see a dramatic fall in the number of such cases in Nigeria and, indeed, in Africa as a whole. Most importantly, more women need to be educated on their worth and value as a vital part of their community with the realisation that God created them for specific purposes. At Vital Woman, we say to our women, ‘you are a vital part of the community. Without your contribution there is a void.’ Every woman must be confident to contribute to her community out of the gift within her but when she is being battered, out goes her selfworth and self-esteem. This would in turn greatly affect her ability to positively contribute to her community. Managing the home and work Applying the same time management principles and techniques we teach during our workshops has really helped me. Secondly, carrying out regular reviews as a result of growth helps to constantly balance work with other interests. Basically, when our children were younger, I was not able to put in the same amount of working hours as I do today nor was I able to function in as many varied roles as I do today. In order to have a good balance, one needs to take constant reviews and apply necessary changes accordingly. Growing up I grew up in a loving, close-knit family, with my three siblings. My father was a lawyer and my mother a company executive. Our parents worked full time but we were given a lot of love and attention, nonetheless. Due to the structure of my dad’s career, he was in the courts in the morning, was home in the afternoon for lunch and went off to his Law chambers in the late afternoon. This meant that there was only a two-hour gap before my mum arrived from work. We had our parent’s full attention even though they had their successful careers as well. Advice for intending entrepreneurs They should be very clear and specific about their goal. Through prayers as well as research, they should identify the target audience and the needs they set out to meet. There is also the need to carry out constant reviews so as to be sure that they are on track and have the goal in focus.

LARA . . . Reaching For The Stars


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013

THE GUArDiAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013




Uites Elect Babatunde Badmus ‘BB’As President By Hammed Hamzat and Dhikru Akinola

T had all the trappings and intrigues of the electioneering campaign in the outside world and the third Students Union election held at the University of ibadan (Ui) since the ban placed on union activities in the institution was lifted, lived up to its billing. There were many aspirants for all the positions, but the most keenly contested was the president, followed by the vice-presidency. There were accusations and counter-accusations leading to the DDay and social network sites were exploited by supporters of each candidates, who took turns throwing jibes and venoms at each other. Enoch Oladehin, Babatunde Badmus and a female candidate, Gbemi Osadua, contested for the presidency while Seun Akinbiyi, Glory Aiyegbeni and a male candidate, Victor Odesola, aspired to be vice-president. They all campaigned vigorously like their lives depended on it, but at the end, Uites went for Babatunde Badmus (BB), the first candidate from independence Hall and Theatre Arts department to contest and emerge president of U.i. Students’ Union. Voter apathy was, however, recorded due to the relocation of some students to Agbowo and Ajibode. After the ban was lifted three years ago, students were happy that after a decade, they now had a legitimate leadership that would speak up for them. Two candidates – Tokunbo Salako and Adeola Adelabu – contested, but Tokunbo, popularly known as Tcool, emerged as president. He led


Supporters of Babatunde Badmus a.k.a ‘BB’ waiting at the Arts Theatre department for the announcement of the result, which declared ‘BB’ winner of the election

a revolutionary students’ union and never allowed himself to be used by management. His successor in office, raymond Edosa, didn’t fare better with the students, as it was during his tenure that the management introduced cafeteria system in the halls of residence, while a ban was placed on cooking in the hostels. To most Uites, he is the worst leader to have steered the affairs of students at the Kunle Adepeju Students’ Union Building. These were the campaign issues used by all the aspirants to woo voters. Gbemi Osadua, a 400-Level student at the faculty of Law, ran one of the best campaigns. According to her campaign team, there was no better hand to commit the fledging union into than that of Gbemisola. Citing Margaret Thatcher, Efunsetan Aniwura

and Madam Tinubu, the campaign team noted: “As the union grapples for survival, it is time to call on a lady of character to rescue it from crumbling. History has shown that when the world gets to the edge, women have always come to the rescue.” Enoch, a former House Secretary of the union, in his own campaign, promised a rebranded union, adding that the union will have permanent legal advisers, who will defend the students and its body at all times. The eventual winner, BB, suffered a temporary setback as his hall executives gave their support to another candidate, who is also a resident of the independence Hall. The declaration of his victory was received with jubilation, as students were relieved that contrary to allegations that the results may be

manipulated in favour of ‘management’s candidate’, their votes counted. According to the results released by the chairman of the electoral commission, Mrs. Stella Soola, BB emerged winner with 1,812 votes to beat his major challenger, Gbemi, who had 1,315 votes, while Enoch gathered 958 votes. BB won in five halls (Zik, Awo, Bello, Kuti and Mellanby); Gbemi won three (idia, Alexandra Brown and Tedder Hall); while Enoch won three (Abdulsalami, independence and Balewa). Other winners include: Seun Akinbiyi (Vice President), Ayokanmi Akinbuluma (Secretary General), Ugo Nwaokike (Public relations Officer), Akindele Opeyemi (Sports Secretary), Olaoluwa Adaramodu (Treasurer), Tobiloba Ogunbanjo (House Secretary) and George Adeboye (Assistant General Secretary).

UNESCO Director Decry Global Decline in Science Enrolment GrOwiNG global decline in enrolment in science programmes poses grave danger for development in Africa and other developing countries, the Director of UNESCO’s Science programme has warned. Prof. Maciej J. Nalecz, director of the international Basic Sciences Programme of UNESCO, raised the alarm on poor enrolment in the sciences at the inaugural seminar of the international Centre for Biotechnology, UNESCO held at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). According to Nalecz, “the main challenge for science and technology at a global level is the declining interest and enrolment of young people into science, mathematics and engineering faculties, especially women, at a time when there is an increasing need for them. “Failure to meet this challenge of capacity will result in insufficient number of scientists, continued brain drain, skills shortages and ongoing impact on development, especially for developing and leastdeveloped countries.” Nalecz blamed the media focus on scandals and social issues rather than promotion of science for the declining enrolment. Citing a UNESCO Ministerial roundtable of 2007, Nalecz noted that other reasons for the declining enrolment in science include “relatively low salaries in science, which diminish public appreciation of the profession.”


The UNESCO director called on African countries to invest heavily in science to solve basic problems in health and agriculture on the continent. Nalecz recommended adoption of biotechnology as the shortest route for African countries to join the scientific race and tackle their problems. Nigeria and UNESCO signed in

October 2012 an MoU for the establishment of the international Centre for Biotechnology UNESCO Category 2 at the University of Nigeria. The international seminar held last week was part of activities marking commencement of work at the centre. it featured officials of UNESCO as well as leading

scientists from various organisations involved with biotechnology from Africa, Asia and Europe. Participants came from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations; the United Nations University, Japan; the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa; University of

Sheffield, international institute for Tropical Agriculture, ibadan; as well as the Forum for Agricultural research in Africa. representatives also came from Nigeria’s National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), as well as NAFDAC and other universities in Nigeria.

30 Students Benefit From Lapo University Scholarship By Geoff Iyatse

HirTy children of customers of Lapo Microfinance Bank Limited who have been offered university education scholarship by the bank. Beneficiaries, who are year one students in their respective schools, are expected to enjoy the scholarship throughout their studies. At the unveiling of the scheme in Lagos recently, the students received cheque of N100,000 each while Managing Director of the bank, Godwin Ehigiamusoe, said the value might be reviewed upwardly in coming years for those doing courses that extraordinary expensive. Beneficiaries of the initiative include Omikunle Aminat Modupe of University of Lagos, Ekwedi Samuel Omoefe of Niger Delta University, Omoregie Precious Eronmwon of University of Benin, Omodara Gbemisola Temitope of Ekiti State University, Mohammed rashidat of Lagos State University, Adeniyi israel Oluwaseun of University of ilorin and Ogiri Emmanuel of Kogi State University. Others are Adegbulugbe Theophilus Adebiyi, University of Abuja; Akanni Olamide Zacheaus, University of ibadan; Oloniyo Bamidele, University of Agriculture (Makurdi); Oladepo ronke Dorcas, Obafemi Awolowo University; Momoh Sherrif of Ambrose Ali University; Augustine Esther Onyiyechi of University


of Nigeria and Ekeamadi Godsgift Ugonna of Federal University of Technology (Owerri). The university scholarship was rolled out following the success story of a similar programme initiated for secondary education by the bank, which Prof. Christiana Okojie, Lapo Scholarship Board chairman,

said has benefitted 1,198 students since 2006 when it commenced. Ehigiamusoe said the poor need social support as much as financial services. He promised to sustain the initiative while disclosing that the bank would monitor the academic performances of the beneficiaries via its regional offices across the country.

wiSECrACKS Energy is the essence of life. Every day you decide how you’re going to use it by knowing what you want and what it takes to reach that goal, and by maintaining focus. Oprah Winfrey The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are. Marcus Aurelius The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark. Michelangelo

wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.

Let us know Every week, LIFE CAMPUS reports on events in students’ communities across the country. You can contribute by sending stories, gossips, reports on events and your pictures for Campus Faces to us at:

Managing Director, Lapo, Godwin Ehigiamusoe (middle); Chairman of the event, Joe Ehigie (right) present a cheque to a beneficiary, Amuta Chibuzor Emmanuel, student of Ambrose Alli University in Lagos. or guardianlife2005@yahoo. com


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013

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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday March 3, 2013


Education Recruiting Agents Fighting To Restore Credibility By Chijioke Iremeka


IMINISHING credibility, trust and loss of student enrolment by the United Kingdom’s (UK) education recruiting agents in Nigeria were the focal points at the just concluded inaugural ceremony of Nigerian Association of UK Certified Education Agents (NAUKCEA). NAUKCEA, an association of education agents with the responsibility of representation and recruiting students for universities and colleges in the UK, met at Eko Hotels and Suites to discuss issues aimed at sanitising the UK education recruitment industry. The Director, NUBI Educational Counseling Ltd., who doubled as the President of the association, Rose Omonubi, stated that the need for the establishment of NAUKCEA was imperative to ensure high service standard, resulting in the provision of qualified students to UK institutions. She added that the association wants to be guided by the actions that will show trustworthiness at all times. “We believe that it’s important to maintain a high level of credibility for the interest of the Nigerian students, parents, UK institutions and agents alike. This enables the UK universities and colleges to authenticate any agent through this body.” The Association’s Publicity Secretary, who is also the Chief Executive Officer, Anappleis Nigeria Ltd, Eve Enakimio, noted that the mission and vision of the association are to promote UK education locally, provide professional counseling and placement services to Nigerian students, demonstrate reliability, honesty and strength for better performance, protect the interest of the students and agents while reducing the threat of fraud in the UK education industry. NAUKCEA’s treasurer and CEO, Chelis Education Consult Ltd, Tina Udoji, said, “In December 2011, the World Bank reported Nigeria’s population to be 162.5million. The population represents 2.35 per cent of the world´s total population, which arguably means that, one person in every 43 people in the world, is a resident of Nigeria. “Obviously, Nigeria is a big market for UK educational institu-

President, NAUKCEA, Rose Omonubi (Middle); Vice President, Mike Imoukhuede (Left); Treasurer, NAUKCEA, Tina Udoji (2nd left); British Council representatives, Brian Wilson (Right) and colleague, during the inauguration ceremony in Lagos. tions. This market requires quality information on available ed- Also, other UK universities’ representatives at the ceremony ucational system, courses/programmes, locations of the institu- added that the new association would help to reduce the bulk tions and weather conditions to enable the students make good of task on them, and would henceforth ask for membership of choices,” Udoji said. any recruiting agents in Nigeria before dealing with them. On the other hand, she noted, the UK institutions need representatives and agents, who understand the Nigerian market (Nigerian education system and qualifications), the psychology, Obviously, Nigeria is a big market for UK educational needs of the Nigerian students and their parents among others. institutions. This market requires quality information According to Director, Kano, the British Council representative, Brian Wilson, the UK is aware of the renewed competition over on available educational system, courses/proNigerian students all over the world, especially the emergence grammes, locations of the institutions and weather of some Canadian universities, China, America and other Asia countries, adding that such was the reason of the British Coun- conditions to enable the students make good cil’s concern on quality education. choices...We have put measures in place to heighten “We have put measures in place to heighten the education standard of UK education. It’s not all about how much one pays the education standard of UK education. It’s not all at a particular school and country but the quality of education about how much one pays at a particular school and and knowledge one acquired, to enable one compete with highly competitive labour market in the world,” Wilson said. country but the quality of education and knowledge However, other agents were of great optimism that with the inone acquired, to enable one compete with highly auguration of this body, the UK recruiting agents in Nigeria would be sanitised for greater job, which would give both the competitive labour market in the world parents and the students some sense of satisfaction.

Schools Proprietors’ Unite Against Examination Malpractices, Train Examiners By Gbenga Salau


HE validity of most external examinations in Nigeria is usually questioned because of mal-practices that is usually aided and abetted by invigilators and markers of the examinations. Knowing this challenge and wanting to ensure that pupils of schools under its body, League of Muslim Schools Proprietors, pass through an examination conducted under a reliable and valid process set up a examination body called the League of Muslim Schools Proprietors Examination Council (LEC). After three years of operation and the same process of illegality that it accused other external examinations of was about creeping into its exam, it de-

cided that every year before the conduct of its exam, all the invigilators and markers would go through training. This is to remind them of, not only their responsibilities but also ensure that the standard of the exam is not lowered by engaging in and promoting malpractices that will negatively affect the reputation of the exam. During the week, the 74 markers and invigilators picked for the exam slated for March 4 were trained to ensure that their deeds and actions during the conduct of the examination would promote good standard. The Registrar of the council, Mr. Raji Yekini, said that it is important to train the invigilators and markers to reduce the negative impact of actions that would not promote standard.

The Deputy Registrar, Mr. Liadi A. Adedeji; the Registrar, Mr. Raji Yekini and the Lagos State Chairman of LEAMSP, Alhaji AbdulWaheed Obalakun at the opening ceremony of the training programme.

According him, they made the invigilators, markers and all adhoc staffs to understand that behind every success the body records, the efforts of the invigilators and other staff will play an important role as each of them is a priceless stakeholder. “As LEC members, we have always aimed for success, never for perfection; and every experience has often renewed our ability to learn new things and move forward with our lives-not only as members of the Council but also as individuals in our own right. Remember that it is only he who attempts nothing that makes no mistakes. This does not however mean that we should live a life of mistakes; but learn whatever we can from every experience of our life. “Behind every success we record in LEC, we never fail to appreciate the efforts of an invigilator who recognises our success as his success. Hence, the Council is grateful to you all for your attendance and we would be more appreciative of your attention in the course of the workshop. “We really appreciate the cooperation we

As LEC members, we have always aimed for success, never for perfection; and every experience has often renewed our ability to learn new things and move forward with our lives-not only as members of the Council but also as individuals in our own right. Remember that it is only he who attempts nothing that makes no mistakes. This does not however mean that we should live a life of mistakes; but learn whatever we can from every experience of our life.

enjoy from our members schools for the online registration as well as their priceless comments, invaluable suggestions and constructive criticisms towards making LEC an enviable benchmark for basic education standard in Nigeria.” The Deputy Registrar, Adedeji Liadi, who gave the admonition and was the lead speaker at the training, told the participants that the aim of the training was to define the roles of the participants to ensure a successful exam. Using the manual given to each of the participants as the tool for interaction during the talk, he said that the manual offers a brief detail of the essence of examinations whether written or oral and even allows the trainee the opportunity to offer suggestions towards making the exercise better as LEC is far from being a game of monopoly. He argued that the more the participants are abreast of the reasons for the introduction of exam and the process of the conduct; the more informed they become and be part of the process. He disclosed that experience has shown that invigilators, examiners and markers can be successful in handling the subject matter if they consciously commit themselves to their duties. During the training, there was experience sharing where those who had took part in past exams as invigilators, examiners, markers shared their experience, the success stories and challenges they observed. At the end, the 50 schools that registered for this year’ exam were commended for being change-friendly as it was demanded from them to register online which was not the case in the past. This year’s exam will be conducted in five centres. While Agege will have two centres, Eti-osa, Kosofe/Ikorodu and Ipori Zones will have one centre each.

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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday March 3, 2013


Events marking the Africa’s first Social Media Week in Lagos, attracted participants from the industry, government, artists, social entrepreneurs and enthusiasts were held throughout the city last week

SMWLagos: Week Of Vibrant Social Media Engagement By Fabian Odum and Gbenga Salau


HEN it started in 2009 in New York, Social Media Week looked like a child’s play but it was clear the gale of the Internet was unstoppable as the entire globe is now engulfed. No doubt, the way it made impact in Lagos left people wondering – what event in the metropolis could possibly be so news worthy as to warrant several days of attention from a top host of Cable News Network (CNN). The 2013 Social Media Week (SMW) generated so much buzz that for days the crew of Inside Africa, CNN’s topnotch programme on Africa covered the event. As the buzz got around, enthusiasts had the opportunity to plug into more than 80 events hosting over 100 speakers and live streaming that could not be limited by boundaries of nations and continents. During SMW, which also held in other cities across the globe last week, techies as well as other users of social media had a rare opportunity to interact and discuss the power and potential of new media. It was a unique gathering of the young, the net savvy and other potentates of the generation, which no longer relies on the traditional channels of information to stay on top of the great issues of the day. In Lagos, aptly christened venues like the Co creation Hub in Yaba, and the fully digitalised e-learning centre on Broad Street played host to young Nigerians seeking to use technology for the betterment of their lives. Hundreds of young people that were present at the venues were joined by others online, as new media enthusiasts continued to trumpet the fact that the barriers of distance, time and space, could no longer inhibit conversations among likeminded people. In one of the sessions, moderated by Thistle Praxis Consulting, with the topic, Open yet unconnected? Social media for sustainable development, the discussion was on using the social media for sustainable development issues. On the panel were Director Sustainable Business Initiative, Edinburg Business School, UK, Dr. Kenneth Amaeshi; CEO/Lead Consultant ThistlePraxis Nigeria, Ini Onuk and Head, Corporate Affairs, British-American Tobacco, West Africa, Mrs. Oluwasoromidayo George. There were also online contributors and participants, who shared their thoughts on the topic. After the opening comments by the moderator, Amaeshi argued that the social media should be a tool for making stakeholders accountable on issues around sustainable development. On her part, George said that there is not much awareness about using the social media as a tool for advocacy especially on sustainable development subjects. She noted that because many do not really understand the topic, sustainable development, is often why they find it difficult using the social media as a

tool for advocacy. She also observed that because there is high poverty in the land those who have access do not use the social media correctly as they do not critically look at the matter but play up sentiments. Onuk also re-echoed the fact that the citizens have not been able to use the social media to engage the issues in sustainable development. This, to her, is because efforts had not been made to use social media to make good citizenship and demand for action from all concerned. She observed that though the impact is still low but it is still do able to use the social media to call for action. According to her, using the social media for advocacy should not be restricted to organisations, as individuals who understand and are passionate about the topics could lead it. George argued that Nigerians have not been using social media for sustainable development advocacy because of access and literacy challenges among the rural people, which is why the penetration is still very low but it is a very important platform to use. “Sustainable development is something everybody must understand now, it is about how do we take our development going further. The issue of insecurity how does it affect every single person, issues of flooding, climate change, the issues affecting the ordinary Nigerian citizens, these are the issues we must be saying on the social media with respect to sustainable development. It is an important platform.” On how to use the social media to get people educated and better informed, she said, “The academia and the stakeholders that are abreast about the topics, know its importance and how it affects the future should be involved in enlightening the people using social media. “Flooding is an issue and a lot of us are affected by it and it is a result of climate change, so these are the people that will begin to shape it in a way that would engage the ordinary Nigerian man in simple terms that they will understand. “The experts have a part to play in educating the people about the issues and it is something that we have to do now. We have to come together to use this platform in order to begin to educate. Government was not left out of the gathering. Minister for Information Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson engaged in a robust conversation with the social media luminaries at the e-learning centre. She talked passionately about government policy on ICTs, the potential social media has in terms of jobs for young Nigerians, as well as the challenges in getting government agencies to move with the currents of the time, with respect to the use of ICTs. A senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology, University of Lagos, Dr Bamikole Fagbohungbe, commenting on why the youths tend to use the social media for friendship and relationship when there are uses that are more beneficial to their formation and development as human beings, said that the platform upon which it started was for social interaction.

“And in behavior, people become conditioned to situations that are presented to them consistently, so both the expectation and activity of the social media itself centre on social activity, even though innovation came in later for other uses. “Perception is a moderator of our behavior, people sometime say what is in a name but there are a lot. If you go biblical, because there was something in a name was why Jabez changed his name to reflect new changes or expectations. So, you know what social connotes among the youth; that is why they are used for social messages because they have been classically conditioned. “It is however important to start de-emphasising the use for solely relationship issues but promote actively more beneficial things that are more useful to the society through giving orientation to the youths,” Fagbohungbe said. Also speaking on the social media, a Cable News Network Correspondent, Vladimir Duthiers, enjoined national leaders across the world to take advantage of the potency of the social media in building strong perceptions for their countries instead of making efforts to stifle it. Describing the social media as a huge driver of perception, Duthiers stated, “the cat is already out of the bag and no amount of policing can stop people from posting on social media. That is the power of social media. It allows people create and tell their own stories.” He believed that the Nigerian government could plug into the vast opportunities provided by social media in building a strong perception, and a better image for Nigeria. ‘‘Nigeria is one of the most innovative, advanced countries with the use of the social media as a platform to get messages out, outside of the United States of America and few countries in Asia. I say this because of what I know from statistics that we tally on social media usage. “I believe the right of the people to be heard should not be hindered. It is a basic, fundamental human right. I firmly believe that the voice of the people should not be subdued.” At the Co Creation hub for instance, founder and CEO of the West African NGO Network, WANGONeT, Tunji Lardner attempted to provoke the thinking of the audience about the use of new media. Apparently dissatisfied about the fact that the growing number of social media users in Nigeria has not translated into real power to change things, Lardner called on social media enthusiasts to begin reflecting deeply about how to effectively deploy the resource now firmly in their grip. He admonished that social media potentates must now use the technology effectively to bring about change, by putting knowledge in a context. He said it is only when knowledge is placed within a specific socio-economic or political context that it could bring about change. Lardner gave an example of how analysis of data on corruption helped to provide insight

that the N33 billion pilfered by pension thief, Yakubu John Yusuf and his cohorts, was more than the amount required to run the nation’s two anti-corruption watchdogs, the EFCC and the ICPC, for 11 years. He implied that such a contextualised knowledge, provided by social media would go a long way in awakening the consciousness of the people, and could spur them to take action to end the malaise afflicting the nation. Overall, there was unanimous agreement at the gathering that social media should seek to mine data, turn the data into information, further turn the information into knowledge, and then contextualise the knowledge such that it is possible for action to be taken by the critical mass. While there were several events across different venues, which featured such discussions on thematic areas such as online publishing, education, fashion, as well as entertainment, the discussions on open government, transparency and accountability got the most buzz. In the light of the Occupy Movement, which convulsed Nigeria in January last year, many new media activists and their change seeking allies channeled their attention on how to deploy new media to make the democratic process and the entire machine of governance, more participatory. In budgeting for example, Seun Onigbinde of Budgit, an online portal that tracks budgets at the federal and state levels, called for greater awareness about the beginnings and final outcomes of appropriations by all tiers of government. He said budgets could be made into games, and cartoons that would simultaneously be fun, and would provide vital information to empower the public on what exactly government does with the public funds it appropriates. Frustrations were however expressed that Local Governments, the tier closest to the people, either have no budgets, or are comfortable with keeping the people in the dark about what they actually appropriate and spend. It was reasoned that while many Nigerians are heaping all the blames for the nation’s woes on the Federal Government, there are many of such problems, which could be solved by government at the local levels. The gathering surmised that many of the actors at the local government seeking to perpetuate the ‘do nothing’ culture at the local government level, would be happy to have the spotlight of the people remain exclusively on the government at the federal level. Discussants therefore urged social media activists to explore ways of using new media to beam the searchlight on the processes and outcomes of governance at the level of government that ordinarily should be the closest to the people. The events also featured exhibition of apps like the ipolice for security, ReVoDa for election monitoring, as well as, a portal to provide information on legislators at federal and state levels. It was not all-serious stuff at SMW; some of the sessions also featured live twitter parties, to get participants to


THE GUARDIAN,Sunday, March 3, 2013 25

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Junior Guardian Kingdom Heritage Holds Inter-house Sports T was a fun-filled inter-house IHeritage sports, as the pupils of Kingdom Model School, Sango, last Saturday when the school held its inter-house sports in grand style. The kids, gaily dressed, looked bright and beautiful as the games started with the singing of the National anthem and the school song. Addressing the kids, the Chairman of the occasion, Pastor Olufemi Omoitan advised them to be God-fearing, love they neighbours and work very hard. “God loves you and wants you to love and serve Him too. You are tomorrow’s leaders and that is why you have to read hard and be good children at all times,” he said. Also addressing the children, the Head Teacher of the School, Mrs. Dolapo Jolayemi charged them to be good children. She advised them to always help their parents at home. “Hard work still pays and children who work hard will always distinguish themselves,” she said. The highlight of the day was the various sports and cultural display from the children. Red House emerged the over all winner at the.

—Bisi Alabi Williams The school’s staff and pupils after the event

Solutions To Brain Teaser (19)

Shalina Takes Healthcare To Schools O fewer than 4,000 public schools pupils in Ikosi-Ketu Local Government Development Area of Lagos were beneficiaries of the deworming exercise organised by Shalina Healthcare Centre in conjunction with Association of Community Pharmacist of Nigeria (ACPN). The event, which took place at the premises of Expressway Primary School Ketu, Lagos had in attendance several community pharmacists, teachers, pupils and government officials. In his welcome address, Mr. Pemi Oladipupo the coordinator of ACPN said that the deworming exercise was the Association’s way of giving back to the community. “We discovered that most pupils in Ikosi-Ketu community are from poor homes, where feeding has become a major problem let alone healthcare. We think we give support and add value by bringing in about 4,000 pupils from four primary schools in the community as well as collaborating with a reputable pharmaceu-


Children during deworming exercise


tical company,” he said. The ACPN coordinator also counselled that it is important to deworm children every six month. Mr. Adeshina Bashir, head of sales, Shalina Healthcare noted that it is very hard to tell if a child is suffering from worm unless symptoms like anorexia and diarrhoea become noticeable. “This is where the uniqueness of Tanzol Deworming brand comes in. It is chewable, comes in different fruity flavour and is also available as suspension. Aside deworming the children, we are also giving out free tablets to be delivered to their parents at home,” he said. Bashir noted that his company concentrates more on healthcare, exploration and corporate social responsibility. He said that worm infections damage immune system and intellectual development of the children, as the worms consume vitamins and nutrients in the body, which can lead to malnutrition, low weight and anaemia. —Oluwakemi Ajani









Red House, winner of the King’s Anchor School competition‘s trophy

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tHE GUaRDIan, sunday, March 3, 2013

26 sUnDaYMaGaZInE

soCIEtY Birthdays BaLoGUn, otunba Michael subomi, lawyer, banker, administrator and philanthropist will be 79 on saturday, March 9, 2013. He was born in Ijebu-ode, ogun state and attended Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos and later read law in England. He was a Principal counsel and secretary with nigerian Industrial Development Bank Limited, executive director, ICon securities Limited. He started the first nigerian fully owned Merchant Bank (now First City Monument Bank) in 1982. Fellow, nigerian Institute of Management (nIM). He is the asiwaju of Ijebu Christian; he is fondly referred to as the baron of the nigerian Capital Market. He holds traditional titles of Otunba Tunwase of Ijebu Christian. oBasanJo, Chief Mathew olusegun okikiola aremu, farmer, politician, former president and head of the military junta will be 76 on tuesday, March 5, 2013. He was born on March 5, 1937 in Ibo-




gun, Ifo Local Government area of ogun state and attended Baptist Boys High school, abeokuta from 1952-56 and later attended the following military trainings, Mons officers Cadet school, aldershot, England; Royal College of Military Engineering,

Chatham, England; school of survey, newbury, England; Indian Defence staff College; Indian army school of Engineering, Poona and Royal College of Defence in the nigerian army in 1958. He was a second Lieutenant, 1959; Lieutenant, 1960; member of

the nigerian contingent of the United nations Force in the Congo,1960; Commander of the nigerian army Engineering Unit, 1963; Captain,1963;

MD, Medview Airlines, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, (3rd from right), cuts his birthday cake with members of staff... on Wednesday

award tsako Cub’ 81 was on E thursday honoured Governor adams oshiomhole with award of Excellence for the development and rapid transformation in Edo state. the event was held at oriental Hotel in Lagos at a reception in commemoration of its anniversary celebration. the President of the Club, s.k llugbekhai said oshiomhole deserve second term in office for the pace of development he has set in motion in Edo state. He commended the effort and immense contributions of alhaji aliko Dangote to the economic empowerment of Edo people by citing the largest fertilizer plant in africa at Etsako land. Governor oshiomhole in receiving the award said he is grateful for the honour. He promised that his administration is challenged “to do more to change Edo state into paradise, and that is reason we embark on taking tax as a major tools, so that we can use the tax money to develop and create more jobs for our people.” — Moshood Aliyu


Lady Evang. Beatrice Bamidele with Pastor Samuel Ogunfowokan, GO, Christ Healing Evangelical Church at the Church 2013 National Convention at Loburo, Mowe, Ogun State.

• Madam sabitiyu olayanju (nee ajani) a.k.a. Iya alaso passes on. the final funeral ceremony will come up on March 2, 2013 at osogbo Grammar school by 12noon. she is survived by children, grand children and great grand children among whom are; adegboyega olayanju, Chief adetoyese olayanju, otun Gbobaniyi of osogboland and Mrs. Idayat Usman.

Honours For apostle oyidi t was an honour well deserved for apostle Babatunde oyidi of Elyon International all Christian Ministry, who was celebrated for his immense contribution to the upliftment of the gospel recently. the C.a.C, Word & Life Ministries, ota, ogun state, literally stood still for the apostle as he was feted with Long service award and Best kingdom Investment award. While presenting him with the award plagues, the Pastor of the church, Prophet sam oniyide said oyidi, is a rare man of God who had encouraged many lives and churches with his ministry. oyidi in his address cautioned the President not to allow himself to be pushed by his associates but to allow the leading of God for him to be able to transform the country and uplift the standard of living of the nigerians. He said the country has been soiled with blood of the innocent and there is need for prayers to cleanse it. — Gbenga Akinfenwa Oyidi receives the awards at the event You can send your pictures, birthday events and reports to:


Major, 1965; Lt. Col, 1967; Commander, Ibadan Garrison, 1967-69; Colonel, 1969; General officer Commanding, third Engineering Corps, 1970-75; Brigadier, 1972; Chief of staff, supreme Headquarters, nigerian army, 1975-76; member/Chairman, supreme Military Council (sMC), 197679; Lt-Gen., 1976; Head of state and Commander In-Chief of the armed Forces, 1976-79; General, nigerian army, 1979. He also served as Federal Commissioner of Works and Housing from January to July, 1975. He contested and won the 1999 Presidential election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and was re-elected in 2007. He was also the Chairman, Board of trustees (Bot) of PDP till last year when he voluntarily retired. He is the Balogun of Owuland. nDoMa-EGBa, senator Victor (san), politician and legal practitioner will be 53 on Friday, March 8, 2013. Born on March 8, 1956 in Ikom, Cross

River state, he graduated from the University of Lagos and Calabar, where he obtained the LL.B and LL.M degrees respectively. He was at the Irish Development Institute, shanon, Ireland for a programme in Export Processing Zones administration and stamford University, Palo alto, Usa and Harvard University, Cambridge for the Executive Education Programme. He was called to the nigerian Bar in July, 1978 and was in active practice specialising in civil and commercial law litigation, and arbitration. He was the Chairman of the Calabar Bar, President of the Calabar Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Body Benchers. He was elected to represent River Central in 2003 in the senate of the Federal Republic of nigeria, and was re-elected in 2007, he was elevated to the rank of senior advocate of nigeria (san) in 2004. He was Chairman, senate Committee on Media and Public affairs and was the deputy senate Leader.

tRIBUtE Prince Ibikunle akitoye:

the Forgotten Hero (1918-1973) n 1957, at the constitutional conference in London, “the black Prince of West africa” as he was then referred to by the British tabloids, puts up rigorous defence for a Lagos colony for three consecutive days. akitoye was the first nigerian social scientist and a Graduate of Bristol University, England. He was the one who the national Council of nigeria and Cameroun (nCnC) delegated to speak in defence of creation of Lagos as a colony. the agitation for this cause started locally in 1955, the nCnC believed that Lagos, being the commercial hub and the seat of government, and center of activities in the country should have an autonomous status. the struggle gained international recognition in 1957 when a petition was sent to the Privy Council. Lagos was eventually pronounced a colony and this credit goes to Prince Ibikunle akitoye and his team, hence the popular saying that Gedegbe leko wa, meaning, Lagos is a separate entity. Prince akitoye, the initiator and defender of the Lagos colony was born in 1918 to the family of late oba alfred akitoye II and died in January 1973. He was married to late Zenobia Modupeore akitoye on June 1941 at st. Pauls Church, Breadfruit street, Lagos. His marriage was blessed with, oluwarotimi, adefunmilayo, adenrele, adebanke and Gbogboade. Before proceeding to Bristol University, England to graduate as nigeria’s first social scientist, he attended CMs Grammar school, Lagos, the same school where his father and grandfather attended. Driven by integrity, he resigned his appointment from a British firm where he felt insulted as a black man and he returned to nigeria to set up his own business. He was a great social mixer who made friends across all the major ethnic groups in the country. While late Herbert Macaulay was his political father, his political friends and associ-


ates included, Dr. nnamdi azikiwe, Mbonu ojike, sam opara, Jaja nwachukwu, Yusuf Maitama,, etc. akitoye was a staunch member of nCnC which started as Zikist Movement and was popular in Lagos, notable indigenes of Lagos like him were in the nCnC, some of his Yoruba friends were Chief tos Benson, Chief adeniran ogunsanya, Chief Remi Fanikayode and  Justice soji Madarikan, among others. Rev. Dr (Mrs.) adefunmilayo akitoye-Braimoh, a daughter said: “He was very proud of his heritage, he imbibed the Christian life of his father who was the first Christian oba of Lagos.” Family records had it that when he retired into private life, he settled in Victoria Island, the birthplace of his mother, Olori Arolu Onikepe, a Princess of Iruland where he set up a Beach Resort called Copa Cobana Exclusive. apart from this, he has great passion for the youths such that when he was in England, he set up st. Banados Home for the orphans, a project, which he brought back to nigeria. He was given a post-humous award by Eko Club in 1991. as Prince Gbogboade akitoye, his son, would say; “My father was a honest and straight person who has royal blood running through his veins. He is an orator with good mastery of English language. He loves his family, his heritage, Lagos and his country. He deserves to be immortalised and have his name registered in Lagos


Sunday, March 3 , 2013 27

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth



Yaw meets Jenifa at ALLBar THAT JAZZ 36 The today ARTS


Nodash… The man with Something Unusual BY CHUKS NWANNE IS ever-smiling face makes you feel the youngman has seen good times; indeed, he has. Adekunle Adejuyigbe, otherwise known as Nodash in showbiz, has paid his dues as a filmmaker, having worked with production outfits such as Nigezie, NTA Akure, Khaki B Studios and now the team leader at Something Unusual Studios, his private production outfit based in Lagos. So, that smile is a sign of his many accomplishments. Though trained as an electrical engineer at the University of Ilorin, Nodash remains one of the Nigeria music video directors, who are known to consistently take an unusual approach on his projects; his intelligence is apparent in all his works. From TV shows to music videos, commercials, documentaries, movies … whenever Nodash’s work is shown, there’s always something unusual. Just like Tyler Perry and Robert Rodriguez, his role models, Nodash is a talented moviemaker, exceptionally good in multiple aspects of filmmaking; he’s a director, cinematographer, editor and writer. “I didn’t really go to any film school, though I went to the movies as a young boy; that was where the passion came from. However, working with the NTA, Nigezie and other production outfits broadened my understanding of filmmaking. These days, you don’t necessarily need to go to film school to understand film; it’s all about passion, interest and hard work,” he said. To Nodash, every music video must have a storyline and must be able to engage the audience. “I always shoot music videos like a movie; that’s the only way you see the story behind the song. Whenever I’m interpreting a music video, I usually look for a way to get the story through the camera. It’s not about aesthetics; viewers should be able to connect with the video and


follow the story.” Though movies and music videos are of different genres of entertainment, Nodash sees both as the same, in terms of interpretation. “I don’t really see them like that; it’s all about telling a story. Yes, they are of different forms, but at the end, you want to tell a story. These days, people are bored watching music videos because there’s no creativity, anymore. So, I’ve decided to get emotions out of people through my videos; my works will make you laugh, smile, cry… that’s what a video is meant to do.” In recent times, artistes seem to dwell more on copying from existing works than creating their own style, which results in so much duplications. But for the filmmaker, every artiste must have a brand. “One of the first questions I usually ask artistes I work with is, ‘What’s your brand?’ However, I’ve discovered that a whole lot of them don’t really know their brands. Today, you see artistes trying to copy each other in the name of commercialising their act. But look, for you to stand in this industry, you have to create your brand and stand by it. It’s a matter of time; people will surely get to understand your brand if you work hard.” Between movies and music video, which pays better? “It depends on the project; there are some music videos with huge budget and there are movies with very low budget. So, it all depends on the project. For me, it’s not really about the money; we need to get good stuffs out there.” However, working with Nodash is not usually all about money. “Well, I’ve had to reject some jobs in the past because of the materials; sometimes, people come very empty and still want to blow. Pay or no pay, I work with materials and if the material is not good, I won’t do the job. I don’t just work because you want to pay me; I’m interested in depth and delivery,” he said.

Though the showbiz industry right now is more like an all comers affair, Nodash is confident that things will change in no distant time. “For now, everybody wants to grab from the industry, but we are at the point where people are getting tired of the whole trend. Gradually, viewers are getting more critical with works in the industry; they know what is good and what is bad. Very soon, things will change and you will know the real professionals.” Over the years, Nodash has worked with popular Nigerian artistes on music videos such as Slam’s Oya na, Kefee’s Dan maliyo, Henrisoul’s Your love, Lara George’s Higher, Anis Halloway’s We nor wan dat and Anny Ft Freestyle on Happy Day. Others are Matthew’s Na me be dis, Contradiction’s Fimisile, Tim Godfrey’s Oyedika gi, Wajudah’s No be by dada, Plumbline’s Dead Presidents and others. As for movies, he has been involved in works such as Journey to self, Rush, Young smoker, Till death, On bended knees, Pretty Ugly and others. He has also produced commercials for FCMB Copa Lagos, Glo Made for life series, Ituen Basi’s Daydream, FCMB Xmas TVC, The Future Awards and others. As a versatile filmmaker, Nodas has also produced documentaries such as Ernst And Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards documentaries 2011, Ondo festival Documentary, Badagry slave trade documentary, Ernst And Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards documentaries 2012, Nest Oil, Dangote, Access Bank, Fidson, Chair Centre, Glico group (Ghana) and Notore. For his creativity, the filmmaker has been rewarded with awards such as Best Editing Award at the short international film festival, Best Cinematography Award at the Nigerian Music video awards, Best Editing Award at the Nigerian Music Video Awards and also featured on CNN inside Africa on the set for the movie Journey to Self.

For Udondian, the future is fabric-art ALL THAT JAZZ

Jimmy Smith… The Organ Grinder


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013





Anne Hathaway ‘Sorry For Ditching Valentino Oscars Dress nne Hathaway has apologised to designer A Valentino for ditching a dress he had given her to wear to The Oscars last Sunday, February 24. The Les Miserables star stunned onlookers by wearing a pink Prada gown that showed off her nipples to the ceremony, just hours after Valentino had announced that his label had dressed the brunette for the prestigious bash. Hathaway, who picked up the Best Supporting Actress gong in the revealing satin frock, has now claimed she deeply regrets any disappointment caused by not donning the Valentino gown. She said in a statement: “It came to my attention late Saturday night that there would be a dress worn to the Oscars that is remarkably similar to the Valentino I had intended to wear, and so I decided it was best for all involved to change my plans. Though I love the dress I did wear, it was a difficult last-minute decision as I had so looked forward to wearing Valentino in honour of the deep and meaningful relationship I have enjoyed with the house and with Valentino himself. I deeply regret any disappointment caused.”

Kim K On Maternity Wear: ‘I Feel Back To My Old Self’ Kardashian has revealed she feels back to Kim her ‘old self’ when it comes to her maternity wardrobe. The Keeping Up With The Kardashians star, who is expecting her first child with rapper Kanye West, also admitted that she’s finding it hard to find flattering clothes now she’s preggers. Praising J Brand jeans, which have stretchy side panels for her blossoming belly, Kimmy wrote on her mother-to-be blog: “They are absolutely amazing. I feel like I’m back to my old self and I’m so happy! With this being my first pregnancy, I’ve been finding it really difficult to find clothes that are comfortable and fit me well, but these are great.”

