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TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Vol. 29, No. 12,488

www.ngrguardiannews.com

N150

Senate’s PIB crisis deepens • Southern lawmakers seek ‘democratisation’ of oil blocks • Northern legislators oppose host community funds, others • INC, MOSOP flay senators opposed to PIB From Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt) and Bridget Chiedu Onochie (Abuja) T was far from truce at the IernSenate yesterday as Southand Northern senators

Governors Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State (left); Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo); Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun); Vice President Namadi Sambo; Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; Mrs. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu and Chief Emeka Anyaoku, during the cutting of commemorative cake at the presentation of Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership Award 2012 to Soyinka in Lagos… yesterday. PHOTO: ONDO STATE GOVERNMENT HOUSE

continued to clash over the new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). While Southern lawmakers accused the North of dominating ownership of oil blocks in the country, their Northern counterparts opposed the proposed host community funds and others for oil-producing areas. Meanwhile, federal lawmakers opposed to the proposed 10 per cent equity for oil-producing communities in the PIB have been accused of deliberately not wanting to resolve the Niger Delta question. The Ijaw National Congress (INC) and Movement for Survival of the Ogoni People

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Soyinka blames insecurity, others on weak leadership By Kamal Tayo Oropo, Joseph Onyekwere (Lagos) and Charles Coffie-Gyamfi (Abeokuta) OR Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, the insecurity which has almost brought some regions of the country to their knees is self-inflicted due to the weakness of the leadership in those troubled nation. the of parts According to Soyinka, the silence of religious and community leaders when the religious rights of others were

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• Associates mark Awolowo’s 104th posthumous birthday trampled upon, often terminally, was self-evident and lamented that leaders did little to halt the evil trend, which is now threatening to consume the entire country. Soyinka’s position is contained in his acceptance speech at the inaugural award

of the Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership in Lagos yesterday. President Goodluck Jonathan described the choice of Soyinka for the award as befitting. Represented by the Vice president Namadi Sambo, Jonathan said the Awolowo

Leadership Award was in tandem with the Federal Government’s initiative on transformational leadership, which is designed to encourage purposeful leadership in the country. Former Head of State and Chairman of the Board of

Trustees of the Awol w Foundation, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, chaired the occasion, while traditional rulers and politicians were in attendance. In his speech entitled “Winding down history: Religion and nation, power and freedom,” Soyinka said: “I address

Jonathan, Obama, others mourn, as Venezuela, Cuba declare days of grieving for Chavez – Page 9

you in all frankness. Leadership in the currently troubled regions of the nation has been remiss. The signs were overabundant. I have lamented, on numerous platforms, the delinquent silence of religious and community leaders where the religious rights of others were trampled upon, often terminally, where again and again martyrdom became commonplace – yes, the genuine martyrdom – made up of innocents, singly, in sec-

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Southern lawmakers seek ‘democratisation’ of oil blocks CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 (MOSOP) who made the accusation cautioned the country not to deny the people of the oil-producing communities benefits from their natural resources. INC spokesperson, Victor Burubo, told The Guardian in Port Harcourt yesterday that the insistence of Northern senators that the 10 per cent equity fund for oil-producing community in the PIB be expunged illustrates their insensitivity to the plight of the oil-producing communities and lack of respect for them as

well. Similarly, MOSOP President, Legbosi Pyagbara, said the country had reached a stage where the National Assembly should see the 10 per cent as part of social licence required for oil to continue to flow uninterrupted in the Niger Delta. Pyagbara described the Northern senators’ argument as unfortunate and regretted that it was rather absurd that anyone interested in the corporate existence of Nigeria should vehemently oppose the 10 per cent equity for oilproducing areas in the PIB.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Ita Enang, representing Akwa Ibom North East, who introduced another dimension to the oil law debate, alleged that over 83 per cent of oil blocks in the Niger Delta are distributed among big men of the NorthEast and North-West geo-political zones. Enang listed northerners who own oil blocks to include Alhaji Mai Deribe, Borno State, owner of Cavendish Petroleum, operator of the OML 110 with an average of about N4 billion monthly. He said: “Seplat/Platform Pe-

troleum, operators of the ASUOKPU/UMUTU Marginal Field with Malam (Prince) Sanusi Lamido, Kano, as a major shareholder and director. South Atlantic Petroleum Limited (SAPETRO) established by Gen. T. Y. Danjuma, Taraba State, who is also chairman of Eni Nigeria Limited. SAPETRO partnered Total Upstream Nigeria Limited (TUPNI) and Brasoil Oil Services Company Nigeria Limited to become operators of the OPL 246. “AMNI International PetroleCONTINUED ON PAGE 4

Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu (middle), Group Executive Director, Corporate Services, Peter Nmadu (left) and others during inspection of System 2B pipeline artery in Arepo, Ogun State… yesterday.

Associates mark Awolowo’s 104th posthumous birthday CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 tors, often brutally but always with the confidence of immunity.” He pointed out that though there were patriotic interventions by some persons in the region to save the situation, those positive actions were never emulated, instead violence and impunity increased. “The tragedy of the nation is that these, and allied initiatives did not find emulation remotely proportionate to the incidents and intensity of violent bigotry and impunity – and at levels that they deserved. So, it is not merely staunching the grounds for recruitment that is the problem. There is also the issue of leadership. Of wrongful silence and inertia. The folding of arms and the buttoning of lips when leadership – and not merely localised - desperately needed to lead and inflict exemplary punishment on violators of the freedom of belief, and existence of others. The examples are too numerous and depressing, and this is hardly the occasion for a recital of human derelictions that only stir up negative memories. During that period of serial violations, we missed the strength, the vigorous conviction of voices such as we have heard in recent times, voices of community and traditional leaders, political figures of iconic stature.” According to him, Nigerians missed such intensity of conviction, such stern, uncompromising denunciation when individuals, with or without public profile, were being systematically mown down for alleged religious offences, some of which took place, not even within our borders but in remote, frozen regions as the Scandinavian nations or the United States (U.S.).

“Again and again, the innohunt them down, in here, or cents, the real martyrs paid the pursue them wherever lodged. supreme price. My intention is To Mauritania. To Somalia. Or not to weigh down any sector of Mali. this nation with the burden of “Arrest them where we can, guilt but to say to you, to me, to and re-educate them. If they all of us: No more evasion. The have committed crimes knives, the cudgels, the matchagainst humanity during their box and burning tyres that deperiod of delusion – ensure that capitated Akulaku, that they make open restitution beincinerated the female teacher fore competent institutions beand invigilator Oluwaseesin fore re-admittance into the and a host of others, including parent community.  If they reschool children and infants, at fuse, if they prove incorrigible, the slightest or no provocation then we must punish them. have given way to far more effi- Openly, not secretively, as indicient but indiscriminate cation that we, as rival theolomeans of human disposal – but gians of the Religion of still in the hands of the same Freedom, will not submit to the malformed minds, now tyranny of the few.” grouped under the fatalist banSoyinka recalled that ner of the Party of Death. Awolowo, a Christian, set up a “Individually and collectively, pilgrim’s board in 1958 for Muswe are at war, and the enemy is lims in order to help them fulnot hidden. Of its own volition fill one of the seven pillars of it has given itself a name, a proIslam and added that that acfile, and an agenda. Others have tion eventually became the sprung up, geared to outdo springboard for demand for their obsessed predecessors. parity by Christians who do not Let each community look into have any religious obligation its past, and see how both inerto go on pilgrimage.  tia and covert gleefulness have “It is my view that some of fuelled the raging inferno. those demands should have Nowhere is immune, not even been dismissed outright - certhose which presently appear tainly that of government-asunaffected. Now is the time to sisted pilgrimages to close ranks.  Making up for past Jerusalem. Nothing in the derelictions is not a sectional Christian religion makes piltask, but a collective undertakgrimage mandatory to any desing. Protection of our hard won tination in the world – so there Freedom – against any threat - is is really no basis for claims of the imperative of our times.”        parity.               All it has resulted in, preThe literary icon advised that dictably for us in this nation, religious bigots and fanatics has been an encouragement to should be exposed, isolated our affluent classes for extendand hunted down. He said: “I do ed tourist destinations, this however vehemently detime under the guise of relinounce the use to which religious obligation. It was only a gion has been put, and that matter of time before this class means, I indict such abusers. also felt that the act of tourism And we must not be afraid to ex- was not enough. There had to pose them; to defend ourselves be a title for the outlay on that against them and isolate them. personal excursion, and thus Where they have intruded on came into usage the title of JP – our peace – or even fragile muno, not Justice of the Peace but tual accommodation - we must – Jerusalem Pilgrim. You style

yourself el-Hajj, I call myself JP! Of course, it all has to do with the promiscuous environment of ostentation that had become the hallmark of national life”, he declared, adding that Awolowo would obviously be upset in grave with the level of decadence in the society today. “I was a beneficiary of the liberal educational policy – at tertiary level - of the man whose memory we are here to honour, and now, today, I find myself recipient of yet another largesse, an inestimable honour at the hands - albeit post-humously – of that same sage”, he stated. Meanwhile, family members, friends and political associates of the late Awolowo gathered at his Ikenne, Ogun State country home yesterday as they marked his 104th posthumous birthday. Awolowo, the former Premier of the Old Western Region, passed on in 1987 but his admirers, especially his political associates, believe he still lives on. Therefore they gathered at Ikenne to celebrate his birthday on March 6. At the event, which began with a communion service at Our Saviour’s Anglican Church, Ikenne, and ended with entertainment at his residence, were the former Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande; former Transport Minister, Chief Ebenezer Babatope; and Chairman, Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Mr. Jide Adeniji, among others. In her brief remark, the matriarch of the Awolowo Dynasty, Chief Hannah Idowu Dideolu (HID) Awolowo, appealed to Nigerian politicians to emulate the good virtues of her late husband, which she listed to include honesty, hardwork, commitment and selfless serv-

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Court clears way for substantial hearing in Newswatch case By Joseph Onyekwere FEDERAL High Court, LaA gos, said yesterday it would not uphold the objections raised by four ex-directors of Newswatch Communications Limited (NCL) in the suit filed against them by Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim. The former directors are Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese, Yakubu Mohammed and Soji Akinrinade. They had objected to the action filed against them by Ibrahim, arguing that the suit was incompetent and did not disclose reasonable cause of action. But the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, agreed instead with the arguments canvassed by the plaintiffs’ counsel and subsequently fixed March 21 for hearing of the substantive suit. Ibrahim, Global Mirror Media Limited and NCL had instituted the suit seeking the court to declare that the defendants had lost their posi-

tions as directors in NCL by the virtue of their resignation. The plaintiffs also want the court to declare that the defendants lacked competence to declare a trade dispute under the Share Purchase Agreement between them and the NCL. The judge held that contrary to the argument of the defence counsel, Adekunle Oyesanya (SAN), the suit disclosed “reasonable cause of action” against the defendants. He said: “I think the plaintiffs have raised questions against the defendants fit for the court to resolve. Serious issues have been raised. “A combination of these will give rise to questions to be answered by the court. For example, the issue raised by the plaintiff that the defendants have resigned their appointments and have been paid their retirement entitlements. I think the plaintiffs have disclosed a reasonable cause of

action against the defendants; whether they will succeed will be another issue entirely.” He also held that the plaintiffs had the right to institute the suit, contrary to the argument of the defendants that the consent of NCL had not been duly obtained before the suit was filed on its behalf. The judge said: “Presumption of regularity having been filed on behalf of the first plaintiff (NCL), it is my view that the second plaintiff (Ibrahim) has the authority of the first plaintiff to institute the suit.” The court also dismissed the defendants’ grounds of objection that the right parties, which could be bound by the court’s order, were not joined as parties in the suit. The court further said that the suit was competently instituted by Ibrahim, holding that he had sufficient interest to protect by instituting the action.

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu (right); Managing Director, Guardian Newspapers Ltd., Emeka Izeze; Editor, The Guardian, Martins Oloja, and Abuja Bureau Chief, Madu Onuorah, during the service of songs organised in honour of the late Assistant Political Editor, John-Abba Ogbodo, by Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abuja… yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

Associates mark Awolowo’s 104th posthumous birthday CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 ice to the common man, if the country was to move forward. Yeye, as she is fondly called, emphasised that “if only politi-

cians can listen and follow the legacy my late husband left behind, Nigeria will be better off.” According to her, her late husband was not only nice but also kind-hearted and loving,

Northern legislators oppose host community funds, others CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 um and Development Company is owned by Alhaji (Col.) Sani Bello of Kontangora, Niger State. They are operators of OML 112 and OML 117. A former Petroleum Minister and former OPEC Chairman, Rilwan Lukman, another northerner, manages AMNI oil blocks and with very key interest in the NNPC/Vitol trading deal. “Oriental Energy Resources Limited, a company owned by Alhaji Indimi, runs three oil blocks: OML 115, the Oldwok field and the Ebok field. Alhaji

Aminu Dantata’s Express Petroleum and Gas Limited, operates OML 108. OML 113 allocated to Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum Limited is owned by Alhaji W.I. Folawiyo. “Alhaji Saleh Mohammed Gambo, North East Petroleum Limited is the holder of the OPL 215 Licence. North East Petroleum which it is known as, was awarded Blocks OPL 276 and OPL 283 and closing thereupon a Joint Venture Agreement with Centrica Resources Nigeria Limited and CCC Oil and Gas. “INTEL is owned by Atiku, Yar’Adua and Ado Bayero and

has substantial stakes in Nigeria’s oil exploration industry both in Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe. Mike Adenuga’s Conoil is the oldest indigenous oil exploration industry in Nigeria with six oil blocks while OPL 291 was awarded to Starcrest Energy Nigeria Limited, owned by Emeka Offor which was sold to Addax Petroleum.” According to Enang, looking at the distribution of oil blocks and the amount of money that comes from the different oil wells, it is obvious that there is inequity in the distribution of oil blocs. “The oil is produced in the Niger Delta, yet, it is the people of the North-East and North-West and little of the North-Central that are the people owning oil wells, almost nothing for the SouthEast and South-West and you are quarrelling with the South-South over 13 per cent derivation. “I did not want to introduce something that is divisive; it is not intended to divide the country. It is intended to say, ‘look, let us be realistic.’ What some of the oil wells and their owners produce in a month and take home as profit is sometimes more than what two or three states receive from the Federation Account,” he said. Enang consequently called for the revocation and distribution of oil blocks in line with the federal character principle. “These need to be looked into, revoked and reawarded. The federal character which is a principle applicable in every aspect of our national existence should also be brought to bear on the application of our oil blocks, marginal fields and prospecting licences,” he said. In a move to control impending rowdiness, Senate President David Mark urged Enang to ensure he had facts and could substantiate his claims. Without waste of time, Enang produced a document and gave links to the site, where the information was obtained. The debate on draft oil bill be-

gan on Tuesday with senators from the Northern and Southern parts of the country dividing over host community funds and powers of the minister. While Northern senators vehemently opposed the allocation of 10 per cent net profit of oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to host communities, their Southern counterparts said it was not out of place comparing the degree of environmental pollution and economic devastation suffered by the people of the region. As the chamber resumed the debate yesterday, earlier speakers called for the critical analysis of the bill rather than subjective arguments on the basis of ethnicity. Akin Odunsi, Ogun West said: “I will expect that the debate is conducted in a most pragmatic manner. With the consensus building up, I believe we are on the right track towards ensuring that we deliver a bill that will lead Nigeria on the right path.” But this admonition was not sustained as Northern lawmakers insisted on the obliteration of the host community funds and other key issues they considered inimical to other parts of the country. Senator Kabir Gaya, Kano South said: “With all the money allocated to the oil-producing communities, there is still poverty in the area. My focus is on the offshore, which is divided between deep and shallow waters. There is no good sharing formula. The essence of this bill is to ensure that there is a balance.” For Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Kaduna, allocating the 10 per cent net profit of oil companies to the host communities is not a panacea for oil theft or crime since such high- level crimes are not perpetrated by ordinary members of the community. While accepting the spirit behind the reform of the oil and gas sector due to lack of transparency, accountability and accurate figure of the magnitude of crude oil lifted from

the country on daily basis, Abdulahi Adamu, Nasarawa West cautioned against moves to privatise oil companies. “When we privatise oil companies as stipulated in the bill, the privileged Nigerians will buy the companies and the ‘main boys’ will control the sector. That will be dangerous for us and for our future. If you take the experience we had in the past, we should ask of what benefit is there in the privatisation moves.” According to Senator Barnabas Gemade, Benue NorthEast, oil breeds corruption and called for expansion of oil exploration frontiers as a measure to combat disharmony among distinct regions. “There is a common adage that wherever you find oil, there is corruption and whenever you find diamond, war comes in. This has been proven beyond doubt. There is oil everywhere and if we play lip service to the development of oil fields, we would be left in the cold”, he warned. Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, Oyo South, was particular about Section 191 of the bill, which gives the President ‘awesome power’ to grant oil or petroleum licence. He expressed worry that the bill did not state special circumstances or limitation to licences that the President has the power to grant. “Here lies the issue of due process, transparency and accountability. This is unwholesome and there is no place where such a provision is given”, he said. While Senator James Manager, Delta South, warned that withdrawing the 10 per cent host community fund may return militants to the creek, George Thompson Sekibo, Rivers maintained that the money was not meant for the South-South alone. Manager, however, joined others in calling for the expansion of oil exploration to other states to contain bickering over incentives. The debate continues today with no headway as to if the bill would be read the second time.

adding: “I still remember him as if he is still alive. I will never ever forget him until I join him.” Speaking to journalists, Jakande, who was one of Awolowo’s closest political associates, described him as a Nigerian whose immense contributions to the nation’s development could not be forgotten, insisting that his legacies remained unequalled, and would continue to live in the minds of people. Also speaking at the event, Babatope described Awolowo as a visionary leader who always put the interest of Nigerians at heart . He noted: “He was a great and visionary leader who always thought about the problem of the country and how to solve it; there was never a dull moment with him.” For Adeniji, researchers would continue to work on the legacy the late sage left behind. He urged politicians to emulate his “uprightness and integrity.” The eldest daughter of the late sage, Mrs. Omotola Oyediran, said her father was a loving and “highly devoted father,” adding that “every good thing children could ask for in a father was in him.” Earlier in his sermon at the communion service, Ven. Funsho Babajide urged Nigerians to continue to remember Awolowo for his selfless service to the nation. He asked Nigerian leaders to emulate his good work, as he was a man full of passion for mankind.

Marketer asks court to de-freeze assets By Yetunde Ayobami-Ojo N oil marketer, Oluwaseun A Ogunbambo, who is standing trial for alleged N5.9 billion fuel subsidy fraud and whose assets were frozen on February 14 by an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, is seeking the reversal of the order. In an application filed by his counsel, Mr. Adebayo Adenipekun (SAN), Ogunbambo alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had obtained the order by misrepresenting facts to the court. Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo had on February 14 ordered the interim forfeiture of Ogunbambo’s assets pending the conclusion of his cases. The affected assets were Ogunbambo’s bank accounts with First Bank of Nigeria, Unity Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc, containing an undisclosed amount of money.


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News UN lauds new discovery on HIV cure By Chukwuma Muanya NITED Nations (UN) agencies yesterday hailed the news that a baby treated in the United States with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) during the first months of her life appears to be functionally cured of the disease. However, the UN healthrelated agencies including the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) also faulted the disparities in access to Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) treatment across the world. They further stressed the need to overcome inequality and exclusion and called on countries to use efforts to

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eliminate the disease as a way to combat social injustice. Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, in a statement yesterday said: “This news gives us great hope that a cure for HIV in children is possible and could bring us one step closer to an AIDS-free generation. This also underscores the need for research and innovation especially in the area of early diagnostics.” According to researchers, the mother was living with HIV at the time of the baby’s birth and had not received antiretroviral medication or prenatal care. The child was born prematurely in July 2010 in the State of Mississippi and due to the high risk of exposure to HIV, received a triple therapy regimen of antiretroviral drugs 30 hours after her birth and continued

•Faults gap in access to treatment treatment until she was 18 months of age. When the child, now two and a half years old, was seen by professionals about half a year later, blood samples revealed undetectable HIV levels and no HIV-specific antibodies. Executive Director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake, said: “It is potentially great news. This case also demonstrates what we already know – it is vital to test newborn babies at risk as soon as possible.” Sidibe, while recognising that remarkable progress had been made in the response against the epidemic, said much remains to be done, especially in poor countries where many are unable to access the life-sav-

ing drugs needed for treatment. He told the Human Rights Council in Geneva: “HIV continues to shine a harsh light on the inequalities of this world. It is outrageous that in 2013, when we have all the tools we need to beat this epidemic, 1.7 million people still die each year because they cannot access treatment.” According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF, 330,000 children were newly infected with HIV in 2011 and at the end of the year, only 28 per cent of children under the age of 15 living with HIV were on HIV treatment, compared to 54 per cent of eligible adults. Data also shows that just 28

per cent of HIV-exposed babies were tested for this disease within six weeks of birth in 2010 due to the high costs of early diagnostics and limited access to services and medicines. In 2011, UNAIDS and its partners launched a global plan for the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive. Significant progress has been made and continued support and research is needed, the agency said in a news release. Sidibé underlined that governments must still fight the prejudice, discrimination, exclusion and criminalisation that people with HIV/AIDS face in homes, communities, hospitals, police stations and courtrooms.

Army arrests party chief over bomb factory From Saxone Akhaine, Kaduna CHIEFTAIN of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Kaduna (name withheld) was on Tuesday arrested by soldiers for allegedly harbouring a bomb making factory and large cache of arms in his residence. The arrested ANPP chief was said to have contested the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja chairmanship polls in 2011. Armed soldiers from the One Mechanised Division, Nigeria army in Kaduna were said to have raided the party‘s chief house on Tuesday evening. The Commander of 1 Mechanised Division Internal Security Force, Brigadier-General Tagbo Chuks Ude while briefing journalists on the raid, said the operation was as a result of a tip-off from the public. Ude explained that two women and five children, all occupants of the building were arrested during the operation.

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APGA faction names Ojukwu’s son BoT member From Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja ISING from its extra-ordinary emergency meeting in Abuja yesterday, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) faction led by the sacked Chief Victor Umeh, appointed Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu jnr, son of the late Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu as a Board of Trustees (BoT) member. Umeh is in the Court of Appeal challenging the judgment of the Enugu State High Court on February 8, which voided the election of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party at its National Convention on February 25, 2011 at the National Women Centre (NWC), Awka, Anambra State. The group also faulted the convocation of the National Caucus of the party on February 16, which elected the Maxi Okwu-led Interim National Working Committee, saying the meeting was alien to the party’s constitution and was of no effect.

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Governor Liyel Imoke (middle); his Deputy, Efiok Cobham (left) and Secretary to the State Government, Mike Aniah at the Cross River executive council meeting in Calabar … yesterday

ANPP decries poor budget implementation From Adamu Abuh, Abuja, N consonance with its role as a watchdog, the All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) has alerted on the poor implementation of the budget since the inception of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)led administration. The party noted that the situation had been compounded by unbridled corruption and poor fiscal discipline by those entrusted to administer the country. In a statement, by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Emma Eneukwu, the party enjoined the National Assembly to leave no stone unturned in ascertaining the reasons for the perennial failure of the nation’s budget. The party charged lawmakers to carry out necessary review in the budgeting system so as to ensure transparency and effectiveness of the budget system. The ANPP maintained that fiscal discipline, accountability, effective allocation and

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efficient public service were the ingredients the country need now more than ever to curb the recurring decimal of failed budgets, for Nigerians to benefit from the abundant resources was endowed with. The party’s position was premeditated by media reports about the 2012 Open Budget Index released by the Interna-

tional Budget Partnership in Washington DC last week, wherein Nigeria was scored 16 per cent. The biennial survey, which commenced in 2006, assessed whether the central government in each country surveyed made key budget documents available to the public, as well as whether the

statistics contained in the documents were comprehensive, timely and useful. The ANPP expressed disappointment that Nigeria’s score of 16 per cent showed consistent descent in the transparent process expected of governments in the management of public resources. It noted: “First of all, it is a

universally accepted norm and a manifest truth that a government’s transparency in budgeting is tantamount to transparency in the use of the people’s resources. Any underhandedness in whatever guise is a deliberate attempt to obfuscate the people and short-change the nation.

Nigeria woos investors, tourists at Berlin expo From Andrew Iro Okungbowa, Berlin MID pomp, the 47th ediA tion of the international travel and tourism trade exhibition opened yesterday in Berlin, Germany with Nigeria assuring tourists and investors of their safety and favourable business climate. The prevailing question asked by the many visitors to the Nigeria’s stand yesterday was how save the country was in view of the rising insecurity in the northern part of the country.

The Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Olusegun Runsewe had a Herculean task defending the country, as he assured the visitors of the safety and security of lives and property across the country, insisting that the Federal Government was atop the present security challenges facing the country. According to the DG, ‘‘there is other country in the world as safe as Nigeria, as the security issue is only limited to few states in the northern part of

the country and the Federal Government is very serious and proactive in handling the situation.” He added: ‘‘Please come to Nigeria, your investment is safe and your life too is safe. No one will harm any of you visitors and investors as this government is very serious about welcoming genuine investors and visitors to the county.” Furthermore, he gave a personal guarantee that NTDC would ensure the security and welfare of tourists whenever

they visited the country. Nigeria, he said, was blessed with abundant resources, especially in the area of tourism and that given the over 160 million population of the country, investors would have nothing to fear as they had ready market for their products and services for the visitors, he said they would have new experiences as they enjoyed the culture and natural beauty of the land besides the growing numbers of sophisticated facilities in the hospitality sector.

Ogun lawmakers end feud, reconvene From Charles Coffie Gyamfi, Abeokuta OLLOWING the intervention of the Executive arm of government in the crisis that rocked the Ogun State House of Assembly on Tuesday, the two factions yesterday agreed to sheath their swords. The lawmakers later reconvened and confirmed the nomination of a Commissioner, Mrs. Abimbola Ibironke Akeredolu She was screened last Monday by the committee of the whole House. The leaders of the two factions, Suraju Adekunbi and Remmy Hassan told journalists after a two-hour meeting with Governor Ibikunle Amosun at Abeokuta that they regretted their action and apologised to the people of the State.

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Ondo election petition tribunal rejects Oke’s evidence From Niyi Bello, Akure HE election petition tribunal handling cases that arose from the October 20, 2012, governorship polls in Ondo State yesterday rejected 12 volumes of documents tendered by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olusola Oke, to strengthen his allegations of corruption in the polls. Oke, who was listed as the 45th witness and appeared as such while tendering the documents, which were bound in heavy volumes, said they contained evidence that more than 100,000 names were illegally injected into the voters’ register used for the election. The volumes include Certified True Copies (CTC) of the 2001 Voters’ Register in some selected units in the three local councils of Owo, Akoko South-East and Ondo-West. Led in evidence by his counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Oke said the documents would prove to the tribunal “with specific instances of names, polling units, including photographs of several cases of insertions into the register.” However, Adobe Adenipekun (SAN), counsel to the first respondent, Governor Olusegun Mimiko, objected to the admission of the documents on the ground that they were neither signed nor stated in the witness’ deposition before the tribunal. He also stated that paragraph 11 of Oke’s deposition referred

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to experts’ reports and that in the instant case, the petitioner was not an expert but a mere witness. Speaking along the same line of rejection of the documents, Professor Wahab Egbewole, who appeared for the second respondent, Labour Party (LP), said the attempt to tender the documents amounted to undermining the sui generis nature of the election petition, which tied submission of doc-

uments to specific time limitation. According to Egbewole, since the period for the submission of documents to prosecute the petition has lapsed, the tribunal should not entertain any admission of fresh documents. In his own submission, counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Hassan Leman (SAN), who also objected to the ad-

missibility of the documents, argued that the petitioner is not an expert to present evidence as such. In his reply, Fagbemi objected to all the objections since the documents were “pleaded, listed and relevant” and would assist the tribunal in arriving at a just conclusion. He cited some authorities to establish the fact that an unsigned document could be

tendered since there is no dispute to its authority as the ownership is not in contention. According to Fagbemi, who also referred to relevant portions of the witness’ deposition, the documents should be accepted. After a two-hour recess for the panelists to study the cited authorities, the tribunal ruled in favour of the respondents’ legal team and rejected

EPOSED National ChairD man of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, has asked the Court of Appeal, Enugu, to order a stay of execution on the state High Court judgment, which sacked him as the party’s national chair-

From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City DO State commissionernominee, Aanena Jemitola, was yesterday grilled for over four hours by the House of Assembly where she was requested to make sentence in English Language and read a portion of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as a process of fulfilling part of the schedule of the constitution that a nominee should be able to read and write. She was summoned to appear before the House Standing Committee on Rules and Business for the second time to defend the petition written against her by Jimoh Lawal, who also witnessed the public hearing. The nominee was compelled by the committee to show evidence that she could read and write as one of the criteria provided for in the Constitution to contest part of Lawal’s claims that she did not possess the academic qualification to be a commissioner.

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Oyo to repair 43 roads, supply 50,000 furniture to schools From Iyabo Lawal, Ibadan HE Oyo State government yesterday approved farreaching infrastructural projects that will have lasting effects on the lives of the people of the state. These included the rehabilitation of 43 roads at the cost of N1.3 billion, as well as the supply of 50,000 pairs of furniture for its secondary schools. These were parts of the decisions taken at the State Executive Council meeting held at the Governor’s Office, Ibadan, on Monday. According to the executive council, with this approval, any moment from now, the government will commence the rehabilitation of 43 roads across the state at the cost of N1.3 billion. The procurement of 50,000 pieces of furniture for public secondary schools in the state, which the executive council said was the second phase of about five phases of procurement of furniture to all the schools in the state, is also to commence with immediate effect, so as to give school children in the state an enabling study environment.

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Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (left); his Edo State counterpart, Adams Oshiomhole; Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; Yobe State Deputy Governor, Abubakar Aliyu, other committee members and former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman, Joint Merger Committee on ACN, CPC, ANPP and APGA, Chief Tom Ikimi (right), at the unveiling of the logo, slogan and motto for the newly formed All Progressive Congress (APC) in Abuja…on Tuesday

Umeh seeks court’s stay of execution over removal From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu

House grills Edo commissioner-nominee at screening

man, as well as the entire National Working Committee, pending the determination of his appeal against the decision of the lower court. The state Chief Judge, Justice Innocent Umezulike, had in his judgment delivered on February 8, 2013, in the motion brought before him by an expelled member of the

party, Jude Okuli, sacked Umeh on the ground that the party’s convention held on February 10, 2011, to re-elect him as national chairman and other officers “was unconstitutional, null and void.” In a 25-paragraph affidavit in support of his motion on notice for stay of execution of the lower court’s decision filed before the appellate court, Umeh stated that he had on February 11, 2013, applied to the lower court for an order of stay of execution pending the determination of his appeal. “Despite my request for a

date to be assigned for the hearing of my motion on notice dated and filed on February 11, 2013, the said motion on notice for stay of execution was not heard or attended to by the lower court before the Record of Appeal was transmitted to this honourable court and the appeal entered as No. CA/E/84/2013,” Umeh told the appellate court. He noted that consequent upon the judgment of the lower court, a group of persons who described themselves as the ‘National Caucus’ of APGA met, issued a

communiqué and passed several resolutions purporting to have accepted the judgment of the lower court and appointing certain persons as officers of the party. Umeh contended that under the constitution of APGA, “none of the persons and/or a majority of the persons who issued/signed the communiqué dated February 16, 2013, are members of APGA’s national caucus,” insisting that the persons who purportedly issued the said communiqué were not parties to the suit determined by the lower court on February 8, 2013.

Encomiums for Whiteman at book presentation By Chuks Nwanne HOUGH the event was organised to formally present his latest book titled: Cities of the Imagination, the programme ended up as a tribute session with friends, colleagues and admirers showering encomiums on Kaye Whiteman, a British journalist, who has been described by many as a Black man at heart. Through his regular articles in different newspapers, Whiteman has made meaningful contributions towards the growth and development of the Black continent in general and the city of Lagos in particular. Held yesterday at the La Scala Restaurant, MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, the launch attracted dignitaries from different walks of life, including the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, who extolled the virtues of the seasoned journalist. “I’m delighted to be here today; I wouldn’t have missed this presentation for any reason. During my first interaction with Kay Whiteman after

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my election in 2007, he asked me if I knew one Mr. Fashola, who worked with Daily Times and I told him, ‘he’s my father.’ I got home that day and told my father about Kaye and I remember my father told me many good stories about him. As a governor, I’m greatly inspired by his column in BusinessDay; he encouraged us to do more,” Fashola said. In the book, Whiteman has painstakingly produced a work that would continue to be a reference point for many years. He explores the city in all its ramifications - the good, the bad and the ugly. He chronicles the history of the city, explores its many different founding stories, founders, tradition, lore and culture. “Whiteman has done a wonderful job. There are people here who will tell us about the old Lagos, but I’ve always asked myself, ‘which Lagos do we take: the old Lagos, the Lagos of today or the future Lagos? Personally, I will go for the future Lagos because there are so much to gain from the Lagos of tomorrow,” the governor said.

Describing Lagos as a state of opportunities, Governor Fashola noted that: “The economy of Lagos is the most kept secret in the world; those who found it never disclosed it to others. This is where all our possibilities lie; Lagos is the place that drives the hope of Nigeria. It is a place where the indigenes alone cannot tell the whole story of the city. I thank Whiteman for reminding us about where we came from and to continue working for a future Lagos,” he said. In his remark at the event, which witnessed the formal unveiling of the book to the public, Publisher of BusinessDay newspapers, Mr. Frank Aigbogun, described Whiteman as a distinguished journalist, who has found home in Africa. “Whiteman is not tied to Nigeria simply because of journalism; he loves Nigeria. His love for Nigeria and Africa is beyond what he writes in his column. He knows Lagos more than I do. Even when he relocated to the UK, he still finds time to come to Nigeria.”

Brace for flood, Bayelsa urges residents From Willie Etim, Yenagoa AYELSA State government has expressed concern over the 2013 Nigerian Meteorological Agency weather forecast, stressing the need for the people of the state to take precautionary measures at preventing a recurrence of the 2012 ugly experience. The NIMET, in its forecast, predicted heavy rains this year higher than the one experienced last year, which rendered some families in some states of the federation homeless while farmlands were washed away, especially in Bayelsa State. Disturbed by this trend and to avert a recurrence of such experience despite the prediction of the meteorological agency, the state Governor Seriake Dickson met with the leaders and members of relevant committees, including Post-Flood Management Committee and Infrastructure Advisory Committee set up in the wake of the crisis to nip in the bud the likely occurrence of such incident in the state.

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THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

FCTA debt hits N420b, minister unveils plan for more revenue From Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja UTHORITIES of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) yesterday cried out over its mounting debt profile put at N420 billion owed its contractors and what the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) owes its other clients. The minister, Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, who raised the alarm, while briefing State House Correspondents after yesterday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, said the ministry was facing serious paucity of funds, capable of frustrating its projects delivery. It, however, was not altogether a tale of lamentation as he highlighted the steps being taken by the FCTA to devise a robust business plan to ensure cash flow into the ministry’s purse. His words: “We are heavily indebted. Our responsibilities are many and multi-dimensional, and that is why we are trying to leverage on the private sector to do some private public partnership projects and programmes. We have informed council that we have accessed private sector investment to the tune of $4.6 billion since we came on board. “In terms of indebtedness, over the years, we have a debt profile of N420 billion and I have craved the indulgence of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and she has agreed, and Council has noted our recommendation to float an FCT development fund. We can float bond after we have established a sound legal framework with the establishment of FCT revenue board.” The minister, who earlier briefed Council on the progress report of his ministry in 2012, said government planned to concession both airport and Kubwa roads, after which the concessionaire may wish to mount toll gates on the roads. According to him, the ministry is trying to get alternative sources of funding

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Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime (left); Clark of the State House of Assembly, Christopher Chukwura; Speaker of the House, Eugene Odo and Deputy Speaker, Chime Oji, while signing the 2013 appropriation bill into law, at the Government House, Enugu…yesterday

Okotie tasks new NGE boss on anti-graft crusade

Speaker yet to declare sacked Delta lawmaker’s seat vacant From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba HE Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Victor Ochei, is yet to declare the Ukwani Constituency seat currently being occupied by Dr. Alphonsus Ojo vacant, five days after he was sacked by Justice C.M.A OlatoregunIshola of the Federal High Court in Asaba. The judge had last Friday ordered Ochei to declares Ojo’s seat vacant for decamping on September 28, 2012 from the opposition Democratic People’s Party (DPP), under which ticket he was elected in the April 2011 election, to the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). At yesterday’s sitting, the embattled lawmaker was said to be present during the House Committee’s deliberation on the Vigilante Bill and exchanged banters with some of his colleagues. Even when the House sat on Tuesday, Ochei, just like yesterday, was silent on the directive by the judge that the Speaker compels the embattled lawmaker to vacate his seat, as his decampment

EV Chris Okotie has de- T R scribed the recent election of the Deputy Managing Director of The Sun, Mr. Femi Adesina, as president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) as the sign of good things to come. In a statement in Lagos yesterday, Okotie said Adesina’s election could not have come at a better time. “At this point in our nation’s history, we need a man of integrity like Femi Adesina to lead and reposition the media so that it could regain its role in setting an agenda for the nation’s ruling elite,” he said. He urged the new NGE president to sensitise the media so that journalists could lead the fight against corruption, which he described as Nigeria’s worst enemy. “We must slay the dragon of pervasive corruption if this country is to move forward and I believe strongly that given Adesina’s antecedents, he’d be more than able to champion the campaign to rid this nation of graft-related vices”, the outspoken pastor-politician said.

