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Fayemi: It Was Not Ambition That Brought Me Here

FAAN/AIC Conflict: When Concessioning Runs Amok

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TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Vol. 29, No. 12,610

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Scuttled Concessions May Scare Investors In Aviation By Wole Shadare and Geoff Iyatse NDIGENOUS investors have Itheir begun to lose sleep over stakes in the aviation sec-

• Subsector To Lose N50b • Concessions Made To Benefit Cronies • Expert Trace Problem To Official Insincerity

tor. Some concessionaires have even vowed to stop investing altogether, as they battle the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and by extension, the Ministry of Aviation, through the law

court, in order to save their investments. Already, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, operators of the ultra modern Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2),

built at a cost of over N30 billion; Maevis Aviation Services Limited, which deploys state of the art facility valued at over N7 billion, to help the agency capture its revenue -a depar-

ture from the past when FAAN’s revenue was generated manually; and AIC, have all secured judgments, which declared several of the agency’s actions as illegal.

The implication of scuttling the deal, according to the President of Aviation Round Table (ART), Captain Dele Ore, could lead to over N50 billion worth of investments going down the drain. Speaking further, Ore blamed the endless conflict between FAAN and concessionaires on overbearing personal interest. He noted that

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School Children, Teacher Killed In Fresh Yobe Terrorist Attacks

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Federal Roads Repair: FG To Refund N20b To Akwa Ibom

Ekiti 2014: Bamidele Dares Tinubu, Vows To Contest Against Fayemi From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head, South West Bureau, Ado Ekiti) HOUSE of Representatives A member, Opeyemi Bamidele, yesterday, disagreed with the leadership of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) that he should drop his governorship ambition in the 2014 election for incumbent governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi. The leadership of the party, including its national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, among others, were at Ado Ekiti during the week where they endorsed Fayemi for a second term and advised Bamidele to “mellow down”. But Bamidele, while addressing his supporters, yesterday, said he is not ready to step down for Fayemi and vowed to forge ahead with his ambi-

2013 Army Day Celebration: President Jonathan shakes hands with Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, as Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, looks on...yesterday.

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TheGuardian

2 | Sunday, July 7, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Bamidele Vows To Contest Against Fayemi CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 tion. The lawmaker, who will turn 50 on July 29, said he had decided to shelve his 50th birthday celebration in honour of Ekiti people, whom, he said, are still languishing in poverty. “I cannot be celebrating a birthday in the midst of poverty,” he said. Speaking at his office on the platform of Ekiti Bibiire Coalition, Bamidele, who represents AdoIrepodun/Ifelodun Federal Constituency, said nobody, can stop him from contesting against Fayemi. He said he remains unperturbed despite Fayemi’s endorsement. According to him, “It is only God that crowns the king.” Speaking on the peace parley championed by Tinubu and Akande, where Fayemi was endorsed, Bamidele, said: “I was invited for the meeting, but I got the text message late. But my argument still remains that Tinubu did not endorse Fayemi at the meeting. “The Tinubu that I know will not take any step that will undermine democracy. So, what was reported was not what Tinubu said. The Tinubu I know wants Ekiti people to take their own decision and not be imposed upon.” The federal lawmaker did not mention the political party under which he would advance his political ambition, saying the platform will be known soon. He, however, said he has enormous respect for the ACN  leader, under whom he served as Special Adviser  in Lagos State, revealing that he is not contesting the coming governorship election out of his own personal conviction, but on the request of Ekiti people. He said that he would not be desperate in his bid to become the governor of the state by carrying lethal weapons to hunt his political opponents in the name of politics. Bamidele asked his supporters: “Were you not the one that called me to come and contest?” They answered: “We were the ones!” He appealed to them to be civil in the face of provocation. He urged Fayemi to stop dropping Tinubu’s names in his campaign, saying he should be man enough to carry his own political

cross. “I will always respect my benefactor and Senator Tinubu is my benefactor whom I respect so well. But Ekiti is first on my agenda. The Tinubu I know wants the best for Ekiti. If I could work for him for eleven and half years to make Lagos State a model, then I know he will want somebody, like me, to work with the people to make Ekiti a model. “Nobody can stop me from contesting the governorship election. I cannot fight with Tinubu, just like it is not compulsory that we should agree on everything at all times,” Bamidele said.

…Still Waiting On Madiba! The world waits, as candles burn by a portrait of Nelson Mandela outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria… yesterday, where the former South African president lays in critical condition PHOTO AFP

Aviation Sector To Lose N50b CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 government officials have no regard for the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Act. He described the violation of the act and other relevant ones as the major problem trailing all national heritages that have been concenssioned. He said: “If they are guided by these acts, there will be no problem. The opening statement of that act says that the government cannot afford to fund everything. In that case, the Public Private Partnership (PPP) becomes the option. “Government needs money for education, health and other sectors that touch the lives of the people directly. Aviation is important, but it does not have overwhelming impact on the life of every Nigerian, like other sectors; it touches only the elite. So, the government cannot afford to fund aviation projects. “But in bringing the private sector into the system, they signed all kinds of contract without recourse to relevant laws. These are parastatals, and you know that chief executives of these agencies stay in office on an average of 15 months. They create problems that will not be solved until the fourth or fifth person takes over. That is when the whole problem escalates. “They don’t have the national interest at heart; they don’t follow the acts enacted by the government. Those contracts were selfish; they did not take into account national interest and posterity. Because they were selfish, it was easier to go to court to seek another interest. That is why you hear of different manner of rulings.” He said that the AIC/FAAN con-

flict would embarrass the country, noting that it is a testimony against the lousiness of the supervisory ministry. The expert noted that the Aviation Ministry neglected what it should have done and influenced the signing of the contract, thereby sparking a problem. “The rule of law has been jettisoned. When your predecessor enters an agreement, no matter what it is, you must follow the laid-down process of actualising or terminating it. But they are in a hurry to complete it now. Yet, they normally have the backing of government who looks the other way when they take the laws into their hands. “This will drive away investment because airports all over the world operate on concessioning. Why is it that ours does not work? The signal is that we cannot achieve a smooth process,” he said. Governments in many parts of the world aim to attract private investment in aviation infrastructure. For instance, India, United States of America and the United Kingdom have been witnessing a vibrant phase of development in the past few years. Many domestic and international players are showing interest in the growth and development of the aviation sector with huge focus on the development of airports. In Nigeria, the concept of Public Private Partnership (PPP) is new to the country with the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2) expected to be the pilot for other projects geared towards helping the nation fill the gap in enormous infrastructural deficit plaguing the nation. But, how has PPP fared in Nigeria, despite over N700 billion airport and aviation infrastructure deficit? Can the government alone tackle this colossal deficiency? Opinions are, however, divided over the various PPP projects in the aviation industry. While some said that the idea was noble, others said, “there was no transparency in the way the agreements were handled and drafted,” claiming government was shortchanged in the entire deal. The government of India, according to stakeholders, has developed airports in several cities through operation, man-

agement and development agreements with private entities, just as many airports in the United States and Europe are privatised. They wondered why the same could not be replicated in Nigeria. Mike Caulcrick, an expert in airports privatisation, told The Guardian that in the 1980s, the British government started the privatisation of the British Airports Authority (BAA), noting that at that time, the Margaret Thatcher administration was trying to sell assets to get easy and fast money. He stated that airports, unlike airlines, are an extremely profitable business and, therefore, valuable. As a result of the liberation wave in the airline industry in Nigeria, which gave way to the entry of private sector players, such as Okada, Kabo, and many others, airports were gradually taken out of the public sphere and opened to private initiatives. This phenomenon is generally referred to as privatisation, but not all the cases consist of a full divesture of assets. Although infrastructure development, management and financing are undertaken by the private sector during a pre-defined period, usually 30 years or more, the property remains public or is transferred to the public domain after that period, and this is what is generally referred to as Public Private Partnership (PPP). Some have a short life span, like the case of Maevis Nigeria Limited, one of the concessionaires of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). Its concession has a lifespan of 10 years. The firm had used over six years of its agreement before FAAN forcefully evicted it and terminated the deal, alleging it was unfavourable. The aviation firm approached the Federal High Court Lagos for redress and got a judgment last month that declared FAAN’s action illegal and ordered the new firm, SITA, to pay Maevis N5 billion. There are indications SITA is yet to comply with the judgment of the court. Head, Research, Zenith Travels, Mr. Olumide Ohunayo, put the problem between concessionaires and FAAN at the doorsteps of the agency. He recalled that concession between both parties was cele-

brated with fanfare, just like other concessions in the sector, but regretted that not long after the signing, they were enmeshed in controversies. “It’s time to stop these concurrent embarrassments. It is FAAN that is the problem, not the concessionaires. With what is happening, I doubt if people would want to invest in this sector again,” he said. Ohunayo, however, pointed out that the commercial relationship between FAAN and its concessionaires is getting messier and more embarrassing by the day, adding, “it has denigrated to the use of thugs with injuries sustained in full glare of the travelling passengers and other users. “It is getting out of hand because court decisions are not respected, while some judgments are clandestine. We are simply telling the world we are not ready or willing to accept a PPP approach. Also, we are indicting ICRC, arbitration panel, the Ministries of Aviation and Justice. These are all principal agencies of the Federal Government with contradictory positions and have effectively contributed to the bedlam in the industry.” Feeling betrayed, the Abuja Gateway Consortium that won the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, concession had, early this year, begun a move to stop the Federal Government from using a $500 million loan just secured from the China Exim Bank to execute the contract, originally awarded to the company. The consortium launched the struggle on two fronts, having filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja and also petitioning the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Also, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the FCT authorities washed their hands clean off the alleged deal in which $10 million was said to have been paid by the consortium as initial concession fee, since 2006. Now, the consortium has been, reportedly, stopped from executing contract on excuse by the Federal Government, through the BPE, that it has changed its policy regarding the deal in 2009. But the job has been given to a Chinese firm. It was gathered that govern-

ment collected the money ($10 million) from the consortium through the BPE under Dr. Christopher Anyanwu. But later, a letter was written to the company, through its authorised representative, Kenneth Adoki, to stop the contract, explaining, “the discontinuation is based on the fact that government no longer wants to concession the airport for now, as there is a change in policy regarding this transaction.” Besides the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) concession, every other concession deals, including Maevis’s  Airports Operations Management System, promoted by Mr. Tunde Fagbemi, have come under FAAN’s and Ministry of Aviation’s threat of cancellation. Before now, the parties had resorted to slugging it out in court. But events in the past month took a different dimension when FAAN allegedly engaged workers of BiCourtney Aviation Services Limited over the propriety of displaying its billboards on its (Bi-courtney’s) property at the Lagos airport. The situation led to a bloody clash between the duo, which spilled unto the access road and caused considerable pain to users of the area. Both parties alleged that thugs were freely used to prosecute the ‘war’. Just last week, the authority reportedly engaged AIC in another battle royale to reclaim a land that was signed away to the latter through a concession agreement. The swift intervention of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Police Command saved the day as the parties were asked to maintain the status quo, until the issues were finally resolved in court. Speaking to The Guardian on why FAAN was not comfortable with the firms, spokesman for the agency, Dati Yakubu, said contrary to allegations that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria does not encourage investors and that the Authority has the habit of backing out of contractual agreements, “we wish to state that FAAN has fruitful and mutually beneficial business relationship with over 100 concessionaires in its facilities nationwide.”


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

NEWS Scores Killed In Yobe School Terror Attack YOBE N spite of the state of emergency and under the watchful eyes of security operatives, at least 29 pupils and a teacher at government Secondary School, Mamudo, Potiskum Local government Area, were reportedly killed in an early morning attack on a school in the commercial nerve center of Yobe State yesterday. According to a BBC report, suspected Boko Haram operatives were responsible for the attack. Military spokesman, Lt Lazarus Eli confirmed the attacks yesterday. Yobe is one of three states where President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in May, which saw the deployment of thousands of troops to the area. According to eyewitnesses, some of the victims were burnt alive in the attack, in Mamudo town of Yobe State. Dozens of schools have been burnt in several attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants, whose trademark is an open disdain and attack on Western education since 2010. At a hospital in nearby Potiskum, traumatised parents reportedly struggled to identify their children among the charred bodies and gunshot victims. Survivors said suspected militants arrived with containers full of fuel and set fire to the school.