Nicki Minaj: ‘I’ve Settled Differences With Mariah’ icki Minaj has declared that she and fellow N American Idol judge, Mariah Carey have put aside their differences. The duo infamously had a stand-up argument on the set of the show last year (albeit with Nicki doing most of the standing up and arguing). The rapper, says, both rivals have buried the hatchet. “All of that has been talked about. We had our differences, but it is all done with now, and we just get in there and do our job,“ she told Page Six. Nicki admitted that she had been drawn into helping the contestants on the show. “I’m getting closer to the contestants as the competition goes on. Seeing their parents makes you realise about how this is their dream and how we have to nurture them as much as we can,“ she explained.

Marc Anthony Dating Topshop Heiress Chloe Green? Lopez may have bagged herself a toyJitennifer boy in the shape of dancer, Casper Smart, but seems her ex-hubby, Marc Anthony has also traded her in for a younger model. Anthony has been spotted on a date with former Made In Chelsea star, Chloe Green, where they were snapped visiting Disneyland in Anaheim, California on Tuesday, February 26. The unlikely couple, were accompanied by the 44-year old’s children - Max and Emme - from his marriage with J.Lo. At one point, Anthony was seen with his arm draped over the Topshop heiress’ shoulders, as he appeared to kiss her on the head. Marc and the 21-year old are yet to confirm or deny the rumours, but Anthony has been heavily promoting Chloe’s father Phillip Green‘s famous shop on his Twitter page. He wrote: “Who ever doesn’t know about #Topshop #Topman in LA has to get in on it! Just had the time of my life at The Grove Amazing!”

Convener of Charity Lounge, Chaste (middle) with new inductees at the event

Celebrities pledge support for Charity Lounge

the contest will be an event to remember as Nigeria’s top stars of music, Nollywood, comedy and the media will slug it out in the two and half months battle for the glittering COSON trophy and the millions naira in cash. The Lagos State Table Tennis Association is providing full technical S part of its strategy to rally support for the less privileged and the and organisational support for the COSON All Stars Table Tennis Blow Out. Among those expected to join the battle are COSON Chairman, Chief sick, the Creative Five World started a platform for celebrities to Tony Okoroji; the copyright body’s General Manager, Mr. Chinedu make contributions towards the project. Tagged, Charity Lounge, the Chukwuji; top music stars, Chief Adewale Ayuba, Sammie Okposo, Olu initiative, as a result of this effort, not long ago, donated cash and Maintain, Aje Butter, Banky W and Konga. Also ready for battle are materials to less privilege homes, as well as sponsored children with Nollywood stars, Kalu Ikeagwu, Femi Brainard, Basorge Tariah Jr and ailments such as cancer. In order to get more partners involved in the charity work, the not- some top comedians such as AY, Bovi, and Kofi. Several media personalities led by the Editor of Entertainment Express, Mr. Azuh Amatus, will for-profit organisation recently inducted new celebrities into the humanitarian project. Held at the Pelaruz Food Café, Ikoyi, Lagos, the fight it out for the million-naira prize money. Meanwhile, lovers of undiluted entertainment and fun have will be evening was graced by notable personalities such as comedian Mc treated to the best of music and comedy at the event, as the stars have Abbey, Gabriel Afolayan, Hon. Jide Obanikoro, Lanre Aina of Google Nigeria, Dayo Isreal and others, who came to lend their support to the promised to deliver at the event. It will also be an opportunity for fans to cheer their favourite stars to success. initiative. The COSON Week is conceived as a one week of unrivaled spectacle, According to the founder of the organisation, Chaste Inegbedion, the induction is a way of recognising individuals and institutions for which will grip the attention of Nigerians from May 19 to 25 as the their ‘Act of Kindness’ and encouraging them to do more in the com- nation’s top music stars come together in style to launch the COSON Music Foundation. The winner of the glittering trophy and the millionmunity. naira prize money in the Table Tennis Blowout will be determined on The core objective of the induction evening was also an appeal for media sponsorship and donation of items for Joseph Olorunlagbara, a Thursday, May 23. nine years old boy with bone cancer. Nollywood actress and philanthropist, Halima Abubakar, and social media extraordinaire, Gidi Traffic, were among the inductees. Proceeds from the event were channeled specifically to support the operations FTER a successful run of April Fool in 2012, popular radio presenter of the Charity Lounge initiative. with Wazobia FM, Steve Onu, otherwise known as Yaw, is set for anoth“Charity Lounge International is a unique, quarterly opportunity to er interesting stage play titled The Bar. Billed for today, at the MUSON consolidate efforts to bring meaningful change. It was created by the Creative Five World to implement preventive and protective strate- Centre, Onikan, Lagos, the play directed by Bunmi Davies, is a satire on events in the country, in the last one year. gies for community-based projects such as the Cancel Cancer “We are using satire to pass our message because we want people to Campaign, Hall of Fame and Charity Begins at Home Initiative. The platform will continue to be an advocate of change, an avenue for the come laugh, learn and ultimately make our country a better place for us all,” Yaw said. sensitisation on the importance of Individual Social Responsibility According to his publicist, Olujuwon Bukunola-Philips, this is the fifth (ISR) at the lower scope, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at edition of Yaw Back2stage Project, a concept that is designed to revive live the higher scope,” Inegbedion said. theatre. In the last four editions, the Olympic touch bearer has acted Pelaruz Food Cafe, Elite Couture, Digital Interactive Media, alongside the likes of Koffi, Mc Abbey, Owen Gee and Jude Orhorha. Omnikraft and Magik City proudly supported the Event. Beauty Today, he will be at The Bar with delectable actress, Funke AkindeleOverdose Magazine, Root Entertainment, Laphy Photography, My Streetz Magazine, Naijapose, MetroFM, SOH cakes, Exodus, E-Box, Cakes Oloyede, also an Olympic touch bearer. ‘n’ Cream and 1705 Productions are also part of the supporters. “This year, Yaw decided to feature a woman, so that it will not look as if it’s a men’s world. Funke was chosen because she is talented, versatile, creative and spontaneous. Her movie credits are endless; she has produced lots of movies and featured in several others.” The director and producer of Stand Up Nigeria comedy show, Bunmi Davies, is a graduate of Creative Arts from the University of Lagos. He has directed several plays such as Hell Invitation, Iyawo Or Iyawo, How the Fool Fell In Love, Devil is Liar and others. HESE are indeed good times for popular MC and Comedian, Gbenga The Bar, a two-man act, is written by Obi Martins, a Theatre Arts graduAdeyinka GCON (Grand Comedian of Nigeria) as his premium come- ate of the Lagos State University. The play, which will be performed by dy show, Laffmatazz with Gbenga Adeyinka and Friends has received the 3and 7pm respectively, will feature music and comedy by notable artistes such as also there will be comedy and music by Alibaba, Bovi, MI, backing of some corporate organisations. The event, which is in its third year, will be staged in Ibadan, Oyo State, at the upscale entertain- Iyanya, Akpororo, Mc Abbey, Klint De Drunk, Senator and others. ment hub, Jogor Centre, on Easter Sunday. Among artistes billed to perform at the gig are Davido, Funke Akindele-Oloyede, Seyi Law, Seyi Shay, Capital Femi, Dammy Krane, LKT, Skales, May D, Jaywon, Seriki, Jayru, Kayefi, SB Live Band and Isaac Geralds. Others are Omo Baba, Owen Gee, Lepacious Bose, Baba Gboin, Bash, Laffup, Obama, Eteye, Peteru and Shete with cameo performance from Adetoun of Project Fame. With DJs Van Vicki and Sexy on the wheel of steel, there will be no dull moment. Speaking on the project, the comedian, through his publicist, Seun Oyedele, said, “this year’s Laffmatazz will be the biggest so far. We thank the companies that are supporting this year’s event; they have helped us in no small measure. The tickets are already on sale in Ibadan and the fans are in an expectant mood. Ibadan is a very big place to stage a massive event of this nature after Lagos as the fans here love entertainment, little wonder why big shows are now been staged here in Ibadan.’’ The event supported by reputable companies such as First Bank PLC, Arik Air, Beat FM, Squadron and Action Bitters.


Yaw meets Jenifa at The Bar today


Gbenga Adeyinka’s Laffmatazz gets sponsors


COSON dangles naira for the All Stars Table Tennis Blow Out HEAD of the COSON Week billed for May 19, the organisers have conA ceived a table tennis contest involving music stars. Billed for March 10, at the Multi-purpose Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos,

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013




Around and about Nollywood... Fidelis Duker gets AFRIFESTNET’s nod as president

ing Cannes for the first time with E.T. 31 years ago, as one of the most vibrant memories of his career. Nigeria is likely to secure a pavilion at the 66th edition of the festival. If it does, practitioners say, it would showcase the best movie offerings from the country. Last year, South Africa, through the South African Film and Video Foundation, stormed Cannes with films and filmmakers from their country. The NFVF set up a well stocked and laid out stands with information about films and filmmakers from South Africa as well as locations and co-production facilities and incentives that are available. The NFVF pavilion stood out amongst pavilions hosted by other African countries. Besides the provision of information, the foundation organised private screening for some of the films they brought, which helped in exposing and marketing of the films at a separate stand at the festival’s film market. Nigerian filmmakers, who are hoping to be in Cannes, this year, expect Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) to emulate the South Africans. They even expect NFC to press for a special focus on the Nigerian motion picture industry. There was a special focus on Egypt, which didn’t even make the UNESCO survey list where Nollywood earned the much-touted status of the second leading movie producing society, years ago. So, it is possible to get organisers of Cannes to dedicate a day to the celebration of movies and practitioners from Nollywood. There will be no party or dinner to commemorate the planned Nollywood at 20 that will be as significant as a day for Nollywood in Cannes.

HERE is a change in the leadership of the T African Film Festival Network (AFRIFESTNET), as Nigeria’s Fidelis Duker was last week named the new President of the continental organisation. Duker, a one time President of Directors Guild of Nigeria and frontline Nollywood director and producer, succeeds Ghana’s Kwesi Owusu, whose membership and headship of the steering committee was terminated due to his recent resignation from office. Also, the decision to replace Owusu followed the findings at the first AFRIFEST Steering Committee meeting held in Dakar, Senegal, on November 18, where the issue of the lack of leadership capacity was raised. Owusu had been given, a two-month moratorium to get more involved and committed to the organisation’s activities and goals. Members according to a statement signed by the project manager of AFRIFESTNET, Dounia Benslimane, observed that more than three months later, the situation has not changed, a reason a motion was proposed by the treasurer, Mr. Anthony Lankester of National Arts Festival of South Africa. Lankester’s motion dwelt on the need for members to among other things appoint Duker, who until recently was the vice-chair of the steering committee, as president of the organisation until the next general assembly of AFRIFESTNET where a new chair would be elected. Lankester’s motion also stressed on the need for the steering committee to elect a deputy chair from within its ranks to support the functioning of the new leadership for festivals and events in Africa. In taking the decision to appoint Fidelis Duker as head, Lankester explained that section 8 paragraph 4 of the organisation’s constitution provides that a vacuum be filled once a member is disqualified from acting or vacates office. It was based on that provision that a vote of no confidence was passed on Owusu at a meeting on January 13, and Duker being the vice chair, was subsequently appointed to succeed Owusu, who was elected into office last April in Ghana. The secretariat of AFRIFESTNET is expected to automatically shift to Lagos with Duker’s emergence as chair. Duker, who runs the yearly Abuja International Film Festival (AIFF), has accepted his appointment and has promised to justify the confidence reposed on him to lead the continental body. “I will work hard not to disappoint the congress that has found me fit to take the baton to the finished lane. I will lead a team that will bring all festival and film event under one umbrella so that we can find ways of improving and strengthening existing structures,” he said.

Steven Spielberg is Cannes 2013 Jury President OREMOST movie director Steven Spielberg has been named President of the 66th edition of the Cannes International Film Festival. The organisers confirmed late Wednesday night that Spielberg would chair meetings of the international jury of the festival, which runs from May 15 to 26 in Cannes, France.


Papa Ajasco

Papa Ajasco goes public again HOSE who have yearned to see a live perT formance of the popular and longest running television comedy series in

Some cast members of Playing Safe Cannes Filmfest is reputed as the biggest and most prestigious film festival in the world. It attracts hordes of filmmakers and cinephiles alike. Spielberg’s Sugarland Express won best screenplay at Cannes, in 1974. Spielberg’s presidency follows that of the Italian writer-producer and director Nanni Moretti, who served as the 65th President of the jury, last year. Organisers revealed that the festival president, Gilles Jacob, had on several asked Spielberg to chair the jury, but due to other commitments, the award-winning director had not accepted before now. Organisers also quoted general delegate of the festival, Thierry Fremaux, as saying that Spielberg accepted the responsibility two years back, but that he was not able to honour the responsibility ‘in principle’ because of his shooting schedules. “But he is able to make himself available, this year, to be the new jury president,” Fremaux said. Spielberg who received the Oscars in 1993 for directing Schindler’s List, and in 1998, for directing Saving Private Ryan was quoted to have said: “The most prestigious of its kind, the festi-

val has always established the motion picture as a cross-cultural and generational medium.” Nominated at the just held Oscars for his direction of Lincoln and in 11 other categories including the best picture category, Spielberg considered his attend-

Nigeria, Papa Ajasco and Company, have a chance to see the cast perform live. Both old and new fans of the series are in for a treat as Wale Adenuga Productions (WAP) has announced that the much loved characters would, as from this year, be available again for bookings to perform live at events across the country, having recently concluded the recording of material for the next season of the popular TV Show. According to Wale Adenuga Jnr., managing director, WAP and wapTV, “whatever type of occasion it is, be it a wedding, product launch, birthday party and others, you can be sure that with the inclusion of the Papa Ajasco & Company troupe, you and your guests are sure to have a unique, unforgettable, laughter-filled experience!” The group, which includes Papa Ajasco, Pa James, Boy Alinco and Miss Pepeye, has performed professionally in several corporate and family events across the country for over 10 years with exciting storylines laced with clever satire to thrill all class of guests.

Ini Edo, Tonto Dike Playing Safe OVIEGOERS and fans of two of M Nollywood’s top female actresses, Ini Edo and Tonto Dikeh, have a chance to see them dazzle in a soon to be released movie titled, Playing Safe. No doubt, both actresses are steadily growing their profile as thespians in the Nollywood circle. Ini and Tonto are lead characters in Playing Safe and those who have seen the movie say they were fantastic on set. Fresh from the stable of Diamond Groove Pictures, Playing Safe is a romantic thriller that features some of the industry’s leading actors such as Jibola Dabo and Ghanaian actress, Martha Ankomah, as well as Ik Ogbonna and Johanness Meyer. It’s a story of young ladies who draw lessons from past failed relationship. Observers say that the combination of Tonto Dike, who earned her cinema debut in Uche Jombo’s My Life My Damage and Uyo-born actress, Ini Edo, will sure provide audience with breathtaking experience. Shot in Lagos, Dubai, Accra and London, and due to be released this month, the movie is directed and produced by multiple award-winning actorcum-producer, Elvis Chucks. Elvis is the producer of Victims Of The Society, True Citizen and A wish, a hilarious comedy featuring Funke Akindele. Duker

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


LAFETE Iroko Band set to thrill music lovers today cious home made African beverages like HIS year’s Iroko Valentine show will hold T today at Hall One of the City Mall Shopping Zobo, while a wide variety of more stimulating drinks and wines will also be availCentre, Onikan Lagos, from 4pm to 11pm. Apart from Ola Balogun’s musical group, Iroko, the show features the evergreen highlife maestro, Fatai Rolling Dollar, as well as a leading Congolese band, the Mukando All Stars of Kinshasa, led by Tino Mukando, a well known and highly appreciated saxophonist and vocalist Dubbed, Africana: A feast of music and love, the show’s primary purpose is to promote and propagate authentic contemporary African music, as well as provide music lovers an opportunity to relax, dance and enjoy. In order to complement the musical performances, a popular Lagos-based dance troupe, the Rainbow dancers, will thrill audiences with a combination of traditional Nigerian dances and free style contemporary African dance. Attendance at the Africana show has been moderately priced to place it within the reach of most music lovers, with gate fees fixed at N3,000 for singles and N5,000 for couples. The show has also been conceived by Ola Balogun, as a family-friendly affair, with fans being encouraged to bring along their children to join in the fun at a cost of only N1,000 for accompanied minors. Wholesome snacks and grilled delicacies will be available, along with soft drinks, deli-

able from the bar. In keeping with the objective of promoting authentic contemporary African music, part of the show will be broadcast live on Metro FM for the benefit of Lagosbased music enthusiasts, while totality of the concert will be specially recorded on high definition video by the Nigerian Television Authority for subsequent broadcast in Nigeria and other countries of the world.

Ola Balogun

WED Expo holds March 21 AVING successfully brought together H some of the brightest brains in the wedding industry under one roof last year, WED

Ikeja, Lagos, has been described as the biggest wedding show in West Africa. Akin Eso, a life and business coach, who made an inroad into the Nigerian wedding industry few years ago, publishes WED Magazine.

Magazine is set to stage a wedding expo from March 21 to 24 at the Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. Already, the organisers have provided an ultra-modern Dome built by Balmoral to accommodate over 200 exhibitors expected at the show. Managed by InnovoEdge Exhibitions, an international exhibition firm, some of the activities billed for the four-day event include WED Awards, designed to appreciate creative talents in the industry, Best of Cakes Competition, and Wedding Fashion Show. There are also Honeymoon giveaways from Starwood Hotels for married couples who are exhibitors and visitors and an opportunity to win i-Pads, Blackberry phones, gowns, suits and lots of great discounts. A host of professionals such as Tosan Jemide of Cakes by Tosan, Banke Meshida Lawal of BM-Pro and Tsoule will feature in the expo designed to produce budding talents and professionals in the industry. Last year, exhibitors were drawn from the makeup industry, bridal accessory retailers, photographers and video studios, dress makers, cake makers, decorators, planners, AsoOke makers and many others who directly or indirectly are involved in wedding organisation. The exhibition featured about 135 exhibitors and had at least over 10,000 visitors in attendance. The exhibition, which held at The Haven in Eso

Moment With Mo: Time to tell your stories about anyone in any corner of the world, to is about moments: the rough and the triLtheIFE umphs; the highs and the lows; the painful and tell his or her stories to a global audience on the EbonyLife TV Channel via the DStv and spectacular; the bitter and the reflective, the

Iroko lead singer on stage

SPAN begins music education programme line with its plans of revamping performarts education in the country, Society IforNingthe Performing Arts in Nigeria (SPAN)

Academy of Jazz and Contemporary Music is set to run a two-year simultaneous programme in music education and developing approximately 100 youths in the elements of Jazz, Contemporary and African music. The training, the Society said in a statement, would involve various instruments including drums, bass guitar, piano, saxophone, and guitar. The Curriculum is built to provide hands-on experience for every student, triggering their practical study and understanding of the application of music principles and elements to ethnic music, hence creating a new sound, understanding and perspective to the African music without changing its original form. “The Faculty is represented by the best set of educationist when it comes to bass guitar and drums education in Nigeria. The members of the Faculty are wide travelled with over 30 years of experience teaching in several faculties in universities around the continent and world class performance in jazz, contemporary and African music,” the statement said. According to the Society, this growth has been categorised into stages to help managed the capital expenditure of running such a faculty and academy. “The first phase is to run a six-month certificate programme that will be instrument specific. This pilot phase resumed classes in September 2012 with a total of 20 students registering for drum and bass guitar training under the Academy. The programme will focus on drilling and mentoring the drummers and bass guitar students in the elements of musicianship, technique, and character.” Already, the school has started affiliation programmes with international performing

dramatic and the mundane. Moments are the ingredients that create great stories. All around Nigeria, Africa and the world, there is a story waiting to be told and heard. The great news now is that everyone, noble or humble, with a unique story of courage, hope, resilience, pride, audacity, success or pain can now tell it to a pan African and global audience in the coming season of the internationally acclaimed TV talk show, Moments With Mo, now sitting exclusively and airing on the new EbonyLife TV Channel on the DStv platform, and globally on Sky TV in the UK, DISH in the United States, with roll out plans also including Brazil, Canada and other parts of Europe. The new season of Moments With Mo is currently being packed with loads of fresh and exciting features. First, and most importantly, is that in the fashion of democratising exclusivity, people can now tell their inspiring stories on Moments With Mo. The new season will empower Nigerians, and just

arts institute, Music, Dance and Drama Academy across the globe, five exceptional students from the Maiden Music programme were given opportunity to visit the Tshwane University of Technology (Faculty of Music) for a two-week exchange programme that involved “a lot of intensive workshops, trainings with professors from the faculty, exposing them to variety of depth when it comes Jazz and contemporary music and general music education at large. Some part of the itinerary included trip to the Zoo Lake Bowls jam Session, Puppies Café for Jam Sessions, A slot to perform at the Concert in Johannesburg organised by ‘Carlo Monbelli and the Prisoners of Change’. “These, amongst others, are plans and activities of SPAN to revamp performing arts education in Nigeria. We are successfully running a drama academy franchise (Helen O’Grady Drama Academy) already adopted in over 15 countries around the world including African countries such as South Africa, Egypt and Gambia. This Academy originally from Australia is designed to improve the total being of our children tailored to develop their confidence, creativity, agility, communication and teamwork from a very young age. We currently have over 600 kids studying this curriculum on termly basis across nine schools on the Lagos Island. “Our mission rallies round providing much needed performing arts education opportunities to the youths and children of Nigeria, bridging the need to improve, grow and develop a career in the performing arts, either in dance, drama and music. Our programmes this year include outreach to low-income communities, juvenile centres, shelters for orphanages and other education centres.” Mo Abudu

other international platforms. According to Sandra Amadio, Associate Director Programmes, Magazine & Talk – EbonyLife TV, “as we plan the launch of our new season of Moments With Mo, we take this opportunity to invite all celebrities, VIPS and ordinary people doing extraordinary things to our state of the art studios based in the beautiful and serene city of Calabar to take advantage of the opportunity to be featured on Moments With Mo. For the first time ever, we are giving Nigerians and Africans an opportunity to share their stories, dreams and aspirations with the world.” Speaking further, she said, “it could be any story; from overcoming a challenge, to building a successful business, starting a new venture, discovering or displaying talent, to nation building and innovation creation, new movie releases and so on. All you need to do to be featured on Moments With Mo is simply visit for the simple details.” Buttressing the issue, CEO of EbonyLife TV, Mo Abudu, said, “it’s the seventh year of Moments With Mo. In those seven years, we have interviewed all kinds of interesting guests from presidents to governors and celebrities to a wide array of unsung everyday people, who are doing extraordinary things. We are excited to say now that with Moments With Mo becoming a daily show, we can now feature as many stories as possible from everyone across the world. So, whoever you are, whatever your moments, happy, reflective, political or inspirational, the show now offers anyone the platform to tell his or her story and be heard nationally and globally.” Apart from the plan to make the new Moments With Mo a daily show, which means viewers can now expect interesting, thought provoking and engaging topics that are relevant to a pan African and global audience on a daily basis, the talk show will now cast the spotlight on young and equally exciting, debonair and sophisticated co-hosts alongside the show’s principal host, Mo Abudu. This will give the show a cool, youthful and dynamic outlook, while preserving the timelessness of the long-running programming.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


For Udondian, the future is fabric-art BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE ITH over two years of experimenting in Europe and Africa, Victoria Udondian is set to enter future, strengthening her gospel of fabric-art. A hint of what the future portends was revealed in a group presentation, which marked the fifth edition of Ngozi Ochonogor-led Pechakucha Lagos show at Goethe Institut, Lagos recently. Featured alongside Udondian were George Edozie, Europe-based Alexander Koch, Priscilla Nzimiro, Remi Vaughan-Richards and Ade Shokunbi. At the show, the work of the lady, who had, in the last two years toured Austria, Croatia, Italy and Kenya to preach her art gospel, shone like a million star. If the fabric concept of her works and the philosophy behind then was not clear to observers in Nigeria, a closer opportunity came during the Pechakucha Lagos show. Also, when 32 artists from West Africa stormed Manchester, U.K with We Face Forward, during the London 2012 Olympics, Udondian showed one of her fabric works, Aso Ikele. As the three-dimensional feel of the artist’s work was yet to be felt at home, the intellectual content made up for the anticipation. For her presentation, Udondian took the audience through the history of usedclothes. She revealed how waste from fabrics led her into weaving. She also discussed how creating garments, for her, is about social values as “means to investigate the context, the environment, the history of cultures, present realities and tradition.”


in Kenya, at a gathering tagged, AND Wasanii International Artists Workshop 2011,

the country’s native fabric, Kikoi, attracted Udondian’s attention. The artist’s attraction to fabrics seems to have a link with her early start. “I trained as a seamstress and fashion designer. My work today is informed by my interest in textiles, in the capacity of clothing to shape identity and the histories and tacit meanings woven into everyday materials.” From Dakar to Accra and Bamako, Udondian had carried out research on how each native culture speaks to people’s fabric behaviours as well dwindling textile industry. “I have researched the impact of used clothes on the people and the textiles industry,” she stressed. According to Udondian, her interest is on ‘cultural identity’, with the aim of confronting the notions of ‘authenticity’. “My work revolves around the theme of cultural contamination and the continuous interaction between contemporary traditions, which is especially visible in the weaving of textiles. I work with used fabrics, paper, plastic bags, and other recycled materials that are cut, sewn, woven, tied, glued and re purposed to create sculptures and installations, which reference textile and clothing histories in Nigeria. “I also use and create garments, referencing the use of costume in Nigerian ceremonies and performances, and also use contemporary mass-produced clothing, which has different connota- Victoria Udondian

ORN in 1982, Udondian studied at tions of consumption and globalisation crossthe University of Uyo and graduated ing over diverse ages and geographical areas. In my work, the garments used, the weaving and with a BA in Painting in 2004. Aside from being a member of Society of sewing methods employed are imbued with strong ethical and social values; they become Nigerian Artists (SNA), Udondian has the means to investigate the context, the envi- since 2008 involved in the group, ronment, the history of cultures, present reali- Catalyst Women Arts and Science in Portsmouth, U.K. ties and traditional activities.”


Aso Ikele installation


All That Jazz

Jimmy Smith… The Organ grinder EGARDED as the king of all instruments, the organ was for R a long time limited to the church where it became the vehicle for driving and compelling the vocal efforts of choirs. It still does, but in this setting, it enjoys the full benefits of its natural endowment such as the stresses and reverberations occasioned by the sluggish articulation of its notes. And it was for this reason that it became difficult to adapt the organ to jazz, especially modern jazz whose hallmarks for improvisation include speed and machine gun precision. Richard ‘Grooves’ Holmes attempted to break this jinx and bring the instrument to the limelight as a jazz vehicle, but it was Jimmy Smith who put the final seal on it. Unfortunately, since his demise, the instrument has gone to sleep; the organ has disappeared from today’s jazz band instrumentation and

accomplishments. The majority of Smith’s fans are hooked on his latter day fusions such as Got My Mojo Working, Hobo Flats, The Cat, Who is afraid of Virginia Wolf, Hoochie Coochie Man among others. But the true essence of his organ- grinding can be found in such remarkable recordings as Prayer Meeting, Back at the kitchen shack, Bashin,’ House Party, On the Sunny Side, Organ grinder swing, Bluesmith, among many others in this same straight-ahead jazz vein. However, one of his most remarkable albums is The Sermon which has continued, over the years, to appeal to the jazz world. In The Sermon, we are treated to performances by both the men in Jimmy’s regular group and some visiting luminaries

such as Lee Morgan, trumpet; Lou Donaldson, George Coleman and Tina Brooks, saxophones; Art Blakey, drums. The title number is a tribute by the organist to pianist Horace Silver, another Blue Note artist with whom he shares the same artistic attribute of ‘Funk.’ The Sermon is a twelve- bar blues which gets into a good groove from the opening beat and stays there until its fade-out at the end of the entire side. No small reason for this is the solid foundation supplied at the rhythm section level by the drummer, Art Blakey. Smith not only carries the theme but furthers the mood-setting by taking the first solo. By the time guitarist Kenny Burrell makes his entrance, things are rocking along nicely. After Kenny lines out a clear-voiced, singing offering, tenor man Tina Brooks steps upon the scene. Here, he takes the longest time of any of the preachers in The Sermon with an effort that shows a wonderful and personal sense of time and several miles of soul- on an interminably stretched - out solo. From an influence of early fifties Sonny Rollins and Hank Mobley, who also was strongly shaped by the Rollins of that period, Tina has gone his own. To do this with an already established framework, is, in some sense, as much of an accomplishment as forming a completely new style. The last two speakers to occupy the pulpit are, like Blakey and Burrell, Blue Note leaders in their own rights: EE Morgan, along with men like Donald Byrd and Louis LBrown. Smith, is carrying on the rich trumpet tradition of Clifford After rising to prominence in the Dizzy Gillespie band, Lee Morgan joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in 1958. Lou Donaldson’s career has been accurately chronicled on Blue Note. Here, he offers an exciting solo which builds to a doubletimed climax. Then, the ensemble riffs a figure that is reminiscent of Miles Davis’ arrangement of Walkin’ as Morgan punctuates with some well chosen high notes. The spotlight then returns to Smith even as he ushers the proceedings right down the aisle and into the street. This is one sermon that will never make any congregation fall asleep. The Sermon runs through the first, entire side of the album while the second side takes on Flamingo, a standard and J.O.S., a Jimmy Smith original and a self- identification kind of bluesy-type composition. Signifying James Oscar Smith, (the organist’s full names) it is a minor key, a rapid original which brings his regular group into the spotlight. Guitarist Eddie Mc Fadden and drummer Donald Bailey join with Jimmy to back guest soloists George Coleman and Lee Morgan. For the closer, Burrell and Blakey return and Morgan remains as the only horn soloist. Morgan is the main soloist too as the tempo comes down for a rendition of the beautiful Flamingo. His gorgeous, open horn states the melody at the opening and close of the number, giving way to warm Burrell solos. While all this is going on, the organ grinder is laying down a deep pile carpet to walk on, a perfectly heated pool to swim in, an adequately logged fire place to lie in front or what have you. Whether he is playing his furiously swinging, single line solos or backing the other soloists, Jimmy Smith is always contributing to the underlying spirit of the entire session The Sermon is one you can listen to on a sabbath like today or any and all of the other six days of the week.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013




The ANA Lagos I Loved, Left Behind (3) By Omohan Ebhodaghe ORKING alone, and as the publicity secretary of W ANA, Lagos, I visited the British Council’s Lagos office fairly regularly. I used to collect the BBC World Service magazine, Focus on Africa, or so. Mr. Chris Joslin, then at the Council’s Lagos office, who was later transferred to Peru, made sure that I got my copy of their newsletter, Literature Matters, whenever it was available and through the post. Later, his successor, Dr Andy Thomas, was to give me a copy of the first anthology of the British Council-sponsored New Writing series, edited by the now late Malcolm Bradbury and Judy Cooke. The second book of New Writing, edited by Malcolm Bradbury and Andrew Motion, the then holder of the laureateship of Great Britain. Thomas affixed the official seal of the council to it and gave the copy to ANA, Lagos as a gift. It was made through me and which I also promptly handed over to Dr. Victor Ayedun-Aluma as the general secretary. In London, Mr Jonathan Barker, the deputy director of the literature department of the council, was to give me a copy of yet another New Writing book, edited this time by Christopher Hope and Peter Porter. Barker was the person I made frantic telephone calls to pleading with him to get in touch with the Lagos office so as to renew the British Airways half ticket I had earlier on sent to them in Lagos and so as to enable me to return back home. I could not stay in London at the time. But after some years, I got used to it and decided to remain. In my further attempts at promoting ANA Lagos, while still at home, I visited the French Cultural Centre, the Russia Embassy, the Austrian Embassy, Canadian High Commission, the Saudi Arabian Embassy, the Goethe Institut and the United States Information Service (USIS) and others. Also, I used to read the Chronicle of Higher Education and two Writers’ magazines at the USIS library called the Whitney Young Resource Centre. At USIS, it was an altogether wonderful experience for me. The then female cultural attache of the Austrian Embassy, Ms Aluosia, whose surname, Wongetein, I had misplaced, together with officials of the German Embassy was to attend one of our readings. We invited the late Ken Saro-Wiwa, Odia Ofeimun, Professor Adimora Ezeigbo, Mr Adewale Maja-Pearce and some others to give readings of their works. I used to go to the various newspaper houses within Lagos to place advertisement regarding such meetings. The Guardian Newspapers and the Daily Times Newspapers were very much willing to promote us. I succeeded in having an interview at the Radio Lagos station and spoke about the aims and objectives of ANA, Lagos. Some of my pre-university students were to tell me that they heard my voice on Radio Lagos. I recalled one student who said to me that she called the attention of Ben Okri, one of Nigeria’s biggest literary exports her father that morning and said, ‘That is my teacher speaking on the radio’. In addition, members of other branches, who got to know about our activities through Mr Walter Carrington, the African American, was then the the newspapers mainly, attended our monthly meetAmerican ambassador. ings. Although my novel manuscripts and literary short stories were in The then chairman of Edo/Delta branch of ANA, based their first stages as drafts, my poems were not. I had mastered the in Benin city, Mr Nnimmo Bassey, an architect with the sonnet form already. After all, I was still honing my literary skills in University of Benin that time and a poet, the writer Mr other aspects of creative writing. Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, who was Onaiwu Osahon and Mr Lanre Adebayo, a journalist born in December, 1918, published his debut novel manuscript, One with the Daily Times of Nigeria and many others attend- Day In The LIife of Ivan Denisovich, an autobiographical account of ed our meetings. Stalin’s gulag, in 1962, at the age of 44. At that date, I was only a year I was to later speak on behalf of Bassey at the office of old toddler. Time is still on my side. London PEN (writers in prison committee) when the former co-ordinator, Miss Mandy Ganner, was planning ND to add to that last statement, a certain male journalist, writto contact him in Nigeria and arrange some financial ing in one of the national newspapers in the United Kingdom, support for his family. advised up-and-coming politicians here in London to choose to be He was in hiding from the then Edo State government, Mr Rupert Murdoch, the global media giant and not elect to be a the reason, which was known to himself and the state prime minister whose term of office does not seem to last. He was government at the time. dead serious about it. A few million viewers say in Australia, his original home; a few T the national convention of ANA that held in varimillions in the United States, his adopted country, where he ous locations within Nigeria, in Lagos, Abuja, Benin became a citizen; a few millions in the United Kingdom, where he city, Akure, Ilorin, Calabar and other cities, I was presgot his university education; and, a few more millions in each of the ent at some of them. I was then a fully paid up member. countries his creative industrial media empire covers and he is a It was a good time of my life. I voted in one of the elecpresident presiding over an international body of countries, under tions. In fact, I put forward the name of Odia Ofeimun his media control, just as the president of the European or and, together with other supporters, he was elected Economic Union is to the affected European countries and his direcpresident that year. tors in each country become the commissioners or goodwill ambasAlso, I had travelled to the city of Calabar to attend sadors of the strength and powers of the United Nations. one of the conferences on African literature and lanI would have added that it was better to be known through my guages with Professor Ernest Emenyonu as the conworks as a writer than being an executive director of a merchant venor. There, I met professor Dennis Brutus, the South bank. And I am at par and total agreement with Solzhenitsyn who African poet, from the University of Pittsburgh in once said that a great writer is, so to speak, a second government in Pennsylvania, United States of America. his country. We had a short chat at the office of one of the male lec- And for that reason, no regime has ever loved great writers, only turers. Later, in his reply to my initial letter to him, he minor ones. promised to take care of my expenses if only I could Come to think of it, would a serious writer truly accept such a posimake it to the US. Back then, around 1993, I could not tion from African military rulers who later turned up in Europe as travel to join him as I had no money and the visa university students? requirement handy. There was this army officer and erstwhile head of state from Sierra Together with Victor, I attended one of the occasions Leone or so, who provoked the anger of some African lecturers in th marking the 60 birthday anniversary celebration of Great Britain. They refused to teach him on enrolment at university Wole Soyinka held at a busy nightclub on Victoria because of his human rights records as they claimed. Island. The human rights abuses were both from the government soldiers That was the first time I read a poem of mine at an and rebels alike. They were those who sliced open the wombs of international gathering that included the Ghanaian women at various advance stages of pregnancy. They raped women poet Atukwei Okai, president of PAWA, (the Pan African whether married or not. Writers Association), the director of the British Council They captured girls as young as 10 years of age and subsequently and the ambassadors of France and the United States of forced them into being their bush wives, this, after killing their parAmerica to Nigeria amongst other people in attenents. dance. They either amputated arms and legs or killed suspected oppo-



nents outright. They plundered the gold and diamond-based economy that left tens of thousands of their people unemployed, homeless and starving to death. He is not different from others in Sudan, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Liberia and Uganda. Take the other case of Valentine Strasser who, at the age of 25, took power in a military coup d’etat in Sierra Leone in 1992, a country that is said to have the lowest life expectancy in the world. On an average, men from Sierra Leone die at 35. 9 years of age and their women die at 39. 8 age bracket. Not surprising therefore, four years later Strasser was overthrown also. And, today, with no motor car or a house of his own, he lives with his mother. Unemployed as he claimed, he wandered about Freetown, a place where nothing is ever free. He claimed to indulge in drinking palm wine, a reminder of the opening sentence of Amos Tutuola’s The Palmwine Drinkard. Like other past rulers of his type, is he still a treasure trove of a nation-building asset with or without the phalanxes of journalists as hired speech writers or an aimless pastiche of a military kind who could still want to rule his country as a civilian leader? The former USSR leader, Mr Mikhail Gorbachev gets £100,000 for his lectures. A one-time prime minister Baroness Thatcher of Great Britain earns some £25,000 for each of her lectures, apart from her £3. 5 million two volumes book deal in the early 1990s. So is Mr John Major, her successor, another past Tory party leader and prime minister of the United Kingdom, who had a school certificate and worked briefly in Lagos state as a banker or so. In his early 30s, the former United States president Bill Clinton was an assistant law professor. In addition to his £7 to £8 million book deal with an American publisher, he is also on the lecture circuit. Yet, our so-called leaders only surfaced in industrialised countries of Europe and North America as university students. In an intellectual fudge some time back, former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was said to have jokingly asked Mr Gbenro Adegbola, the current managing director of Evans publishers (Nigeria) about his royalty payments, when we all know that Nigerian publishers do not pay up. Apart from the late Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, as most people still believe, and Nelson Mandela of South Africa, other past leaders either claimed to be unemployed (as is the case with the self-promoted Field Marshal Idi Amin Dada of Uganda now dead) or are protected for life by the huge amount of money they stashed away while at the helms of affairs of their respective countries or they sought parliamentary legality for their self-styled stewardship to their people (as Daniel Arab Moi was about to do when the Kenyan house of parliament proposed for his retirement, seven chauffeurdriven motor cars, 34 staff, a 12-bedroom mansion and a pension

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013



THE READING NATION equal to 80 per cent of his present salary. He has also sought to promote the political fortune of the son of the late Jomo Keyantta so as to protect him from any legal prosecution as it were). This, in Professor Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s country, where an average Kenyan lived on a British pound a day. Yet agreed in addition to the above statements, for instance, that none of us watchers of world events and who are also complaining have helped the pygmies within and outside the Cameroon, according to the assertion of Mr Louis Raets, organiser of the exhibition of eight pygmies in a pygmy-like village in Belgium to sing and dance, but was that why in his blurb Mr Raets wrote amongst others that people should: “ Help these people who live at the start of the third millennium as we did 2,000 years ago?” Does that boil down to the intransigence of our so-called rulers in gross mismanagement and embezzlement that we are according to Mr Raets some 2,000 years behind Europe or was Mr Raets a man whom Gabriel Garcia Marquis’ novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, could placate or what? Now, from hindsight, therefore, is it not true that only minor writers accepted jobs from such military leaders? After all, professors of English and literature teach and write about the works of such authors as Ben Okri (being one of three major Nigerian authors of note in the western world, with such mainstream British publishers whose books are readily available as Methuen Wole Soyinka; Oxford University Press Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Buchi Emechata, J P Clark-Bekederemo; Jonathan Cape Ben Okri; Penguin Ben Okri, Chinua Achebe, Ken SaroWiwa; Phoenix Ben Okri; Weidenfeld Ben Okri; Secker and Warburg Ben Okri, Wole Soyinka; Faber Amos Tutuola; William Heinemann Chinua Achebe; Heinemann African Writers Series Ben Okri, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Buchi Emechata and others, and who are on the international circuit at the moment) and his major works are taught in some institutions of higher learning in Europe and North America, just as it was with other key writers from Nigeria, to a lesser extent. Lord Hattersley (Roy Hattersley) the conservative member of the British parliament amongst other people had written about Ben Okri on a full page in the Guardian newspaper, United Kingdom. So I should say again in effect that I would be much more happier as a porter who loved his job in a mainstream publishing house of literary works than be a commissioner for education in my state. Not after I witnessed Ben Okri as he stood up and left his seat when Mr Odigie Oyegun a former executive governor of Edo State, and who was on exile at the time, approached him during a get-together meeting to celebrate the late Ken Saro-Wiwa in London.