The third defendant is caught by the extant provision of Section 109 of the Constitution. I am under the mandatory obligation to declare his seat vacant. Consequently, the seat of the Ukwani Constituency has been declared vacant. The Speaker has been ordered to declare the seat vacant. INEC should conduct another election was not in order. Ojo had, among other reasons, said that he left the party for the PDP as a result of internal crisis tearing the party apart. The presiding judge said: “The third defendant is caught by the extant provision of Section 109 of the Constitution. I am under the mandatory obligation to declare his seat vacant. Consequently, the seat of the Ukwani Constituency has been declared vacant. The Speaker has been ordered to declare the seat vacant. INEC should conduct another election.” Ojo had remarked shortly after the judgment that his lawyers would critically study the judgment before knowing the next line of action to take. The lawmaker dropped a hint that he will go Appeal

Court, and if necessary to the Supreme Court, in his quest for justice. Attempts to reach Ochei failed as he was said to be in the middle of a meeting with fellow lawmakers. Calls and text messages on his mobile phone were unanswered. Meanwhile, Mr. Rufus Akpodiete (Ughelli North 11 Constituency) has been placed on a one-month suspension for openly speaking against a resolution of the House. The motion for the suspension of Akpodiete, which was moved by the Deputy Majority Leader, Mr. Johnson Erijo, arose from the resolution on the Assembly Service Commission Bill. He was accused of kicking against the passage of the bill after the House had reached a resolution on the matter.

Northern judges want financial autonomy for judiciary, blame govs From John Ogiji, Minna HE Conference of Heads of Courts of Northern States has blamed what it called lack of direct access to finances from the consolidated revenue fund for the delay in dispensation of justice in the country. It called on state governors to stop breaching the constitutional provision. Speaking at the conference of Chief Judges of the 19 Northern states and their Grand Khandis, the host and Chief Judge of Niger State, Justice Jibrin Ndajiwo and the Chairman of the event, Justice Ibrahim Umaru, condemned the attitude of governors who have allegedly continued to disobey Section 121(3) of the Constitution that grants the judiciary financial autonomy. Ndajiwo explained that the governors have reduced heads of state judiciaries to beggars who have to go cup in hand begging for money from ministries of finance and that of Justice. According to him, “it is a notorious fact that a great majority of states in Nigeria have not complied with the constitutional provision, which was ostensibly inserted in the constitution to guarantee greater

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autonomy to our judiciary both at the national and state levels.” Ndajiwo said though there is a pending suit at the Federal High Court, Minna and other courts across the country on the interpretation of the section and other related sections of the constitution, those state governments that have not complied with the said section of the constitution should do so urgently in the interest of peace and stability of the country. He noted with dismay that the governors who, on assumption of office, sworn on oath to uphold the constitution were quick to turn their backs by failing to uphold inherent provisions of the supreme document. He appealed to Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, who is also the chairman of Northern States Governors Forum, to prevail on his colleagues to observe, respect and obey the section of the constitution that provides financial autonomy to the judiciary. Also in his remarks, the chairman of the conference, Justice Umaru, stated that the message to the governors to

hands off from the finances of the Judiciary was clear, adding that Aliyu must take the message to his colleagues undiluted. He noted that the judiciary in the North required unity and cordial relationship with other arms of government, adding that it was disturbing that the governors refused to honour, respect and obey the constitution which they

sworn to uphold. Aliyu said the judiciary must be given all the resources it needs to function effectively. He, however, asked for unity among members of the judiciary to be able to compete favourably with other members of the society, adding that it was time the judges shed the toga of conservatism inherited from the nation’s colonial masters.

from bilateral and multilateral organisations. “We plan to open up the city to facilitate businesses and good governance as well as reduce travel time in and around the city to a maximum of 30 minutes,” he said. Mohammed noted further that the ministry is working on an effective collaboration with the Nasarawa State government to expand and solve the traffic problems of the Nyanya/ Mararaba axis, adding that a good working relationship had been developed with the states that surround the FCT as part of measures to develop infrastructure. He disclosed that the FCT has been brought under serious pressure as a result of influx of people. This has made the city, which was planned for less than one million people to accommodate more than five million people. “Both Nigerians and non Nigerians now gravitate to the FCT. We have developed a robust and credible business plan, a cash flow that will enable us, on a broader spectrum, make sure that we service our obligations. “They are visible like the World Trade Centre that is nearing 75 per cent completion; Abuja Industrial Park, eight districts for the land swap to develop estate and use the land to pay them off. That would have saved the FCTA about N350 billion, which would be spent through the normal budgetary allocation.” According to the minister, “ we have informed Council that we have a concession template for the existing corridor such as the airport road and the outer express way, requiring about N49 billion to complete so that at the end of the day, we will toll them and they would have been self-sustaining, rather than waiting for the Federal Government to provide money which would shift the goal post for the completion of the project.


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

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NCP loses bid to quash de-registration by INEC By Joseph Onyekwere HE National Conscience Party (NCP) yesterday lost the bid to halt its deregistration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the Federal High Court, Lagos. The court dismissed the suit against INEC, challenging the commission’s power to deregister political parties in Nigeria. NCP had filed the suit in September 14, 2011, challenging the provisions of Section 78(7)(ii) of the Electoral Act 2010, which empowers INEC to de-register political parties for failure to win presidential or governorship election or a seat in the National Assembly or state House of Assembly. The plaintiff had also challenged the powers of the National Assembly (first defendant) to enact the said provisions of the Electoral Act. But Justice Okon Abang, in his judgment, held that the said provisions of Section 78 (7) (ii) of the Electoral Act could not also be said to be ultra vires to the power of the National Assembly since the lawmakers reserve the right to enact laws for the good governance of the people. “The National Assembly has the powers to enact laws, which include laws for the regulation of political parties in the country. In my view, there is nothing unconstitutional with the provisions of Section 78 (7) (ii) of the Electoral Act. “If the law requires political parties to win either presidential or governorship seat or a seat in the National or state House of Assembly, in order to be recognised by INEC as a political party in Nigeria, then so be it. “I think the National Assembly, by enacting the provisions of Section 78, is in a hurry to touch the lives of the Nigerian people, and they deserve to be commended. “If this were not so, many groups or associations will be registered as political par-

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Contractor dismisses minister’s claim on Edo road HE alleged claim of the MinT ister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolemenmen, that the popu-

It is my humble but firm view that NCP should do more than being a platform for a group of people with like minds and similar ideologies; they should do extra work ties, such that it becomes difficult for INEC to conduct elections in Nigeria. “It is my humble but firm view that NCP should do more than being a platform for a group of people with like minds and similar ideologies; they should do extra work,” the judge said. According to him, it is not sufficient that the plaintiff’s party is pained by poverty, under-development or corruption in the country, its members should take the bulls by the horn and ensure they win a seat in any of the positions provided by law. Justice Abang ruled: “It is only when candidates of political parties win any of these seats that they will be in a position to influence decisions that will effectively touch members of the public. “Meetings of like minds, in their own ideology without winning any of these seats as stipulated by law, will not in any way advance the course of our democracy. It is my view that the powers of INEC are very constitutional contrary to the contention of the plaintiff and remain unchallenged. “I, therefore, hold that the suit as filed by the plaintiff lacks merit, and the sole issue raised, is hereby resolved in favour of the defendants. The interlocutory order made on September 13, 2012, is hereby vacated and the suit is accordingly dismissed with a cost of N15,000 to be paid by the plaintiff to the defendants. I so hold.”

Ogun State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, John Olusegun (left); Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Industry (BoI), Evelyn Oputu; wife of Ogun State governor, Olufunso Amosun and the state Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Lanre Tejuoso, at acourtesy visit by Mrs. Amosun to BoI in Lagos…yesterday PHOTO: PAUL OLOKO

NCC plans new rules on SIM card replacement By Adeyemi Adepetun HE Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is working on a regulation to check cases of fraudulent replacement of Subscriber’s Identification Module (SIM) card by service providers in the telecommunications industry. It was learnt that the regulation, which is still at the draft stage, when in force, might empower a telecommunications subscriber to take legal action against a network operator for any SIM replacement done fraudulently by its agent or dealer. A report obtained from the NCC yesterday, titled: “Guideline of SIM Replacement in Nigeria,” indicates that any SIM replacement done in violation of the guidelines shall be sanctioned. The key objectives of the draft document, according to the NCC, are: to prescribe a regulatory framework and provide a procedure for network providers to effect a SIM replacement for subscribers; and to stipulate the minimum standard of care, which operators shall exercise in order to prevent fraudulent replacement of SIMs. The third objective is to provide guidelines on the standard and procedure to which network operators are ex-

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pected to adhere in the process of conducting a SIM replacement. On the circumstances under which a subscriber’s SIM can be replaced, the draft guidelines state: “A SIM can be replaced if the original SIM is faulty, demanded, stolen, lost, obsolete (but eligible for replacement or an upgrade) and any other reasonable, legitimate reasons or conditions necessitating a SIM replacement.” It states that all SIM replacements shall be undertaken by network operators or their licensed agents or dealers, while under the requirement for SIM replacement, the NCC guidelines say the SIM must be registered in accordance with the Registration of Telephone Subscriber Regulations 2011. Also, the subscriber or proxy requesting for the replace-

ment must provide the following: information about the six most-frequently called numbers from the SIM; a letter of authority duly signed by the subscriber if the SIM is to be collected by a proxy; and details of the last two recharges on the SIM’s account. Other details of the incoming regulations are that for SIM replacement, the SIM must be active on the network of the operator; the request for SIM replacement can be made by the subscriber or through a proxy; the subscriber must fill a Standard Form as provided in Schedule 1 of the Guidelines; a valid photo identification of the subscriber must be provided; the network operator must capture a facial image of the subscriber, which must be matched against the existing record of the subscriber.

lar 5-Junction in Benin City is being handled by the Federal Government, has been dismissed by the contractor handling the job. According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Peter Okhiria, the minister had, at a town Hall Meeting last Tuesday, to climax the Good Governance Tour to Edo State, said the “the junction of Akpakpava and Dawson Road is what we call kilometre 0.00. So from that kilometre 0.00 up to 5-Junction to Uselu to Ugbowo, to Ekiadolor, is being handled by the Federal Government.” But, Works Supervisor of Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) handling the project, Mr. Yaniv Dabah, was said to have told reporters in Benin yesterday during an inspection of the work by Oshiomhole that the project is exclusively financed by the Edo state government. According to Dabah, “Edo State government is doing 5Junction. The road, the erosion control, beautification and street lights at the 5-Junction are being financed and executed by the Edo State government.” Dabah said the work on the 5Junction, including the beautification and walkways, would be completed within two weeks, noting that the construction company has already completed the asphalting and streetlights on the road. According to him, work on the Adolor area of Ugbowo will be completed within a month, and “people of the area will be relieved from the perennial flooding in the area as the rainy season approaches.”

ACN flays Presidency’s response to govs’ visit to Borno HE Action Congress of Nige- sued in Abuja yesterday, said ple of Borno and Yobe states T ria (ACN) has faulted the the governors dismissed the appreciate the solidarity of Presidency’s reaction to last Presidency’s attempt to scare their fellow Nigerians, as week’s visit of the ‘progressive’ governors to Borno State, “wondering when it became an offence for Nigerians to visit any other part of their country.” The party, in a statement is-

them away from Borno with an allegedly cooked security report. “They walked around the volatile Maiduguri market without bullet proof vests or helmets, to the chagrin of the President and Commanderin-Chief, who has opted to hide behind the Aso Rock fortress.” ACN said that for the Presidency to now choose to denigrate the governors and accuse them of crass opportunism is the height of irresponsibility. “Most laughable is the accusation that the governors preempted the visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to Borno. Who did the Presidency inform of his impending visit? When did it become the business of governors to tailor their movements to that of the President? Where has the President been since 2011 when he assumed office after his election? Why did it take him so long to visit a troubled part of the country, especially since he claimed to have received a pan-Nigeria mandate? “The truth is that the President was so embarrassed by the visit of the governors that he quickly packaged his own visit. Instead of quietly licking its wounds, the Presidency opted to accuse those who blazed the trail, who showed the way to a clueless and visionless Federal Government.” According to ACN, “irrespective of what the Presidency may say, the beleaguered peo-

shown by the governors’ visit. The people of Nigeria also appreciate the courage and compassion of the governors. Anyone trying to denigrate the visit is attracting more love for the governors and public opprobrium for the Presidency.” The party also reacted to the accusation that it is playing politics with the killing of the Commissioner of Police in Kwara State, Chinwike Asadu, saying the fact that killing of such a top security chief sends a wrong signal about the state of the country’s security, cannot be faulted by any rightthinking person. “How are we playing politics by calling for reinforced security for those whose responsibility it is to protect others? Where is the politics in calling for the apprehension and prosecution of those behind the dastardly act? What is wrong in calling the attention of a prostrate Presidency to the worsening insecurity in the country?”, ACN queried. “Contrary to the Presidency’s statement that President Jonathan has performed well in curbing insurgency, the truth is that the Presidency bereft of ideas on how to curb the insurgency - has instead, chosen to bury its head in the sand, like the proverbial ostrich. Otherwise, it would have known that the senseless killings by Boko Haram have continued. Only on Tuesday, gunmen killed a DPO and nine others in Borno, in what has been a daily trend in recent days.”


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THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

WorldReport ‘Goodbye our president, Commandant Hugo Chavez’

Frustration heightens over Kenya’s vote counting delays

• Venezuela, Cuba declare days of mourning • Supporters weep as farewell rites begin • Jonathan, Obama, others pay tributes

RUSTRATIONS grew over the Fvotes slow pace of the counting of after Kenya’s presiden-

From Oghogho Obayuwana (Foreign Affairs Editor), Abubakar Mohammed and Bola Olajuwon, with agency reports

HE flag of red blue and yelT low with an inverted crescent of stars flew at half-mast yesterday at the Taraba Close, Maitama District premises of the Venezuelan Embassy in Abuja. That symbolic sad action illustrates the mood of the South American country whose President Hugo Chavez, the firebrand socialist who led the nation for 14 years, died very late Tuesday in the country’s capital, Caracas. He was 58. In far away Caracas, agency reports claimed that the death brought thousands of Venezuelans to public squares and across the nation on Tuesday, weeping and celebrating the life of a divise figure whose oil-funded socialist revolution delighted the poor and infuriated the wealthy. Moreso yesterday, Agence France Presse (AFP) and Cable News Network (CNN) reported that throngs of Venezuelans crowded the streets – many clad in red, waving flags and weeping – in a final goodbye to the late president as his remains were taken in a coffin covered with Venezuelan flag through the capital. Some of his countrymen and women watched from apartment windows, others climbed fences to get a better view and many held up smartphones to take pictures of the flag-draped coffin adorned with flowers as Chavez’s farewell burial rites began. Many shouted: “Goodbye our president, Commandant Hugo Chavez” and “We love you Chavez!”. Specifically, Hector Carrasquel, 40, who came from Tejeria, west of Caracas, for the procession, exclaimed: “Viva my comandante! We love you Chavez”. Another Venezuelan, Jose Gregorio Conde, 34, an education worker, said: “I’m here to say my final goodbye to my president. There will never be another Chavez. He is the greatest man that this fatherland gave us.” “I couldn’t sleep all night thinking about what happened,” he said outside the Caracas military hospital where Chavez lost his battle to cancer on Tuesday. A guard in red uniform led the procession, holding a sword, as Vice President Nicolas Maduro and other officials marched toward the military academy where Chavez will lie in state until tomorrow. These were parts of the scenes in Caracas yesterday as Venezuela began to bid farewell to late the president, whose body was to lie in state for three days. Moreso, a mix of sorrow, self-interest and dread took hold of Cuba Tuesday evening and yesterday as word spread like wildfire that Chavez, who had done so much for the country, was dead.

While the official evening newscast devoted its entire programme to events unfolding in Caracas, the government reaction was slow in coming. Later in the evening on Tuesday, Cuba declared three days of mourning and eulogised Chavez. It said Chavez’s “Bolivarian Revolution” was “irreversible” and that Cuba would continue to “accompany Venezuelans in their struggles.” As Venezuela – still deeply divided after an acrimonious election in October – declared a week of national mourning yesterday, a senior minister said a new vote would be called within about 30 tense days. Maduro, who tearfully broke the news to the nation on Tuesday that his mentor had lost his battle with cancer, was poised to take over as interim president and campaign as Chavez’s chosen successor. Some of Chavez’s closest allies, who arrived yesterday in Caracas ahead of a state funeral tomorrow, include Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, Uruguay’s Jose Mujica and Bolivia’s Evo Morales. The late Chavez was born in 1954 in Sabaneta, Barinas state to schoolteacher parents. He graduated from the Venezuelan Academy of Military Sciences in 1975. In 1992, he led a doomed attempt to overthrow the government of President Carlos Andres Perez. Jailed for two years in 1994, he re-launched his party as the Movement of the Fifth Republic and took office in 1999 after winning the previous year’s election. Following the aborted coup of 2002, he returned to power after two days. In 2011, it was first revealed that Chavez was being treated for cancer and was re-elected in October 2012 for another six year-term. After having four different cancer operations in Cuba, he returned to Venezuela in February this year and finally lost the battle against what is fast becoming an elite ailment. The nation’s security forces were deployed following Chavez’s death and Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said calm reigned in the country. Meanwhile, the United States (US) President Barrack Obama was one of the first world leaders to react to Chavez’s death yesterday. The American president’s statement said: “At this challenging time of President Hugo Chavez’s passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan gov-

Thousands of supporters accompany the hearse carrying the coffin of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on its way to the Military Academy in Caracas…yesterday. PHOTO: AFP ernment. As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.” Also, President Goodluck Jonathan has joined in mourning the late Venezuelan president. In a statement on his behalf by his Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Rueben Abati, the president and the entire Nigerians join the people of Venezuela in mourning President Chavez who, he said, greatly endeared himself to the ordinary people of his country with his admirable efforts to improve the living conditions of underprivileged Venezuelans. According to the statement, “As they observe the seven-day period of mourning which has been declared for late President Chavez, President Jonathan urges members of his family, officials of his administration, members of his political party – the United Socialist Party, his supporters and all Venezuelans to take solace in the knowledge that he did the very best that he could to uplift his people and country in the 14 years of his Presidency.” In another statement released to Fox News, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Chavez “will be remembered for his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments.” Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed his late Venezuelan counterpart as an uncommon and strong man who had made a huge contribution to relations between Moscow and Caracas.

tial election just as the party of presidential frontrunner, Uhuru Kenyatta, yesterday described as suspect the inclusion of a mountain of spoiled ballots in results of polls. Monday’s elections were the first since 2007 when a dispute over the counting process erupted into weeks of deadly violence that left more than 1,100 dead. However, leaders and election officials urged calm after hitches led the electronic tallying system to stall after votes from just over 40 per cent of polling stations had been counted, giving Kenyatta 53 per cent of valid votes with 42 per cent to his closest rival, Raila Odinga. With the gap small enough to be overturned, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that the inclusion of the large number of spoiled ballots in the count was becoming a key controversy. Spoiled ballots make up more than five per cent of votes cast so far and made public. Their inclusion was motivated by a “sinister and suspect” logic, charged an official from Kenyatta’s coalition, Charity Ngilu. The Jubilee Coalition is scandalised that sensible Kenyans can so much as think of including condemned ballots,” she told reporters.

Darfur rebel leaders to face trial for AU peacekeepers’ death Criminal IthatNTERNATIONAL Court (ICC) has announced two Darfur rebel leaders

The late Chavez “He was an uncommon and strong man who looked into the future and always set the highest target for himself,” Putin said in a telegram of condolence, thanking Chavez for laying the “solid basis” for Russia-Venezuela relations. To China, the late Chavez was a “great friend of the Chinese people”, promising to maintain ties with the petroleumrich South American country. “President Chavez was a great leader of Venezuela as well as a great friend of the Chinese people and has made an important contribution to friendly and cooperative relations between China and Venezuela,” foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying said. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also paid tribute to late Venezuelan leader, saying he had fallen “martyr” to a “suspect illness”. Ahmadinejad hailed his close ally for “serving the people of Venezuela and defend-

As they observe the seven-day period of mourning which has been declared for late President Chavez, President Jonathan urges members of his family, officials of his administration, members of his political party – the United Socialist Party, his supporters and all Venezuelans to take solace in the knowledge that he did the very best that he could to uplift his people and country in the 14 years of his Presidency.

ing human and revolutionary values.” “He finally died from a suspect illness and he gave his life... to the elevation of his country and the freedom of his people,” Ahmadinejad said in a message of condolences to Vice President Nicolas Maduro. Expectedly, Syrian state media paid homage to Chavez yesterday, saying he had taken a “honourable” position on the two-year-old uprising against the Damascus regime. Chavez “stood on the side of the Arabs’ legitimate rights,” said a commentary carried by state news agency, SANA. “He took an honourable stance regarding the conspiracy against Syria.” European Union head, Herman Van Rompuy, hailed Venezuela’s “stand-out” social development policies, as he sent his condolences following the announcement of the death of the Socialist president. “Venezuela has stood out for its social development and for its contribution to South America’s regional integration,” Van Rompuy said in a joint statement with European Commission head, Jose Manuel Barroso.

are to go on trial in May next year for the 2007 killings of 12 African Union peacekeepers in the war-torn western region of Sudan. The two rebel leaders – Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo – face three war crimes charges for leading an attack in northern Darfur in September 2007, when a force armed with rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns opened fire on the AU’s military base at Haskanita. “Today, the trial chamber set the date for the commencement of trial for May 5, 2014,” the Hague-based ICC said in a statement, setting the stage for the first trial for crimes committed in the Darfur region. About 1,000 assailants took part in the massive attack targeting peacekeepers from the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), during which the base was also looted. Banda, around 50, and Jerbo, around 39, who are not in custody, appeared voluntarily before the court in June 2010 and urged other war crimes suspects to surrender to justice. The court’s judges confirmed in March 2010 there was enough evidence to put them on trial for “violence to life, intentionally directing attacks against peacekeepers and pillaging,” but did not set a trial date.


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THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

Politics My relationship with Obasanjo personal, nothing to do with PDP, says Ladoja Rasheed Ladoja, former governor of Oyo State and leader of the Accord Party (AP), spoke to Dele Fanimo on the crisis in the Southwest PDP the future of AP.

• Accord Party is govt-in-waiting in Oyo

HY is your exit from the PDP still haunting W the PDP two years after you left? I am one of the founders of the PDP. I still say that there are some good people in the party but when not too good people take charge, you have problem. The PDP we founded is different from the PDP of today. The party was meant to espouse internal democracy. The decline of the party started when we missed the chairmanship of the late Chief Sunday Awoniyi. When Audu Ogbeh came up, he tried to stabilise and redeem the image of the party. But no sooner he was kicked out by the then President (Olusegun Obasanjo), the party became an arm of Obasanjo’s conglomerate. He even went ahead to amend the constitution of the party, as he head to service his purpose. One of the amendments was that for you to become the chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party, you must have been a former president. He wanted to be the only permanent chairman of the Board and he also wanted a third term in office. The level at which PDP in was in 2007 when I left office, the party knew that there were issues to be sorted out. And in attempting to make that amend, the party raised the Dr. Alex Ekwueme-led Reconciliation Committee. The committee submitted its report for implementation. Dr. Shuaibu Oyedokun was saddled with the Southwest job. He (Oyedokun) raised a 15member committee, five from the Ladoja group and five each from the others. The three groups summited their reports but they were kept in the cooler until they set up the Ike Nwachukwu Committee and it also went to work. They came back to Ibadan and said, “we have completed our work; we are here to say that we have set up a reconciliatory committee headed by Alhaji Akintunde Yunus. The committee was inaugurated in Ibadan by the Ike Nwachukwu team. It also raised Elders committee. But later, we were told that the National Working Committee (of the PDP) did not approve the report. It, therefore, became a bazaar between (former Governor Adebayo) Alao-Akala and others. At a point, it was clear that they wanted to hold back other contestants through the INEC, to pave the way for Alao-Akala. And we felt it was high time we left (PDP) and we left on December 30, 2010. We then decided to pitch our tent with Accord Party (AP). Were your goals met in the AP? Our performance, within a short period, was confirmation of God’s support and that of the people of Oyo State. When they (PDP) saw it, they said Ladoja was a force to reckon with, particularly the feat of secured in the Southwest. You can then imagine that our performance was good enough to warrant their (PDP) saying look, let us beg Ladoja to come back.’ But we also realised that they only wanted Ladoja to stabilise the party. Like my wife described it, ‘they did not want the leg of Ladoja, they wanted his shoes.’ While some members wanted Ladoja as the party national secretary others objected the proposal. While some of them were positioning Ladoja to be a national secretary at that time, the powers that be in the Southwest said he was not their choice. Therefore, inter alia, they said, ‘you have not yet secured a waiver; therefore, you cannot contest.’ But it’s reported lately that you are likely to be the secretary of the party… What is there is that you don’t even know from where all these speculations are coming. I think it is the work of mischief-makers, who don’t like us and want to tell our people that

Ladoja we are inconsistent. Because, we have told them that negotiation with the PDP has closed and we have not reopened it. It is only General Obasanjo that I still relate with and it is purely on personal issues that are apolitical. It has nothing to do with the question of PDP. What if you are approached? When we get to that bridge, we will cross it. I have so many things I am thinking about rather than speculations. When the matter came up, we addressed it straight away. It was Tribune that carried it (story) and we are happy that The Nation carried a rejoinder; so, other papers didn’t need to carry it because they did not report it. You can understand that it has nothing to do with us. I’ve not met (Governor Peter) Obi or (Governor Segun) Mimiko to talk about the PDP. If they want to woo us, it is not on the pages of newspapers. We are not people that go for speculations. So, you can understand that PDP needs serious

The problem really is why are people leaving ACN to join Accord? Why are people leaving a party in government to join a party not in government? The answer is obvious: Accord is the government in waiting. That is what is hurting them. This EFCC issue is an overplayed bad record. It is not helping them.

reformation and we have not seen the seriousness that the reformation has begun. Now, on the speculation that we are PDP, we have stopped negotiations with them since June last year and since that time, there has not been contact. My remaining with former President Obasanjo is personal. He has reconciled himself with the fact that we are not in the same party but we can still be friends. How cordial is that relationship? Very cordial! The last Christmas, he sent me a very big turkey. He came here to eat pounded yam and drank palm wine, too, and when I go there (Obasanjo’s house), whatever they are eating, I eat with them. It doesn’t really matter. Our relationship predated PDP and it is possible to have a friend in another party. Whatever happened during the period when I was in government, I have forgiven him just like I have forgiven everybody that participated in that saga. PERHAPS, you want to contest election on the platform of Accord Party; what do you want to do now that you did not do in your first term as governor? Mr. Journalist, I’ve never said I want to contest. What I said was that Accord would have a candidate come 2015 elections, and that candidate will be chosen by the party. Why don’t we let that candidate emerge before we start speculating? If the party feels that Ladoja is the right candidate, what is wrong with that? The party will always have reason. I think 2015 is still far away. Do some PDP members feel that Ladoja will upset the equation, and so they don’t want you?

What is there is that you don’t even know from where all these speculations are coming. I think it is the work of mischief-makers, who don’t like us and want to tell our people that we are inconsistent. Because, we have told them that negotiation with the PDP has closed and we have not reopened it. It is only General Obasanjo that I still relate with and it is purely on personal issues that are apolitical. It has nothing to do with the question of PDP. I also don’t want them; so, why should I bother about them? Are you considering a fusion with the APC? We have not been approached. We don’t know what was there arrangement. If we are approached and we know their arrangement, then there is no problem. Anything that will be of good service to the people of Nigeria is welcome. But I thought that the APC would have started it on the note that they want to form a party that would give service to the people of Nigeria and not just a question of they want to overthrow PDP. Because, the impression, from what I gather, is that they want to overthrow PDP. They have said it before and it failed. If you remember the 1999 elections when there were only three parties, PDP stood alone, but the APP (All Peoples Party) and AD (Alliance for Democracy) came together and yet, they were not able to do it. So, what is the difference now? I don’t see a major difference between what happened then and now. The sole purpose of the APC today is to overthrow PDP, but that you can do without forming that association but by working hard. And that is what Accord is trying to do. We have planted the seed in Oyo State, which we will carry to other states and we will win the presidential election. Maybe not in 2015, or 2019, but definitely, Accord will rule Nigeria. It’s said that you have some money to return to the coffers of Oyo State; how true is that? What they said was that the EFCC would recover some money from me, which they have not done. They did not recover one kobo or any property from me. We all knew how it came about. The then governor (Alao-Akala) was having it uneasy in government at that time; therefore, he had to create a problem for Ladoja, to keep him from contesting for election. And don’t forget that he (Alao-Akala) was a former policeman and his relationship with (former EFCC Chairman, Mrs. Farida) Waziri was very tight. He used his influence and we learnt that they have not even completed the investigation before we were rushed to court. The matter is sub judice and therefore, it is better we leave the nitty-gritty of that to the court. But as far as we are concerned, we have no money or property to return and people of Oyo State are wiser. The noise they are making is smaller compared to what Akala’s administration made. Go and ask Dr. Oyelade; he came here to apologise. Akala also apologised to me; that he was sorry for all that noise and I’ve forgiven all of them. The new administration (of Governor Ajimobi) should understand that destruction doesn’t pay. We acted in good faith by trying to stabilise their government for them by joining them. But they think that stabilising their government means that we should kill Accord, which we refused to do. The problem really is why are people leaving ACN to join Accord? Why are people leaving a party in government to join a party not in government? The answer is obvious: Accord is the government in waiting. That is what is hurting them. This EFCC issue is an overplayed bad record. It is not helping them.


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

POLITICS 11

Challenging governors’ awesome powers By Joe Adiorho HE battle for supremacy between President T Jonathan and State Governors in Nigeria, especially those of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), raged on all through the week, and may continue in that direction for some time to come. Indeed, it may last till through the general elections in 2015. Penultimate Monday, an attempt to produce a new chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) or re-elect or even remove the incumbent, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State could not materialise. Reports indicate that the presidency had been uncomfortable with the increasing influence of the governors, particularly that of Amaechi, as derived mainly from the governors forum. Hence an attempt to whittle down that impetus was on display all through last weekend and on Monday when the NGF was to elect a new helmsman. First, the presidency, in cahoots with the PDP leadership, ensured that the party had its own pressure group in the NGF; thus, the birth of the PDP Governors Forum (PDP-GF) from a conclave at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Sunday night. So, the Leadership Change camp, now led by the new PDP-GF chair, Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, moved into the meeting, with the assurance that they would neither be surprised nor embarrassed by an unexpected outcome of the election. However, the poll, slated for the Rivers Governors Lodge, could not hold and the report issuing from the venue said that the presidency failed to have its way, as it was stiffly resisted, with many governors standing behind the incumbent NGF leader, Amaechi. Respondents, including politicians, analysts and stakeholders, who spoke to The Guardian, elected to remain anonymous because of what they described as the volatility of the situation. But they held that the presidency was playing a high-stake political chess. They contended that whatever gains the presidency might have garnered would be limited in nature, as the actual powers of the governors have their roots in the Constitution, which they are deploying to maximum advantage. In the first place, to win in such a battle, the governors have formed a forum where they discuss what to do and how to be on top. One of the governors told The Guardian that the Constitution gave them power to dominate in the states and by their collective power, they also dominate at the centre — Abuja. “The Constitution bestows us with power to lead every act that is being conducted in the states,” the governor said. “We are the ones who are presiding over the budgets of the states and the budgets of some of the states are very big. “We are also the ones given the power to select and nominate whoever is elected or appointed in the states. We select the persons to be elected into the Houses of Assembly, at both national and state levels; we are also in charge of appointing the chairmen of the SIECs to oversee the elections of the local government chairmen and the councilors.” Majorly, the governors are in charge of everybody who has surfaced as an elective leader in the state. They are also given the power to singularly nominate and appoint people in the executives in the states. A PDP stalwart lamented the awesome powers of the governors thus: “Another area that enhanced the governors’ powers is when the

Jonathan

Amechi

president wants to appoint his executives or appoint any person to any position. Because of the constitutional provision that prescribes federal character, instead of the president picking the people who are loyal to him, he sends for the governors to bring in nominees. “Governors nominate people loyal to them in every aspect of life, both in executive and elective positions. The governors have hands in everyone that is operating in the Federal Government, and that has given them enormous power.” In spite of all these, the president feels that since he is the leader of the party and the nation, what he says should hold sway, but the governors seem determined not to yield ground or much ground, believing that they are the princes and kingmakers with sufficient power to dictate what happens in the nation and the political parties. ESPONDENTS traced the supremacy battle between the governors and the president the onset of the Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 1999. They cited the issue between Obasanjo and his deputy, Atiku Abubakar, whom Obasanjo picked after he (Atiku) had won the governorship election in Adamawa State. Obasanjo had picked Senator Evan Ewerem to be the president of the Senate, but Atiku reportedly objected and backed Dr. Chuba Okadigbo. Atiku reportedly said that Obasanjo had no right to nominate his own candidate to the office of the president of the Senate. However, the matter was resolved at a meeting chaired by General Theophilus Danjuma

(retired) who could not understand why Atiku, who was supposed to be under Obasanjo, was opposing the president’s candidate. That was how Ewerem held that office only to be replaced by Okadigbo later. The next battle was when the governors, led by Atiku and former Governor James Ibori of Delta State, almost truncated the second term ambition of Obasanjo, who thereafter saw the need to check the powers of the governors. Consequently, he setup two anti-graft agencies, the EFCC and ICPC and these two institutions helped him to checkmate the excesses of the governors, even as he ensured that he had tabs on all the governors in their financial dealings and the impropriety of their actions in government. Obasanjo also ensured that he had records of the activities of members of all the state Houses of Assembly, and the National Assembly. This way, those who did not do his bidding were whipped into line by threatening to prosecute them. On the strength of this, Obasanjo ruled effectively and succeeded in ensuring that he had his ways in most of all his activities. “But Jonathan’s method is quite different and simple,” said an analyst. “He is trying to conduct himself in what he considers the best tradition and acceptable democratic norms. Jonathan wants the rule of law to prevail. Unfortunately, the governors feel that Jonathan’s method shows traces of weakness and therefore assailable.” The source noted that, “in every contest that

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But Jonathan’s method is quite different and simple. He is trying to conduct himself in what he considers the best tradition and acceptable democratic norms. Jonathan wants the rule of law to prevail. Unfortunately, the governors feel that Jonathan’s method shows traces of weakness and therefore assailable.

requires the appointment or the selection of people, the governors want their way to prevail. They order the president to convene meetings; they also tell him what to do and that if he refuses, they will oppose him. “Jonathan has been under perpetual threat from the governors,” the source added. One of the PDP stalwarts said that Obasanjo had been very angry, partly because he sees Jonathan as being weak in running the state and dealing with the governors. “That is infuriating him (Obasanjo),” the party chieftain said. “He feels that if Jonathan had learnt anything from him, he wouldn’t have allowed the governors to conduct themselves the way they are doing, because the governors are now brazenly opposing the president.” Still, some respondents noted the said seeming overbearing influence of the chairmen of the Governors Forum, particularly the current chair, which is undermining the person of the president. “In every appointment the president wants to make, the governors would contest it with determination to truncate it. The act of picking the chairman of the party and that of Board of Trustees (BoT) saw the governors insisting that their say should prevail, against that of the president, who is supposed to be the leader of the party,” another source said. “Besides, the governors are even frustrating the Chairman of the PDP on the ordinary issue of secretary to the party in Adamawa State. They mobilised the members of National Working Committee of the party (NWC) against the chairman and told him that they have reversed what the chairman did. “Today, they are calling for NEC and observers are of the opinion that it is ostensibly to throw out the chairman of the party.” The matter came to a head recently, First Republic Minister, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, was forced to hold a press conference, to condemn the governors’ conduct. Clark accused members of the Forum of breaching the Nigerian Constitution with impunity. He stated that the Governors Forum was acting as an opposition party to the Federal Government. According to him, some of the offending activities of the Governors Forum were “driving the country to madness because of their over-bearing influence on the Peoples Democratic Party.” His words: “The Forum deliberately breaches with impunity, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the constitution of the PDP, without any challenges. It has now become a threat to the peace and stability of Nigeria. Most of the governors today are more dictatorial than the then military governors.” But as if to confirm Clark’s fears, an aide to one of the governors in the North immediately reacted, stating that the erstwhile minister’s call for the ban of the Forum was a non-starter. The aide accused Clark of playing to the gallery, as part of a scheme to weaken opposition to the idea of Mr. Jonathan’s second term bid. “It is simply a political game to pressure governors to support President Jonathan’s bid for a second term,” the aide said. Even though the president has taken steps to ensure that these actions are checked, people see it as belated. Those who are interested in ensuring that Jonathan runs for a second term are anguished by his inaction. They feel that he has virtually surrendered himself in every position. They reason that the problems are being engineered to distract him from his administration’s goals, so as to lose focus and bearing towards 2015.