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Solicitor General Federal Capital Territory, Mrs. Helen Oloja (left); Editor, The Guardian, Mr. Martins Oloja; Head of Chambers, Beauforts Chambers, Ijeamaka Nwizu, and well wishers during the retirement party of Mrs. Helen Oloja in Abuja… on Friday. PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO

Jonathan Presides Over Army’s 150th Anniversary, Says Military Must Abide By From Madu Onuorah, Abuja RESIDENT Jonathan P presided over the closing ceremony of the 150 anth

niversary of the Nigerian Army in Abuja, asking the Army to strictly abide by all ethics governing its conduct and respect human rights in all its operations. Congratulating all serving and retired personnel of the military for its dedication, professionalism and assistance to civil authority, President Jonathan said reports on the state of emergency declared in Borno, Adamawa

and Yobe shows that it was “well-thought out” and successful, as people are now regaining their lives and communities back. Jonathan, who arrived the Eagle Square venue of the celebrations decked in the Army’s highest rank of Field Marshal, had taken national salute at the Presidential dais and later inspected the parade mounted by troops of the Nigerian Army. After that, he was driven round the venue where he waved and acknowledged cheers from top political and military leaders, school chil-

NATIONAL dren and other members of the public. The celebrations included displays by the Army’s Physical Training and canine (dog) units. The dog unit is deployed mainly to the North East part of the country as part of the anti-terror war against the Boko Haram. There was also the airdrop of Nigerian Army paratroopers who landed at the designated spots. There was the display of the newly refurbished Armoured

Personnel Carriers of the Army, armour fighting vehicles and other equipment by combat arms. There was a combat match by all corps and services of the Army. President Jonathan, who thanked “all Nigerians for their support in these challenging times,” condoled with the families of Nigerian security personnel who lost their lives in the war against terrorism. The President noted: “the task of building the nation remains a collective responsibility.” He the quoted a slogan dur-

ing the Nigerian civil war: “To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done,” saying the country will continue to remain an indivisible nation.” Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Onyeabo Azubuike Ihejirika stated that the Army has made tremendous progress in discharging its duties towards resolving the nation’s challenges. He also added that the Army’s drive to maintain its own equipment has resulted in the rehabilitation of its 42 APCs that broke down in the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

As Crises Escalate In Plateau South, Gov Sues For Peace From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos S the communal crises now shift to the southern zone of Langtang North, Langtang South and Wase Local Government Councils of Plateau State, the Deputy Governor, Ambassador Ignatius Longjang, who is from that axis, yesterday quickly convened a security meeting comprising stakeholders from the zone and security chiefs in the state where he sued for peaceful co-existence among different ethnic

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groups residing in the area. The Deputy Governor made the appeal yesterday at the stakeholders’ meeting on the security challenges held at the Shendam Legislative Chambers. The stakeholders’ meeting, summoned by Longjang was the first of its kind. He commended the people of the zone for finding time to attend the meeting aimed at finding solutions to the crises bedeviling the zone.   He appealed to the people to

PLATEAU close ranks to allow peace to reign because “without peace there is nothing we can achieve. Without peace, we cannot make any progress.” He disclosed that a committee would be set up to identify the problems of each of the local government areas. The management committee chairmen of Shendam, Quaan Pan, Mikang, Langtang South, Langtang North, Wase councils, having given an update of

the happenings in their councils for the past one week, said that they are not relenting in their efforts to stem the tide of killings and cattle rustling in their domains. At the end of the meeting, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Mr. Timothy Parlong, who read the communiqué, commended the untiring efforts of various security agencies in the state, urging them to still do more to totally contain the security challenges.

The meeting was attended by the Special Task Force (STF) Commander, Major-General Henry Ayoola, Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Olakpe, members of the State House of Assembly from the zone, Special Advisers, heads of religious organisation, all the six local government chairmen, Civil Defence Corps, Divisional Police Officers, Immigration, traditional rulers from the zone, Fulani Ardos, Commander 332 Artillery Regiment Shendam, youth and women leaders.

Strike: Govt Is Insincere, Says ASUU President From Abba Anwar, Kano N the heat of the current strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the association has accused the federal government of insincerity at moving the education sector forward. It also blamed the government for speaking from both sides of the mouth. The non-implementation of the 2009 agreement that was reached between the federal government and the union was among the four fundamental issues that forced the

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university dons to down tools. Also, the issue of university autonomy and academic freedom, coupled with staff welfare and condition of service also formed part of contending areas that triggered the industrial action. In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, the President of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Isa Fagge, said that whenever their union met agreed on something with the federal government, within the twinkle of an eye the authorities would turn back, as if there had never been any meeting between the parties.

ice. That was the only item that dum of Understanding, government implemented,” “which was also docuFagge said. mented,” he said. The ASUU President said the “We had a comprehensive In what appeared to be a agreement. And I will like to re- union had every cause to embark great shocker to the academmind people that we took three on a strike in the past. But inics, Fagge further clarified: “In years, painstakingly, taking each stead it resorted to a warning ac- that MoU, government put item to make sure that whatever tion and then an indefinite down its plan to comprehenwe touch on, both parties are in strike. That strike, according to sively implement the 2009 him, commenced on December agreement. That MoU was agreement. So, after that we 4, 2011. spent no less than two years signed on January 24, 2012. He added that with the interwaiting for government to imWith the signing, our memplement the agreement. The gov- vention of the Secretary to the bers, nationwide, were conGovernment of the Federation, vinced that there is a need for ernment decided, even after a the chairpersons of the National us to suspend the strike acstrike, to just implement the salary component. Salary is just Assembly Committees on educa- tion. And we were able to do one aspect of conditions of serv- tion, their union was able to that on the of February 2, reach some kind of Memoran2012.”

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PDP, Okorocha Bicker On Re-run Polls IMO From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri HE authorities of the Imo T State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have debunked claim by Governor Rochas Okorocha that the PDP was involved in shadowy deals with thugs and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare results during the recent Oguta constituency re-run polls. Consequently, the party has supported the directive by President Jonathan that persons involved in the “show of shame” be brought to book. Addressing reporters in Owerri at the weekend, state chairman of the party, Eze Duruiheoma, lamented the “avoidable controversy”. Okorocha had, last Monday, accused the party of sponsoring crisis by being behind INEC’s declaration of the election as inconclusive. The two major parties and candidates in the election are Messrs. Eugene Dibiagwu of the PDP and Walter Uzonwanne of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Duruiheoma admitted being in the company of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha and the Senate Committee Chairman on Aviation, Hope Uzodinma, to monitor the polls from one booth to the other, saying security aides were not ordered to harass anyone.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

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NEWS PIB Will Make Crude Oil Measurement Difficult, Says Mitee From Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt HE Chairman, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Ledum Mitee, said lack of new royalty provisions in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would make it impossible to measure petroleum production in the country. He also observed that rather than scare investors with heavy tax burden in the proposed PIB, government’s tax reform should ensure greater responsibility for international oil companies in the areas where they operate, in order for the bill to achieve its objective. Mitee stated this in a paper titled: “Some Reflections On The Petroleum Industry Bill and The Niger Delta”, which he delivered at a workshop on the PIB and the Niger Delta organised by AFROFIT consult. He noted that the lack of new royalty provisions has a significant implication with respect to the measurement of petroleum production. According to him, the PIB ought to have adopted the international practice of measuring oil and gas production at the measurement point in the field, directly where oil and gas leaves the field area. This, he stressed, would have been in contrast to the

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existing practice of measuring at a point downstream where oil or gas is delivered or sold. “The reason for the tougher measurement point is to stop the practice of stealing or diverting oil or gas before it is measured. The PIB 2012 would continue the existing practices, which means that it will remain possible to steal or divert oil or gas before it is measured. This will continue to result in losses to the Niger Delta and the Nigerian economy in general, and will continue to

RIVERS benefit those involved in these practices,” he said. Mitee, while reviewing the  PIB, said fiscal regime proposed in the bill would impact negatively on the 13 per cent derivation enjoyed by oil producing states. According to him, the PIB proposes the replacement of the current Petroleum Profits Tax (PPT) with the Nigerian Hydrocarbon Tax (NHT) and Companies Income Tax (CIT) as the applicable imposition on profits of companies en-

gaged in upstream petroleum operations. He explained that NHT would be computed on the chargeable profits for the relevant accounting period at 50 per cent for onshore and shallow water areas, and 25 per cent for bitumen, frontier acreages and deepwater areas. He  pointed out that whereas NHT would be subject to the 13 per cent derivation, CIT would not and therefore the loss of revenue to the Niger Delta. “Section 60 of the PPT Act, provides that any dividend

paid out by a company from profits on which PPT has been paid, is exempted from further Nigerian tax. This provision is retained in section 350 of the PIB. Hence, dividends paid out of profits that have been subjected to NHT will not be liable to withholding tax, personal income tax, CIT and other Nigerian taxes. Consequently, the restriction on effects of Personal Income Tax and other Acts on dividends would reduce the revenue under 13 per cent derivations, and which would have direct bearing on the interests of the

At Forum, Participants Score FG Highly On Health Sector From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin HE country’s teaching hospitals may soon become medical tourist centres to Africans in need of medical attention. The Chairman University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital Board, Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose stated this in Ilorin, yesterday, during a one-day seminar on industrial harmony, and attended by stakeholders. The theme for the event was: ‘Promoting Industrial Harmony in a Multi-disciplinary Organisation’. Buoyed by the level of state-

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of-the-art equipment at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Anifowose said the Federal Government should be commended for its policy towards improving the health sector via procurement of more instruments and training of hospital personnel. She said: “Looking at Nigeria’s health sector, one can’t say that one is absolutely satisfied. But the government is doing what is possible within its limited resources. For example, the UITH has, at present, some equipment I never thought could be pos-

KWARA sible to have. “Besides, I can mention many teaching hospitals in Nigeria, today, that have the capacity to handle complex medical operations. I was a beneficiary, so I know what I am saying. “Again, I am now surprised at the space of time with which medical personnel attend to their patients. So, I believe that people all over the world, especially those in Africa should now be coming to Nigeria for medical tourism.” .”

The board chairman, while speaking on the brain drain syndrome that had in the past negatively affected the health sector, said: “Availability of medical equipment is making them to return into the country.” Speaking at the event, the Chief Medical Director, (CMD) of UITH, Prof. Abdulwaheed Olatinwo, said that the need to make staff more committed could not be divorced from motive for the seminar. . He disclosed that leaders of all the existing units at UITH attended the seminar.

Army’s 3 Division Gets New Spokesman

JOS From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos N view of the recent general IArmy, postings in the Nigerian a new spokesman has been appointed for the headquarters of 3 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maxwell Khobe Cantonment, Rukuba, Jos. He is Colonel Texas Chukwu. The senior officer is a veteran Public Relations Practitioner. According to a statement issued, yesterday, by Lieutenant Nureni Alimi of the Directorate of Army Public Relations of the Cantonment, Colonel Chukwu is “a veteran Public Relations Practitioner who can stand the test of time in our contemporary setting. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication, Bachelor of Arts (B.A. Hons) degree in History and International Studies from Lagos State University (LASU) Ojo, Lagos and a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Business Management. He is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (MNIPR).” According to the statement, Chukwu attended military courses including Range Management Basic Course, Jaji; Mortar Platoon Commanders’ Course Jaji; Young Officers’ Course Infantry, Jaji; Advanced Range Management Course, Jaji; Junior Staff Course at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji; Military Observers’ Course in Nairobi, Kenya. He also attended 22 United Nations Course, Senior Staff Course at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College and Airborne Course, all in Jaji. On commission into the Army, Col. Chukwu served in many units among which are Headquarters, 2 Division Ibadan as Administrative Officer; Headquarters, Directorate of Army Reserve Recruitment and Resettlement, Bonny Cantonment, Victoria Island, Lagos, as Army Public Relations Officer; Military Public Information Officer in the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), Directorate of Defence Information, Defence Headquarters as Assistant Director, Defence In-

Council Boss Decry Increase In Drug Abuse ENUGU Deputy Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information (NASPRI), Lt.-Col. Tukur Gusau (left); Deputy Director, Public Relations, 81 Div., Col. Kingsley Umoh; Commandant, NASPRI, Col. Rabe Abubakar and Chief of Staff, Directorate of Islamic Affairs, Nigerian Army, Lt.-Col. Mukhtar Adamu, at the graduation ceremony of News Reporting and Video Course in Lagos… on Friday. PHOTO: NAN

Obi Gets N120m Bill Gates’ Award On Polio Eradication From Uzoma Nzeagwu, Awka HE Minister of State for Health, Mohammad Bate, has said that the administration of President Jonathan is working hard to eradicate polio in the country before the end of his tenure in 2015. Bate disclosed this in Awka while presenting the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (in collaboration with Governors’ Forum) award to Governor Peter Obi, as best performer of the Nigeria im-

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munization leadership change in the South East of Nigeria.  He said the federal government has been working for the past 20 years to eradicate polio across the country. To realise the dream, he said, Jonathan constituted a presidential task force in 2012, which he, himself, headed. He added that all state governors are expected to key into the project by establishing polio task forces at

ANAMBRA state level. According to the minister, a lot of progress has been made. He said that in 2013 only 30 polio cases were recorded, while in the past 9 months, no case was recorded. He said Anambra State, for 5 years, has not had a single case of polio, adding, “And if you go throughout the state, you cannot find a child paral-

ysed within the last 5 years. With this trend, polio is on its last days in Nigeria.” He charged the state governments to sustain the progress. . Presenting the N120 million award to Obi, Bate said the honour was not by chance because the governor had distinguished himself in the health sector through the provision of ambulances, accreditation of schools of midwifery and partnership with

the Church. Responding, Governor Obi said Anambra has come a long way in providing facilities, especially in the health sector, to improve lives of the people. He gave assurance that government has put in place new approach to tackle the problem of HIV/AIDS in the state, and vowed to shut down all brothels where commercial sex workers operate in the state.