Fine Boys In Rainbow Colour By Ibiye Alalibo Boys by Eghosa Imasuen has been described FilyINE as ‘a coming of age story’, many readers can easrelate to the book. For the younger generation, the story isn’t farfetched and for the original ‘wounded generation’ it brings back feelings of nostalgia. The medical doctor, Imasuen, was guest author at the Rainbow Book Club reading, which held on Sunday, February at Le Meridien Hotel Port Harcourt. Eghosa writes skilfully employing pidgin English to render a gripping account of his narration, with every new page promising more adventurous escapades from his characters. The story points to the decadence of our governance, our failed university structures, and the menace of increasing violence associated with confraternities on campus. This story is set at a time when Nigeria was struggling under the weight of the annulled June 12 elections, the execution of human rights activist, Ken Saro Wiwa, and his men with the uproar from the international community. The book aptly captures the scenario: “There was the junta and the gap toothed Maradonna, trying to keep the peace on campus, with the presence of the military when in fact the country was in turmoil.” Ewaen and his oyibo friend, Wilhelm, get into the university a year after they are supposed to due to the incessant staff union strikes. They get acquainted with Tuoyo, Ejiro, Odegua, KO, Tambo, in room A109 and share the pressure to blend into one of the campus confraternities as “fine boys”. The author sums up the Nigerian university in these words, “This was not a university. It is a jungle. We were all jungle rats huddled around a candle, watching it flicker and burn out slowly.” At the Rainbow Book Club event, Imasuen read an excerpt about first loves from his book. In response to a question on why he had to kill one of the characters at the end of the novel, he explained that we tend to shield ourselves from tragedy but life is full of them and sometimes they are the drastic consequences of trivia decisions we make as in the story. Attendees at the reading commended the book and suggested that it be made compulsory reading for all university undergraduates because of the embedded key lessons for social development of youths. The author informed the audience that the University of Benin has already adopted the book for their English and Contemporary Studies

Imasuen Department and the publisher, Farafina, is working on an abridged version to make the book suitable for younger readers. While sharing three techniques writers employ in their craft — experience, research and imagination, Imasuen urged aspiring writers them to read

widely, study, listen to people, and most importantly write with a healthy dose of inferiority complex. The book reading ended with a book signing and photographs with the author and an announcement of the next reading, which will be a celebration of poetry to mark the World Poetry Day on

... The ANA Lagos I Loved

ND for far too long, it has been the case A that it is in countries like Nigeria that a lecturer or professor with one or two fringe

Professors, who teach the English language and literatures of different nations the world over, and literary or arts journalists alike are paid books becomes a spokesman for serious writ- monthly salaries to write about novelists, ers whose main vocation is creative writing. poets, television and film actors and actresses Not so in the United Kingdom or elsewhere and works of playwrights from the theatres. It in Europe and North America. is the other way round for authors, except for Over here, top-rated writers are not necessar- such people to feature as character types in ily professors. They are professionals who books, television programmes and films. append professorship as just one of other What a transmoglorification of our lecturers minor titles to their accomplishments. therefore into becoming emergency authors As in politics, where the best known politiall for the sake of egunje or bribe! So up-andcians are not professors or lords, as a title, so coming Nigerians in whatever field of human also the best known writers here are writers endeavours should get their bearings right as first and foremost. early as possible. It is unlike in Nigeria where avaricious cum indolent chiefs or alhajis or professors who LL these aspects of my writing and literary are experts of regurgitation of other people’s associates I left behind as I travelled out to books dictate political lines of actions in an London, hoping, as it were, that I could at least already jaded economy. return to Lagos, a home to all sorts of commerIt is also a country where the British Council cially successful crooks as business people, a tended to consult with university academics jungle of a place, which, unlike the comparawith regards to the future of literary works tively comfortable London base, is no sanctuand the lives of creative writers within and ary for the poor or struggling writer. outside the country. It is understandable, as Yes, I hoped to return once in a while to rethe country is a developing one. unite with my fellow members and attend the But Ben Okri, for example, is known in key ANA annual convention, if possible. academic centres throughout Europe and Furthermore, I wondered aloud. How come North America and some places in Nigeria there are no other Nigerian Nobel Prize winand that erstwhile executive state governor is ners in economics or in medicine and physioloknown mainly within his state and his fellow gy? political party members. How come professor Wole Soyinka is that Both of them, therefore, could not have been developed intellectually and in industry as a bedfellows. One is only on some local history world-class citizen, while Nigeria, his country textbook and perhaps taught to students in of origin, is an industrially underdeveloped soEdo State while the other is himself a literary called third world country of grafts and endhistory in the making and whose works are less corruption? probably taught in selected colleges and uniYet, it is not that professor Soyinka made the versities around the world. nation to be better known to the outside The only similarities between them being world, but that like the late Chief M K O Abiola, that both are of some historical importance to Chief Peter Enahoro, professor Chinua Achebe, their respective field, state and worldview. Ms Buchi Emechata, Dr Ben Okri, Mr Ken SaroThe constant sabre-ratting of military and Wiwa, Chief Cyprian Ekwensi, Dr Festus Iyayi, police officers on innocent civilians aside, Mr Amos Tutuola, Miss Chimamanda Ngozi knowledge of and from books is a permanent Adichie and a handful of other people, the source of power; political office power or country is taken rather seriously in the family power of military coup rulers is transient. of nations the world over.


So, could such a person like Professor Soyinka had remained like the politically sick Nigeria if he had allowed its military and civilian rulers to direct him in life? Is it the individual as a micro element of some sort or the mighty state apparatus as a macro factor that eventually shaped the destiny of a nation? How could ANA therefore produce more worldfamous citizens or was it the other way round; that is, certain single-minded ANA members of great renown who could elevate ANA into a global organisation, I am afraid? ET, here in London, there is a great difference Y between the ANA Lagos I left behind and the Society of Authors, one of three major literary societies in the United Kingdom, I had wanted to join. The Society of Authors has over 7,000 paid up members and I do not think that they all do meet at the same time. After all, I had bought my first computer, a Dell second hand model in 1999 and a brand new printer in 2000 or so and as a result I got myself ready for the business of writing as a way of life. Yet, the warmth, the joy and the friendship of Lagos ANA were all but gone. In its place, and like wintertime London to the sunshine of Lagos, swinging individualism and extreme commercialism are the norm here in London, UK. Apart from a borrowed coat from a friend (for my matriculation at university) and another from my uncle for use during my university convocation, it was in London that I actually bought two coats and was forced to wear them. Here in London, wearing a coat or an overcoat during wintertime is the norm. And when I observed these men and women in suits, they reminded me of those pastors of the Christian Pentecostal movements whom I left behind in Nigeria. As the black men and women especially looked just like some kind of a new age religious group in my eyeballs, I stopped using a coat altogether in summertime without coming to grief.

It was unlike Lagos where anything goes, except for some inner circles of associations that are small and far between. What kept ringing true was what an American poet who later became a naturalised Briton also observed years and years before and to the effect that in London, death has undone so many. The poet in question, T. S. Eliot, however, could not envisage that when it came to the spectators at football matches or the Wimbledon Opens in Lawn tennis championship games and the stock brokers and other allied workers at the occasionally vibrant London Stock Exchange, death seemed to be put at bay at such festive moods. Warmth and not the look of death used to radiate so many faces I see. The nine to five daytime workers are a different story altogether. Individualism is felt everywhere. And, on the literary scene, one ought to have been published and or recognised by the media houses here in London before one could enjoy the same level of participation in a literary organisation that we of ANA Lagos took virtually for granted. There is much more money here in London and in the business of writing. There are literary participations everywhere. There are constant readings and the giving of lectures in colleges and universities around the world. But it is love above all else that is found in abundance within the ANA Lagos I loved and left behind that matters the most to me.

Ebhodaghe, poet and novelist, is the author of Hightower and In the Midst of Loafers. He co-edited Twenty Nigerian Writers: Portraits. He lives and works in London, UK, courtesy of a British Council, Lagos office assistance. His email is: OR

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013




Kalakuta Dairies… . Reminiscences On The ‘Weird One’ By Anote Ajeluorou BY TOYIN AKINOSHO

O single writer will ever be able to tell N completely the story of Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Like the elephant visited

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by 10 blind men, there will always be different aspects to the quintessential Fela narrative. What comes out clear is that no matter the narrator, Fela’s story will forever be fresh, stimulating, engaging and favourite bed time tale, with which grandmothers regale their grandchildren, albeit the discerning. This is Fela, the unknowable, the enigma, the legend, who left unmatched legacy in musicmanship, intellectual non-conformity in politico-cultural activism! And so out of the many books on Fela yet to be published, a new one, Kalakuta Dairies (AuthorHouse, U.S.; 2012), by Uwa Erhabor has just come out and will be launched on Tuesday, March 12 at Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos. It will be another gathering of the Fela intellectual clan, who will reminisce on the man whose life was a vast canvas of the most improbable. Kalakuta Dairies offers slices of life as it was lived at the empire and commune that the musical legend created both for himself and a vast number of the Lagos homeless that thronged it. Kalakuta was home to the good, the bad and the ugly. But in all these, there was order, there was government of sorts, there was organisation because there were established rules that had to be followed. Enforcing some of these rules was one of the jobs of this new author, Erhabor, whose meeting with Fela was as dramatic and whimsical as the Fela per- his musical direction. chapter, Tours: The Sweet, The Sour, The sona ever was. Erhabor refutes claims that Fela original- Political and continues on the tour ly enrolled to study music and not medi- strain peppered with other commuHE Erhabors lived a few paces from the cine as has become the popular lore. nal life details at the republic until old Benin City prisons and young the last days with Fela finally sucIn the second chapter, The Talisman: Erhabor used to play Fela’s music from Origins and Journey into Kalakuta, the cumbing to the dreaded diseases, for his father’s stereo to the listening pleas- author narrates his encounter with Fela in which the author strongly holds two ure of Fela who was an inmate at the Benin City and how he came to be part of ladies responsible, a lady of dubious prison. reputation whom Erhabor simply the inimitable republic. Fela saw young Erhabor from his perch Here, he plays up the role of Fela’s late calls Jq, through whom Fela’s increasinside the prison and took a liking to the younger brother, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, ing spiritual quest finally found outyoung man instantly. He reached out to in Fela’s life. let… him at once and thus began an associaErhabor’s Kalakuta Dairies is an insidBeko pulled a lot of strings behind the tion that was to last from 1983 to Fela’s scenes just as Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana, er’s expose and makes for delightful last days on earth. It was with the same also played a significant role in Fela’s legal reading. Fela’s life would always impetuosity that Fela married his 27 excite, and coming from an insider tussle with the autorities he frequently wives that he took on Uwa and assigned dared. But in retrospect, Fela it was who like Erhabor makes it all the more him a role in the orderly running of his played a defining role in the legal career stimulating. vast musical empire. of Mr. Falana, with a Fela who was already However, Kalakuta Dairies is badly Erhabor lived through some of the tur- established as a musical superstar. Fela’s edited. Indeed, the book needs rewritbulent times of the life of Fela in his ing entirely to make it a truly great brush with the authority gave Falana many brushes with authority. narrative, especially as it is about a moments to shine. As Erhabor states in his introduction, Peoples and Personalities in the Last Empire man of the stature of Fela. Poor gram“Kalakuta Dairies is a personal narrative is how chapter three is entitled. Here, mar and poor narrative flow mare an of events and characters that propelled Erhabor gives Fela’s musical itinerary and otherwise serious writing. It’s hoped and defined an African social-political that the author will take advantage of the personalities that made it thick and setting (personality, enigma) in the heart those that gave it a bad name. He also a reissue to remove these inhibiting of Lagos. Kalakuta was a creation of an errors so the book can truly warm its gives the biodata of Fela’s wives and icon rare-breed (sic) par excellence, way into the hearts of the many lovers almost everyone that worked with Fela, whose legacies has (sic) left an indelible particularly their temperaments and how of Fela. Indeed, Erhabor’s Kalakuta footprint in the sands of African and the their many intrigues plagued the great Dairies is a commendable book waitworld’s political times and consciousing to be properly written! one’s empire. Erhabor titles the fourth ness. “This narrative is an attempt to emphasise the roles played by different characters that shaped the actions and policies NLY a few books touch lives as of a die-hard pan-Africanist, who had an God’ Fessions. And if heaven needuncanny ability to read and predict exactly outcomes of diverse political and ed keys to get into, there is no doubt economic actions of the ruling elite years that 90 of those keys will be found in ahead of most of his fellow countrymen.” the book. But these are also oases to navigate In this wise, Erhabor has provided an the dense desert of the life that many insider knowledge of Fela’s music empire, the goings on, who did what and a human being leads. If like they say, every day is a new why and Fela’s responses to most things. day, then Goke Coker’s book, In diairic fashion, Erhabor records daily God’Fessions has the reader covered occurrences in the empire, the police raids, how Fela lived with his wives, who for 90 days. The new book available in bookthey actually were and how they related shops and online comes with 90 daily to each other, the band members, the confessions of God’s word and prommusical tours within Africa and in ises over the life of the reader. Europe and America. The 188-page book takes the reader made over the ages. Indeed, Erhabor’s Kalakuta Dairies is vinThis is one book everyone who through a journey with 90 stops on tage, perch reading of the workings of believes in God should read every day if the way. Such stops include: Turn Fela’s vast commune, of the sane and only to know these promises. But readAround, Joy Unspeakable, Distinction, insane, and how, from this seemingly ing it alone is not enough; one must incongruous, contradicting setting, was Supernatural Safety, Clarity of Vision, meditate on the words, own them and Increase and Lifted for Life. to emerge the most unflagging cultural If they are called chapters, each one believe them. What is after all the philosophy and political vision ever espoused, an unmatched rereading and begins with the words, ‘Today I speak essence of prayer, if not to connect with over my life and my household that God? reappraisal of a much maligned contiIn End of Struggles on page 96, a reader God’s abiding presence will be with nent that has severally been raped raw me and make a difference in my life’. will find: ‘Suffering has ended. My seaboth its own children in collusion with Goes on to make declaration on the sons of lack and want are over and the white foreigners! Like Fela, Erhabor’s book dispenses with subject matter around the topic, then curse of generational poverty is broken. almost always ends with the words, ‘I I enter into plenty’. the need for a table of content, even What could be more poetic than that? believe and I say amen.’ though Kalakuta Dairies has four chapLines like these are found on every page The plot, if it is to be referred to as ters with an introduction. In chapter that, primarily dwells on lifting the of the book. one, titled, Roots, Radicalism, Music and reader from the point A of the vicissi- The cover glows and the pages are as Mysticism, Erhabor gives background to tudes of life to the B of stable ground inviting as they are inspiring. This is to the Fela phenomenon, from his studies be commended for a book published by abroad to his musical journey till the dis- of God’s certainty. The focus therecovery of Afrobeat that was to define him, fore, is to connect the reader to God AuthorHouse, a self-confessed, self-publishing company. and hold the almighty to promises with his activist mother as prompter to


God’ Fessions… Something To Treasure


HE crowd erupted in a long period of sustained boos when the T Classic FM’s Valentine Concert, headlined by the American singer, Maxwell, finally started at 10.30pm, close to four hours after the scheduled time (Saturday, February 16). Most of the attendees, who’d ticked the concert as their highlight of the Valentine weekend, had sat through all that time, without water, or snacks. The most that was available was an Ice Cream Cash Bar and a free service stand erected by Bailey’s Irish Cream. Although the venue had a good temperature control, the overall setting was bland. The place was almost full as of 7.30pm, 30 minutes after schedule, in a hall that felt, for all purposes, more like a large classroom than an exciting concert venue. The organisers had booked the large tent near the Ocean View Restaurant for just one night, and so couldn’t move in equipment until 12 hours to the event. If you sat at the bar at Eko Hotel at 6.30pm, thinking you had come early to beat the rush, you’d be disappointed to hear the sound of rehearsals, that late in the day, carried over by the breeze. Classic FM did everything to frustrate its audience, a large proportion of whom were paying N25,000 as regular (VIP seat went for N100,000). “This is the only place in the world where you pay £100, or $150 and get treated like this,” complained a lady architect and costume jeweler, who had a few friends around her. It was, incidentally, her birthday. “There’s only one exit for this crowd of people,” observed Kwabena Smith, serial entrepreneur, who was having a time out with his wife. “This certainly doesn’t work for me,” lamented the singer Gloria Rhodes, in the company of her sister, Ngozi. The Rhodes left less than an hour after the show started. You had to go out of the gate, over a 100 metres away, to get a bottle of water or soft drinks. In Lagos, organisers are more likely to have been ready before the audience. The major challenge, as any event planner will attest, is “the audience build up.” The organisers start to count down, from the scheduled time, hoping to get a reasonable crowd, in reasonable time, so they can open the show. The Classic FM Concert was the other way round.

Maxwell: It’s A Girls Night Out HE Valentine story is centred around the man taking the woman T on a date. It is, in the simplest sense, a “couples thing”. But at the Valentine’s With Maxwell concert, the headline event of the 2013 season, it was a ‘Girly thing’. Groups of Ladies, hordes of girls, took themselves out on dates, to see the show. Couples were, intriguingly, in that atmosphere of love, more an exception than the rule. The point is, this particular singer is such a hit with Nigerian ladies, well at least that generation between the ages of 25 and 38. He was never allowed to sing any song alone. The hundreds of female voices drowned out his, at every point. The gender representation at the concert does not only contradict the Valentine season’s terms of reference , it also goes against the dominant ethos at musical concerts/lounges/Night Clubs in the city. As a rule, these places and events are male haunts, which just happen to have female presence. Kaye Whiteman, the British author of LAGOS: A Cultural and Historical Companion, and a keen observer of the city’s social mores, stood in the Swe Bar in Onikan, on a weekend evening three years ago and remarked, matter of factly “As usual, in Lagos, it’s mostly male.” If he had been at the Oceanview on the night of February 16, he’d have updated his notes.

Osofisan Convenes A Playwrights Confab For UNIFE EMI Osofisan, playwright and the 2011 winner of the Book Of The Year FObafemi Award, has convened a Playwrights Confab for March 8 to 10, at the Awolowo University in Ile Ife. “It’s one of the projects I am working on as a Visiting Professor at the University,” he says, in a phone conversation. Osofisan retired from the University of Ibadan in October 2011 and applied for emeritus professorship at the same university but was turned down. The conference begins in the evening of Friday, March 8, with workshops on play writing, scriptwriting for films, Theatre Reviews and Criticism. “The five workshops have been added owing to a strong demand from many of the participants,” Osofisan explains, “they will run concurrently on the arrival day, from 5.30pm till 7pm.” He is very encouraged by the responses so far. “So many playwrights, literary critics, and arts journalists are coming”, he says. ”When we started this, we had no idea there were so many people who work as dramatists, in the country.” Osofisan is expecting J. P. Clark, Ahmed Yerima, Stella Oyedepo, Seinde Arogbofa, Ben Tomoloju, Olu Obafemi, Bode Sowande, Onukaba Adinoyi Ojo, all of whose works have been quite well reported in the media. As it is an Osofisan event, there’s certainty that his soulmate, the literary critic Biodun Jeyifo will show up, so will Abiola Irele, his former teacher and supervisor (Tomoloju and Adinoyi Ojo were his own students). He is also expecting Salihu Bappa, Yaya Dangana, Zainab Jallo and Segun Adefila. Osofisan says that “Rasheed Gbadamosi helped with some funding. So also did Shehu Sani”. He wouldn’t disclose how much they donated and what’s more, he stopped short of calling other names.

An Arthouse Forum On Whiteman’s Book On Lagos HE poet and sometime painter, Deji Toye, will moderate a conversaT tion around Kaye Whiteman’s LAGOS: A Cultural and Historical Companion at the Freedom Park at 4pm on Thursday, March 7. The conversation, an arthouse forum organised by the Committee For Relevant Art (CORA) is in part an anticipation of the release of the Nigerian edition of the book, by Cassava Press, later in the year and in part in honour of Whiteman himself, who turns 77 around that date and so there’d be a small musical show at the Park’s food court after the talkshop. The discussants are Tolu Ogunlesi, poet and journalist, and Toni Kan, poet, short story writer, aspiring novelist, journalist and publicist. Whiteman first came to Nigeria in the 60s, but he fell for Lagos when he lived in the city for two years between 2000 and 2002. The book’s blurb says that the author “explores a city that has constantly re-invented itself, from the first settlement on an uninhabited island to the creation of the port in the early years of the 20th century... The city’s melting-pot has fertilised a unique literary and artistic flowering that is only now beginning to be appreciated by a world that has only seen slums and chaos.” Compiled by staff of Festac News Staff Agency

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013




Bolanle Awe And The Feminist/Gender Discourse In Nigeria By Tunji Olaopa

INCE the Beijing Conference of 1995, the issue of women and their lot within the socio-economic, cultural and political context of any nation resurges with fresh political energy at a global level with increasing vibrancy. This resurgence is critical to feminist and gender discourses everywhere. These discourses have often been polarised along so many ideological and racial lines bothering on conceptual and political issues and problems of patriarchal influence, the scope of gender disequilibrium across regions and geographies, the dynamics of required political action, and the possibility and implications of cross-cultural alliances and solidarity. This last point is the occasion for the rich flowering of African feminism and its rich inputs into the woman question especially within the context of underdevelopment in Africa. For African feminists—or womanists as many would prefer, the issues of gender, patriarchal domination, patriliny, and other ideas resonates with some fervent energies that connect with the overall development of the continent rather than a sterile idea of liberation that has occupied western feminism. What motivates this alternative conceptual framework for thinking about women is the shared experience of colonialism and underdevelopment in Africa which places the women, and men, in a unique cultural and historical context not similar to the experience of their white counterparts. In Africa, the woman question is also the equality question as well as being, in the final analysis, the development question. In other words, when African women talk about their shared oppression and common victimhood, they are concerned about their desire to participate more in the collective healing of the continent than the reigning patriarchal, male-dominated political system allows them. Thus, within the context of African feminism, there is a serious and critical attention given to images of motherhood, political equality, maternal care, the environment, and communal solidarity. These issues differentiate the African alternative to theorising about a woman’s place in the society away from the banalities that have attended the theoretical framework of feminisms in the west. The fundamental idea central to African feminism is simple: the woman too can take her place in the development effort and match the men folks stride for stride in the collective attempt to upturn the development and governance fortunes of postcolonial Africa. Of course, we can agree that there are unique differences between the sexes, yet both ought not to be excluded from adding their contribution to the collective predicament. Indeed, the recognition of the role of women in development is itself a first significant step in African development. The template and platform for women action, as the Beijing Conference attests, has been devolved to national basis as the over 190 participants states at the Conference confirm. In Nigeria, the undeniable status of the advocate and pioneering historian of Nigerian women goes to Prof. Bolanle Awe for her unflinching faith and thorough excavation of the significance of women in Nigeria and their capacity to participate in the Nigerian national project. Mother, academic, historian, activist and many more, Prof. Awe has proven her advocacy by insinuating herself solidly within the confines of the discourse on Nigeria and her greatness by participating and critiquing the many paths we have attempted to turn as a nation. Apart from her predecessors in the woman struggle— Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Gambo Sawaba, Margaret Ekpo, and others—I had no problem in fixating my attention on Bolanle Awe as a contemporary intellectual hero around whom the gender discourse especially in Nigeria resonates with unique and unusual intellectual and historical energy. With her, we are forced to confront the fact of women as a neglected force in the national project. Mama Awe is presently 80 years old. But the advocacy for women began a long time ago.


After a doctoral dissertation which signalled her interest in Yoruba history and oral tradition as a rich source of that history, Prof. Awe consolidated her research into Nigerian women with the collaborative establishment of the Women’s Research and Documentation Centre (WORDOC) in 1987. She has also documented her arguments, views, recommendations and historical observations in many books, including The Impact of Colonialism on Nigerian Women, The Feminist Saga in Nigeria, Nigerian Women: A Historical Perspective and so on. In marriage, career and even politics, Prof. Bolanle Awe is a personification of a success story par excellence. What seems unique in Bolanle Awe, for me, is her capacity to weave intellectual research into personal beliefs and national advocacy. What we can call her philosophy of social change is targeted at an attitudinal change beginning from the family upward to capture the whole of society and the nation. For her, a huge portion of that attitude change lies in the hand of the Nigerian women, and essentially in their attitudes to themselves. Prof. Awe calls for a redefinition of the private, domestic sphere as the place where a woman ought to begin her career rather than her attempt to surpass the men in career pursuit outside the home. The home is the first significant crucible of womanhood before it becomes the framework for measuring the worth of a nation. To abandon the home, as most women now do, is to abandon what is most imperative in a woman’s being and responsibility. It is easy, following the trajectory of this argument, according to Awe, to change the nation if the home and the family receive the touch of femininity. To make the point more cogent, Prof. Bolanle developed over time a research dynamics that interjects historical analysis in the woman advocacy. Adrienne Rich calls this a “re-vision”—“the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction”. This re-vision becomes imperative because the writing of Nigerian history has not been fair to the achievement and contributions of women. In fact, one can say that the writing of history has usually been from the masculine perspective. Therefore, a deep rethinking and revisioning of history gives the woman question in Nigeria a better push than mere feminist desire for liberation. True liberation begins as a historical point within the context of discourse; and Bolanle Awe would agree with Gerda Lerner that, “Women’s his-

What seems unique in Bolanle Awe, for me, is her capacity to weave intellectual research into personal beliefs and national advocacy. What we can call her philosophy of social change is targeted at an attitudinal change beginning from the family upward to capture the whole of society and the nation. For her, a huge portion of that attitude change lies in the hand of the Nigerian women, and essentially in their attitudes to themselves.


tory is the primary tool for women’s emancipation.” Thus, to pick up their true emancipatory potentials, there is a need to research the history of the African matriarchal context which makes a good woman first a good mother. The African matriarchal tradition lays the foundation for a dynamic trajectory that moves outward from the home to the society and the nation. This stands contrary to the western feminist tradition that resented the home as a prison for the woman. The objective of the feminist therefore is to burst the boundary of the home and move in strength into the public in competition with men. On the contrary, the first objective for the Nigerian woman is the imperative of family building as the first step in nation building. The task of a historian therefore, to which Prof. Awe dedicated herself, is to bring alive the essence of the matriarchal tradition, and the worthy contributions of many female characters, from “the dim recesses of Nigerian history” into the urgent and present imperative of building a national project that has been subject of masculine foibles. Bolanle Awe’s intellectual outputs represents a unique angle to the challenge of nursing the national project back to life in the bid to create a developmental Nigerian state. And her singular contribution is this: Motherhood is the single most neglected angle to the national question in Nigeria. There is therefore the need to interrogate the historical contributions of the mothers as the requisite sacrifice in the healing of the nation. The ideas of development and nation building have often been cast in masculine terms as requiring only the ingenuity of men as politicians. Yet, the essence of Bolanle Awe’s historical trajectory is simple: To build a virile nation in Nigeria, we should beware of what Chimamanda Adichie calls “the danger of the single story”. The single story in this case is the one-sided narrative of the development and nation building framework. The evidence of history controverts such unilinear trajectory. Rather, what is historically reasonable to say is that development is not gendered; all hands are required on the development deck in Nigeria. Thus, the trajectory of history which emancipates the Nigerian women by providing them with evidence that would facilitate attitudinal change also emancipates the nation by suggesting some ways out of our national conundrum. Bolanle Awe is one intellectual who has refused to succumb to the pandemic scepticism, pessimism and cynicism that are demanded by our protracted predicament. What is required, according to her, is “a new

vision of Nigeria” of which we can all be proud. And this vision must necessarily tap into the depth and crevices of history to outline the way forward. The way to go is anchored on three plausible factors: The first, motherhood; second, the educational system; and third, the federal character principle. Motherhood would constitute the single most significant factor in the preservation of the nation. As the natural custodian of the home, a mother is expected to ensure that the health and balance of the home and the family is maintained. In the Aristotelian framework, the household constitutes the natural and most fundamental community from which the state evolved. For Aristotle, the household originated “in the bare needs of life, and [continues] in existence for the sake of a good life”. Motherhood therefore, in Awe’s reckoning, would be the most natural nurturing point for positive political action, and hence the most fundamental task for women to pursue. Secondly, the educational system facilitates harnessing the potentials of the Nigerian youths, and especially the female child. For Prof. Awe, apart from the women, the youths constitute the other neglected force in the governance and development processes in Nigeria. And education possesses the capacity to redress the disequilibrium that contributes to the lopsided profile of the national project. In fact, the education of the youths could redress the lack of recognition given to the Nigerian women as worthy partners in the nation building process. Finally, Bolanle Awe recognises the inherent capabilities of the federal character principle to achieve a fundamental catchment into the governance drive to make Nigeria a truly developmental state. Backstopping the educational system, the federal character principle serves as the framework for ensuring equitable and equal participation of all. It facilitates what we can call an all-round, engendered development that permits both men and women and youths some significant roles in building the Nigerian nation. Friedrich von Schlegel, the German philosopher, considers a historian “a prophet in reverse”. Bolanle Awe is still prophesying the good of Nigeria and the possibility of the national project even at an old age. Her true worth can be regarded as that of finding a feminist and revolutionary historical language, in Gloria Steinem’s words, “that will allow people to act together while cherishing each other’s individuality” and humanity. Such a language, like the language of service delivery in governance, constitutes a significant part of the national project without which we cannot hope for a nation where diversity would long for unity.

Olaopa, Federal Permanent Secretary, Abuja

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013



‘CHOPIN Is Bringing Innovation To Music Industry’ Lanre Delano is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Church Organ Projects in Nigeria (CHOPIN), an outfit that introduced organ into Nigerian music market. To fulfil his ambition as a musicologist, he embarks on music education and training to several interested individuals in the society. He spoke to NIYI OLAJIDE on his career and other issues. LTHOUGH he has all it takes to live in Europe or America, Lanre Delano, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Church Organ Projects in Nigeria (CHOPIN) is very passionate about staying in his country home, Nigeria. That was the decision he took some years back when he decided to come home from Europe to launch his pet project, called CHOPIN. If there is a vision and faith, with courage and willingness to step out and take risks, finances would not be a problem in anything one wants to do in life that was how Delano saw his journey as the executive officer of CHOPIN. Today, the rest is history as his initiative then is adding its quota to the nation’s development. Lanre Delano is a graduate of music from University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University). His parents are Olakunle and Wuraola Delano. He started his music career in secondary school. “My father enrolled me in school lesson under a renown musicologist called Kobina Creppy in Lagos because music was not offered directly in school then. There, I got satisfied in Grade 5 Theory in Associated Board Royal School of Music (ABRSM) in England.” He eventually went to Polytechnic of Ibadan where he did music under Mr. Kayode Oni. After a year in polytechnic, Delano decided to go to then University of Ife. “At Ife, we were only two pioneer students of music under Prof. Tunji Baida. My course-mate then was John Enechi. Two of us started in 1978 and we graduated in 1982.” The Church Organ Projects in Nigeria simply referred to as CHOPIN, is the company Delano established. According to him, it is an acronym from the name of a music composer, Federick Choper. “Most of the time when I am in Europe or America, it is the name I use and known for. But in Nigeria, people call it (shopping) as in food! And maybe they think because I am big or I have been shopping a lot too. “As a musicologist, I actually did not set up to start organ business, I found myself in it. It was 20 years after I graduated, that I started. Being into organ business was like a divine calling to me. I remember when I was in Europe; I invited some friends that I was going into the business. I told them I wanted to launch it by a concert in Lagos, Nigeria. They were not interested. I printed flyers and tickets for the show, and gave them out. A lot of advertisements were placed in the media. To my surprise, 80 per cent of the people that came to the concert were not those that really bought the tickets, but their representatives that were interested in what I advertised. That was how the whole thing started.” Delano could not hide the survival of his company on marketability. He said the quality and durability of Chopin instruments speak for itself. “We have been able to perform favourably well in marketing our products. We have installed organs in about 55 churches in Nigeria within a space of 10 years since we started in 2002. And the sales and usage in the country have increased. We are changing the churches to imbibe the culture of using organ in worship. Among the churches we installed organ are: Methodist Church of Trinity, Tinubu, Lagos, The Muson School of Music, Onikan, Lagos, St. Silas Cathedral, Ihiala, Anambra State, Methodist Church, OkeAyedun, Ekiti State, Cathedral Church of St. Bartholomew, Kubwa, Abuja, etc. Not only have we been able to serve orthodox churches, but other gospels and new generation churches. Just of recent, we installed two notable organs in House on The Rock Church. “We do concerts, seminars and workshops; for instance, at Muson Centre, churches and we have Chopin newsletter to showcase our products. Also during church dedications, most people get to know more about our products and we have well established website, where our customers are informed. Though the concerts we do are not necessarily for money generation, we get people to know more of the classical music, which invariably is not the culture of Nigerian music. What we



After our effort, people began to get interested in it because they believed the venture is lucrative. So some of our past workers decided to go into the business. But luckily for Chopin, we represent the company called Allen Organ, the biggest and largest organ manufacturer in the world in America. We are the only dealer in Nigeria. When competition started, a lot of people pushed to represent our manufacturer in the country, they were rejected the offer, but to be turned back to us. Also, we have to do battle process in term of importation; and this with the competitors who imported less qualihas to do with transfer of money, custom ty products into the market at cheaper rate. duty, etc. It takes about 12 to 14 weeks to bring the equipment down to the country. These are the major challenges we face. Government should create means where- Childhood I was a peaceful young boy. That could be by soft loans can be sourced without discouraging those who are still struggling to attested to my reports in school. I was very playcome up. Certain rebate should be given to ful too. I think every report I had from school then could not do without being stated very individuals who are trying to grow the playful. I was also being artistry. I loved music economy in their own capacity.” and my favourite musician was Fela Anikulapo Before CHOPIN started, as he stated, the Kuti. My father bought a piano for me because organ industry in the country was dead. my parents loved music too. I am the fourth of Churches were using keyboards, which also make them play contemporary music. six children. I was given every support I needed It is easier to manipulate a keyboard, which as a child. is more manual by anybody than the organ Unwind I relax by selling organ with several mechanisms. So, it would be Hobby hard for a keyboardist for a long time to My business is my hobby, apart from that, I lisbecome an organist overnight in term of ten to music. I socialise. I go to parties. I love the cost. An average keyboard goes for drinks and also like talking to people. about N150, 000 while organ is N5 million. Role model But with my musical background and Chief Michael Ade-Ojo of Elizade Motor knowledge, I was able to convince people Limited is my role model. He is a great man to about the use of organ and its durability emulate. Others include; Ayo Bankole, his role despite the cost. in classical music, Emeka Nwokedi, etc. Dream Being the first person to assemble and manufacture church organ in Nigeria. Marital life I am married with four children, two graduates, one undergraduate and one in secondary school. Advice to young ones Parents should encourage their children to do what they want. They should not pour cold water on the fire of their enthusiasm, but fan it. Children too should listen to their parents’ advice.

Organ Has Changed Churches Culture Of Worship get as feedback on our products and patronage, is the most important thing to us.” Apart from providing organ in Nigerian market, Delano said Chopin is also into music education and training. He believes Chopin instruments are complex to handle. “Those that paid huge amount for our instruments, like churches, are expected to make effective use of them. That is why we need to train the users so that they can get value for their money. Organ is the next most expensive aspect in the instruments of worship apart from the building of the church. We are doing a lot of training and seminars and to let priests, clergymen and classical music lovers know the extent of organ usage and in worship. But in reference to our population, the numbers of classical music enthusiasts remain minimal, but we are not relenting in encouraging people to have a feel of good music.” According to Delano, there are lot of assistance the small and medium scale enterprises needed from the government at all levels for them to survive. “For instance in our case, before a church can order any of our products, they must see it first. It costs a lot in this

Apart from providing organ in Nigerian market, Delano said Chopin is also into music education and training. He believes Chopin instruments are complex to handle. “Those that paid huge amount for our instruments, like churches, are expected to make effective use of them. That is why we need to train the users so that they can get value for their money.

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


Language on parade

Dancing On Insecurity On Our FISCCAL Cliff By adidi uyo

HEN I was devising the acronym, FISCCAL, I equivocated about what the letter “I” should stand for on this symbolic, multifaceted cliff that Nigerians of various hues never tire of dancing upon. Given the state of our country’s electricity supply, water supply, road system, or what have you, I had entertained the idea of letting the letter stand for “Infrastructure.” But, as they say, if there is no body, what would the legs carry, for “infra,” as those who savour that popular Latinate phrase, “infra dignitatem,” must know, means “below.” The point is, if there is no corporate body, no entity, called Nigeria, would we be talking about the conditions of its existence? For that reason, “Insecurity” readily got the nod, because we could say that insecurity pertains to the entity as a whole, whereas infrastructure pertains to the legs. Catch my drift? “Insecurity: UK Warns Citizens Against Travelling To Nigeria”? This is a headline in The Nation of February 27, 2013. The lead of the news story reads: Britain advised its citizens on Wednesday against travelling to several regions in Northern Nigeria, after an increase in attacks blamed on Islamist militants and the abduction of several foreigners earlier this month, Reuters reports.” Do you blame the British Government for caring about the safety of its citizens? The government is not behaving differently from many Nigerians. I have my doubts about such a position, if you ask me, but to many Nigerians one


development that epitomises the insecurity of Nigeria today is the existence and operation of the Islamist fundamentalists known as Boko Haram. To be sure, it is none of our business here to debate that issue. But the fact of the matter is that there is insecurity in the land, and foreigners and Nigerians, alike, are dancing it, everyday. It is beyond us to question the motive of those who talk about insecurity in the land, and we ask you to only appreciate the language with which they dance on the phenomenon. Consider this statement, for example: “The country was not just under an ominous cloud of insecurity but its citizens were also victims.” That was a statement credited to Major General Muhammadu Buhari, by the National Publicity Secretary of his party, following the attack on the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero. The tone of the headline of a news story in The Punch of February 23, 2013 captures how Aso Rock saw the general’s statement: “Buhari’s comments on Emir’s attack reckless — Presidency.” “How to save Nigeria from collapse, by Yoruba leaders,” is the headline of a news story in The Guardian of August 31, 2012. The lead of the story reads: “Nigeria’s skewed federalism and insecurity were among the critical issues discussed by Yoruba leaders on the platform of Yoruba Assembly, who gathered yesterday in Ibadan, Oyo State.” And the third paragraph of the story has it that: “As they deplored the state of insecurity in the country and the violent activities of Boko Haram in the North, the leaders resolved

to set up vigilance (sic) groups in all South-West states to protect their people against crimes and violence.” We started the rhetoric on insecurity with words from abroad, and we might well end it with a foreign personage dancing on it right here on our soil. “Poverty fuelling Boko Haram Insurgency — Clinton,” rang one headline in The Nation on February 27, 2013. In the lead of the story sits resplendently the “I” word of interest: “Former United States President Bill Clinton on Tuesday canvased ways through which Nigeria could effectively deal with Boko Haram insurgency and other forms of insecurity in the country.” What do you know? It seems the former president did not put his fingers on the right button, going by the comments of most of the readers online. Let’s take just two. “This is wrong, Clinton,” fired back the first reader. “There is poverty in the south also and they have not taken arms to invade and kill innocent Nigerians.” And the second reader weighed in riffling an analogy: “that is like telling us that poverty was the reason Osama bin Laden attacked America. Please, Clinton, always say the truth.” It is not our fashion here to determine the truth or otherwise. But you may be able to do something like that by weighing the words of this headline in The Nation of January 15, 2013: “North’s insecurity is self-inflicted, says Sultan.” The lead of the news story reads: “The President General of the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, yesterday said insecurity and other problems facing the North are self-inflicted.”

Senator John Shagaya (left),  director general Bureau of public procurement,  (Bpp), emeka ezeh, Captain IBB International gulf Club, Tony azogu, former Captain  of the Club, paul erokoro and rtd general aB Mamman at a public procurement practice in nigeria, Challenges and prospects at the IBB gulf Club, abuja. pHoTo: pHILIp oJISua.

Osun NOA Launches Campaign On Examination Malpractice HE Osun State Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Apostle Samson Adeyemi has advised pupils, students and other stakeholders in education sector to imbibe the Nigerian core values of integrity, honesty, patriotism and hardwork advising them to shun examination malpractices. Adeyemi said this during the campaign on raising integrity standard in the conduct of examination in the Nigerian education system with the theme: “Eradicate Examination Malpractices” held at the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) Hall, Osogbo. He observed with dismay that there have been cases of collu-


sion between parents and candidates, supervisors, invigilators and even law enforcement agents to cheat. He stated that the issue of examination malpractices has been a long standing one, hence the need for NOA to call on all stakeholders to find a solution to the menace, which is eating deep into the fabric of education in the country. The Deputy Governor of the State of Osun who also doubles as the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Otunba Grace Titi Laoye-Tomori noted that examination malpractices is fast becoming the rule rather than the exception and often time,

the system is compromised through the collaboration of desperate parents, corrupt government officials, lazy and illprepared students who want to pass the examination at all cost. While commending NOA on the timelines of the campaign, she said: “It is time to return to the crucible as prosperity will not forgive us if we fail to do something now. The National Orientation Agency (NOA) appears to be the perfect Federal Government Agency that would help us carry out the crusade and or, war against corruption and indiscipline in the society. Notwithstanding, the task ahead is not for NOA

Members of Credit Bureau Limited (CrC)and nigerian Institute of Management (nIM) with Tunde popoola, Md/Ceo, CrC (3rd left) and Chief olawale-Cole, Chairman of Council, nIM (4th left) during a courtesy visit to CrC.