Na’Abba faults his removal from PDP BoT From Abba Anwar, Kano HE former Speaker of the House of T Representatives Right Honourable Ghali Umar Na’Abba has described his removal from the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) Board of Trustees, as a flagrant disregard to the party’s constitutional provisions. The removal was part of the recommendations of a Committee that was set up last month by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to carry out an assessment of the members of the party’s Board of Trustees. The Committee also recommended for the removal of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and recommends for the removal of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and others from the Board.  He disclosed this exclusively to The Guardian. “The constitution of the

party is what makes me, as a former Speaker of House of Representatives to be a member of the Board of Trustees. So any attempt to remove me is unconstitutional and highly unethical”, he revealed. He charged that he knew there had been a few members of the BoT that were uncomfortable with him being a member of the Board. He recalled that there was a point in time when he opted out of the party, because of some genuine reasons he considered as inimical to the philosophy of the party and bad omen for the democratic process as a whole. He further revealed that when he returned he was not given a waiver. “I returned to the party in 2007 as a result of the Reconciliation Committee set up by the then President, Alhaji Umaru ‘Yar Adua, that was headed by the former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme. The Committee had Dr Jerry Gana as the

Na’Abba

Secretary”, he recalled. According to the former Speaker, he and other people met with the Committee in Kaduna and the Committee promised all sort of things to them. He subsequently returned to PDP in 2007. He stated that those calling for his removal were of the view that since he returned to the party without waiver he must spend four years in the party from the date he returned. “But from 2007 to 2013 is more than four years. So what are they talking about? They should understand that Nigerians may read meaning in what they are saying”, he emphasized. Na’Abba was surprised that he did not know from where those people were coming from. He also said that he was surprised Gana was the Secretary of the Reconciliation Committee that met with him in Kaduna in 2007, and he was also a member of that Committee recom-

mending for his sack. He therefore challenged that the ploy for his removal should have another reason different, not that of a waiver. When asked that some of the reasons advanced for his sack was allegedly  said to be linked to being a potential threat to President Goodluck Jonathan emergence at the anticipated primary election for 2015 presidential election, Na’Abba dismissed that out rightly. He insisted that, “Whoever said I am a threat to President Jonathan is his own opinion. That is his cup of tea.” The party has been in crisis over the election of a new Chairman of the Board of Trustees, since the resignation of the former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, as the Chairman. There have been some rumours making round that the former President has his preferred candidate for the position. So also President Jonathan has his preferred candidate also.


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THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

TheMetroSection A service of songs was held in Abuja yesterday for the Assistant Political Editor of The Guardian, Mr. JohnAbba Ogbodo, who died in an auto crash on the way to Awka from the Federal Capital last week. Here are pictures of family members, friends and colleagues who came to pay him their last respects at the solemn event held at NUJ Press Centre, Utako District

Briefs Group donates to Badagry Prison inmates HE executive members of T Computer Village Youth recently visited the Nigeria Prison Service at Badagry, Lagos and donated items including beverages, packets of detergent, antiseptic soaps, tooth brushes, toiletries, noodles among others, to the inmates. The Chairman, Adesanya Adewale, said the group decided to identify the needs of the inmates and “give its widows’ mite.” The Welfare Officer of the Prison Service, Mr. Olaleye Lanre, while receiving the items, thanked the group for the donation and commending it for “its ability to keep to its words.” Responding on behalf of the chairman, Kunle AdioMowo said more visitations would be made as that was just the beginning. He said the group would identify other areas of needs and probably, come to the rescue. He, therefore, good spirited Nigerians to remember the inmates and make little sacrifices for their wellbeing.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu (second right) Editor, The Guardian, Mr. Martins Oloja (second left), Special Adviser, Media to the Senate President, Kola Ologbodiyan (right) and Abuja Bureau Chief, The Guardian, Madu Onuorah during the service of songs...yesterday

India Pharma Expo begins HE second edition of India T Pharma Expo holds today and tomorrow at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos at 10.00a.m. daily The exhibition, which is organised by Pharmexcil (Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India) and hosted by HE Mahesh Sachev, the Indian High Commissioner, will have in attendance the Director General of the Nigerian Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Paul Ohrii, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, India, Mr. Rajeev Kher, Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Bunmi Olaopa as well as high profile members of other pharmaceutical bodies here in Nigeria.

Celestine Olisa dies at 81

Wife of the late Assistant Political Editor of The Guardian, Mrs. Veronica Ogbodo, his children , Samuel and Ene as well as other family members at the service of songs

HE Odogwu Abi of Osomara T kingdom, Chief Celestine Olisa is dead. Aged 81. Until his

The late John-Abba Ogbodo

Okotie condoles with The Guardian over Ogbodo’s death ASTOR-POLITICIAN, Rev P Chris Okotie has expressed shock and regret at

A cross-section of people at the event, which was organised by the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Abuja chapter PHOTOS: PHILIP OJISUA

the death of John- Abba Ogbodo, the Assistant Political Editor of The Guardian in a ghastly motor accident last Thursday. “My heart goes out to his family and associates over this untimely loss, which occurred at the prime of his life,” Okotie said in a condolence message to the newspaper yesterday. He said the journalism profession has lost a promising talent and dedicated professional at a time

there’s a dearth of competent personnel in the noble profession. Okotie lamented the poor condition of the country’s roads, which he said were death traps. “For how long must our citizens continue to die because of bad roads and poor transport infrastructure?” he queried. “My thoughts are with his family at this trying moment,” he said in the statement signed by Ladi Ayodeji, his Director of Media and Communication Strategy.

death on February 22, 2012, he was also a Supreme Papal Knight of Saint Lumumba and was the first elected two-term member of the Federal House of Representatives from Ogbaru. A statement by the spokesman of the family, Mr. Raymond Enebeli Olisa, who is the Managing Director of Phoceeme Nigeria Limited, said funeral ceremony holds April 18 to April 20 at Osamara, in Ogbaru Local Council of Anambra State. He is survived by a widow, Mama Odozi Akwu Obi Olisa, many children and grand children.

Olisa


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THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

EFCC raises alarm over spoofing, arraigns two fraudsters for hacking Aturu’s e-mail HE Economic and Financial Crimes ComT mission (EFCC) has raised alarm over the rising cases of e-mail spoofing and account takeover by suspected fraudsters. The trend, which targets influential personalities in government, the professions and the private sector, has assumed a frightening dimension in recent times with not a few people losing their e-mails to the fraudsters who deploy the accounts to various nefarious ends, including soliciting funds from friends and acquaintances of the owners of the accounts. A statement by the acting Head, Media & Publicity (EFCC), Wilson Uwujaren read: “The commission observed that Yahoo account owners are the most vulnerable to this scam, which has brought much agony to the victims. So far, effort to engage Yahoo to rein in on the perpetrators of this heinous crime, has not yielded any fruit. Yet their activities continue to pose grave threats to the image and integrity of the nation. In view of this, the possibility of a class action suit against Yahoo by victims, who have suffered severe emotional and financial losses arising from the actions of the hackers, may not be ruled out. Nevertheless, local banks that have cooperated with the commission in the investigation of cases of spoofing deserve commendation for their diligence and sense of responsibility. Meanwhile two suspects, Onuabuike Chukuebuka and Izuchukwu Emewulu, who allegedly hacked into the e-mail account of constitutional lawyer, Bamidele Aturu were on Tuesday arraigned before Justice Olasumbo Olarenwaju Goodluck of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on a five-count charge bordering on intent to defraud and obtain money by false pretence. One of the charge reads, “that you Onuabuike Chukwuebuka and Izuchukwu Emewulu and another at large, on or about January 11, 2013, at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this court, did conspire among yourselves to obtain money by false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 8 (a) and punishable under section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud

and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006”. The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them. EFCC Counsel, Samuel A. Ugwuegbulam then asked the court to fix a date for trial and remand the accused persons in prison custody. However, counsel to the accused persons, George C. Anuba urged the court to admit the accused persons to bail on the grounds that the first accused person is a sickle cell anaemia carrier and that the offence was bailable. Though the bail application was opposed by EFCC counsel, Justice Goodluck, however, granted bail to the two accused persons in the sum of N250.000.00 each, one surety in like sum. The surety must be a Grade Level 14 officer in the civil service and resident in Abuja. Chukuebuka and Emewulu’s problem started on Friday, 11 January 2013 when the duo hacked into the mailbox of Aturu, and sent messages to his friends and relatives that he was in desperate financial situation and needed the sum of N120, 000; an amount he promised to pay once he returned to Nigeria. Aturu’s friends and family members, however, contacted him only to discover that his mail -box had been hacked into by scammers. This prompted Aturu to report the matter to the EFCC. The complainant said he never gave authorization for his email account to be used by anyone. The suspect in their e-mail messages asked that the money be paid into a First Bank and Diamond Bank accounts respectively. The banks were alerted and the accounts flagged. One of the suspects, Onuabuike was arrested on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at Onitsha branch of Diamond Bank in Anambra State when he attempted to withdraw money from the account. When interrogated by operatives of the Commission, Onuabuike claimed that the second accused collected his account number and that he did not know he wanted to use it for criminal purposes. The second accused person was consequently, arrested the next day.

Photonews

Former Commonweath Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku presenting a trophy to the overall winner of Obasanjo Library Competition in Abeokuta, Ogun State ...on Tuesday

Iyaloja General of Nigeria, Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji (left) Executive Chairman, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Tunde Fowler and Director, Finance and Administration (LIRS), Faramade Ogunsanya at the presentation of Commendation Award to Iyaloja General in Ikeja, Lagos ...on Tuesday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Ogbakor Ikwerre commends Amaechi, pledges support HE Rivers State governor, T Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has been commended by the new leadership of Ogbakor Ikwerre Cultural Organization, Worldwide, for his leadership and achievements in the state. President-General of the group, Prof. Augustine Onyeozu who spoke when he led a delegation of national executives of Ogbakor Ikwerre on a courtesy call to Amaechi in Government House, Port Harcourt on Monday, told the governor: “The incontrovertible fact is that your performance and achievements are superlative and excellent.  You have brought pride and honour to us.  We are, indeed, very proud of you.  We will further urge you to ensure that in all

your conducts and activities in government, you give every ethnic group in this state adequate and appropriate sense of belonging”. The Ogbakor Ikwerre equally thanked the people of Rivers State for their continued support and loyalty to Governor Amaechi. “The people of Ikwerre ethnic nationality with every sense of responsibility appreciate all the ethnic groups in Rivers State for the support and loyalty they have given to His Excellency’s administration.  It is our fervent prayer that in due season we shall reciprocate this love the Rivers people have shown to you, our son and to us”. The group, however, urged Amaechi to remain focused, courageous and objective to

deliver on his mandate even as they pledged their continued support and loyalty. “We want to assure you that the Ikwerre people will stand by you in any and all actions you may take to uphold the spirit and letters of the oath of office you swore to.  Deliver on your mandate.  Delivering on your mandate is non-negotiable.  We are proud to say to you today we are very proud of your scorecard as the Governor of Rivers State. We wish you continued success in office and God’s eternal blessing”, they said. Responding, the governor, thanked them for the visit and said his administration has equitably distributed projects in the state and integrated all Rivers people in his government.

Former Vice Chancellor, University of Uyo, Prof. Fola Lasisi (left), Guest Speaker and Vice Chancellor of University Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Rahamon Adisa Bello, President and Chairman of Council, Nigerian Institute Management (NIM), Chief Michael Olawale-Cole and the representative of Lagos State Governor, Mr. Olusegun Ogunlewe during: Nigeria: Arise and Shine yearly Lecture entitled: “Appraisal of Vision 20:2020: Perspective of Power Generation and National Development” held in Lagos …on Tuesday PHOTO: PAUL OLOKO

Two armed robbers to die by hanging From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba HE long arm of the law has caught up with two armed robbery suspects, Mr. Augustine Nnaemeka and Obinna Ejinkonye, as they were sentenced to death by hanging on Wednesday by a Delta State High Court, Asaba. The convicts, both natives of Anambra State, were sentenced to death by an Asaba, Delta State High Court (name of the trial Judge withheld) on a fourcount charge of conspiracy, armed robbery, murder and burglary. The convicts were found

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guilty on counts one and two, an offence punishable under Section 2(a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap R11 Vol. 14 Laws of the Federation, 2004. Augustine and Obinna and other suspects including the leader, one Kelvin now at large, were said to have robbed one Samuel Ifeanyi Michael at Paschal Hotel Road, Asaba in 2008 by scaling the fence of the victim’s compound and breaking into his apartment while armed with dangerous weapons, including guns and cutlasses.

The armed criminals made away with cash, expensive jewellery, phones and car keys and also vandalized the windscreen of the victim’s car in a determined bid to escape from the robbery scene after the act. In their confessional statement, the convicts confessed to have killed two men and one woman in separate robbery operations on Ibusa Road and Interbau Roundabout in Asaba. They also confessed to have killed a police officer at MTN office in Asaba during one of their operations on the Benin-Onitsha Expressway.

Chairman, Computer Village Youth Development Association, Lagos State, Adesanya Adewale, Adebayo Samuel, Lanre Olaleye (Welfare Officers) of Nigeria Prison Service and other members of the association during the visit and donation of gift items to Badagry Prison...


14 | THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

TheGuardian Conscience Nurtured by Truth

FOUNDER: ALEX U. IBRU (1945 – 2011)

Conscience is an open wound; only truth can heal it. Uthman dan Fodio 1754-1816

Editorial National Assembly and contempt of parliament HERE is certainly more to the current efforts of the National Assembly to criminalise what it describes as the contempt of parliament than meets the eye.  While the need for respect for the parliament cannot be over-emphasised, there is a way in which this attempt by the Nigerian legislators smacks of an insatiable appetite for power and a predilection for ego-tripping. A parliament must be respected but respect is not commanded, it is earned. And arm-twisting or intimidation is no way to earn respect. Productivity in the service of the people is. A bill, which has passed its second reading proposes that a person summoned by the National Assembly must appear within 30 days and at the expiration of the period, the person is deemed to have committed an offence punishable by an Act of the National Assembly. An Assembly that is renowned for abusing its power of oversight functions, it must be said, cannot be trusted with what the bill seeks to achieve. Indeed, the passage of the bill into law is likely to strengthen the capacity of the National Assembly for greater mischief to the detriment of Nigeria’s democracy. A quick suggestion here: The National Assembly should first go out and gauge the feelings of Nigerians about its performance. Without doubt, it will find out that its output so far has fallen abysmally short of expectation. Nigerians believe that their legislators are on their own; aloof from issues that concern the people, working only to please themselves and feeding fat on the common wealth. If anything, for their insensitivity and non-productivity, the legislators are the ones guilty of contempt of the people they are supposed to serve. Who does not know that the primary function of the legislature is to make laws for good governance as it obtains elsewhere? Nigerians do not demand more or less from their legislators. Thus, any step taken in that direction will be applauded. Regrettably, Nigerians have seen too little of that from their legislators. Rather than concentrate on how to make laws that will enhance good governance for Nigerians, what the parliamentarians do too often is seek to intimidate other arms of government and operate in a manner that smacks of blackmail. To show how egocentric the legislators are, they believe that they can summon any one at any time relying on Section 88 of the constitution. This is sheer demonstration of lack of understanding of their responsibility under the constitution. Whereas, it has been contended that the said section, which they dwell upon as justification for their excesses and the myriad of probes they always embark upon does not give the kind of expansive powers coveted by the legislators. Any investigation to be done pursuant to the section must be in relation to appropriation. In essence, the Section is not omnibus, neither is the power conferred by it. Worse still, the Assembly is too reactive to things that happen outside its hallowed chambers than what it creates or generates out of its own initiative and sense of responsibility to the nation; it is pre-occupied with what happens in other people’s domain or sphere of influence, which makes it to set up committees from time to time even on trivial issues that mean little or nothing to the nation. Ironically, at the end of it all such probes turn out to be too much ado about nothing in that they hardly produce any tangible result even when outrageous and mind-boggling amount of money would have been dissipated on it. This is why those who describe the parliamentarians as meddlesome interlopers out to compete, in the manner of an impostor, with the executive or its organs of investigation such as the police may not be wrong after all. It will serve the National Assembly right to realize that it lacks the capacity to investigate allegations of crime and for that reason should spare Nigerians the incessant public probe that has more or less become the order of the day. The power and time required to make good laws should no longer be dissipated on so-called oversight functions as though that is the only reason for the legislature. Nigerians are no longer impressed. The general belief is that the zeal displayed by the lawmakers in oversight functions is actuated by pecuniary and other self-serving motives. They need to purge themselves of such tendencies to earn the confidence of Nigerians. And once this is achieved, their processes, including their summonses will be respected. So, they would not need to coerce obedience to their authority. 

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LETTERS

FoI: Kudos to Kogi Assembly IR: The Kogi State House of SFebruary Assembly made history on 12, 2013 by passing the Freedom of Information Bill. The National Assembly had done the same in 2011. It is gratifying that the State Assembly without any prompting passed the Bill, which was originally sponsored by the Chairman of its Committee on Information and Public Enlightenment, Hon. Salihu Akawu, who also doubles as the representative of the Kogi Constituency in the House of Assembly. The Bill had received immense support and attention from a frontline Lokoja-based Non Governmental Organisation – The Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution and its partner, the Open Society Justice Initiative. When it receives the governor’s assent, Kogi State would become the second state in Nigeria (after Ekiti State) to domesticate the FoI law. When Governor Idris Wada eventually assents to the Bill, the legislation would “make public records and information more freely available, provide for public access to public records and information, protect public records and information to the extent consistent with the public interest and the protection of personal privacy, protect serving public offi-

cers from adverse consequences for disclosing certain kinds of official information without authorisation and establish procedures for the achievement of those purposes.”        The legislation is aimed at entrenching transparent and accountable leadership in the public service of Kogi State, while also addressing the peculiarities of the state, as well as promote the principle of federalism by ensuring that the state enacts its own variant of national legislations that are considered to be important to the growth and development of the country. We wish to thank the leadership and the entire members and staff of the Kogi State House of Assembly and in particular the spon-

sor of the Bill, Hon. Salihu Akawu as well as staff of the Open Society Justice Initiative’s Africa Programme team, our most dependable allies and technical partner at the Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Lokoja, Kogi State, for their unflinching support, collaboration and encouragement that made this exercise a reality. We also urge the executive in Kogi State to expedite action on signing this all-important bill into law, in keeping with his March 29 pledge while declaring open a two-day zonal FoI sensitisation workshop organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Reform of Government Institutions (otherwise known as the House FoI Committee) for the North Central zone. • Idris Abdul, Lokoja, Kogi State.

My phone network rips me off IR: Tuesday, February 12, customer care representative Srealized this year at about 11.pm, I that they experienced applicaI could not go tion breakdown and that over online using my GSM network. When I checked to find out the cause, I was told that I had no active data plan, which of course was not true, because 10 minutes earlier, I had over two gigabytes left on my data bundle. The money I had in my account balance was equally depleted. I was later told by their

30,000 subscribers were affected, and their engineers were already rectifying the problem. After over one week, nothing has been done to restore the thousands of naira that I lost and Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) is yet to call them to order. • Moujekwu Emeka, Anambra State.


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Business Appointments P27 SERAP petitions UN over alleged violation of police trainees’ rights

Stakeholders decry obsolete facilities, power outages at airports By Wole Shadare

HE infrastructure decay at the nation’s airports T came to the fore on Monday, following a power outage, which lasted for over two hours at the nation’s premier airport-the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, which paralysed activities at the strategic gateway. Not only was the terminal building thrown into darkness, the access roads

leading to both the domestic and international terminals were also in pitch darkness, further exposing the area to insecurity. There were indications that the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) would not be able to pick the identity of criminals in the area owing the power outage at the airport. Meanwhile, airlines, particularly foreign carriers, yesterday decried the appalling infrastructure at the airports, with many of

them counting the cost of having to conduct their activities, including passengers’ check-in. While the outage lasted on Monday night, many of the airlines conducted their check-ins with touch lights, as travelers were thrown into serious panic. Some of the airlines’ officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the cost of doing operations in the country become very exorbitant, describing most of the

facilities at the airports as obsolete, despite huge navigation, airport taxes, and other sundry charges by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA). The carriers equally decried the airport authorities for not providing the necessary airport facilitation processes, hitherto handled by Maevis Limited; a situation that had made pas-

Commissioner for Commerce and Cooperative, Niger State, Mallam Yahaya Dan-Sallau (right); Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga; and Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Ogun State, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, during a stakeholders’ meeting on the National Enterprise Development Programme, in Abuja.

Tributes as Ndiokho, ex -UACN boss, passes on at 74 By Ade Ogidan, Business Editor

TRIBUTES continued to trail the passage of former Chairman and Managing Director of UAC of Nigeria Plc (UACN), Bassey Udo Ndiokho. He died on February 21, in Lagos, at the age of 74. Ndiokho, who headed Nigeria’s leading conglomerate from 1993 to 1999, was a former Director of some leading businesses and institutions in the country, and at various times, the Pro-Chancellor of Akwa Ibom State University of Technology; Chairman of Enterprise Development International, (an NGO that evolved from TechnoServe Nigeria) and a Non-

Executive Director of Union Bank of Nigeria PLC. He was also one of those appointed into the vision 2010 committee to represent the business community. Ndiokho’s tenure as UAC’s helmsman was marked by the successful divestment of Unilever Plc of London from UAC of Nigeria PLC and the transition of UAC into a wholly owned Nigerian Company with focus on four core areas – Foods, Property, Packaging and Distribution. He also initiated the evolution of UAC Property Division into UACN Property Development Company PLC, which has been transformed into a successful real estate business and till date

the first and only publicly quoted property company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. A seasoned estate surveyor and property expert, Ndiokho attended Walthamstow South West Essex Technical College where he trained as an estate surveyor and joined UAC in March 1971. He attended various management training programs including a management program at the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign and an AMP at Harvard Business School, Boston MA. His immediate successor at UACN, Ayo Ajayi described him as a consummate manager, with great passion for human resources develop-

ment. According to Ajayi, ‘he was a good person in all ramifications. Brilliant and hardworking, he believed in people-management and he practiced it. He was a manager that carrier every stakeholders along with in his activities and was particularly well-focused, human, with infectious humility”. To the Chairman of UACN, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, Ndiokho was, ‘a wonderful man”, who would be remembered for his high sense of professionalism in corporate Nigeria. Udoma, who is also the Chairman of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, said the late corporate player. “was always cheerful and full of good humour”.

senger facilitation cumbersome at the airports. The carriers equally disclosed that they would have to get a standby electricity source to aid them in their operations, as most of them departed the airport far beyond their scheduled departure time on Monday. As a result, connections in their various hubs were delayed, costing them their slots in busy airports in the United Kingdom, US, and other places. The recurring power outage at the airport has been giving stakeholders cause for concern as they described the situation as embarrassing to the country. One of them, Olumide Ohunayo said it was another recurring embarrassment for the nation on Monday, adding that power outage and concessional responsibilities were the twin evil bedevilling FAAN. “I just pray that a post

remodellinng era will pave way for corporate governance and a general concession of the institution itself. I would not be surprised if their account has been garnisheed again, due to the numerous litigations, emanating from voided agreements. Meanwhile, spokesman for the FAAN, Yakubu Dati said the power outage lasted for, “about six minutes”. Dati, in a statement made available to reporters attributed the problem to heavy rain-storm, which he said, disrupted power supply to the airport “for about six minutes due to a power surge from the two main PHCN power supply sources to the airport”. His words, “The airport is connected to two main power sources from Ejigbo and Egbin power stations. The storm initially knocked off the power supply from Ejigbo, which

CONTINUED ON PAGE 16


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16 BUSINESS

MTN records lower profit in Nigeria, plans N1.58b capital budget By Adeyemi Adepetun

HE December 31, 2012 T financial report of MTN Group released yesterday in Johannesbourg, South Africa, has revealed a drop in the company’s earnings from Nigeria, which “slightly” affected the group’s earnings. Though, MTN, with operations in about 22 African countries and the Middle East achieved a 15.1 per cent growth subscriber base, in the period under review. The Group however, recorded an increase of 58.5 per cent in profit or R135, 112 million (N2.34 billion) According to the report, though Nigeria’s revenue dipped by 0.8 per cent due to what the Group described as a challenging year, MTN however said that a number of its operations continued to outperform with strong organic revenue growth. The telecommunications firm revealed that Ghana, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Sudan an Iran recorded a 21.3 per cent; 16.2 per cent; 17.0 per cent; 28.3 per cent and 26.1 per cent revenue growth respectively. MTN informed also that despite the challenges experienced in Nigeria, it has budgeted R13.1 billion (N1.65 billion) for capital expenditures in Nigeria. The report said Nigeria negatively impacted the Group’s overall margin performance but has enjoyed an improvement in the fourth quarter, which is expected to continue during 2013. “MTN Nigeria experienced a challenging first half of 2012 mainly due to aggressive price competition driven by bonuses on recharge, freebies and other promotional activities. Following

significant capital expenditure, the network quality improved during the second half of 2012. Together with new value propositions, this enabled MTN Nigeria to regain some market share. The total subscriber base increased by 13.9 per cent to 47.4 million and market share was down 2.5 per cent to 47.5 per cent for the year. “Total revenue in local currency (naira) in 2012 was flat compared to the prior year notwithstanding the increase in subscribers. Reported revenue in rand was positively impacted by the relatively weak rand rate against the naira, with the

average naira/rand exchange rate 10.66 per cent stronger over the year. Revenue in rand grew by 10.9 per cent to R38.7 billion compared to R34.8 billion in 2011”, the report noted. MTN declared a year-end dividend of 503 cents, from 476 cents in the previous year and said it was changing its dividend policy, aiming to increase dividends by as much as 15 percent. In an interaction with journalists in Lagos yesterday, Corporate Service Executive, MTN Nigeria, Wale Goodluck said despite the result, Nigeria continues to do well and remains a strong market

for the group. Goodluck, who said the aggressive competition in the sector in Nigeria last quarter of 2012 really impacted the industry, disclosed that “MTN Group will be investing slightly less than 50 per cent of the group’s capital expenditures in Nigeria. I think that is about R13.1 billion (N1.583 billion) in Nigeria in 2013. The money is going into Base Transceiver Stations (BTS); fibre deployments among others.” In 2012, he said the Group earmarked $1.3 billion for Nigeria on CAPEX, but actually spent $1.65 billion.

FAAN explains outage at airport CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 led to a three-minute outage at the airport before our engineers switched over to the alternate power supply source from Egbin. That supply line was later affected by the storm, leading to another three minute power outage”. He explained that FAAN engineers then switched over to the airport’s standby generators, some panels of which were unfortunately soaked with water,

due to the heavy flooding that resulted from the heavy rainfall. “This resulted in a blackout at the “E” wing of the airport, including the avio bridges. It was for this reason that arriving passengers on an international flight were processed through an alternative route at the terminal and in the process, were exposed momentarily to the rain”. He said all departing flights were also delayed for about 30 minutes, to

enable the agency’s engineers rectify the faults in the generators, adding that full power supply was later restored to the airport and all operations resumed in earnest. The power improvement project at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, which would eliminate incidents such as this at the airport, has been completed and is being test run, preparatory to the formal commissioning of the project.

Chairman Arik Air, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide (right); President of Bombardier Aerospace of Canada, Mr. Pierre Beaudion and Vice  President Flight Operations Arik Air, Captain Ado Sanusi during Bombardier President’s visit to Arik Air facilities in Lagos, on Monday. PHOTO: SOLA OJEDOKUN


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FOCUS ON SCIENTIFIC EQUIPMENT PART 1

Shopping For Home Based Technology

Mr. Tobi Oduyale, MD Winelight

Elder Tunji Olaleye, MD, TUNNEX

T is unambiguous that Nigeria is richly blessed with both human and natural resources. She boasts of abundant endowments that many nations in the world can only dream of. Sadly, Nigeria has not been able to convert her rich resources into solid achievement. This setback has been attributed to adequate scientific and technological capacity for raw materials processing and products development as well as requisite engineering design and manufacturing capacity. Yet, it has been discovered that economic advancement does not depend on her actual resources but rather on her technological capability as well as the quality of its human capital. In no area is this lack of technological capability felt keenly as in scientific sector in Nigeria. Lack of adequate and up-to-date scientific equipment for different levels of diagnosis in schools, oil, soil or even industries has remained an albatross on the desire for technological break through. For years the plague seems to be gathering momentum like the cloud in the year without thorough pragmatic solution as so much has been said about the importation of dysfunctional devices from different parts of the world that have failed to address our local taste as it is apparent that no two nations have similar challenges. Hence, cannot effectively adopt the same process being used elsewhere to either process her yearning or solve her challenges. Towards this line of bringing solution to our technological break-through, experts want regulatory bodies to always ensure that every technology that is brought to the country has to be the type that can effectively meet the local challenges of Nigerians. “Import one but ensure

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Mr. Cycil Ndunaka, MD HOSPITEST

that the whole components are brought out one after the other for the purpose of study and process for possible creating our own model.”Most stake holders advised. On human capacity to handle this sophisticated and sensitive equipment, the experts are of the opinion that there is a need for continuous training and re-training of users in order to forestall damages to them. Even some believe that due to the nature of this equipment that made them to highly sensitive, that our harsh weather condition may not make them last long thereby bringing to fore the need for home grown technology. The question that keep flying around every lip is: where is Nigeria’s home grown technology? Science and technology have been identified as the most potent forces for social and economic change in the history of man. There is no doubt that Nigeria needs as a matter of urgency, to create highly trained professionals in science and technology. The index of economic growth for any nation is linked with its level of development of science and technology. Nigeria cannot afford to pay lip service to issues that relate to science and technology given her potentials to accelerate growth and development. In an age when science and technology is growing in leaps and bounds in other parts of the world, to the extent that human beings are being cloned, urgent steps need to be taken if Nigeria is not to be left behind. So what is the way out? One, the teaching of science subjects should more practical and very relevant than it is at the moment. Also, students should be encouraged to imbibe the frame of mind associated with discovery and enquiry. In fact, it is being suggested in some quarters that 90 per-

Chief Otis Okoromadu, AROLAB

cent of universities and polytechnics admissions at first degree level should be in pure science and science related professions while arts and management courses should be taken at post graduate levels. In addition, all efforts must be put in place to provide the necessary tools for the teaching, learning and practice of science and technology related activities in all schools in Nigeria. CHIBEK INSTRUMENTS LAUNCHES MODULAR LABORATORY FURNITURE IN NIGERIA Chibek instruments, a one stop shop solution for laboratory design and planning, equipment selection and procurement, laboratory furniture and installation, maintenance and support services has commenced mass production of modular laboratory furniture in the country. A company which commenced operations in 1997 as a major vendor and service provider for scientific community in Nigeria has evolved a unique blend of the latest and proven developments in technology in order to meet the ever changing needs of their legion clients. With vision to provide an innovative but competitive services to their clients while maintaining a very high professional standards, the company recently put several modules of operation in place in order to meet up their mission to offer a tailor made solutions to mainly all stakeholder in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria. Chibek’s partners comprises Koehler instruments USA, Fisher Scientific UK, Analitikjena Germany, Horiba Jobinyvon France, Carbolite UK, Waukesha USA, Arredi Technic Italy and Cecil Instruments UK. Apparently, with the array of foreign principals supporting the operations of the company, there

Uzo Nwaije, MD, FINLAB

is every reasons for the company to leap into great success in all their endeavours. For example, statistical comparison of cost benefit of modular furniture over wooden furniture for laboratory furniture, according to the Managing Director are many. For instance, while modular furniture produced by Chibek locally lasts for fifteen (15) years those made of wood has a maximum of 3 years life span thereby offering lower cost per user in the long run, since it is made with a special alloy metal frame which is highly stable and can last for a longer period of time. Besides, the technology is corrosion free and cannot be easily degraded by harsh tropical weather conditions. In addition, the bench top is finished with special Epoxy resin, chemical resistant plastic lamination which is 100 percent acid resistant, itchfree and cannot be contaminated by microorganisms. Also, Commenting on the accessories, the Managing Director said that the modular system which the company produces has a complete tailored made accessory for all kinds of Laboratory requirements. The product has an excellent designs and colours that improve aesthetics, orderliness including rigid technical specification of the laboratory. The Managing Director further revealed that being mobile and having an ability to be re-configured to the requirement of any laboratory makes Chibek instruments to be a constant reference point each time that laboratory equipment and furniture for Oil and Gas, Schools and Colleges, Research and Development, including industries that require high advance

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FOCUS ON SCIENTIFIC EQUIPMENT PART 1

Shopping For Home Based Technology CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 research tools. Boasting of jobs done successfully in Nigeria and abroad, the Managing Director applauded the great feat of the company’s highly trained professionals who put up highly coordinated effort in ensuring that all their jobs are done successfully without any complaint from the clients which span across Oil and Gas, Universities, the Polytechnics, Research and Development Centres just to mention a few here. For example, the Chief Executive Officer noted that almost all the 80 percent of all the laboratory challenges of the tank farms in Nigeria are done by Chibek. On impetus for growth, he claimed that the deregulation in the downstream of the petroleum sector actually, aided the growth. Chatting on monopoly and competition generally, he is of the opinion that the latter helps in generating superior products for customers thereby making customers to have an alternative. When asked to comment on what his plans are towards eradicating substandard equipment and furniture in Nigeria, his response is that “Laboratory ONE, a solution to the universities quest to achieve long and durable laboratory without much stress, is just to reach out to the financial institutions to guarantee them. With the step, the company will carryout installation and the client starts to enjoy the beauty of Chibek Modular Furniture instantly. Meaning there is credit facility for all those that desire positive change. Commenting on the best path to take by the federal government on science sector, he traced the challenge to non-localization of scientific issues in the country. He is of the opinion that Nigeria should imbibe some elementary theories that drive r covers theories that apply to science. For instance, anything that has to be done has to be localized to suit Nigeria by developing Nigeria models as he warned that embracing technology without localization apparently bring Nigeria to no where. He is the opinion that every technology being car, engine or machine of any type must be stripped down by regulatory body like Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) before

turing industries (vegetable oil, flour milling), institutions of higher learning, research institutes, oil and gas, united nations, independent analytical laboratories, SGS, and standard organizations in West Africa. The company is reputed for supply of first class science and laboratory equipments and technical servicing. “Our company also offers outstanding performances, all at very reasonable prices. Because we are known for excellence and friendly disposition to customers, we became the toast of many leading manufacturers who manufacture state-of-the-art equipment based in South Africa, Europe and Asia. Commenting further on what makes them glaringly superior to their competitors Mr. Famoriyo states that they enjoy tremendous technical support from their partners who supply parts FINLAB: EXCELLENCE IN SCIENCE, MEDICAL AND TECHNICAL and components on long term basis. EQUIPMENT SUPPLY Finlab soonest, will be rendering 34 years of excellent service in In addition, they have a team of qualified scientists and technolScience, Medical and Technical equipment manufacture and sup- ogists who are professionals in their respective fields in offering a world-class customer service and prompt solutions. ply in Nigeria. As a way to commemorate this, FINLAB has scheduled series of training for Lab Managers and Technologist across the nation to enhance productivity and professionalism in the science field. TRAINING This is to show that the company is committed to ensuring har- JaaGee provides adequate training involving handling of foreign monious supply of equipment that will meet the yearning of cus- and locally manufacture equipment for the staff by organization tomers together with plural desire to train them for effective use who patronize them. for instance their new laboratory is capable of carrying out any analysis of food and other materials. It of scientific equipment. To ensure ready supply of equipment to institutions such as Uni- will also serve the purpose of hand-on training of clients on how versities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, Research Centers to handle the equipment supplied. and Industries, Finlab has stocked their warehouse in Lagos as Mr. Julius Gbolade Famoriyo who has been the President/ Chief well as showrooms in Lagos, Owerri and Abuja with various equip- Executive Officer of the company, is at present the President of ment to meet different needs of their customers. Besides, the com- the Scientific Products Association of Nigeria (SPAN) a fellow of pany has also opened a new branch at Kano to prove that they are the Institute of Food Science and Technology of Nigeria and a always ready to ensure prompt service and goods delivery to their member of the Nigeria Swedish Chamber of Commerce. customers in the North. The company, at the moment has new range of Furniture models HOSPITEST LABORATORIES LIMITED derived from several years of experience in Laboratory Furniture Hospitest commenced business in 1992 as a diagnostic and research laboratory supplier. Over the years the company has and Fittings supply. metamorphosed to become one of the leading names in the The models have been designed based on request and observa- importation, distribution and sales of medical/ diagnostic and tion from their teeming and very satisfied customers over the scientific equipment, reagents and chemicals. From equipping years. For instance, Finlab has several stocks of Alpha Models, Beta school laboratories to constructing Science laboratory block, Models, Sigma Models and Gamma Models for various laborato- Hospitest is always a very reliable name to be associated with. ries. “Our presence is felt nationwide, including Schools/Colleges, Teaching hospitals, Federal Medical Centres, Armed forces and Police hospitals, directly or through our numerous agents.”Mr JAAGEE NIGERIA LIMITED JaaGee Nigeria Limited was incorporated in 1987. It started full Ndunaka, the Managing Director said. operations in 1992 to conduct business of repairs, supplies, instal- Also, he boasted that the company has good business relationlation and consultancy work on Science Technology Equipment ship with their foreign partners scattered all over the globe. across several West African countries. Through the grace of God, Through this window they are able to source and deliver any of product at the shortest notice. they started small at Adekunle Fajuyi Road, Adamasingba Ibadan kind The strength of Hospitest laboratories lies on the premium from where they moved to their present new office complex at placed on its human resources, which is why recruiting and JaaGee house, Ibadan. The company which has offices also in retaining only qualified associates is always a cardinal policy of Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Cote d’ivoire, Ghana and the United King- the company. dom (UK) is one of the leading suppliers of laboratory equip- The company equip their people to achieve success, as their ments to: reward system often motivates their employees to function at Food industries, health and pharmaceutical industries, manufac- their peak.

mass production will commence. He further advise the Federal Government to step up their patronage of locally produced products by buying more so that the indigenous companies can employ more hands on relaxation, the Managing Director engages in indoor games with his three lovely kids and their mother. Mr. Charles Ibe wants the withholding, tax, VAT or income tax regime reviewed to make payments and records transparent by causing an alert system to the payee in order for him to know how much has been credited to his account rather than the current system that is mostly shrouded in secrecy – giving room to doubts and suspicion from parties concerned.