From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu HE Chairman of Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State, Godwin Abonyi, has blamed most crimes in the society on drug abuse, worrying that crime has continued unabated despite effort by security agencies to checkmate. Delivering a lecture in commemoration of the 2013 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Enugu, the council boss said: “The fact that youths are the most vulnerable makes it a great evil that is projecting a future catastrophe to the nation.” . ” Abonyi said youths must return to the path of glory, honour and dignity, stressing that it is the only way the country’s future can be guaranteed. .

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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday July 7, 2013

NEWS

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NEWS

Mark Cautions JAMB On Unmerited Admissions  From Joseph Wantu, Makurdi ENATE President, David Mark, has advised the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to give admissions only to qualified candidates seeking entry into the nation’s universities. Mark, who made the suggestion while commissioning the new zonal office of JAMB in Makurdi, decried the let-mypeople-go syndrome. He said the trend must stop in order to boost standards in tertiary education.

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If Nigeria must move forward, Mark said, its universities must be sanitised to produce graduates that would make the nation proud. He called on stakeholders in Primary and Secondary schools to take a cue from JAMB to ensure that good foundation is laid. . He also commended the Federal Ministry of Education and JAMB for developing the synergy, which led to the establishment of the organisation’s zonal offices. Mark lamented that Nigeria,

NATIONAL which used to be rated high in tertiary education, can no longer boast of having a university in the group of 250 renowned institutions in the world. He commended the Benue State government for processing the allocation of land for JAMB’s zonal office within a year. . Earlier, the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqqayatu Rufai, said JAMB has decided to establish zonal offices across the

country to bring its services closer to the people. She noted that Benue State has the third lowest out-ofschool children in the North Central geopolitical zone and appealed to Nigerians to support the drive for increase in Primary school enrollment. Benue State Deputy Governor, Chief Steven Lawani, who represented Governor Gabriel Suswam,  said JAMB has continued to win the confidence of the people, adding that computerisation has helped to reduce malpractices in the

conduct of the organisation’s examination. Lawani promised continued cooperation and support for JAMB as well as other federal agencies in the state within available resources. . Registrar and chief executive of JAMB, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, had, in a welcome address, said 600 candidates sat for computer-based examinations in Makurdi with 70 of them coming from the crisis-ridden area of Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State.

Polio Still Prevalent In Council Area BORNO From Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri OLIOVIRUS is still causing P rampage in Shani Council of Borno State. This is despite efforts by the state administration, in partnership with traditional and religious leaders, and periodic immunisation to kick out the scourge. Speaking during the flag-off of this month’s immunisation exercise at Biu, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Salma Anas-Kolo, said, but for security challenges in reaching various communities, government would have kicked out polio before the end of this year. Salma disclosed that out of the 27 council areas, 20 have fully participated in the immunisation of children against the Six Killer Diseases. She charged council chairmen to join hands with traditional and religious leaders at sensitising parents and guardians on the need to embrace routine immunisations and antenatal care and subsequently reduce child and maternal mortality. Each mother and child that attended the flag-off went home with a wrapper and a mosquito treated net.

Mohammed Returned As NASRDA DG NATIONAL Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State (left) presenting a souvenir to the Chairman, NYSC National Governing Board, Chief Godon Bozimo, during a courtesy call by the NYSC Governing Board on the Governor in Asaba. PHOTO: BRIPIN ENARUSAI

Burning Of ANPP Chairman’s House, Politically Motivated, Says Party Scribe From Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri HE All Nigeria People’s Party T (ANPP) in Borno State has condemned the burning of its state chairman’s house by members of the Vigilance Youths Group (VYG) on allegation that he is a Boko Haram accomplice. The party said that the twin accusations against Alhaji

Mala Othman, and the torching of the house were “politically motivated” by extraneous forces that have infiltrated VYG and its machinery of operations. In a press statement issued last week, after a crucial meeting, the party said, “these youths could have ordinarily ignored the incident, if it was not ostensibly targeted to smear the

Federal Roads Repair: FG To Refund N20b To Akwa Ibom From Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh, Uyo HE Chairman House of RepT resentatives Committee on Works, Ogbuefi Ozorogbachi, has said that the sum of N20b captured in this year’s federal budget is to be refunded to the Akwa Ibom government, as part of its expenses on the construction of federal roads in the state. He made this revelation on Friday when he paid a courtesy visit on Governor Akpabio at Governor’s Office, Uyo. He gave assurance to the governor that the balance of N23b would be inserted in next year’s budget for the state government. Ozorogbachi, accompanied by the Deputy Chairman of the committee, Mohammed

AKWA IBOM Wudil, and other committee members, commended the Akwa Ibom government for the rehabilitation and construction of federal roads in the state, and urged other state governors to emulate the Akwa Ibom example by obtaining presidential approval on construction of roads. He explained that the committee members embarked on the nation-wide tour as part of their oversight function, in a bid to monitor and evaluate the quality of jobs done by the contractors, to ensure such conform with the designs and specifications laid down in the contractual agreement.

BORNO proven integrity of Othman. Signed by ANPP state secretary, Alhaji Bakura Shettima, the party said: “Our party chairman, Othman, is an accomplished politician who has the interest of the people and the development of the state at heart. Accusing him of such behaviour is witch hunting.”

Shettima argued that the attempt to implicate the ANPP chairman in activities of the outlawed sect was a total contradiction of facts on the ground. “In order to put the records straight, we want to establish the fact that it is on record that 99 per cent of politicians killed, since the Boko Haram insurgency began in the state, are members of the ANPP, the rul-

ing party in Borno State. The party has put Borno State on the path of unprecedented development under the able leadership of our state chairman, Alhaji Mala Othman, who is a leader with unquestionable character. With this background, it is unimaginable to say that he is sponsoring the killing of his own people. “We are appealing to the

State Partners China On Irrigation From Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri HEChina Agricultural ComT pany (CHAC) is supplying 50 units of centre pivot irrigation equipment for installations in the three senatorial districts of Borno State to harness agricultural resources and facilitate job creation. Rainfine Irrigation Solution is to customise, export and install the units at designated project sites. This was disclosed, yesterday, in a press statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Communication, Isa Umar Gusau. He said Governor Kashim Shettima, with some members of the state’s Agricultural Transformation Team, as-

sessed and made selections of the irrigation equipment and held discussions with the management of the Chinese firm in Dalian, before placing order for supply of the equipment to Nigeria. Governor Shettima said: “When installed, each of the 50 units of equipment will provide artificial rain for crops, covering 35 hectres of land in each functional rotation.” He said that the state has rich agricultural resources that should be harnessed create more job opportunities for youths and farmers in the Lake Chad Basin Areas. The statement reads in part: “Through our partnership with you, as well as the irrigation projects we are already

undertaking with Jain Irrigation Company of India and another American company, we will turn Borno green, like what I have seen in all parts of China. And by that, we will create jobs, spread wealth and enhance food security. “Our goal is to be the centre point of agriculture, not only in Nigeria, but in sub-Saharan Africa. And we are working very hard to achieve this. I look forward to you fulfilling your own sides of the bargain.” The governor also requested the Nigerian embassy in China to monitor payments to be made in two weeks time to guarantee the integrity of the contract on supplying the units.

By J. K. Obatala HE Director General of the T National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Dr. S. O. Mohammed, has won a vote of confidence for his stewardship of the Federal Government’s most prestigious parastatal. Mohammed, who inherited the helm, four years ago, when Professor Robert A. Boroffice, NASRDA’s founding Director General retired, has now been appointed to a full five-year term, effective July 2, 2013. In a telephone interview with The Guardian, the remote sensing specialist from Kogi State expressed gratitude for the confidence President Jonathan has in him and said his priority would be to consolidate previous gains, within the framework of the Space Roadmap. “At the very top of the list,” he stressed, “is the synthetic aperture radar satellite (SARS), which can see through cloud cover and monitor surface activity from space, no matter the weather. With 60 per cent of Nigeria normally hidden, SARS is obviously of great strategic and economic importance.”   Mohammed said that capacity building, both at the skills and research level, would remain a major focus of the agency and that NASRDA would “forge ahead forcefully” in its drive to achieve rocket launch capability to take advantage of Nigeria’s proximity to the equator.


THE GUARdIAN, sunday, July 7, 2013

6 NEWs

NEWs Youths Advised To Take Care Of The Needy

OGUN IGERIAN youths have been advised to take care of the needy and less privileged in the society by supporting them towards realising their dreams. Giving this advice was Chief doja Adewolu, Bashorun of Owu Kingfdom, at the official commissioning of an ultramodern hostel building donated to stella Obasanjo Children’s Home in Abeokuta, Ogun state by the Leave A donation Charity (LAd). According to him, three teenagers, Laolu Adeeyo, Anjolaoluwa Amosun and damilola Animashaun came together with a “shared vision of contributing their quota to assisting the less privileged in our society.” Laolu, Anjola and damilola in 2011, formed a charity organisation called LAd, an acronym for Leave A donation (LAd), from the first initial of each of their names and went on to organise an impressive fund raiser all by themselves in december 2011 at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. They used proceeds from the fund raiser to build the ultra modern hostel building donated to stella Obasanjo Children’s Home, which comprises of two 10-bedded dormitory styled rooms and six dormitory style toilets/showers, fully kitted out with beds/cots and beddings. . Adewolu described their vision as second to none, encouraging other young children to emulate them by showing love to the needy and assisting their situation. Laolu is the son of Mr. sola Adeeyo, a renowned banker and the Chairman of Astral Waters Ltd.; Anjolaoluwa is the daughter of senator Ibikunle Amosun, a Chartered Accountant by profession and Governor of Ogun state, while damilola is the daughter of Mr. Bankole Animashaun, the director/Corporate lawyer for LaCasera & Animashaun Group of Companies. .

N

Daughter of Ogun State Governor, Miss Anjolaoluwa Amosun; Bashorun of Owu Kingdom, Chief Doja Adewolu; and Miss Damilola Animashaun during the commissioning of an ultra-modern hostel built by the Leave A Donation Charity organisation of three youngsters (Laolu Adeeyo, Anjola Amosun and Damilola Animashaum) at Stella Obasanjo Children’s Home in Abeokuta... on Friday.

Sharp Practices: Govt To Investigate Port Terminal Operators By  Moses Ebosele HE National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has raised a committee to investigate the allegations on sharo practices levelled against private port terminal operators. Minister of National Planning Commission, shamsudden Usman, who doubles as chairman of Policy and Monitoring Committee of NCP said at the weekend that members of the team are already going round the country to verify the allegations. shamsuddeen and members of the committee were on tour at Lagos port terminals to assess the level of development years after they were concessioned. He expressed satisfaction at structures on ground, saying

T

• Minister Indicts AP Moller Over Unpleasant Examination Facilities NATIONAL the port has witnessed some improvement since 2006 when it was handed over to private operators. The minister shamsuddeen advised management of APM Terminals to provide conducive space for the  examination of imported goods at Apapa. “We have seen considerable improvements in other areas of their operations. But the section carved out for physical examination leaves much to be desired. We have the operator, A.P. Moller, that these are almost subhuman conditions. You cannot have Customs personnel and clearance agents work-

ing in a place like this. “They must do whatever is needed urgently to make this place habitable. You cannot even keep goods in this area,” said the Minister. Chief Commercial Officer of APM Terminals, Neil

Out Of Court settlement Between NLNG, NIMAsA Fails By Joseph Onyekwere HE out of court settlement T mooted by the Nigeria Liquefied and Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited has hit the rocks as the agency on Friday told a    Federal High Court, Lagos that it could not agree on terms with  the Nigerian Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMAsA). 

Why Jonathan Aligns With Rotary On Polio, By district Governor By Isaac Taiwo REsIdENT Goodluck Jonathan is not happy that Nigeria remains one of the few countries still plagued by polio, hence he keyed into the dream of the Rotary Club International make Nigeria polio free.” The new district Governor (2013 – 2014) Rotary International, district 9110, Olugbemiga Olowu, who took over from t Kamoru Omotosho, said this yesterday during his installation at Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos. President Jonathan is very much with us in the fight for

“P

total eradication of polio in the country... We are also privileged to have the Ministry of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, as a member, who also is committed to the same cause. World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are also bringing money to support what members of the Rotary Club contribute. “Rotary Club is not only sending out advocacy group to spread the awareness but political leaders and emirs in the north are being brought into the fight to sensitise the

Fletcher,  said the examination bay  is only a stopgap as the Apapa Customs Command rejected the space provided for that purpose. He explained that the company is making effort towards addressing the

situation, pointing out that they would hold discussion with Customs to improve on the matter. Meanwhile, the Nigeria shippers’ Council (NsC), has advised aggrieved stakeholders to report alleged  exploitation by   terminal operators to the council.

people in those areas where we still have difficulty in penetrating. “There is only one per cent remaining in the fight for the eradication and we are putting in all our effort to stamp out polio in the north and few areas in the south where we need to wage more battle. By come 2014, the issue of polio would have been a thing of the past in the nation,” he said. Omotosho said he felt fulfilled as an out-going governor having touched lives and excelled in conflict resolution.