Head Consumer Insight and Credit and risk Management, First City Monument Bank(FCMB), Mrs ronke atkinson (left), Star winner in the promo, Mrs olubunmi adediran, Ceo, Inteciti Media, Yinka Johnson and Ceo Sportsvision, deji omotoyinbo during the presentation of prize to participants of FCMB novel football entertainment programme in Lagos.

Doregos Reward Students T

HE Doregos Private Academy was a place to be recently as the school gave out prizes and awards to deserving students and members of staff. At the event, Bruce Gbolahan, a Form Two student carted home the most awards, 25 in number. He said: “I try to concentrate on my studies and do my best but I am sure other students will also try to win the awards but I read hard to remain the best. I also engage in extra curricular activities that help me build a strong mind.” He commended his teachers and parents who contributed to his development and restated his commitment to his academics. Executive director of the school, Tokunbo Doregos said that reward for hard work would motivate the awardees and other students to do better next time. He said that the schools

has continued to do well in the West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) by constantly engaging the students in activities that would help them make appreciable progress in their studies. “What we are here to do is give quality education to the students. We also have budget for activities like the JETS programme where the students have the opportunity to showcase their engineering skills,” he added. He called on the parents to support the school by giving the best to the students, assuring that the school fees would be affordable at all times. The school’s acting principal, Oluyeni Faleke said the event was put together to honour and reward intelligent, honesty and well-behaved students, as well as, dedicated, diligent and deserving teaching and non-teaching members of staff.

Head Marketing operations, Sona group of Companies, Bharat Vaswani (centre), with euro global Foods and distilleries sales team at the Silverbird Valentine’s Couples dance in Lagos


40 Sunday, March 3, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

IbruCentre Same-sex Marriage: Okoh Warns Bishops On ‘Evil Agenda’ By Chris Irekamba HE Primate, Church of Nigeria (Anglican T Communion), Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, has cautioned Bishops not to fall prey to the influence of proponents of same-sex marriage. Okoh spoke during the ordination, last week, of three Anglican Bishops - Ven. James Olusola Odedeji (Bishop of Lagos West), Very Rev. Simeon Oluwole Borokini (Bishop of Akure) and Ven. Geoffrey Enyinnaya Okorafor

(Bishop of Egbu) at the Cathedral of St. Jude Ebute Metta, Lagos. “You are already aware of the evil wind blowing across the Western world, by way of the homosexual agenda. They want to push it down everybody’s throat. Whether you like it or not, the government is doing so and the church is doing so. And as far as they are concerned, it is a matter of human right. But God’s right is not discussed. I want to say that you have a responsibility to this church, not

to allow any influence from any quarters to corrupt our church,” the Primate said. He said: “We have a duty to preserve our people and preserve our faith. Those of you, who are very frequent abroad, they would do everything to persuade you to change your understanding. Please, we want to encourage you to stand for Jesus. “The Biblical understanding of marriage will continue to be the basis of our teaching; we will not change that position. So, no matter

what they tell you, no matter where you go and who your friend is, please, resist the Devil and all his works, and he will flee from you. “I want to encourage our clergy, particularly those of you who have attachment with the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe and America, don’t bring that influence in here. It is the responsibility of your Bishops to know where you go, who you relate with, and the influence around you. It may not be helpful to you to align with those people.”

‘This Consecration Will Advance Gospel, Anglican Communion’ The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) consecrated three bishops, last Sunday. The event, presided by the Primate of the Church, Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, produced Ven. James Olusola Odedeji, as new Bishop of Lagos West; Very Rev. Simeon Oluwole Borokini, as Bishop of Akure, and Ven. Geoffrey Enyinnaya Okorafor, as Bishop of Egbu. Held at the Cathedral of St. Jude Ebute Metta, Lagos, the consecration is significant in a number of ways: it is the first in Lagos State in the last 38 years; the first outside of the Mother Cathedral (Christ Church Cathedral, Marina, Lagos); it witnessed the uncommon emergence of bishops from their home dioceses. Among the 15 archbishops and 116 bishops in attendance, a few spoke to CHRIS IREKAMBA on why the Church is the better for the new appointments.







‘Election Was Best For The Church’ (Rt. Rev. Caleb Maduoma, Bishop of Ideato and Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, Imo State)

E thank God for their life. This time W around, the Church of Nigeria tried to elect people from within; if you notice, all of them are from within. I know the three that are being consecrated today. The Bishop-elect of Akure Diocese, Very Rev. Simeon Oluwole Borokini, was my junior in Immanuel College, and we were together at the University of Ibadan. He was the Provost of Akure, a child of God, humble, quite and easygoing. His father was a catechist. I know that very well, because his father was my classmate at the college. Bishop-elect of Lagos West, Ven. James Olusola Odedeji, I know him too. I taught him when I was in Lagos College. He is a good scholar and a good candidate too. He was the Dean of Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja, Lagos. The third person, Bishop-elect of Egbu Diocese, Ven. Geoffrey Enyinnaya Okorafor, we chose him because he is the best candidate and the people of Egbu Diocese are very happy. Odedeji is from Lagos West; Okorafor is from Egbu Diocese and Borokini is from Akure and Provost of Akure Diocese. We chose from within. It is good for the Church.

‘Dogged, Disciplined, Divinely Elected…’ (Rt. Rev. James Oladunjoye, Bishop of Owo Diocese)

KNOW the Bishop-elect of Akure Diocese, IBishop-elect Very Rev. Simeon Oluwole Borokini and of Lagos West, Ven. James Olusola Odedeji, now Bishop of Lagos West. Coincidentally, two of them were my students at Immanuel College. They disciplined; they are well trained, well grounded ministers of God. They are good theologians; they fit very well into the ministry. They are dogged in their work; they can endure a lot of hardship. They are not found wanting. In everything, we thank God for the choice. We believe that they are God’s choice; they are divinely elected. When you look at their qualities, their ministries and all they’ve done in the past, the way they have led the children of God, you will be very happy that they are good leaders. The Church will feel proud of them, by the special grace of God.

‘Hopes Of Monumental Success’ ‘They Will Deliver The Job’ (Rt. Rev. Adeyemi Babatunde, Bishop of Badagry)

(Rt. Rev. Chijioke Isaac Nwaobia, Bishop of Isiala Ngwa South, Aba Province)

‘Bishops Will Move Dioceses Forward’ (Most Rev. Bennett Okoro, Archbishop, Province of Owerri and Bishop of Orlu)

THANK God for those who are being consecratEN. Geoffrey Okorafor is the priest of the HE three people, consecrated today, are IAkure ed today. Let me start with the Bishop-elect of V Diocese of Egbu, foundation priest. The Lord T trained godly men that have been called by Diocese. Very Rev. Simeon Oluwole has prepared him for this elevation. We trust God from childhood. They have taken time to

Borokini was my senior at the seminary. He lectured for many years at Archbishop Vining Theological Seminary, Akure. He is a quiet man; a man of God, forward looking and very straightforward. My other brother, Bishop-elect of Lagos West, Ven. James Olusola Odedeji, happened to serve under me, when we were together at Idimu. He has been a very efficient person, a dedicated worker and a loyal person. Of course, we also served together under the retiring Lord Bishop, Rt. Rev. Peter Awelewa of Lagos West. He is our mentor and father. He brought us up and he is a good successor to Papa Adebiyi because he knows the in-and-out of the Diocese. He is aware of the enormity of the work. He will be a complementary successor to the old man; somebody I trust that will not fail because his focus is heaven. For Bishop-elect of Egbu Diocese, Ven. Geoffrey Okorafor, I don’t know him enough. But one thing is very clear; in the Anglican Communion, if somebody is selected as a Bishop, he must have justified that office to be elected. It means, he has been serving conscientiously; he has been serving dedicatedly. I congratulate the three of them. I pray that their tenure will witness monumental success in Jesus’ name. Amen.

be trained in our theological colleges. The Bishop-elect of Akure Diocese, Very Rev. Simeon Oluwole Borokini, is a seasoned administrator. The Bishop-elect of Egbu Diocese, Ven. Geoffrey Okorafor, is also a seasoned administrator, trained by his predecessor, the retiring Bishop, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Iheagwam. The Bishop-elect of Lagos West, Ven. James Olusola Odedeji, has been a boy to the retiring Bishop of Lagos West. He has been his chaplain, his Canon, his Archdeacon and later the Dean. I believe they have been passing through the system and know what to do as Bishops. After prayers, I know that they are the best among the lot. People are happy in each of the dioceses they come from. I believe they will deliver, by His grace.

God that he will be a strong instrument in evangelisation and will move the diocese forward. Especially, as an insider, one who started with the present foundational Bishop, I believe he knows the corners, areas to emphasise. And by the grace of God, he will do much better than we think. He is on ground. The other two - Bishop-elect of Lagos West, Ven. James Olusola Odedeji, and Bishop-elect of Akure Diocese, Very Rev. Simeon Oluwole Borokini- are equally wonderful priests. I believe they will make good Bishops. The Lord has chosen. I know that the House of Bishops cannot elect somebody who is not properly grounded theologically or someone who cannot move the assigned diocese forward. We trust that the Lord will use them effectively, granting them the seven-fold gifts of the Holy Spirit afresh.

‘Proven Men For Great Commission’ (Rt. Rev. Oluranti Odubogun, Bishop of the Diocese of IleIfe)

HOSE who were consecrated today are people T who have worked in the Church of God and have proven themselves to be committed men of God. They are being elevated to leadership position in the dioceses to which they belong. It’s our prayer that the Lord Himself, who has called and positioned them, will see them through in their given assignments. They are expected to bring more and more people to the fullness and knowledge of the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bishop-elect of Akure Diocese, Very Rev. Simeon Borokini and his wife, Christianah (left); Bishop-elect of Egbu Diocese, Ven. Geoffrey Okoroafor and his wife, Ngozi, and Bishop-elect of Lagos West, Ven. James Odedeji and his wife, Kemi, during their consecration at the Cathedral of St. Jude, Ebute-Metta, Lagos… last Sunday.

The Ibru Centre is under the trusteeship of the Trinity Foundation Charity trust founded for the promotion of spiritual growth


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


Sunday School ...With Pastor Enoch Adeboye

Divine Healing (III) Memory Verse: “He sent his word and healed them and delivered them from their destruction.” (Psalm 107:20) Bible Passage: Psalm 107:17-22 Introduction ODAY, we will look at healing through the Word


Power in the Word The word of a man is powerful (Pro. 18:21). It starts and ends wars. A sentence by a judge could mean life or death. God’s Word is much more powerful (Isa. 55:10-11). God’s word can

work wonders (Gen. 1:3). The Centurion perfectly understood the power of the spoken word of God (Mat. 8:8). In the beginning was the Word and the Word is none other than God himself (Jn. 1:1-2; Jn. 1:3). He was before your sickness began. The Word is Jesus (Jn. 1:14). Jesus healed by speaking Jesus Christ was the Word made flesh. While He walked on earth, He healed by speaking. To blind Bartimaeus He simply said, “Receive thy sight” and his eyes popped open (Mk. 10:51-52). To the leper who came to Him as He came down from the mountain, He said, “Be clean” and he was cleansed (Mat. 8:1-3).

Taming The Evil Of Legislative Hypocrisy By Gabriel Agbo HE U.S. House passed a resolution reaffirming, ‘In God We Trust’, as the country’s motto. The measure, which was sponsored by Republican Representative Randy Forbes from Virginia, was approved with 396 for, 9 against and two abstentions. According to him, the measure was necessary to check “a disturbing trend of inaccuracies and omissions, misunderstandings of church and state, rogue court challenges, and efforts to remove God from the public domain by unelected bureaucrats’. He further stated that as the United States faces challenging times that, “it is appropriate for Members of Congress and our nation- like our predecessors- to firmly declare our trust in God, believing that it will sustain us for generations to come.’ True! This measure couldn’t have come at a better time. This has been a trying


period for the Americans - threats of terrorism, loss of jobs, moral decay, homosexuality, atheism, Satanism, etc. ‘In God We Trust’ first appeared on U.S. coins during the Civil War in 1864. It officially became the nation’s motto in 1956 by an Act of Congress, and began appearing on her paper money the following year - 1957. The phrase is also found in the last stanza of the U.S. national anthem, public buildings, schools, and is also displayed above judges’ chairs in courts. There is no doubt that America was founded on Christian principles and this was clearly demonstrated by the founding fathers all over Washington D.C. buildings, in official documents and historic speeches. God is also mentioned in her constitution and Pledge of Allegiance. So, what has gone wrong? Why did Rep. Forbes sponsor the resolution to reaffirm this belief? 

To the man who had been sick for 38 years, lying by the pool of Bethsaida, He simply commanded, “Rise up, take your bed and go home”, and the man was made whole (Jn. 5:5-9). Even to Lazarus who had been dead for four days, He merely said, “Lazarus come forth!” And he came out alive and well (Jn. 11:4344). Conclusion God and His word are one. When the Word put on flesh, He was called Jesus of Nazareth. But before then, He was The Healer of old (Ps. 107:20). Today, He can and still heals by His word. Receive your healing now in Jesus’ name. According to him, his action was propelled by present efforts to remove God from America ’s public domain and necessity to declare the country’s trust in God, etc. Wonderful! This is coming from the same Congress that once failed to approve a bill seeking to prohibit same-sex marriage. America is backslidden. They have deviated from the dreams and beliefs of their founding fathers. They have taken liberty to a very ridiculous level; they have taken liberty and thrown away the One that gave it to them. President Thomas Jefferson captured this when he wrote, “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are of God?’” Today, Americans gladly champion causes that are contrary to the principles that shaped them into becoming the most powerful and most prosperous nation on earth. And this is what Forbes’ sponsored resolution seeks to correct - to remind them of their root and source of strength and prosperity. “Remember, it is God that gives you the ability…” I can hear him saying. Yes, this move is critical at this point. The legacies, labours and prayers of their fathers are about going in vain. Would the founding fathers of America have believed that their cherished nation would one day champion ungodly and ignoble causes like homosexuality, same-sex marriage, atheism and occultism? Today, more states in the U.S. have legalised same-sex marriage. Even the congress failed to pass the bill to stop this anti-God, anti-marriage, anti-American madness. Could the founding fathers have imagined that an American president would be dancing around such fundamental national issues, like gay marriage, and leading the erasing of God in American public consciousness? President Obama’s statement on his trip to India in December is one the reasons cited by Mr. Forbes for sponsoring his resolution. He called ‘E pluribus unum’ (meaning ‘from many one’) the national motto, and prompted its addition to the new Capitol Visitors Centre . Can you imaging that? But the Congress has since ordered for the correction. Those great men would be ‘groaning’ in their graves at the knowledge that the country they founded, fought for and nurtured to greatness by their prayers, hard work and trust in God is now directly involved in Satanism. I mean, people proudly, publicly flaunting their worship of Satan the Devil. Incredible! Yes, today you have the church of Satan in the U.S. This is besides other very demonic and dangerous secret societies and cults. Most have their headquarters in that country. Consulting psychics, witches, mediums and other agents of Satan is now the order of the day. Before, it was a tradition for the authorities to consult men of God on pressing national issues including going to war, but today all that have changed.


Members of NASFAT (Nasrul Lahi-L-Fatih Society of Nigeria) at the inauguration of the Igbogbo-Ikorodu, Lagos State chapter of the group.

By Msgr. Gabriel Osu And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11: 25)

WAS with a group of about eight young men and women, recently. They had been experiencing some internal wrangling within their fold. Each had a different story to tell on why things had not been working among them. Each tried to justify his or her actions, deep sense of anger and misgiving. None wanted to take responsibility for obvious lapses. Everyone claimed he or she was right and none wanted to forgive the other. Forgiveness is one of the core attributes that stand us out as Christians. It is an act of gallantry that elevates us from being just mere humans to true followers of Christ and partakers of the Divine nature. For persons ‘living in the world’, forgiveness is an anathema, a sign of cowardice. But Christians know otherwise. It takes immense courage and maturity to forgive those who wrong us, especially our enemies. As we journey on in life, there would be occasions when people would trample on our rights unjustly and put our faith to trial. They would try to make us angry and disoriented. What should be our response? We could decide to forgive them each time they offend us and go on with our life or we could choose to harbour grudges and remain embittered. When we let go crave for revenge, we free ourselves from unnecessary anger, resentment, bitterness, rancour and heartache. By so doing, we open our heart to true growth and development, both spiritually and materially. If we continue to harbour grudges, thereby allowing enmity to thrive, we attract negativity and become weighed down in all facets of life. People who hold grudges are sad people. They often appear depressed and miserable. They radiate aggression and allow the spirit of discord to take control of their life. Such are prone to diseases and suicidal tendencies. Failure to forgive is behind most strife in relationships. Good friends part ways. Embittered parents disown their children and some children take up arms against their folks. Couples suffer


When Last Did You Forgive Someone? immensely as a result of unforgiving spirit, while numerous homes are ruined because either party won’t say, ‘I am sorry, forgive me,’ or ‘Let’s forget about the issue; I have forgiven you.’ Colossians 3:13 admonishes: ‘Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’ How does God forgive us? He forgives us without ceasing. “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’ (Matthew 18: 21-22) Sometimes, it could be very difficult to forgive, especially when those who are dear to us betray us. So, why must we forgive others? It is because we have no other choice as Christians. Christ himself mandated us to forgive unconditionally. ‘If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.’ (Matthew 6: 14-16) Remember that in the Lord’s Prayer that we recite everyday, we ask God to forgive us our sins

just as we forgive those who offend us. This implies that if we fail to forgive and forge on, we should not expect God to forgive us our everyday sins, which, by the way, are too numerous to be counted. On the cross of Calvary, as he was being crucified unjustly, Jesus asked God to forgive his persecutors. When Stephen was being stoned to death, for preaching the gospel, he did likewise. What stops us from doing the same? Is it pride or bitterness? As we endeavour in this Lenten season to follow the path to true repentance, let us imbibe the virtue of forgiving at all times. For those who make it a way of life to hurt others, remember also that what you do to others will surely catch up with you sooner than later. My prayer is that, like Christ, we will learn how to tolerate one another and be our brothers’ keepers. Amen. Very Rev. Msgr. Gabriel Osu is the Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos

Black Pope Not Out Of Place, Says Udofia By Wole Oyebade RIMATE of The African Church (TAC), Emmanuel Josiah Udofia, has urged Roman Catholics to support suitable black cardinals for the pontificate. According to Udofia, “change, the only constant thing” is catching up with everything else, “so it would not be out of


As African Church Amends Constitution place if a black man succeeds Pope Benedict XVI.” The Primate, who spoke at the recent TAC General Committee meeting, at The African Church Cathedral Salem, Lagos, said a wind of change is blowing in every denomination. Citing The African Church as example, he noted that the

one remains equal in the sight of God, I see no reason why lanchurch has been in existence for guage or skin colour should be some 111 years with the Yoruba a barrier.” holding the primacy for 108 The General Committee is the years, but, “by the grace of God, administrative and policy-maka non-Yoruba has been brought ing body of The African Church. on.” During one of its sessions, it reHe said: “If we are running a viewed the constitution of the church in deed and in truth, church to conform to modern then racism should not be a fac- trends in tandem with the Holy tor in choosing officers. If every- writ.

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013



The Touch Of Jesus HERE are always two classes of people in the world or two sets T of choices to make in life. Jacob and Esau represented such clear dichotomies. The first group includes people who are eager

Deputy Lay President, The African Church, Evang. Oladosu Oladipo (left); Primate of the Church, Most Rev. Emmanuel Udofia and Bishop of Lagos Central Diocese, Rt. Rev. Julius Olayinka Abbe at the church’s General Committee meeting in Lagos... recently.

Pharaoh! It’s Time To Let God’s People Go! By Ernest Onuoha

suffering of His children and was determined to set them free. Already, He swore an everlasting oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey. That is the Promised HARAOH knew many gods (Egypt had Land. Moses had no option but confront a lot of them). He had, however, never Pharaoh with the message, ‘Let my people heard of the God of Israel. He assumed go’. that the God of the Hebrew slaves God is saying to persons working in orcouldn’t be powerful. At first, Pharaoh ganisations that employ labour: “I have was not worried about Moses’ message; come to set you free from oppression.” The he was yet to see evidence of the Lord’s Lord said that I should announce liberty to power. those who are held by oppressors from Moses came to Pharaoh with a mandate graduating in institutions of higher learnfrom the Lord; it was not to be circuming, those whose files became ‘missing’ at vented. The Old Testament account the verge of a promotion or those who are records that the Hebrew slaves were in being exploited by their employers. Egypt for about 430 years, building Pharaoh must let you go, whether he likes Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh. Their it or not. The Lord has spoken! taskmasters were cruel. At a time, they Pharaoh, figuratively, is any recalcitrant denied the Israelites bricks. It never dawned on them that the Hebrew slaves st would, someday, be free. God had earlier said: ‘I have certainly seen Bisi Alabi Williams the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have By LORY Christian Ministries will comheard their cries of distress because of their mence activities marking its 21st anharsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their niversary and dedication of the Gloryland suffering. So I have come down to rescue Dome on March 6-9, 2013. them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile Founding Pastor, Iruofagha James, made and spacious land. It is a land flowing with this known at a press conference, last week. milk and honey – the land where the “This year, we will be officially dedicating Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. Look! The cry this temple (Dome), precisely on March 9. of the people of Israel has reached me, and I Five years ago, we started what we have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse thought was a simple and straightforward work of repairing the roof of our facility. them. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out But somewhere along the line, the minor work did not only become a major one; it of Egypt.’ (Ex. 3:7-10) The Lord God saw the oppression and

‘…Moses and Aaron went and spoke to Pharaoh. They told him, “this is what the LORD, the God of Israel says; let my people go, so they may hold a festival in my honour in the wilderness.’ (Ex. 5:1)


element that would prevent the breakthrough of a child of God. This might have continued for years, but God has come, to give liberty to His children. Be free, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth! Pharaoh is humiliated and overthrown for your sake. His grip over you has been broken by the power of the Almighty. Let us, therefore, be encouraged by these words: ‘Don’t be afraid; just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD Himself will fight for you just stay calm.’ (Ex. 14:13-14)

Ven. Ernest Onuoha, Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State,

21 Anniversary At Glory Christian Ministries


turned out to be one of the most ambitious projects that the ministry has ever undertaken. They discovered that they would have to, in essence, rebuild the church facility from the scratch,” said Pastor James. The event will kick-off with 3-day “power-packed” worship, thanksgiving and Word ministration, featuring the church’s chapters and branches from Nigeria and across the world. Guests expected at the celebration include Bishop Mike Okonkwo of TREM and Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly, among others.

‘Some Americans Think God Is An Illusion, A Myth’ their flanks open for an imminent, monumental and divine abandonment, defeat and destruction. They look like that army general called Naaman, who was powerful, wealthy, influential, but leprous. It is indeed sad that Ephraim ( America ) and Manasseh ( UK ) are both abandoning God that made them great; the God they once preached to the whole world. Today, Ghana , Tanzania and other countries are resisting the UK government on their gay for aids policy. The UK authority wants them to legalise homosexuality or have their aids cut. What a shame! I remember that it was just a pamphlet of the report on the Azusa Street revival in the US that trigAgency and stakeholders for providing vo- gered off the now great move of God in my By Kamal Tayo Oropo cational training to victims of the Okocountry and in other parts of Africa. They HE Lagos State House of Assembly has Baba fire, camped in Agbowa Relief Camp. have abandoned the God they once called for the construction of worship During the visit to Agbowa Camp, Chairpreached zealously to us. places in all the state’s relief camps, saying man House Committee on Special Duties, America, like Biblical Ephraim, is highly this would cater for the spiritual needs of Ipoola Omisoore, said places of worship in favoured, but it is also foolishly going displaced persons. the camps would help the displaced seek deeply into idolatry, Satanism, whoredom, The lawmakers, who also called for ademaking sinful altars, and apostasy. And quate funding of relief camps, commended help from God, given the fact that Nigerians are religious and believe that only God this has been depleting her hedge of dithe Lagos State Emergency Management can alleviate their pains. vine protection, pending imminent defeat and destruction. But if you will repent and th return to your source - God, He says that He will heal your wounds and have com“I am appealing to residents of Magodo passion on you. By Isaac Taiwo Phase II, people from every part of Lagos Once again, we thank Republican RepreT. Jude’s Anglican Church will comand the entire nation not to miss any of the sentative, Randy Forbes, for sponsoring mence activities marking its 26th anniver- programmes earmarked for the anniverthe timely resolution. sary on March 13, 2013. sary, which would take place at St. Jude‘s The event will feature medical care for the Anglican Church in Magodo Phase II,” said Pastor Agbo is author of ‘Power of Midnight Prayer’ and a with the Assemblies of God Nigeria. elderly, film show, healing, revival and de- Vicar of the Church, Rev. Canon Babatunde minister liverance. Adegoroye, at a media briefing.


ORSE, millions of ‘God Own Country’ citizens presently do not believe in the existence God at all. They say that God is just an illusion or a myth. They believe that the universe just happened. They believe more in science and technology. I watched one of them on television recently. He was labouring to prove to the whole world that his Creator does not exit. He has even written books on that. Yes, an American? Everything about and around God is presently


being ridiculed, questioned or threatened by this same people that He has favoured the most. America is fast deviating from its roots, history, source of strength and place in prophecy. They are busy instituting democracy, handing out aids, policing the world, but have left their own hedge broken. And the word of God says that if you break the hedge, a serpent will bite you. It is unfortunate that they, by their actions and inactions on the above issues, have thrown

State Assembly Wants Worship Centres For Relief Camps


St. Jude’s Celebrates 26 Anniversary


to receive from the Lord. The second are people who are indifferent to what the Lord offers. Jacob had a need. He knew that craftiness and human wisdom could not provide the solution. With a blood brother intent on revenge over a long-standing grudge, he was gripped by fear and gloom, until he came to the Jabbok River. There, with no chance of help from anywhere, he turned to God, pleading for His intervention. He literally wrestled with the angel of God, and refused to let him go until God blessed him. “And Jacob was left alone: and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And (the angel) said, “Let me go, for the day breaketh. And (Jacob) said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” Like Jacob, those who count on God’s promises, will surely see them fulfilled in their lives. Quite remarkably, it was while Jacob wrestled with the angel that he had a touch that changed his life and destiny forever. “Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us.” The story of Jacob’s success shows that prayer is never complete until you take it to the point where the Lord reaches out to you in mercy, touches and removes from you, the fear of man, or the seemingly insurmountable situation and circumstance. Great outpouring of God’s blessings awaits men who will pray like Jacob! Esau, on the other hand, symbolised the second group of people that do not see any need for prayer. Such people are nonchalant towards spiritual values. Like Esau, they are self-satisfied, but bereft of what matters most: the enduring blessings of birthright. They are contented but not converted. They are satisfied but not sanctified. They are physically, economically, intellectually and materially powerful, but not prayerful. They do not desire to be born again. They are contented with the way they are. They are hardly moved to pray. They despise the supernatural provisions of God. As a result, such people remain poor in the season of plenty. But if you are going to receive something from God, you will need to “come out from among them and be ye separate.” As you think of the problems, trials and hardships you are faced with, you probably would ask the same question that a famous song writer once asked: Does Jesus care? Well, He does and has always proved that He cares. One day, Jesus and His disciples were aboard a ship when a great storm arose. “And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and said unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?” His disciples, gripped by fear of imminent death, had misinterpreted His quietness to mean indifference and lack of care. It might be that you too have been ruminating on your experiences of late and wondering whether Jesus still cares. Perhaps, you have become so affected by what people say about your situation that you are beginning to query the truth about His care for you. Yet, as a proof that He loved and cared for the disciples with Him in the ship, “he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” He spoke just three words: “Peace, be still”, and normalcy was restored in an otherwise chaotic situation. The Lord can likewise rebuke every ill wind troubling your life today. It takes only a few words for Him to enthrone order and calmness. Though “there arose a great storm”, yet afterwards, with Jesus’ intervention, “there was a great calm”. We experience the touch of Christ’s care when we confess and repent from our sins. He proves His care by forgiving us. He remolds the character that is marred by sin. No matter what might have gone wrong, He will make it right. If your reputation and dignity have gone to the dogs because of your sinful indulgence, He will rehabilitate you morally, and through His grace, grant you forgiveness and salvation from sin. Conversion makes you a new creature. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new.” The Lord does more than forgive and cleanse us from sin. He cures, heals, delivers and sets free from demonic afflictions and oppression. You can count on His touch of compassion, which He demonstrated when He raised from the dead, the only son of a widow. There was nobody to care for her. With the only child who could have been a breadwinner of the home now dead, it was like light had gone out in her life. Her face bore bold prints of sorrow. Her husband had died. Now, her only son was dead. She had become hopeless and helpless at the same time. She had cried when her husband passed away and was comforted by her son. Now the son was dead, and there was no one left to comfort and wipe away her tears of sorrow. But it was at this point that Jesus stepped into her life, just when it seemed that hope was lost. “When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother”. The touch of compassion brought life to the dead. Whatever is dead in your life can be resurrected by the simple touch of Jesus. The widow lost her child; but what she lost, Jesus gave back to her. What have you lost that has made you so grief-stricken and dejected? Whatever it is, the Lord Jesus Christ can give you a replacement. You too can experience the touch of His compassion and consolation. Jesus is willing to wipe away your tears, mend your broken heart and put a smile on your face again. References: Genesis 32: 24-26; 33:9; Hosea 12:1; Mark 4:38,39; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Mark 8:22-25; Luke 7:11-13 (All scriptures are from Kings James Version).

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


IBRUCENTRE Overcoming Raging Spirits (III)

Six Biblical Principles Of Life By Prophet S. K. Abiara

By Seyi Ogunorunyinka AGING spirits speak with strange voices into people’s spiriR tual ears, urging them to do wrong things, telling them that there is no hope for them in life, prompting them to give up. They are violent and operate without pity. They can work everywhere, even in people’s dreams. These spirits are sponsored by incantations, curses and covenants. For instance, if a woman looking for a child goes to a herbalist and enters into a covenant, as soon as the child is born, raging spirits begin to operate in that child’s life to implement the covenant. That is why they claim a legal right to operate in some people’s lives, and when they are commanded to leave, they put up a defence. They are spiritual armed robbers. Raging spirits are envious. A lot of parents have yielded themselves to them and the spirits are using them (parents) to fight against their children. They get angry when their children are prospering, because they are not the ones behind their children’s success. Raging spirits roam about the garden of a person’s life, seeking ways to enter in. They are dog-like spirits that bark and sniff out a prey; they are battle ready and strike at the threshold of breakthroughs. They are swallowers and organised attackers. They hinder at all costs and are stubborn. Some people think that raging spirits cannot bother them because they are morally sound; it is unwise to underrate the devil. Look at Job; he did not commit any offence. Others think that they do not need deliverance because they grew up in Christian homes and as Christians. They, however, might be under an attack that is not readily evident. Millions of people that are morally sound suffer in ignorance. “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6) Activities of raging spirits They are expanders of problems. They blow up a small thing into a very big trouble. They are hijackers of stars. They steal the destinies of people and use them for themselves or give the same to others. A brother was experiencing a lot of problems. He noticed that no one prospered in the compound where he lived. He also noticed that all the cars tenants became grounded once they moved into the premises. He prayed and God asked him to pour anointing oil into a well in the compound. As he did, a tortoise came up. When he pulled the tortoise out, there was a bottle tied to its neck; in it were the names of all tenants in the house. The landlord had been hijacking their fortunes. Raging spirits are cursing spirits. They constantly pursue people with the spirit of death. Victims keep dreaming of death or seeing dead relatives, and so on. They are satanic arrows. They can locate anyone, anywhere and anytime. No barrier or distance can hinder them but the power of the Almighty. One of the activities of these is sending a spirit husband or wife after someone. These are spouses in the spiritual realm who harass victims sexually. Some are married to human beings through ancestral covenants or parental dedications. Most of the time, the victims are not aware of the existence of these spirits. Some people just find themselves having sex in their dreams. Most of the time, they feel the presence and touch of the spouse. These spirits wage war against marriages; they keep back or kill intending suitors. They prevent couples from having children or kill children. They also afflict people with strange terminal diseases. Pastor Seyi Ogunorunyinka is the General Overseer, The Promisedland Restoration Ministries, Surulere, Lagos,

HE Bible is the word of God, written by T men of old, who were inspired by the Spirit of God. The Bible is the greatest book worth reading, studying and meditating upon. We are to learn from it and use it as a road map for finding our way through the wilderness of life. According to the Psalmist, “the word of God is a lamp to our feet and a light for our path”. Whoever lives by the word would neither walk in the dark nor stumble. The Bible is complete because it reveals the mind of God to us. It brings to light

the lives of great people who have lived by x-raying their strengths and weaknesses. We are privileged to learn from these Biblical legends in order to avoid their pitfalls. One of such people is David. He gave Solomon, his son, some principles to live by: “And Solomon, my son, get to know the God of your ancestors. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord sees every heart and understands and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. So take this seriously. The Lord has chosen you to build a temple as his sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work” -I Chronicles 28:9-10. Before I go on to analyse these principles, let us see who David was. He was the most important king in Israel by the virtue of God’s grace. He was a boy, chosen by God to be king. He was a great warrior and poet but had many human weaknesses. As shepherd, he killed a giant. He became king of Israel during a period of great expansion. He ruled a large area through effective and godly leadership. David consolidated the kingdom and defeated the enemies of Israel. His kingdom was favoured, because God’s blessing was on him. David was

called a ‘man after God’s own heart’ because he loved God. David also influenced believers through the centuries by his writings. The above summary of the life of David shows he is a man we could learn from. The Bible is not biased because we are able to read about David’s victories as well as his mistakes and weaknesses. Yet, his words of advice to his successor are timeless. We can touch God’s heart by living according to these principles: Get to know God personally; learn God’s commands and discover what he wants you to do; worship God with wholehearted devotion; serve God with a willing mind; be faithful and don’t be discouraged. God bless.

We can touch God’s heart by living according to these principles: Get to know God personally; learn God’s commands and discover what he wants you to do; worship God with wholehearted devotion; serve God with a willing mind; be faithful and don’t be discouraged.

Should Christians Bow Before Images? Reviews By Femi Alabi Onikeku

or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity…” (Exodus 20: 45) Accordingly, he writes: “The errors of Pope John Paul II were that he publicly prostrated in front to the statue of Our Lady of Fatima and knelt before her portraits… his stature and athletic posture would have remained with him… at the time of Jesus, ailments were believed to have been caused by sin… this should serve as warning.” The author’s 273-page book takes on the core beliefs of the Catholic Church and attempts to weigh them in the balance of Scriptures. Of course, he finds they are wanting. But the Catholic Church views the Bible differently, as proponents of the faith ( put it: “ As Catholics were responsible for writing the New Testament (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit), the Catholic Church doesn’t “interpret” the Bible. We explain it. Protestants can only “interpret”, because they are not the author (guided by the Holy Spirit), and therefore, can only guess at the possible meaning of Opiah says that the Holy Father would not a chapter, passage or phrase, just as anyhave passed through the sufferings he did, if one can only guess at any author’s intenhe had not run afoul of one of the Ten Com- tions in any other book. As the author, the Catholic Church is the only proper authormandments, which says: “Thou shalt not ity to consult in matters pertaining to the make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, Bible.”

By Gbenga Akinfenwa

OPE Benedict XVI resigned the pontificate Thursday last week. But while some critics question his handling of sex abuse scandals by priests of the Catholic Church, others, like Emmanuel Opiah, author of Images in Places Of Worship, find a fault with his predecessor – Pope John Paul II. John Paul was a very charismatic figure, and was acclaimed as one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. It is reported that Mexican people made a statue of him entirely of keys they had donated, to symbolise that they had given him the keys to their hearts. He is also said to have made trips to 129 countries, consistently attracting some of the largest crowds in human history. But the pontiff took ill in his later years. And this is where Opiah’s analysis picks up a chair and sits down. One of John Paul’s doctors had disclosed that the pope had Parkinson’s disease in 2001, although there never was an official Vatican announcement about his illness. He was hospitalised with breathing problems caused by a bout of influenza on February 1, 2005. He left hospital on 10 February, but was subsequently hospitalised again with breathing problems two weeks later and underwent a tracheotomy. On March 31, 2005 following a urinary tract infection, he developed septic shock, a form of infection with a high fever and low blood pressure.

RESIDENT of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (North WestP ern Nigeria Union), Pastor Oyeleke Owolabi, has warned that commercialisation of churches constitutes a major challenge to

Nuggets For Achieving God-ordained Destinies

Adventist Preacher Says No To Commercialisation Of Churches the faith. Owolabi spoke at the weekend during the inaugural church service and dedication of newly elected Administrative Officers and Directors of Lagos Mainland Conference. At Seventh-day Adventist Church, Valley Side, Oregun, Lagos, venue of the event, the pastor described the trend as unfortunate and worrisome, saying churches ought to be established solely for spiritual purposes not as avenues for profiteering. He warned persons, who have embraced the unwholesome practice to desist, saying God’s punishment awaits unrepentant clergymen. Climax of the event was the dedication of the newly elected officers and directors into various departments. They are: Pastor Emmanuel Adeniyi (President), Pastor Ibrahim Jimoh (Secretary), Elder Adeyemi Adedokun (Treasurer), Pastor Adebisi Olajide (Ministerial/Family Life Director), Pastor Michael Adekola (Sabbath School, Personal Ministry and Evangelism Director), Pastor Joseph Okorie (Youth and Chaplaincy Director). Others include: Pastor Samuel Adebayo (Publishing and Spirit of Prophecy Director), Mrs. Chinwe Agomuoh (Children Ministries Director), Mrs. Olusola Adebiyi (Adventist Women Ministries Director), Elder Joseph Alao (Education Director) and Elder John Akande (Adventist Men Ministries Director). Pastor Owolabi charged the newly appointed persons to show commitment and dedication to their duties, stressing that their election is a divine calling, which must be taken seriously.