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Mc Donald Scientific Emporium Out with Unique Services cDonald, an emerging giant in the art of taking M today’s technology to the doorsteps of scientific equipment users is out with an innovation of installing quality laboratory within 48 hours. Remarking on the latest development, the Managing Director mr Tony Adede revealed that the company wants to put an end to delays in clients orders-a situation whereby a client expects the laboratory to be fitted within one week but latter turns to several weeks. With the new mechanism, it is possible to place the order today and get everything fitted the same period. Part of the unique services being rendered comprises laboratory furniture and fittings for primary, secondary schools, tertiary institutions like polytechnics and universities including quality control laboratory and technical college counterpart The need to provide total support service to modern laboratories in industries, pharmaceutical manufacturing organisations, schools and tertiary institutions, research institutions, clinicians and scientists led to an establishment of more branches. Hear mr Adede: “We are satisfied to find the policies which we have followed since inception .Besides, our highly trained technical staff have set an enviable and unbreakable record rendering vantage after sales servic-

ALLURE OF TUNNEX LABORATORY UNNEX Laboratory EngiT neering Limited, an established name in Science Education and Technology was incorporated in 1983 to provide functional, durable, safe, yet inexpensive Laboratories and Science Materials to Primary Schools, Colleges, Polytechnic, Universities, Research Organizations, Hospitals and Industries in Nigeria. They have since developed into one of the World’s leading manufacturers/suppliers of top quality products due to their intensive technological development, abundant experience and well trained personnel. The unique services which they provide include: Laboratory design, Fabrication of furniture and Installation Services as well as suppliers of laboratory science equipment and chemicals from worldrenowned manufacturers. Commenting further, the management said glassblowing machines can also be procured, supplied and installed LABORATORY in a jiffy. DESIGN, MANUFACTURE & INSTALLATION Tunnex Offers a variety of laboratory designs from those physical Sciences to Quality Control laboratories and workshop benches. To meet these designs, they have commenced production of furniture units, which are available in modular form. These furniture units have been developed over many years top combine the use of modern materials and design with their traditional craftsmanship punctuated with maximum customized to individual requirement, taste and budget. In consultation with Customer(s), the laboratory professionals could visit and evaluate one’s needs in relation to the available facilities and produce a preliminary laboratory layout based on Customers ‘Lab-flow’, the, instrumentation planned and anticipated growth potential. SCIENCE EQUIPMENT AND CHEMICALS Tunnex holds very comprehensive and extensive stock of Science Equipments and Chemical at the most competitive pricing ever thought of. The products are carefully selected and stocked to meet the usual laboratory requirements for day-to-day use and research purposes. Each product is subject to strict quality control to ensure unbeatable quality at the right price.

Tony W. Adede, MD, Mc Donald

es of our equipment as this is our major back force that have excelled McDonald over a decade of our existence.” Continuing, the Managing Director listed core services

which they render as: fabrication and laboratory installation services (furniture and fittings), computer services such as the furniture and accessories, procurement and supply of laboratory instrument, supply of analytical, equipment, laboratory chemicals, reagents and glassware, introductory technology workshop installation and equipment supplies and supply of educational equipment. Others consist of consultancy services, language laboratory furniture and equipment, audio visual equipment including staff training. The Managing Director therefore requested those that have not tested their expertise to pause a while as quality products from renowned brands across the globe are in stock to meet the entire scientific, research and general laboratories requirements. Pointing at several laurels that their effective service has endeared to them, the chief executive officer promised to work towards ensuring that their vision to become the sought after and much preferred one stop shop organization for sales of quality laboratory reagents, chemicals, equipment and instrumentation, quality control services including installation, maintenance and rendering after sales services of equipment a focus that must not be derailed.


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Appointments SERAP petitions UN over alleged violation of police trainees’ rights From John Okeke, Abuja  HE Social-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has petitioned the United Nations (UN), urging it to investigate reports of alleged dehumanization of cadet police officers undergoing professional training in Nigeria. SERAP specifically called on the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navin Pillay to issue public statement condemning the inhuman training condition of the trainees in various police academies in the country. A private television station, Channels TV had in January beamed its search light on the Ikeja Police College revealing the poor living environment and inhuman treatment melted out to the trainees. The session of the Human Rights Council is scheduled to hold between February 25 March 22 2013. SERAP also wants Pillay to “call or facilitate a public session of the UN Human Rights Council and civil society to discuss the problem with a view to putting pressure on the Nigerian government to urgently address and remedy the serious and systematic violation of the human rights of the trainees to human security and dignity, and to an adequate standard of living.” In the petition signed by Solicitor to SERAP, Femi Falana, SAN, and forwarded to Pillay, the organisation said: “publicly speaking out against the violations of the human rights of police trainees and holding of a public session on the treatment of police trainees in police colleges across Nigeria would contribute to putting pressure on the government to urgently take concrete, meaningful and transparent action

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to improve the conditions and treatment of the trainees, and consequently improve the ability of our law enforcement agencies to discharge their duties of maintaining law and order, and ensuring the safety and security of the citizens. “This is a crucial law enforcement issue to which your office is fully committed to addressing globally including in Nigeria. Unless the Nigerian government is held responsible for its failure to respect the right to human security and dignity of police trainees across police colleges in Nigeria, the government will not be able to meet up with its international legal obligations of maintaining law and order, and ensuring the safety and security of its citizens,” said the organisation. SERAP added: “By failing to spend allocated budgets meant to establish infrastructure and improve the conditions of police colleges in the country, the government has breached its international human rights obligations and commitments including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.” “It is impossible to produce capable, decent, efficient, knowledgeable and human rights friendly police personnel in such dehumanising and degrading conditions. In fact, police recruits trained under such inhuman conditions have always unleashed violence on innocent members of the public,” said SERAP The group also asked Pillay to ask the Nigerian Government delegation attending the session of the Human Rights

NPC begins demographic, health surveys in Zamfara From Isah Ibrahim, Gusau HE National Population T Commission (NPC) has commenced the national demographic and health surveys in ten Local government areas of Zamfara state. The state federal commissioner of the  NPC, Alhaji Yusuf Muhammad Anka   who spoke with Journalists recently   listed the names of the local government as Gusau,Kaura, Shinkafi, Zurmi,Maru,and Mafara. Others  are   Anka, BirninMagaji, Bungudu  and Bukkuyum. Anka represented   the National Chairman of the commission,   Festus Odimegwu maintained that the exercise will be completed in three  months. According to him, over 300

staff of the commission have   received specialised training on how to conduct the survey, pointing out that the success of the demographic survey lies with the co-operation of the people of the ten local governments that were selected for the excise. Commenting further, he disclosed that about 1,840 households have been marked for the survey and information regarding the demographic and health status of the population will be collated. Other information that would be gathered include the trends of family, family planning, maternal and child health as well as sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS status, saying, information gathered will be treated with upmost secrecy.

Executive Secretary Equipment Leasing Association of Nigeria Andrew Efurhievwe, MD/CEO CitiCorp financial Services Ltd; Segun Ogunleye, Fidelity Bank plc Philip Nkwocha, and MD/CEO Micro Investment Support Services Ltd Elizabeth Ehigiamusoe, at the lease processing and Packaging techniques programme organised by Elan in Lagos recently… Council to explain how the budget meant to establish infrastructure and improve the conditions of police trainees in police colleges has been spent, and what the government is doing to urgently address this human rights violation Part of the petition reads: “The poor, dehumanising, and deteriorating state of the Police College Ikeja and other

police colleges across the country seem to explain why the force has been unable for many years to provide adequate security for the common man and to effectively tackle crimes. “The inhuman and degrading treatment of police trainees as shown by the Channels documentary also illustrates the deep rooted corruption in critical institu-

tions of government and public services that have been completely neglected for several years. “Recent investigation and documentary by the highly respected Channels Television  showed among others that training facilities are in terribly bad shape; that the college is overcrowded (housing 3000 people instead of 750); that student hostels

are in dilapidated conditions and lack beds, mattresses and decent and functioning toilets. It showed the college’s male and female dormitories, some of them built before independence in 1960, in state of disrepair. The trainees are clearly in some discomfort, because the footage showed bug-infested sleeping quarters and bloodstained beddings”.


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Nigerian youths seek all-inclusive electoral reform By Tunde Akinola IGERIAN youth have expressed their desire for N all-inclusive electoral reforms that would  support youth political participation in the 2015 elections and beyond. They advocated for the full implementation of Justice Uwais Committee’s recommendation on electoral reform.  According to them, the report should be reviewed to safeguard youth participation and address the perennial issues of social exclusion and political marginalisation. In a communiqué signed by National Coordinator, Youth Alliance on Constitution and Electoral Reform (YACORE), Samson Itodo, Chair, Partners for Electoral Reform (PER), Ezenwa Nwagwu and General Secretary, National Youth Movement on Constitution Review (MYMCR) Echezona Asuzu, after the National Youth Public Hearing on Electoral reform held in Abuja, Nigerian youth canvassed for 30 percent affirmative action for young persons. The public hearing organised by Partners for Electoral Reform (PER), and supported by the Democratic Governance for Development Project of the United Nations Development Program UNDP/DGD aimed at facilitating citizen’s inputs in the electoral reform process to foster proper election administration in Nigeria before the 2015 elections. According to them it also marked the process of setting the youth agenda for the 2015 elections. The public hearing drew participants from youth civil soci-

eties across the six geo-political zones, youth in political parties, persons with disabilities, women groups and others. According to them, for the country’s elections to conform to global best practices and improved citizens’ participation in the electoral process, the Electoral Act and 1999 Constitution should be amended to factor in citizens inputs. Furthermore, they recommended youth representation on the board of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), provision of “functional, vibrant and well structure” youth wings in all political parties.

They also noted that the Electoral Act should be amended to permit electronic voting, saying INEC should consider the dominant infrastructural challenges in its attempt to deploy electronic voting system. Nigerian youth recommended that YACORE, PER and NYMCR should collaborate with the office of the Director Civil Society Organisation (CSO) and Gender Desk to organise an INEC/Youth parley that will create a platform of interaction between the leadership of INEC and young people. According to them, the program will give INEC the opportunity to interact with young

people and share relevant information that will increase the value of youth participation in the build up to the 2015 elections, saying it will also provide a unique feedback interface for INEC and a platform for young people to advocate electoral reforms. They advocated for independent candidacy in the mainstream of electoral politics, inclusion of people living with disability, and that there should be life insurance for elections officials and elections monitors or observers. This they explain will serve as a means of mitigating the security challenges always befalling election officials and monitors.

Ambassador of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Amb. Enrique Fernando Arrundell James (left), with Nigeria -Venezuela Chambers of Commerce and Chairman, Global Oceon Engineers Limited, Dr. Vincent O. Ebuh, at the recently concluded Nigeria Oil and Gas International Conference in Abuja.

Niger honours Adamu, Gana, 10 others From John Ogiji ORMER Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Dalhatu Adamu, his colleague at the Supreme Court, Justice Musa Dattijo Mohammed and Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Peter Yisa Gana were among nine other distinguished sons of Niger state that were at the weekend honoured by the state government for their outstanding contributions to the growth of the nation.  Others recipients of the awards, the first of its kind included Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Peter Yisa Gana, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Dan’Azumi Job Doma, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Delivery Agency (NPHCDA) Dr. Ado Jimada Muhammad, Federal Permanent Secretary, John Alhassan GAna, Chairman, Code of Conduct Bureau, Mr. Sam Ibrahim Saba and the Group Executive Director Corporate Services of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Peter Nmadu. Also not left out in the award is the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Mass Literacy and Adult and Non Formal Education, Alhaji Jibrin Yusuf Paiko, the Deputy Comptroller General of Prisons, Alhaji Abubakar Yacin Dagaci, Dr. Umar Gati Adamu of the Federal Medical Centre, Bida and Capt Muhammad Baba Nagenu of the Nigeria Navy. The Niger state Governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu in

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his remarks at the occasion described the awardees as ambassadors of the state who have distinguished themselves in the service to the nation and the state. He explained that Niger state was proud of their contributions to the development of the nation, adding that the success recorded by the respective individuals who are distinguished sons of the state has demonstrated the benefits of education to the society. He said that this was the driving force in the priority his administration gave to education at its inception in the state in 2007, stressing that, “There has been a turnaround of the education system in the state, especially at the primary school level compared to what the government inherited from past administrations in the state.” The entire system was at the standstill in 2007 when we came in and that was what informed the government to picked education a priority and the sector has enjoined considerable level of funding”. Aliyu while justifying reason for the award, maintained that in recent history the state have had many distinguished statesmen from the state who are part of valuable human capital, pointing out Niger state has a long tradition and rich history of achievers and patriotic Nigerians who are always eager to contribute to the peace, unity, progress, growth and development of the nation   whenever the occasion demands.


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Stakeholders advocate adequate legal protection, financial rewards for witnesses From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu HE  inability of existing T laws to offer adequate protection for witnesses in court has been identified as part of the problems plaguing the justice sector and speedy delivery of justice in Enugu state. This is as stakeholders in the justice system have called on the state House of Assembly to review certain laws appli-

cable to allowances paid to witnesses summoned by the High and Magistrate courts to give evidence against any person accused of offences. At a consultative forum on enhancing witnesses attendance to court in Enugu state organised by the DFID’s Justice For All [J4A] project in conjunction with the Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action [PRAWA], stakeholders also called on

the state government to as a matter of urgency send a bill to the State House of Assembly for passage into law for adequate protection and support for witnesses attending courts and other related purposes in the state. Speaking on the outcome of the forum which attracted officials of the Judiciary, Ministry of Justice, Police, Prisons and Civil Society organisations, Executive

Owing to the adversarial nature of our legal system, the agents of the state [prosecutors] who prosecute criminal cases on behalf of the public are required to prove beyond reasonable doubt allegations of crime brought against suspects. The success or otherwise of such criminal prosecutions often depends on the availability of witnesses who are willing to come to court in order to give evidence and be cross- examined. Without witnesses, the task of establishing the link between the crime and the suspect becomes very difficult Director of PRAWA, Dr Uju Agomoh said the draft bill shall provide for support and protection for all classes of

ILO seeks sustainable global civil aviation industry From Collins Olayinka, Abuja N International Labour Organization (ILO) tripartite meeting on civil aviation has called for a “sustainable civil aviation industry” as a “common goal for governments, employers and workers.” A statement by the global labour watch body quoted the meeting as saying, “to achieve that goal, the industry needs a sustainable workforce, sustainable enterprises and a balanced value chain.” Some 150 delegates representing governments, the aviation industry and labour unions, agreed on the need to continue to promote decent work in the civil aviation industry through the effective implementation and use of all relevant ILO standards and instruments. Governments, employers and workers agreed that the ILO has a key role to play in facili-

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tating social dialogue in the civil aviation industry, while governments are required as regulators of the industry. The Executive Vice-President of the Airline Personnel Directors’ Council (APDC), Mr. Manfred Merz, noted that the civil aviation is a sector characterized by a high level of social dialogue and governed by strict safety regulations. He explained that the continuous change, especially technological and evolving market demand, will require continuous active policies and a level playing field that will motivate workers and especially young people, to join the various sectors that compose the industry. For his part, the General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, (ITF), David Cockroft, said: “The aviation industry has gone through a series of crises and changes which have seriously impact-

ed its ability to attract and retain a highly skilled workforce, something which is crucial to the safety of passengers and workers alike. One key decision of this meeting was to convene employers, unions and governments on a regular basis to promote social dialogue in the industry and to monitor the implementation of the recommendations adopted by the Forum. In this respect, we look forward to the upcoming International Civil Aviation Organization, (ICAO), Air Transport Conference to be held in Montreal this March.” The meeting recommended that the ILO should address the needs of the industry for agility and decent and productive work by creating a level playing field for all actors, and further strengthen social dialogue and workplace cooperation in the sector.

The parley also recommended that ways of strengthening cooperation between the ICAO and the ILO on matters of common interest should be discussed and that the ILO should promote within the ICAO and other safety regulators, a “human factors approach” in the security domain. It also advocated that the ILO should convey the Points of Consensus from the Global Dialogue Forum to the Sixth Worldwide Air Transport Conference of the ICAO. The Chair of the meeting, Mr. Roderick van Schreven, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands said: “We see a very complex, innovative and technology-driven sector. Social dialogue is essential for the sustainability of the sector and that is something that everybody agrees on.”

witnesses who are to appear in court to give evidence in any criminal proceeding as it relates to counseling, transportation and adequate protection against reprisals. She stated that the proposed bill should involve sensitisation of all operators and stakeholders of the criminal justice system on the witness protection guidelines, issuance of comprehensive guidelines applicable in all the law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders in the criminal justice administration. Agomoh added that there was need for complete change of attitude towards a better treatment and protection of witnesses as an important component of effective dispensation of justice, adding that certain laws applicable in courts of the state ought to be reviewed. The State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Anthony Ani said  the state government was committed to reforms in the justice system with a view of reducing the number of cases in courts, ensuring that justice was delivered at the shortest time as well as decongest-

ing prisons among others. He said: “Owing to the adversarial nature of our legal system, the agents of the state [prosecutors] who prosecute criminal cases on behalf of the public are required to prove beyond reasonable doubt allegations of crime brought against suspects. The success or otherwise of such criminal prosecutions often depends on the availability of witnesses who are willing to come to court in order to give evidence and be cross- examined. Without witnesses, the task of establishing the link between the crime and the suspect becomes very difficult”. He stated that experiences had shown that fear, high transport fares, intimidation, ignorance have been responsibility for lack of interest by witnesses to matters in court, stressing that it had gone a long way in denying justice to certain persons of the society. He appealed to stakeholders to continue to support the justice sector by providing relevant information and advised that could enable the state remain number one in terms of best practices in the justice sector.


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ScienceGuardian Stem cell therapies closer to clinic Japanese study to demonstrate safety in humans Bendable needle increases reach of single injection to the brain

A group of researchers in the United States and South Korea today announced a leap towards safe, clinically useful patient-specific stem cells. If the researchers are right, clinical trials on the induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which can turn into virtually any cell type and potentially be used to treat disorders ranging from spinal cord injury to diabetes, could start within two years. By Chukwuma Muanya with agency reports HE human stem cells were T first grown- in culture- in 1998 by James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, United States, who isolated them from human embryos. Researchers have since sought to make pluripotent cells without the use of embryos. In 2007, Shinya Yamanaka, at Kyoto University in Japan, reported making iPS cells by introducing four genes that could reprogram cells from an adult to an embryonic-like pluripotent state. But the genes and the viruses he used to introduce the genes can cause malignant tumours. Recently, a group led by Sheng Ding of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, reported similar reprogramming in mice using the proteins produced by those genes. Today another team reports the successful use of the same protein strategy in human cells. The reprogrammed cells display a key trait of pluripotency, forming teratomas -tumours consisting of a variety of types of cells - when injected into mice. Their work is published online in Cell Stem Cell. Co-author Robert Lanza of Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine International in Worcester, Massachusetts, says that Yamanaka’s first efforts were a pioneering feat akin to the Wright brothers’ first flight. “We’ve finally built the first passenger jet,” he says. “We’ve finally built the

first passenger jet.” However, some fine-tuning needs to be done, says Lanza. For example, the proteins were produced in human embryonic kidney cells and whole cell extracts of these cells were used. Increasing efficiency of the procedure and ensuring proper characterization of the lines will require purifying these proteins instead of using whole cell extracts. Lanza says he plans to apply to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the middle of next year and hopes to begin clinical trials by the end of next year. His company will first focus on several haematopoietic and vascular diseases. Meanwhile, researchers, led by Daniel Lim, a neurosurgeon and stem-cell scientist at the University of California, San Francisco, United States, have tested a flexible needle for delivering cells to the brain. According to the Nature report, several laboratories are investigating ways to treat neurological diseases by injecting cells into patients’ brains, and clinical trials are being conducted for Parkinson’s disease, stroke and other neurodegenerative diseases. These studies follow experiments showing dramatic improvements in rats and mice. But as work on potentially therapeutic cells has surged ahead, necessary surgical techniques have lagged behind, says Lim. Also, a Japanese study is about to test the medical potential of these cells for the first time. Made by repro-

gramming adult cells into an embryo-like state that can form any cell type in the body, the cells will be transplanted into patients who have a debilitating eye disease. Masayo Takahashi, an ophthalmologist at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, plans to submit her application for the study to the Japanese health ministry next month, and could be recruiting patients as early as September. According to a report published in Nature, stem-cell researchers around the world hope that if the trial goes forward, it will allay some of the safety concerns over medical use of the cells. And the Japanese government hopes that its efforts to speed iPS cells to the clinic by generously funding such work will be vindicated. Meanwhile, others, including Lanza’s co-author, KwangSoo Kim, a neurodegenerative-disease expert at Harvard Medical School, are more cautious. “We need many more CONTINUED ON PAGE 43

Stem cells

Race for commercial space flights heats up Since Apollo 17 left the Moon in 1972, no humans have traveled further than a few hundred kilometers from Earth’s surface, but ambitious space travel companies have plans to put humans back on the moon -and they will take anyone who can afford the asking price. SUCCESSFUL engine test last month means that the Antares rocket can proceed to its inaugural launch in April, 2013, and challenge the dominance of Falcon 9 rocket. The Falcon 9 rocket, which made its fifth successful flight on March 1, 2013, has stolen the spotlight in the commercial space race. Built by SpaceX, a young company

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based in Hawthorne, California, United States, the rocket has become the United States National Aeronautic Space Agency (NASA’s) choice for hauling cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). But it may soon have competition from a rocket that has kept a low profile. After years of delays, Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Virginia, United States, has slated the first test flight of its Antares rocket for April. According to a story published in Nature, if that goes well, its second mission could carry an unmanned Cygnus spacecraft to the ISS within months. “There’s no one

main problem, no show-stopper,” says Orbital spokesman Barron Beneski. “In hindsight, this has just taken us longer to do than we thought it would.” Both companies have received hundreds of millions of dollars from NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) programme. With the space shuttle retiring in 2011, the agency wanted alternatives to paying for ISS deliveries aboard the Russian Progress and Soyuz craft. NASA deliberately put two companies in competition with each other to keep prices down over the long

run and to attract other customers. “The government is the necessary anchor tenant for commercial cargo, but it’s not sufficient to build a new economic ecosystem,” says Scott Hubbard, an aeronautics researcher at Stanford University in California and former director of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. With 30 years of experience in making satellites and rockets, Orbital once seemed the safer bet. Instead of assembling its vehicles from scratch like SpaceX, Orbital uses parts made by companies with proven track CONTINUED ON PAGE 43

Saloum (in Senegal)”. Sheik Alhaji Mohammedu Lamin Kemoring, a Gambian Islamic scholar, likewise told the British educator, P.O. Beale, former principal of Gambia High School, that the Stone Circles were an eastern cultural import. “You must…realize,” Kemoring wrote, in a letter Beale reproduced in Tarikh, a publication of the Historical Society of Nigeria, “that the history of the original formation of these Stone Circles emanated from such similar Stones in East Africa, Egypt and India”. Reminiscent of the northeastern nexus as well, is the Serer cosmology—an elaborate, abstract and highly evolved

system of thought. At its core, is the bright star Sirius, which the Serer call “Yoonir”: And whose heliacal rising presages the annual flooding of rivers in Senegambia, just as it does in eastern Sudan. “With an ancient heritage of farming,” notes Wikipedia, in “Serer Religion,” Yoonir is “very important and sacred…because it announces the beginning of flooding, and enables Serer farmers to start planting seeds”. Depicted graphically as a fivepoint star, Yoonir symbolizes the Serer conception of the universe in both its material and spiritual aspects. The vertical angle represents Roog, the supreme deity, while the

other points symbolize the four cardinal directions of the universe. Each of Yoonir’s five angular units also express mundane Serer values and notions, viz. of humans on Earth, standing with their heads held highindicating pride and reverence for the Creator-and with raised hands, representing work and prayer. According to a second Wikipedia entry, entitled “Serer Creation Myths,” the numbers “3,” “4” and “7” denote primeval precepts in Serer cosmogony-fundamental beliefs about the origin of the Earth and the universe and the nature of time and space.

ASTRONOMY

Sirius-the African timekeeper (8) By J.K. Obatala HE word “Sudan” means T “land of the blacks” in Arabic. As Budge, the British Egyptologist, noted, it refers to an expansive swath of territory, stretching from East to West Africa, which mainly black-skinned peoples inhabit. Geographically, the Sudan runs south of the Sahara and Libyan deserts. It has served, for thousands of years, as a biological and cultural highway— a great thoroughfare over which institutions, ideas and genes move from one side of the continent to the other. Situated at the western terminus of this thoroughfare,

mainly in Senegal but also in Mauritania and Gambia, are the Serer-who, according to their oral traditions, originated from northeastern Africa. “The word Serer,” explained African American scholar, Molefi Kete Asante, on a webpage simply headed Africa, “in ancient Egyptian, means “he who traces the temples.” Thus, although Serer are mainly found today in Senegal, they have a long history across Africa”. Supporting Asante’s assertion, are traditions and institutions, which bear the unmistakable imprint of the Egyptian-Kushitic-Ethiopian cultural nexus. Not only do the Serer mummify their kings

and aristocrats but, in pre-independence times, they also buried them in pyramidal tombs. The Serer are credited, by some investigators, with the creation of a large number of Stone Circles, during or before the eighth century. (Others credit predecessors.) Found at four locations in Senegal and Gambia, these structures too, are part of the group’s northeastern cultural insignia. “Scholars have long believed,” Asante wrote, “that the route of the Serer from their ancient homeland in East Africa can be traced by upright stones found along the latitude they traveled from East to West, from Ethiopia to the region of Sine-


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SCIENCE & HEALTH

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7 , 2013

Mass vaccination for yellow fever to start with most at risk states commence in May •• ToNigeria gets new yellow fever card From Emeka Anuforo S part of efforts to ensure that people living in Nigeria are well protected, the federal government is to commence a nationwide mass vaccination against yellow fever, an ailment that currently has no cure. The vaccination is commence this may and would first take care of states and regions where people are most at risk. Experts had only recently called for urgent action to save over 101 million of Nigerians who are exposed to vulnerability in the face of another likely yellow fever epidemic. To lower the risk of new outbreak in Nigeria, they had called attention to the urgent need to intensify immunization on a larger scale. Meanwhile, faced with increasing embarrassment in the international community, Nigeria yesterday launched a security featured new International Certificate of Vaccination and Prophylaxis (yellow card). The new card type is expected to end the controversies associated with multiple sources Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu said at the launch of the card in Abuja that only those who should be in possession of the cards would now be in possession. The old cards would effectively be withdrawn within six months, ministry officials said yesterday. Chukwu said the new card was in compliance with the last National Council on

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Health (NCH) which had recommended that the Federal Ministry of Health should proceed with the introduction of the new Yellow Cards with advanced security features; the centralized production of the cards by the ministry and ensure the distribution of the cards by National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to tally with Yellow Fever vaccines distributed; as well as a transition period of six months to withdraw the old Yellow cards after the introduction of the new cards. Chukwu said: “The card was to be produced centrally by the Federal Ministry of Health, while a transition period of six months was to be allowed to withdraw the old cards after the introduction of new card. “The new International Certificate of Vaccination and Prophylaxis (yellow card) with an enhanced security feature will put an end to the issue of fake ‘yellow cards’ issued from multiple sources and the embarrassment it has caused Nigeria all over the world. This is another great milestone for the health sector. I have the pleasure to present the new International Certificate of Vaccination and prophylaxis to this Honourable Council and to formally launch the card.” Recent reports have spoken of Yellow Fever cases in the some West African countries, particularly Chad Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia and Cameroon. Experts have been worried that Nigeria did not learn any-

Chukwu, Minister of Health thing from the yellow fever epidemic that occurred about thirty (30), and while some of its neighbours on the continent have done massive vaccination of its citizenry, the country once celebrated as the giant of Africa, has failed to do the needful. Key facts from the World Health Organization (WHO) described Yellow fever as an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The ‘yellow’, in the name, WHO says, refers to the jaundice that affects some patients. According to the global body, “Up to 50 per cent of severely affected persons without treatment will die from yellow fever. There are an estimated 200 000 cases of yellow fever, causing 30 000 deaths, worldwide each year.

The virus is endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Latin America, with a combined population of over 900 million people. The number of yellow fever cases has increased over the past two decades due to declining population immunity to infection, deforestation, urbanization, population movements and climate change. There is no cure for yellow fever. Treatment is symptomatic, aimed at reducing the symptoms for the comfort of the patient. “Vaccination is the most important preventive measure against yellow fever. The vaccine is safe, affordable and highly effective, and appears to provide protection for 30 to 35 years or more. The vaccine provides effective immunity within one week for 95 per cent of persons vaccinated.”

Foundation advocates research funding for multiple system disease By Wole Oyebade N commemoration of the IAtrophy annual Multiple System (MSA) month, the Funmi Fashina Foundation (FFF) has called for improved funding for MSA research, to improve understanding and care of the neurological disease. FFF, a Non Government Organisation (NGO), noted that due to low popularity of the disease, researchers around the world were having difficult time funding the urgently needed work. At an event to herald the MSA awareness month in Nigeria, Trustee to the foundation, Kemi Onabanjo said the reality was that patients and their families were left feeling abandoned by the government, the medical establishment and by various support organisation focusing on commoner medical conditions. MSA is a degenerative neurological disorder that is associated with the degeneration of nerve cells in specific areas of the brain. MSA results in the degeneration of nerve cells in several regions of the brain that affects abilities most people take for granted. Initial symptoms may include loss of balance, fainting due to severely low blood pressure, bladder and bowel issues, speech and swallowing difficulties, sleep disturbances, breathing problems, rigidity and tremors. Onabanjo said in line with the theme of this year’s awareness month around the world, the foundation is raising awareness on the need for concerted effort in Nigeria to support research

that would ultimately result in finding cure for MSA. The cause of MSA is unknown and no specific risk factors have been identified. It is a rare disease with approximately 15,000 diagnosed patients in the United States. Globally, the prevalence of MSA is four to six persons in every 100,000 people. It typically starts in the 50s, but may start a decade earlier or later, and affects both men and women. Onabanjo added that because very little is known about the condition and some people suffering in silence, FFF has remained committed to improving awareness and providing support to patients with MSA and their caregivers. The foundation also promotes and supports improved access to care and research towards improving the understanding of the mechanisms underlying MSA. The foundation, established in memory of late Funmilayo Fashina, has put together a five-minute talk show that will run every Wednesday during the month of March in the bid to create awareness locally. FFF has also established a link with specialists at the Movement Disorders Clinic of the Neurology Unit, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, to provide social support for patients, their families and caregivers. Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, College of Medicine University of Lagos, Dr Ayodeji Oluwole said though there is no known cure for the condition yet, but early diagnosis and treatments targeted at affected organ had proven effective.


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THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2012

NaturalHealth ‘Banana extracts stop migraines, bleeding’ Going bananas? Scientists say that is the way to go. Recent studies suggest that the fruit and sap of banana (Musa sapientum) tree may be the novel ‘cure’ for migraines, ulcer, high blood pressure, bleeding, post-surgical wounds, among others. CHUKWUMA MUANYA writes. OTANICALLY known as B Musa sapientum, banana is an herbaceous plant of

Banana...the story of a British mother who claimed the banana fruit cured her of crippling migraines after 20 years has prompted more interest into the medicinal benefits of banana

Stress in pregnancy explains higher autism cases in boys ESEARCHERS say pregnant R women can transmit the damaging effects of stress to her unborn child through the placenta, and the impact is felt by a protein that affects the developing brains of boys and girls differently. Scientists believe it could explain known links between maternal stress and disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, which are more common and serious in male offspring. The researchers studied female mice that were exposed to mild stresses such as the smell of foxes or unfamiliar noises during the first week of pregnancy. They identified an enzyme called OGT that was present at lower levels in the placentas of stressed mice than in unstressed mice. Male offspring placentas also had lower natural levels

How pregnancy permanently changes foot size of OGT than those attached to female offspring. Further research showed that cutting levels of OGT triggered changes in more than 370 genes in the brains of unborn mice. Many of these genes play a role in functions critical to neurological development, such as energy use, protein regulation and creating nerve cell connections. The findings, reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are likely to translate to humans, say the researchers. Analysis of human placentas discarded after the birth of male babies showed evidence of reduced OGT levels. The results suggest that OGT may protect the brain during pregnancy. Males have

less of the protein to begin with, placing them at greater risk if their mothers are stressed. Meanwhile, a new University of Iowa (UI), United States, study confirms what many women have long suspected — that pregnancy permanently changes the size and shape of a woman’s feet. Flat feet are a common problem for pregnant women. The arch of the foot flattens out, possibly due to the extra weight and increased looseness (laxity) of the joints associated with pregnancy. The new study, published in the March issue of the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, suggests that this loss of arch height is permanent.