NATIONAL NLNG and NIMAsA had been embroiled in fierce row over the issue of non-payment of certain statutory levies and charges which NIMAsA claims are due to it from NLNG. NLNG had on Thursday urged Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos to grant it short adjournment to perfect work on the settlement talks, a development that prompted the court to fix Friday for report of settlement. But when the case came up, counsel to NLNG, Wale Akoni (sAN) told the court that settlement talks had failed, while the defendants proceeded with their pending applications. “It appears to us that NIMAsA is bent on stifling our business. NLNG has paid dividends to the Federal Government in billions. “We even offered to continue to pay but they rejected our offer,” Akoni explained.

Justice Idris had on June 18 in suit FHC/L/Cs/847/2013 between NLNG and Attorney General of the Federation and Global West Vessels specialists, granted an ex-parte order restraining the defendants from charging, imposing, demanding or collecting the 3% of gross freight earnings or any other sums further to section 15(a) of NIMAsA Act 2007 on all of NLNG’s international inbound or outbound cargo ships owned, contracted or subcontracted by it; an order NIMAsA said was against them even though they were not parties to the suit. After Akoni’s submission, counsel to the Federal Government, Fabian Ajogwu (sAN) moved his application seeking to discharge the exparte order on the grounds that the order was essentially made against NIMAsA, which was not joined as party to the suit. NIMAsA therefore filed an application seeking to be joined as a party to the suit.

Tambuwal Charges Public Officers On service delivery From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City PEAKER of the House of sTambuwal, Representatives, Aminu has called on political office holders to lay more emphasis on the electorates than hinging all

their actions on political party that brought them into power. Tambuwal, who spoke yesterday in Benin City, Edo state, at the birthday and silver jubilee wedding anniversary of the deputy Governor of Edo state, dr. Pius Odubu,

said, the lower house was interested in serving the interest of Nigerians that elected them rather than carrying out dictates of their various political parties even when they were not in the best interest of Nigerian. According to him, “what

concerns us as a House is the Federal Republic of Nigeria because we represents constituencies that are delineated based on the population of the Nigerian people. And the moment you are elected a member, you are expected to serve

and represent that particular constituency irrespective of which platform of the party you have contested the election and won. Therefore, whatever we do in the House, we consider the federation of Nigeria as a basis of our decision.”

Estate Holds Tennis Tourney By Ikechukwu Onyewuchi O avoid health complicaT tions and promote communal living, Nigerians should take to sports by organising and participating in community sporting activities. The president of LsPdC Medium Estate Phase Residents’ Association, Ogba, Mrs. Mopelola Ajasa, said this, yesterday, in her welcome address at the lawn tennis tournament holding at the estate’s sports complex. Revealing that the sports complex was built solely from the contributions of residents in the estate, she urged Nigerians to pay more attention to sports as it is a veritable tool in international politics, personal development and healthy living. she noted that with its health benefits, sports should be promoted vigorously, adding, “We should come together to encourage sports enthusiasts by giving professional support.”


TheGuardian

Sunday, July 7, 2013

7

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Cityfile

Motorcycles seized by the Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS), Abuja.

PHOTO: ITUNU AJAYI

FCT Cracks Down On Illegal Transport Operators From Itunu Ajayi, Abuja HILE the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) awaits the arrival W of high capacity buses, expected to become the only means of commercial transportation in the city centre, operatives of the Directorate of Road Traffic Services (known as VIO) swept into action during the week to rid the capital of unpainted mini buses, tricycles (popularly called Keke NAPEP) and motorcycles. The Guardian on Wednesday ran into men of the Directorate with the Director, Lt. Col. Rotimi Alade (rtd), personally supervising the operation. “I just came around to see how the enforcement is faring. We have a task on our hands and a target; and this enforcement, which started on June 3, is going to be a continuous exercise. It is not a one-day thing. There won’t be any reversal; it has come to stay, and we are going to continue until sanity returns to the FCT. “This is a joint operation that we have been conducting with other law enforcement agencies; this is to ensure that motorcycles and Keke NAPEP and other illegal operators are rid from the city center,” Alade said.    He said the Directorate discovered that drivers of mini buses barred from the city center have devised a smart way of coming back to the FCT.  Some of them, he noted, have changed the original green color of their buses to other colors; others simply operate with space wagons and other types of vehicles. This, he said, would not be tolerated. “What we are doing is the enforcement of the new Abuja Transport Policy, which stipulates that mini buses are restricted to satellite towns and not allowed to enter the city center. They are to operate at satellite towns, while the high capacity buses would convey people from those satellite towns to the city center,” he said.  The Director lamented that even commercial motorcycles, banned since 2006, have launched a comeback. He said that this would make his men continually be on their toes to enforce compliance and disallow people from turning the beautiful city into a glorified jungle.     The Guardian, however, questioned him on the pain currently been experienced by commuters, as a result of outnumbered high capacity buses, leaving people waiting at bus stations. Alade said: “I agree that the buses may not be enough for now. And I am aware that people are demanding more buses, and the government on its own part is putting in place meas-

ures that would ease the pain of the people.  Last week, the Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed, launched close to 200 taxis in the FCT. This is just the first phase of the batches expected. These were given out and others would come in batches. This is just an important measure the FCT Minister is employing to alleviate the suffering of the people.  “And then, another important thing is that people should go to designated bus stops; they just want to stay anywhere and flag down any vehicle they see, either painted or not. This is a major challenge. We are putting more emphasis on this because the people are even endangering their lives by this practice. When one enters any vehicle on the roadside and it’s not a registered Abuja painted taxi, anything can happen to such person. That is why we are appealing to commuters, for the sake of security and safety of their life and property; they need to patronise government-approved vehicles. “The new order is the mass transit mode of transportation and we want people to be more patient and wait for them at designated routes.  Whatever is coming new is sure to have some initial hiccups, but with time, the buses will flood the

DRTS boss, Lt. Col. Rotimi Alade (rtd) during one of the Directorate’s operations.

city and all these complaints of people not seeing them everywhere will be a thing of the past.  We are appealing to residents to be more patient; the government of the FCT is not resting on its oars.”  Some Keke NAPEP riders who spoke with The Guardian accused the directorate of charging too high a fine for offences. One claimed he spent almost N40,000 to get his tricycle back after it was impounded.  Reacting, Alade said the amount an offender pays matters little; what counts is the mandate of the directorate to enforce compliance and do the right thing. He said that in addition to impounding the vehicles of offenders, the directorate has traffic mobile courts around the FCT where lawbreakers are tried instantly.    “But I can tell you that depending on the offence, the fine is between N5, 000 to N50, 000,” he said. He appealed to commuters to exercise more patient, key in into the initiative and make use of designated bus stops and terminals.


ThE GUArDiAN, Sunday, July 7 2013

8

CiTYFiLE

Passengers Pained On Port harcourt Airport rehabilitation

A Pinch Of N(u)ews A Laugh At Serious Issues

By Stanley Azuakola

ASUU, NUPENG audition for Keshi iGEriA’S senior national football team was recently ousted N from the FiFA Confederations Cup in the first round. Despite the good showing of the team, it was clear that the major deficiency was a lack of quality and consistent strikers in the team. in an unprecedented and most patriotic move to help supply needed manpower in the national team and make Nigerians happy, ASUU and NUPENG decided to strike last week as a form of audition for Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi. “it is ridiculous that a country as blessed as Nigeria would be lacking strikers when we are here. We want to show Keshi that he has a large pool of quality strikers to choose from and we would strike like this till Nigeria wins the world cup,” said Prof, Awuzie, the ASUU chairman. Following the criticism from the FG that the unions are selfish and “striking just for gold”, implying that the strike actions were just to extort more money from the government, Prof. Awuzie said, “What is wrong in striking for gold? Yes we are striking for gold. We need to emulate the Atlanta 96 team which struck gold for Nigeria at the Olympics. We want gold and by God’s grace by the end of our strike we would have struck gold.”

PDP releases anti-Tambuwal advert hE speaker of the house of representatives has consistently T been in the news in recent times, and there are speculations that the man is harbouring presidential ambitions on the plat-

Airport ground begging concrete overlay at Port Harcourt International Airport

From Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt ir TrAVELLErS using the Port harcourt international Airport A have voiced complaints about the state of facilities at its terminal. They described situations as pathetic and stressful, having to make do with a tent as both arrival and departure lounge while the terminal building undergoes reconstruction. The non-availability of vehicle parking space also poses a huge challenge. Condition at the ongoing car park project has worsened as a result of the rains. This has made walking on the bare ground an unwelcome experience. Some passengers who spoke to The Guardian complained that they were forced to waste hours before their scheduled flights because some facilities malfunctioned. A traveller, Michael Udoji, urged government to ensure that a quality job was done at the airport and maintenance carried out periodically. On his part, Chief Ngozi hilary, however, described the situation as manageable and expressed optimism that there would be improvement. According to him, the current suffering cannot be compared to the pains passengers went through in 2008 when the airport was shut down for a maintenance work. That situation had resulted in air travellers having to use the imo State international Airport. “Whatsoever condition we find ourselves here is better than going through Owerri airport, which takes like two to three hours. Work is going on and we believe it will be in order very soon,” hillary said. The Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. George Uriesi, said: “i know that right now, members of the public are going through a lot of stress, because of the temporary facilities they are using, while we are building. They should, please, bear with us.” he spoke while commissioning the rehabilitated airport guesthouse in Port harcourt Omagwa, rivers State, and expressed displeasure over the delayed completion of the Port harcourt international Airport. “i am unhappy and ashamed at the time being taken to finish the terminals. We are doing a lot of terminals across the country. it is not easy, but we will surely deliver the projects, as promised. Great works are going on within the environment because we must have a good environment that can blend with a new terminal,” Uriesi said. he added: “rehabilitation works ought to be maintained and sustained. When an airport tells you that it has achieved rehabilitation of this and that, such airport is sick, because those things are not achievements; they are taken for granted in modern airports. “When we finish the works we are doing here, it is going to be the most beautiful airport in the country. We are doing our best to get a standard airport that will respond to the needs of the people. it’s a gradual mutual process.” he commended the efforts of the regional General Manager, South-South/South-East FAAN, Mrs. Ebele Okoye, towards repositioning the airport. Okoye disclosed that she faced numerous challenges when she assumed office last year. “By the time we started, we were able to move to the new place

that was constructed, to give way to the contractor to start the work on the other side. There was a small tent on the ground with no walkway and without floor plastering. But with the support of the Managing Director, four big tents surfaced and work went on with great speed to make them comfortable for arriving and departing passengers.” She explained that FAAN’s modest achievements, since 2012, were hinged on a three-pronged approach of remodelling, restructuring, profitability and sustainability. She also noted that FAAN’s first focus was to sensitise the employees on the need to change their mindset and attitude.

form of the opposition merger party. The clearest indication of that came when a campaign advert allegedly produced by the PDP in preparation for when the speaker eventually decamps, was leaked on the internet. The advert tried to draw similarities between Tambuwal and the latest in the entertainment world in America, to prove that the speaker is just a showman. it featured two of America’s biggest pop celebrities, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, who recently gave birth to a baby they named North West. The advert began with a voice saying: “And a star shall rise in the North West.” And a picture was shown of Kanye and Kim with their baby North West. Using computer manipulation, the head of the baby was changed to that of Tambuwal, who is from the North West of the country. The voice then said, “This baby was born following the union of two attention-seeking parties.” Again Kanye and Kim who are known for their attention hugging stunts, were shown in the picture with Kim holding a broom (representing A.C.N) and Kanye with a biro (representing CPC). “They are still not married, but as usual they’re playing around and making babies,” said the voice, drawing similarities with the opposition parties who are still not done with their marriage/merger but are already making babies (like Tambuwal). “how long do you think this will last before this happens…,” the voice said, and the video shows Kim sweeping away Kanye from the house and the baby is shown crying inconsolably like a child but with the face of Tambuwal. The voice then concluded with, “Oh, poor child, where would you run to now?” The PDP has denied being responsible for the advert.

CITY SHOTS

Canal overtaken by water hyacinth at Makoko, Lagos State.

What a man can do... Women transporting firewood on the lagoon.

PHOTO: CHARLES OKOLO

PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

9

CITYFILE Lo, A Coinage For SSM! By Adidi Uyo LANGUAGE ON PARADE

A section of the abattoir at Oko-Oba.