NLOOKERS gathered in hundreds. O They were filled with fury and disgust. Many cursed. Others wept inconsolably. All around lay the dead. Ten minutes ago, the market swarmed with buyers and sellers. Now, there were bloodstains and gory bits of flesh scattered everywhere. But the suicide bomber had once been an infant on its mother’s breasts, an innocent child clutching a football, with promise of a happy future. So, what happened? Wrong company? Unwise decisions? Could many more of society’s budding stars turn out to become armed robbers, prostitutes, gangsters, drug abusers etc? Jeremiah Bamigbayan’s 103-page Solid Foundation For A Brighter Future is a focus of a vital section of society - the young. It appreciates the peculiarity of their challenges and provides divine principles for preventing the crash of destinies. Bamigbayan approaches his subject, not as a distant observer, but as one who has the benefit of firsthand experience, one

who has had “long travail in the court of sin”. “I have been a victim of mediocrity,” he says, “till I had contact with the Lord and came to the realisation that it is only in Christ you can find the satisfaction you are craving for. I now rest on him, following His guidance and direction for my life. This has given me a new dream and a new focus.” The author acknowledges that today’s youths face daunting oppositions in their aspirations for the heights of glory. He digs, therefore, into history and unearths the lives of great men, propping them up as monuments for inspiration and encouragement. Among a wealth of nuggets, Bamigbayan stresses the need to face life with optimism, resilience and determination. Parents would find the volume a worthy gift for their children. Above all, youths would find in Bamigbayan a kindred voice in their struggles for relevance.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


Christ Jesus: The Ultimate In Power (II) By Julian Ejikeme Okechukwu FTER sinners, manipulated by demons, murdered the Lord A Jesus Christ, it became obvious that they acted in grave error. (See 1Cor.2:8) Satan regretted immediately. Killing Jesus stripped the Devil and his cohorts of all things. Death is the punishment for sin, since the days of Adam’s fall, as it is written, ‘the soul that sinneth, it shall die’ (Ezek.18:4b). Since the Lord Jesus did NOT sin, He merited unending life as a Man on earth. The barrage of fervid accusations of the conspirators was all lies. They were put in the mouth of people by the Devil in order to eliminate Him and His ministry, thinking that the Son of Man would sin in the process of unbearable torture. But the Lord Jesus tactically avoided sinning in thought, word and action. Since the process employed by the Devil promoted salvation and redemption of humanity, the sinless Christ submitted. Justice, based on any law (Divine or human, commutative or retributive) demands that Christ should live, for He sinned against no one. God, at this point, stepped in. He, in righteousness, gave His Divine life with all His omnipotence and attributes to the corpse of Jesus. By doing this, the Lord God raised the Man Jesus. And as Divine Life cannot be separated from God, they became One, sharing the same life. In this way, God bestowed sovereign authority and power over all things upon Jesus. Jesus Christ became custodian of ULTIMATE power and authority over the entire realm of existence, whether visible or invisible. This is the supreme power He had in heaven as God. His Ascension Day declaration was fantastic: ‘And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth’ (Mt.28:18). So, the Man Jesus Christ resurrected on the third day not only with ALL powers on earth and under the earth, but also with ALL powers in heaven given by God. Christ lost human life and was given Divine life. Saint Paul affirmed Christ’s claim in his apostolic letter to young Timothy that this will soon be made manifest to all: ‘The appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of

lords’ (1Tim.6:14b,15). Being the only Potentate, He has dominion over all things. His power is unlimited. He can do all that He desires, where and when. Apostle Paul indicated that Christ now has pre-eminence in all things. ‘And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence’ (Col. 1:18b). Pre-eminence connotes that the Lord Jesus is ‘First’ in all things; and must be the ‘Last’. In His revelation from Heaven to Beloved John, Christ also said the same thing. That day, John fainted for fright at the glorious sight and power of the Lord Jesus. ‘And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last’ (Rev.1:17). The risen Christ took time to re-introduce Himself to John. He gave His proper identity: ‘I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death’ (Rev.1:18). The resurrected Christ is Almighty. ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty’ (Rev.1:8). He is the Possessor of all powers in heaven, on earth and under the earth. The resurrection feat served many wonderful purposes and fulfilled Divine counsel, part of which include: Justice was done. It would have amounted to great injustice for Christ to remain dead in the grave, yet without sin. God manifested His own righteousness. ‘And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday’ (Ps.37:6); The Word of God was not broken that ONLY souls that sin should die. ‘And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit…’ (1Tim.3:16) The Man Jesus was totally vindicated of all false accusations levelled against Him. ‘And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead’ (Rom.1:4); God re-affirmed the veracity of His eloquent testimonies from heaven before men on Christ’s Divine Sonship: ‘…This is my beloved Son…’ at His Baptism (Mt.3:17), also at transfiguration (Mk.9:7), and few days to His death (Jn.12:28); …Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee (Ps.2:7;

Heb.5:5). The Man became partaker of Divinity, and through Him all humans could be partakers of Divine nature. ‘By these, ye might be partakers of the divine nature…’ (2Pet.1:4). By sharing His Divine life with the Man Jesus, God declares that He is directly Begotten of God. And in this way we were indirectly begotten also of God through Him. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’ (1Pet.1:3). God and Jesus became practically One. Anyone seeing Jesus sees God Almighty. Apostle Thomas proclaimed on seeing the Lord Jesus: ‘…My Lord and my God’ (Jn.20:28). While the Lord Jesus secured power over the earth on the Cross, He appropriated it at His resurrection together with the supreme power bestowed by God upon Him. All that Christ gained by His suffering and death were appropriated at His resurrection from the dead. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, given as a son for our ransom on Calvary and then crowned… at resurrection, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Is.9:6). The omnipotent power, with which He rose from the dead, distinguished Him from all else. He alone can transform a murderous criminal into a saint in an instant, by mere confession of faith in Him. His ultimate power quickens any that is dead in sin (cf. Eph.2:5,6). Being the light and life of men, He is the only One that guarantees your life here and hereafter, in peace and glory, if you believe. Okechukwu writes from Lagos.

Newer Perspectives In Passion And Praise By Femi Alabi Onikeku AUGHT amid a world C fraught with challenges, there is need for people to

Resident Pastor, Glory Christian Centre (GCM), Satellite Town, Yemisi Duggan (left); Founding Pastor, GCM, Dr. Iruofagha S. James and Resident Pastor, GCM, Odo-Olowu, Ben Chiadika, during a press conference on the 21st anniversary of the church and formal dedication of Gloryland Dome.

Kingdom Of Light Counts Down To 10th Anniversary By Abraham Oladipupo AINTING the town red, attendance by P great men of God, very huge plan… And Samson Iyinola Makinwa, presiding Pastor of Kingdom of Light Ministries, Idimu, Lagos, reels out the vision for celebration of the church’s 10th anniversary, slated for April 2013. Makinwa is one of a rare species of clerics who combines ministerial calling with business acumen. Mr. Industry, as he is fondly called in the world of enterprise, he is the CEO and Chairman of Techo Quip Nigeria Limited, a company involved in equipment design, solid minerals and agro-allied products. “I was an Area Pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of God before setting up the Kingdom of Light Ministries,” Makinwa said, as he explained how the ministry started. “God had been beckoning at me since 1993, but I didn’t understand much about it. When He eventually called me, I was on my way from India to China on a business trip. When the message came, I said, ‘it is not possible.’ I said, ‘okay, when I get home I would expand the church.’ But He told me that He was not talking about ex-


panding an altar; He wants me to build Him a fresh altar. At the time, I was 52years-old. I wondered how many men of God were called at 52. In 2002, however, I heeded the call and we commenced service on February 8, 2003. Ever since, God has been with us and has been good to us.” It was smooth sailing at first. According to the pastor, “We started fairly big; we had our building. It was well furnished and equipped. We had a lot of people that

came to us. And presently, we have other assemblies here in Nigeria and one in London. They are all doing fine. But trouble reared its head: “We had people that joined us with ulterior motives,” said Makinwa, “but after sometimes, things changed for the better. The earlier challenges of not having likeminded people brought us a slow pace on numerical growth and spiritual development. In the first four years, God helped us to overcome these. We now have people who have the mind of God; ready to work and dedicated to the ministry.” The cleric, who has a different take on the proliferation of churches, said, “churches are not enough.” According to him, “if we multiply the churches we have in Nigeria by 10, it is still not enough. I don’t see it as having too many churches. How many people go to church? I don’t think there is a single congregation of 1 million worshippers. There are a lot of people out there, so we don’t have enough churches, and people should stop using phrases, like ‘proliferation of churches’ to stop the move of God.”

climb away from the ‘maddening crowd’, reach into heights of inspired praise and worship, and descend thereafter, refreshed and adrenalised to claim every divine promise for success. “But haven’t we been doing just that?” you might ask. “Yes,” replies Funmilayo Oloyede, “but there is much more.” Oloyede is the brain behind Passion and Praise, a new platform “borne out of the desire for an unadulterated worship of God and rekindling of fire in men to bring them to the throne of His Grace.” The Assistant Worship Leader at Daystar Christian Centre, Lagos, Oloyede seems to appreciate the role of worship in everyday life. Importantly, “God seeks such to worship Him in spirit and in truth,” she says. “Christ said the harvest is ripe but the reapers are few. It is only iron that can sharpen iron. The time we are living is a very sensitive one. The spirit is willing to do the work of God but the flesh is weak. We, therefore, need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. “Passion and Praise is a platform for people to come together from all walks of life, under one roof and in one spirit, to offer worship to God. There is power in synergy; this was evident at the meeting of the saints in the Upper Room where the power of God moved greatly. Passion and Praise is, therefore, a platform to bond, encourage and renew strength in His awesome presence,” says Oloyede. She outlines the outfit’s Scripture-based thrust in 1 Peter 2:3-9: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him, who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” Besides holding worship concerts, seminars and choir training, among others, Oloyede says Passion and Praise has a vision to reach out to the less privileged.

‘ChurchIsNo Man’s Property’ HILE many people may have been used by God to build or W support the Church, God retains sole ownership of the body, says Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Rt. Rev. Aloysius E. Agbo. The cleric, who tried to correct impression that a single person could appropriate the Church, said this during the first session of the seventh synod held at St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Amufie, Enugu State. The Bishop lamented that some worshippers go to the extent of dictating to the leadership how the Church should be governed, even when they have no spiritual or moral basis for such arrogance.


Sunday, March 3, 2013 45

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Business ISSUES

‘Visa Reciprocity’Crucial In Trade Treaties From the Apartheid South Africa to the war-torn Sierra Leone, and now Mali, Nigeria, at great cost to its citizens, has played the ‘godfather’, spending fortunes from its bank of goodwill and economy, to restore sanity and freedom in far-way lands, yet demanding little or nothing in return By Marcel Mbamalu IGERIA, at the government-to-government N level, has continued to sign a handful of trade treaties to boost bilateral economic ties. But tailoring these agreements in a manner that would strengthen local individuals and companies doing business abroad has become imperative, following obvious challenges encountered in the process of procuring visa to some economically-strategic countries like China, the United States and Canada, among others. Interestingly, some beneficiaries of Nigeria’s benevolence — South Africa, Sierra Leone and Zambia, among many others — do not appear to show commensurate “generosity” in their business visa requirements for genuine traders in Nigeria. But a simple government intervention and/or, perhaps, legislation by the National Assembly, could help matters. Existing international “protocols,” specifically the E1 and E2 treaties, when explored by government, could assist the private sector in the area of smooth visa procurement and business trips to countries currently having trade treaties with Nigeria. The expectation, in many quarters, is that “visa reciprocity,” should become Nigeria’s simple demand in any such agreement in the future. The western world, including the US, the ‘pervasive’ China, and third world countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Djibouti — that do not have the kind of power or trade advantage that Nigeria has, all extract benefits for local business and company owners when they go into international treaties. US-based Business and Immigration Lawyer, McAnthony Nduka-Eze, who responded to The Guardian’s inquiry in Lagos, argued that the perennial challenge of business trip abroad could be resolved “if lawmakers are aware and only put their powers to full and good use…because that is what nations are using today. “I find that lawmakers may not be aware that this is the particular way to proceed. Under the visa classification in the US, when you have the E1 and E2 treaty, it means that citizens of that country can enter the United States, live and

Member, House of Representative, Olabiyi Oyekola (left), Member House Committee on Agriculture, Ismail Hussein; Head of Leaf, British American Tobacco Iseyin Agronomy, Mr. Thomas Omofoye; Area Operations Director, British American Tobacco Nigeria; Francisco Toso; and Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Adegbenga Kaka, during the BATN/BATIA farmers productivity award ceremony in Iseyin, Oyo State.

work there, either as an investor or a treaty trader. You ca now enter the US or Europe with this visa that allows you to live and work there with your family,” Nduka-Eze advised. According to him, the treaty comes with a lot of benefits, one of which is access to Dollardenominated loans and affordable interest rates, a big challenge in Nigeria. “The second one,” he said, “is quality affordable education without international school fees. It is quite easy but the issue is this knowledge gap. Yet, it is the government, on its own, that can do that. Recently, the British Prime Minister visited India and was basically making visa overtures to

businesspersons in India, basically liberalising the visa regime. He was canvassing a special classification of visa for business people that would take just 24 hours to process. It is believed that this could help a Nigerian trader, who, for instance, wants to gain access to China. China-bound Nigerian business men currently apply for visitor visas, which has a very short ‘life cycle.’ Most of them (the traders) often get criminalised and, most times, put in jail, not because they committed any real crime but because they have taken the wrong visa classification; whereas, under the Chinese law, the traders here are entitled to two-year permanent visa. Due to lack of knowledge (the Chinese

money and did not get anything in return. Probably Nigeria and South Africa, as the largest countries in Africa, should have visa reciprocity, which we do not have at the moment. And these Visas are classified as business visas so that business people should not be going through the challenges they are having right now, where most of them are applying for visitor visas and are being denied. “There are wonderful visa classifications for business people that would not only allow them do temporary business in any country but would actually authorise them to live, work there and access benefits that the citizens of those countries have.”

Equities Market Posts N213 billion Profit In February By Godfrey Okpugie Deputy Lagos City Editor Though the stock market, in Lagos, in the month of February was generally bullish, profit taking by investors, however, had some occasional negative impact on the upward movement of the market major indices. In the first week of the month, the AllShare Index (ASI) appreciated by 828.37 basic points or 2.62 per cent to close on Friday, February 1, at 32,411.86, and market capitalisation on that day went up by 2.65 per cent to close at N10.370 trillion. All the sectorial indices recorded increases too. The positive trend continued even in the second week, which ended on Friday, February 8, with ASI recording an appreciation of 901.63 points or 2.78 per cent to close at 33,313.49. Market capitalisation also surged by 2.78 per cent to close at N10.659 trillion. None of the sectorial indices was left behind in the upward movement as all of them appreciated by various degrees of percentages.

However, the emergence of the bears in the third week, occasioned by profit taking, depressed the market indices at the close of business on Friday, February 15, with ASI flagging by 55.04 basic points or 0.17 per cent to close at 33,258.45 and capitalisation dipped by 0.15 per cent to close at N10.643 trillion. In the fourth week, which ended on Friday 22, ASI sprang up again by 636.63 points or 1.91 per cent to close at 33,895.08 and capitalisation went up by the same percentage to close at N10.846 trillion. Though all the sectorial indices appreciated, only the insurance index went down by 6.54 per cent. In the last week of the month, market volatility started to rock the market. For example, on Monday February 25, ASI shedd 84 points to close at 33,811.08 and capitalisation lost N27 billion to close at N10.819 trillion. On Tuesday, February 26, the market indices suffered further decline. While ASI sustained a depreciation of 197.21 points to close at 33,613.87, capi-

talisation dipped by N63 billion to close at N10.756 trillion. However, on Wednesday, February 27, the market made spirited attempt to rise as ASI recorded an increase of 122.95 basic points to close at 33,736.82 and capitalisation surged by N39 billion above the previous day’s figure to close at N10.795 trillion. But this rising profile

was truncated at the end of the month on Thursday, February 28, with ASI slumping by 661.68 points to close lower at 33,076.14 below the previous day’s level. Capitalisation also ebbed by N212 billion to close at N10.583 trillion. On the whole, the month, which opened with an ASI of 32,411.86 closed at

33,076.14, an increase of 664.28 basic points. Market capitalisation for the same period opened at N10.370 trillion and at the close of the month on February 28, it peaked at N10.583 trillion. This translated to an appreciation of N213 billion during the month.

CCN Tasks Nigeria On Carbon Credit Earnings ARBON Credit Network (CCN), an C organisation that promotes the development of Clean Development

CDM projects, is intended to assist developing countries achieved reduction in carbon emission. Mechanism (CDM), has faulted China has continued to earn bilNigeria’s reluctance to harness the lion of dollars every year through funding opportunity in Carbon the fund to grow its economy, susCredit Earning like countries such tain green growth, invest in clean as China and India have done. It says technology and create jobs. But the country has no clean or define many Africa countries, including process to access the fund. Nigeria, have not gained from the Carbon Credit Earning is a brain fund because of their reluctance Child of the United Nations to develop CDM projects. Framework Convention on Climate In the past one year, CCN has Change (UNFCCC), which Nigeria is been working with interest group a signatory. on CDM development and carbon Carbon Fund, which is awarded for trading. It will on March 7 at the

Eko Hotel, Lagos, launch the network officially. The event will feature display of bio fuel and green energy technology. This includes that cookers that use gas, kerosene, firewood, sawdust or charcoal that are created from clean energy. “We formed CCN to become the premier platform where interested stakeholders come to learn, develop, promote and increase awareness about clean technology or projects that have capacity to lower carbon footprint, to make us eligible for carbon credit earning,” said Femi Oye, a promoter of the network.

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday March 3, 2013



Choas Ladipo Stree before closure

The Big Blame Game Over Market Closure The popular Ladipo auto parts market was recently shut down by the Lagos State Government on ground of unsavory sanitary condition; but investigation points to amicable resolution of the standoff following the intervention of Southeast political and traditional leaders By Geoff Iyatse, Chijioke Iremeka, Paul Adunwoke and Kemi Ajani HERE are indications that, one week after the official closure, representatives of the locked-out Ladipo traders and the Lagos State Government may have reached a compromise on how to resolve the lingering issue. The “far-reaching action, according to government officials, was based on poor sanitary condition of the market, leading to blockage of water channels. Sources confirmed that the market associations had agreed to clear the bank of the central canal to achieve the 15metre setback specified by the government. This comes amid allegations that the closure was to force the market association pay a huge sum of money into government coffers. But the State Government, through its Commissioner for Information, Mr. Rotimi Ibirogba, said the government is neither interested in driving out the traders nor collecting money from them. According to him, the “official desire” is to encourage the traders to keep the environment clean and abide by the rules and regulations. “We have no plan to drive them out or to collect money from them; we only want them to clean up the area because it is untidy. Traders


should make sure that they are law-abiding citizens. I believe that they are responsible. We are not driving them out; we are only trying to sanitise the environment,” he added. Meanwhile, Governor Babatunde Fashola may have been under intense pressure to lift the closure order. First, his government is losing tax revenues, just as the displaced traders constituted themselves into a nuisance in neighborhoods, especially in Papa Ajao, Mushin, where they rove day and night. The development, coupled with complaints from residents of the area, might have been a source of worry to the governor and his cabinet.

The State Government is said to have secured agreement with the market leaders and warehouse owners that those who trade on the access roads would be permanently disbanded, a threat that places much responsibility on the traders who will have to convince the illegal occupants to stay away. This is not the first time access roads in the market will be cleared of illegal traders. But each time the government did that, they returned with more vigour. Shop owners trace failure to stop street trading in the market to the greed of the Ladipo Central Executive Council (LACEC)

AST week, a delegation from the Southeast Lwithreportedly visited Alausa in connection the market closure. Those close to the dis-

Shop owners trace failure to stop street trading in the market to the greed of the Ladipo Central Executive Council (LACEC). Members of the council are accused of allocating the street to traders. “Each time they send them away, LACEC will come to reallocate the spaces to traders. They collect as much of N5,000 as monthly rent from each trader. And they are the first people to sign agreement with the government on cancellation of street trading. But they will never abide by the content of that agreement,” lamented a trader. LACEC has come under fire in the past one week for its role in the Ladipo ordeal. Members of the council, it was learnt, have no shops in the market. Yet, the money made from the underground economy of Ladipo goes into their common purse, which they share as they wish. Each of the 36 units that make up Ladipo has held at least one meeting since the beginning of the crisis. Top on the Agenda is how to break the hold of LACEC on the market or, at least, restructure the council to give its control to the “real traders.” LACEC solely runs the economy of the trading platform Ladipo offers. It appears the structure of the market is intentionally designed to create limitless opportunities for the council. Today, there are no parking lots in the market but one could park anywhere on the streets for fees ranging from N300 to N500. There are no dedicated market workshops but auto mechanics are in every corner, where customers pay for both service and parking space. The millions of Naira realised from these daily activities go to LACEC. Ironically, receipts issued by the LACEC officials bear the names and logos of state and local government agencies, which had long outlawed street parking.

cussions said, after series of meetings, the State Government shifted grounds on its insistence that the closure should remain “until further notice.” “Many people were involved in the meetings. I believe Fashola must have listened to the traditional rulers who travelled from the East to intervene in the matter. Hopefully, we should be expecting full resumption of trading from next week,” said a trader. Another source hinted that a cleanup exercise would commence tomorrow. The exercise, which includes the removal of wastes in and around the market arena, is expected to last for two days. Considering the volume of cleanup work, which the government representatives may be on ground to supervise, it is unlikely that full trading will take place the next week. Right from ‘Toyota Bus Stop’ through ‘Promise Land’ to Fatai Atere are shacks along the canal, which the government says must be removed before the re-opening order can be issued. The demolition could lead to another round of displacement, as a number of people live in HE closure comes with huge cost though difthe shanties, which were partly destroyed last ferent associations and individuals give conyear. flicting figures. Just few months back, each shop owners were said to pay N2,750 each as LSO, the State Government is said to have tax covering six months. Each year, the traders secured agreement with the market leaders renew their trade permits with about N4,000. and warehouse owners that those who trade They pay others charges to different agencies on the access roads would be permanently dis- of the state. banded, a threat that places much responsibil- A recent report put the number of shops in ity on the traders who will have to convince the market at a conservative 5,000 where operthe illegal occupants to stay away. ators put daily turnover at N2 billion. Apart This is not the first time access roads in the from shop owners, auto mechanics also make market will be cleared of illegal traders. But huge fortune daily. There are other auxiliary each time the government did that, they retraders who also earn living from the trading turned with more vigour. centre.




THE GUARDIAN, Sunday March 3, 2013


Govt, Traders, Residents In Dire Straits

What has the government done? It is just to give a dog bad name so as to hang it. I want to believe that this is serious economic sabotage. It was learnt that the traders themselves had area boys, who used top extort money If government doesn’t want a mar- pushed from motorists, away from the notorious ToyBus stop. Now, the traders, who protected ket there, let them close the mar- ota the motorists in the past, are the ones doing ket so that both the traders and the extortion. the government alike would rest. LSO, members of the Nigeria Police Force A (NPF) dispatched to the embattled market How can the government be so have not helped matters. There were reports of maltreatment of traders, as they maltreated ruthless to its tax payers? I of the traders for trying to gain access to thought there should be a form of many the market by the police. Others, who were able to “settle” the police, appreciation that we pay our rents, were allowed access to their stalls to pick some rates and other unclassified pay- items for sale. According to Tolani Ogunbunmi, a trader, inments we make to both state and cessant closure of the Ladipo Market has become government’s regular way of extorting local governments money from traders outside the statutory Speaking on the loss, Secretary of the Aguiyi Ironsi Traders Union, Christian Igbaunam, told pressmen the market was losing over N100 billion per day He said: “We have over 15,000 registered members. Individual member make at least N10 million daily.” A trader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “whenever I offload my containers, I make nothing less than N15 million. Just imagine what I have lost.” Another that gave his name as Jude Tobechukwu, said: “We are losing billions of naira to the closure. I have lost over N10 million since the closure. That is a huge sum of money that even the government do not want to lose.” Members of the Odekimade/Olanibi Market Association said they lose, at least, N5 million estimated profit daily. The same section was closed from July 19 to August 20 last year. But they traded the first two days of the closure since it was not considered part of main market. It was shutdown on Wednesday morning on the arrival of the state’s Commissioner for Environment, Tunji Bello. “We have no business with what is happening in the main market. When the section was closed, the main market was not affected. We were not served; so, we wonder why our shops should be closed,” queried one of the traders. Meanwhile, some of the traders have taken to the role of miscreants also known as ‘area boys’, collecting money from motorists at the Toyota Bus Stop, along the Oshodi-Isolo Expressway. The traders, who were sighted, extorting money from motorists, urged the drivers to lend their voice to the call for immediate reopening of the market. “Please, we are traders. This is not the work we do; but we have to keep our families going. We are not forcing you to pay, but just to help us. Please, help us beg Fashola to re-open the markets. “Our leaders have begged the government with N30 million, but they refused, demanding N100 million from us. Is it fair? Where does the government expect us to get such amount of money?”

taxes and rents that they pay to the government. He said that the market generates huge amount of income for the state government, yet it has made no input in the market. “We have paid all that the government demanded of us; so, why do they lock us outside? Fashola is not being fair. The last time they closed the market, we paid N30 million to a former Governor of Lagos before the market was re-opened,” Ogunbunmi alleged. He noted that the roads had remained in poor condition, as government looked the other way. “We spend huge amount of money on sewage and waste disposal. At the end of the day, they would want to blame us. I’m tired of this whole thing. If the government wants to demolish that market, let them do it once and for all. “Why is the government busy dealing with markets in the state?” Wondered, Emeka Ihejirika. “Few months ago, it was Ketu fruits market, now, Ladipo. You need to know the amount of money we paid to get the market re-opened each time they locked it. “They will always come usingf environmental pollution, as reason for the closure. But truth is that, all these claims are lies from the pit of hell. They claimed that we don’t have toilets and that we defecate in canals. But there are several quarters with toilets, built by the traders. Fashola didn’t provide public toilet for us, where he carts away millions of naira. “What has the government done? It is just to give a dog bad name so as to hang it. I want to believe that this is serious economic sabotage. If government doesn’t want a market there, let them close the market so that both the traders and the government alike would rest. “How can the government be so ruthless to its tax payers? I thought there should be a form of appreciation that we pay our rents, rates and other unclassified payments we make to both state and local governments.” A food vendor at the market, Mrs. Shola Adebowale said she was shocked by government’s action. “I have a number of children that I’m taking care of and, where do I get the money to feed them now that the market is closed? And I do not have an idea, when they will re-

open it. “I’m scared because the market might be set ablaze, just like some other markets in Lagos, where government has taken full possession. I’m talking about the ordeal of Yaba traders, who were given three days to evacuate the market,” she said. Adebowale, who informed that her neighbour had lost a fortune at the Yaba market, expressed the fear that her foodstuffs and other personal belongings at the Ladipo market might be lost. “I really do not know what government is doing with N100 million it is demanding from us. It’s very unfair.” For Ebele Nze, a television repairer, the state government is sending wrong signals to the traders, who are mainly of the Igbo stock, that they are not needed in Lagos. “Last week, I heard some people say, Igbos had dominated the management and leadership of the market and something needed to be done. This is just few weeks ago and now, we are into this.”

…I locked My Money Inside My Shop; Now, I Have No Food To Eat

ICTOR Ike feels bad about the incident because he locked all his money inside his stall and cannot access the shop. “When I closed on Saturday, I locked my money inside my shop with the hope of using it on Monday, but now I can’t access my stalls.” A food vendor, Mrs. Dorcas Ayo also counts her loss, saying she couldn’t sell the food she cooked that fateful day. “I woke up early Monday morning and prepared food, which I would sell in the market. Unfortunately, when I got to the market, I was confronted with the closure; I felt so bad because the food had already been prepared, and I don’t have any other place to sell it,” she lamented. “We are losing a lot because one week is enough for some one to make money. Now, my business has been crippled; I have a lot of goods to deliver to my customers but there is no way I can do this. Every week, I make over N200,000. Now, I am losing the money and I will pay back the loan, including the interest because I borrowed the capital.”


N10 million to open this market, they will tell us N80 million. We must ensure that anybody, who does not have any shop in Ladipo, will not hold any position. They are the ones causing this trouble for us. “How will they go and sign that there will not be street trading and parking of vehicles along the street in Ladipo, yet they will go and collect money from people and apportion spaces to them? At the end, they will be the ones benefiting from the crises that they created. “If they have stalls and suffer the way we do, they will not be able to do anything that would lead to the closure of the business. They cause this problem because they want to collect N50 million from us. But nemesis will catch up with them.” A food seller in the market, Mrs. Bilikisu Ganiyu said the market leaders collected N500 each from each trader a week before the closure of the market to settle government officials at the end of the day’s business. “But, they finally shut down the market,” she said.

…Residents Groan At Police’s Maltreatment And Harassment

ESIDENTS residing within the closed market have expressed concern over the security barrier and routine harassment at the axis. Mr. Idowu Faronbi, a resident in the market, said that he had peacefully lived in the market in the last 30 years and had all his children in the community, but since the closure of the market on Monday, he hadn’t been able to sleep well due to the activities of police and Ajagungbale (Land grabber), parading his apartment at the mid night. “I was standing in front of my house yesterday and they started parading inside the market. When they saw me, they asked me to leave the premises but I told them that I’m in front of my house. Still, they didn’t allow me access to my house; so, I had to look for a place to sleep.” According to him, many people do not know that there is a residential area in the market; the reason the police did not allow him to enter his house. “Ladipo is not only a market but also a residential area for many people,” he said. Faronbi explained that, before the closure, the landlords association had warned the traders to …LACEC Is The Problem …We Must Resist clean the environment regularly. Non-stall Owners From Taking Positions “We are suffering because the police can ASIL Okeke, another stakeholder took the come at anytime to pursue us. We don’t rest. story from an entirely new dimension: “The Our children can no longer go to school most problem we are facing now in Ladipo is caused times. If they sneak out in the morning, they by the Ladipo Central Executive Council would not allow them in by the time they are (LACEC),” he said. back.” “They are the ones that sabotage whatever we “There was an issue on ground before the clodo because they do not own stalls and do not sure of the market. There are land grabbers popfeel the pain we feel each time the market is ularly known as Ajagungbale in Ladipo. They closed. They connive with the government to have tried to drive us away from the market by rob us. coming in the night to destroy our belongings “We held a meeting around 2pm today so that we can leave the community. (Thursday) and we agreed that anybody, who “They are now capitalising on the closure of does not have a shop in the market, will not be the market to make life miserable for us. They our leader any more. The LACEC do not own connive with law enforcement agents to drive any business and that is why they are exploitus away from our various homes. The majority ing and sabotaging us. of the residents have lodged complaints; yet, we “If the government says it’s going to collect have not got our freedom of movement. “One of the residents called me three days ago that he wanted to come to Ladipo. He wanted to know if they could let him in, but I told him to come. Unfortunately, they didn’t let him in. they should understand that it was the market that is shut down not the residents in Ladipo.”



…Police Tortured And Extorted N8,000 From Me NE of the traders, Benjamin Opaifa, narrates O his ordeal in the hands of the Police, “I wanted to carry two engines from my shop, because I had a customer waiting for them. But when I got to the place, I met security men, who ordered me to kneel down and raise my hands, following another instruction to roll on the ground. “I did that; but it got to a point that I became angry and wouldn’t want to do anything again. I resisted them and one of them called me and asked what I wanted. I told them, and they initially asked me to pay N30, 000 and negotiation ensued. Eventually, they collected N8000 from me. The police are busy making their own money with the crises at hand. For some people, they collected N7000 per engine. But I paid N8000.

Environmental Or Political War?

TRADER, who pleaded anonymous said, “We A were at the market on Monday and some people, who claim to be environmental taskforce came and later in the day, they turned PoSprawling shacks expected to be pulled down before traders can open.



ThE GUARDIAN, Sunday March 3, 2013


how To Increase Local Content In Oil, Gas, By Egbe By Geoff Iyatse EDRO Egbe, Chief Executive Officer of WelP tek Limited, was a major voice behind formulation and passage of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Local Content Law. he and other members of the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) backed on robust goodwill of the umbrella body to champion the enactment of the law considered a valuable platform for advancing the competitiveness of local firms. About three years after the law was passed, Egbe believes there are still challenges that need to be addressed to place the local content development for the right path. he considers inadequate technology as the greatest challenge facing local firms. Egbe recently organised an exhibition in Port harcourt, Rivers State, as avenue for the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and other interested organisations to evaluate the capacity of local companies. he told The Guardian in an interview that the event was to show the NCDMB that Nigeria can also boast of sophisticated equipment notwithstanding the challenges facing the local firms. Egbe said it has been his dream to make people understand the evolution of his company so that in hundred years time people can look back to the company, consider how it nurtured its success story and learn from the process. “The government has a responsibility to nurture enterprises as long as they have growth potentials to employ people; create knowledge and advance technology. What we did was to confirm that Nigerian companies are beginning to record success. And the success is based on the fact that there is supporting law — the Local Content,” he noted. he acknowledged the tough times that face small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are into manufacturing of oil and gas components. he observed the role of big players, which utilise the components, in driving small firms to achieve reasonable success. According to him, users of components need to encourage small companies and define standards. “Standards can be defined overseas but it is much better if that is done taken into consideration local environment based on needs. If we are going to modify, increase or reduce the standards to suit our environment, we need the big players like Weltek to sub-let manufacturing components to small players,” he said. “The government has all kinds of ambitions about growing small enterprises,” he noted, “but the truth is those enterprises must be fed by big players that handle major components of services where they are needed.” Egbe observed that progress has been recorded in terms of growth of local firms


following the passage of the Local Content Law. he said PETAN and other stakeholders The law, he said, has recorded distinct success are looking at different possible stratebecause it is driven by the entrepreneurs, ingies they can adopt to make the local cluding PETAN members, who have clear vision players more competitive. of what they want to achieve. “If we go to the government and say give

us part of the job, we will act beggarly. What we have decided to do is to look at the component of project, define the local participation based on some technical and mathematical algorithms. We have to look at every component of the job and develop what we call the local economic impact optimization, looking the net present value of the project. Then, we look at the internal rate of return, which investors and government have agreed to achieve. After that, we will come up for negotiation. We will talk to the client about what he wants to achieve. And there has to be trade-off,” he continued. The trade-off, he said, could mean allowing local companies more time to deliver the project because of some peculiar local challenges, such as funding and infrastructure, they have to face. Eventually, according to him, the government will realise that local economy fare better when more local companies are engaged to execute jobs. “The problem we have when we just pronounce figures is that we have not done local economic impact optimization. It is only when you do that that you can accurately measure the amount of employment that you would have created when local companies succeed,” Egbe said. he noted that the continuous delay of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) poses challenge to the oil and gas industry. he argued that a diversified economy would position the country for a more sustainable growth, and that it is the right way to go. “Change will come for local companies through either PIB or the Local Content Law,” he predicted. The oil magnate noted that the sector would experience genuine growth when local companies begin to compete with international oil companies (IOCs) provided “they will not turn themselves to another multinationals.” he continued: “We must look at models like Brazil and other countries that have been able to grow local natural enterprises. he hinted that some local contractors, hiding under the cloak of the Local Content Law, are fronting for some foreigners — a challenge long identified as the most likely albatross of the legislation.

FRC Boss Tasks Business Leaders On IFRS hIEF Executive Officers of C companies in the country have been urged to embrace the

tant aspect of global financial reporting, stating that local accounting practices are no longer International Financial Reportadequate for the financial system. ing Standards (IFRS) by invest“In recent times a number of ing in relevant training to the Nigerian companies have raised framework a success. capital from international stock The charge was given by Execu- markets; others have established tive Secretary of the Financial Re- significant presence in other juporting Council of Nigeria (FRC), risdictions. Also a good number Mr. Jim Obazee, during an execu- of Nigerian entities hold the secutive briefing on IFRS for CEOs rities of non-Nigerian issuers.  and top management officers of “Therefore, for a better undercompanies in Lagos last week. standing and appreciation of the he identified IFRS as an impor- risks and making decisions about

the flow of economic capital, it makes sense that financial statements prepared in the country use the global financial reporting benchmarks”, he said. Obazee encouraged the CEOs and other top management staff of companies to make use of the facilities provided by the FRC in broadening knowledge of in the standards. According to him, the roadmap for adoption of IFRS in Nigeria specifies that publicly listed entities and significant

public interest entities are to prepare their financial statements using applicable IFRS by January 1, 2012 while other public interest entities were expected to mandatorily adopt IFRS for statutory purposes in January this year. The third phase of adoption mandates Small and Mediumsized Entities (SMEs) to adopt IFRS as January 1, 2014 for the year ended December 31, 2014.

Marketers Trade Under ‘The Supervision’ Of Police, Task Force CONTINUED FROM PAGE 47 lice and arrested some people. They arrested 12 security men at the Aguiyi Ironsi. “I want to say that problem is not environmental, against the

government’s claim. It has to do with leadership tussles. There has been an unresolved problem with that sector. The case has been in the court for over eight years. They wanted to collapse the leadership but the man took them to court. “Last week Friday, LACEC with other traders embarked on a full scale environmental sanitation and we cleaned up everywhere. Weeks ago, it was the same thing. So, the problem is not environmental. We have 36 sectors here and each of them has

done well in the area of environmental cleanliness. “Last year, the State government closed one unit — Aguiyi Ironsi — but this time around, all the 36 sectors are shut down. Go to the street and see boys hanging out there. This would soon degenerate into a serious security threat to the society, because those boys that the Bakassi Boys pursued from the eastern states will soon take up arms. “There is no market in Africa and in the world that you will not find pastors, born again and criminals. For you to enter your shop, you have to settle the police. So, there are good and bad guys here too. And when it happens, let them not run. “As a result of this closure, a lot of people and sectors in the country are affected. Some places load products from here to Angola, Aba and other parts of the country. If government does not want us here, let them say so. There is an expanse of land in Ogun State that can accommodate all of us. “I’m from Anambra State, can Peter Obi, my Governor, close our market and ask us to settle? he won’t do such dreadful act. I do not know the spirit that is in this governor that since he entered office, his attacks have been on markets.”

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013



Southeast State Govts, Others Owe PHCN N15b From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu EBTS owed the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Enugu Zone, stood at about N15 billion as at January this year. The zone, which controls the five Southeast states said the money is owed by state governments, armed forces, industrial and residential customers. Disclosing this in Enugu while rolling out a new billing and multi-channel payment system, Managing Director of the Enugu Distribution Company, Suleiman Yahaya, said the huge debt was affecting operations of the company. He disclosed that before now, military personnel were via spot deductions. He said this is no longer the practice. Expressing deep worry that the huge debt was affecting the activities of the agency, he said about 70 per cent consumers adopt new usage strategies that bye-pass metering. He said the new payment system termed Electricity Management System (EMS) 2000, would help consumers in the five states to pay electricity bills at their comfort while it also eradicates crazy billing system. He said PHCN decided to embark on new payment system owing to the challenge posed to it by billing and debt management in zone, stressing that he had, in October last year,


commissioned efforts that could make it easier for customers to pay bills. He said the company has successfully integrated old databases of AVR and spectrum into the EMS2000 database, adding that with the new multi-payment system, customers can use ATM

cards, handsets, recharge cards, webmobile and cash offices to pay bills. “Our customers no longer need to queue in our offices to purchase electricity because we have put a platform for the customers to buy electricity from the convenience of their

home”, he said. Yahaya, who appealed to residents to continue to pay their bills, said vandalism of PHCN installations was affecting funds meant for development projects. He called on the people to assist protect power facilities.

Seme Customs Debunks Reports on Smuggling He disclosed that all the borders under his command were well secured by well-trained officers, who patHE Customs Area Controller, rol the areas on 24 hours and seven Seme Border Command, the days a week. Nigerian Customs Services (NCS), He said that on assumtion of duty Comptroller Abdu Saleh Othman, has refutted allegations levelled aga- there in September 2012, the first thing he did was to meet all security inst the NCS at Seme Border, that agencies to alert them of the enormoimporters of Nigeria-bound goods through the Cotonou Port now see us challenges and the way forward. We all agreed to work together. Seme as a most viable entry point According to him, few weeks ago, either for duty evasion or concealthere were challenges at Owode, ment of prohibited items. where some of his officers were about The Customs boss at a press brieto be overrun by smugglers, “So we fing at Seme, reiterated the comhave to call for re-enforcement from mand’s drive to ensure that smuggling and other forms of prohibited Idiroko military barracks. “This is just to give an example about anti-economic activities were prehow we work together here now. Off vented.

By Godfrey Okpugie Deputy Lagos City Editor


course, we cannot completely stop smuggling here one hundred percent, but as far as I am concerned, smuggling has greatly reduced in this area with full co-operation from other security agencies,” he affirmed. When The Guardian asked him what he would need to do the job of monitoring the porous borders more effectively, he replied: “Now, most of the job of checking trucks coming into the country through the border is done manually by our officers. The scanner is not being used yet but it is being installed now. Our offers are learning how to use it; and by the time it is fully installed they would have known how to operate it; and when it is eventually handed over to us we would have no problem again. Physical examination cannot do the job of thorough examination of trucks but with fixed scan-

ning, any item concealed in the truck can be seen. “So, scanning, apart from enhancing revenue generation, would also help to secure the country against importation of dangerous goods.” To forestal future unconfirmed media report on Seme border post, Othman gave assurance that the doors of the NCS’ authorities at the border are opened to any media house or journalist any day to come and seek confirmation on any allegation before it is published. “If there is any negative allegation about us, contact us to hear our own side to enable you do a balanced report. I am accessible any day and so is my PRO and other officers of this command,” he assured, adding “ Henceforth, all seizures would be made available to the PRO for onward transmission to the press for publication especially on rice, frozen chickens and turkeys.”