Pregnant women who took fish oil supplement had bigger babies REGNANT women taking P DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil, give birth to babies that score slightly better on several health measurements than those born to women who don’t take the supplement, a study has found. DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is a nutrient that promotes brain development (SN Online: 1/13/2009). Susan Carlson of the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City and her col-

leagues randomly assigned 350 women to take daily capsules of either a placebo or DHA starting midway through pregnancy. Babies born to the women who took DHA were slightly longer and heavier than the other babies and were less apt to spend time in the intensive care unit. Overall rates of preterm birth, defined as birth before the 37th week of gestation, didn’t differ substantially

between the groups. But among preterm babies, those in the DHA group spent an average of nine days in the hospital compared with 41 days for those in the placebo group. While only one of 154 babies in the DHA group was born very early — before 34 weeks’ gestation — seven of 147 babies to non-DHA mothers were born that early, Carlson and colleagues report in the April American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Musaceae family. Until now, several studies have shown that extracts of banana could be used for the treatment of gastric ulcer, hypertension, diarrhea, dysentery and diabetes. The anti-diabetic effect of the leaves, stem, fruit, root and flower; as well as anti-ulcerative properties of unripe bananas have been demonstrated. Other researches showed banana has antimicrobial properties and can used in the treatment of excessive menstruation. Indeed, studies on the properties of the banana, especially of its pulp, have shown that it is rich in flavonoids and leucocyanidin, which are compounds known to have antiinflammatory and anti-neoplastic properties and liverprotective activity. The peel it showed potent antihypertensive activity in renal hypertensive rats. Neoplasm is the abnormal new growth of tissue in animals or plants or rather a tumour. There are also studies in the literature reporting on the use of the peel and leaves of the banana plant to improve epithelialization and alleviate pain in the treatment of chronic wounds. Epithelialization is healing by the growth of epithelium over a denuded surface. A multicenter study showed that banana was useful in the treatment of ulcer dyspepsia; however, its medicinal use is still incipient. Banana has also been shown to promote cellular alteration of the mucosa and increases the synthesis of DNA without carcinogenic or mutagenic effects. But the story of a British mother who claimed the banana fruit cured her of crippling migraines after 20 years has prompted more interest into the medicinal benefits of banana. According to a story monitored in Daily Mail Online, a mother-of-two who has been plagued by migraines for almost 20 years says she has been cured after snacking on bananas. Lisa Poyner, 38, used to suffer episodes that left her bed ridden for days at a time, and tried out dozens of medications to try and relieve her condition. But she realised she could head off attacks if she snacked on the fruit as soon as she felt the symptoms coming on. However, for the first time, researchers have demonstrated that the sap from the stem of banana plant could be used to stop bleeding and heal wounds. A study published in the Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science concluded: “The traditional use of sap of M. sapientum in the

treatment of bleeding is warranted. And its mechanism of action results from a part of it causes vasoconstriction and secondly from the formation of a protein network that serves as a focal point to cell aggregation and the bleeding stops.” The study is titled “Haemostatic potential of the sap of Musa sapientum L. (Musaceae).” The Beninoise researchers wrote: The use of M. sapientum in the treatment of bleeding is very common in the South - Benin. Indeed, this plant is used as a hemostatic in Brazil and India. But this study is the first that has focused on assessing the power of hemostatic M. sapientum. “The addition of sap in whole blood induced a reduction of Clotting Time (CT) significance with an effect not dose dependent. The action of sap on the CT does not appear related to the typical cascade of coagulation reactions typical of coagulation since the addition of sap in plasma did not alter the prothrombin time nor the activated partial thromboplastin time. The sap therefore has no effect on clotting factors (II, V, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII and XIII) of both intrinsic and extrinsic ways. This particular mechanism of action registered sap in the same category as the hemostatic with nonspecific action on the coagulation cascade. “The decreasing proteins concentration in the supernatant serum after the addition of sap indicates that proteins have become networks. This interaction between sapprotein seems linked to the presence of tannins in the sap. “Studies on the hemostatic properties of Jatropha multifida and Annona senegalensis have already underlined the role of tannins on the blood proteins. Indeed, the tannins have the ability to transform certain soluble proteins insoluble because of the chemical bonds that develop between them and the tannins. They are bristling with phenolic hydroxyl groups capable of reacting with strong hydrogen bonds with the atoms of the peptide binding protein, which rendered insoluble proteins increases blood viscosity and inhibit the movement of red blood cells. That’s what facilitates their aggregation. “Like fibrin, we believe that the protein network formed behaves like a net that traps red blood cells but also platelets and leukocytes. The cell aggregation has a significant effect on hemodynamics in vivo. Increased aggregation produced locally in each capillary will immediately disrupt blood flow. This could lead to a reduction in time and volume of bleeding. The haemostatic effect of sap can

be enhanced by its astringent properties. Indeed astringent activity favors vasoconstriction, which is an important parameter in hemostasis.” Scientists have also used gel from unripe banana peel to repair surgical wounds in rats. The Brazilian researchers in the study published in Acta Cirurgica Brasileira concluded: “The gel of unripe banana peel in the concentration of four per cent improved the wound healing process in rats compared to the other gel concentrations as evidenced by the smaller residual wound area.” The researchers wrote: “A study on the use of M. sapientum var. paradisiaca extracts was based on the premise that, since the plant has a healing action when used to treat gastric ulcers, it could also be used to treat skin wounds. “The authors used techniques that allowed the assessment of the contraction of the scar surface area, epithelialization time, and presence of antioxidants. Rats were treated with aqueous and alcoholic extracts of M. sapientum var. paradisiaca for a period of 21 days. “The results were satisfactory regarding the antioxidative properties of the extracts14. However, the use of the gel of unripe banana peel in wound healing by secondary intention is not well documented. The high economic and social costs for both the government and patients associated with the treatment of wounds are an important motivation for the search of new therapeutic alternatives. “Therefore, if the effectiveness of unripe banana in the treatment of surgical wounds is confirmed, it will be an important step towards the development of a new alternative wound treatment. The identification of an extract prepared from either the peel or pulp of unripe bananas gives rise to new therapeutic possibilities.” Another study published in Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry noted that all parts of the banana plant have medicinal applications: the flowers in bronchitis and dysentery and on ulcers; cooked flowers are given to diabetics; the astringent plant sap in cases of hysteria, epilepsy, leprosy, fevers, hemorrhages, acute dysentery and diarrhea, and it is applied on hemorrhoids, insect and other stings and bites; young leaves are placed as poultices on burns and other skin afflictions; the astringent ashes of the unripe peel and of the leaves are taken in dysentery and diarrhea and used for treating malignant ulcers; the roots are administered in digestive disorders, dysentery and other ailments; banana seed mucilage is given in cases of diarrhea in India.


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

34 SCIENCE & HEALTH

Illegal drug markets, quackery worry community pharmacists By Wole Oyebade OMMUNITY pharmacists C in Lagos State have again expressed concern on proliferation of open drug markets and high level of quackery in the country. The pharmacists under the aegis of ACPN Lagos State branch said it was worrisome that the perpetrators of illegal drug stores were having a field day despite severe threat to public health. The association at their recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) took a swipe at regulatory authorities like the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) and National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), insisting they must share in the blame on unchecked illegal pharmaceutical premises, which is a veritable means of distribution of fake and counterfeit products. Chairman Lagos ACPN, Abdulsalam Aminu said, that open drug markets still litter

every nooks and crannies of major cities, especially Lagos, was an indication that the “concerned authorities have failed in regulatory activities.” He noted that the situation where Nigerian citizens were dangerously exposed to the malpractices of quacks was unwholesome. “Today we have so many unregistered outfits, with streets and bus stops proliferated by hawkers. These essential commodities are being hawked around in the sun and everywhere it subjected to danger. “Many of these medicines when exposed to heat tend to change to substances that are dangerous for human consumption. Today, we are talking of the emergence of chronic illnesses; kidney and liver diseases among others, but some of these diseases could be traceable to uncontrolled proliferation of medicines in Nigeria,” Aminu said. The chairman further said it was unfortunate that while

the registered practitioners were working for progress of the profession, there were other groups equally working hard to find loopholes to shortchange the profession for selfish gains. “The honour and dignity of our profession has undergone significant attrition due to lack of discipline and the activity of our regulatory body.” Continuing, he proffered that there was an urgent need to reconstitute the board of the PCN. “The pharmacy practice in Nigeria is like sheep without Sheppard and the society is endangered by the proliferation of illegal pharmaceutical premises. “We therefore call on the president to promptly reconstitute the PCN board to save innocent Nigerians from dangerous practices,” Aminu said. Public Relation Officer (PRO) Lagos ACPN, Ambrose Ezeh added that it was the believe of the community pharmacists that government should

also promote policies that would encourage accessibility, availability, affordability and efficacious medicines in line with the National Drug Policy 2005. “As partners and major stakeholders, we posit that the factor that needlessly raises cost of production of drugs, jeopardizes the spirit of the National Drug Policy and not in public interest,” he said. On the use of technological devices in checking fake products, he alleged that some of their members had been embarrassed from the “failed device.” “As a group, we are at all times ready to partner to rid the country of fake and counterfeit medicines but not to allow the unscientific method jeopardize the integrity we have built. We therefore call on the President to set up high power committee of relevant technocrat to access the reliability of the method to check fake medicines in Nigeria.”

Eko free health mission benefits over 18,500 By Wole Oyebade O fewer than 18,500 Lagos N residents have benefitted from the just concluded Eko Free Health Mission held at Ayobo-Ipaja Local Council Development Area (LCDA). The initiative by the Lagos State government recorded about 18,000 care seekers, while over 500 children were immunised against polio as at day-three of the weeklong programme. List of beneficiaries may have rose to about 25,000, as Governor Raji Fashola at the weekend extended the oneweek mission for another two days. The outreach programme, held at the Ipaja-mini stadium, had over 50 doctors attending to health needs of people living with diabetes and hypertension. Others were Human Immunodeficiency Virus/ Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) screening, blindness prevention, cancer awareness and screening, including surgical operation and free drugs for those in need of it. Fashola who spoke at the flag off of the programme and March 2013 Polio Immunisation Plus Days Campaign at the weekend, said since the exercise commenced, several children had been immunised against the child killer disease of Wild Polio while many of the residents had also been treated of various diseases. On the immunisation campaign, he reminded all adult on the need to embrace the polio immunisation programme, adding that their ability to walk freely with steady gaits is the indication that their parents were very concerned about their health and took Polio immunisation when they were children. Fashola urged them to do the same for their wards when they are still at tender ages. According to him: “If everyone concerned plays their active roles in the quest to tackle the polio menace, the child killer disease would be a thing of the past in this country,” he said. Fashola added that despite

the fact that Lagos had been Polio free in the last four years, the disease is still prevalent in some parts of Nigeria, which necessitates the need for the immunisation rounds to continue. The Governor directed that the free booklet recently launched by the state government on mother and childcare, to keep all the details of the child from conception to the age of 12, should also have records of all immunisations. He reiterated that children should be immunised so that they can be given the best preparation against the disease to face the challenges of life and growing up. Though the immunisation vaccines are free, the Governor explained that they had not come to the government free. They were procured with taxpayers’ money, and an example of what the taxpayers get when they pay their taxes. Fashola granted the request

of Ipaja-Ayobo residents for two-day extension (Monday and Tuesday) to cater for more people that would have been left out. State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris observed that since the medical health mission commenced in IpajaAyobo over 18,000 people had benefitted while over 500 children were also captured in the immunisation against Polio drive campaign. He said the quest to find ways to take health care to the grassroots and under-served areas of the State led to the introduction of the Eko Free Health Mission, which he described as a comprehensive health care initiative that covers primary, secondary and tertiary levels of prevention. Chairman of Ayobo-Ipaja LCDA, Yusuf Adisa said since the Eko Free Medical programme started, the residents of the council area had benefitted immensely from various medical services, which

include general consultation and free medical services, nutritional assessment of the children, general basic and uncomplicated surgeries, simple dental procedures, eye consultation and screening with provision of glasses and eye surgeries. Beneficiaries, among who were Mr. Ayo Olofintuyi and Mrs. Olabisi Adegboyega, commended the State Government for providing them with free medical attention and surgery. The representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Richard Banda in his goodwill message thanked the Governor and the good people of Lagos State for their efforts to kick Polio out of Lagos. The Free Health Mission in Ipaja was the 22nd edition of the programme, in which about 770,000 people from almost all the 20 Local Governments and 37 LCDAs of the State have benefitted.

Causes and Prevention of Female Infertility

EMALE infertility is the Fpregnant inability of a wife to get after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse with her husband who has been proven to be fertile. Causes of female infertility Last week Thursday, I wrote extensively about the hormonal causes of female infertility. Today, we intend to look at other causes of female infertility and a word or two on its prevention. The causes of female infertility can further be classified as acquired or genetic. Acquired causes of infertility AGE: The peak period of a woman’s fertility is between the ages of 22 and 26 years. After this time her fertility begins to decline and her ability to get pregnant diminishes faster as she gets to age 35. Obesity: Being overweight or underweight both affect a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. It has to do with the amount of fat cells. Apart from the sex organs, fat cells are known to produce eostrogen. In a woman who is overweight more eostrogen gets produced simulating the effect of contraceptive pills in preventing pregnancy. In an underweight woman with too little fat cells there will in turn be insufficient eostrogen in circulation leading to menstrual disorder. The cycle may become irregular with anovulatory cycles. Sexually transmitted diseases: What makes sexually transmitted diseases important causative factors in female infertility is the fact that these diseases are usually silent; with or without symptoms, to the extent that the

(L-R) Founder Benola, a cerebral palsy initiative, Air Vice Marshal Olufemi Gbadebo (rtd); his wife, Mrs. Alaba Adeyemi Gbadebo; Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike and Chief Executive Officer, Bright House Group, Mr. Olaoyeola at the launch of Benola in Lagos recently

women do not seek treatment early enough to avoid infertility. One major complication of sexually transmitted diseases that leads to infertility is blockage of the fallopian tubes. Cigarette smoking: Nicotine, a chemical in cigarettes that interferes with the body’s ability to produce oestrogen. Where oestrogen production is inadequate most of the processes of conception, from the development of the egg to transportation of the fertilized egg in the fallopian tube and implanting of the embryo in the uterus become hindered. The endometrial wall of the uterus will not have been well prepared to receive the embryo. Chemotherapy: This affects the sexual hormones the most and can only be considered in a woman who is diagnosed of cancer and placed on chemotherapy drugs. Other causes of Female Infertility include; Stenosis of the Uterine Cervix. This refers to extreme narrowing of the cervical os to the extent that sperm cells cannot pass through. Blood and cells of the uterus shed during menstruation may be trapped inside the uterus. Uterine Fibroids. Fibroids may block the opening into the Fallopian tubes and either prevent the sperm cells from passing into tube or the embryo from entering the uterus. Recurcent Criminal Abortions This can cause infertility where the womb may have been severely damaged by excessive curetting [scraping]. Such a womb may no longer have an embryo implanted into it. Also frequent and repeated insertion of instruments such as dilators through the cervical os can weaken this gate. The result can be recurrent first trimester abortions due to cervical incompetence. The gate of the womb can no longer hold the growing fetus in place because it has become severely weakened. Ignorance The young couple may be so uninformed that they may not know when a woman can get pregnant. In such a case all they will need is sex education. Prevention of Female Infertility To begin with, there has to be a lifestyle change. Habits like cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption should be stopped. Every effort must be made to ensure that the young gir gets married when she is at the peak of her reproductive age. Hormonal imbalance due to the consumption of the wrong food and water should have a definite change. We should eat with a purpose and not just for the sake of eating. Drink sufficient water regularly and ensure your tissues and organs are alkaline.


SCIENCEGUARDIAN 35

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7 , 2013

‘We need to make science more relevant to the society’ Unfortunately, we are a nation that doesn’t like to suffer anything. I mean to suffer pain for development. Everything must be easy. And we want it now, without paying for it. We forget that there is a period when even the human body develops. A child is not ready to be born until nine months. There has to be a period of development. The same is true of Nigeria. You have to give it time to evolve.

Prof. Oyewale Tomori, an accomplished and globally respected virologist, is the newly-elected President of the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS). In this interview with J.K. Obatala, which was conducted at the Lekki Peninsula during the 8th Annual Meeting of African Science Academies (AMASA-8), the former World Health Organisation (WHO) Virologist for the African Region reveals his plans for the association, promising more relevance for science, a greater role for young people in NAS among other things. S the incoming president, will you point A the Academy in a different direction? Or continue on the same course? I think the Academy has evolved since 1977, when it started. We weren’t really that active in those days, but the current presidency has moved us a bit into the limelight-and exposed the Academy to the general public. We want to keep up the momentum. But then, we also want to look at the issue of, “How can we be relevant to the Society?” Are there aspects of the people’s life that science can affect? We also want to make sure Government policies are actually for the good of the people. We’ll look at implementation as well. Giving advice serves no useful purpose, if policies are not implemented. We must see every adopted policy to the end. In short, our plan is to get involved with the Government. Neither the President nor his Vice appeared at AMASA-8. Have you formulated any strategy for getting Government seriously committed, financially and otherwise? Among other things, we’re trying to get the “Academies Act” approved. That is very important, because when there’s an Act, the Government is bound to provide a certain amount of funding…and will be more inclined to get involved. How long have you been a member of NAS? I joined the Academy in 1991, I think. Unfortunately, I was in Zimbabwe for 10 years-1994 to 2004-during which I was not active in NAS. I was working with the World Health Organization (WHO), a United Nations agency, as Virologists for the African Region. You’re a virologist? Yes. I deal with hemorrhagic fever, yellow fever and those kinds of diseases. But as a WHO virologist, I worked more with polio— trying to set up diagnostic laboratories in different parts of Africa. Why does the South-west tend to predominate in NAS? The whole thing started from the University of Ibadan where the Yorubas are many. The other strong Universities were Ile-Ife, Lagos and Nsukka. ABU was then the only major institution in the North. Our membership system may also have contributed. The protocol is that a member must invite you into the Academy. Members invite individuals they know, whom they are conversant with. It’s like joining a social club then? Exactly. And that may have influenced the Academy’s composition age-wise as well. You know, contemporaries inviting their peers-so much so that the Academy had started to look like an ageing social club. It was terrible! I remember when I joined, an older man, who entered at the same time, asked: “What are you doing here? You are too young!” He said my oldest brother was his classmate. So how can I be in the same category with him? You know that kind of thing. But that is changing now. Scientists from Southwestern universities are moving out to other areas and getting to know people with different ethnic backgrounds and of different agespeople whom they can recommend. Also, the U.S. African Science Academies Development Initiative supported a five-year strategic plan, a part of which was to bring in more women and younger people. I must confess though, that I’m a bit disappointed with some of the younger members… Why?

Professor Tomori I would have expected them to be more active. After all, the reason for bringing them in is to rejuvenate the organization. How can they do this, without being active? Perhaps we’ve not brought them in completely-because the older people are still in control. One thing I’m actually looking forward to, for instance, is getting many young people on the Governing Council. That will make a big difference. Give a lot of them assignments. Get them to do the things older people are doing now. My belief is that we should tap the experience of older members: But not put them out as full soldiers in the field. I will get younger members to serve on the committees...We need to combine the energy and drive of the young, with the experience of the old. Since you are a virologist, what is your take on Lassa fever? Lassa fever was discovered in this country, in 1969. This is 2013- 44 years ago. Yet we’re still having problems with Lassa. There is no proper national policy. We had a huge outbreak last year-about 900 cases with a 10 per cent fatality rate. These were just the reported cases. I’m sure there were more. It took us

Western scientists are relevant because they are meeting the needs of their people. If we want to be like them, we must do likewise-and turn inward. If we were smart, we’d adapt the skills we’ve acquired to Nigerian needs. This failure of adaptation is a weakness our scientists have not overcome. Hence we are irrelevant to the needs of our people.

almost three months to even discover that we had a problem. Lassa was first reported in Sierra Leone, and later confirmed in Nigeria. But where do you think it originated? A rodent called Mastomys natalensis is the natural host. It carries the Lassa virus, but doesn’t get sick from it. It sheds the virus in its urine and in other ways, you know. That’s where, we think, contamination comes from. In some parts of the country, people still trap rodents for meat. My belief is that, in the process of skinning the animals, you cut yourself and get the virus into your body. Let’s talk about you-what you are doing, and that type of thing? I’m very happy about my life keeping in mind, that if it had gone the way I wanted it to, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. I was born in Ilesha and attended Government College, Ughelli- now in Delta State. I then went to Veterinary School at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. But that was not what I really wanted to do. I wanted to study medicine. But I didn’t do well in the HSC examination, the equivalent of the present G.C.E. advanced level. This was due largely to changes in the political situation in Nigeria. When Mid-West State was created, virtually all the Yoruba teachers moved back to Ibadan and left Government College, Ughelli with inexperienced teachers. In my last year, I actually had to read on my own. A few of my colleagues did their HSC outside, so they got admitted for medicine. I didn’t. But, just out of the blue, I had applied to read veterinary medicine-in case I failed to get into Medical School. How did you get from veterinary medicine to virology? The Virology Laboratory at the University of Ibadan was under the Rockefeller Foundation, while USAID ran the Veterinary School at ABU. When the lassa outbreak occurred at Jos, in

1969, a team from the Ibadan lab went to investigate. The team visited their American friends at the Veterinary School in Zaria. My class was doing “Virology”. So the lecturer said to his friend, “Oh this is a good opportunity. Can you come and talk to the class about Lassa fever?” The guy frightened the hell out of us! Then, in closing, he said, jokingly, “Who would like to work with Lassa fever?” I raised my hand-not because I had any interest in Lassa fever. As a veterinary doctor, what do I have to do with Lassa fever? You can call it, typical me-rascally. The guy asked, “How many years before you graduate?” I told him two. “Okay,” he said, “when you finish, come and join us at Ibadan.” Taking the invitation as a joke, I forgot about it-until I finished and came to my state, to apply for a job. They told me “no vacancy”. Then I remembered: This guy said, “When you finish, come…” The distance from the State Secretariat to where the Rockefeller people were working was just a short walk. So I strolled down. When the man saw me, he said, “Are you ready to start work?” So your professional fortunes hinged on a joke, a classroom pranks? Yes. But working with medical doctors was no joke. Talking about professional chauvinism. Here was a veterinarian, coming into a medical school! The doctors gave me hell, you know. “Do you think we are treating dogs here? Do you think we’re treating goats?” and that kind of thing. That notwithstanding, I got excited, about working with viruses. I used to tell my friends it didn’t seem like work, because I was having fun. You knew you were at the right place? Yes. Whatever anybody was saying didn’t make any difference to me. Then, another Lassa fever outbreak came in 1974. Virtually everybody in our department ran away! A WHO team came to assist Nigeria. So I had to follow them. That led to other things for me. The WHO team was from Yale University and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) at Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. They became valuable contacts, when I was ready for further studies. Those contacts changed my life. I received a fellowship from the WHO. CDC called and gave me a place to work, as did the Yale people. I studied at the CDC for almost 15 months, on a Fogarty Fellowship from the U.S. National Institute of Health… All this time, I was attached to the University of Ibadan-where I returned and stayed until 1994, when I joined WHO as Regional Virologist for Africa. You were saying, off-record, that Nigerians want everything to come easy? How do you mean? Unfortunately, we are a nation that doesn’t like to suffer anything. I mean to suffer pain for development. Everything must be easy. And we want it now, without paying for it. We forget that there is a period when even the human body develops. A child is not ready to be born until nine months. There has to be a period of development. The same is true of Nigeria. You have to give it time to evolve. You also said Nigerian scientists are “irrelevant”. Why do you think so? Everybody does things to the Western standard- forgetting that situations differ. Western scientists are relevant because they are meeting the needs of their people. If we want to be like them, we must do likewiseand turn inward. If we were smart, we’d adapt the skills we’ve acquired to Nigerian needs. This failure of adaptation is a weakness our scientists have not overcome. Hence we are irrelevant to the needs of our people.


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Govt moves to strengthen local ownership of HIV/AIDS response From Emeka Anuforo HE Federal Government has called on state and local governments to step up their support for the delivery of primary health care services. On its part, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) said it has intensified its activities and would work more closely with communities, local councils, states and other federal government agencies to strengthen primary health care systems in each state and local govern-

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ment area to ensure country ownership of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) response. Executive Director of NPHCDA, Ado Muhammad, said at a media parley in Abuja on Tuesday that access to HIV/AIDS services at the primary healthcare level was is to efforts at the national level to scale up HIV services. He said the goal was to ensure zero transmission of HIV from mothers to children in the Midwives Services Scheme.

He spoke of the federal government to actualize the integration of basic HIV/AIDS services at the primary health care facilities, noting that through the Programme for HIV/AIDS Integration and Decentralization (PHAID), the agency had completed a series of five trainings in 18 states of the federation. Ado stressed: “Because secondary and tertiary health facilities in Nigeria are already saturated and limited in capacity, ensuring that people have access to HIV/AIDS services at the pri-

Lagos State, Novo Nordisk, others give succour to diabetes patients By Joseph Okoghenun O ease accessibility and affordability of diabetes treatment for diabetes patients, the Lagos State Government in partnership with Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals Nigeria limited and Sunny Kuku Foundation has commissioned and pioneer Insulin Support Centre called Base of Pyramid (BoP) initiative at General Hospital, Ikorodu, Lagos. Promoters of the one-stop shop said BoP would ensure insulin and diabetes services ranging from blood glucose test to dietary and life support are available at the centre to be manned by health professionals, who would treat and run awareness campaign for patients. Speaking on Tuesday at the commissioning of the initiative, Lagos State Commissioner of Health, Dr.Jide Idris, who was represented by Permanent

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Secretary in Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Femi Olugbile, said diabetes has become a global burden, which the Lagos State Government has been trying to nip at bud with regular screening at community level. Idris said though lots of diabetes patients, who were not aware of their dangerous status, have been picked up through the regular screening exercise and enrolled into the healthcare system, some others, however, have been left unscreened for various socio-cultural reasons. He added that BoP, which would also serve as walk-inand-get-tested centre, would fill the gap that currently exists in yearly diabetes screening programme. The health commissioner encouraged corporates entities to collaborate with Lagos State, the way Novo Nordisk has done, even as he acknowledged that the state govern-

ment alone couldn’t carry the health burden of the populace. Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals VicePresident in Africa, Gulf and India, Mads Bo Larsen, said the goal of the BoP is to ensure that as many people that are diabetic have accessible care at affordable rate. He said the organisation decided to pioneer the initiative in Nigeria because the country has the largest population in Africa with equally large number of people with diabetes . BoP Project Manager,Dr.Ameze Odia, said the project was like a dream many feared its realisation. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the growth of diabetes in Africa is currently the highest in the world; close to 15 million people in sub-Sahara Africa lives with diabetes.

KHF cardiac centre gets more corporate support ORE corporate organizations have identified with the Kanu Heart Foundation’s (KHF) bid to build a cardiac centre in Nigeria by showing their willingness to partner with the foundation to realize its goal. The Kanu Heart Foundation Cardiac Specialist Hospital Project would be launched on March 14 in Abuja. Among the corporate bodies willing to partner with the champions of the project in the bid to build a N5 billion Cardiac Hospital in Abuja are Aero Contractors, Diamond

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Bank Plc, Sport Radio Brilla Fm, Complete Sports and The Newspapers. Nation Aero Contractors Airline as official Airline will airlift KHF beneficiaries and officials for the next 12 months, while Sports Radio Brilla Fm, as official Radio, will give continuous and adequate publicity to the project, just like Complete Sports and Nation Newspapers. Diamond Bank Plc have also indicated its willingness to partner with the Foundation as the official banker with some commitment. financial In a related development two

former Heads of State, business moguls and captains of industry have confirmed their participation in the project. Former President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida while receiving the founder of kanu Heart foundation, Nwankwo Kanu, in his Minna, Niger State residence, accepted to honour the invitation as the chairman of the occasion, while Olusegun Obasanjo, who hosted the former Eagles Captain at his Hill Top residence, Abeokuta, extolled the commitment of Nwankwo Kanu to humanity and accepted his role as the father of the day.

mary health care level is key to national efforts to scale-up HIV services. There is better access to services delivered at the PHC level. Hard to reach areas are reached as PHCs are in all the political wards in Nigeria. This is why NPHCDA decided to train health workers and managers at the Midwives Services Scheme (MSS).” He said this structure provided by the Midwives Services Scheme and the SURE-P would ensure the decentralization and integration of HIV services to the PHC level in line with national policy. He went on: “Ultimately, this strategy which is being implemented through the Program for HIV/AIDS Integration and Decentralization (PHAID) will strengthen the capacity of Nigeria’ primary health care system to deliver not only HIV/AIDS, but other priority health interventions at the PHC level such as maternal, newborn and child health, tuberculosis, malaria, and other areas of sexual and reproductive health. “With support for the project coming from the United States government through the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NPHCDA leads a partnership with Solina Health Limited and the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) to implement the project which commenced in January 2012 with pilot assessments, trainings and community engagement in Nasarawa State.” According to him through PHAID, his agency built the capacity of PHC workers and managers at the state and local government levels in 18 states with the highest HIV prevalence between October and December 2012. “In all, NPHCDA trained 953 state and local government data officers in each state and select PHC staff in each of 18 priority states. The training focused on how to complete the national data tools, and on data demand, analysis, interpretation, presentation. NPHCDA also trained 1519 PHCs workers on how to deliver integrated clinical services with modules incorporating HIV/AIDS tuberculosis and malaria services within the PHC facilities in addition to sexual and reproductive health and the treatment of childhood illnesses.”

NAFDAC tasks Gombe, others on effective policing of rural areas S part of efforts the stem A the growing incidence of fake drugs in most rural communities in the country, the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii, has called on state governments to support the agency’s efforts to police the grassroots by setting up NAFDAC/local government desk in their states. Orhii made this call during a courtesy visit to the Gombe State government at a oneday stakeholders meeting in the state. Orhii commended the Gombe State government for setting up NAFDAC desk in eight of its 11 Local Government Areas while also urging the state government to expedite the process of getting the three remaining local governments in the state to also set up their NAFDAC desk. The NAFDAC Director General said the Agency is desirous of ensuring that Gombe State enjoys wholesome food and drugs and called on the government and individuals in the state to set up industries under NAFDAC’s guidance that will address the food and drugs needs of the people of the state. The Gombe State Deputy Governor, His Excellency Hon. Thaanda Jason Aubainu who received the NAFDAC delegation in his office said the state government is appreciative of NAFDAC efforts to police the food and drug market in the state. He said NAFDAC effort has proved from time immemorial that the Agency cares about the health of

Bayelsa votes N500m for health insurance scheme From Willie Etim, Yenagoa HE Bayelsa State government has earmarked N500 million to kick-start a health insurance scheme. Disclosing this while receiving the report of the state Health Committee yesterday in Government House, Yenagoa, Governor Seriake Dickson said the scheme would cover all civil servants. According to him, “this is a project that we are very passionate about and that is the state’s health insurance policy. I have been informed that you have talked about it. “I hope that your recommendations and findings in that

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regard are exhaustive but we intend, in no distant time, to set up a technical committee to undertake the drafting of the legislation that will support the health insurance scheme.” He added: “We feel that we should not allow our people to bear the brunt of healthcare. It is never done in any decent society. Our people in this state deserve the support of government in terms of healthcare provisions and particularly, they need to know that if they fall ill and do not have money, their government has a programme that will come to their aid.”

New breast cancer drug helps advanced cases HE United States Food and T Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new “smart

Members of the Lagos University Medical Society(LUMS) at the 30th Anniversary of the Nigerian Quarterly Journal of Hospital Medicine (NQJHM), which was celebrated in a grand style on Wednesday February 27, 2013, at the Old Great Hall, College of Medicine , University of Lagos (CMUL).

Nigerians. The Deputy Governor called on the governments in Nigeria to partner with manufacturers to ensure that basic products are produced in Nigeria under the close watch of NAFDAC for the benefit of the citizenry of the country. At the one-day stakeholders meeting, stakeholders in the food and drug sector of the state commended NAFDAC for nurturing their businesses by helping to make them more acceptable to wider markets beyond the state. Chairman chocolate drink manufacturers in the state Alhaji Abdulrahman Yusuf, commended NAFDAC for its friendly disposition to manufacturers, which he said has enabled his members to adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices that has facilitated the acceptance of their products in neighbouring countries like Cameroon and Niger. Chairman Association of Table Water Producers (ATWAP) in Gombe State, Musa Mamman Agon said NAFDAC regulation of their industry has enabled them to grow to the point where from a few outlets they have been able to grow the water business in the state to close to a hundred manufacturers, which is one of the largest industries in Gombe State. Various stakeholders ranging from association of master bakers, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Nigerian Immigration Service, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the Gombe general public were also present at the stakeholders meeting.

bomb” drug that can help women with one of the most hard-to-cure types of breast cancer. The new drug added several months of life to women with a type of breast cancer called HER2-positive breast cancer, whose tumors had spread despite treatment. While it wasn’t a cure, it did add some healthy months of life to patients whose outlook was otherwise hopeless. The drug is called Kadcyla, and it works in an unusual way. It combines an older drug, Herceptin, with a highly toxic type of chemotherapy called DM1. The Herceptin hones in on the tumor cells,

which absorb the package and are then destroyed by the DM1, which is too strong to deliver like standard chemotherapy. It’s a member of a new class of drugs called antibody-drug conjugates or ADCs. A drug called Kadcyla is offering hope to women diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer, one of the most aggressive forms of the disease. The drug is not a cure but does extend life by an average of 9.6 months. “Kadcyla delivers the drug to the cancer site to shrink the tumor, slow disease progression and prolong survival,” Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA’s office of hematology and oncology products, said in a statement.


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SCIENCEGUARDIAN 43

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Study to demonstrate safety stem cell therapies in humans CONTINUED FROM PAGE 31 studies,” he says. Kim, who has a joint position at the CHA Stem Cell Institute in Seoul, says their experiments used only newborn fibroblasts and must be repeated using adult tissue. And stable differentiation of cells into clinically necessary cell types must be demonstrated. Still, Kim says it will be ready for the clinic “in the near future”. “The work represents another important milestone, but it is not yet the endpoint.” Thomson, who has reported his own technique to reprogram cells using genes that can afterwards be removed, predicts that clinical sample consistency will be a bigger headache than these optimistic outlooks suggest. “The risk associated with genetic changes accumulated simply because the cells are cultured for prolonged periods is likely to be far greater

than the risk introduced by the reprogramming method itself. The work represents another important milestone, but it is not yet the endpoint,” says Thomson. The report will add to an already difficult task of deciding what were the critically innovative steps -following

Yamanaka’s pioneering work in making iPS cells clinically applicable. This will likely be battled out by patent lawyers. In 2008 researchers led by Steven Goldman at the University of Rochester in New York showed that they could make severely disabled mice able to walk by injecting

human glial progenitor cells into five sites in the rodents’ brains. Those results are encouraging, but a human brain is more than 1,000 times larger than a mouse brain, and delivering cells to the right places is much harder. “People know how to get cells into animals

but forget about the scale-up problem with humans,” Lim says. Working with bioengineers and neurosurgeons, Lim designed a needle that bends. First, a straight, thin tube is injected into the brain and a flexible nylon catheter pushed through it. A deflector

inside the tube arcs the catheter up and away from the entry track, and an even narrower plunger ejects cells from the catheter. In one injection, the device can deposit cells anywhere within a 2-centimetre radius along the track, a volume bigger than an entire mouse brain.

demonstration launch slipped to 2012, and then to 2013, after Hurricane Sandy hit the spaceport last October. Antares’ engines, built half a century ago for Russia’s Moon programme and recently refurbished, have also proven finicky. A test on 13 February was aborted when pressure anomalies were detected in one of the engines. A successful test on 22 February means that Orbital can now proceed to a launch in April.