LASEPA Orders Halt To Unwholesome Practices At Abattoir Meets With Lagos’ Company Officials On Climate Change By Paul Adunwoke HE Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency has orT dered meat sellers and blood mill workers at Oko-Oba abattoir to cease their operations forthwith. Accompanied by men of the Nigeria police, LASEPA officials stormed the area on Thursday. The agency said its action was prompted by complaints over stench and smoke by residents of the area. Residents had cried out to LASEPA, saying the resultant pollution is taking a negative toll on their health. LASEPA’s General Manager, Adebola Shabi, said the agency’s next visit to the market would be to arrest persons who continue with the business. “We have been spending a huge amount of money to mitigate climate change. Their operations endanger the health of Lagosians because of toxic emissions into the environment. I have told the leaders in this market to expose other illegal business operators. I have also given them telephone num-

Egunje Fuels Indigestion In Imo INEC C has learnt that the recent C bye-election for Oguta State Constituency in Imo State House of Assembly is a fight for figures on many fronts. Loud mouths told CC that a prominent promoter of APC in the state wanted to impress his masters that he was on the ground by moving men and materials to the area. But while the surge was happening in Oguta, two women were at the centre of another quarrel over figures in the Headquarters of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Owerri. It was learnt that some staff were asking in bedroom voices whether it was $1, 000, $10, 000 or 1 million of native currencies that strolled into the office on the eve of the bye-election. Though nobody is prepared to explain, what the various amounts of money being mentioned were meant for in this age of cashless, CC will keep you posted on further developments, because some aggrieved officials of INEC in Owerri have sworn that the ‘egunje’ will not digest well unless equity was observed.

Common Course, Common Purse And Uncommon Confusion CC told the story of an enfant terrible who had some issues with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and some financial institutions; how he brought in a high-ranking government official from the Southern part of Africa. Well, the new gist CC gathered, is that apart from seeking endorsement from an Anamb deep pocket noted for his philanthropy, this enfant terrible who is currently jostling for a governorship ticket invited that political leader, who later ran

bers, to get in touch with the agency any time people intend to violate the rules,” Shabi said. Meanwhile, LASEPA has met with officials of Lagos State companies with a view to mitigating climate change and global warming. Reports presented at the meeting indicated that some of the companies have not met the agency’s demand. The meeting was held at LASEPA’s auditorium in Alausa, Ikeja, at the weekend. Shabi said: “This meeting is to determine how far the companies have gone at reducing pollution to barest. We had a meeting with them in February, this year, and we gave a moratorium period to construct water waste treatment plants in their companies to avoid pollution of the environment,” Shabi said. He disclosed plan by the Lagos State government to provide a central water waste treatment plant. Shabi said the best way to mitigate climate change is to plant trees, monitor companies and the emission of vehicles on the road. into trouble with Nigerian authorities over protocol matters, so that the deep pocket could help raise some money for the man’s forthcoming election in that Southern African country that has a defiant Octogenarian as leader. CC gathered that the enfant terrible, who has some scores to settle with EFCC over subsidy funds used the South African politician as bait to get the Enug-based Anamb philanthropist to equally endorse his governorship in the hope that if the South African won his election coming up a fortnight, his election as Governor of Anamb State would be an easy meat. CC learnt that though the philanthropist oil magnate has gone to the media to deny his purported endorsement of the enfant terrible, he gave the South African erstwhile prominent opposition figure some dollars. CC could not get a confirmation whether it was actually the enfant terrible that set the South African up with the Nigeria Security so as to get his cut of the dollar largesse.   CC however gathered that the call placed through to the big man in Enug to confirm that the South African was actually his visitor was but a ploy to confuse the South African that his trouble started from his ‘Sokoto’.

Obi Weeps, Ihedioha Laughs HILE Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State was close to W tears, lamenting the state of the country, grossly bedeviled by high-level corruption, Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha had every reason to laugh, as he bagged an award of excellence at the just concluded second session of the Fifteenth Synod of the Diocese of Enugu, Anglican Communion. The Lord Bishop of Enugu, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma premised Ihediora’s award on his love for God, demonstrated by his availability each time the church beckons. Ihedioha was also lauded for having built a magnificent Church for God, in addition to his sacrificial donations for projects in the House of God. Using Ihedioha’s exemplary love for God, which was demonstrated in the House he built for God, the Bishop said he had to tell another prominent personality, who had also laid foundation of a similar Church, to pull the foundation down and do something better. Ihedioha’s magnanimity was also corroborated by his Bishop, Rt. Rev. David Onuoha, who confirmed that the Deputy Speaker has not only tarred all the roads in his state, but he has started constructing new ones. CC is amused at the contrast here, where one human being is celebrated for his ‘generosity’ to the Church and another deeply bemoans the state of affairs in the country, where the corrupt rich get all the praise, for using state resources to win medals. Different strokes.

T is definitely not just a social I phenomenon, but also a political hot potato, this thing called

SSM, I mean, Same-Sex Marriage. For that reason it is a subject that we cannot serve on the language train, as such, because politics is our sweet taboo. But as we are wont to say, language is the palm oil with which politics and any other thing, for that matter, is eaten, to parody one of the proverbs of our literary guru, Chinua Achebe. As they say, if something is not in a people’s language, that thing does not exist for them. Specifically, it does not exist in their culture – a people’s complete design for living. That is because language is the repository of a people’s way of life: it stores everything that belongs to them. As people develop new things and conjure new thoughts, they give them their identities by naming them distinctly, depositing such names in their language. It is true, of course, that the vocabulary of some people is not as developed as that of others. Invariably, the people with a “poorer” vocabulary resort to “creative symbolic duplication” (CSD) whenever they develop or encounter a new thing. To give just one example of how CSD works, consider a people who are encountering an airplane for the first time. In other words, this artifact or physical object does not exist for them, and therefore is not part of their vocabulary. But they happen to be riverine people and do have boat in their culture. Unable to think of or find a word for plane, which they are encountering for the first time, they name it “a boat that flies,” thereby making this lexical construction part of their language, specifically, its vocabulary. I am very sure you can give many examples of words or names in your own Nigerian language that are products of CSD. Akin to creative symbolic duplication is symbolic assimilation, which takes many forms, one of which is phonic imitation. In my paternal language, for example, photo is “ifoto.” Ditto my maternal language. If there is one language which excels in symbolic assimilation it is the English language. The English language also is one which rarely resorts to creative symbolic duplication. I do not know which one was invented first, but Instead of referring to that relatived object as “a spoon with some teeth,” the English gave it its distinct identity by naming it “fork.” When it was invented, it was NOT called “a car that flies” but a “plane.” Similarly, when some people started having a different sexual orientation, the men were not called “men who love to have sex with other men” but were given a distinct name: “gay.” Nor where the women who had a sexual orientation that veered from the normal called “women who love to have sex with other women.” Rather the English language had an especial name for them: “lesbians.” Given the dynamism and elasticity of the English language, I am baffled that the same language that could come up with “gay” and “lesbian” could not come up with a name that uniquely refers to two gays getting married or two lesbians getting married, but instead resorting to a cobbled name, “same-sex marriage.” We have monogamy, polygamy, polyandry, name it! So, why, why, why? Why can’t invent or create a word for SSM? As a connoisseur of language, you must equally find this inability of the English language to invent a unique name for this unique social evolution of marriage baffling, or should I say, interesting. For a long time now, I have been searching for a unique word that aptly captures the marriage between people of the same sex, because, same-sex marriage is just too bland for me. My search started after the Nigerian Senate passed a law on this matter. My search was accentuated when some foreign leaders deemed it proper to tell our legislators to watch their steps and to advise our president not to assent to the bill prohibiting same-sex marriage and imposing a grave penalty on offenders. And my search reached a climax after the United States Supreme Court gave is verdict that many have hailed as a victory for civil rights. I do not know how long I can hold the word that I have coined for this phenomenon, but I do hereby ask you to join in the search for such word. And it does not matter whether it is a coinage or a straight word. When next we meet on the language train, you will have the opportunity to compare you name for this form of marriage with mine. So, members of ALAN, let us together put our knowledge and love for the English language to task by coming up with a befitting name for the marriage between two people of the same gender, instead of what methinks is a humdrum name: SameSex Marriage. Come on: the English language can do better than that!

Blind U.S. Prof. Donates Braille Books To Students From Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia T was a happy weekend for students of the Abia State School IMrs.for the Blind, Umuahia, as a blind professor from Chicago, Sue Duffi, donated braille books to them, in conjunction with the Abia State Chapter of the National Association of Seadogs- NAS (alias Pirates Confraternity). NAS members also donated 60 mobility canes and T-shirts branded: ‘Blind With Vision’. President of the state’s NAS Chapter Mr. Okechi Utah, who led his members to the school, enjoyed the students to make the best use of opportunity to advance their education.  He pledged that the association would continue to assist them in line with its tradition of identifying with the needy in the society. He indicated that more books would be delivered. “Take your plight as a temporary setback and do not allow it to deter you from striving to actualise your desire in life, Utah said.

CITYFILE CONTINUED ON PAGE 50


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday July 7, 2013

Backlash Abraham Ogbodo

08055328079 (Sms only) abogbodo@yahoo.com

Lord, Let This Worry Pass By Warri AST week, suspected Ijaw gunmen reportedly Lnities attacked and razed down six Itsekiri commuand killed about 12 persons in Warri North local government area of Delta State. I was most frightened reading the report of the tragedy in the dailies. I prayed repeatedly that whatever that had happened should remain isolated and conclusive in its horrific scope. To project the picture further than that was to imagine a return to the dark days of war between the Ijaws and Itsekiris, and that’s mind-bending. I still do not understand why folks who are circumscribed by the same circumstances would turn on one another in order to make a nebulous point. Purportedly underlying the new offensive is the local government elections in Delta State. This has not even been properly defined by the newly inaugurated Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC), which has not presented any roadmap regarding date, modalities and general guidelines. Why should that be an issue now? The Ijaws, who occupy four wards as against six by the Itsekiris in Warri North council area, are spoiling for power shift. They argue that the demography, which, since the creation of the council area has made the chairmanship seat an exclusive right of the Itsekiris must be renegotiated to give all stakeholders greater sense of participation. It is a legitimate aspiration. What is not legitimate and cannot be explained under any circumstance is the resort to Stone Age bestiality in driving that ambition. Were the people killed in the unprovoked attack part of the DSIEC that will conduct the council election in the state? They were probably fishermen just like their Ijaw neighbours combing the creeks in their carved out boats for enough catch to stay alive. It is not impossible that some of them did not even know the implications of a won or lost council chairmanship election. And so, why kill them like catfish? UST like child’s play, citizens of Egypt in their JSquare thousands, no millions, gathered at the Tahrir (Liberation Square in English) majority of them being very active youth population, to demand resignation of their former president, Mohammed Morsi. Morsi didn’t immediately recognise the immense and menacing force of people’s power and he remained defiant, apparently, having forgotten it was the same people’s revolt that toppled the high-handed 40-year old military regime of Hosni Mubarak and brought him into office. How soon men forget. The protesters gave him an ultimatum, but Morsi did not bulge until the military stepped in and put him under house arrest and out of circulation. The revolution may not have ended, because Morsi’s followers are still kicking, as members of his Islamic Brotherhood seem not to come to terms yet with what hit them; but with the swearing-in of Adly Mansour as interim president, it seems Morsi is gone for good, unless mother luck shines on him exceptionally. This narrative is not just interested in what happened or didn’t happen in Egypt, but more in what the situation in that country could translate to in similar climes. Egypt seems so far, yet not too far for men who have listening ears to learn hard lessons, in order to preserve themselves and preserve their democracy, or whatever form of government they claim to have in place. In their usual manner, African leaders love to play the Ostrich, they love to pretend that what is happening in another country is peculiar to such country and has nothing to teach the wider union. The African Union has denounced the events in Egypt and rejected the new leadership. It went on to suspend Egypt indefinitely over what it terms the unconstitutional change of government by the military. That is to be expected. When things hadn’t gone this bad, the AU had no response to the deteriorating political leadership in Egypt. They claim to have a peer-review mechanism in place, but would chose to look the other way until matters get worse. It was the same thing in Kenya, when post-election violence in 2007-08 claimed not less than 1,000 souls and the AU could not intervene to save those lives. And when the International Criminal Court (ICC) wanted to intervene and bring perpetrators to book, the AU said no. At its 50th anniversary summit in Ethiopia in May, the AU passed a resolution urging ICC to refer the crime against humanity cases leveled against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy

We all know that apart from the name ‘Goodluck’ nothing else in the background of Goodluck Jonathan gave indication that he would become president of Nigeria. If he had been killed by aggrieved persons while fishing in the creeks, or moving about the swamps of Otuoke bare-footed; without sandals, would he have grown to become President today? And most probably, the Niger Delta would have lost forever the opportunity to produce the President of Nigeria. Also take the case of Papa E.K Clark. If he had been murdered like chicken, would he have waxed steadily over the decades to become ‘elder statesman and foremost Ijaw leader’ and even coming very close to being the alternate President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Amaechi, Dickson, Uduaghan, Imoke, Akpabio and Oshiomhole and all the big big ogas dem in Abuja were all village boys of yester years who have made it because nobody terminated their lives and aspirations over any reason. What I am saying is that there could be some leaders of tomorrow or fathers of leaders of tomorrow among the folks that were slaughtered. They did not have to die because they were Itsekiri and some Ijaw irredentists were on a callous campaign to offset the hegemony of the former in the politics of Warri North local council. It is a shame. For all you care, it is a hegemony that is of no direct or even remote benefit to the generality of the people. For instance, the fact that the State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan is an Itsekiri from Warri North would mean little or nothing to folks that were killed because that consanguinity might not have marked them out for any special privileges in the overall calculations. They might not have had any better access to government largesse and they could have been as aggrieved as many others including their killers. The murderers themselves do not stand to gain any direct benefit from their dastardly act. Sure, none of them has ambition to contest

the council chairmanship seat in the next election. If there was any with such ambition among the killers, something in him would have told him that the people he killed in cold blood did not have the capacity to derail or scuttle his ambition. In other words, the killers did not kill for their own sake but to serve the purpose of others who are at the moment too distant to be recognised in the calculations. I ask again: why this crude approach to issues that can be so beautifully exhausted through dialogue or peaceful contest? Even Goodluck Jonathan refused to apply this kind of tactics at the highest level. At least, he had told everybody who listened that nobody’s life was worth his ambition while jumping around the country to cultivate support for his presidential ambition in the build-up to the 2011 general election. I think that golden line can be adopted also in the interim as a golden rule, while we await the more substantive achievement of fine-tuning the political process to a level where it will become too light or transparent to sustain killers. Having made that point, it should be added that something more need to be done, to catalyse the fine-tuning process in the Niger Delta. There is always this tendency in the people of the region to forgo the substance and chase shadows. The argument that the region is marginalised is no longer tenable in the light of the current configurations. It is the only region with a whole federal ministry to itself. It also has the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which was created by an act of parliament to specifically facilitate development in the area. Add to this the 13 per cent derivation money that states in the region receive from the central purse, the free-forall bazaar called the Amnesty Programme and finally the big fact that the country is today co-ordinated from a South-south presidential prism. There are other collateral benefits such as the headship of the petroleum ministry and the money spinning Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). Sincerely, there is enough, comparatively, to keep the region busy and out of trouble too for now. But there is trouble everywhere and almost at a scale that rakes up the memory of years when the configuration was not so favourable. The people appear back in Egypt after crossing the Red Sea and frustrations have begun to build again, so soon even amid unprecedented prospects. Maybe the wrong Moses was chosen in the first place to lead the exodus out of the dungeon. In fact, the ‘Moseses’ at all levels of leadership in the Niger Delta have refused to come down from the Mountain top, where they have

SUNDAY NARRATIVE Alabi Williams williams.alabi@ngrguardiannews.com 08116759790 (Sms only)

Egypt! Hard Lessons For Nigeria, Africa William Ruto back to Kenya for domestic trial. The ICC is of the view that the two men should surrender themselves for trial, but in the puerile thinking of AU leaders, Kenya has a credible judiciary that is trusted by all Kenyans and has capacity to hear and determine the cases. That is the kind of peer-reviewing AU leadership is used to, seeking to preserve leaders who may have lost touch with their people. So, suspending Egypt from the continental body is no surprise. Now, is it possible for individual countries to be circumspect enough to pick one or two lessons from the events taking place in the land of Pharaohs? I think so, because what the people of Egypt are asking for are not radically different from what other Africans are asking for from their leaders. The Egyptians broke free from the 40-year authoritarian rule under Hosni Mubarak, seeking to have a government of their own, where the rules of engagement do not preclude any group from access to good life. They voted massively in 2012 for Morsi, believing that he could work the economy, provide jobs and make life more secure. After one year, they decided to ask for returns on the mandate they voluntarily gave in 2012. They look like a people in a hurry. The events are happening so rapidly that there is little time to pause and interrogate the psychology of the Egyptian populace. They seem to have no patience with democracy and its pussyfooting, perpetually at a corner, somewhere at a curve, learning endlessly and refusing to break forth. These people will take to the streets to protest an increase in price of bread and make an issue of it. They seem to be a no-nonsense people, and if that is their nature, no one should blame them. That makes democracy a very delicate business along the Nile. Therefore, whoever the people elect to rule them should understand their sensibilities and accommodate them, but Morsi did not, himself being a learner. He was accused of excluding majority of Egyptians in favour of his Is-

lamic Brotherhood. That was dangerous. If democracy is for all, leaders should try to accommodate all, including the opposition. For example, Nigeria’s democracy is a winner-takeall affair. Some people have been outside government since 1999, having zero access to resources and government patronage and you expect them to think straight. Exclusion here is at every level and it hurts most when state institutions that should provide level-playing field help to perpetrate exclusion. It hurts badly when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for instance, denies the opposition access to vital information and data. It hurts when the judiciary, the final arbiter in the affairs of men panders to the vanities of men in power and refusing to dispense justice without fear or favour. It hurts when men who were ordinary yesterday become unreachable, because they won or stole some election and they begin to loom larger than life, while millions of Nigerians live in perpetual denial. But it is encouraging, that Nigerians have developed tick skin and they are willing to let democracy mature. Clearly, the problem is not so much with the people, ordinary folks, and lawabiding workmen, ever ready to queue at every election. No. It seems largely the problem of the political class. If this democracy fails, they should be fair enough to carry the blame on their heads; just the same way they are eating the resources with two hands. The military in Egypt is being blamed for subverting democracy and I do not agree. The military did not instigate the millions of people to come out and take over Tahrir Square. They stepped in to intervene when it was clear that state was on the verge of collapse. By their calling, the military have the responsibility to protect the integrity of their country. Egypt was on the verge of disintegration and the only group that could save her was the military. The hard lesson here is that countries such as Egypt, which are borrowers of democracy as a form

purportedly gone to receive the goodies on behalf of the people. They have appropriated the collective heritage for keeps and the impact of that huge theft is what is turning brothers against brothers in the region. Even the many militant leaders who fought the so-called wars of liberation are nowhere to be found. They are neither in the creeks nor on ground anywhere in the Niger Delta to take charge of the bad situation. They are up there in Abuja and all the good places in Nigeria and elsewhere, where they have built protective buffers around themselves with the common wealth stolen. This is where we are with the Niger Delta struggle. The leaders of the struggle have become con men and the betrayed people are searching frantically in all directions, say for a new hope? What do we do? There are several options, which however do not include what happened in Warri North. Instead of agonising, the region should organise for a strategic re-launch. It has to fight again but not with guns. World over, gunboat diplomacy does not offer lasting solutions. At the end of World War I, the German soldiers, including Sgt Adolf Hitler, who were returning from the fronts re-entered Berlin with loud proclamations that the fallen Germany would rise again. The country did rise as promised, but the towering national energies were wrongly channelled into arms production to begin World War II. The Great Germany went down even more rapidly than it had risen and as he agonised in the Berlin Bunker just before he killed himself, the Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler, added one line in his suicide note: “Germany shall rise again!” Indeed Germany did rise again, but not entirely by itself. The rest of the world, through the United Nations, came together to help Germany advance in a different direction. It did not rise the third time to precipitate a World War III. That indomitable German spirit which made it possible for the country to absorb the upheavals of two World wars was invested in ventures outside armament and the result today is the resilient German economy from which continental Europe derives strength. The rest of Nigeria and in fact the world should help the Niger Delta to go the way of Germany. The region is loaded with talented people. The kind of talent that could make a non-mariner to wade 120 kilometres off the coast into ocean depths of about 1000 metres without navigational aids to attack the Bonga Oil Field that is operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company. Youths and elders of the region need assurances that there are dignifying and fruitful areas outside politics that energies can be channelled. of government should learn to stick by the rules. That Nigerians are peaceful people is not license for democratic leaders to cheat them at every point. It is no license for government to continue to renege on agreements reached with Academic Staff union of universities and to continue to shortchange the educational sector. The Egyptian military, just like in Pakistan, are very powerful and without making it obvious, they serve as bulwark of their countries’ integrity. They lurk behind the scene, watching out for some gross errors. Politicians in the two countries have not come of age to be absolutely entrusted with unfettered handling of affairs. Call it diarchy or whatever it does not appear so offensive, considering that Pakistan and Egypt have both been ruled more by the military. You cannot cast off that experience in one year or a few years. Another hard lesson here is for Nigeria and some other African countries with similar experience not to take the military for granted. The people should also count well and not to be taken for granted. The budgets must work for the overall benefit of the people, not for ministers and top civil servants to continue to frustrate budgets. There must be security of life and property, not that our democratic government continues to appear helpless in the face of general lawlessness. Imagine that the military was not invited to intervene in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states, when Boko Haram was busy planting subversive flags all over the place, then by now they would have taken over the entire Northeast. Democracy in those states would have suffered. Therefore, the military is still very relevant and should not allow themselves to be intimidated, or unduly influenced by politicians. Nigerians love democracy, but they do not trust politicians. All hands must be on deck, to save this democracy, including the military. Yet another hard lesson is for those plying politics of ethnic and religious superiority to sit down and review their hateful stance. Egypt is predominantly Muslim and they love their religion dearly. A sizeable number is Coptic Christians and on a good day, they are respected and have lived in Egypt and practiced their religion for centuries. The revolution against Morsi was motivated by a common hunger and thirst for better life for all, which the Islamists could not provide in a hurry. Majority of those who kicked Morsi out are Muslims of a liberal mode, great adherents of the faith, but we are talking development here. Let development drive our politics and not the other way round. Those who are fixated on religion and


TheGuardian

Sunday, July 7, 2013 | 11

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Outlook Challenge Before Administrators By Emaka Anyaoku DMINISTRATORS in every country are the linchpin of development. They are the very group on whose shoulders the task of implementing policies rests. These can be the national policies of Governments, or the policies of organizations in the private sector or the civil society. In this age of technology and specialized operations managed and directed by appropriate specialists, there is a growing need for administrators whose task, especially at the top level, is to coordinate the multi-faceted activities of a government or a private corporate organization. It is commendable that this conference has drawn administrators from across the sub-region because administrators are as important to national development as they are to the development of our regional and continental organizations. Take the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), for example. It should be recalled that it was the crucial role that administrators, inspired by the political leadership of the then Presidents of Nigeria and South Africa, played in its conception as well as in the articulation of its aims that led to the successful emergence in 2001 of this latest instrument for Africa’s development. In fact, it was the array of experienced administrators that went to work at the various steering committees of the NEPAD, both in planning, coordination and implementation, which brought about the reality of this African developmental framework. And since the establishment of NEPAD, it is the administrators at its headquarters who have ensured its sustenance and proactive engagement with African governments and peoples, particularly in the implementation of its peer review mechanism. African administrators encounter a number of challenges in the course of discharging their responsibilities. First among the challenges is the issue of maintaining the right relationship between the administrators i.e. the civil servants and their political masters. In a multi-party democracy such as Nigeria, administrators are expected not to belong to any political party and to restrict themselves to their two principal functions of advising and executing the decisions of their political masters. Not infrequently, a political head of a government ministry or agency whose sight is set on the next elections may be in a hurry to have a particular initiative implemented, while the administrator as the custodian of the established government due process and procedures, may have the duty of advising a modified and consequently slower implementation of the initiative. And this could sometimes result in a propensity on the part of the Minister to begin to doubt the loyalty of the Administrator. To avoid or at least minimize such situations, the Administrator must possess demonstrable attributes of integrity, patriotism, and unquestionable non-

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CONversation

involvement in party politics. In the letter inviting me to be here today, I was requested to be part of the first ever PanAfrican conference of Administrators. Let me therefore touch on some of the more practical challenges faced by the continent and its Administrators. The challenges range from poor infrastructure, facilities like basic transport and communication networks that are often taken for granted in more developed countries. The problem of travelling first to Europe in order to connect a flight to another country in Africa has not been totally surmounted. Access to visa and uncluttered travels in Africa is also still very much a big challenge. This is not to talk about the challenge of instability and insecurity that patrimonial and predatory politics in many African countries have brought about. Energy challenges are also rife in our continent despite its abundant material resources. There are many natural assets on the African continent that can help it to provide all the power it needs. For instance, if properly exploited, the Congo River is capable of supplying power to most of Central Africa, just as the natural gas in Nigeria can do the same for West Africa. Our administrators are also challenged in other key areas of Africa’s development. These include the areas of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and the ability to safeguard the continent’s rich natural resources. Our administrators must be capable of assisting their Governments in seeking and successfully attracting FDIs; but in doing this, they must be fully conscious of the need to ensure the inclusion of transfer of technology and skills development when negotiating foreign investment in the manufacturing sector. They must also be mindful of the importance of carefully calculated plans in the de-