Firm, LBS Engage Consumers On Marketing Devt By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor

nity to have a “collision” of ideas that can accelerate the growth and HE world changes at an increas- development of the marketing ingly rapid rate and companies practice in Nigeria. continue to seek new ways of reach- Reminding the audience of the importance of brand building, he ing out to consumers in order to move their products and gain upper noted that brands are the ultimate hand in a globalised economy. What social construction and their sucare the next “big things” in engag- cess is largely measured by the ing the Nigerian consumer was the ways they are communicated to question a marketing colloquium at and engaged by consumers. Olaniyan charged the speakers to the Lagos Business School (LBS) sought to provide answers to recent- throw light on a number of key questions that address the central ly. issue of engaging the Nigerian conOrganised by the LBS Alumni sumer in the post-modern age that Association in partnership with Proximity Communications as part we live in. These include the next areas of focus, the challenges faced of the 5th year anniversary of the by brand owners, and the opportucompany, the seminar with the nities arising from the digital age. theme Engaging the Nigerian Denloye highlighted the increasConsumer: The Next Big Things had key speakers in the marketing com- ingly youthful outlook of the Nigerian consumer and the disparmunications circle. Moderated by Idy Enang, the for- ity in male and female buying mer Managing Director of Samsung power. With roughly half the Nigerian population below the age Nigeria, the speakers included Austin Ufomba, current Marketing of 15, he sees growth areas in the and Innovation Director of Guinness use of smarter technology, online Nigeria, a post he previously held at shopping, fashion, music and Coca-Cola Nigeria; Kachi Onubogu, entertainment. With this scenario, he foresees a Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Steven Evans (), and Chief Financial Officer, Etisalat Group, Serkan Okandan, at the Etisalat Capital Markets Day in Abu Dhabi… the Commercial Director of recently. situation where growth of a very Promasidor Nigeria, and Enitan educated and discerning conDenloye, the Brand and Communications Director at Etisalat sumer leads to an exponential growth in the market as leading Nigeria. international brands scramble for Rotimi Olaniyan, Managing expected get recommendation from would also fund equipment leasing. In By Geoff Iyatse the Nigerian consumer. Director of Proximity, articulated case of leasing, applicants are expected to IRST Bank Nigeria Plc would soon com- NASSI executive before it could be In addition, he opines that conthe reason behind the colloquium. approved. pay 10 per cent of the total cost. mence lending to members of the Noting that it was very rare for mar- sumers will be spoilt for choices Whereas the MoU pegs the maximum It was learnt that NASSI national execuNational Association of Small Scale even as companies focus more on keting professionals to gather amount for individual at N5 million, tives would meet with the Central Bank Industrialists (NASSI) at nine per cent improving consumer experience together for intellectual discourse, Ogunrinde said special consideration of Nigeria (CBN) soon on the Federal interest rate. he saw the gathering as an opportu- of their brands. could to extended to certain applicants Government’s role in the deal. It is expectAfter months of negotiation, the bank ed that the government’s component and NASSI executives last June signed a as long as the bank is convinced that memorandum of understanding (MoU) borrower has the capacity to pay back. will come from intervention funds earlier extended by CBN. By Chijioke Iremeka where they explained details of the part- He said re-payment would be strucsmart production. tured to align with the cash flow of the NASSI Vice President (Southwest), Duro nership and how the loan would be G Electronics has introduced Managing Director, Fouani Nigeria businesses. Kuteyi, noted that inadequate capacity accessed. Xboom to Nigerian market as a Limited, Mr. Mohamed Fouani At the unveiling of the scheme to Lagos National Treasurer of the association, posses greater challenge to small and way of improving the country’s noted that commitment to making Olusegun Dada, said the scheme is medium enterprises (SMEs) than absence entertainment industry. Xboom is good products available for its conState Chapter of the association last bankrolled by federal government, state of funds. week, Product Manager, Consumer a new hi-tech sound system with sumers to achieve their dreams and governments, First Bank and NASSI, Kuteyi promised that the association Banking Products Department, First Bluetooth for easy connectivity. aspirations, was the major driving thereby increasing the chances interest- would continue to upgrade the capacity Bank, Folayemi Ogunrinde, said the Digital Marketing Manager, force in the new innovation. ed individuals have. He added that govof members just as it was disclosed that lender has rolled out activities that Home Entertainment Division, LG He stated that LG will stop at nothernment’s support would be guaranFirst Bank would, on regular basis, organwould lead to commencement of the Electronics, Mr. Jae Sang Lee said ing to enrich its customers with teed by the participating bank. ise trainings for those who benefit from programme. Part of the activities, he the introduction of the product is products of stylish designs, technosaid, is the dedication of “special branch- According to him, part of the applica- the loan. to ensure customers’ satisfaction logical innovations and giving cuses” nationwide through which the loans tion fees will be used for biometric reg- Director of Commerce and Industry, and enrich family life. tomers value for money spent, istration of members — a process that Lagos State Ministry of Commerce and would be dispatched. According to him, it is belief that adding that Xboom boasts of six will lead to a comprehensive database Industry, Akin Adeyemi, said the governHe explained that new NASSI members every music-loving Nigerian and beat-box, five voice samples and of the association. This, he said, is part of ment would meet with NASSI and First applying for the loan would pay upcoming DJs and musicians, seven DJ effects, which work autoefforts aimed at minimizing default, as Bank to discuss details of participation. N26,000 for registration while old ones would want to have the product, matically with one button and Latin the bank may not insist on collaterals. would pay N19,000. Each application is especially when it’s meant for EQ, Bluetooth. Dada disclosed that the scheme


Bank To Give SME Operators Single Digit Credit


LG Electronics Introduces New Product


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013



InfoTech Engages Agriculture To Raise Farmers Economy By Fabian Odum

F the technological innovation of employing Information Technology (IT) in the marketing of farm produce and other commodities goes into full bloom, as propelled by Novus Agro, a young IT-driven company in Lagos, then the hitherto unending stories of economic woes by stakeholders in agribusiness would be a thing of the past. For instance, a grain dealer in Saminaka, Kaduna state would be able to know the ruling market price, say, in Wuse or Jukwoi market in Abuja or Ochanja market in Onitsha, Anambra state by sending a request for price information on his mobile phone. This would place him in a vantage position to deal with farmgate buyers and make a better bargain without being shortchanged. A Novus Agro corporate executive, Victoria Ononuju said the farmer can now easily determine who or where to sell and buyers can reach growers that might have large quantities of particular produce to sell. The immediate fallout of this


scenario is the trade facilitation that engenders a farmerconsumer relationship. It does appear as if the services of the company is a baby born in due time as the federal government is currently involved in the mobile phone facility for farmers to get input and other materials that would help them to boost the farm enterprise. With millions of mobile phones going into the hands of the farmers soon, it will only be a matter of time to have high data traffic as farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs receive info that would make a lot of difference. Ms Ononuju said the company, which is about three years old, has done two pilot projects and from the results, farmers are keen to connect with the facilities. The pilot test that was done in Imo state, according to her covered several months and the harvest time when the farmers are due to get produce to the market. With the services of Novus Agro, the nagging questions of getting the right price, or extension workers, who is

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote assisted by the Aseyin of Iseyin, Dr. Abdul-Ganiyu Salau in cutting the tape declaring open the ‘One-stop Shop’ for farmers at Iseyin, Oyo state on Wednesday. PHOTO: FABIAN ODUM buying, where the customers are and openings to get inputs like fertiliser would be resolved but not without cost to the farmer. Ononuju explained that the cost to the farmer would get lower if the stakeholders group themselves into societies or cooperatives and it could be on demand or sub-

scription for periods during the farming season. Backing up the cost aspect of the service, another executive of the company, Ms. Obiajuru Igborgbor said, “For now, it is estimated that farmers would be able to get the information they want via ‘sms’ on their phones at about N30 per message but

for an association, lower expected are charges depending on the number of members. Voice message is also in the pipeline for a later date.” Ms. Igborgbor said there would equitable distribution of information to member at the top and bottom of associations; the same ‘sms’ gets to

everybody. She said the government initiative on use of IT to help farmers would get a big impetus with the kind of service being given at Novus. “It could be used to network with the private sector organisations and help farmers get and keep track on fertiliser and other inputs.

Lagos To Revoke Unused Agric Land By Kamal Tayo Oropo HE Lagos State Government has threatened to revoke all agricultural land allocated to allottees who had engaged the land in other uses or who have abandoned the land. Speaking at an Agricultural Land Allottees Conference at Johnson Agiri Complex, Agege, during the week, Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, said all agricultural land allottees have 30 days to make their payment and three months to go to site to start work on the land, adding that any allottee that has any complaint should contact the Ministry for assistance immediately. He said that no allocated land should be left fallow as the state has limited land and more people are still expressing interest for allocation.  He, however, disclosed that government would not allow any land allocated for agriculture purpose to be use for any other business. While urging the allottees to take possession of the land, Lawal disclosed that government would provide the necessary support services needed, such as giving them institutional supports, exposing them to credit facility and latest technology in the agricultural sector and capacity building in the agric business. He said government had set standard at all the farm estate, by providing infrastructural facilities, access to inputs, marketing strategy and extension services that would make production easy and convenient for allottees. The Commissioner explained that agriculture features prominently in the 10-point Agenda of the present administration   and this is the best time for any individual or group of persons to invest in agriculture as government at all levels are committed to ensuring food security in Nigeria. He noted that because of the land constraint   government is encouraging intensive farming especially in Livestocks, Fisheries and Vegetables. While emphasising that very soon farmers in Lagos will be exposed to green house technology to encourage all year round production, Lawal said more people are still needed in the agricultural sector, which is


why the government of Lagos State has created four new farm estates in four enterprises, Poultry, Vegetable, Piggery and Arable Crops, adding that the already functional Fish Estate at Ikorodu had been extended by another 60 hectares of land in Ketu Ereyun, Epe. He hinted that government is putting everything in place to ensure maximization of food production in the state, especially in

those areas where the state has competitive and ecological advantage. He stressed that the initiated programme and projects being implemented in Lagos State is not only about food security, but also on job creation and wealth generation. “We are using the value chain approach, focusing on production, processing, distribution and

provision of market with the intent to create a lot of jobs and raise the living standard of the farmers”, the Commissioner said. Lawal revealed that over the years the budgetary allocation for agriculture in state had improved by 100 percent and multi-lateral agencies are collaborating with Lagos State Government to develop the sector

FG Targets 5m Farmers For Seeds, fertilizers From Kehinde Olatunji, Ibadan HE Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has said that with its Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme, it plans to register an additional five million farmers with the aim of reaching them directly with farm inputs such as seeds, fertilizer and credit. At a meeting on the implementa-


tion of the 2013 GES scheme in Southern states at Walan Hotel, Ibadan, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, represented by Mr. Lekan Quadri, the South West zonal director for the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), said in conjunction with the Central Bank of Nigeria has launched the NIRSAL initiative which will guarantee N60billion in loans at nine per

cent interest rate for agro dealers in the year 2013. According to her, the ministry is deploying the use of Optical Mark Reading (OMR) forms commonly used for major examinations such as WAEC, NECO and JAMB to enable information to be quickly scanned and migrated to the Ministry’s Farmers’ Registration Database, adding that “each of these OMR forms is local govern-

ment and ward Specific.” She also said: “We are working to ensure that farmers and agrodealers have access to affordable financing. The NIRSAL initiative, which will reduce the risk of lending by banks to agro-dealers and farmers, has been launched. This year, NIRSAL will guarantee N60billion loan for agro-dealers at nine per cent interest rate.

Hunger Facts

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (middle), Commissioner for Agriculture & Co-operatives, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal (right), Chairman, Lagos Urban Forestry Animal Centre Initiative (LUFACI), NGO, Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi during an inspection tour of the 20 Hectares proposed site for the State Urban Forest and Animal Welfare Centre at Lekki recently

• Nearly 1 billion people in the world do not have enough to eat. This number has fallen by 130 million since 1990, but progress slowed after 2008 when the food and economic crisis began.  (Source: State of Food Insecurity in the World, FAO, 2012) • The vast majority of hungry people (98 percent) live in developing countries, where almost 15% of the population is undernourished.  (Source:  State of Food Insecurity in the World, FAO, 2012) • Asia and the Pacific have the largest share of the world’s hungry people: some 563  million but the trend is downward.  (Source:  State of Food Insecurity in the World, FAO, 2012) • Women make up a little over half of the world’s population, but they account  for over 60 per cent of  the world’s hungry.  (Source:  Strengthening efforts to eradicate hunger..., ECOSOC, 2007) • Under nutrition  contributes to  2.6 million deaths of children  under five each year - one third of the global total. (Source: Levels and Trends in Child Mortality, UNICEF, 2011) • One out of six children – roughly 100 million – in developing countries is  underweight.  (Source:  Global Health Observatory, WHO, 2011) Obesity Facts 


51| Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cover Conscience, Nurtured by Truth


South-South: A Presidency Without Profit By Abraham Ogbodo N modern management, there is a phrase called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) defined as a set of quantifiable measures that is used to assess organisational performance, in terms of meeting set goals within the given variables. The KPI assessment can be calibrated into poor, average, above average, good, very good and excellent, depending on how the score sheet is designed. These grades are self-evident and would attract different reactions from the organisation concerned. Low grades would mean retooling operational strategies to up the KPIs, while high grades would translate to endorsement and continuation of existing methods. The approach is not too different in public administration. There are also indicators that translate to low or high performance of a public office holder. President Jonathan had come with a broad-based vision, christened Transformation Agenda, without a clear road map to KPIs. He just said he would do wonders and then left Nigerians to invent the indicators themselves. And the people have come up with a list that contains virtually everything, because they had not had government once and were in a great hurry to load the assessment with even ordinary things, which define civilized living. Steady electricity supply, security of lives and property, good road network, good healthcare and education, adequate housing, public transportation, clean environment and so on, things taken for granted in other climes, are still issues on the front burner in the management of the Nigerian political economy. This is on a general note. Stakeholders across board might have designed their own KPIs, with which to measure the Jonathan’s performance as the show got underway. Specifically, the South-South geo-political zone had had tall hopes and legitimately too. For one, the dramatic ascendance of Jonathan admitted the zone into the privileged club of


producers of heads of state in Nigeria and with the admission came an extremely rare opportunity for the Nigerian State to redress, at the topmost level, all the odds stacked against the region since the advent of oil in the 1950s. Jonathan was not to get lost in the haze of a nebulous national agenda and forget that he is the son of a fisherman. For another thing, the build-up to the Jonathan show was most intriguing. The slot was won more through blood than it was through sweat. In fact, according to one ranking senator from the zone, the presidency meant redemption for the Niger Delta and that anything less was unacceptable. He said the positions were clearly articulated at the inaugural conference of the SouthSouth Peoples Assembly in Calabar in 2004, where the region agreed to pursue the presidency, not for the sheer prestige of the office but for what it can be used to bring for the region. “Today, Jonathan is carrying on as if answering the name president is in itself, an end,” said the senator. Even if Jonathan manages in the end to get even with the rest part of the country, the South-South content of his KPIs is very crucial. For now, he is running far below average on all the indicators, which include the East-West Road that begins from Warri in Delta State and runs through Bayelsa and Rivers States to terminate at Oron in Akwa Ibom State. Contract for the construction of the road was awarded in 2006 by former

President Olusegun Obasanjo, but seven years down the line, the Federal Government could only talk of less than 50 per cent completion ratio, even as Mr Godsday Orubebe, minister of the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, which supervises the work, said the project would be finished in December 2014. There is also an East-West Coastal Road, which has not been effectively initiated and, which according to preliminary estimates, will cost a staggering two trillion naira to achieve. Interestingly, a number of the indicators such as the re-activation of the numerous moribund seaports in the region do not require cash, but an effective executive order and engagement with all sides to attain. If that happens, the port towns of Warri, Port Harcourt, Sapele, Calabar, Koko, Burutu and Forcados will come alive with increased economic activities. The relocation of the oil and gas bureaucracy from Lagos and Abuja to precisely where the stuffs are produced in the Niger Delta is not so much an issue of money as it is of the official will to cause same to happen. For instance, it had taken Obasanjo a proclamation one early morning to return the headquarters of the National Maritime Authority (NMA) now Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) to Lagos. With the way it is going, President Jonathan

Even more worrisome is the fact that Jonathan may completely miss from the footnotes of contributors when the few blessings that have accrued to the South-South in this dispensation will be reviewed. The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) did not come from him; so also was the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, which was created by former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, along with the granting of amnesty to demobilised fighters, as a package to assuage the region. It was Obasanjo who grudgingly created the NDDC in 2000. Not even the East-West Road can be counted for Jonathan, except if he manages, as he has promised through Minister Orubebe, to complete the road, which Obasanjo awarded in 2006, by December 2014.

may finish his show without settling the Petroleum Industry Bill, which aspires to establish a more realistic and participatory framework as it relates to the issue of host communities for the oil and gas business in Nigeria. The President and his team have not been able to effectively engage the legislature on this matter and the bill, which is almost as old as this democracy is not showing any good signs of surviving the ongoing legislative intrigues. Another Senator from the region described the handling of the bill by the executive as “shoddy”, stressing, “the presidency ought to have pre-engaged the critical segments before presenting such a sensitive bill.” He explained that the Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs Diezani Allison Madueke just dumped the bill at the Dome House and went home to sleep until the issue became too hot to handle. Even more worrisome is the fact that Jonathan may completely miss from the footnotes of contributors when the few blessings that have accrued to the South-South in this dispensation will be reviewed. The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) did not come from him; so also was the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, which was created by former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, along with the granting of amnesty to demobilized fighters, as a package to assuage the region. It was Obasanjo who grudgingly created the NDDC in 2000. Not even the East-West Road can be counted for Jonathan, except if he manages, as he has promised through Minister Orubebe, to complete the road, which Obasanjo awarded in 2006, by December 2014. But when all is done, someone somewhere may scan through more thoroughly to count some things for Jonathan. They will include the federal airport and federal university in Bayelsa State, even though both may not add up to key indicators of performance. This is precisely why the people of the South-South are saying that the Jonathan Presidency has not translated to profit for the zone.

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013



KUROMIEMA: No! Jonathan Is Not An Ijaw President Miabiye Kuromiema is the president of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), the umbrella body of Ijaw youth in Nigeria and abroad. He said those who want Goodluck Jonathan to be an Ijaw president are missing the point, even though he agreed that the people’s expectations have not been met. He spoke with ALABI WILLIAMS. HE coming of President Jonathan was perceived as a good omen for the South-south people, who had been far removed from government at the centre, in spite of being the region that finances the federal government. How has the Presidency justified expectations of Niger Deltans? PRESIDENT Jonathan is officially about two years in full control of the helms of presidential powers. Nigeria is now 100-years in existence as a geo-political entity and 50-years as an ‘independent’ country. Over all these years, the Niger Delta or South-south remained at the margin of political power, though like you have noted, we are funding the running of the country from proceeds of oil and gas exploited from the region and conscripted by decree into a so-called constitution, as national asset without official and legitimate consent of our various peoples. We continue to also bear the unmitigated consequences of negative externalities, such as environmental damage, disintegration of our social and cultural system and dislocation of traditional economic support, while also being disenfranchised from the emerging modern economy owing to the characteristic Nigerian Political economy. It is against this level of sacrifices and historic marginalisation that Goodluck Jonathan emerged from the politically marginalised and economically disenfranchised region as President. Expectedly, Niger Deltans will have very high expectation of  messianic proportion from such development. Mind you, such expectation is not only limited to the Niger Delta people, given the attributes of Dr. Jonathan’s humble background, circumstance of his emergence and the state of the polity. All Nigerians are tired of the previous state of affairs and expect not just radical but revolutionary reforms from President Jonathan.  Such messianic expectation must, however, be evaluated against the backgrounds of, the burden of a legacy of putrid decay of institutions of governance and infrastructure. There is also a desolate situation of the value base for nation building, both among citizens and governments at all levels, the reason why corruption in the country now stinks to high heavens, suffocates citizens and embarrasses us all in the eyes of the world. If we put all these indices on the table against the temperature of citizens’ expectations, we can then be well positioned to make objective assessment of expectations against progress made so far. In view of the above, Dr. Jonathan’s greatest legacies could be seen in the sense in which the Niger Delta People, who were conditioned to become hostile against the Nigerian State, are now beginning to feel integrated, leading to stability and growing peace that is working for the overall interest of the country and it’s revenue implications. For once, the Niger Delta people are increasingly identifying with, proud of and defensive of Nigeria, because Jonathan’s Presence in Aso Rock gives them a sense of identity in Nigeria. National integration through the person of President Jonathan is not only visible in the Niger Delta, but among the minorities in the Middle Belt, who share similar sentiments, aspiration and hope. I can say the same of the Southeast Igbo people, who have since the civil war not been privileged to be entrusted with key aspects of leadership and participation in national life, the way the Jonathan presidency has welcomed them. Off course, sections of political the elite from the far North, who feel the loss of traditional control of power, including


Kuromiema opposition politicians and activists, paint a negative picture of the administration; this is understandably. I am however absolutely certain that these irrational emotions will be shortlived. Ultimately, the greatest value, which the people of Niger Delta should seek from President Jonathan’s administration, is the legacy of good leadership bequeathed from our part of the country to Nigerians and making a break from the past. So, my point is that we have a responsibility to mediate expectations from the region based the old notion of ‘it’s our turn’ with that of integrating and uniting Nigeria, so that every Nigerian could have restored confidence in our march to redeem our lost Nationhood. This is therefore the good omen we should see from Jonathan’s Presidency, I mean this is the most important expectation we should urge Jonathan to justify in the name of our shared ownership of this presidency from the Niger Delta. There are complaints that dividends of democracy are absent in the South-south. For instance, the UNEP report and recommendation for remediation in Ogoni land is yet to be put to action; the East-west road is still in a bad state. What can you point to as a major developmental issue undertaken by the Jonathan administration? Again, the Niger Delta has the right and is justified to ask their son, President Jonathan to fix the East-West road in twelve months. We have the right and justification to ask that the whole of the polluted lands and water bodies be restored. In fact, our deepest aspiration is to have constitutional guarantees to control our political destiny, through a re-structured Nigeria, practicing federalism in the original sense and arrangement, whereby three and later four regions existed before the military rampage that created the infraction in our democratic experience. President Jonathan should deliver as we say, using this opportune moment of ‘our turn’, if not, we will be have ourselves to blame.  The question is, shouldn’t we seek equity from leadership rather ‘turn by turn’ as a culture of governance? In making our demand on President Jonathan, we should take into account that President Jonathan inherited an annual budget in the range of about Four Trillion Naira, with about Seventy-four percent as recurrent expenditure, which he seeks to reverse

with a target of sixty-eight percent in the medium term. Against a huge deficit of infrastructure, human capital and credit resources needed to put the economy on a footing of sustained growth, fix security challenges, block inherited leakages and corruption, I think Mr. President needs the understanding, support and sacrifices of Niger Delta People more than others. You know we are currently leading the country and leadership is defined by responsibility, which include sacrifice. We want to make our President a truly and exemplary Nigerian President. We want this President to be felt across the whole country and to be supported. Mind you, there is a huge jealousy about the Niger Delta and the 13percent derivation allocation, the NDDC, the Amnesty and Ministry of Niger Delta affairs, which is instigating a conspiracy from some quarters. The East-West Road is actively progressing, thanks to funding from subsidy savings. The Petroleum Industry Bill before the National Assembly will further deepen the peace in the Delta, address concerns of the environment more fundamentally and increase revenues of the federation and that of states and local governments. So, I’m sure before the expiration of Mr. President’s first fouryear mandate, we shall see the dividends of democracy in more tangible forms in the whole of Nigeria, not just the Niger Delta. The signs are everywhere, in every sector – railway, aviation, power, seaports, roads, education, health, security, electoral democracy and rule of law, freedom of speech/media and assembly. In less than two years, the signs of hope and success are emerging, even in the face of negative and deliberate misinformation.  There are complaints too that the administration is loaded with persons of Ijaw nation, while other citizens of South-south are not part of the show? What are the empirical facts about these complaints? I will like to respond to facts and not impressions and perception. Everywhere in Ijaw land, Ijaw people also think Jonathan is doing very little to empower them. Again, this may be an impression based on over-bloated expectation. In a polity laden with emotion, you find these kinds of complaints. But let me do a little examination; in Akwa Ibom, where Ijaws are strongly on the political and economic margin, even though that state derives its revenue mainly from Ijaw land the Minister from that state is not Ijaw; at the NDDC, one Ijaw is on the board with another non Ijaw. The law requires that board members come from communities delivering higher proportion of oil revenue. In Rivers State, Ijaws are in Eleven local government areas, namely Engenne Ijaws of Ahoada West, Abua/Odual, Degema, Asari Toru, Akuku Toru, Okrika, Ogu/Bolo, Bonny, Opobo/Nkoro, Andoni and Port Harcourt, where I come from, out of the 23 LGAs of the state. The minister representing the state is of Ikwerre origin; NDDC MD is non Ijaw and his counterpart on the Board is Ijaw, by law Ogoni’s have their production shut-in. Ministers and Board members of NDDC from Bayelsa will naturally be Ijaws. Ijaws are a major constituency in Delta State, so we have a minister and board member; the state has its tradition of sharing available portfolios. Ijaws in Edo State are not represented at any level in government, state or federal. Ijaws give that state it’s place as oilbearing state.  Who else could have done the job of handling the Amnesty Program better than Kingsley Kuku, an Ijaw from Ondo State, who is Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs; when the majority of militants, whose protests crippled the oil industry are Ijaws and Kuku has in his palms all their networks? Outside kuku, the only other aid to Jonathan who is Ijaw is Oronto Douglas. The MDG lady is part Ogoni and Ijaw, as a result of marriage. So, let those who say Ijaws dominate the government come with facts based on law, established standards and equity to make their case. We can then respond appropriately.

OPUTU: Jonathan’s PresidencyIs A Total Failure Mr. Sunny Frank Oputu is the immediate past chairman of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), Bayelsa State. In this interview with WILLIE ETIM in Yenagoa, he appraises the Jonathan Presidency in relation to the needs of the people of the SouthSouth. HAT is your assessment of the Jonathan presidency so far? THE presidency of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to the South-South people as far as I am concerned is a total failure. I am saying so because we all are living witnesses to the development that other presidents before had attracted to their zones or region. But in the case of Jonathan, the only reference our people can point to is the amnesty programme. Of course the programme was the brainchild of late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. This programme as it stands today is being mismanaged and may fail under the present


leadership. The real issues are not being addressed and the process adopted in managing the amnesty is flawed. That is why you still have incessant protests by ex-militants. Only last Tuesday at Otiotio road in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa state, over 11 cars were burnt, as ex-militants protested along the road, while security personal appeared helpless. There are a lot of other issues, Jonathan has failed in several areas, but I’m going to focus on two issues here. As far as I’m concerned, I expected that as Jonathan came to power, the South-South geopolitical zone or the Ijaw nation should be given appropriate leadership. But President Jonathan has failed to give directional leadership to the people of the zone. I can authoritatively tell you that we lack that leadership; things are still the way they were, that shows that Jonathan is not a good administrator. If he leaves the presidency today there will be no clear leader in Ijaw nation or the South-South zone. Could you be more specific? It’s clear here that President Jonathan will not complete the East-West road before 2015. I’m also looking at the issues of the wellbeing of

Oputu the people of the region, we are looking at how the people will be impacted upon, how things will change for the better. I was expecting that President Jonathan would take drastic steps to do significant things in the region, such that in the next ten years he will be remembered for doing spectacular things. The East-West road, as far I’m concerned will not be completed in 2015 before he talks about

re-election. Jonathan has never seen the EastWest road as a priority and he has never looked at anything in Niger Delta as a priority project. For instance, look at the federal university, which he took to his community in Otuoke among the six universities the late president Yar’Adua approved. Otuoke is less developed in terms of infrastructure. This alone is a sign that Jonathan does not care about what happens to the South-South. If he could do that to a university in his community, it shows how insensitive he is. If I should be sincere as an Ijaw man or as a politician who knows Jonathan from his roots to where he is today, I still insist that Jonathan is a failure and will continue to say this as long as he remains the president of the country. What we are seeing is the best presidency Jonathan can  offer; he will not change his style. The solution to this situation is for the country to look for another president come 2015, and if Nigeria wants to remain where they are, let them allow Jonathan to continue, but the fact that PDP plans to  continue with him in 2015, that marks the beginning of the failure of PDP. My prayer everyday is that God should do something to save this country.


Sunday, March 3, 2013 53

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion The Age Of Consequence By Tunji Lardner

young Nigerians have to fully understand; the fact that you did not ‘cause’ the problem does not mean that you will not hey go on in strange paradox, decided suffer its consequences. only to be undecided, resolved to be We are presently confronted by many irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for existential threats, not only to Nigeria as fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.” Owing to a country but also to Nigerians as people. past neglect, in the face of the plainest warnUp North, we have a raging civil and ings, we have entered upon a period of danger. widening war, underscored by wide The era of procrastination, of half measures, of spread destitution and deftly disguised soothing and baffling expedience of delays, is as a religious conflict, and deep down coming to its close.  In its place we are entering south, we are held hostage by war lords a period of consequences”.  We cannot avoid periodically threatening to destroy this period, we are in it now” Nigeria’s oily life blood. Caught in —Winston Churchill, November 12, 1936 between these violent pincers, the lootThe inimitable Winston Churchill made ing of the commonwealth goes on abated these remarks when speaking to journalists and unchallenged, our health and wellabout the impending war in Europe. ness indicators keep us abysmally in the Against the ominous backdrop of Hitler’s lowest global ranking, our educational sabre-rattling, he was issuing a dire warnsystems has virtually collapsed, we live ing about the inevitability of the Second literally in the dark ages and nearly 70 World War amidst the dithering, ill preper cent of our citizens are poor, creating pared, fractious, frightened and collective again that strange paradox of a rich impotence of what was to evolve to become country full of poor people. the Allied Forces in the European theatre. As often times as I scratch my head in His powerful words, expressing the bemusement and wonder aloud about if ‘strange paradox’ of a wilful decision to be at all it is possible to right and repair this indecisive, irresolute, unmoored, liquefied country, if at all this Nigerian experiment and impotent; this might very well describe is in fact doomed, I am always amazed at the collective state of the Nigerian psyche the astonishing ignorance and incuriositoday. Since last year’s fuel subsidy ‘wahaty of Nigerians about the true state of la,’ there is a growing consensus among the Nigeria, and even more so, the breath takchattering class that Nigeria is a very fragile ing arrogance and impunity of the peostate heading in absolutely the wrong direcple who rule them. In Nigeria, about two tion. While the reasons adduced for this per cent of the population have access to dangerous trajectory are as varied and as vapid as the respective commentator, it is While, I must concede that most of the dam- rupt, and yet our citizens still look to them and control 80 per cent of its resources. clear that ‘something is rotten in the state age to Nigeria was wrought by the ‘Military- for salvation. Nigeria’s problems have out- The ruling elite have demonstrated over the last 50 years or so, that they really do of Nigeria.’ Political Complex,’ still well and alive today, stripped the abilities and will of her leadnot care about the welfare of Nigerians, The prevailing zeitgeist is one of a limited thank you very much, a substantial amount ers to solve them. Then again there is the and even when they do, their egos, arroparadox of expecting salvation from the national horizon as a viable and stable of blame must lie with succeeding generagance and incompetence prevents them political entity and a severely circumtions whose collective apathy and inertia, all very class of people who caused the problems in the first place, a clear case of doing from creating a fully realised and sustainscribed future for the tens of millions of but guarantees that their future is permaable process of lifting their compatriots the same things over and over again and young people under the age of thirty, by nently held hostage by the past. A past they then expecting different results-this by the out of poverty. some estimates perhaps 110 million out of a can reasonably argue, they had no hand in So the question is, with the past as proway is an acceptable definition of madpopulation now adjusted upwards to 170 shaping. However, that’s exactly my point, million frustrated citizens. Nigeria has run this IS the age of consequences, and our col- ness. It is as if Nigerians have all collective- logue, are we doomed? The answer is yes if we continue to encourage and mainly decided that they are not subject to the out of excuses for its failures, and ‘the era of lective complaisance in maintaining this tain the bad habits of the past; and no, if laws of physics, and that the laws of procrastination, of half measures, of sooth- present status quo means that we are all causality do not apply and that we are not we decide to change the present trajectoing and baffling expedience of delays’ is guilty as charged, in varying degrees. ry and chart a new course. On a positive truly over we are fully in it, we are in the At present in a wry and ironic twist of histo- bound to the simple logical equation of A+B=C; in a word, cause and effect cease to note, remember that the Allied Forces did ruthless grip of historical causalities, we are ry, we are engulfed in that strange paradox apply in the Nigerian dimension of reality. eventually win the Second World War, all, regardless of culpabilities in the age of of cascading failures of the state, underbut not without considerable ‘blood, toil, However, the ‘reality’ of reality is that consequences. mined by maximum complexities and comwhile the time and historical distance of a tears and sweat.’ Are we up to the task? If we consider the past as prologue-meanplications being confronted with a sorry causal factor might have happened a long ing that our history has determined where counterpoint of minimum competence in Lardner ( will appear on time ago, and not within the immediate we are today, we all must bear graduated leadership and governance. At federal and these pages weekly from today. purview of the observer, the effects will responsibilities over the last five decades state levels, on the average, our political for taking what was once a promising leaders are both incompetent as well as cor- still happen, and continue to happen until its trajectory is changed. This is what nation and turning it into a failed state.


What It Means To ‘Carry’ A Cross By Paul Kokoski

HE Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevski states that “the earth is soaked from its crust to its very centre with the tears of humanity”. At this very moment there are millions of people who are in despair, who are suffering, who are being tortured and humanity screams: Why? If God is all good and all powerful, why does He allow brutality and injustice? This is one of the arch questions of human life, to which, throughout history, people have struggled to find a meaningful answer. Many have sought to solve the question of suffering by treating it as a problem rather than as a mystery whose meaning can never be fully exhausted. Buddha’s basic idea was  that we suffer because we have an illegitimate attachment to existence. If you sever your craving for existence, he thought, you extinguish your suffering; you reach  a certain calm that is the door to nirvana.  This, of course, sounds attractive especially when you compare the mysterious, serene,  man-figure of the Buddha looking inward, to the suffering Christ on the cross. Karl Marx  believed unhappiness exists because of social injustice and inequality. His basic thought was that if you let the State take over completely it  will distribute wealth equally and justly and a workers’ paradise will appear on earth. Unfortunately, in actual practice, this resulted in people being sent to the Gulag (concentration camps) and much, much worse. In effect,  Marx ended up creating a worse evil than the injustice he intended to correct. In Christianity we discover two things which are unique and amazing. First, Christianity teaches the art of suffering. Second - and this is particularly  emphasised in Roman Catholicism Christianity teaches the meaning of suffering.


The holy art of suffering is not easy to learn because of our rebellious nature that is due to original sin. When we suffer we have a tendency to add to our suffering. Such “illegitimate” suffering that is  self-made is often due to  such things  as vanity, envy, self-pity and, above all, pride. These can be overcome  by our constant willingness to reject, disavow, and oppose such traits while begging God with a “holy pestering” to liberate us by His Grace. Once we are liberated we begin to discover that the suffering God sends us has a profound and sublime meaning by which it is to be embraced. The 19th Century poet Paul Claudel said that Christ did not come to abolish suffering but to join in our suffering. He did not come to abolish the cross but to lay down on the cross to save us. Suffering on this earth is meant to be an expression of that love. When we love someone we start to tremble because we  know that despite all our love, we are not able to protect that person from their own suffering, sickness, poverty, and death. When Christ was crucified, who was at the foot of the cross? His mother. Imagine the torture! But what did she do? She suffered with Him.  In our pragmatic society we are so utilitarian in our views that I hear people say: “They are sick in the hospital. There is nothing I can do so why go there”. We all know though, if we have suffered, that to have someone present - though the person cannot do a single thing to relieve the suffering - they can simply say “I am here and I am suffering with you”. If you love someone you want to suffer with the beloved. Love in the face of sorrow does not seek isolation but wants to take on that pain as its own.  This is an expression of authentic love that endorses suffering because the beloved one is suffering.

Then comes the beautiful thing about Christianity. The greatest love that exists manifests itself in giving one’s life for one’s friend - and that is what Christ did for us. He lay down His life freely, without seeking retaliation or revenge against His many false accusers. Not only did He suffer with us, He also suffered for us so that the doors of paradise could be re-opened for us. The culmination of love is not only that you suffer “with” but that you suffer “for”. The meaning of suffering for Christians is that when we suffer a legitimate cross sent by God, He is giving us His Grace and suddenly we realize that we are ordained to join Christ on the cross. In some way He is saying in this moment “come close to my heart that has bled for you, that has suffered for you, that has been pierced by a lance for you.”That is why the saints, when they receive a cross, see it as a way of coming closer to Our Lord. The amazing thing is that when Christians discover the meaning of suffering they can carry seemingly crushing crosses and nevertheless have peace in their hearts and glowing smiles on their faces that radiate the message “we are going to get there”. Perhaps the great tragedy of this world is that most people have no one to love. Since there is no one to love they never think of the love of God. Their life is tragic indeed. The tragedy of the world is not suffering but what we miss when we actually do suffer. If the earth is soaked from its crust to its very centre with the tears of humanity, imagine the profound difference we could make if we did not allow  our  suffering to go to waste but rather acted to correlate it with the suffering of Christ?


54 | Sunday, March 3, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion Exam Malpractices: Taking On A Monster By Emmanuel Ojo

IGERIA and indeed Nigerians are at a point of dilemma vis-a-vis value reorientation. Virtually all aspects of our value system has been bastardised with very few (if any) standing to breach the gap. As examination bodies in the country are daily stepping up the virulent war against the hydraheaded monsters of exam malpractice in the country... as technology is advancing, examination fraudsters are also catching up with the new trend in the society. Gone were the days when answers on small pieces of paper would be smuggled to candidates in examination halls. In vogue nowadays is the ingenious method of sending answers to candidates via mobile phones. The above quotation from a perceptive work of B.N. Igwesi’s Awakening to the Dynamic Nature of Exam Malpractice: the need for Dynamism among exam supervisors and invigilators epitomises the central argument of this paper that no doubt, the sanctity of examination is a function of the quality of certificate to be awarded. Where examination malpractices either become rampant or a norm, the process of certification becomes bastardised. The concomitant effect no doubt is worthless certificate and stunted development. The larger society will be burdened and eventually beleaguered with substandard professionals. If one can imagine a system producing medical doctors or surgeons that graduated with endemic examination malpractices; pregnant women taken to theatre for caesarean operation may be brought out dead, when operation theatre becomes an abattoir! It is to guide against such that in all sane societies, countries are concerned with quality assurance cum maintenance of public examinations’ integrity and standards. By extension too, tertiary institutions that worth their salt equally takes conduct of examinations seriously. The primary reason for this is to ensure that their certificates are not awarded cheaply or to people who may not merit the degree. This is because graduates are the ambassadors of their Alma matas while individually we are the worthy of our certificates. It is however imperative to stress ab initio that examination malpractice as a cankerworm is neither system specific nor time bound. It has become a problem in virtually all human societies, regions and climes of the world, irrespective of level of development. Recently, the media was awashed with such scandal in Harvard University where as many as sixty students were suspended for cheating. When the scandal first became public in August 2012, Harvard said as many as 125 students were suspected of helping each other in a final exam. The University said a large number of undergraduates ‘may have inappropriately collaborated on answers, or plagiarised classmates’ responses, on the final exam for the course. For analytical simplicity this paper has been divided into four major parts. With the above introductory overview, the second part of the paper dwells on typology of examination malpractices which however is all encompassing. The third part is a highlight and discussion of predisposing factors to examination malpractices as identified both by sociologists and psychologists. Part four bothers on the panacea to examination malpractices. The paper however infers that the state still has enormous role to play not only in fighting examination malpractices through legal means but rather embarking on effective reorientation of our social value system so that virtually all involved would imbibe new norms that are congruent


JAW JAW By Didi Onu


to raising the standards of both public and internal institutional examinations in the country. We now proceed to the analysis of the typology of examination malpractices. Typology Of Examination Malpractices N all encompassing perception of exam malpractices reveals that it can be noticed before, during and after examinations. Empirical observations have shown that candidates may involve themselves in outright plagiarism during exams when not sufficiently supervised or invigilated. Not only that before exam, questions might have deliberately been leaked to the candidates either for them to come with prepared answers or be at an undue advantage in taking the exam. At tertiary level and other exams like that of professional bodies or civil service promotion exams, officials may alter scores to favour their preferred candidates. This type is much more prevalent at tertiary level. In the same vein, rather than blind marking which require candidates to write their matriculation numbers alone, candidates may choose to flout that rule by putting their names on the scripts so that the marker may identify them. This is morally repugnant as it may compromise the impartiality of the examiner. Another form most especially after exam is changing answer booklets. Candidates do collude with teachers in such a smart manner so that they can re-write the paper after the exam. This is done all in an attempt to secure better grades. The undue advantages are that the paper will not be written under examination conditions and also having knowledge of the questions. At the primary and secondary school levels, candidates may be helped with answers. Instead of thorough supervision, invigilators allow teachers to get solution to questions and dictate to them answers. This method is more prevalent at primary and secondary school levels. Nonetheless, invigilators too


may compromise by not properly supervising exams. With non-committal by the invigilators, candidates begin to help themselves. On several occasions too candidates intelligently guess likely questions. Rather than preparing adequately for exam they go into the exam hall with prepared answers in micro sheets. On regular basis criminally minded candidates device new methods to cut corners. Consequent upon technological innovations and developments in ICT, sanctity of exams become a herculean task. Where candidates are carelessly or smartly strolled into exam centres with their cell phones, with copy(s) of question paper smuggled out, candidates enjoyed prepared answers while putting their phones in silence or mute. In an indepth work, Igwesi collated a number of methods for cheating at exams which is equally representative of the typology. They are: Getting the examination papers or questions in advance Hiring mercenaries who will write the examination for the candidate Getting to know the invigilator or supervisor and paying him to turn his eyes away from the candidate’s mischievous acts during the examination. Giraffing Coping from fellow students with their permission. Entering the examination hall with note books, textbooks, copied materials on paper or any part of one’s body, and already answered questions in an answer booklet. Meeting computer operators to assist in adjusting scores. Locating markers of Examination scripts for assistance.1

From another perspective, research has shown that exam malpractice is rampant on the ground that the Nigerian state is too weak. Laws are made but they are either selectively implemented or not implemented at all. This has led to the assumption that when involved in malpractices, one may not be detected at all and that when caught the punishment will be far away to being commensurate with the offence. On a number of occasions, ‘all what offenders get is a tweak of nose and a playful twist of ear lobe by the equally playful court’.2 Panacea To Exam Malpractices O fight the scourge no doubt, takes strong determination. Perhaps the first step should be a kind of societal re-orientation and adjustment of our value system as a country. Any society where abnormality is disguised as the right thing may stagnate for long. One of the reasons why development seems ‘arrested’ and stunted is not unconnected with the misplaced value orientation. Be that as it may, teachers at all levels need to be trained and retrained at regular intervals. To complement these, government need to provide the required instructional materials to aid teaching so that pupils and students would have mastered their subjects and courses sufficiently to ward-off unwarranted examination ‘fever’ that do lead to malpractices in different forms. The mode of recruitment too into the teaching service may also have to be re-examined. Without competent professional teachers, the system may drag on, wobbling and fumbling to nowhere vis-avis raising standard in public examinations. All tiers of government should go back to the era of attractive public libraries. This should be complemented with secondary school libraries too. Each secondary school as it were, should have functional libraries where indigent students could approach to borrow books which their parents may not be able to afford. Currently, state governments commit colossal amount of money into payment of public examination fees. This has not been yielding the desired result because of high rate of failures. In the final analysis, promotion of vocational and technical education is a sine qua non to the desperate attitude of candidates at passing public exams. Those that may not be able to go ahead academically will know quite alright that all hopes are not totally lost. From the foregoing, the danger of exam malpractices cannot be over emphasised. Three things are however crucial. First, our school system requires the services of educational counsellors who can drive away the fear of exams from the mind of the candidates. Secondly, the state/government needs to repeal Decree No. 20 of 1984 which made examination malpractice an offence punishable by 21 years imprisonment. This has not in any way helped in controlling the trend. The law seem too harsh and it has never been enforced as no one is in prison as a result of the application of the law, while the crime is perpetrated on daily basis. The third thing is that our leaders need to summon sufficient courage in fighting the scourge. Parents too financing exam frauds needed to be brought to book.