Having anothercargo carrier would provide a safety net for the ISS. That need was made clear when Dragon’s thrusters initially failed during the flight last week, almost preventing the spacecraft from docking with the station. But there is scepticism about whether competition will drive down prices. “This is a mixed-up crazy business and a small market that isn’t all that price sensitive,” says Henry Hertzfeld, a spacepolicy expert at George Washington University in

Commercial space race heats up CONTINUED FROM PAGE 31 records. The core of the first stage of Antares was designed and built by veterans KB Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash, both based in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. Cygnus’s sensors come from Mitsubishi Electric in Tokyo and its pressurized cargo module was built at a Thales Alenia Space plant in Turin, Italy. “Orbital used more heritage technology,” says Alan Lindenmoyer, manager of

NASA’s commercial crew and cargo programme. “That was less risky for us.” But the company did not enter COTS until 2008, two years after SpaceX. With the clock ticking, NASA allocated less money for Orbital and ordered a simpler ship. Unlike SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, Cygnus can’t carry sensitive biological experiments, such as those that grow protein crystals in microgravity. It burns up on re-entry, so it can’t return samples to Earth. And it can’t be modified to

carry humans. Nor has it yet flown. Orbital chose to launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia; less crowded than Cape Canaveral in Florida, which hosts most NASA rocket launches, Wallops usually caters for smaller vehicles such as scientific balloons and sounding rockets. The facility’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport had to build a new launch pad for Antares, which took longer than expected. Originally scheduled for 2010, the


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Education CONTINUED ON PAGE 52

Davies

Kono

Iyayi

Private schools deny relegating indigenous languages By Mary Ogar N estimated 521 different languages have A been identified in Nigeria, with 510 of them still living. According to Wikipedia, there are two other languages without native speakers and another haul of nine extinct ones. While the official language in Nigeria is English, bequeathed by colonial Britain, the major languages spoken in the country today are Yoruba, Igbo, Edo, Ibibio, Hausa, Fulfulde and Kanuri. Of all these, Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa are the big three. However, there have been concerns in several quarters over the predominance of the English Language over even the big three. Depending on whose side you are, both parents and schools, especially the private ones, are being blamed for the relegation of indigenous languages and the preference for foreign ones. While the country is paying little or no attention to its own language, English, French, German and more recently, Chinese languages are gaining more grounds. In several Nigerian homes, English is the medium of communication. Critics argue that the practice would encourage children to look down on their own native languages and learn everything about the foreign ones, especially when a student’s ability to speak “impeccable” English is wrongly assumed as a “sign of brilliance.” Academics like the late Prof. Babatunde Fafunwa, a former Education Minister, had argued severally that primary school pupils should be taught in their native languages, backing the argument up with a research finding, which established that pupils taught in vernacular understood the subjects they were exposed to than others who were taught in another language. In recent time, the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) has been organising indigenous language programmes for company executives and secondary school students, to encourage the learning and usage of local languages. However, private schools in the country are being blamed more for contributing to the lukewarm attitude of children to their own native languages. Some private school principals, who spoke to The Guardian recently would have none of it. Mrs. Davies Ufuoma is the principal of

Supreme Education Foundation High School, Lagos. She insisted that the preservation of local languages should not be the responsibility of private schools alone. She said: “We strongly believe that charity must begin from home. So from the outset, all our junior and senior students compulsorily take one indigenous language. From time to time, we have so many activities that expose them to the benefits importance of learning their mother tongue. “We have our own school activities that promote learning of the Yoruba Igbo languages. We have cultural activities, during which students dramatise, take up roles and watch movies. We have Yoruba Day, we have Igbo Day; we even have Yoruba Assembly and we have Igbo Assembly. And on such occasions, interactions are basically in these languages. “Then we have parents’ forum where we educate them on the need to speak their native languages to their children. We have been collaborating with parents and we have also been working closely with the educators.” For the Principal of Crescent Hall International School, Lagos, Mr. Kono-Ugen Kono, there are advantages in the ability to speak three to four languages. His words: “It’s a global world and you have an edge when you are able to speak three or four languages. It is good for people to learn French, Spanish, German or Dutch. “But that is not enough to say that we should forgo our indigenous languages. We should encourage our children to learn our indigenous language. In our school for example, we focus on Yoruba language. We make sure that every child learns the language. We have two top class Yoruba teachers in our school and sometimes, we hold our Assembly proceedings in Yoruba. As Nigerians, we should hold on to our indigenous languages. It is important we should uphold them.” The Executive Director of Cayley College, Lagos, Mrs. Mary Iyayi also disagreed with those who blame private schools for the relegation of indigenous languages. She was of the view that parents have to take up the challenge too. Her words: “It depends on various homes. The medium of communication in the school is English and it is the language of instruction. If our indigenous languages are dying, the school, really, should not be blamed. We offer Igbo and Yoruba languages in our school, but the various homes also have a role to play in upholding our

indigenous languages. What is the medium of communication in many homes apart from English? You will discover that in most homes, they speak English, but we should all encourage the indigenous languages to be spoken more at home. “We can’t be teaching in Yoruba language except we are having a Yoruba class. But in our school, we have events that highlight our culture, food and way of dressing. However, we are saying that if the effects of the languages are to be felt more, the home will have to play a proper role.” On the challenges facing private schools in the country, while Kono complained about multiple taxes, Iyayi noted that with respect to Lagos, space has been a major constraint. The principals also appealed to banks to lower their interest rates on loans given to private schools. Kono said: “There are several challenges, but the peculiar one private schools encounter in Lagos and other part of Nigeria is the number of levies and taxes we have to pay. There are too many of such payments that we have to make throughout the year. So, I would like to implore the government to streamline them. It is difficult to have a grip on the number of things you have to pay for. They are endless: today, you find a group of people coming to ask you for health fees; at another time, some people will ask you to pay for your signboard. Some will even ask you to pay for erecting your fence. Others will ask you to pay for the cars that you parked in front of your own school. I think this is too much. I appeal to the Lagos State government to help us streamline these various levies. Let us have a list of what we need to pay for once and for all, instead of different people coming to ask for money from time to time.” Iyayi said: “Primarily, availability of space that is the major challenge in Lagos. We would have wanted to run a school with enough space. But because our school is located in the metropolis, we found out that we cannot do as much as we would have love to do. So space is a big challenge.” On the cost of financing private schools, especially when a loan is required from a bank, the head teachers complained about banks’ high lending rates. Iyayi averred that banks could partner with private schools by reducing the cost of borrowing. “Banks can help private schools by giving us less interest to pay (on loans). We are providing a service for everybody, both the chil-

dren of the bankers and others. They (banks) can help us by giving us what I can describe as ‘education sector rate,’ which should be less than the commercial rate.” Ufuoma said: “Some banks have been doing well in that regard, but I believe that with the proliferation of private schools, the banks still need to do more. From every indication, private schools are striving to help the nation by moulding the children and providing qualitative education. So, the banks have no other choice than to support this noble project. “Banks can discuss with the school proprietors and arrive at agreements and terms. Some schools are in need of facilities, some need to have their projects developed, they have started and they need funding. Banks can help in this regard.” Kono was blunt: “Honestly, the rates (being charged by the) banks are just too much! Some banks will ask for 21 per cent; others will ask for 24 per cent. This is too much! They (banks) should bring down their rates drastically. Like it is done in other parts of the world, banks should partner with schools. If they reduce their rate, schools will be encouraged to partner with them to raise the standard in different aspects. “For example, some schools might need buses, a good bank should be able to come in and say, ‘we will get you buses and you pay back at this rate, at this time, and at this reduced rate, spread over a period of time.’ Others may be a computer room or a structure. Different aspects of the school require attention at different times and the banks can always come in, pick up one these areas and help the school with loans at a highly reduced rate. On the high rate of corruption in the country, Kono insisted that only uneducated, ignorant people could steal money from the public till and sleep well at night. He insisted that corruption would be reduced if more people have access to education of good quality. His words: “We must begin to realize that one of our major problems in Nigeria is ignorance, and ignorance stems from lack of education. It is ignorance and lack of education that can make a man feel that it is okay for him to steal money belonging to over 150 million people and then keep the stolen money for his own family. If you are educated, you would know that while it is good for you to be wealthy, the next man beside you should also have enough, so that he will not come knocking on your door to ask for help.


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Departing graduates rate LASU’s academic contents high, commend VC By Ujunwa Atueyi

equals anywhere. But the University’s procedure of handling students and academic affairs is so disappointing”. Janet Kudofoke Sewedo, a graduate of Fisheries from the main campus, said: “It was not really easy persevering till this day. LASU has prepared me for the labour market. I can also do something on my own if I so desire, but in the area of organization and infrastructure, I want government to look into it. “My department, for instance, needs a lecture hall. We used to receive lectures in the laboratory, and the management did not do anything to address that. I wouldn’t want the other students I am leaving behind to go through that same process. Though, our new vice chancellor has displayed willingness to work, but the people around him are not emulating his zeal and attitude to work.” Also, a graduate of Business Administration, Chukwuemeka Onyeukwu, from the external system, who also affirmed that LASU’s academic

programmes are of high quality, also faulted its system of delivery and administration, adding that only tough and focused students could go through the system and excel. He said: “LASU has quality content and curriculum, but the processes and procedures through which they admit and run the affairs of the school, ranging from the payment processes, conduct of examinations and result verification are appalling. In fact, some of the lecturers are biased and such prejudice is not good for the system.” A Political Science graduate, Augustine Ezeala, said: “It was a tough four-years, and anybody who wants to be useful can move ahead from here. I believe in God that even if there is no job for one million people, there is job for me. All we passed through in LASU, the hurdles, maladministration and others, are nothing compared to what we have at hand today. Thank God the institution is undergoing transformation at the moment”. Dr. Folake Feyisayo Olowokudejo, who was

among the 22 doctorate degree graduates, said: “I have been here in the last few years, and I can EPARTING graduates of the Lagos State attest to the standard in LASU. Although, there are University (LASU) have commended the instichallenges, but there are ways to mitigate the tution’s academic standard, just as they criticized challenges. The state government is trying, but the way it is being administered. they should do more. We don’t have enough lecWhile some of the graduands, who spoke with turers; those working are over working themThe Guardian at the recent convocation ceremoselves; and the effect is on the students. So, govny, during which 11, 075 students graduated, ernment should bring more lecturers and propraised the vice chancellor, Prof. Oladapo vide infrastructure. There is no electricity, no Obafunwa for doing a good job so far, they also water, we have filthy toilets. Let the government criticised several officials of the university who, increase workers’ salary so that more people will according to them, do not share the vision of the show interest in the system and capable hands vice chancellor. can join the workforce and train reputable leadJovita Amaechi, a graduate of English from the ers.” external system, said: “my academic journey in Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of National LASU was so rough and discouraging, but my Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius determination sustained me. The only problem Okojie, has charged Nigerian universities to conwith LASU is its administration. But academicaltinually seek improvement, with emphasis on ly, it’s good. Every LASU graduate, who had comfuture results. pliantly followed the academic system can stand Okojie, who delivered the 18th convocation lecon his or her own any time, any day with our ture of the institution titled, “Quality Assurance & the Challenges of Mandate Delivery in Nigerian Universities,” also noted that the guiding principle of education is to equip every citizen with knowledge, skills and attitude, that would enable him or her achieve maximum benefits in the society. But most institutions in Nigeria, he regretted, have deviated from the original plan, due to substandard and inappropriate academic programmes and processes, thereby demeaning quality in education provision. Represented by the former Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology Akure, Prof. Adebisi Balogun, Okojie said that the NUC would be on the look out for such institutions, through its benchmarking and overall functions. He said: “It is in this regard that the Commission re-established the Directorate of Quality Assurance, with the mandate of ensuring high quality graduates from Nigeria universities. The department also conducts programmes accreditation in the university system and monitoring visits are conducted on a regular basis to ensure compliance with laid-down regulations and standards. The Pro-Chancellor of the Institution, Mr. Olabode Augusto said: “In 1960, Nigeria’s population was 46 million, with only 300,000 people in Lagos. The United Kingdom’s was 52 million, having 6 million people above Nigeria’s population. In 2010, 50 years after, Nigeria’s population had risen to 158 million, while the UK is 62 million. This wide gap above UK’s population and the large growth has put significant pleasure on infrastructure, especially with the number of Best graduating student in Banking and Finance, Mr Adisa Olugbenga (left), Branch Manager Sterling Bank, Lagos State University (LASU) branch, Mr  Tolu Bamgbowu, Relationship graduates institutions are churning out on yearly Officers, Mr. Uchenna Umeugochukwu, Miss Bose Olayiwola, and Vice Chancellor, Prof  John Obafunwa at the presentation of a N100,000 cheque to Olugbenga, during LASU’s convoca- basis.” tion ceremony held recently.

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Vice chancellor alleges plot to destabilize UNIABUJA From Mohammed Abubakar and John Okeke, Abuja HEVice Chancellor of the University of Abuja T (UNIABUJA), Prof. James Sunday Adelabu has alleged that certain individuals and groups are trying to frustrate the academic activities of the institution, using the suspension of some of the academic programmes that were denied

accreditation as an excuse. While reeling out steps so far taken by his administration to restore the three programmes suspended in April last year following their de-accreditation by professional bodies, Adelabu noted that such efforts were being thwarted by those he called “agents of sabotage,” who were bent on destabilizing the

ASUU condemns murder of Nasarawa varsity students From Abba Anwar, Kano HE Academic Staff Union of Nigerian T Universities (ASUU) has condemned the killing of two students of the Nasarawa State University (NSU), Keffi, recently by armed security personnel, in an attempt to quell their protest. The students had gone on a protest over the university authority’s failure to address the erratic supply of electricity and perennial shortage of water on their campuses. The National President of ASUU, Dr Nasir Isa Fagge, at a briefing held at Bayero University, Kano recently, expressed the association’s dissatisfaction over what he described as the total neglect of the students’ welfare by the university authorities. Insisting that that what happened was very undemocratic and uncivilized, Fagge mentioned the names of the deceased students as Aminu Usman, a 400 level student in the Department of Geography and Emmanuel A. Nyam, a 300 level student in the Department of Physics. He added that one Abdulmajid Abubakar, a 200 level student in the Department of Chemistry was also seriously injured and was receiving medical attention at the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi. An apparently angry Fagge asked: “Why would the authorities of NSU Keffi refuse to provide basic boreholes that can sufficiently meet the water needs of their students? Why would they refuse to respond to the entreaties and eventual warnings of the students before February 25th? Why did the authorities of NSU ignore the stu-

dents’ lecture boycott on February 25th? Who invited the military to quell students’ peaceful protest? Who ordered the shootings and killings of university students?” The ASUU President called on the Governor of Nasarawa and visitor to the university, state, Alhaji Umar Tanko Almakura to institute an inquiry into the killings. He further warned: “Unless the immediate and remote causes of the killings are identified and appropriate punitive measures taken against the killers of innocent students, our union will leave no stone unturned in our pursuance of justice to all the victims of the madness.” On the appointment of Professor B.B. Fakae as the Vice Chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUT) for the second term, ASUU said: “Contrary to Governor Amaechi’s promise to our members and other staffers at RSUT, the Visitor (allegedly) connived with the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Hon. Justice A.G. Karibi-Whyte (rtd) to reappoint Prof Fakaye initially as Acting ViceChancellor and subsequently confirmed him as substantive in utter violation of the laid down procedures.” The association, according to Fagge, maintained that the “with the undeserved appointment and apparent support in high places, Prof Fakaye has continued to operate like an emperor. He stops workers’ salary at will. He disregards court orders and unleashes fully armed agents after academics at lawful gatherings on the campus as if they are common criminals.”

peace in the institution. Matters came to a head recently, when the Senate of the institution met with the students to brief them on the efforts by the management to restore the suspended academic programmes, which were suspended in April, last year. Those affected were the Faculties of Engineering, Veterinary Medicine and College of Health sciences. The session, however, turned rowdy as the students of the affected faculties promised to disrupt the planned 2011/2012 second semester examinations, which they did. The examinations in questions, according to the vice chancellor, were originally scheduled for November 2012, but had to be put-off due to students’ protest, which commenced on the same day. It was to commence on Monday, February 11 and end on March 9, 2013. “However, on Sunday, February 9, leaders of students’ departmental associations at a meeting with the university management, pleaded that the examinations should be shifted by one week, that is to February 18. This period, the students, especially the final year ones argued, would enable them prepare well. “The students in their wisdom also told members of the university management that they would engage their compatriots in the College of Health Sciences and the Engineering Faculty in a dialogue to allow peace to prevail on campus and, therefore, create a conducive atmosphere for the conduct of the examinations. “To our surprise, on Monday, February 11, just when the Senate was meeting to ratify the oneweek shift, we received reports that students from the Faculty of Engineering had once again gone to lock up the gate of the main campus along Airport road, purporting to stop examinations from holding even when it was obvious to them that the examinations will not commence on that day.” To him, the action of the students amounted to playing to the gallery, even as he said the presence of television stations early in the day attested to the fact that the students would go to any length in their craze to be in the news at all cost,

regardless of the negative effect of such bad publicity to them and the university as a whole. He continued: “the reportage of the Monday, February 11 incident in some sections of the media leaves one with no other impression than that there are people within and outside, who are not happy with the progress being made to position very well the new programmes and the entire university.” Meanwhile, a group, Advocacy for Change Initiative (ADI) has lamented over the prevailing situation in the university, describing it as a “National Embarrassment.” In a statement signed by the group National President Patrick Ohifeime, the group said: “The prevailing situation in the University of Abuja today, has increasingly become a source of national embarrassment, disgrace and utmost concern for every responsible and patriotic Nigerian.” “On Monday 18th February, the University could not begin its second semester examinations. This situation is assuming a very dangerous dimension with negative implications for the educational sector, students, parents, stakeholders and the Nation at large.” The group also decried the situation in which “innocent Nigerian students and their guardians continue to endure so much hardship, pain and uncertainty, while an institution that should be a center of excellence and a source of pride to the country has become a national albatross.” It submitted that the responsibility to address the problems of non-accreditation of Engineering courses, commencement of second semester exams, a new session, infrastructural upgrade and repositioning of the institution amongst others cannot be left in the hands of the university management alone. The group added: “We hereby call on the Federal Government and its agencies to take urgent steps to implement in full the white paper on the University of Abuja and restore sanity to the institution.”


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Governor teaches English language in primary school From Muyiwa Adeyemi, Ado Ekiti KITI State Governor, Dr E Kayode Fayemi on Tuesday taught Primary 5

pupils of St James Anglican Nursery Primary School, Ado Ekiti, English language for almost 45 minutes, where he also told them that attending a public school should not be seen as being disadvantaged. He also donated 300 copies of dictionary to the pupils ,which he said would assist them to learn new words and boost their vocabularies. “I am passionate about education because I am a product of public education. I never went to a nursery school or private school. So, let nobody tell you that the only way you can rise to the top is to attend private schools,” he said Fayemi who stressed the need for every child of school age in Ekiti State to have access to quality education because “it is the only way to banish poverty from the society,” said his administration was determined to equip all schools in the state with quality facilities, to ensure that no school child studies under trees or substandard classrooms. Fayemi was at the school to flag off of “Parents Reading Exercise,” an initiative of the State Universal Basic Education Board. He said the vision and mission of his administration was to ensure that no pupil of school age is denied the

right as a result of disability. His words: “Education is a right; not just a privilege for those who have money. It must be provided for everybody. So access to education is access to opportunities. It is the only way that we can make poverty disappear from our environment because when you have edu-

cation it is a life-long tool for wealth creation not just for seeking employment but for ensuring that creativity and innovation become tools in our hands.” He said this informed the decision of his administration to embark on the aggressive renovation of all schools across the state.

I am passionate about education because I am a product of public education. I never went to a nursery school or private school. So, let nobody tell you that the only way you can rise to the top is to attend private schools

The Mind the Gap: Gender & Education, a new online game, developed by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics to mark International Women’s Day (8 March), takes players on an interactive journey where they can explore and compare the educational pathways available to girls and women around the world. To play, click on www.uis.unesco.org/mind-the-gapFR

Lagos fetes retired teachers By Ujunwa Atueyi T was a gathering of the old Iandbut still active in thought deeds, last Thursday, at the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board’s (SUBEB) main auditorium, as retired septuagenarians who had served the state meritoriously converged to reunite with their colleagues and also receive their welfare packages given to them by the state government. The event, put together the board, was indeed a reunion for all the retirees as they sang and danced to appreciate God’s faithfulness in their

lives over the years. The welfare packages, a GMG bag otherwise known as Ghana-Must-Go, was handed over to all the 250 septuagenarian, chosen from the 20 local councils in the state, including those represented by their relatives. The Executive Chairman of SUBEB, Mrs. Gbolahan Daodu, who was represented by the Board’s Secretary, Mrs. Titilayo Oluseye, said the event, which is the fifth in the series, was designed to cherish the invaluable contributions of the retired officers and also to reassure them that the state government

still appreciates their services even after retiring. She said: “These welfare packages are meant to give the retired officers who are in their 70s a sense of belonging and to say thank you for their past services to the board and humanity. It is also to encourage those in service that government will not forget them after retiring from the service. We will continue to encourage staff initiative; support for staff performance and merit-based reward system, since it is our responsibility to ensure that the welfare of our staff both retired and serving is given topmost

priority”. The Chairman of Pension, at local government level, (primary), Mr. Joseph Odediran Sanya, who commended the state government for the reunion, appealed for the balance of arrears of 36 months and increment of salary of 10 years starting from 2003. He said: “We are appealing to Governor Raji Fashola to pay us all our arrears before the 31st of March as promised through the Commissioner for Establishment, so that we can enjoy the fruit of our labour before we die. We are appealing to SUBEB to deliver

our message. Tell him to be sympathetic to pensioners. He is a good man and we want him to do more.” Another retiree, Pastor Daniel Olubanwo, said: “Governor Fashola has done well by honouring us today, we are grateful. But, at the same time, we want plead that they should pay us all our outstanding gratuity, 142 per cent, six and 15 per cent increase long due for all retirees. We also pray the governor to set a pace for other governors, by harmonizing the salaries of pensioners in the state”.


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Students discuss novel’s excerpts with author at ZODML By Mary Ogar HE Zaccheus Onumba T Dibiaezue Memorial Libraries (ZODML), a not-forprofit organization, has joined other stakeholders to call on governments at all levels, to ensure that books are made available to children. The organization, which has been working with communities, schools and prisons to bring libraries within the reach of Nigerians who cannot easily have access to reading materials, is also of the view that easy access to libraries among the youths is critical to the revival of a reading culture among them. A member of the ZODML’s board of trustees, Mrs Ifeoma Esiri told The Guardian that her decision to go into the provision of libraries was intended to promote the ideals of self-learning as a tool for addressing illiteracy and poor reading culture of the younger generation of Nigerians. According to her, the desire the late Zaccheus’ family to focus on libraries, including the launch of its online library and website last year, was informed by the belief that self-learning could only be possible if there is free access to educational resources. Having considered some of the factors responsible for the

poor reading culture in Nigeria, she argued that books constitute a key factor in the life of every child. She observed: “Anybody who has a keen interest in books is half way to succeeding in anything he or she wants to do. There are so many things one can do with money in Nigeria, but why we decided to go into the library project and get involved with children including getting authors to talk to them about reading, is because we are following in the footstep of what we enjoyed as young children.” She continued: “I loved reading and if I had the opportunity to talk to an author about his books, I would be so enamored and it would be an amazing experience for me. So, I thought about what I would like if I were a young girl in secondary school, and being exposed to books is what I would have really loved. So, most of our project revolves round books” Meanwhile, at the inaugural session of the ZODML’s Junior Secondary Reading Programme (JSRP) with Prof Anezi Okoro, a renowned author and Professor of Medicine, students from Falomo Junior High School and Ireti Junior Grammar School both in Lagos, had the opportunity of a life time to interact with the author. Okoro, author of “Double

King’s College’s PTA intensifies effort to complete N250m hostel project By Mary Ogar y the time the mega hostel B project, being embarked upon by the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of King’s College, Lagos is completed, the critical accommodation challenges facing the college would have been resolved. Besides, admission opportunities for more qualified students would also have been opened. With the first three floors of the five-storey building due to be ready for accommodation in April when the school would resumes for the third term academic session, the association’s chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Oriakhi, who spoke to journalists in Lagos recently, observed that the parents’ body was leaving no stone unturned to solicit for help to ensure that the hostel project is completed. Estimated at N250 million, the chairman proudly announced that just within a couple of months after the project commenced, the contractors were already on the third floor of the building, which is expected to also accommodate a separate dinning hall on the ground floor. As stakeholders, he admitted that parents have important roles to play in helping the school restore its glory, by providing first class facilities that would compete with other top schools in the country. He disclosed that the hostel facilities would include corporate beds, lockers and CCTV surveillance cameras, stressing that adequate maintenance of the students’ welfare would contribute to overall performance. According to him, that funding for the project has, so far, been derived through PTA levies, sale of raffle tickets and

from friends of the school. Oriakhi who said the federal Ministry of Education had already endorsed the project, also explained that the association was filling a gap in the education sector by embarking on the project, “as government alone cannot provide all the needs of the college.” On the dinning hall, he described as sad, the fact that the students currently eat in batches because of the lack of space to accommodate all of them at the same time students in the dinning hall. He said: “Because they eat in batches, we realized that by 8.00pm when they are supposed to be getting ready for bed, some of them are yet to eat dinner. It is our hope that by the time the hostel is completed, a lot of issues would be addressed. Right now, there is critical shortage of accommodation in the college and we are confident that about 50 per cent of accommodation problem would be solved by the time the project is completed.” Oriakhi also revealed that the association currently has 36 teachers on its monthly payroll, to address the shortfall of teachers due to the large population of students. Appealing to the federal government, through the Ministry of Education to help absorb some of the teachers, he said fully engaging the teachers would motivate them to give in their best. He said: “The PTA teachers are not well motivated because of the paltry sum they are paid, compared to what their peers under the federal government salary structure are getting. We want the government to do the right thing by hiring more teachers, because of the large population of students in the school.”

Cross section of students with the author of Double Trouble, Prof Anezi Okoro and members of the Zaccheus Onumba Dibiaezue Memorial Libraries (ZODML) Board of Trustees, at the inaugural session of the ZODML Junior Secondary Reading Programme (JSRP), held in Lagos recently. Trouble,” is also a consultant Dermatologist and a researcher on albinism. His literary works include eight published novels and a number of poems. The initiative, which has so far featured authors like Prof.  JP Clark and Elechi Amadi, entails a selection of pupils from state government schools, who are given a book to read and then invited to the main library to discuss the book with its author. While questions by the students showed they actually read and enjoyed the book, Esiri admitted that such enthusiasm gives her the

courage to pursue her belief that every young mind “is a mind that actually wants to engage in self learning, and if an opportunity presents itself, that mind will.” Pledging to make all 14 books by Okoro available to the school libraries, she said: “It has confirmed to me that if you channel the minds of children properly, they would actually respond to those stimuli and it makes me feel very happy and encouraged to do more.” Meanwhile, Okoro, who expressed regret over the dearth of libraries in the country, also affirmed: “I was

inspired by the fact that my brother, who was a teacher then, had a library well stocked with books and I cultivated the habit of reading from childhood. I read all kinds of books, even those that were too big for me to carry.” And even at over 85, Okoro, who expressed a strong passion for reading, regretted that he might not get to read some books he would have loved to, before he dies.The author, who listed Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare amongst his favourite authors, has also taken up the challenge to translate 10 of Shakespeare’s

plays entitled Akwukwo Ufodu Shakespeare Koro, which include Romeo and Juliet (‘Romeo na Juliet’), The Merchant of Venice (‘Ogaranya onye ahia nke Venice’), King Lear (Eze Lear) and Macbeth into the Igbo language. He also challenged Nigerian authors to translate major books into Nigerian languages. “There are some people who would only become literate enough to read in their indigenous language and not the English language. So we should make books attractive to all categories of people.”


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SEF partners UK Abbey College on varsity foundation programme By Mary Ogar HE Supreme Education T Foundation (SEF) School, lagos, through its advanced

Head of Information, Local Government Education Authority (LGEA), Mushin, Lagos, Mr Abel Adiatu (left); Miss Lydia Aigbakhan; winner of the 2013 Spelling B competition and also first in Science and Technology, from Our Lady of Fatima (OLF) school, Mushin, Miss Mariam Olaniyi; Education Secretary of the LGEA, Mr. Yusuff Ademola Olokodana; second runner-up, Misarat Abubakar and Head teacher of OLF, Mr Nosiru Mudasiru, during the competition winners’ visit to the LGEA recently.

Grace school rewards outstanding pupils By Mary Ogar RIllIANT students, who B maintained high academic performances, were rewarded with cash prices, certificates and other gift items at the 18th Founder’s Day/Prize Giving ceremony of Grace High School, held recently in lagos.  Even the teachers were not left out. The deserving ones among them, and other non-academic staff members, were also recognized and rewarded. Speaking at the event, the school’s principal, Mr. Richard Cilliers expressed delight at the students’ performance in both internal and external examinations, which, according to him,

had made the school proud.  And to sustain the high performance, the principal urged the students to be careful and beware of the adverse effects of the media, especially what they regard as trendy and fashionable. He said: “Enjoy your childhood and do not be adults before your time. Nowadays, students want to be pop stars, models and others. There is no time to waste on frivolities because you cannot get a minute of your life back once it is wasted. No technology has been able to do that, so avoid a waste of time.” Underscoring the need to honour teachers, the principal said: “these teachers have gone to

school, acquired degrees and have dedicated their lives to teaching. The best engineers or politicians cannot be successful without the support of their teachers. They make sacrifices greater than what we can imagine, so we must all recognize the role of these great men and women and appreciate them for their contributions.” The guest speaker, and Director, Radio Services, Faaji 106.5FM, Daar Communications, Mr. Ambrose Somide also implored the students to avoid distractions. He said: “Always make your parents proud. That is what you owe them for the huge investment they are mak-

ing on your education. Avoid peer pressure and over indulgence in the social media such as facebook, twitter and others for entertainment. Find knowledge wherever you can and always adopt the “I can do spirit.” Presenting scholarships to those who performed well during the annual scholarship examination for indigent students, the school’s administrator, Mrs. Tokunbo Edun appealed to wealthy Nigerians to support indigent students. According to her, this had become imperative in view of the inability of several children to have access to basic education of good quality, on account

studies arm, is partnering with Abbey College, Malvern, United Kingdom (UK), to offer a one-year university foundation programme in Nigeria. Briefing journalists on the modalities in lagos recently, SEF’s Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Adenike Adamilekun, who hosted representatives of the college in Nigeria recently, said the programme provides access to a wide range of courses including Engineering, Science, Business and law. She said: “We don’t want parents or guardians to just take our word for it. We want them to come into the school and talk to us. They can also get counseling to know what their child’s potential is and what course would be good for their children”. Adamolekun, who implored parents to identify the potentials in their children and allow them to pursue courses that they are passionate about, also affirmed that interest forms 50 per cent of the ability to make a success of a course of study. “From our crèche to the top, we are dedicated and committed to providing quality education that is child centered and friendly. I don’t believe any child should be compelled to

study what the parents want. Rather, there is need for parents to discover the potentials of their children and their interest and work towards that.” Adamolekun insisted that no course is useless. “All courses are marketable, as long as you belong to the top echelon. Acquiring education is not just about making big money, but also getting satisfaction in what you do,” she stated. Also, The Executive Director, KOT Educational Services limited, which represents Abbey College in Nigeria, Mrs. Imah ChrisAdegoke, explained that while SEF provides an access point to top universities in the UK, the programme in Nigeria provides a lower cost, compared to the same programme while resident in the UK. She also assured that every student, who graduates from the foundation programme in Nigeria, would be given the Abbey College certification, which is recognized globally. “There are so many ‘A’ level colleges,” she said, “but this is unique and specifically tailored. Those who are familiar with UK education know what they charge. So, my advice is that, students can get good education, pay less and do not need to lower their standard to achieve


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NigeriaCapitalMarket NSE Daily Summary (Equities) PRICE LIST OF SYMBOLS TRADED FOR 6/3/2013

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CAPITAL MARKET

NSE Daily Summary (Equities) as at 06/03/2013

PRICE GAINERS

LOSERS

NSE’s market capitalisation sustains sliding profile, drops by N17 billion By Helen Oji he bears, yesterday, sustained its hold on the trading floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, as major bluechip companies joined the league of losers, as market capitalisation drops further by N17 billion. Yesterday, 33 companies constituted the losers chart, led by Academy Press with 9.29 per cent to close at N2.05 per share, followed by Prestige Assurance with 8.60

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per cent to close at N0.08 per share. Royal Exchange Assurance lost 8.43 per cent to close at N0.76 per share. LearnAfrica shed 4.90 per cent to close at N1.94 per share. Paint Company dropped 4.86 per cent to close at N1.76 per share. Continental Reinsurance dropped 4.76 per cent to close at N1.00 per share. Other losers of yesterday’s transactions include;Cutix,

Ikeja hotel, C&I Leasing, shedding 4.74,4.30 and 4.29 per cent to close at N1.81,N0.89 and N0.67 per share. Neimeth also dropped 4.21 per cent to close at N0.91 per share. On the other hand, 24 companies appreciated in price, as Custodian&Allied insurance topped the gainers chart with 4.71 per cent to close at N2.00 per share while Fidson followed with 4.24per cent to close at N1.72

per share. Dangoteflourmills added 3.87 per cent to close at N9.40 per share. ABC Transport gained 3.77 per cent to close at N0.55 per share. Niger insurance, FTN Cocoa, Oando garnered 3.77,3.39 and N3.36 per share. NEM insurance added 2.30 per cent to close at N 0.89 per share. African Prudential also gained 2.27 per cent to close

at N1.80 per share. Consequently, the All/Share index of the NSE dropped by 53.48 points or 0.1 per cent, from 32,78p4.56 recorded on Tuesday to 32,731.08 while market capitalisation fell by N17 billion, from N10,490 trillion to N10,473 trillion. On the activity chart, the banking sub-sector maintained its dominance in volume terms with 158million shares worth N1.6billion followed by the insurance sub-

sector which traded 39 million units valued at N32 million. The food/products sub-sector featured with 10 million units worth N118milllion. The banking sub-sector was boosted by activities in the shares of Diamond bank and Zenith Bank with 28million shares and 26 million units valued at N209 million and N568million. In all, investors exchanged 278 million shares worth N3.6


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Opinion Reflections on party combinations By Edwin Madunagu HE announcement of a merger of the leading opT position parties in Nigeria is a development which no serious political formation or tendency in the country can ignore or dismiss with cynicism of the type: “they always do this whenever a major election approaches”. Yes, “they” always announce coalitions, alliances, mergers, working agreements, etc, and the more uncharitable commentators may also remind us that they almost invariably fail to achieve their minimum post-announcement objective, that is, to actually deliver a living (and not a still-born or mortally sick) child. When we have granted the cynics and pessimists their due, we may still insist that we are confronted with a development, which rules out the option of “Siddon look”. I would like to propose that hitherto every major political merger or alliance had not only shared features with preceding ones but had also exhibited a uniqueness reflecting the enduring nature of Nigeria’s capitalist political economy, pattern of primitive capitalist accumulation and the character of the ruling classes, on the one hand, and changes in the historical and political conjunctures, on the other. And, given changes in conjunctures, a merger in 2013 may succeed – that is, go beyond the minimum expectation (coming into being as a healthy child) – whereas “similar” mergers or alliances in the past had failed. Of course, we cannot do without reference to history and drawing historical analogies. But having done so – to obtain a general guide – you have to settle down to concrete analyses of concrete situations. The point is that the configuration of socio-political forces in the country at the moment is quite unique. In 2009, midway into late Yar’Adua’s first term (which he could not complete), Dr. Anthony Akinola’s article, Fusion, not party alliances, was published in this newspaper. More than three years later, on Monday, February 11, 2013, the article was re-published by the newspaper. Although I read the entire article and enjoyed it, what has arrested my attention since its second appearance is the statement carried by the opening two sentences: “There is no serious ideological divide in Nigeria. What divides Nigerians is their ethnicity or religion”. I involuntarily shouted, “it is not true” as I read the two

sentences. Then, I slowly went through the article to ensure I was not reacting out of context or, rather, reading my friend and compatriot literally or superficially. Not satisfied, I phoned him. We talked for quite some time and he tried to clarify his statement. But I was still not satisfied. As a general statement of social relations between Nigerians, Akinola’s statement is not correct. A formal refutation would be: “there are serious ideological divides in Nigeria, although there are also serious ethnic and religious divides. It is the “mix” of these “divides” that is acted out in political struggles. As a statement of relations between political parties, groups and tendencies in Nigeria, Akinola’s statement is only partially true. Many political analysts would agree that all the known political parties in Nigeria today (with or without certificates of registration) – and they are more than 80 - can fit into less than 10 parties. What is responsible for the present number is neither religion, nor ethnicity, nor ideology. Please, ask touts struggling for passengers at the motor parks what divides them. On the other hand, it would be false to say that there is no ideological divide between, for instance, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) or between ACN and Balarabe Musa-led Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), or between the PDP and the various political groups and tendencies that collectively go by the description socialist. But, then, why, in spite of clear ideological differences, is it possible for political parties to go into a combination – in form of coalition, alliance, “understanding” or merger? The answer to this question goes deep into the meaning of ideology and the nature of politics where ideology is most explicitly played out. Ideology, or more strictly, political ideology, does not consist merely in listing what a group believes and propagates and on the platform of which it engages in political struggle. A political ideology, properly so called, goes further to argue that its own vision of society is the best for humanity in general, or a particular nationstate, or both. I mean the entire humanity or nation-state, and not a fraction of it. A political

ideology goes beyond its class base – which could be very narrow – and speaks to the nation in its entirety: “I am your saviour”. It is because an ideological political party addresses the whole polity and claims to represent all its segments – however contradictory the aspirations within that polity – and, if it gets to power, rules over the whole polity and not a fraction of it or the party supporters alone, that the party is able to go in combinations. Let me put this point differently and, hopefully, more clearly, since it can be easily misinterpreted. There are several contradictions and struggles going on simultaneously in society: class, gender, generational, occupational, as well as religious and ethnic. Each of these contradictions and the resultant struggles has its own terrain, language and methods; but political struggle occupies the widest terrain, has the most general language (in fact appropriates all languages) and uses all methods (including, in particular, those of religion and ethnicity). To use a technical formulation: Political struggles are waged at the level of the social formation as whole whereas other struggles are waged at the levels of social segments. It is because of this nature of politics, political struggle and political ideology that a political party, if it is serious and self-confident, should be able to swim across class, ethnic, regional, religious and gender boundaries – and, in doing so, expand its membership beyond its social base and form alliances and, in extreme cases, enter a merger. But there are limits; there are “red lights”. Apart from theoretical limits, a serious political party need not be told when its specific content, what makes it a different party, is being dissolved. A number of conclusions can be drawn from this long talk. One of them is this: The fact that two or more political parties have gone into a combination (alliance or merger) does not necessarily mean that they have or had no “serious” ideological differences or even major ideological differences. It may rather be that the combining parties share ideological elements (not ideology) sufficient to fight together at a particular point in time; or that

they all feel their existence threatened or have identified a common immediate enemy; or that their various “constituencies” do clamor for combination, etc. These are all “positive” reasons. Turning to the negative, it may also be that the combination is informed by opportunism or “marriage of convenience”; or even a sudden discovery that they have no irreconcilable ideological differences after all! One question that is bound to come up in the Left, especially in the circles of academics among them, is whether the party combination that has just been announced (ACN, CPC, ANPP and part-APGA) is a “good thing”, that is, a progressive political development for the nation as a whole. This a responsible question – the type that only the Left can ask – provided it does not degenerate into a sterile academic exercise, the type that late Comrade Tony Engurube used to call “intellectual masturbation”. My present attitude is to abstract a smaller question from the larger one, and that smaller question is: “What effects – immediate and distant – is the combination likely to produce in the polity? My response is first: that the merger of the current leading opposition parties, including ACN and CPC, will produce, in the country, two large and national ruling class parties: the new one being more populist than the older (PDP). The more the number of smaller political parties, groups and tendencies this new large party is able to draw to itself the more national it becomes. All this, of course, depends on whether the new party (All Progressive Congress – APC) is able to survive its birth-pangs and the PDP also survives its current internal crisis, which is happening as the APC is being born. If an implosion happens in either or both camps we are back to one dominant national party of the ruling classes – which may be an entirely new formation based on a combination of chunks of PDP and APC. Either way, “Siddon look” is not a response. Since independence in 1960 there had been about four other major party combinations of the type that produced APC: The United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA) of the First Republic, the Progressive Parties Alliance (PPA) of the Second Republic, Social Democratic Party (SDP) and National Republican Convention (NRC) of the Babangida transition (1989 - 1993). Of these five combinations, two were alliances (UPGA and PPA) and two were mergers (SDP and NRC). • To be continued next Thursday.