The present structure of 36 federating units with an all powerful centre, compels a disproportionate deployment of the national resources on recurrent expenditure; and worse still, compels a destabilizing competition for the control of the centre, a competition that fans the embers of the peoples’ primordial ethnic and religious sentiments.

pletion of Africa’s natural resources, especially the finite ones like oil, gas and the various solid minerals that abound on the continent. Although many new discoveries of some of these minerals, particularly oil and gas are being made in an increasing number of African countries, it is important that their exploitation should be guided by the long-term interests, including environmental interests of African countries as well of course as the interests of the foreign investors. I have already referred to the challenge of addressing the infrastructure deficit on the continent. In his comments in the Town Hall Meeting with African Youth Leaders a few days ago during his visit to South Africa, US President Obama reminded us of the importance of intra-Africa trade which, so far, is greatly impeded by lack of enabling transportation system. Administrators in the public and private sectors have an important role to play in assisting the Governments and the multinational private sector to invest in intra-African transportation system. I would now like to refer specifically to Administrators in Nigeria’s Transformation Agenda. The administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has embarked on transformational programmes in the socio-economic sphere of the country. A number of these are already yielding results that any objective commentator must acknowledge. To mention a few, the last national elections and the three State elections that followed them were impressive improvements on the previous elections. On the macro-economic front, the Naira exchange rate to the US dollar has remained relatively stable at between 155 and 160 with inflation dropping from 12.4 percent in May 2011 to 9.1 percent in May 2013; and the external reserve up from $32.08 billion in May 2011 to $$48.4 billion in May 2013. In agriculture, an improvement has been recorded in the continuing effort to achieve self-sufficiency in food production. In the transportation sector, passenger and goods trains have begun to ply Lagos to Kano route, and a number of our airport terminals have been visibly improved. But there are also areas where the impact of the transformation programmes are yet to be felt. Our major roads are still crying out for attention; the quality of education in most of our institutions is still well below the standards that we had attained in the early years of our independence; our public health facilities are still inadequate and so inefficient that the massive drain on the country’s foreign exchange through citizens seeking medical treatment abroad continues; and our economic activities continue to suffer from inadequate power supply to energize our manufacturing sector thereby creating employment for our growing population of unemployed youth.

I am convinced from my long experience of the politics and development of over 50 other countries, that the governance structure I am advocating will give our country a much better chance of dealing with the multifaceted challenges that continue to retard its progress and stability. Although the responsibility for deciding and initiating these programmes is undoubtedly that of the political leadership, Administrators have a crucial role to play in their execution. I would like to end my remarks on a note that, strictly speaking, falls outside the remit of Administrators. I believe that if our country is to achieve the stability and pace of development to which it is entitled by its human and natural resources, the paramount need now is to transform our present governance structure. To summarise my point, Nigeria should return to true federalism by having six federating units with the units having enough powers to be responsible for the pace of their development with the revenue from God-given national asset of all minerals shared equally among them after allowing reasonable portion for the mineral producing areas. The present structure of 36 federating units with an all powerful centre, compels a disproportionate deployment of the national resources on recurrent expenditure; and worse still, compels a destabilizing competition for the control of the centre, a competition that fans the embers of the peoples’ primordial ethnic and religious sentiments. The failure of Nigeria to match the Asian countries with which it started the development race with similar social and economic indices at independence, has been primarily because in our pluralistic country, we have seldom been able to field our first eleven team in the management of our national affairs. I am convinced from my long experience of the politics and development of over 50 other countries, that the governance structure I am advocating will give our country a much better chance of dealing with the multifaceted challenges that continue to retard its progress and stability. Chief Anyaoku made these remarks in Abuja, 4 July 2013, at the national conference of the Chartered Institute of Administrators.

By Obe Ess


TheGuardian

12 | Sunday, July 7, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Editorial LETTER

On Cases Of rising Diabetes And Tasking Politicians On Economy Kidney Disease In Children HE recent alert, on the prevalence of diabetes and the rising cases of chronic kidney diseases in Nigerian children demands prompt but firm action from the government. This emergency is informed by the fact that, children – the future of the nation – are the victims of this dreadful health situation. Therefore, any intervention from the government, besides enlightenment on preventive healthcare and multilateral support from both private and public institutions, should be comprehensive. In response to an earlier alarm raised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the worsening state of health in Nigeria, particularly the shocking revelation on prevalence of diabetes among Nigerians, including children, the Federal Government recently ordered the Ministry of Health to commence immediate free treatment of diabetic children in all government-owned hospitals across the country. Diabetes is a chronic disease occasioned by the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas for the regulation of glucose in the blood (blood sugar), or when the body cannot effectively make use of the insulin so produced. With the aid of insulin, glucose, which is the body’s source of energy, passes from the blood to the body cells. However, without insulin, glucose will build up in the blood, resulting in what is medically termed hyperglycemia (raised blood sugar), while starving the body cells of the required glucose. Thus the lack of insulin or a resistance to insulin is the cause of diabetes. Of the two types of diabetes, namely, Type 1 Diabetes, which is characterised by deficient insulin production, thereby requiring daily administration of insulin, and Type 2 diabetes, also known as non insulin-dependent, the latter presents the higher set of risks to health and wellbeing. Owing to the debilitating effects of Type 2 diabetes (largely responsible for 90 per cent of diabetic situations worldwide), and the propensity for a prolonged diabetic situation to seriously impair the heart, kidney, blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and other body systems, the government’s prompt intervention is emblematic of a genuine concern. Although so much comments have been made about the newly acknowledged prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in children, the revelation of the study concerning chronic kidney disease in children is equally worrisome, being all the more so because, except for hereditary factors, it has been blamed on preventable infections and such common diseases as diarrhoea, malaria, hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. Medical experts in the Department of Paediatrics of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) who carried out a study covering a four-year period (2008 to 2011), noted that, kidney disease otherwise known as renal disease, accounted for 8.9 per cent of paediatric admissions with prevalence of 22.3 admissions per 1, 000 child-admission per year, adding that yearly incidence doubled over the study period. Another study related to this finding drew a link between HIV infection and renal disease. researchers from the Department of Child Health, University of Benin, Edo State, who published their research finding in the Saudi Journal of Disease and Transplantation, stated that the prevalence of renal disease in Highly Active Anti-retroviral Therapy (HAArT)-treated Nigerian children is high. It added that majority of those with the disease, although asymptomatic, were at the advanced stages of HIV infection. In a country whose human development indices rank as some of the lowest in the world, begging to raise money for the procurement of insulin may be considered an unnecessary luxury for a child whose family members can barely feed. It is for this reason that the gesture of the Federal Government, which is a fallout of its earlier promise to provide free diabetes treatment for children is commendable. Parents and guardians of affected children should, however, not rest on the gesture that treating children free of charge in government hospitals is a fail-safe solution. Indeed, can the government genuinely sustain the free treatment exercise even if it starts it? The management and treatment of diabetes is a very expensive venture. Just like the management of diabetes, the management of kidney diseases, presently not subsidised for children by the government, is equally expensive as the medical researchers noted. Apart from the financial commitment, which the researchers put at approximately N300,000 monthly for dialysis, facilities for renal replacement care are limited since they are overbooked owing to the rising prevalence in chronic kidney disease. Given the urgency of this situation, therefore, the need arises for aggressive awareness creation, so that the all-important preventive strategy of early detection of renal damage could be pursued in order to institute measures early enough to “reverse or slow down the progression of kidney disease to End Stage renal Disease (ESrD)”. Parents and guardians, teachers and proprietors of schools should also stress preventive healthcare for children and their wards by ensuring that the latter participate in regular physical activities in the form of sports and exercise in school. Children should also be encouraged to maintain a healthy weight by eating a healthy diet of vegetables and fruits, rather than having food packs of high carbohydrate diets loaded with fat and sugar. Beyond individual efforts, schools, municipal authorities and corporate organisations could develop recreational facilities and organise annual medical screening for children. The future of young people in Nigeria is under threat and this seems heightened by the further decimation through preventable diseases. The trend must be halted now.

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Ir: The media are awash S2015.It with postulations about is either about wran-

gling within the ruling party or merger talks going on in earnest among the opposition parties aiming to take power from the former. While political news is a worthy one, any discernible observer will agree that none of the politicians talks about the economy or if any of them does, the attention is scant and of no consequence. The economy deserves  a major  part of the national discourse instead of being left in the shadows of politicking. Political stability, the quest for security, tackling unemployment and youth restiveness all hinge on economic stability. It is naive to think the economy is doing well in spite of facts to the contrary being dished out  from different sources. A poll will surely debunk claims that the economy is buoyant. Far from insinuating that the economy lacks resources, the argument is to the effect it is poorly managed. For instance, prevailing statistics show that Nigeria`s economy is second to that of South Africa on the continent with projections to lead in not too distant future. Yet it is a paradox that a cursory glance at the living conditions of the people makes such claims a mirage. The reasons for dismal plan-

Tackling the macro-economic issue of unemployment has defied any approach so far. It will continue to worsen as tertiary institutions continue to churn out more graduates while those who left school earlier are yet to be fixed. In a time of significant unemployment, Keynesian economists suggest big public sector spending on especially building of infrastructure like roads, schools and hospitals in order to engage idle hands; and the multiplier effects will be enormous. ning deficit are apparent. Take a view of the overall sectoral allocation of the yearly budgets of the federal government; the recurrent expenses always outweigh the capital. The central bank governor not long ago drew the attention of the nation to this. More economic mishaps abound, for instance in the sphere of privatization the whole process was mired in shady deals. The true meaning of privatization as envisioned by neo classical economists is the nourishing and support for individual and group initiatives to build businesses that flourish and thereby remove the burden of an overstretched bureaucracy  from governments. In Nigeria, it is the  transfer of government investments that consumed  big resources overtime to a few cronies and businessmen. Worse, none of these disposed enterprises boasts of any significant

transformations. Tackling the macro-economic issue of unemployment has defied any approach so far. It will continue to worsen as tertiary institutions  continue to churn out more graduates while those who left school earlier are yet to be fixed. In a time of significant unemployment, Keynesian economists suggest big public sector spending on especially building of infrastructure like roads, schools and hospitals in order to engage idle hands; and the multiplier effects will be enormous. Nigeria`s economy is big, yet it has failed to cater for the needs of the majority. Yes, the economy is big  in terms of massive oil revenues, or a flourishing telecommunications sector, but not in other  micro-economic sectors like manufacturing or agriculture. As 2015  beckons and rhetorics from politicians is the order of the day it behoves on all of them to give priority to the economy. *Usman Bulama, Maiduguri.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday July 7, 2013

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NEWSFEATURE

Rail track

Why First Phase Of Lagos Rail Project Fell Behind By Gbenga Salau HEN in February, the Governor of Lagos State, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola announced that the first phase of the Lagos Blue line Rail project being executed by the state government would be completed in June, he raised the hope of many Lagos residents of a free movement within the city, devoid of hectic time in traffic. This is because many residents had been waiting patiently for the completion of the project, which they had seen over and over through the prototype advertised in various sections of the route. It is a known fact that many who make use of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, especially, the Mile Two-CMS section had been going through traumatic times especially during peak periods. So the completion of the first phase would be a good relief for them. The extra money and time they daily spend and waste on that route during peak periods, morning and evening, would be eliminated. It is also not a secret that many commuters pay double during peak periods to commute on the route. Normally, transporters charge hundred naira as the transport fare from Mile two to CMS but during these peak periods, there is an 100 percent increase in the fare, from N100-N200, sometimes more. Most of the transporters often attribute the increment to the longer hours they had to spend in traffic. And the slow traffic on the route is usually hectic. A lot of economic hours are lost in the traffic. This compels commuters and motorists, who want to beat the traffic or do not want to get late to their offices, to move out earlier than they should. The entire rail project is projected to run through various areas of Lagos under seven lines network code named: Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Purple, Brown and Orange lines. The first line under execution is the Blue line, which is the National Theatre-Okokomaiko lane, programmed to be executed in two phases by the appointed contractor China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC). So the Governor, while flagging off the laying on track at the Orile end in February, had said that the first phase of the Blue line from Mile Two to National Theatre would be completed in June. The contract includes the basic design and construction of the rail infrastructure. The Blue line, from Ma-