Pre-Disposing Factors To Exam Malpractices XAM malpractice in all its ramifications as highlighted above is a function of some factors. Though a very complex phenomenon like a cobweb, it entangles the students, teachers, parents, the state and its government. The society itself cannot be easily exonerated. To start with, teachers at all levels are poorly paid. This has been creating avenues for easy temptations. If all civil servants patronise same market, the level of excruciating poverty among teachers at lower tiers of the educational system most especially in rural areas is indeed appalling. With little tips, most of them throw caution into the winds, and compromise effortlessly. To compound this dilemma excessive materialism concomitant to corrupt social values explains why the education system has degenerated to this pathetic level. In the same perspective, the magnitude of moral bankruptcy too is a potent predisposing factor toward exam malpractices. Be that as it is lack of self confidence or actualizations on the part of students make them to desperately tempt both teachers and supervisors. The required commitment by teachers seems to be evaporating on daily basis. Students are not trained or adequately prepared to face public and even internal examinations with the required courage. The problem has become a hydra-headed monster because Nigeria runs a ‘certificated’ society. The general assumption anyway, perhaps as a result of public perception of the system once you do not hold chain of degrees, you are nowhere to be found. Hence, candidates Ojo, Senior Lecturer, Political Science, University of become desperados going to any extent to Ilorin, presented the paper at the Stakeholders cheat on the system. Interactive Forum on Education of the National Orientation Agency, Osun State... recently.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013



BRIGGS: Jonathan Yet To Meet Our Expectations Ann Kio Briggs is an Ijaw environmental activist cum President, Agape Birthrights Initiative. She told KELVIN EBIRI in Port Harcourt that President Jonathan is yet to provide the massive infrastructural, human capacity development and the political-economic inclusiveness promised the people of the Niger Delta. She cautioned that unless these critical expectations were met, the president should not expect the people’s support in 2015. HAT can you really describe as the benefit of Jonathan’s presidency to the Niger Delta?


Definitely nothing. It is not that we must use Jonathan’s presidency as a yardstick because he is the president now; the Niger Delta has never benefited from any government whether it is military or civilian. Definitely, in Jonathan’s government, we are still expecting and looking for the expectation that we were promised. We had very high expectation and we are yet to see any kind of manifestation in the infrastructural development of the Niger Delta, human capacity building of the Niger Delta; in the economic improvement of the people of the Niger Delta and even for the people to participate in the oil and gas sector. Just like all other regions have a right to cry out against marginalisation, we also are crying out against marginalisation as people of the Niger Delta region. And in the Niger Delta case, it is even more painful because there are different ethnic groups within the Niger Delta, which is the South-South geopolitical zone. We are yet to see the changes that we expected. What has the president failed to do? For instance, if you look at the East- West Road, it is a Federal Government road. We know the amount of money that is voted for the East-West Road every year and we know the amount of money that the Obasanjo regime handled through the Ministry of Works during his reign. The East-West is now worse. I think it is more painful if we remember that the (late President) Yar’Adua offered the Ministry of Niger Delta during  the discussion about the Niger Delta that brought about the Amnesty Programme. We remember that the Ministry of Niger Delta was allocated the East-West Road to handle and I objected that it was not the right thing to do since it was a Federal Government road. Today, we have a Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, who is from the Niger Delta and he is yet to justify the reason for the existence of that ministry. That is one expectation. The development of the Niger Delta area, I mean the massive infrastructural development, which was also promised us as a people when Yar’Adua was discussing Amnesty with us — that infrastructural development has not come. The empowerment of the Niger Delta people; our participation in the oil and gas industry; the 10 per cent that was promised the oil producing areas; the issue of the environment! Worst still is the UNEP report, which was released over 17 months ago; yet, nothing has been done to address the clean up of the Ogoni area. I am not satisfied with the fact that the NNPC and the Ministry of Petroleum have actually gone outside the recommendations of the report and taken up the clean up of the Niger Delta or the Ogoni area under what is called HYPREP. The creation of HYPREP is a suspect. What is HYPREP going to be doing? Was it established because it has the capacity to clean up Ogoni and the Niger Delta; on what grounds? Even the world accepts that the Niger Delta region is the most polluted area on earth, as far as the exploitation and exploration of oil and gas is concerned. The money involved is mind-boggling and to think that an organisation such as NNPC wants to be in control of the clean up of the Niger Delta; whereas it is actually a partner itself in the devastation of the Niger Delta and Ogoni land, which was highlighted in that UNEP report, is shocking. For me, these are very worrying signs for us in the Niger Delta. We expect a clean up of our environment. We do not expect a handful of people to constitute themselves into an authority of how the Niger Delta is going to be cleaned up. IS it true that former President Yar’Adua, who nurtured the Amnesty Programme, had a better plan than Jonathan for the development of Niger Delta? Having a plan and realising it is another matter. I come from the Niger Delta and live here; I know and the oil companies know, too, that they were forced to declare force majeure at a point, and output of oil was reduced from over 2.2 million barrels per day to less than 700,000. That shows very clearly that this was a government on its way to bankruptcy. It was on this basis that Yar’Adua made contact and sort a solution for the Niger Delta crisis. He never sort solution because he loved Niger Delta more than the Niger Delta people or that he loved Niger Delta more than Jonathan who was his vice at that time. The offer of Amnesty was actually an ultimatum. It is either you accept Amnesty and come out or we will come in and there will be collateral damage and we just chose the better of the two bad situations, as far as I am concerned. I know this because I was involved. He (Yar’Adua) had plans for the Niger Delta but they were not fulfilled because he didn’t live to fulfill them. Those plans did not materialise. What he promised was massive infrastructural development in the Niger Delta with bulldozers moving in,

building bridges between one community and another and all that. All these were promises that were made at that time but up till now, they have not materialised. So, it does not matter whether it is Yar’Adua or Jonathan; the bottom line is these are the expectations of the Niger Delta people and those expectations are yet to be fulfilled. I also must add here that besides everything else, Nigeria should be grateful to Jonathan for the mere fact that he is the president. It is because he is the president that the agitation seems to have taken a backseat for the Niger Delta people, to the point that the oil production has climaxed to over 2.6 million barrels per day, which means that Niger Delta is funding the budget of Nigeria every year once again. Who else is producing anything? Who else is contributing to the budget of Nigeria? Nigeria should be grateful to Jonathan that he is the president and that is why our expectation also is high, as it is. I would want our expectations to be higher. I want our demands to be more than we are demanding. I want a situation whereby every state that owns whatever resources should be able to nurture them and bring some part to the table. If not, the Niger Delta people will begin to reassess why are they bringing everything to the table, including our blood and yet, nobody else is bringing anything and we are told we are the bad people in all of these. The People of the Niger Delta yearn for the restructuring of Nigeria. Do you see Jonathan achieving this? Unfortunately, everything he has said has indicated that he is not prepared to propose what will lead to the clamour, for instance, for the sovereign national conference, regionalism or self-determination. It is one thing to say Nigeria is one indivisible country but it is another thing to see if that statement is either true or false. In my opinion, such a statement is not true because Nigeria, even though it is one country, is not one indivisible country. Nigeria is very clear in who is where in this country. The Igbo are in their section, so are the Yoruba, the Hausa/Fulani, and the Niger Delta people. If we want Nigerians to stay together, it will have to be discussed. This implies that the different ethnic groups that make up Nigeria will have to seat down and discuss. I do not blame Jonathan, nor do I expect him, as the president of Nigeria, to take up the mettle to call for a Sovereign National Conference, but I do expect him to listen to Nigerians if that is what


Nigerians say they want. As the president, a representative of the people who voted for him, he has to listen to what the people are saying. It is not up to Jonathan, it is up to Nigerians to insist on what they want. And that is why I am saying that we must have a conference. If we go into 2015 without a new Constitution, we will, in effect, be celebrating a 100 years of the amalgamation of Nigeria in 2014 and yet going into the first year of the perceived new century on total falsehood, because we will be going into the beginning of the next century totally in disagreement. Nigerians, as we are today, did not seat down and decided to come together; a foreign government, the British government, brought us together. Today, Nigeria, as an independent country made up of over 250 ethnic groups; if we want to blindly go into the beginning of the next century which is 2015, it is going to be very symbolic for me and it should be for Nigerians, because we are alive to see us move into the beginning of another century on a complete falsehood, which will not be able to stand. BY 2015, will Jonathan likely muster the support he enjoyed in Niger Delta in last election? If I have the opportunity to let the president know the feeling that is on ground — being  a grassroots and people’s person, and judging as a Nigerian and then as a Niger Delta person — it will be very difficult if this government continues in this way to muster the anticipated support. If the East-West Road remains the way it is; if the Niger Delta people are not participating in the oil and gas sector; if infrastructural development is not coming to Niger Delta; if we continue to have despoliation of the environment; if we continue to have gas flares; if we continue to drink polluted water and eat polluted fish, it will be difficult to enjoy the level of support that he enjoyed in 2011. It will be highly difficult. But if between now and 2015, he is able to listen to Nigerians and is able to govern to the expectation of Nigerians, then, yes, I will work for him and I am sure the Niger Delta people will support him. However, it will be based on performance and delivery. But the Niger Delta people will have the final say depending on how the so-called claimers to the political power play their own card. If all they have to say is that it is their own turn and they must have power come what may, then, we will let them realise that power is with us now and we will not hand it over either. But everything depends on the electorate. If free and fair elections will be held, then, the electorate will have the last say and that is why President Jonathan must be able to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people so that we could actually have the basis to go into the 2015 elections. Let us not be put into a position where we will say, ‘okay, you don’t want Jonathan to be the president because you are claiming it is your birthright to take it over and we, too, will say it does not matter, we don’t want to handover power.’ It should not be on those bases. But it will end up being on those bases if the likes of Governor Babangida Aliyu carry on the way they are carrying on; that it’s their turn and come what may, Jonathan must hand over in May 2015. What Aliyu is saying in effect is that if the East-West Road is built and if Jonathan is able to generate power and we are able to fight corruption and things change in Nigeria, yet, he does not give a dam and say Jonathan must go, then; that is his war cry. So, you can see where the balance is. To my heart and I believe to the hearts of the Niger Delta people and all Nigerians, what we will really want is a true government that has the interest of Nigerians at heart to deliver good governance, to fight corruption; for us to have industries, for us to have a situation where everybody brings to the table what they have. And this over-dependence on oil and gas must also stop. I don’t see how Nigerians will think that the Niger Delta people will continue to accept a situation where year in, year out, gas and oil will be taken out of the Niger Delta and the proceeds used to develop Abuja and there is no development in the Niger Delta, no employment for its teeming youths, no security and yet we are expected to pretend as if all those things don’t matter to us. These issues matter to us and it is very clear that we will not continue to accept this situation as business as usual, no matter who the president is. How can Jonathan win back people’s confidence in the Niger Delta before 2015? The president should do what Nigerians expect. The promises he made on behalf to the Niger Delta people, like the Coastal Road, development of new towns for our people, education opportunities, health care services, and reaching out to the rural areas should be fulfilled. If the president is able to make these decisions; remove people that have to be removed from his cabinet and bring in people that should be brought in and listen to the voice of Nigerians and begin to address the issues of corruption, and failure in governance, he will have less difficulties. If he is able to address these issues, then he can turn the tide.   The same way he expects the support from Nigerians is the same way Nigerians expect him to put their needs, expectations and desire before his political party. I don’t believe that a president or governor’s political party is more important than the people that he is supposed to be working for. If the government of Jonathan could very quickly make possible the changes that Nigerians can see, we will support him; we will work with him and make sure that he is returned. But if our expectations are not delivered, how is it that we are expected to put in where we cannot take out?

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


COVER People expected intellectual input into governance since he has a doctorate; we were looking for new ideas in the running of this country. But what you see is personal rulership. Might is power. My people and the rest of us! In a situation like that, Mr. President does not have the trust of the people of the Niger Delta unless when it is forced. And if you don’t have trust and confidence, you are on your own.

Anyakwee Nsirimovu is chairman of the Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition (NDCSC) and erstwhile chairman, subcommittee on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Rehabilitation (DDR) of the Technical Committee on the Niger Delta. In this interview with KELVIN EBIRI, he said it would be too bad if people of the South-south miss this opportunity to address their key challenges.

OU said the Niger Delta is divided; does this YI amimply that the president has been sectional? a civil society person and I am objective. I

HAT is your assessment of Jonathan’s W administration regarding his attention to issues concerning the Niger Delta? FROM the Niger Delta perspective, the key measurement is the East-West Road; you can see that the president has been lackadaisical, without any impact, for the period that he has been in office. Regarding some of the critical reasons people agitated right from the times of Isaac Adaka Boro to Ken Saro-Wiwa, including the young people who took to the creeks to protest, you can see that nothing seems to be happening in terms of fulfilling the people’s desires by the federal government. One is not trying to make Mr. Jonathan the president of the Niger Delta; he is the president of Nigeria. But the Niger Delta is a key component of the federation, which is where the oil and gas resource is derived; yet; nothing is happening either in terms of physical infrastructural development, human and material development, even in terms of peace and security. Beyond the monetisation of the Amnesty Programme, nobody can come and tell me there is peace in the Niger Delta because, if there is peace, there won’t the Joint Task Force; there won’t military people parading the area you call the Niger Delta. It’s very disappointing. If we miss the opportunity, what the next president will tell us is that you had your own son, who ought to know, who should know and do something, but he did absolutely nothing and so what do you expect us to do. Niger Delta has remained the same. A lot of people have shut up, which is not good because they don’t want to disrespect the president, who is their own son, as if it is about individuals and not issues. The whole essence of government, as provided in Nigerian Constitution, is for the wellbeing, the security, the livelihood of the people and if that is not forthcoming; if people are not happy and governance is not about the pursuit of happiness, then, of course, for me and a lot of people around here, government makes no meaning. Jonathan has not shown leadership, development and the kind of motivation that can make peace happen in the Niger Delta. So, what you have here are a few people who have been monetised on behalf of several millions in the Niger Delta. My fear is that if Jonathan leaves office, the next president will not continue with the monetisation of the Amnesty process and if that happens, you will see a return to the crisis that once plagued the region. This is the opportunity to make the whole process of the Amnesty Programme yield result. I was part of the Niger Delta Technical Committee; I headed the sub-committee on militancy that made some of the key militant leaders to buy into the Amnesty Programme. There was an agreement. The Amnesty process was not just about individuals and those who carried guns. There were infrastructural difficulties in the Niger Delta; the issue of the Coastal Road, health, education, mega cities. Pick up that report and see the recommendations of that committee. Up till now, there has not been any white paper. Remove the white paper! Somebody like Mr. President ought to know the Niger Delta, but I don’t think he understands what the Niger Delta issue is all about. Mr. President should have picked up that Technical Committee report and begin to use it because that is the answer to the Niger Delta question. The answer is not the giving of paltry sums of money to a section of the Niger Delta, thereby dividing the region. Today, the Niger Delta is divided because there are people who think they are the real Niger Deltans and others are not and that is a crisis on its own. I think the reason people tolerated militancy and suffered the psychological dislocation was because they expected a better future at the end. In places like Okrika, people could not


Jonathan Does Not Understand The Question bury their dead. There were reported cases of rape; these militants killed people. People are right looking for the reason they have to go through those atrocities and they are not seeing the reasons. You expect people, who carried AK 47, who spent two weeks in Obubra (Amnesty Training Camp); you send some of them to overseas and they will come back someday as big men, like some who are driving SUV, and they will go back to the same community where they killed, and raped people for no good reason and you expect them to live in peace with their people, who when they look around, cannot see meaningful changes in their lives as a result of militancy? I think Jonathan is sowing seed for more conflict in the Niger Delta rather than doing just peace, which is the development of the area. Why was Ogbakiri sacked? Why did Tombia, Buguma, Okrika, Abonnema go through what they went through? Our people need answer to that and until that begins to happen, I don’t think we can seat down and say all is well with the Niger Delta. The East-West Road has continued to claim lives because of its deplorable state. You cannot tell me there is no money. You have the NDDC here, and Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs; all these are controlled by the presidency. So, what is going on? Absolutely nothing is happening in terms of meaningful development for the people here and those yet to be born. I see trouble!

shoes. He was not prepared and properly educated on the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole. And the other aspect of it is the kind of people he has surrounded himself with. These are praise singers, who misguide him. The people he has surrounded himself with are very blind to effective policymaking programmes and they have not advised him properly. So, you see the political will is not there because there is no foundation to put that will. Look at what happened in the issue of signing of the 2013 Budget. Did we have to go through this process? Look at the issue of Justice Salami; was it necessary? Look at what is happening under the leadership of Mr. President; now we have the PDP Governors Forum within the Nigerian Governors Forum. He seems to favour autocracy rather than dialogue and this is what happens when your people are not participating in governance and you are not a listening president. When you look around the country today, you will realise that Mr. President is in a very difficult position because he has not been doing what he was supposed to do. What were your expectations? The expectations were many. For a long time in this country, we have suffered as minorities. As minorities, we know what our problems are and people expected a change. Over the years, we have said the majority has marginalised us. The expectation is that we now have one person who has risen to the highest office in the land and the expectation is that he should at least understand the problem of the region. HAT are the likely reasons for the presiAll minorities across the Niger Delta, minorident’s underperformance, based on your ties elsewhere in Nigeria, poor people across assessment? this country expected him to transform their I think number one is that he was not prelives. We expected that this president, being at pared for the job. He is a qualified person, an the centre, would begin to deal with the socioacademic; he has a doctorate degree, but polieconomic problems that impact on everybody; tics is not the same with academics. I don’t that he would turn lives around and bring think he has the history of radicalism and a about hope and confidence in the system. deep understanding of the nitty-gritty of the People expected a president that would not Niger Delta struggle. He was not part of it. He get caught by the virus of business as usual of has never been deeply involved. He was on the Nigerian politics. People expected their liveliperiphery. hood to change. I mean those little things that You can be from the Niger Delta without the can make life move progressively for the fisherunderstanding of the feelings of the people. man in Bayelsa, the farmer in Ikwerre land. The closest he went was to say he had no shoes. Even as he came from here, it is expected that For somebody who had no shoes — and realishe would understand the difficulties of the ing that there are so many people who have no minorities in the North. People saw hope in shoes in the Niger Delta — he has done poorly Jonathan and that was why some said there to relieve others who have no shoes. He has was still hope for Nigeria because a lot of peogotten shoes and does not want others to have ple were fed up with what was happening.


hear what people say. In the Niger Delta, people do not have a sense of belonging. If you are not from Mr. President’s ethnic group, you are excluded. That is what is on ground and that is the feeling of an ordinary people in the Niger Delta. People feel they are being marginalised. There is now the real Niger Delta and the other Niger Delta. Some people are growing, while some people are diminishing. Poverty is rising in some places and diminishing in other parts. When you don’t agree with Mr. President, you have to be punished. Across the region, people feel disempowered. Forget about what you read in the newspapers that everybody is supporting Mr. President. The reality on ground is that people are not happy with this president. The division in Niger Delta is gaining ground everyday and observers don’t feel that this is that group of people that once united in a fight to emancipate the region. One of dreams of the people of the Niger Delta is the restructuring of Nigeria. Do you see Jonathan actualising this? I don’t think he has what it takes to do that. A president who can do that is one who has command and respect of the National Assembly, the generality of people of this country. He had it from the beginning; there was goodwill in this country for him until he told Nigerians a lie that there would be no subsidy removal, only for him to remove it on January 1, 2012. From then, he started a whole of things that are contrary to due process. You can see that corruption is on the increase rather than reducing. Some of the things he said he would do are not happening and in a situation like that, you cannot muster the kind of support that you will require to restructure the country. Every day, he is at loggerheads with his party members in the National Assembly; whereas, the PDP is the majority party in both Houses of the National Assembly and you cannot have a better opportunity to do what you want as a president than now. He is presiding over a house divided; so, to some extent, he is on his own in some of the things he is thinking and doing. People don’t see some of the things he is doing in the light of national interest, and so, they oppose him. He has opposition in the Niger Delta as well. Forget about what people are saying: that he enjoys massive support in the Niger Delta. If Mr. President wants to restructure this country, he must have the entirety of Niger Delta people behind him. I don’t think he can muster that at this moment. Come 2015, do you think the people of the Niger Delta will rally for the president? He does not enjoy any genuine support. Maybe in Bayelsa State, he enjoys some support based on sentiment. If you take the statistics of election data in the Niger Delta, you will realise that there has not been free and fair elections in the region; so, the results of the 2011 elections are a misrepresentation of the will of the people. When you hear people say we gave him support in Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom States, they are manipulated support. In Edo State, Action Congress of Nigeria has taken over. If you insist on a free and fair election tomorrow, I don’t think he will get the kind of votes those who don’t live here would have expected him to get.   The next elections will be based on performance and not sentiment linked to where you came from. If you are from here and you have not performed, why must you continue? When you have not done what you are supposed to do, people will continue to die from road accidents. Those people, whose vehicle fell into the Choba Bridge the other day; if that bridge was properly paved, they wouldn’t have died. What about those that perished at Okogbe due to the petroleum tanker that fell on the bad East-West Road? The fire accident that resulted in the death of scores of Niger Delta people would not have happened if that road were properly constructed. Why will people look back at some of these things — you have lost your entire family and you have a president who didn’t do anything, and you vote for him? If it is me, I will rather die than put my valued vote for you. Nothing is happening in the Niger Delta where expect much!


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013

COVER KOKORI: South-south Is Disillusioned Under This Administration Frank Kokori, trade unionist and former secretary-general, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), is of the opinion that the Goodluck Jonathan government is yet to seriously address massive corruption and infrastructural deficit affecting the South-South region. He spoke with CHIDO OKAFOR in Warri. A lot of people in South-South tend to believe that the Goodluck Jonathan government has not done much for the region; do you agree? PART from the Amnesty Programme, that has eased tension in the Niger Delta, which is a carryover from the late Yar’ Adua regime of which he was part, as vice president, many people of the South-South are disillusioned with Jonathan’s rule. We expect more from him. Look at the East-West road. What is really delaying the completion of the road? That road has been on for a very long time. It should have been completed in three years. I have traveled from Warri to Port Harcourt, there is still much to be done on that axis, but Port Harcourt to Akwa Ibom has been completed. It is from Warri to Port Harcourt that the project is moving at snail speed. The Goodluck Jonathan government, to me, is still a toddler. We felt by now he should have started walking, but he is still toddling around. Jonathan has actually been in charge now for three years plus. The full tenure of a Nigerian president is the same with most developed countries in the world, specifically the United States; you do your four years and get out. People like President Kennedy didn’t get up to four years and they made their impact. Coming to Nigeria, even though I know late Muritala Mohammed’s government was a military regime, he made an impact in six months Jonathan has to do something to impress Nigerians: take on corruption headlong and


fight the cabal that fuels corruption. He must let Nigerians know that people who decide to loot the country’s treasury in an obscene fashion must be punished, to serve as deterrent for others. But he hasn’t done that, so Jonathan has disappointed Nigerians. Nigerians want some of these monies stolen to be retrieved and recycled for good of the country, he hasn’t done that, so these monies are still scattered all over the world and in private treasuries. He has not been able to retrieve the money for Nigerians. So people are wondering now if really Jonathan is as good as he appears. What prevents him from fighting corruption? A good president should be able to deal with corruption and put the country on track. There is so much unemployment; the standard of living is dwindling instead of improving. So, for me the president has disappointed Nigerians, and he should be a responsive president. Jonnathan may not be a sadist like Abacha, but he behaves almost close to that. In other words, he does not really care about what the people are talking about him. What can Jonathan do to get accolade from the South-South? There is no reason why the South-South should not have steady power supply, since there is abundant gas resources here. The power thing should be decompartmentalized. Give energy to the people because with energy the small and medium scale industry, which is the core of any economy could just kick off like that. The problem of people is how to by diesel and fuel to power their big and small generators. People who run businesses, such as welding, carpentry, pure water spend so much money buying fuel and diesel and at the end of the day they fold up because they can’t provide fuel for those machines. Government should improve the infrastructure in the Niger Delta. There are no roads in the South-South; where you have roads in this country is the South West and parts of the North. Is it lack of ideas or political will that is responsible for this situation? There is lack of political will because you can by technical know-how hire or acquire ideas; you

Kokori can pay people to come and do it for you. Take the Escravos Gas to Liquid (EGTL) project for instance, sadly, most of the projects that Nigerian government pay $5 or $10 for, in South Africa or Ghana it will be half of that amount. So, most of our projects are overpriced by over 50percent or 100 percent. If corruption is wiped out or reduced to the barest minimum just like in China, things will work. What are the key things Jonathan must do for South-South? Jonathan seems to worry more about 2015. Jonathan knows the level of neglect where he comes from. He should establish infrastruc-

AKPOBARI: Ogoni Situation Has Gone From Bad To Worst Akpobari is the national coordinator, Ogoni Solidarity Forum (OSF). He told KELVIN EBIRI that the failure of President Jonathan’s administration to implement the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoni and address issues of environmental degradation is a betrayal of the peoples’ trust. How will you assess President Jonathan’s government as it affects the Niger Delta? THINK the Niger Delta people have been looking for an opportunity to have one of their own as president. In fact, at a point we thought that will not be possible in our lifetime, but fortunately, as God will have it, Jonathan became president. But since then, our hopes have become so dim and dark because our situation has grown from being bad to worst. People are mocking us saying, you want to produce a president, now have the presidency. Akpobari The East-West road is one that all Nigerians use. We are not even talking about the rural communities, yet we are begging him to work on it. You are aware of the UNEP report. Let us assume that government did not know the level of devastation, but a competent UN agency, released a report, which was paid for by the government and for over 17 months nothing has been done. Compare that to what happened in the Gulf of Mexico. The people were adequately compensated. The UNEP report has been released and they are playing politics with it right now. If Jonathan cannot clean up the Niger Delta, at least to restore our rich mangrove forest and devastated environment, what else can he do for the Niger Delta people? Let’s not talk about infrastructural development, that one is zero. I’m seeing a Jonathan that will leave in 2015 with nothing to show for his presidency, as far as Niger Delta is concerned. It is sad that we will be finding it difficult to aspire to that


If Jonathan cannot clean up the Niger Delta, at least to restore our rich mangrove forest and devastated environment, what else can he do for the Niger Delta people? Let’s not talk about infrastructural development, that one is zero. I’m seeing a Jonathan that will leave in 2015 with nothing to show for his presidency, as far as Niger Delta is concerned

ture, create jobs, empower the youths, invest in human capital development. He should create institutions that will absorb the jobless youths, just like what he is doing with the amnesty programme, but that is just a tip of the iceberg. He should develop the educational system because the schools we have these days are nothing to write home about. It is not only Jonathan. What about the governors? To me the governors are major culprits because in a federal system, it is not just Jonathan but the governors. The governors have responsibility for nearly everything in the state. But Jonathan must fight corruption.

office again, because of the incompetence of Jonathan, because people will refer to the fact that he was given a chance but did not do anything. It will be difficult for us to ask for another chance and that is my major concern. What really were your expectations from Jonathan? My expectation was that Jonathan would at least continue with the agenda of Yar’Adua on Niger Delta. You will agree with me that Yar’Adua had a better agenda for Niger Delta than Jonathan and that was why he created a ministry for Niger Delta affairs, so that Niger Delta people will be able to turn the tide. The ministry and government would have been in a position to address the developmental challenges of the region and wipe away the tears of the past. Niger Delta would have been deployed and the NDDC would have been made to work for the region and not to be a channel for the looting of the region’s resources. We were thinking that the President as someone from the Niger Delta would have ensured that every kobo that goes to NDDC is made to work for the people. That is not the case today. We expected that under Jonathan, the oil companies operating in the Niger Delta would carry out their social responsibility to their host communities, but that is not the case. You are aware of the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB); the laws regulating the activities of the oil companies have not been changed in the last fifty years. We expect that this will be an opportunity to change things. Accepted that the bill was not a creation of Jonathan, but he inherited it and this should have been an opportunity for him to restructure the bill to enable Niger Delta communities have a better deal from the oil and gas that comes from their land. If the PIB is well scripted to give something back to the communities, they will have no cause to cry for giving up their land and water for oil. Will your Ogoni people support him if he seeks reelection in 2015? I will not vote for Jonathan when the years he has already spent have deprived me more of my right. This is not a Niger Delta matter; this is my livelihood and my future. I have not seen any different thing. He is not popular among the Ogoni people and he is not even popular among his people in Otuoke. I go to Bayelsa State all the time. In fact, he is not popular in the Niger Delta. His popularity rating in the Niger Delta is diminishing everyday. I don’t know whether he does not have the political will to implement policies or that as we hear, he is surrounded by spineless and clueless people who don’t know anything; or it is because of his nature that he cannot do any good thing. I am just confused about what is his problem. But having being in power all these years as a vice president, acting president, president and Niger Delta people cannot smile that we have a son as president, it will be better we have a Northerner there. It is sad that we have one of our own and yet we cannot benefit from his government. If he cannot implement UNEP report on Ogoni, what else does he want an Ogoni man to say? If they can clean up our environment and re-vegetate our mangrove forest that is gone, we will be able to go back to our fishing and farming business and forget about their money.

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


POLITICS The Ogun PDP came from the blues in 2003 to send the Alliance for Democracy (AD) packing, but it could hardly manage its victory for four years. Today, Ogun PDP is in disarray, due to greed, rough ego and tactless leadership. If the party continues this way for the next three years, it will surely go into oblivion.

OGUN PDP: Harvest Of Endless Crises Amid Huge Losses By Charles Coffie Gyamfi, Abeokuta HAT the centre in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State chapter, can no more hold is no longer news to keen observers of Southwest politics. To some, the crises started just before the 2011 general elections, resulting in the party holding of two separate party primaries to elect candidates for the 2011 general elections. Others trace the genesis to the impeachment of former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Titi Oseni in May 2008. But those who should know, Prince Dapo Adeyemi, Secretary to the sacked former President Olusegun Obasanjo backed party executive led by Dipo Odujirin and Alhaji Semiu Sodipo, Secretary to the Alhaji Buruji Kashamubacked faction agreed that trouble began just after the 2007 general elections. The duo who spoke separately to The Guardian, disclosed that fight began when it became clear to some party leaders that the former governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel had “completely ignored the party’s leaders and founders and strategically taken over the party’s structure.” Some party leaders therefore mapped out in groups to fight it out. The ‘fight,’ started when 15 lawmakers out of the 26-member Assembly broke ranks with the rest and Daniel responded by closing the House for ten months. During the period, there were two Speakers for the two factions, Hon. Tunji Egbetokun and Hon. Soyemi Coker, with each claiming to be the authentic Speaker. It was expected that after the party lost power to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the 2011 general elections, that the warring factions would forget their differences to relaunch with a view to reclaiming its position, but the differences continued unabated, to the extent that by late last year, four factions had emerged within the party. The quarrel now is over who controls the party structure. The factions are those of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Daniel, Senator Jubril Martins Kuye, former minister of state for finance and Alhaji Buruji Kashamu, a business tycoon. The factions, at different times instituted suits against one another. Though the PDP constitution stipulates that no member should take the party to court without exhausting all the internal mechanism of solving disputes, at the last count, the Kashamu faction was said to have succeeded in obtaining 36 court orders and injunctions against the party. Since August last year, when the Obasanjobacked faction was elected into office, the two factions have been running the party’s affairs with each of them claiming to be the authentic executive.



Obasanjo While all these were going on, the national leadership of the party prevaricated in resolving the various issues. That manifested when the Kashamu faction ignored the national directive through an advertorial of March 10, 2012 that none of the factions should hold a congress until all the factions had been harmonized, but the leadership did nothing to punish that infraction. Recently, former governors of Ekiti and Osun States, Segun Oni, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and former House of Representatives member, Bode Mustapha, who were elected as the party’s vice chairman, Southwest, secretary and national auditor were respectively sacked and replaced with the Senator Dipo Odujirin-led executive by the PDP national Secretariat, Abuja. The decision was taken despite that Oyinlola had gone to court to challenge his removal. Latest development indicates that the drama is far from ending. This is because Bode Mustapha had also gone to an Abeokuta High

sumed power as he began to build his own political structure. Principal Actors Kuye, a Senator in the Second Republic, forHOSE embroiled in the supremacy strug- mer minister of state for finance and former gle are Obasanjo, Daniel, Kuye and governorship aspirant always had a political Kashamu. Incidentally, Martins Kuye is structure and foot soldiers on ground. the only one who is a founding member of Initially, Obasanjo appeared not to have any the PDP. Obasanjo, like Daniel was invited to solid structure on ground but it is an indisjoin the party. putable fact that he enjoys tremendous influObasanjo joined in 1999 while Daniel joined ence among party faithful, which he deploys in 2003; he was a member of the Alliance for to his favour whenever the need arises. Democracy (AD). Kashamu joined in 2009 When Daniel assumed office in 2003, the PDP during the heat of the face-off between Daniel was not a popular party in the state, but beand the state legislators. fore he left office, through his effort, all the 26 Initially, Kashamu told PDP members that legislators and all the 20 local government his aim was to find an amicable solution to chairmen and 236 councilors were PDP the crisis and that he had no political ambielected members. That does not translate to tion. But insiders say he fell out with Daniel popularity, but that reflects what happens when his influence began to spread, and when a ruling party stamps its feet. Daniel became uncomfortable with his Kashamu on his own part is a stupendously (Kashamu) popularity. wealthy man who has just started building Daniel was said to have fallen out with Kuye, his own structure. He keeps insisting that he his political godfather not long after he ashas no political ambition. court to challenge his removal.


ADEYEMI: One Day There Will Be Justice In Ogun PDP Prince Dapo Adeyemi is the secretary of Obasanjo’s faction of Ogun PDP. He told CHARLES COFFIE GYAMFI that those who have shown gross disrespect for party rules are those being pampered and supported by the national leadership of the PDP Genesis of crises HE PDP crisis, in my own view started in 2008 with the impeachment of Hon. Titi Oseni, but before then, there were disenchantment and grumblings, but it had not come to the open. Even after Oseni’s impeachment, the party was still trying to get itself together till sometime in 2009, when we discovered that former Governor Gbenga Daniel was trying to take over the party’s structure. What I’m saying in effect is that, yes, Oseni was impeached another person was put there, the House was divided into two factions, but the party itself was still managing the crisis then, until around February 2009 when the leadership, the stakeholders discovered that Daniel was actually trying to take over the structures of the party, control the structures of the party at all levels. In his subtle way of achieving that aim, he brought up this idea of ‘collegiate council’, where the executive members of the party at the local government level did not have any say again in the development of the party. The power now shifted to the collegiate council and when we saw that we could not continue like that we established the Elders’ Forum to challenge Daniel. That was the genesis of the crisis. The Elders Forum has Senator Kuye as chairman and myself as the Secretary. It is the Elders’ Forum that took up the battle with OGD (Daniel). Between 2009 and 2010, we were in Abuja for 14 different times, all in an attempt to find a way of solving


Adeyemi the crisis, but all efforts failed. It was in late 2009 that Buruji Kashamu came in when Daniel invited him. I think Daniel brought him in so that he could use him, perhaps to checkmate us, because he knew his (Kashamu) financial strength and Daniel’s government thought that with Kashamu in their fold they would be able to checkmate us. But we thank God, Buruji disagreed with him (Daniel) in less than three to four months and they parted ways. Later on, the Elders’ Forum decided that the enemy of your

enemy is always your friend, so when we discovered that Kashamu had parted ways with OGD, we decided to bring him in, so that together we could face OGD, that is the truth. When Kashamu joined us, he told us that he was not interested in any political office. I was the one who phoned him to meet the leadership of our Forum and he obliged. That was in January in 2010. On working with Kashamu We were together from January 4, 2010; in fact, we even decided that we were going to inject some trusted allies into the State Elders’ Forum, so that we would be going to Abuja meetings together. It was then we brought in Alhaji Idris, Chief Ojosipe and three or four others and together we were attending meetings until the general elections of 2011. Emergence of Dayo Bayo executive The National Working Committee (NWC) of the party issued an advertorial on March 10, 2012, postponing all congresses. Myself, Daniel, Kashamu and some of our other leaders in the state were in Abuja on March 6, when the then Acting national chairman told us that congresses in Ogun State had been postponed and he directed us to go back home to settle all the crises within us. But unfortunately this so-called Kashamu faction did not obey that directive, but instead went ahead and conducted the congress in which Dayo Bayo emerge as their chairman; and to us, since he was illegally elected against the party’s directive, he couldn’t be recognised as chairman of the party. It is unfortunate that this present administration under Alhaji Bamanga Tukur is relying on a congress, which the previous administration postponed. I don’t know whether they are not aware of this. Incidentally, the national Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metu, who signed the statement ordering our sack (Odujirin executive) was a member of National Working Committee at



THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


SODIPO: Obasanjo Is Flaunting His Abuja Influence ecutive and didn’t want us to play any role in the congress the party organised to elect new set of party executives. We wanted an all-inclusive congress, but the party’s national leadership was again foot-dragging, they were playing some kind of games because they didn’t want that congress to hold. So we went to court again because the party’s Constitution is very clear concerning the role the executive should play in the emergence of new executives and the court again said, yes by our party’s Constitution, our executive, which is the legally recognised one should organise the congress. But after the court had said so the NWC continued dilly-dallying, saying they needed to be more careful. When it became clear that, for reasons best known to them, they didn’t want our executive to hold the congress, we went ahead to hold it since the court had given us the legal backing. After the congress, they NWC did not recognise the executive that emerged, that is the Bayo Dayo-led executive, so we went to court again, and the court said, yes the congress conducted by Dayo Soremi harmonised executive, which produced the Bayo Dayo executive was legally conducted and therefore those that emerged therein should be recognised and be treated as the party’s State executive. But again the national leadership still failed to recognise the Dayo Bayo executive. Later, the national leadership in connivance with the other parallel executive organised the South West, Zonal congress, without allowing us to participate in it. Again, we went to challenge the validity of the congress. The court gave judgment in our favour and ordered that the said congress was illegally conducted and therefore should be cancelled. It was at that illeing for NWC to inaugurate the newly hargal congress that Segun Oni, Olagunsoye and monised executive, but they refused; they did Bode Mustapha were illegally elected. not coordinate that agreement they initiated themselves, as they continued to work with the But again, the court ordered that the congress should be cancelled for an all-inclusive one to Joju Fadairo executive again. It was when they refused to enforce this agree- be organised, but that order was not obeyed. Segun Oni was still operating underground, ment that we were forced to go to court and holding meetings here and there and he was prayed the court to compel them (NWC) to act not obeying the court rulings. It got to a level on the letter they (NWC) had written, concerning the harmonisation of the two parallel exec- where the party’s national leadership could no longer hide it, and it came to a time when the utives; and the court in its judgment ruled in court ruled that Oyinlola was elected through our favour, but because the NWC failed to recognise us, the Joju Fadairo executive still op- an illegal congress and therefore his nomination could not be valid and he was removed as erated along with our own; that was how the the national Secretary, they then ran into big two parallel executives operated side by side. problem. When it got to the nomination of candidates by the congress for the general election, the two Afraid that the opposition would capitalize on the confusion in the party, to say that the PDP executives therefore had different congresses government at the centre does not believe in for the nomination of their candidates. The the rule of law, the headquarters of our party ficongress conducted by Joju Fadairo-led execunally decided to implement the court judgtive was backed by then governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, which produced Gbenga Isiaka ment by removing Oyinlola as the party’s as governorship candidate. The one conducted national Secretary. Is it correct to blame the national leadership of by our side produced Gen. Adetunji Olurin as the PDP for the unending nature of the crises in governorship candidate in the 2011 general elections. The PDP national Headquarters took your state chapter? Off course, by not taking decisions early Gbenga Isiaka’s name to INEC and we also took the name of our candidate, Olurin and because enough, the way they ought to. How did the Odujirin faction emerge and if the we supported our case with court judgments we had obtained to the effect that we are the au- congress that brought about its executive was conducted by a delegation from Abuja, why do thentic executive, INEC recognised Olurin as you still say it is illegal? the party’s flag bearer and also our executive, The problem is with the national leadership. which by then had elected chairman. There is no way the entire national leadership But immediately after the general elections, of the party would say they would not recogthe National Working Committee was back in the trenches. They still didn’t recognise our ex- nise the congress that produced the Dayo Bayo

Alhaji Semiu Sodipo is the Secretary of the Kashamu-led faction of Ogun State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview with CHARLES COFFIE GYAMFI, he gave his version of the crises and provides a way to move forward.