Now, weapons of mass disruption By Jide Olakunle “We worried for decades about WMDs – Weapons of Mass Destruction. Now it is time to worry about a new kind of WMDs – Weapons of Mass Disruption.”  – John Mariotti N August 6, 1945 at about 8.05am, United States Air Force dropped an atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Japan. The effect of the bomb on human and physical infrastructure was so massive that the Japanese leadership had to surrender to the allied nations, thereby closing the ugly chapter of the war. Since the end of World War 11, atomic and nuclear bomb have been the weapons of choice for Western allies to show power and authority. The cold war era came with nuclear warhead race between the United States and the defunct Soviet Union, USSR. However, since the collapse of USSR, world powers, United Nations Security Council and other bodies have been using coercion, economic support, blackmail, embargo and threat of war to delay, deter and destroy nation-states’ nuclear ambition. Iran is the latest example of a country suffering economic blockage and threat of war because of nuclear ambition. Although nuclear and atomic bombs are still very lethal to human existence, the tactics, weapons and strategy of warfare are changing. The weapons of mass destruction are not very available and are highly restricted to fewer nations. However, the weapons of mass disruption are available and easily accessible for people to use in offices, homes, or in transit. Internet destroys physical geographical entity to create a global village, brought unprecedented economic opportunities and create new set of bad actors. These actors include a lone individual using internet tools to steal identity and commit financial crime, a whiz kid testing hacking skill by launching denial of service attack on critical service, a political action hacker defacing a website to prove a point; an organisation sponsoring hacking on rival firms to gain competitive advantage and steal intellectual property or a nation state launching advance persistent threat (APT) to destroy another country’s financial or military capability. A cyber attack is the deliberate exploitation of computer systems, technology-dependent enterprises and networks. Cyber-attack uses malicious code to alter computer codes, logic or data, resulting in disruptive consequences for political, economic or entertainment gain. The consequences include identity thief, malware and virus attack, denial of service, distributed denial of service attack, breach of access, website defacement, intellectual thief, website exploit and destruction of infrastructure. Despite these threats and enormous vulnerabilities embedded in the Internet, cyberspace is becoming increasingly integrated and essential to every individual, family, business and government. Our

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daily existence depends entirely on services running or connecting through Internet. Oil distribution, banking services, mobile telecommunication, water services, electricity generation and distribution are all dependent on Internet connectivity to function effectively and efficiently. The magnitude and possible effect of cyber attack on critical infrastructure are prompting nations like United States, China, Russia and other developed ones to develop advanced offensive and defensive capabilities for cyber warfare. The questions most conventional warfare pundits often ask is: Is cyber attack a reality or myth? The latest report by Mandiant, a security firm based in California United States on the cyber espionage was an eye opener and a reminder that cyber warfare is real and ongoing. The report detailed China’s persistent attack on U.S. institutions and organisations from 2004 till date. The report though contested by Chinese government as inaccurate established that most of the Advance Persistent Threat (APT) on U.S. organisations originated from IP addresses linked to Unit 61398. Unit 61398 is a military unit of People’s Liberation Army based in Shanghai. Also in the first two months of year 2013, the five largest financial institutions have suffered denial of service attack. The financial impacts of these attacks have not been established. The cyber attack reached a credo when big corporations started releasing statements that they have been hacked. As at date, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook have all released statements on the attempted hacking. The incessant attack forced the U.S. president to issue executive order on cyber security to strengthen and protect the basic infrastructure. Back home, a cyber attack on Nigeria’s infrastructure will not only be devastating but also compound the country’s problems. A network breach that disrupts the distribution of electricity from Oshogbo transmission station will compound the financial cost, service attack on Nigeria’s Interbank settlement system will cause economic disruption and malware attack on Nigeria Stock Exchange electronic platform. This would disrupt business activities and cause unprecedented loss. What will happen to cashless environment being promoted by CBN in an event of outage for days or weeks as a result of electronic payment platform infrastructure attack? A remote hijacking of computer system in Kanji Dam to release massive water will not lead to flood but massive loss of lives. What will be the implication of electronic jamming of communication circuits and systems? All these scenarios may seem impossible, but government and people of Estonia, Lithuania and Georgia will nod to verify their possibilities. Is Nigeria in-charge of her cyber security of critical infrastructure?

The answer is No. Nigeria depends on oil to finance her government. However, the control of the extraction, refining and transportation are on joint venture operators dominated by Europeans, Americans and Chinese. Recently, the almighty Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was unbundled and sold off. The transmission company will be handed over to Manitoba Hydro, a Canadian company to manage and all the generating plants are sold to companies with ties to British, China, Russia and Israel. NITEL is dying and our mobile communication is majorly run by South African firm, MTN, Airtel from India while the local owned Globacom has her top management from Asia. The effect of any cyber attack on Nigeria infrastructure will be very devastating, but the chance of occurrence is still very low. This provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to develop institutional frameworks that will enhance the country’s capacity to protect and defend its assets. The Ministry of Communication Technology, Nigeria Communication Commission, National Security Adviser office, National Assembly and private organisations need to work in concert to solve the problem. Access to and knowledge of our critical infrastructure is scattered among nations and individuals. Our government has less control over it because of the recent privatization exercises. Government should leverage on private-public partnerships as an effective tool for collaboration on addressing current and emerging threats. Platform for information sharing should be established and sustained. National Assembly has passed law on minor Internet scam popularly called ‘419’. This is now the time for the National Assembly to review the cyber security status, our security preparedness and promulgate a law to guide activities of all operators in critical segments. The Nigeria Standards Organisation and other regulators must come out with measures that will guide organisations operating on critical segments for cyber security. Individual organisations must strengthen their information technology security units with skillful employee and right technical equipment. Police and military personnel should be retrained on the dynamics of the modern warfare. The United States just opened a predator drone base in Niger Republic, our neighbour state. In conclusion, years ago, a common axiom was “We cannot be suicide bombers because Nigerians love life and appreciate it”. The Boko Haram menace has proved that assertion wrong. Nigeria is not immune to cyber attack; the earlier we develop defensive and offensive strategies, the stronger the country’s position in the comity of nations. • Olakunle, a cyber security expert wrote from United States.


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Opinion What happened to African hospitality? By Cornelius Omonokhua feel nostalgic for the African village setting. Imake The things I took for granted as a child so much meaning to me now. Even with all the technological development and advancement I have come to realise that our fathers and mothers were heroes in the past. I am grateful to God for enabling me witness the time when visitors were accommodated in our homes without having to pay rent. I witnessed the time when land was never a commercial commodity in our villages. Land was joyfully given to those who have enough resources to build houses. Land was leased unconditionally to those who have the energy to farm. Marriage was not dictated by religion, otherwise I would not have seen the light of day if my maternal grand father who was a Muslim did not allow my mother to marry my father who was not a Muslim. Even when the drums of the Nigeria/Biafra war echoed very loud, my father did not allow the Igbo in our house to go home. When the soldiers invaded our house with the booming frightening question, “where are the enemies you kept in this house”? my father responded: “We do not have enemies in this house. The Igbo people in this house are members of this family”. I wonder where he got the courage to do this. Perhaps he was lucky that his elder brother who was a soldier in the Nigerian Army was home that day. At the end of the war, one of the Igbo men married my cousin. When he was leaving finally, he prayed: “May whoever comes from this family find favour with any Igbo person anywhere in the world”. I dare to say that today; God is still answering this prayer for members of my family. Where a person comes from should really not make a difference to us. What should matter to us is that we share a common humanity and a common destiny. The report by Hamza Idris and Yahaya

Ibrahim on Sunday, January 27, 2013 that the Shehu of Borno appealed to the fleeing subjects to return to Maiduguri reveals the need to recapture the African tradition of hospitality.  The statement of His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr.) Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai AlAmin El-Kanemi,  the Shehu of Borno and vice chairman of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Nigeria captured the fact that the value of hospitality in Africa calls for a fresh appraisal. The Shehu said: “We go back to the traditional system of administration, a situation whereby a stranger comes to your domain, his first port of call is the palace of the village head who will know why he comes, what his occupation is, for how long he would stay or has he come to stay permanently? This is done before the visitor is allocated a place to stay and a land to farm. If we have a register that we keep all these things, you would know who your subjects are. If such powers were given to the village head and district heads, most of the challenges will be over. I feel if we can go back to that era, things will augur well.” This is particularly important to me because what the Shehu narrated is not different from what obtained in Edo State where I come from. This will also confirm the opinion of those who believe strongly in the unity of Africa in general and Nigeria in particular.  Today, things have changed drastically because almost everything is valued in money. In the past the value of money is what money could buy, yet it was not everything that could be given in exchange for money. Children were seen as gift from God. In the past, children belonged to the whole community. Today, children have become victims of religious, communal, and ethnic violence. In the past, even some snakes respected children. In Africa, it was unheard of that a child was bitten by a snake. What has gone wrong with the African sense of human value? In the past, the joy of one per-

son was the joy of the whole community. Today, the joy of a person can become bad news for another person. In the past, the sorrow of one person was shared by the entire community. I still remember what happened when I was young. When a person died, the news spread like wild fire. It does not matter whether the person was a Christian or a Muslim, everybody would begin to return from the farm. The community was at a standstill until the person is buried. Today, it is “to your tent”. When did things really fall apart? What actually happened to African sense of community? How and when did we drop our values of unconditional generosity, the unconditional readiness to share, the willingness to give, to help, to assist, to love and to carry one another’s burden without reward? What exactly was the African driving force to create a celestial community out of a terrestrial family? Some people are really getting nauseated with the argument and appeal to the destabilisation of traditional life by colonialism, foreign world views, new religions, technology and modern living. Can all these accused elements not be transformed into more capacity, skills and tools to make African life better? Once upon a time, African hospitality was described as a way of “being an African” and African culture was captured in this context. It is a scandal that some of the violence we suffer today in some part of Africa and Nigeria in particular borders on “who owns the land”. When Sony Okosun sang, “I want to know who owns the land”, he was fighting for the emancipation and liberation of the blacks from the white dominated South Africa. I wonder if today the relationship between the whites and blacks in South Africa is not better than the discrimination and ethnic tensions we experience in some other parts of Africa today.

I hate to think about the recent news that is being reported in some parts of Nigeria where people who speak the same language are being disengaged from work because they do not come from the state where they are working. The introduction of “non indigenes” syndrome in some states is a systematic way of dismembering a people who once lived together as brethren. What do we do with the pledge that ‘though tongue and tribe may differ, in unity we stand?’ The time has come for us to identify the elements that are further tearing us apart as a nation in order not to contradict our nature as Africans. That there are still some generous individuals in Africa indicate that the present chronic selfishness found in some people and communities is not in “African character”. The gift of hospitality and generosity is innate in us and hidden deep within us. We can still find it if only we can make the sacrifice to conquer the fear that our guest can turn against us tomorrow and capture our land as it has happened in some places in the past, and even now. I pray that those who have turned terrorists to their hosts in some parts of Africa may have a change of heart. May we have the courage to endeavour to sustain the desire to do “good” to all who come our way! Otherwise, we may not know when God’s angels will pass us bye. Whatever good you do to assist a person, you do it to God who will surely reward you (Matthew 25: 40). In the Quran, hospitality is obligatory. “They feed with food the needy wretch, the orphan, and the prisoner, for love of Him, saying, ‘We wish for no reward nor thanks from you.’ (Qur’an 76.8-9). May we recover that which has passed us. • Fr. Omonokhua is the Director of Mission and Dialogue of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja and Consultor of the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims (C.R.R.M), Vatican City.

Public safety and electricity infrastructure By Lateef Salami ODERN living as we know it, has been made possible by a M ground-breaking transformation, the discovery of electricity. This lifeblood of modern living is so vital that humans have devised and continued to search for various means to convert all other forms of energy into the production of electrical energy, so much so that the quality of life and living of any human being today is as good as the amount of electricity that is available to him. However, as useful as electricity is, it is also one of the deadliest of human discoveries. This is why the subject of safety occupies the topmost position in the training of electrical engineers in general and power systems engineers in particular. One could still recall the admonition of the electrical engineering laboratory instructors during undergraduate days telling us students to handle electricity with utmost care as one’s very first mistake may well turn out to be the last. Yes! electricity is that deadly; that breach of safety standards that do not result in instant fatalities but always result in grievous injuries that leave scars for the rest of one’s days. The only point of contact with the public utility for the vast majority of Nigerians is at the distribution level. This may be one of the reasons why, in the ongoing “customer driven” power reforms, distribution entities account for more than half of the successor companies arising from the unbundling of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). At this juncture, it bears stating to the distribution companies (DISCOS) that the number one goal of any power distribution system is to be absolutely safe for the end users. That is, not to present any electrical hazard to the people utilising it and to be inherently safe for those that are saddled with its maintenance. The Discos should avoid carrying on with the present unbridled PHCN exploitation of Nigerians by charging obscenely for services not rendered and coercing them to pay. On Thursday, January 31, 2013 at about 04:30 hour at Aladelola street, Ikosi, Ketu Lagos under Ojodu Business Unit of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC), two persons were electrocuted when one of the conductors on an 11kV line snapped and fell on a car that was parked within a residential compound. According to the accounts of the residents, the

car caught fire and this drew the attention of the security man of a nearby compound who subsequently raised the fire alarm by repeatedly shouting Fire! Fire! Not knowing that the cause of the fire was a broken and still live high tension wire, the guard met his instant death by electrocution when he moved closer to the burning car to douse the fire with water. The fire continued to burn and the body of the security man was lying close to the burning car. The people living in the immediate surroundings of the incidence had, by then, been roused from their sleep and in the ensuing commotion of trying to get their children to safety no one had realised that a live 11kV was lying around. The second victim, who incidentally was a staff of PHCN, also moved closer to the burning car with a bucket of water and met instant death when he poured the water. It was at this point that it now dawned on everybody that the fire was no ordinary fire but the fire of death. The second victim is survived by the mother, a wife and three children amongst other relatives. A similar incident occurred in Ibadan in June 2012 that claimed about seven lives, including that of a pregnant woman and a nursing mother. At the time of the Ibadan incident, the industry regulator, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) issued a statement two days after the incidence, commiserating with the government and people of Oyo State on the unfortunate incidence. In the said release, NERC called on all distribution companies to ensure that protection schemes on all distribution lines are fully functional. The industry regulator was just carrying out its mandate in the Ibadan incidence in accordance with the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) 2005, which empowers NERC to ensure the safety, security, reliability and quality of service in the production and delivery of electricity to consumers. Owing to the enormity of the challenges bedeviling the power sector, NERC cannot afford to be complacent. This is because no similar statement to that issued in Ibadan was made by either NERC or IKEDC, under whose jurisdiction the January 2013 incidence occurred. It is either the regulator is not aware of the incidence or they are ignorant of the importance of doing so. Making a statement will be one of the ways that can at least assuage those who have lost fathers, sons,

husbands, relatives and friends in the electrical accident at Aladelola Street. Is there any redress that can be sought by the families of the victims? What is the status of the protection scheme on this particular line? It is a statutory safety requirement that a clearance distance be maintained between electric power installations and any type of property. It is against the law for structures to be located directly under power facilities or within the specified safe clearance distance. The specified minimum horizontal clearance of overhead conductor from buildings is 2.5metres for 33kV lines, 1.8m for 11kV lines and 1.8m for 415V lines. An observation of the 11kV line that passes through Aladelola Street indicates a breach of the safety clearance. What cannot be established is whether the 11kV line precedes the houses on the street or it is the other way round. In its response to the ever-present clamour by consumers for a more reliable power supply and in tackling the incidences of distribution transformers overload, PHCN often times erect or extend 11kV lines in already built up and inhabited areas. However, this practice should impose on the electricity giant the duty to observe a more stringent safety standard (in the erection and maintenance of such lines) and not the unsightly joints that can be observed on the line that traverses Aladelola Street. The Aladelola electrical accident last January sentenced the residents of the street and its environs to about a week of blackout. These same residents are expected to willy-nilly pay N500 monthly as fixed charge. How much customer-centric can the power sector reform get? Regardless of the humongous (that word again) shortcomings of the power utilities, the Nigerian public still prefers to use public power on the rare occasions when it is available. This explains why listeners of various radio stations are inundated with pleas to PHCN to supply power. It has just been announced that Mr. President has approved a princely sum of N384 billion as severance pay for the entitlement of PHCN staff. This fast-forwarding of the enjoyment of terminal benefits by PHCN staff is a fallout of the reforms. We hope dubious bills, uninterrupted blackouts and fast-forwarded deaths will not be the lot of the public in the customer-driven power sector reforms. • Salami wrote from Lagos.


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THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

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THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

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Sports UEFA begins proceedings against Manchester United

South Africa 2013 CAF Nations Cup Fall-Out

Wenger commends Keshi, tips Super Eagles for greatness By Christian Okpara RSENAL Manager, Arsene A Wenger believes that given time the Super Eagles would become a team to reckon with in international football. Speaking on the just concluded 29th African Nations Cup, Wenger said Nigeria’s victory showed that a team could win while playing beautiful football, adding that Stephen Keshi’s team has all the ingredients needed to build a great side. Fielding questions in the latest edition of Arsenal, the club’s official magazine, Wenger said, “to sum it up best you would say this African Nations Cup is a triumph for West Africa and the downfall of North Africa — Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia all went out in the first round, Unusually. Egypt wasn’t there at all. “Also we saw a big disappointment for Cote d’Ivoire, who was the big favourite to win, and the triumph of Nigeria. The day Cote d’Ivoire went out, you would say Nigeria or Ghana would win it.” Wenger said he was happy Nigeria won “because it is a country of huge football passion, 170 million people – the biggest country in Africa- and they have suffered for so long with disorganised football. “Their Manager, Stephen

Keshi, who played in France and I know, did a remarkable job. He brought in some young players, who did really well. “Obi Mikel was their guide and they played the most attractive football. They played with three strikers, Victor Moses and Emenike did well too.” Wenger praised Keshi for deploying some home-based players in his games, saying that it would ensure that the foreign-based players would now take the national team serious. According to Wenger, “usually the Europe-based players are given red carpet treatment when they come to play for their African countries, at the expense of the local players. The fact that Keshi refused to do that deserves a lot of credit. He chose a lot of young players, even at the back, which he deserves credit for.” Wenger said he watched most of the games on television, although he sent some scouts to monitor some of the games. He added, “we are scouting everywhere, but having said that, every club today does that. “When we go for some games you see about 50 scouts and half of them are from England. There is a huge competition out there and you need to take even bigger gambles than before.”

Kanu wants NFF to intervene in Keshi, Odemwingie rift From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja ORMER Nigeria skipper, Nwankwo Kanu has called on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to mediate in the rift between West Bromwich Albion striker, Osaze Odemwingie, and the Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi. The former Portsmouth of England player, who stressed that though no player is bigger than the country, said the team still needs Odemwingie and others in its quest to qualify for the Brazil 2014 World Cup. Speaking during the formal presentation of the Edwin Clark U-18 International Football Tournament to the donor in Abuja, Kanu also appealed to the West Brom forward to understand and acknowledge the fact that the head coach is totally in charge. “As I always say, the situation is something that they have to sort out. The NFF has to be involved to make sure it is sorted out. Keshi is the boss as the coach while Osaze is a player. The situation is between a player and a coach and whatever decision the coach takes becomes the final.

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“However, no matter the situation, Odemwingie remains a good player that of course Nigeria would need any day any time. But, the situation is now a big problem and the earlier they resolve it the better. Therefore, the NFF has to intervene to ensure that there is peace. “Let me also correct the impression that winning the Nations Cup without some senior players does not mean that they are no longer needed in the team. What it means is that Nigeria is blessed. It also shows that we have the talent, the players and we can now do without anybody, because nobody is bigger than the country. The meaning is that whoever you are and wherever you are, you have to appreciate that Nigeria is bigger than any individual. “The players must understand the magnitude of pressure on them from the over 160 million Nigerians. No player should see himself as God and it applies also to every other Nigerian in every field of human endeavour. Every player must begin to appreciate the importance of the invitation to play for fatherland,” he noted.

UROPEAN football governE ing body, UEFA, has begun disciplinary proceedings against Manchester United following its Champions League defeat by Real Madrid on Tuesday. The body is taking action over Nani’s red card and the “nonfulfilment of post-match media obligations” at Old Trafford. Nani was sent off by Turkish Referee, Cuneyt Cakir in the 56th minute for a high challenge on Alvaro Arbeloa. The English champions went on to lose the tie 3-2 on aggregate. Nani’s red card is subject to a disciplinary review, which will decide whether the automatic one-match ban should be extended. Manchester United Manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, reacted angrily to the sending off and did not appear for the postmatch interviews, with assistant Mike Phelan taking his place. Phelan explained that Ferguson was not in the right frame of mind to speak publicly so soon after the match, saying, “it’s a distraught dressing room and a distraught manager. That’s why I am sitting here now.”

Third D.K. Olukoya National Under-18 athletics begins HE third edition of the D.K. T Olukoya National Under-18 Athletics Championships

Super Eagles’ Assistant Coach, Daniel Amokachi, carries Coach Stephen Keshi shoulder high after the final whistle of the South Africa 2013 CAF Nations Cup. Nigeria won the trophy by a lone goal victory over Burkina Faso. PHOTO: AFP.

Kenyan elections delay Harambee Stars’ World Cup preparation HE delayed announcement T of the Kenya presidential polls results has forced the

facing the Super Eagles, said although they were meant to report for training on yestercountry to shift a camp for a day, they were informed that World Cup tie against Nigeria. no one is working because of The training camp will now the elections.  begin today as the Harambee The former Burundi coach Stars begin preparations to appointed to take over travel to African champions, Harambee Stars named a proNigeria,  on March 23  in visional squad last week. Calabar in a World Cup quali- The selection of players was fying match.  local based with the foreignNewly appointed Coach, based pros expected to join up Adel Amrouche said his  play- later.  ers are already in town, awaitKenya is bottom of Group F ing to enter camp  this morn- with one point, three points ing.  behind leaders Nigeria.  Amrouche, who earlier this In the Kenyan squad are goalweek said he is not afraid of keepers,  Duncan Ochieng,

Boniface Oluoch, Fredrick Onyango.  The defenders are  Edwin Wafula, James Situma, Abdalla Juma, Collins Kisuya, Abdulatif Omar, David Owino, David Ochieng, Eugene Asike, and James Mulinge, Crispin Odula. To fight for places in the mid  field are Anthony Akumu, Anthony Kimani (Sofapaka), Peter Opiyo, Daniel Onyango, Kevin Omondi, Bob Mugalia, Francis Kahata, and Paul Were. The strikers listed for the camp are Jesse Were, Rama Salim, Paul Mungai, Michael Olunga, Allan Wanga, and Mohamed Hassan.

begins today at the Sports Complex of Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. As at yesterday, athletes from eight states, 17 clubs and three schools have entered for the youth athletics fiesta that will be used to select Nigeria’s contingent to the maiden African Athletics Youth Championship in Warri. Assistant Secretary of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Olufemi Ajao confirmed yesterday that this edition is bound to throw up fresh talents to make the country proud. “We have concluded all arrangements to make sure that this edition meet our expectations by throwing up fresh junior talents for the country. The number of entries we received is very encouraging,” observed Ajao.

Participants query NFF’s Match Commissioners’ seminar By Gowon Akpodonor HERE were discordant tunes from some participants, who took part in the annual seminar organised by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for Match Commissioners in Abuja yesterday. A list of 20 Match commissioners from each of the 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), took part in the seminar, which was declared open by the NFF President, Aminu Maigari, at the Conference Hall of the National Institute for Sports, inside the Abuja National Stadium Complex. One of those, who took part in the seminar said in a chat with The Guardian shortly

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before the opening that the football house collected the sum of N20,000 from every participant as registration fee, an action he describes as ‘unfair.’ “This is an indirect way of telling the Match commissioners to do whatever they like to get their money back whenever they are given matches to handle in the league. Those who came up with such idea do not mean well for the league,” he said. Giving a breakdown of the money allegedly collected by the NFF from the participants, the Match Commissioner said, “each state has 20 participants who paid N20,000 each and that amounted to N400,000. It means the NFF pocketed over N14 million

from 740 participants who came from 36 states and the FCT. This is fraudulent and I want the National Sports Commission (NSC) to look into it because this will certainly have a spill over effect on the league,” he said. According to him, all the 740 participants paid their way to Abuja, accommodated themselves and took care of their feeding. “So, tell me why Match commissioners will not go out of their way to harass club owners for money whenever they are given league matches to handle? What happened to the sponsor they secured for the league or is it that someone is just trying to play a fast one on us?” he queried. Speaking further, the angry

Match Commissioner said, “in the few days Davidson Owumi spent as chairman of the Nigeria Premier League, he was able to take care of things like this. The sponsorship deal he signed took care of seminars for referees and match commissioners before the commencement of the season. “If Match commissioners and referees are paying so much for a seminar, tell me why people will not go out of their way to get money from the various clubs? This is one of the things that contributed to the downfall of our league. I don’t see any reason why the NFF should make so much money on our head when the reverse should be the case if the proper things are done.”


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

SPORTS 73

South Africa 2013 CAF Nations Cup Fall-Out

Cameroun cannot imitate Nigeria successfully, says Bell the victory of the StheINCE Super Eagles of Nigeria in Africa Cup of Nations 2013, the Super Eagles has aroused admiration in Cameroun, with its representation of local players and the side-lining of experienced professionals, such as Peter Odemwingie. Certain figures within Camerounian football even wish the Indomitable Lions could do the same thing, by side-lining their “bourgeois” professional footballers to the benefit of their local players, who have “the hunger to win.” An idea, which does not, however, appeal to former Indomitable Lions’ goalkeeper, Joseph Antoine Bell; “Nigeria is not Cameroon.  We cannot copy

Nigeria’s example under the pretext that they included local players in their Nations Cup team. Because to do this one would have to be certain that Cameroun have amateur players of the same calibre as Nigeria.   But this is not certain,” stated Bell. It was in fact a local player, Sunday Mba of the Enugu Rangers, who scored Nigeria’s victorious goal in the Nations Cup final against Burkina Faso. But for Joseph Antoine Bell, Cameroun should not be asking questions about locals or professionals, since according to him, they are all Camerounians, who should be selected according to strict criteria of performance and complementarity.

“The national team is about excellence. These are the best players who are selected to play and to defend the colours of their country. The national team is not about the juxtaposition of talents.   But this is what we have been doing in Cameroun for a long time now. “The national coach should select the best players who are able to be deployed for a specific plan,” the double African champion argued. Cameroun failed to qualify for the last Nations Cup after losing to tiny Cape Verde 3-2 on aggregate.

Students contest during the last inter-primary schools competition tagged Channels Kid held at the Legacy Pitch of the National Stadium in Lagos.

Delta Governor’s Cup Soccer Championship enters knockout stage By Gowon Akpodonor LL is now set for the knockout stages of the Governor’s Cup in Delta State. The zonal elimination matches will kick off in four centers beginning on March 11. Rising from a meeting in Asaba, the Main Organising Committee (MOC), put in place by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan for the championship, fixed March 11, 12 and 13 for the knockout matches, while the quarterfinal holds on March 18 and 19. Semi final and final will take place in April. Schools representing three local government areas in Zone A, Oshimili North, Oshimili South and Aniocha South will do battle at Gbenoba Grammar School in Agbor. While Ugbolu Secondary School, Ugbolu

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Asaba, Oghara, Sapele, others to host matches trade tackles with Comprehensive secondary school by 2.00pm on March 11, Niger Mixed secondary school, Asaba will confront Comprehensive Secondary School, Ogwashi-Uku on March 12. The game between Ugbolu secondary school and Niger Mixed secondary school will hold the next day (March 13). In Zone B, which has representatives from Isoko North, Isoko South and Ukwuani, matches will be played at Utagba-Ogbe Technical College, Kwale. The matches are Emo-Eni Grammar School Ellu vs St. George’s Grammar School, Obinomba (March 11), St. Michael’s College, Oleh vs St. George’s (March 12) and St. Michael’s Collage vs Emo-Eni (March 13).

Zone C has representatives from Warri North, Sapele and Ughelli North with Oghareki Model Secondary School, Oghara, as match venue. The matches are Iwere College, Koko vs Ogiedi Mixed Secondary School, Ogiedi (March 11), Ogiedi vs Edjekots secondary school, Edjekota (March 12) and Edjekota vs Iwere College, Koko (March 13). In Zone D are representatives from Aniocha North, Ika South and Ika North East with St. Patrick’s College, Asaba as venue. The matches are Technical college, Issele-Uku vs Gbenoba Grammar school, Agbor (March 11), Ute-Okpe Grammar School vs Gbenoba (March 12) and Ute-Okpe Grammar School vs Technical college (March 13).

Athletes thrill Oshodi, NASCOM at Premier Lotto Athletics meet Athletes compete at the last Lagos State Sports Festival tagged Ibile Games

By Olalekan Okusan

10th Biennial Police Games

HE performance of athletes T at the maiden Premier Lotto Lagos Schools Athletics

Force Headquarters leads as medals come tumbling in

Championship have attracted accolades from the Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Wahid Oshodi, as well as, the Chairman, Nigeria Academicals Sports Committee (NASCOM), Yemi Idowu. Oshodi and Idowu watched the finals of 100metres yesterday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium and they both concluded that that with more competitions more talents would be unearthed from schools.

ORCE Headquarters (FHQ) Fbiennial has taken the on-going 10th Police Games by the scruff of the neck, with its athletes dominating in most of the games already decided at the competition holding in Port Harcourt. As at yesterday morning, Force Headquarters has already won four gold medals, three silver and two bronze to occupy the top spot on the laurels’ table. Zone Seven occupies the second spot with three gold and four bronze medals, Zone Two has two gold, two silver and one bronze medal to stay third, while Zone Five is fourth with two gold, three bronze medals to occupy the fifth position. The competition in the ongoing games has been keenly contested, with the football event holding at the Liberation Stadium, Elekahia, attracting the most number of fans. However, the results of the feats by the athletes at the Agbani Darego Sports Complex, venue of the martial arts events, have dragged some of then fans to that venue to witness outstanding medal-wining performances by the athletes.

Already, medalists have already emerged in Karate, Taekwondo and Judo. In the +100Kg category of Judo, David Joseph of Zone 11 clinched the gold, while the silver went to Victor Nwaozuzu of Zone 9. Kayode Oyewole of Zone 2 and Ojah Ekpenyong of Zone FHQ won bronze medals each. In the -100kg weight category, Raphael Ubah  (Zn 9) took the gold, Sikiru Olatunde (Zn 8) got the silver, while Atanda Ashimiyu (FHQ) – and Joseph Ekpenyong (Zn 6) took the bronze medals. In the 81kg weight category, Joseph Yohannah (Zn 7) won the gold, Abubakar Ibrahim (Zn 2) took the silver, with the bronze medals going to Suleiman Abdullahi (Zn 8) and Moses Agwon (Zn 4). In the Tug-of-War pull held at the Police Children School, Zone 7, Abuja, defeated Zone 2 in the male category, while Zone 9 beat Zone 4 in the female category. In the same female group, FHQ defeated Zone 6, while Zone 2 crushed Zone 7.    The competition continues today with the football and track and field events taking centre stage.

“I think this is the beginning of every athlete that must have made it to the top and with what we are watching now, some of these athletes will in near future represent Nigeria at world level. This is what we are preaching in Lagos and we believe other states will take a cue from this because the future of sports is at the grassroots level. “ Imagine some of these athletes discovered making it to the top. We believe in Lagos that more sponsors will understand what we are trying to do and come on board to support sports at grassroots level. We will remain grateful to Premier Lotto for sponsoring this competition and we believe athletes

that will come out of this tournament will one day win an Olympics medals,” Oshodi said. Like Oshodi, Idowu, who was impressed with Lagos state, believes others should emulate the state in terms of developing sports from schools. “I want to say that Lagos has always being at the forefront of sports development in this country and we are not surprised with the staging of this competition because we believe that with more of this, we can boast of quality athletes that will rub shoulders with the world’s best. At this level, the athletes are still raw and it will be easy for any coach to identify and groom them to become stars,” Idowu said.

Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Wahid Oshodi (fourth left); Chairman, Nigeria Academicals Sports Committee (NASCOM), Yemi Idowu (middle); Chairman, Lagos State Athletics Association, Prof. Olatunde Makanjuola (second left) and Segun Williams with the finalists in the girls’ 100metre of district six qualifiers of the maiden Premier Lotto Lagos Schools Athletics Championship at the Teslim Balogun Stadium… yesterday. PHOTOS: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Matches in Zone E will involve schools from Ndokwa East, Ndokwa West and Patani, with Irri Grammar School as venue. The matches are Igbuku Grammar school vs Oproza Grammar School, Patani (March 11), Oproza vs Community Secondary School, Ogume (March 12) and Community vs Igbuku (March 13).

Third South East Club Cricket Championship begins today HE third edition of the T South-East Club Cricket Championship for the Chuma Anosike Cup flags-off in Awka, Anambra State today with the five states of the zone competing for honours in the four-day competition. According to the organisers, the competition will hold at the Paul University Cricket Oval and Comprehensive Secondary School, Nawfia. The NCF Regional Development Officer, SouthEast, Emeka Igwilo, in collaboration with the South-East Cricket Forum, the organisers of South-East Cricket Championship for Chuma Anosike Cup, says the participating teams are from Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states. The event, described by the chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Olisa Egwuatu, as going to be explosive, is to end on Sunday at St. Paul University Cricket Oval. According to Igwilo, this T20 championship is a breakthrough in the game since all the states in the region are participating. In line with the proposal, the championship is to be witnessed by sports lovers both within and outside the state. University of Nigeria Cricket Club, Enugu State is prepared to defend its trophy won last year. However, the host team, Anambra is featuring with most of the silver medalists in the just concluded National Sports Festival, Eko 2012. The winner of the Anosike Cup will represent South-East zone in the Nigeria Cricket Federation, National Cricket Club Championship. Anambra State team won the similar competition in 2009 and represented South EastSouth South, while University of Nigeria won the first and second editions of Anosike Cup and represented the zone in the NCF Club Championship. 


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THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

South Africa 2013 CAF Nations Cup Fall-Out

I almost died watching Super Eagles, says Edwin Clark Spain, Germany, France, Turkey others for E.K Clark U-18 football tourney From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja LDER Statesman and former E Minister of Information, Edwin Clark revealed yesterday that the Super Eagles encounter with Burkina Faso, the final of the Africa Cup of Nations almost, claimed his life but for the quick intervention of his personal physician. Clark, who made this revelation while receiving the trophy for the Chief E.K Clark U-18 International Football Tournament at his residence yesterday in Abuja, disclosed that his blood pressure shot to an alarming level that he had to put a distress call to his doctor during the match. Describing the Super Eagles Nations Cup victory as success to President Goodluck Jonathan and the country as a whole, the elder statesman, said, “when Nigeria was playing Burkina Faso, I found out that my blood pressure had risen. It is true and I had to send for my personal physician, Dr. Moses, at the National Hospital. He came and asked what went wrong that my blood pressure could rise to that extent. I was actually worried and stressed that day. “I said that the president must pray wherever he is because if we fail to lift this trophy, he has also failed in politics. Football is part of politics and if we win the trophy after 19 years of wait, he has also succeeded in politics. “So, when I saw him dancing in London on Nigerian jersey

that day when we won, with my doctor still sitting beside me, I did not know when I jumped up and announced that I am well now,” he noted. Clark also admitted that it was the Eagles’ victory in South Africa that reconciled him with some of the governors he had criticised because of their roles as members of the Nigeria Governors Forum, adding that he had to hug them and shook hands with them during the presidential reception for the team in Abuja. “So, when they asked me if I would be at the State House during the reception, I did not also indicate interest but was among the first persons to be there. The reception came after I had made my speech on the Governors’ Forum but football united us because I sat with the governors at the State House. “We even greeted ourselves and were very proud of Nigeria. That success was one of the turning points in the life of this country. I want to say that more successes in football will bring us more success until the end of this tenure,” he noted. Meanwhile, the promoters of the Chief Edwin K. Clark’s U-18 International Football tournament, has disclosed that four European and African countries have indicated interest to slug it out with eight teams selected from each of the six geo-political zones, with Delta State and the host state, Akwa Ibom, completing the number of Nigerian teams.

Lagos Ironclad Hustlers battling with T-Raiders in one of the games of the first stage of the on-going Lagos International Polo Tournament.

Lagos International Polo Championship

Kano RTC kicks Ibadan Jericho out of Low Cup BADAN Jericho’s dream of Ion-going winning the Low Cup at the Lagos International Polo Tournament was dashed by Kano RTC, which brushed aside the Oluyole Warriors 8- 3½  when the second week of the competition resumed yesterday at the Polo Club, Ikoyi. RTC made its intention known from the throw-in as Yusuf Garba broke away but his shot rolled wide off the

Premier Lotto Lagos Schools Athletics Championship

District Six 100m champions talk tough ahead grand finale By Olalekan Okusan FTER winning the A 100metre finals of the district six qualifiers of the maiden Premier Lotto Lagos Schools Athletics Championship easily, the pair of Olayinka Olaosebikan and Moses Odueh, believe they are title contenders in the March 9 grand finale at the Teslim Balogun Stadium. The final district qualifiers was concluded yesterday with schools from Ikeja, Mushin and Oshodi Isolo taking part in the competition, all eyes will be on the grand finale this Saturday. Olaosebikan, the 16 year-old senior class two student of Airforce Secondary School said she won the 100metre with ease, as she was familiar with most of her opponents in the final. “I knew that it was going to be easy for me to win the 100metre event because I knew most of my opponents in the district. My target now is to be the best at the finale because this is an opportunity for me to showcase my talents. “At the last Lagos State Sports Festival tagged: Ibile Games, I could not make it to the podium but this time around, I believe I am prepare to mount the podium come Saturday. I also know it is not going to be easy in the final but with the two days break, I will prepare myself to make my district

proud,” she said. She added that she decided to be part of the competition to prove her worth as well as to be among the athletes that would represent Lagos at major competitions. For Odueh, 17 year-old student of Ansar-Ud-Deen Senior High School, nothing can stop

me from topping in the finale. “This is the easiest race for me to win and I will have to redouble my effort to be among the top athletes on Saturday March 9. Saturday’s finale is a big stage and I will have to raise my game to ensure that I make my school and district proud,” he said.

Anadariya shocks fifth Chukka goal. Jericho drew the first blood with Saidu Umar’s 70-yard shot rolling in gently to give the south team a 2½  - 0 lead, as it started the match on a 1.5 goal handicap advantage. Argentine Manuel Karanza then produced a high-class performance for RTC when he converted a 30-yard penalty following a block shot to make the scores 2½– 1. There was still time for Yusuf Garba to tap in from a goal-mouth melee for the northern side, who trailed by ½ goal heading to the second chukka. Femi Oladele scrambled in a goal at the start of the second chukka to increase Jericho’s lead and when the same player broke away seconds later it looked as is if he would convert, but a missed shot denied him a goal. 

Jericho was made to pay for the loss almost immediately with Murtala Aliyu scoring RTC’s third goal. The same player soon had his name on the score sheet again to give his side a 4-3½ lead. Two goals by Aliyu and another from Karanza in the third chukka put RTC in an unassailable 7-3 lead and the South American, who is RTC’s captain, was on hand to wrap up a convincing victory for RTC in the final chukka. Although his ‘text message’ pass to Aliyu was intercepted by Oladele, he was on hand to finish off the move with a perfect hit which rolled horizontally to the goal for his side’s eighth goal, which was also the last of the match.

Earlier, the first match of the day saw Kano H-Hago bagging a 4-2 ½win over Kano Susplan with Abba Dantata’s majestic finish summing up a great victory for the HHago, who started play on a ½ goal disadvantage. In the last game of the day, the Dantata brothers,  Bashir and Usman, were impressive as they led Lagos Lintex Anadariya to a shock 11-10 win over Kaduna-based Fifth Chukka to brighten their chances of winning the Majekodunmi Cup. Today’s fixtures will see Jericho battle H-Hago, just as Lagos HST keeps a date with Tavia Trojan. Also, Lagos Caveton will square up with Bell Oil and Gas in the Low Cup while Lagos Ironclad Shorelines will confront Delaney Linetrale in the prestigious Majekodunmi Cup.

CAF Confederation Cup

Okorocha assures Heartland of adequate funding From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri MO State Governor, Rochas Iassured Okorocha, on Tuesday the management

Olayinka Olaosebikan of Airforce Secondary School (left); wins the girls’ 100metre at the district six qualifiers of the maiden Premier Lotto Lagos Schools Athletics Championship …yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

and players of Heartland Football Club that his government would support them adequately in their CAF Confederation Cup campaign and other domestic competitions. Okorocha, who visited the team at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, said the state government was determined and eager to see them excel in their first Confederation Cup game on March 17, adding, “we are showcasing a wonderful team and I am very optimistic that our club, Heartland, will make us proud again.” The governor assured the team that its determination

and sacrifices would be complimented by the government through adequate bonuses and allowances, which he added would be paid on time. Speaking after the governor, the state’s Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Kenneth Emelu was happy and optimistic that the club would win the Confederation Cup, saying that the players were deeply committed to fight for glory for self and the state. The Guardian recalls that Heartland players recently threatened to go on strike following series of unfulfilled promises, especially the failure of the management to settle their outstanding sign-on fees and bonuses for the Federation Cup, which they retained last year.


SPORTS 75

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

English Premiership

We can still catch Man United in title race, says Garcia AVI Garcia is adamant Jcatch  Manchester City can Manchester United in the final 10 games of the season. The title-holder needs Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to collapse in spectacular fashion if the team is to retain the title it won so thrillingly in the final seconds of the last day of the 2011-12 season. While the Red Devils hold a strong lead in the quest for their 20th league title, the 26year-old suggests Roberto Mancini’s team needs to keep winning games such as the hard-fought 1-0 victory at Aston Villa on Monday night to stay in touch. “Twelve points is a good lead for United but there are 10 games left and 30 points to play for,” he told the club’s official website. “It is possible, we are City, we need to fight until the final game, and it could happen. We will continue to fight for this Premier League title. “We still have to go to Old Trafford, but first we have difficult games like Everton and Tottenham away from home. It is important we win at United but if we don’t win, for example against Everton, it will be much harder. “Garcia admits that Manchester United losing to Real Madrid in the

Champions League could have a negative effect on City’s title chances, but insists it will not change his club’s preparations for the run in. “I don’t know if the Champions League was a dis-

Garcia

“start answering some questions” about rumors that he is preparing to sell the club. The club recently moved to deny that any contact had been made between the American businessman and potential buyers over a possible 1.5 billion pound bid, stating the 65-year-old is committed to the club “for the long term.” While the owner’s reputation for a lack of communication has earned him the nickname ‘Silent Stan,’ former Gunners striker Wright wants him to start engaging with the fans as the club is set to go an eighth season without a trophy. “He is known as ‘Silent Stan,’ but it’s time Stan Kroenke started speaking,” he wrote in The Sun. “Arsenal’s majority shareholder needs to start answering some questions and tell everyone what his detailed plans are for the club.” Wright added, “I want Kroenke to start engaging with the fans. Looking at all his sports teams, I’m not sure any of them actually win anything. Now the Gunners, unfortunately, will be going an eighth year without winning a trophy. “He rarely goes to games, so you have to wonder whether he cares about the club. He seems more interested in having a business, which makes a

The Gunners are in danger of missing out on Champions League football for the first time under Arsene Wenger after losing to rival Tottenham 2-1 on Sunday and Wright wants to know why Kroenke is not prepared to spend big to bring top players in to the side. “I am not in the greatest of moods after seeing Arsenal lose to Spurs. Many Arsenal fans will feel exactly the same

Wright wrote. “I understand why [Ivan] Gazidis and Wenger do not want the club turned into a Chelsea-style outfit which spends colossal sums on players. “But the club needs to offer the going rate in wages to players like Juan Mata, who, it appears, was ready to join Wenger. Kroenke must explain why he is not prepared to go the extra mile for these excellent players.”

Spurs squad best in my time, Defoe insists

No future thoughts, Bramble admits UNDERLAND defender, Titus Bramble will be out of contract in the summer, but claims to be giving little thought to his future. The centre-half will see his current deal at the Stadium of Light expire at the end of the season and, as he is yet to pen fresh terms, is set to drop into the free agent pool. Bramble claims he would happily sign an extension at Sunderland if one were put to him, but insists he will not be forcing the issue. He hopes to let his football do the talking for the remainder of the 2012/13 campaign, with it up to him to earn a new deal or catch the eye of potential new employers. Bramble told The Northern Echo, “in football you never know what is going to happen.

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OTTENHAM striker, Jermain Defoe believes the current T crop of players is the best he has played with during his time at White Hart Lane. Defoe, 30, has spent more seven years as a Spurs player over two spells at the club. During that time the England international has played with the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Rafael van der Vaart, Robbie Keane and Luka Modric, but Defoe feels the squad assembled under Andre Villas-Boas is brimming with quality. “I think it probably is the best squad since I have been here,” he said. “As a player I have always said when you are playing with good players it makes it easier. Especially, as a forward, you know you are going to get chances in a game to score. “There are players that could walk into other top teams in the Premier League, but it is

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great for everyone and keeps you on your toes because you know if you get an opportunity you have to take it. “We have that winning mentality in training - it is just a good time to be here. There are players that can come into the team and do well so there is that competition which is always healthy. It is a great time to be at the club, we are playing with great players and the sky is the limit.” Defoe looks certain to start Spurs’ Europa League last-16 tie with Inter Milan today as he fully recovered from injury and fellow forward Emmanuel Adebayor is a major doubt with a knee problem. The former West Ham and Portsmouth striker reckons the camaraderie off the pitch is also the best he can remember at the club. “I feel good and have trained for a full week with no prob-

lems, so I’m ready to go,” he said. “I was having a joke with Scott Parker and we were saying sometimes that if you have got a little knock you just need to stay on it and make sure you’re fit and ready because if you are out of the squad someone will come in and they will do well, because it is such a good team to play in. “I have been here for many years now and in my opinion, in terms of team spirit it is the best it has ever been. Everyone is buzzing around the training ground and putting the work in. Even the players that are injured are working hard to get back. “It is the winning mentality that I think we have got now. In games when things aren’t going great everyone gets stuck in and just keeps going, it is a good thing to have. It is important to have that I think.”

Wenger

Gourlay wants top four finish for Chelsea HELSEA Chief Executive, C Ron Gourlay has reiterated the club’s focus remains on securing Champions League football next term before a permanent managerial appointment is made. Rafael Benitez, whose sidetake on Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League on Thursday night, was appointed interim boss after the Blues became the first Champions League holders to exit the competition at the group stage earlier this season. Former Liverpool manager Benitez was never a popular appointment at Stamford Bridge and confirmed last week he would be leaving at

Reina calls for reinforcements

Table Team Man Utd Man City Tottenham Chelsea Arsenal Everton Liverpool Swansea West Brom Fulham Stoke West Ham Norwich Sunderland Newcastle Southampton Wigan Aston Villa Reading QPR

traction for United or not,” he stated. “Maybe it was better for us that United had more games but the situation is the same even though they lost to Madrid. We just need to focus on ourselves.”

Disclose your plans for Arsenal, Wright urges Kroenke as me. It’s all about bragging RSENAL legend, Ian Wright lot of money. That’s why I rights. Yet at the moment, the A wants the club’s majority don’t think he will sell his neighbors are moving ahead,” shareholder Stan Kroenke to shares to anyone.”

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Pts 71 59 54 52 47 45 42 40 40 33 33 33 32 30 30 27 24 24 23 20

IVERPOOL goalkeeper, Jose Lclub’s Reina has called on the board to help the Reds’ push for a Champions League spot next season by investing in quality signings this summer. Reina reckons Brendan Rodgers’ side, currently seventh in the Barclays Premier League, have the potential to compete for a top-four berth in the near future, but will need the board to back the manager in the transfer market if they are to do so. Quoted in several national newspapers, he said, “this year has been important for us in terms of getting to know what the manager wants and develop the ideas. Then we have to be ready for the very first game of next season to challenge. “Obviously we will need

some help from the board but I think the basis is well settled. We know the ideas and philosophies of the manager. It is getting better and better so hopefully we will be ready to compete.” The 30-year-old Spain international also stressed the importance of keeping Uruguay striker Luis Suarez the Premier League’s top scorer with 21 goals so far this season - at Anfield. “Liverpool is very lucky to have Luis,” Reina said. “Every day I am proud to say that I share a dressing room with such a big player. He is 100 per cent all the time. Obviously we will see what happens in the future. Everybody wants him to stay with the team. “He can create the chances himself from nothing. He can

be a killer in the box. But he can also provide assistance to the team and be involved all the time. He is not just a proper striker in the box. He looks to create but it is very important for any team to have that 25-plus goals-per-season striker.”

Reina

the end of the campaign, in order to encourage supporters to back the team, rather than barrack him. That rant, coupled with his criticism of the ‘interim manager’ title, led to suggestions the Spaniard could depart prior to the end of the season, while speculation of a permanent replacement for Roberto Di Matteo has been incessant. Gourlay, who was speaking in Kuala Lumpur while promoting the forthcoming tour, said the status quo remains for now, with Benitez on course to fulfil his brief. “Achieving one of the Champions League qualification slots is very important to this football club,” Gourlay said on chelseafc.com. “Our whole philosophy is based on success on the football field and we have been doing everything in our power to ensure one of these slots. We want to be pitting ourselves against the top clubs in Europe next season. “We said from day one that Rafa was coming in as interim manager to the end of the season.


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THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

Alex Ferguson ‘distraught’ after United exit to Real ANCHESTER United M Manager, Sir Alex Ferguson was too “distraught” to face the media after their Champions League exit against Real Madrid at Old Trafford. Ferguson was visibly enraged after Turkish Referee, Cuneyt Cakir sent off Nani for a high challenge on Real’s Alvaro Arbeloa after 56 minutes with United leading through Sergio Ramos’s own goal. Real took advantage of the dismissal with quick goals from Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo on his return to Old Trafford to confirm a 2-1 win on the night and 3-2 aggregate victory to reach the last eight. Nani is the fourth Manchester United player to be sent off at Old Trafford in the Champions League after Rafael da Silva, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt. United Assistant Manager, Mike Phelan replaced Ferguson at the post-match media conference and said, “it’s a distraught dressing room and a distraught manager. That’s why I am sitting here now. “I don’t think the manager is in any fit state to talk to the referee about the decision. It speaks volumes that I am sitting here now rather than the manager of this fantastic football club.” Phelan continued, “we are extremely disappointed and wondering what has happened and why it has happened. “We feel as though we had the

tactics right for the game on such a big occasion. We felt we were comfortable at 0-0. It was where we wanted to be, then we scored the goal that put us in a commanding position. “We were in reasonable control and then the game totally changed. The decision was amazing but we had to carry on because it is hard enough playing Real Madrid with 11 men. “Referees are there to make decisions but there is also an element of doing the right thing. All the media and a television audience watching all over the world will have an opinion on the decision but it was a disappointing one and it spoiled the game.”

The action that led to Nani’s red card in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League against Real Madrid at the Old Trafford.

My team did not deserve victory, says Mourinho EAL Madrid Manager, Jose R Mourinho has claimed “the best team lost” after 10man Manchester United were knocked out of the Champions League. United went ahead in the last-16 second leg tie before Nani was controversially dismissed for a high challenge. Cristiano Ronaldo, on his return to Old Trafford, then tapped in the winner after Luka Modric’s stunning equaliser. “Independent of the decision, the best team lost. We didn’t deserve to win but football is like this,” Mourinho said. Following a 1-1 draw in Spain, United had edged a

tight second-leg opening in which captain Nemanja Vidic struck the post with a powerful header. They finally took the lead on the night and on aggregate - at the start of the second half, when Sergio Ramos deflected Nani’s cross into his own net. The match then turned in Real’s favour just before the hour mark when referee Cuneyt Cakir dismissed the Portuguese for a high boot that made contact with Alvaro Arbeloa’s rib-cage. Mourinho’s side took advantage of the decision in clinical fashion. Former Tottenham player, Modric curled in a sublime equaliser

…Defeat costs Man United 20 million euros ANCHESTER United M elimination from the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday may have cost them about 20 million Euro. In August, UEFA released its UEFA Champions League revenue distribution system for the 2012-2013 season. UEFA estimated that it would take in total gross commercial revenue of 1.34 billion euros from media rights and commercial contracts. For the first 530 million euros of revenue, 75 per cent goes to the participating teams while 25 per cent goes to UEFA to support European soccer. Revenue above 530 million

euros is split 82 per cent 18 per cent. So roughly 910 million euros is distributed among the clubs participating. That 910 million euros is then split into two categories, 500 million euros in fixed payments for participation and performance bonuses and the second being 410 million euros in variable amounts based on the proportional value of each club’s home association’s television market. Each of the 32 sides involved in the group stage collected a base fee of 8.6 million euros with performance bonuses of

1 million euros for each win and 500,000 euros for a draw in the group phase. Manchester United won four games in the group phase and lost two, for a fee of 12.6 million euros. The teams competing in the round of 16 could expect a fee of 3.5 million euros. The question remains, how much could Manchester United have made if it had gone further? A quarterfinals ticket would fetch each club 3.9 million euros, semis (4.9 million euros), winner / runner-up (10.5 million euros / 6.5 million euros) while total for winner ($19.3 million).

after he came off the substitute’s bench, and Ronaldo scored from close range after a stylish move. “My feeling is that Manchester United were playing very well, were very compact and aggressive in a good way,” Mourinho added. “I doubt that 11 v 11 we win the match. “I know Manchester United are giants, not just physically but mentally. I know they have a manager, who can motivate then, but I was waiting for us to play in a dif-

ferent way.” Before kick-off, Ronaldo was given a warm reception by supporters at the club where he had played a pivotal role in the winning of the Champions League in 2008, as well as three Premier League titles, in a sixyear spell in England. The attacker, who moved to Real for a record £80 million fee in 2009 - admitted he had been overwhelmed by the reaction. “It was unbelievable,” he said. “It was an emotional

moment for me, for both games, but especially tonight. I do not have words to explain how I feel. The supporters made me feel shy. I did not play how I play all the time.” When asked to comment on rumours of a potential return to Old Trafford,  he replied, “the future I never know, but the supporters here and the club are massive. “At this moment I am very happy in Madrid and I want to be there.”

UEFA backs red-card referee UEFA spokesman says the A governing body has “no issues” with Nani’s red card against Real Madrid on Tuesday night. Manchester United were leading their Champions league last-16 tie 2-1 on aggregate when Nani caught Alvaro Arbeloa with a high foot and was sent off by referee Cuneyt Cakir. M Real went on to win 2-1 on the night and progress to the quarter-finals, and the outcome left United Manager, Sir Alex Ferguson so “distraught” he delegated his post-match media duties to assistant Mike Phelan. But despite widespread criticism of Cakir’s decision in the English press, UEFA is backing its man. The Guardian quoted a

spokesman who said, “we have no problem with him. There are no issues for us regarding the sending off and we will wait for the official reports of the match delegate and the referee’s observer, as is procedure. “If they raise concerns then we will act. He remains on our list of officials.” Real boss, Jose Mourinho did not want to comment on the decision to send off Nani after the final whistle but admitted that the game changed after United were reduced to 10 men. He said, “I doubt with 11 against 11 we could win the match.” Real midfielder, Xabi Alonso added, “it was a difficult decision to take from the referee, but we have seen many games when being against 10 it gets

harder. But we have probably produced our best minutes after the sending off. “For 15 or 20 minutes we have played really well, really patient, and we have scored the two goals. After that we had to push really hard and it was difficult for us not to concede another goal. Our goalkeeper was fantastic.” United No 2 Phelan was stunned by Nani’s dismissal, saying, “the decision was amazing, but we had to carry on. Playing Real Madrid with 11 men is very difficult and, in a game of this magnitude with all the world watching, we feel very, very disappointed that we ended the game with 10 men. “I don’t think the manager is any fit state to talk to the referee about the decision.”

Klopp revels in Dortmund win ORUSSIA Dortmund Coach, B Jurgen Klopp hailed an “extraordinary moment” for

Ronaldo…at the end of the game on Tuesday

Dortmund’s midfielder, Mario Goetze (Right); vies for the ball in their game against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday. PHOTO AFP

the club after they stormed into the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The German champions swept aside Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 at the Westfalenstadion to go through 5-2 on aggregate. Goals from Felipe Santana, Mario Gotze and Jakub Blaszczykowski sealed a convincing win for the hosts. Klopp said on www.kicker.de. “This is an extraordinary moment, our whole Champions League campaign has run like clockwork. “For 80 minutes it was an unbelievable game from us. Just after the break it was a bit concerning for a moment, but we were strong from the first minute to the last.”

It is the first time since the 1997/98 season that Dortmund have been in the last eight of Europe’s top club competition, when they eventually lost to Real Madrid in the semi-finals. Chief Executive, HansJoachim Watzke added, “it’s been 15 years since we were in the quarter-finals. It is about honour for us. It’s good for us financially, but the feeling to reach the quarter-finals is irreplaceable.” Winger Kevin Grosskreutz claimed Dortmund’s run would not end at the quarterfinals. “We are overjoyed, everyone can be proud of themselves,” he said on the club website. In the quarter-finals we can again achieve a great sensation.”


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

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At last, IOC sends Nigeria’s Sydney Olympics 4x400 gold medal HE International Olympic T Committee (IOC) has finally sent the gold medal won by Nigeria’s 4x400 metres relay quartet at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games following the disqualification for doping violation of the U.S. squad, the original winners. The IOC letter covering the dispatch of the medal and signed by Dr. Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, was addressed to the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC). It reads: “I am pleased to send you this Olympic Gold for Mr. Enefiok Udo-Obong, who was part of your men’s 4x400m now placed first in the athletics men’s 4x400 metres relay event  at the Games of the XXV11 Olympiad, Sydney 2000.” A copy of letter, which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, was silent on the medals for the other members of the team. NAN gathered that the IOC might have acted in the manner it did because they had yet to receive the silver medals from the other members of the team. According to the Manager of NOC, Emman Nweri, Nigeria forwarded only the silver medal that was returned to it by Udo-Obong in line with the IOC’s directive. The others, late Sunday Bada, Jude Monye and Clement Chukwu, had failed to return theirs, he said. The U.S-based Chukwu confirmed in a telephone interview with NAN that he and other U.S-based members of the team had yet to return their medals because they did not receive any official correspondence to that effect. However, Udo-Obong expressed delight at the prospect of finally receiving the gold medal. He told NAN that he had been informed by the NOC that his medal had arrived from the IOC. “I feel very happy, I am elated by this development. It shows that destiny can only be delayed but cannot be denied. Ever since the information about the decision of the IOC came, I made efforts to confirm the authenticity of the news and I thank God it was true,” he said. Udo-Obong said: “Although I am excited, it could have been appropriate if the entire team received the gold as one. The feat was a team effort.’’ “I submitted the silver since October 2012 but my teammates have yet to do so, because they didn’t believe it. They’ve lost confidence of ever receiving the medals,” he said. President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Solomon Ogba, said he was happy that justice has been done to Nigeria. He added that effort would be made by the federation to retrieve the silver medals from the other members of the squad so that the IOC could send the right medals. The decision by the IOC’s Executive Board to reallocate the medals from 2000 came three years after they had decided to disqualify of the

U.S. They were disqualified because of the late Antonio Pettigrew confessing to having used banned performance-enhancing drugs at the time. With Nigeria elevated to the top position, Jamaica was promoted to silver and Bahamas the bronze. “Pettigrew was disqualified in August 2008 but the Executive Board delayed a decision on reallocation until it had received information stemming from investigations into the Bay Area Laboratory CoOperative (BALCO) sportsdoping scandal,’’ said a statement from the IOC. After returning his medal American, Michael Johnson, which meant he ended his career with four Olympic gold rather than five,

claimed, “I feel cheated, betrayed and let down’’ by Pettigrew. Two years later, Pettigrew was found dead in the back seat of his locked car in Chatham County, North Carolina and evidence of sleeping pills was found by police. An autopsy report later stated that he had committed suicide by overdosing on a medication containing diphenhydramine. Ironically too, Nigeria’s Bada, who ran the third leg of the race at which they set a national record of 2min 58.68secs died in 2011. Bada, who was the former world indoor 400m champion, dropped dead suddenly at the age of 42 on December 2011. He had waited in vain for the IOC decision on the re-allocation.  

The Nigerian 4x400m quartet celebrating second place after the final of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The silver medal later turned to gold following the disqualification of the U.S.A team for doping.


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THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, March 7, 2013

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TheGuardian

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

By Rev. Fr. Akodu Peter Kehinde WICE, I was in Onitsha, the sprawling city in the east of the Niger – though in transit. Twice, I was scared stiff. On the first occasion, I was on my way to Ilorin Park to board. The town-service bus we boarded led other buses, cars, and motorcycles popPlease send reactions and feedback for YOUTH SPEAK to: ularly called Okada in our colloquial parleditorial@risenetworks.org and 07067976667- SMS ONLY ance – in a rather discordant file, each rushing to a safe haven. Traffic waded through the same muddy road in both directions. Before we could pronounce ‘Jack,’ one Okada man and the woman at the back were inside the mud with the bike over them. The two bellowed an awful cry, “Chim ooo.” People in the area ran to lift the bike so they could be eased of the painful situation. This quantum neglect of Onitsha city roads scared me stiff. The second time, I alighted from a bus rushing to board at the Uyo Park. I entered a town-service bus within Ilorin park premises. The bus started moving after the driver got the full complement of passengers. On the way, he said: “A driver was killed last week. As a result, drivers have been protesting the death and some have been using the opportunity to rob unsuspecting passengers of their money and valuables.” He continued: “If you have money on you or handsets and other valuables, please keep them in your bags.” Believing him, I thanked him on behalf of other passengers for letting out the information. “At least this will help us to make informed decision about a proactive action to take,” I said to myself. I did as he said. However, I became somehow suspicious when the conductor came, and without courtesy took my bag from me and dropped it in the boot. I protested vehemently, but I let go after the driver said: “Nothing will happen to your bag. The boy is my conductor. I asked him to keep the bags in the boot for safety reasons.” We kept going, but at a point, they stopped. From behind, they hurriedly passed our bags to us insinuating and pleading: “A car is coming behind us and there are thieves inside. We don’t want A scene of bad road them to harm you. Please come down quickly!” First, we scampered for safety. the Nigerian civil war. This traumatised where this kind of darkness prevails in Then, we looked around for that car; none the people and stalled city development. Nigeria. I don’t want to offend the sensibilwas within sight. I decided to check my Supplies of food, drugs, and medicals ities of my friends and mentors who come bag – my money was gone, so was my were not forthcoming, as these could not from this part of the country. I respect phone. The city people call this phenome- be ferried through the Niger Bridge to the them a lot and I respect their attainment non, ‘one chance.’ Onitsha gave me this East. However, the bridge was mended, in education, health, humanities, business but there are still cracks in the wall. The and other fields here and abroad. first experience as a baptism of fire. Their lives have become living parables to It was already evening so I decided to story of Onitsha is the story of a dilapidatleave for Uyo instead of shouting or calling ed building. The mending of the building the myth of some people: The myth of people to attention. I have learnt a lot needs integrated reconstruction instead crime for example. However, if the truth must be told, we must admit that there is about material things from my Christian of mending a part of it. Today, a broken people have replaced the a fundamental problem today about the formation. Such formation informs my attitude to always detach myself from broken bridge. And this is where the crack kinds of values that drive people’s activimaterial things. Material goods are fleet- is most profound. However, Onitsha is ties in Onitsha, in Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, ing by their nature. You will part with destined to be a city of light. In Onitsha, Bauchi, Yobe, and other cities in Nigeria. Another problem that borders on value them either because of death or by other churches of several Christian denominareasons. Therefore, I was able to maintain tions compete for space, prominence and decay that may disconnect us from the my psychological balance. This issue of val- relevance. In Onitsha, the only Basilica in refrain, “Great people, great nation” has to ue decay also scared me stiff. Therefore, the this part of our world sits pretty and do with the experience I had trying to twin issue of underdevelopment and value shines as gold. Nevertheless, the darkness block my line after my travail in Onitsha. decay became the albatross around my in the city is the bane. The values painted The day after the robbery incident, I went in this write-up and other negative, anti- to MTN office in Uyo to block my line so neck. In the past, a broken bridge tormented development, and anti-social values that the thieves would not use it to defraud people. After collecting my certifiOnitsha. Being the gateway to the East, the define the actions of men. The story of Onitsha is a replication of cate and identity card, and working his city was haplessly receptive to the taunt and the salvo of the Nigerian forces during the Nigerian story, too. Hence, the title: hands on the computer keyboard, the Darkness in a city of light. I have carefully MTN official in one of the counters told In the past, a broken bridge tormented chosen the article ‘a’ in the title. I prefer me: “You have not registered. Go and regisOnitsha. Being the gateway to the East, this to the article ‘the.’ To use ‘the’ is to sin- ter there.” He was not even showing any gle out the city of Onitsha as the only city warmth and the zeal to see a customer

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Darkness in a city of light

the city was haplessly receptive to the taunt and the salvo of the Nigerian forces during the Nigerian civil war. This traumatised the people and stalled city development. Supplies of food, drugs, and medicals were not forthcoming, as these could not be ferried through the Niger Bridge to the East. However, the bridge was mended, but there are still cracks in the wall. The story of Onitsha is the story of a dilapidated building. The mending of the building needs integrated reconstruction instead of mending a part of it.

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

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In Nigeria, we need to examine where we’re coming from. We need to examine where we’re now and where we’re going. It’s through this integrated examination that we will know what we need to do right. We will also know the wrong things, attitudes, ethics, and dispositions that we have picked up in the course of history that now make us a pariah nation in the international community. through. I told him I registered last year in Ekiti State. As he was not interested in my case, I went to a lady in the other counter. She looked through the computer and said: “Your registration is pending. It has not been fed into the national grid. So you have to do it again.” Then I asked: “Who is at fault? Me or MTN!” Since around August last year that I registered my sim card, they failed to feed my registration to the national grid to enable their workers access it nationwide. I was downcast and disappointed. There were many others like me who felt the same way, too. Can we say these people are hard working? Do they have the ethics of hard work and patriotism? Many of such examples cut across all sectors of our economy. During the Obasanjo administration, the government mouthed the need to rebrand our country. Dora Akunyili, minister of Information then, and her rebranding team canvassed for a Nigeria that we can package and sell as a product to our foreign friends. The rebranding process must acclaim Nigeria as a destination of choice. Their plan was to package Nigeria as a great nation and Nigerians as a great people: A country that is made up of hardworking people. The Jonathan administration wants us to write our stories ourselves. They want us to emphasise more of positive events and play down the negatives. Not that negative events do not happen in Nigeria, but life in this country is not all about bomb blast, poverty and disease, as western media would claim. My candid opinion, however, is if we truly want to rebrand Nigeria, we must work on the whole person, not a jigsaw of elements. We must work on the totality of our culture. Culture is our life, our way of doing things. Culture drives the economy, politics, science, technology, arts, and socialisation process as its sub-systems. If culture, which is the switchboard centre, crumbles, then the fabric of the sub-systems of the switchboard centre will not stand. In Nigeria, we need to examine where we’re coming from. We need to examine where we’re now and where we’re going. It’s through this integrated examination that we will know what we need to do right. We will also know the wrong things, attitudes, ethics, and dispositions that we have picked up in the course of history that now make us a pariah nation in the international community. Finally, we need to think of the rituals (ceremonies), like the children’s day that we could convoke to celebrate our myth: The good ethics (values) of the past that will eventually constitute where we’re going. This must be the outcome provided the examination process is right. If we can get the question of culture right, we will relate in a way that will produce a robust economy, science, politics, and technological feats – and we will stop constituting clogs in the wheel of our nation’s progress. Through rituals, like the children’s day, we will be able to transmit national and civic values of patriotism, respect for elders, hard work, warmth in human relationship, and loving service to our young ones. They will learn how to be good and responsible Nigerians. If you like, you can call it ‘catch them young’ approach. After we have finished building capacity and actualising goals, then we can talk of selling the country as a product to our foreign friends. • Rev. Fr. Akodu Peter Kehinde writes in from Lagos.


Thursday 07 Mar 2013 The Guardian Nigeria