Sodipo When did Ogun PDP begin to show signs of factionalisation? HE crises started in 2008, after the state congress, which was conducted to elect officers of the party. The officers who emerged complained that it was not an all inclusive congress, but rather, it was teleguided through one man, the then governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and the complaints continued until the National Working Committee (NWC), South West invited all the sides to dialogue. Who emerged chairman at that congress? It was Elder Joju Fadairo who emerged, which was not really acceptable to the party leadership in the state and the complaints were loud enough to draw the attention of the party’s NWC, which invited us to Abuja, three or four times for dialogue. At the end of the day, NWC set up a Presidential Committee under Gen. Ike Nwanchukwu, to look into all the problems besetting the party in the state. The Committee invited us several times for meetings and after listening to all sides, eventually made recommendations to the NWC. When the crisis was going on, a parallel executive emerged, that is the Joju Fadairo executive; and I was the chairman of the parallel executive to Joju Fadairo’s. The two existed, until the Presidential Committee under Gen. Nwanchukwu was eventually disbanded, and the responsibility to solve the crisis was bestowed on the NWC again, which latter approved that the two parallel executives should be harmonized. They wrote a letter to both sides to that effect. Thereafter, we were wait-


Tukur Is Against Obasanjo’s Interest –– Adeyemi CONTINUED FROM PAGE 58 that time. On parallel primaries before 2011 elections Abuja decided that for a final solution to the unending crises, we must harmonise the Daniel’s group and our own group and they (Abuja) gave us a table of harmonisation. They (Abuja) gave the chairmanship position to our group and the secretary to their group, but this arrangement, which was fair enough, was acceptable to them (Daniel’s group). As time went on, we had to do what the national leadership asked us to do, by making effort to harmonise. But they started fighting us and so we approached the court to get the nod of the court to harmonise the executive in line with what the national leadership said. We went to court with the harmonisation letter from the national leadership, the harmonised list of the zone’s executive positions and the court gave us the nod. That was how our own executive came up and Daniel felt he would continue with his own executive with Joju Fadairo. That was where the parallel executives emerged. We had two primaries before 2011 elections because at that period there were various court orders and rulings to the effect that our own executive is the legally authorised one that should conduct the congress to elect the party’s candidate for the election. But Daniel believed that their own executive was the right one to conduct the congress to elect their candidates, despite the fact that their group never challenged any of the injunctions and orders we obtained from the court I must recalled that Daniel floated another party which is People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN) just before the election and even though he said he was still in the PDP, everybody saw posters and bill boards through which he was canvassing votes for the PPN.

On funding of his faction When people say Kashamu is the financier of the party, I become disturbed because if you go to the account of the party, you will find out that somebody who says he is the financier of the party has no record of paying even N10 into the account of the party. Yes he made financial contribution towards the court case in Abuja, but other party members also contributed. So, it was a collective effort and therefore it is wrong for anybody to say that he singlehandedly financed the case. But I must admit that he was the one who knew the judges, he was the one who hired the lawyer and so definitely he might have made more contributions. On falling apart with Kashamu I think he left us because he either had a hidden agenda or he has a personal interest, which is not to the interest of the party, because when he came on January 4, 2010, he said specifically that he was not interested in any political office and that all he wanted was to assist the party to emerge victorious, after which he said he would expect the party to give leverage to his business. I remember him telling us that he was not interested in any politics and in any position. That was what he said then but unfortunately, we lost the election. We gave him the deputy governorship ticket, which he gave to Ambassador Oladunjoye, his close associate then, just like myself anyway. When we lost the election and we had a meeting with Chief Obasanjo at his Hilltop residence, Abeokuta, and he told us that Adetunji Olurin, as the gubernatorial candidate would be the leader of the party and it was acceptable to everybody, so it appeared; but subsequent events showed that some of the leaders were not happy with the decision, but they didn’t raise any objection when Baba (Obasanjo) spoke at the meeting. Kashamu was one of those people.

executive, which was upheld by the court. The truth is that some elements within the NWC organised the illegal congress that produced Odujirin executive, majority of the NWC members did not support that congress. There was no time the NWC sat down to take a decision or position before that congress was organised and that means that that congress was illegal. There was no time the NWC took a position that another congress should be held because the court had already barred them from doing so. People are accusing Buruji Kashamu of being responsible for the crises. It is alleged that he is an ACN mole planted to destabilize the PDP; do you agree? That is a terrible lie and mischievous; the crisis started before Kashamu came to PDP, he couldn’t have started it, he just came into PDP when there was crisis and he took sides based on his conviction. We were in deep crisis before Buruji joined the party. The issue in the House of Assembly, where for almost a year, 15 of the legislators and the then governor, Daniel quarreled, was a product of the crisis. It was the crisis that made the House to be divided; it brought about G15, G11 and these happened before Buruji Kashamu came in. Former Speaker, Hon Dimeji Bankole, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo, Senator Jubril Martins Kuye, 15 members of the House of Assembly and Kashamu were just a coalition of those who are not involved in the congress that produced Joju Fadairo. Kashamu joined the party through Daniel, he was working with Daniel, but he later fought Daniel and after leaving Daniel, the only option left for him was to join the other side. So, the truth is that at the beginning of the crisis, Buruji was with Daniel, so he couldn’t have created the crisis. He just came to the other side when he saw the way Daniel was running the party. All of us, including Kashamu worked hard together to stop ACN from wining the 2011 election, but unfortunately, due to the division within us we lost; so how could he be used by ACN against the PDP? The crisis existed before ACN was formed; we were already in deep crisis before ACN was formed, so it is mischievous and terrible lies. Buruji is committed to PDP more than anybody else and he is making use of his resources to build a strong and united PDP. How did all the factions emerge? There are two factions, Buruji Kashamu and Obasanjo factions, you know the Daniel faction went to PPN and when they came back it couldn’t be a formidable faction anymore, because the party’s constitution provides the process of coming back, which is equally like joining the party afresh. So when they came back they couldn’t form a strong faction. In all these, which role is Obasanjo playing, because people believe he is using his influence to push things at Abuja? That is true. I was one of those who stood by the former President (Obasanjo) when the crisis between him and Daniel was on. Bode Mustapha was not in Obasanjo’s group, all of them that are now dinning and wining with him were Daniel’s loyalists and were in his group. So I’m surprised that we people who saw Obasanjo as our father and we his children and stood by him, instead of him calling all of us as children together and settle whatever differences among us, he has allowed his mind to be poisoned against us. Baba is not stable, somebody can be Baba’s person today, the next day he would drop that person for another person. The Odujirin executive had gone to challenge some of the rulings, which favoured your group. One expected that status quo to remain while appeal is on? I don’t think that it is right, that if an appeal is in court the status quo should remain. That is not true; when there is judgment it is the preceding judgment that is to exist until the Appeal Court takes a decision. When there is court judgment, that this table belongs to Mr. B, then Mr. B will hold on to the table, until the appeal is decided. But then, everything revolves round the national leadership. When our party’s leadership began to feel the impact of the opposition, regarding some of their decisions, they had no choice but to go to court to withdraw all their appeals filed by party members. The court continues to hammer it, that court order is court order; the fact that you have an appeal does not mean you should stop obeying court judgments, you wait for the appeal to take its own decision. If you go to the Supreme Court, the appeal decision is standing until the Supreme Court takes a decision, that is the way rule of law works. The fact that they have gone on appeal does not prevent the NWC from sacking

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 3, 2013


POLITICS By Abraham Ogbodo FTER last year’s governorship elections in Edo State, it was taken that the Akpakpawanga, Ogindinga and the Fixer of Edo politics was gone for good. All three names describe Chief Tony Anenih. They combine to conjure an impression of strength and in fact, invincibility of Chief Anenih in Edo politics. But the comprehensive defeat of the fixer right in his own backyard fired the imagination of those who were tired of seeing the old horse mount the political centre stage each time in Edo State and elsewhere. Perhaps for the first time in living memory, the tough names failed to conjure strength as the Great Anenih completely lost the initiative to an upstart. He watched helplessly as Governor Oshiomhole took him to the electoral dustbin. To his enemies, it was good riddance to a man who, like wine, gets better with age. He had ruled for too long as a champion. Nobody could invent a winning formula against him until the advent of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Chief Anenih definitely knew what happened and had taken the rude shock with existentialist calmness. The house of the Edo State PDP was not in order and the deep injuries that the party suffered at the polls were more self-inflicted than otherwise. Simply, the old man capitulated to recapitalize to do battle another day. That was in Edo State. At the centre, the fortunes of the Fixer were equally ebbing. He had been violently thrown out as the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman by ex-president who forced the rule that the position should be occupied by only past presidents or former national chairmen of the party. This was in 2007 and for about six years, Anenih had operated far below his installed political capacity. His traducers did not give him even the privilege of peace to reorganize himself. Stories of what Aneninh did with N300 billion meant for roads rehabilitation when he was Works Minister suddenly became more forceful in the media. But as always, the old man remained focus on the future and refused to be distracted. He does not engage in street fights and this ability to resist invitations to gladiatorial contests while at the same time expanding his territory is his Unique Selling Point (USP). And he wins both the battle and the war ultimately. In all, Chief Anenih has earned his place as a rugged political operative-in-chief. He is a ruthless bailiff acclaimed with capacity to evict incumbent political chief executives from their official quarters and install new tenants at will. He did so in the Second Republic when he evicted the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) governor of the old Bendel State, Professor Ambrose Alli from Government House Benin-City and put Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia. In the short-lived Third Republic, Chief Anenih enforced his own predictions when he enthroned the then Social Democratic Party (SDP’s) John Odigie-Oyegun as Edo State Governor against Lucky Igbinedion of the National Republican Convention (NRC). And when the Third Republic was to be negotiated away to the military in November 1993, Anenih, like the tortoise, was in the centre of the intrigues. As the


Tony Anennih:

Cat With Nine Lives Back In The Fray national chairman of the SDP he had occupied a big seat at the negotiation table. Somehow, the chief turned a full cycle at the dawn of this dispensation in 1999 and propelled the same Lucky Igbinedion into Government House, Benin City. This winning streak assisted to project his profile as a formidable political leader beyond Edo State to the national level. Gradually Anenih’s ability to handle difficult political jobs started manifesting. He was more or less the undertaker in the imperial Presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo. Alongside the likes of Ahmadu Ali, Anenih pulled the strings in the background. Something snapped suddenly and Anenih’s

near immeasurable influence at the federal level started diminishing. Precisely, the down turn began during the infamous campaign for a Third Term for President Obasanjo. It was one problem that Anenih was not too enthusiastic to fix. His beat was to work on recalcitrant legislators and weaken legislative opposition to the tenure elongation proposal. He allegedly worked as a double agent to boggle the third term agenda. There was thus a nexus between Anenih’s loss of his seat as PDP BoT chairman to the coup-like machination of Obasanjo in 2007, and the allegation of treachery in the failed Third Term project. Back home in Edo State, the dynamics were

Forum Advocates Legislation On Right To Food OWARDS making food T available and affordable for all, a coalition has canvassed a legislation that would guarantee the right to food. The Forum, which met in Abuja last week observed that the right to food is a derivative of the right to life and its fulfillment is indispensable to the realization of other rights, including the right to education, health and work. The meeting, which was put together by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), also noted that there is a low level of awareness among stakeholders and citizens about the meaning and scope of the right to food, leading to poor judgment in the allocation of resources and priorities of governments. It regretted that ongoing attempt to review the con-

stitution did not take into account this sensitive discourse on a legislation that would guarantee peoples’ right to food. Forum therefore observed that a legislation guaranteeing the right to food is necessary to mandate successive regimes to adopt a national strategy, including appropriate economic, environmental and social policies and empower citizens to hold government accountable. Those who attended include, members of the House of Representatives committees on agriculture, health and the MDGs, as well as members of civil society groups. The meeting charged civil society groups to embark on massive dissemination of relevant literature and campaigns to educate relevant stakeholders and allay their

misgivings on the legislation, and build a critical mass that will own the legislation on the right to food in Nigeria. A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting charged the National Assembly to treat the right to food as a priority and domesticate its principle through legislation, in line with the spirit of international conventions to which Nigeria is already a signatory. It reads; “Pending the passage of a right to food legislation in Nigeria, stakeholders should rely on existing international instruments to stimulate judicial activism to compel the government to fulfill the obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the right to food, especially among vulnerable groups and disadvantaged communities.

Participants at the Forum

getting too complex for the old man to handle. A new counterweight had emerged. It was Adams Oshiomhole, who, fresh from his two terms as president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had his eyes trained on the Government House in Benin City. Anenih’s handpicked PDP flag bearer, Osierhemen Osunbor, in the 2007 Edo governorship election could not match Hurricane Oshiomhole. It became a question of time before the declaration of Osunbor as winner of the election by the INEC was reversed by the court. The down turn had continued and in the 2011 general elections, his honour hung precariously on the balance as he struggled toothand-nail to defend his Edo central senatorial district, the last frontier in his disappearing political estate. It was that bad. The dreaded Akpakpawanga and Ogidigan had shrunk from his Olympian standing in national politics to a senatorial champion. In the July 2012 Edo governorship the ‘Fixer’ was permanently fixed by Oshiomhole and the ACN political machine. It was most devastating. The jubilating camp went to town to announce his political obituary. What his enemies did not understand was the latitude of his spare capacity, which makes it possible for him to resurrect from death. He is the proverbial cat with as many lives as it takes to finish a raging war. Steadily, and courtesy of the well advertised friction between President Jonathan and former President Obasanjo, Anenih’s political sun is rising again like the German empire after World War I. Faced with vitriol from his former political mentor, and with the 2015 battle well underway, Jonathan is frantically shopping for capable hands to assist in the task ahead. The impressive credentials of the Uromi high chief in the area under review put him in a fine stead for the job. The rehabilitation package for Anenih isn’t too bad. He has been reappointed chairman of the board of the Nigeria Ports Authority. The follow up to that process of rehabilitation was his emergence last week as the chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees after a failed attempt and the same position from which he was ousted in 2007. By this arrangement, Jonathan has sent a clear signal to Obasanjo, that he (the President) has come of age and no longer the good boy from Bayelsa State who obeyed orders without asking questions. The President is now willing to engage in combative politics and bringing Anenih, a veteran in the game on board, is a pointer to things to come in 2015. It can only be added that Anenih is a complete gift to any political general because he hates standing by losers. He is not known as such to sink with ships. He knows when a storm is implacable and the ship is under threat of going underwater. In order words, he has his timetable for every political partnership and he does not drag transactions beyond their essence. He disengages at the right time and that explains why he has always managed to return from the frontlines each time with his head on his shoulders. His new partnership with President Jonathan is not likely going to be different. As they say, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.


Sunday, March 3, 2013 61

Sports Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Athletes compete in a meet in Lagos...recently. Inset: Idowu

We’ll Create An Irreversible Framework For Grassroots Sports Development, Says NASCOM Boss Yemi Idowu is not new in sports having set up a football club, Nath Boys FC, which won the maiden Lagos Junior League. Being a sportsman himself, he understands the intricacies of sports and this is what he intends to bring to the fore as the chairman of the newly reconstituted Nigeria Academicals Sports Committee (NASCOM). Idowu, who is also a director in Sterling Bank Plc told OLALEKAN OKUSAN that the body intends to involve all stakeholders in improving the lots of sports at the grassroots level across the country. HY did you accept to chair the board of W NASCOM? First, for me sport is a passion. Second, I consider this not just an appointment but also a national assignment to help reposition Nigerian sports. When the Sports Minister, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi called me and unveiled his vision for the sector, I was moved by his passion for grassroots sports development and it was easy to connect with his new thinking for sports in Nigeria. So, I accepted to chair the board of NASCOM, even though it meant more tedious work for me, considering my very tight schedule as a director of a national bank and other associated business. I am also a member of the Governing Council for Bank Directors where I am the secretary and a member of the National Industrial Policy Committee. I am also a director of the Lagos Junior League. So, it was not an easy decision. As the chairman of NASCOM what are your objectives and vision? My vision as the Chairman of NASCOM is to create an irreversible framework for grassroots sports development in Nigeria by increasing the participation of young people in all sporting activities. My objective is to work consistently and tirelessly with all the stakeholders to ensure that more young people start to enjoy sporting activities just like we all did when we were much younger. We would like to create a sporting revolution that starts from the school playground. The NASCOM constituency is made up of school

age children either in formal education or nonformal education. We are not responsible for people above school age. This is the responsibility of the sporting federations under the National Sports Commission (NSC). The Honorable Minister has a “Playground to Podium” Vision, which he intends to achieve by reforming the NASCOM, the Sporting federations and NSC. Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) is just one of the many sports federations in Nigeria. Our strategy is simple. If we have a one per cent chance of finding talented children in a normal distribution of children playing sports, then it makes good sense to actively seek to increase the number of children playing sports if you want to increase your talent pool. To increase the number of children we will need something attractive and exciting to make them want to participate in sports. When we have a bigger talent pool, we should have enough exciting activities to keep them interested in sports for a longer period so that they can graduate to elite sports through a discovery program with the national sporting federations. Elite sports is not just talent, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication from all parties concerned. Parents, family and the larger community should also be motivated to support talented children so that they can have the required support structure in order to achieve success. My sister who is also an Olympian says, “ Talent is cheap, dedication and commitment are rare”. If we follow this approach, we will start seeing the fruits of success, though It will not be an instant success. How do you intend to achieve these visions? We will work closely with individual schools, the Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), the Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON), the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Sports Commission to realise our vision and objective. NASCOM needs to act the role of facilitator and supporter. We will not attempt to reinvent the wheel; rather we will complement already existing efforts by these bodies. For avoidance of doubt NASCOM will not be organizing any events at the grassroots level rather we will initiate ideas, brands and uniform prod-

ucts which will be easily recognisable for all stakeholders to support and identify. You need to note that NASCOM will not duplicate existing efforts but to support, refine and repackage what is already on ground and galvanising private sector support for grassroots sports. However, we will continue to encourage all stakeholders at the grassroots to embrace the kind of creativity and innovation that is youthfriendly and attractive to the private sector. If we can achieve these, our core objectives would have been far accomplished. Dearth of competitions caused by lack of fund has been a major factor in school sports and how do you intend to ensure that series of tournaments are staged in order to engage the youths throughout the year? Many countries with fantastic infrastructure and many competitions have never won as much as Nigeria. People win competitions not infrastructure. To win competitions, you need to train well and practice hard. You do not need money to train; you need dedication and commitment on all sides. We intend to encourage all the zonal coordinators of NSC, principals of schools through the various organisations like the NSSF and other similar bodies to increase the participation of children in school sports. We will also make all the government sporting infrastructure available to schools and children free of charge during the week and for interhouse sports days for children of school age. School children should not compete with Owambe parties and religious festivals at stadia and sports grounds. Zonal coordinators will be encouraged to visit schools and invite local schools and local children to make use of their facilities. They will try to co-ordinate sporting activities for schools at the inter school level and also provide technical support for the sporting activities of children. For example, they may choose to ask a few schools to hold their inter-house sports at the same venue on the same day. It will be easier to attract technical support and financial support for such local and regional events. It could even be a competition of the best/gifted athletes in a particular locality. The Zonal Co ordinators will hold training clinics once a week for specific sports and it will be free

for school children. This type of approach will require less funding because the schools, parents and other stakeholders will fund the event. Surely, it is easier for 300 parents to seek sponsors for an event than one zonal co ordinator who will probably be expected to approach the same sponsors for another similar event at the same venue on multiple occasions. We have designed a national campaign that will throw our country into a sporting frenzy within the next few months. The aim of the campaign is to help expand opportunities for youth participation in sports. The Federal Government will launch the campaign in the first quarter of 2013. Hopefully, when we have many children participating in sports, we will have a larger talent pool within a short period. Then the next step will be talent discovery and enhancement. The National Sports Commission has instituted the National Youth U-17 Games, which will be organized by Ministry of Sports. This will be the only NASCOM event. The Games will serve as a platform to enhance school age participation and increase our national potential for talent discovery. How do you want to run NASCOM in terms of funding? NASCOM has not received any money from government thus far. However, we hope that we will receive something to help the project. At the moment, I am funding the project with the support of the minister and other like-minded board members. NASCOM is empowered to seek for funds by itself and going forward, we have created products that we believe can begin to attract the kind of private sector funding that we need. But note that private sector money is not charity. Corporate sponsorship must also bring value to the sponsor and private sector funding will only come when we have unique sponsorship friendly “products” to offer. So, in addition to what the NSC is able to provide as support, we are confident that we will be able to raise the kind of funds that we need and not just in terms of cash but also merchandise, a lot of which we need for our programmes and sporting activities.


THe GUArDIAn Sunday, March 3, 2013

SPOrTS European Round-Off

Messi’s Performances  ‘Practically Inhuman’, Says Solari Messi has been in Lson,IOneL impressive form this seanetting 38 goals in 25 La Liga appearances so far, and Solari believes the Argentina international is on another level compared to Madrid's Cristiano ronaldo. "What's really incredible about Messi is his consistency over the past four to five years. It's practically inhuman to keep going like him," Solari told Sport. "What Messi has achieved in recent years far outweighs what Cristiano ronaldo has done. This difference is reflected in the number of Ballons d'Or he has won." Solari also had his say on Barcelona's struggles in recent weeks, and stated that the absence of Tito Vilanova hurts the Blaugrana. "There's going to be doubt when a team loses one or two games," he continued. "The worst thing that can happen to a team is that the players doubt themselves, especially in a situation where the coach is going through a difficult time. That's affecting the team." Meanwhile, midfielder Xavi is struggling to be fit in time for Barcelona's crucial Champions League match with AC Milan later this month following confirmation his hamstring injury is

Xavi Still Struggling for Milan return BARCELONA set to sideline him for up to 15 days. The Spain international had only recently come

back from a similar injury when he complained of discomfort following Wednesday's Copa del rey semi-final second-leg defeat to real Madrid.

continue to climb the Serie A table and claim a Champions League place. The Italian club have been resurgent following the sacking of former coach Zdenek Zeman and the appointment of Andreazzoli, winning their last two games, and their coach believes that there is no reason why their blistering form cannot continue. The 59-year-old acknowledged that finishing third would be a difficult challenge but refused to rule it out.


dence ahead of the Champions League match against Manchester United following their win over Barcelona earlier last week. The Spanish champions were held to a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of the round of 16 tie, and Valdano is

return. “After the match at Camp nou, real Madrid are brimming with confidence ahead of the biggest game of the year, which comes at Old Trafford against Manchester United,” Valdano told Cadena Ser.

european Cup. “The match at Old Trafford will be much more tactical than the Barcelona game. Against real Madrid, the home fans will be understanding if Sir Alex Ferguson decides to set up his team to play conservatively, and I think that will be the case.”

Beckham Has A Lot To Offer, Says Matuidi LAISe Matuidi believes get through the Coupe PARIS ST GERMAIN de“If weFrance B David Beckham has a lot quarter-finals to offer to Paris Saintcuss Paris Saint-Germain’s against evian then it will be


La Maggica Can Still Finish Third, Andreazzoli Assures OMA coach Aurelio r Andreazzoli has spoken of his belief that his side can

Blancos Brimming With Confidence Ahead Of Man United Clash, Claims Valdano  “nothing matters more than OrMer real Madrid director REAL MADRID winning the Champions FBlancos Jorge Valdano believes the will be high on confi- eagerly anticipating the League, the club’s 10th

ROMA “Third place? It’s tough, but it costs nothing to dream. If we see the reality, the situation is complicated, but those who do not dream cease to live,” he said in an interview with La Repubblica. “In terms of points, it is complicated. (Thinking

about our long-term objectives) makes no sense but to divert our attentions onto our next match (against Genoa).” Andreazzoli also spoke cautiously about the challenge posed by their next Serie A challengers, adding: “They are a compact and balanced team, and the defence concede few goals.”

Cassano Out Of Catania’s Clash After Dressing room Bust-up coach Andrea ItonTer Stramaccioni has decided leave Antonio Cassano out

INTER MILAN of the squad for Sunday’s Serie A match away against Catania after a heated discussion between the duo in the dressing room on Friday. Stramaccioni has downplayed the significance of Friday’s incident, but has nonetheless dropped the Italy international from the roster for the trip to Sicily. “It’s not a suspension. What happened yesterday is something that happens often, it was just a discussion,” Stramaccioni said at a press conference. “What was reported today shows the media do not love us, and it should have stayed in the dressing room. “It was a discussion and there was no physical contact. It bothers me that it has come from an outside source who wants Inter to fail. I reiterate that Cassano has not been suspended, otherwise he would have trained. He will return to training on Monday and, if nothing else happens, he will be in the squad for the trip to London on Thursday.”

Germain and feels honoured to be part of the same team as the former england international. The veteran midfielder joined PSG on a five-month deal in the January transfer window after leaving LA Galaxy on a free transfer, and Matuidi feels Beckham is a source of inspiration for his new team-mates. “He’s proved he’s not only a great man, but also a great player. I think he’ll bring a lot to the team and I hope he’ll help us fulfil our objectives,” Matuidi was quoted as saying on the official Ligue 1 website. “He’s a source of inspiration, and when you seen the work he put in against OM, well it proves that you can still do it at 37. “When I sit back it’s crazy to think I’m playing with him and it’s an honour, which I want to make the most of.” Matuidi then went on to dis-

chances of winning the domestic double. “We have the means to achieve it,” he continued.

open to us. In the league it is us holding the cards and if we don’t slip up then we’ll become champions.


We Had More Opportunites, Deserved Three Points, Says Mazzarri APOLI coach Walter n Mazzarri believes his side should have come away with a win against Juventus after the draw at San Paolo. The top-of-the-table clash ended 1-1 and meant the neapolitans remain six points off the pace. However, Mazzarri strongly feels his players' efforts warranted more than a point, while suggesting two penalties could have been given to his side. "I think we deserved all three points, as we created a few more scoring opportunities than Juventus. never mind," Mazzarri told Sky Sport Italia. “I’m content with the way my team played, especially in the second half, which was


NAPOLI not easy against such a strong side. "It’s a shame for the result, as in the second half I thought Dzemaili’s effort was going in and my players tell me that there were two penalties also. We are doing something phenomenal here and will try to continue until the end. We always try to win, then we see what we achieved. “We keep dropping points and should’ve won against Sampdoria, plus today after I changed system we caused them a lot of problems, but we’re unlucky at the moment. The proof is Dzemaili’s chance, which seemed impossible to miss.

“I did not see Juventus as clearly superior in the first half. I don’t think Juventuswere running the game at all apart from the opening 20 minutes. “The first half saw Marek Hamsik and Goran Pandev with two very early chances, while Juve had a great chance after their goal with Mirko Vucinic. After that, I don’t recall any Juventus opportunities. “If luck goes our way and we can finish our chances better, then we can notch up four or five consecutive victories. I see us play better against everyone except Lazio, so we will try all the way to go as far as possible. It is what we have always said.”


THe GUARDIAN Sunday, March 3, 2013


egbuchunam Loses, As Delta Airline Tennis Finals Hold Today He final matches of the First Delta Airline Tennis tournament taking place in Onikan, Lagos, will hold today with winners expected to walk home with exciting prizes, including a return air ticket to USA, courtesy of Delta Airlines, the sponsors of the competition. It is the first time that the American airline would directly bankroll a tennis tournament in Nigeria and Lagos Lawn Tennis Club President, Sam egbuchunam, hopes that the romance will extend to junior and professional players in the years to come. egbuchunam was one of the casualties of the quarterfinals when he lost to Kunle Sewonikun in two close sets of 4-6, 6-7. The match was a very close affair with Sewonikun taking the first set with a break of serve while he needed tiebreaker to clinch the second. Speaking after the match, egbuchunam said he was not bitter with his exit, pointing out that the better player won on the night. egbuchunam, whose tenure as the President of the LLTC has witnessed a resurgence of tennis activities for club members, junior players and professionals, said he was bowing out of the competition with his head held high. “It has been an eventful


tournament for me and I have no bitter feelings with my loss tonight. It could have gone any way but the fact that I do not see well at night, made me to take the second set easy as my vision was not working well. “The good thing is that I lost to a better player and I wish the other competitors the best of luck in the final matches,” he added.

Remo Stars eye Away Points


T-Raiders upset HST in Lagos Polo tourney in the Dansa Cup in Lagos

IGP Assures On Fair Officiating, As Police Games Begin\ ORT HARCOURT the capital city of Rivers State comes alive today as 4,200 athletes and 500 officials converge for the 10th biennial Nigeria Police Games begins. event in the Games, which will end on March 9th, will take place in three different venues in the city. This revelation was made by the deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Frank Mba, at the Force Headquarters, Abuja. Speaking on behalf of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar, the police spokesman informed that the 4,200 athletes were policemen and women drawn from police commands and formations across the country, to represent 12 commands of the Force as well as the Force Headquarters. The presence of these athletes he said, will add glamour to the social life of the


people of Port Harcourt and remaining three events its environs, during the which are non-scoring are period of the Games. It is rugby, polo and dart. also expected that economSpeaking on officiating ic activities in the state will during the Games, the Force be positively impacted Spokesman stated that 500 while the Games last.   officials,   drawn from variMba revealed that the ath- ous national and local letes will be competing in Sports Associations, will be 28 events, three of which on assignment as umpires are non-scoring, at three in their respective areas of diffferent venues. These are specialization. He assured the Liberation Stadium that the best of officiating is which will also host both expected, as adequate the Opening and Closing arrangement has been ceremonies, the new made for the officials in Adokiye Amesiemaka terms of logistics, security Stadium and the Agbani and welfare, to ensure a sucDerego Sports Complex; all cessful fiesta. in Port Harcourt, Rivers Addressing the issue of State. The 25 scoring events drugs and doping by athto be competed for at the letes, the Deputy Force Games are athletics, foot- Public Relations Officer ball, badminton, boxing, revealed that the IGP has chess, cycling, baseball, golf, handball, hockey, judo, karate, kick-boxing, swimming, scrabble, squash, table tennis, shooting, taekwondo, tennis, tugof-war, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling and wushu kunfu; while the

T-Raiders Upset HST In Lagos Polo Tourney By Adeyinka Adedipe eFORe the game started on the second day of the Lagos Polo International Tournament, many had written off the chances of TRaiders as they came up against the highly-favoured H. Safffiedine Transport (HST) in the Dansa Cup. The enthusiasts based their conviction on the fact that HST, a truly formidable and higher handicapped team, had the wherewithal to overrun their opponents.  However, at the end of the game, fans were enthralled at T-Raiders overwhelming massacre of HST, winning 7½ -2. Speaking with The Guardian before playing its second


game yesterday, Chief executive officer of Sopetro Marine Limited, Mina Oforiokuma, sponsors of TRaiders, said he was ecstatic about the victory considering that the side was a youthful one made up of Nigerian players. “I am actually happy that out decision to promote young Nigerians is paying off. Before this game, no one gave the team a chance against their more illustrious opponent. But the victory has shown that with the right attitude, teams seen as weak, can also do well. Oforiokuma, who is also plays polo but not at the professional level, stated that the

idea behind sponsoring TRaiders was to help develop young Nigerian players to become some of the best in a sport seen as elitist. He said: “The team is solely made up of players from the country. Unlike other teams that have professional players from abroad, we have decided to keep faith with these young Nigerians. By doing this, fans will know that everyone who has interest in the sports can play and become a star.” He said the team players like Bashiru Musa, Mayowa Ogunnusi, Adeyemo Alakija and Kotun Makanjuola have show that they can develop into big stars if the get the right backing.

Free Kicks Target 500 Coaches, 10,000 Players In 3-years By Gowon Akpodonor RGANISeRS of Free-Kicks, a youth and social engineering initiative on the platform of football, has declared that their target is to ‘torch’ the life to 500 coaches and 10,000 young stars in a short period of three years. At a media presentation at Sportshaq in Lagos yesterday, initiator of the programme, Godwin Dudu-Orumen, said the programme would change the life of young footballers and coaches by giving them a platform to build on their career.


“We have seen coaches and footballers come. What Free Kicks is all about is to lay a platform for coaches and players to have something to fall back to. It is a kind of scholarship for our young players,” he stated. Dudu-Orumen, a lawyer, journalist and respected sports enthusiast said that the programme is a game changer for Nigeria’s football, adding that it would partner with men of goodwill and discerning organisations by providing the right intervention at the developmental level.

eMO Stars FC travel down to Akwa Ibom to take on Akwa Starlets in the week 11 of the Nigeria National League as they hope to get a result from the second game on the road. The Sky Blue Stars were lucky victors last weekend as their opponent failed to turn up for the game and the Stars were granted vital 3 points and 3 goals which saw them overtake Crown FC at the top of the log in Division B. Currently at the top of the log with 19points, having at the back of their mind that a win is required to maintain the top spot. The Sky Blue Stars hope to build on previous result and improve the one point lead over Crown FC Akwa Starlet have maintained a 100% home record this season, scoring eight and conceding one, a record they hope to keep intact. Akwa Starlet are currently 11th on the log and will want to give their home fans something to cheer about after they were beaten by Bendel Insurance 3-1 last weekend in Benin. Fatai Osho made only one change to the squad that made the last trip to Bayelsa with Jamilu Coker who was on suspension, replacing Samson Folorunsho in the squad.

“Look at a player like John Mike Obi for instance. In Chelsea, Mikel does not shoot at goal and he has no ball speed. It could be that he was not thought how to do so while he was playing in the Nigerian academy. Our duty is to train the trainers. You will prove it to some of our local coaches that you don’t need to shout at players or curse their parents whenever they make mistakes during training before getting results. We will also deal with cases of age cheats in our football,” he added.

personally warned that very severe disciplinary action will be meted against any athlete found doping during the Games. The DFPRO said that the Nigeria Police Force not only feels very strongly against doping by athletes, it also frowns seriously against all such nefarious acts, as the chief law enforcement agency in the country. For these reasons he said, adequate arrangement are already in place to subject athletes to necessary tests, during the period of the Games. He advised athletes to keep away from drugs and all illicit performance enhancement substances, as they stand the risk of dismissal from the Force, if caught.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Martins MLS Move Off?

BAFEMI Martins move to MLS side, Seattle Sounders, may drag longer than expected if not called off as Levante want to keep their top scorer. The Spanish La Liga side have turned down the US team’s offer to pay the $4 million transfer fee clause in the Nigeria striker’s contract. The Spanish club fear they won’t get a replacement for their top scorer at this point of the season. The Levante directors, after a meeting on Friday afternoon, have decided not to accept the offer of the Seattle Sounders for Martins, according to The News Tribune. However, other media reports have indicated the deal may be delayed, but is not yet dead because Levante do not have absolute veto power. Chris Henderson, who had been in Spain negotiating for the transfer, was back in the US Saturday morning. And general manager Adrian Hanauer gave an interview on KJR station in which he said no conclusion had been reached — although he stressed how difficult a challenge these high-profile international transfers could be. Sounders could still trigger the exit clause but they will then have to pay the money to the league board instead. They also have to pay tax equivalent of $800,000 and it is not clear if this will be in addition to the $4 million transfer fee.


Real Madrid’s Portuguese defender, Pepe (Right) and Sami Khedira (2nd Right) celebrate with teammates after their second goal in yesterday’s “El clasico” against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. PHOTO AFP

Again, Mourinho’s Men Outclass Barca F OR the second time in five days, Barcelona suffered another defeat in the hands of Real Madrid. Sergio Ramos header off Luka Modric’s corner kick in the 82nd minute was enough for Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid to beat Barcelona 2-1 in yesterday’s Spanish league. Karim Benzema put Real Madrid ahead in the sixth minute, but Lionel Messi tied the score in the 18th minute, reaching 50 goals for the third straight season and extending his record La Liga scoring streak to 16 games. With his 18th clasico goal, Messi tied the record set by Real’s Alfredo Di Stefano. Preparing for Tuesday’s Champions League match against Manchester United, Real Madrid rested Cristiano

Messi Extends La Liga Records Keeper Sees Red

Ronaldo until the 58th minute. Defending champion Real Madrid (17-5-4) pulled within 13 points of first-place Barcelona (22-2-2) and within one point of second-place Atletico Madrid (18-5-2). Real won 3-1 at Barcelona on Tuesday to advance to the Copa del Rey final on 4-2 aggregate. The first half saw Barcelona maintain a 78% ball possession heading to the interval. The referee issued 5 yellow cards in the first 10 minutes in the second half as emotions seemed to be getting the bet-

Results Chelsea 1 - 0 West Brom Everton 3 - 1 Reading Man Utd 4 - 0 Norwich Southampton 1 - 2 QPR Stoke 0 - 1 West Ham Sunderland 2 - 2 Fulham Swansea 1 - 0 Newcastle

ter of the players, things heated up and tackles flew all over. In the 76th minute, 20-year-old forward and Clasico debutant, Morata, had a great chance to restore his side’s lead after

latching onto Pepe’s fabulous pass in his stride but his side footed effort was expertly saved for a corner by Valdes. But it was Ramos’ header in the 82nd minute that handed Barca their third consecutive defeat. The Spain international rose highest to meet Modric’s corner and sent a fine header into the far corner. Ronaldo, who was sum-

moned from the bench to replace Kaka, and five minutes after his introduction, the Portuguese made his presence felt with a stinging free-kick that was parried by Victor Valdes. Another free-kick of Ronaldo hit the cross-bar with Valdes well beaten in the 88th minute and Pepe failed to find target as the ball fell to his feet.

During the referee’s additional time, Barcelona were denied what seemed like a clear-cut penalty after Alexis’ back-heel found Adriano’s run before he was clipped by Ramos, but the referee waved play on. Iniesta’s protest earned him a yellow card; whist Victor Valdes was red-carded for similar conduct after full time.

Man United Keep The Pace, Demba Ba Lifts Chelsea HINJI Kagawa scored a hat-trick as Manchester United beat Norwich at Old Trafford and extended their lead at the Premier League summit to 15 points. At the Stamford Bridge, Senegalese striker, Demba Ba, scored a first half goal to give Chelsea fans celebration. Manchester United deservedly opened the scoring when Kagawa volleyed past Mark Bunn in first-half stoppage time. Norwich pressed for an equaliser but Kagawa ended their hopes with a neat finish before dinking a third. Wayne Rooney sealed the victory with a stunning effort as United warmed up for the visit of Real Madrid in style. Rafa Benitez’s week-to-forget


Newcastle Fall ended on a high as his Chelsea side produced a commanding display to defeat West Brom. After criticising his own fans for their protests against him, the manager watched the Blues create more than 20 chances on goal, although the home side converted just one. That came in the first half when Demba Ba slotted in after David Luiz had headed Oscar’s cross into his path. Juan Mata and Oscar also went close for Chelsea, who moved back into third. Oscar, arguably the man of the match, had a header and two shots saved by Ben Foster, and a strike blocked by Jonas Olsson. Chelsea defender

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Cesar Azpilicueta saw his effort charged away by Liam Ridgewell. The Baggies’ best efforts came late in the game when Petr Cech saved substitute Peter Odemwingie’s powerful strike then produced a better save to prevent Azpilicueta from heading into his own net. Substitute Luke Moore’s first Premier League goal of the season gave Swansea a hardearned win against Newcastle at the Liberty Stadium. Moore’s scuffed 85th-minute shot from six yards takes the Swans to 40 points and lifts them to seventh in the table. Newcastle hit the crossbar and forced a series of saves from goalkeeper Michel Vorm in the second half. But Alan Pardew’s team drop to 15th place, 10 points behind Michael Laudrup’s high-flying Swans. Jay Bothroyd scored a late winner to boost Queens Park Rangers’ hopes of staying up

and deal a blow to Southampton’s own survival prospects. QPR took the lead against the run of play when Loic Remy finished clinically from Junior Hoilett’s lofted pass. Southampton equalised when Gaston Ramirez followed up Julio Cesar’s save and chipped the Brazilian goalkeeper. But QPR snatched only their third win of the season when Bothroyd turned in a low cross from Ji-Sung Park. Everton breathed new life into their push for a European place with a comfortable win, which increased Reading’s relegation worries. Marouane Fellaini opened the scoring after connecting with Seamus Coleman’s inviting cross before Steven Pienaar doubled the lead with a 20-yard finish. Pienaar then turned provider as the South African set up Kevin Mirallas.

Sunday 03 Mar 2013 The Guardian Nigeria  

The Guardian Nigeria

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