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rina to Okokomaiko originally scheduled for completion by the end of 2011 was postponed to 2012 and has now been further stretched to 2015 due to funding issues according to the state government. Therefore when the governor announced that the phase of the blue line was to be completed in June, it was a welcome development for many. Although there was an earlier threat that the contractor may stop work if the funding remained a challenge, it was however observed that since the beginning of the year, the CCECC had been on site everyday including Sundays, working. June has ended and the first phase of the Blue Line is not yet near completion if what The Guardian observed is anything to go by. This is because the contractor, CCECC, is still doing concrete work on the project site. If it is nearing completion, it would probably be doing the finishing of the project but that is not. The laying of rail track has been done from Orile to Alaba. From Alaba to Mile Two, the contractor is still preparing to lay the track. It is not only that, a big drainage is still being constructed in Mile Two while the pedestrian bridges to link the stations in Mile Two, Alaba and Orile are still under construction. This means the train stations had not been completed. From what was observed, there would be four stations on the National Theatre-Mile Two Route: National Theatre, Orile, Alaba and Mile Two stations. At the time of filing this report, none had been completed, though three had reached advanced stage in terms of work done. Illegal tollgates The Lagos State Government had said that it would toll the road when completed but even before the road is completed tollgates had been introduced. There are about six tollgates. Five of the tollgates are between Doyin Bus Stop and School Junction, with mainly CCECC staff manning each of the tollgates collecting money from motorists. The activities at the Doyin Gate often add to the hectic traffic on the Orile end when driving to Orile from the National Theatre. This is because some of the motorists, especially commercial bus drivers often engage these CCECC staff in

argument which delay the process of driving through. The drivers are required to part with N50 each time they drive through the toll gate, but many are not willing to pay, resulting in argument with the CCEECC staff who will refuse to open the gate for them to drive through. Another tollgate is at Mile two managed by the NURTW. A section of the culvert was crudely carved out to allow for vehicles to link the Service lane at Mile Two Oke from the Mile two motor park instead of driving to the Total Filling State before linking the Service Lane. Details of the Rail line project The first two lines of the urban rail project are estimated to cost $1.4bn. The Blue line will be 27km long, connecting Okokomaiko to Marina. The Blue line will cost $1.2bn and will be funded entirely by the Lagos State Government (LSG). In May 2012, the Lagos government commenced negotiations with potential investors for the operation and maintenance of the line. The concession contract will be for the operation and maintenance of the lines for 25 years. The scope of work for the concessionaire will also include design and construction of the infrastructure associated with operation and maintenance of the lines. CPCS Transcom is the transaction adviser for the Blue line. The Blue line starts at Marina station and runs along Ebute Ero and Iddo station same as the Red line. From Iddo, the Blue line running on an elevated platform moves along the National Theatre station and makes a descent at Iganmu to join the expanded LagosBadagry Expressway, an expansion conceived to ease link between Nigeria and neighbouring West African states, Alaba, Mile 2, Festac, Alakija, Trade Fair station, Volkswagen station, LASU and finally reaches the Okokomaiko station where it ends. One of the two bridges being built for the Blue line is at Mile 2. The Blue line is expected to have 10 stations then sharing three others with the Red line. The stations will have island-style platforms and commuter payment systems. Public address and electronic information screens will be installed in each station. The Ebute Ero station will also have an escalator. A number of rail crossings with elevated road

structures will be built along the lines. Pedestrian bridges will be constructed over the Nigerian Railway Corridor. Cable ducts and walkways, in addition to drainage system with two walls will be built along different sections of the lines. Between Marina and Iddo stations, a combined five kilometre viaduct rail over road and cable stay bridge will be built, linking the Red and Blue lines. Other infrastructure to be built as part of the project include stations; signalling, control and communications (SC&C) systems; supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems; depot and workshop facilities; an operations control centre and a training facility for drivers. Comment on the project Speaking on the rail project, Mr. Ade Isaac, a resident of Ojo Road, prays for the project to be completed on time. When he heard that Fashola announced that the first phase between National Theatre and Mile-two would be completed in June, he was happy and felt that the CCECC would speed up its work by working round the clock. He said that two weeks after the statement from Fashola and the contractor still maintained its work schedule; he concluded that it was just another political statement from politicians who like playing to the gallery and telling the citizens lies. “This is because the amount of work I saw yet to be concluded then was not what could be completed within five months though I am not an engineer. But I have been justified as the work is still far from being completed. “But it seems the contractor is too slow in executing the project as if it is the first time they are doing such a project. It will however be great if the project is completed before the end of the year.” Government’s position The Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Media, Mr. Hakeem Bello, said that the delay could be due to non approval of the World Bank loan by the Federal Government. But when he was told that the contractor had been working on a daily basis since the governor made the pronouncement, he suggested that the reporter should get in touch with LAMATA for better insight for the failure of the June completion date. “Let me draw your attention to the fact that when he said that he also mentioned that all these will be subject to availability of funds. So if the World Bank loan is still being held up by the Federal Government and there are still issues, definitely it would be impossible to do magic.” The Managing Director of LAMATA, Dr Dayo Mobereola, did not pick the several calls made to his lines and did not return them but Mrs Angela Olanrewaju, the External Relations Manager of the body called back after a text was sent to the MD. In stating her organisation’s position, Olanrewaju said that the Blue Line Rail project is on course noting that the entire project is divided into phases. “The first phase is from National Theatre to Mile Two. There are four stations – National Theatre, Iganmu, Alaba and Mile Two – under this phase. The four stations have been substantially completed. The elevated section has been completed and the contractor is currently laying the rail tracks. He stated that LAMATA is constantly monitoring the progress of the project and is satisfied with the extent of work done so far. “On the completion date, the construction of the first phase of the project was projected to be completed at the end of June this year. However, we experienced some minor hitches due to delays experienced at the ports with respect to importation of materials and equipment, the weather has also impeded the pace of work. As with huge projects like this, a lot of unforeseen logistics challenges always arise, but we are working closely with the contractor to ensure a timely completion of the project. We are committed to completing this project at the earliest possible time. “The project on completion will offer lifeimpacting benefits to commuters as quality of life will improve generally, commuters will now enjoy faster travel time as this is projected to drop by over 400 per cent (from 2-5hrs travel time to 37mins), passenger waiting time for public transport will also reduce significantly. The traffic gridlock currently being experienced on the Okokomaiko to Marina axis will reduce considerably, while economic activities along Lagos –Badagry axis will be greatly enhanced. Environmental pollution will also reduce by about 12 per cent.”


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Crowded, Suffocating Lecture Room

NEWSFEATURE Why Lagos Blue Line Rail Failed June Deadline

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SPOTLIGHT

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JUNAID: Journalist Turned Launderer

SPECIAL REPORT P/22 Women And Affirmative Action: How Far?

BUSINESS P/42 FAAN And Controversy Over Concessioning RAMADAN

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Islamic Clerics On Change Of Attitude And Fear Of God


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

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SPOTLIGHT

Adebisi And her Passion For Cleanliness, Good Looks Though Adebisi Junaid had a successful career in human resources management and later in the communication sector, her love for well-groomed, cleanlooking people pushed her in the direction of dry-cleaning and laundry. As the CEO of Washline Dry-cleaning and Launderers Services, the former broadcaster and human resources manager is simply living her dream. A Member of the Guild of Drycleaners and Launderers of the United Kingdom, she told OLUWAKEMI AJANI recently that it is commitment and quality services that distinguish a business. The beginning LOVE PEOPLE looking neat and clean. For me, it is either I do dry cleaning, spa or organise things. But I chose clothing because it is easier for me to monitor and understand fabrics. I have a passion for neatness and that was why I set up Washline Dry-cleaning Centre. Before I got married, I had a washman and we were always quarrelling because often he would not wash or iron my fabrics properly. Later, I started patronising Embassy Drycleaners but most times I would scream and shout in their office telling them that their customer services was very poor. Other times I had complaints about the way they handled the fabrics. For me, garments are more straightforward than human beings and I just felt I should go for what is easier for me to handle. That was the primary reason I went into dry cleaning. I have engineers and consultants that train my staff regularly. And whenever I go for training abroad, I bring back new innovations, which I introduce to the business. Before the dry-cleaning business I am a Human Resources manager and had worked in different financial sectors for nine years before I ventured into dry cleaning business because it gives me more time for my family. When I was in paid employment, I used to wake up very early and get home late. This made me go back to the drawing board to do some thinking and get things right. That was how Washline came about. I am still learning on the job and had to go for training abroad to get a good grasp of the business. Initially, people, my friends included, laughed at me and wondered if I knew what I was getting into or what it entails. Most of them joked that I wanted to become an Alagbafo meaning a washwoman. They said many people have been into the business for long and wondered about my chances of survival. Some of them really tried to discourage me, urging me to go back into a familiar terrain and become HR consultant rather than the dry cleaning business. But I was bent on doing dry cleaning and that was how it all started. Experiences/challenges It has been challenging and tough but because I am open to learning and was opportune to travel, I got first-hand experience on how to run a dry cleaning business from advanced countries. This enabled me cope with the challenges. I know what to look out for in fabrics and how to handle them professionally. The challenges include finance and getting good machinery and hands. Then there are poor power supply and government agencies always harassing me. I have not started crawling and they are knocking on my door. It was quite difficult in the beginning but we were able to overcome. For instance, the amount of money I spend on diesel could have been better expended on other things such as buying more machines. We are still struggling, hoping that one day things will take shape. It has been very tough but I believe there are sacrifices to be made when starting a business. There are some days though that I feel like going back; moments when I wonder whether to continue or stop. But I always get this push from within to carry on and not look back and this is what has kept me going. It is tough for an individual to be an entrepreneur in this environment. It sometimes seems preferable to work for 30 days

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and then collect salary at the end of the month because by the time you pay salary and other expenses, you realize as an entrepreneur that it is tough. Rewarding her customers Though we are not making much profit but you need to spend money to make money. I need to appreciate my customers because without them we won’t be in business. In spite of everything, it’s been a good story so far and we have many things to be thankful for. Some other people have since closed shop but we are still standing and growing stronger. This is why I feel it is necessary to

appreciate the people that are responsible for the success. Presently we have three branches in Magodo and Ikorodu with the head office located in Isaac John, Ikeja GRA. All other places are collection points where customers drop fabrics. We look forward to opening an office on the Island very soon. We reward loyalty and right now, there is a loyalty scheme running till December. The star prize is a return ticket to Dubai and Ghana. There are also lots of consolation prizes ranging from Blackberry to Smartphones. About Washline Dry-cleaning Centre We are a professional dry-cleaning and laun-

For me, garments are more straightforward than human beings and I just felt I should go for what is easier for me to handle. That was the primary reason I went into dry cleaning. I have engineers and consultants that train my staff regularly. And whenever I go for training abroad, I bring back new innovations, which I introduce to the business.

dry firm but beyond these, our range of services also include repairs and alterations of garments, cleaning of upholstery and other household items of value. Our pride lies in the quality and depth of our professionalism and technicality. Our team comprises tested professionals. Our joy is to ensure that customers get quality for money and that is why we go the extra mile. I am member of the Guild of Drycleaners and Launders of the United Kingdom, a group committed to the best practices in the industry. This enables me keep abreast of the latest developments in the industry and translate these to better services for our numerous customers. It is my hope to be in every state of the federation in future and if possible expand beyond Nigeria. Background/education I am from Ikenne in Ogun State. But my daddy is not a Nigerian; only my mum is from Abeokuta. I attended Saint Saviour Primary School, Ebute-metta. I went to Atlantic School for my secondary education before proceeding to Ogun State University where I got a diploma in law. I ended up in the University of Lagos where I studied Mass communication. I was a broadcast major and after that I did my NYSC at Abeokuta. Prior to this, I had worked briefly with Ovation Magazine. Then, I was still trying to decide whether to do mass communication or go the other way. But I went on to work with a financial advisory firm where I was the Human Resources officer. I also worked with another communication company and from there I went for my Masters abroad. After returning to Nigeria, I got married and had a child. Afterwards, I set up Washline Dry-cleaning Centre. I did my industrial attachment at Cool Fm but I wasn’t so keen on broadcasting. What I really wanted to do was advertising. I went to Channels Television and I had interviews with some of the staff. I saw their operations and how they were operating. It seemed tedious to me to have to look in the camera because I’m a very shy person. I do not like people seeing my face. I prefer the print media to the electronics because I like my privacy. So I stayed behind the camera. Growing up I came from a very poor family and we were only two. I am the first child and I have a younger brother. My mum was very strict because I was the only child for 13 years before my sibling came along. So, she made a lot of effort not to over pamper me. If I did anything wrong I got a smack from her. I was very lonely then because after coming back from school and lesson, I only got to watch TV and play with my toys. Coping with competition We just make sure we are on top of the business because once you perform satisfactorily; nothing can stop you from going places. It is only when your services are poor that people start comparing you with others. Government assistance to young entrepreneur If government can provide all the basic amenities needed for business to thrive, it will go a long way. I am into dry cleaning services and I think if there is a government agency to guide us in the profession, it will be a lot easier to get on top of the business. Presently, I don’t think the government recognises drycleaners and launderers in Nigeria. Views on Nigerian women Nigerian women are really trying. They have become a force to be reckoned with and their husbands should encourage them. Government should provide a conducive environment for female entrepreneurs and their businesses to thrive. We are mothers and if we did not give birth to all these people they would not be there. I believe that women should be respected and encouraged. Women should strive to find their calling and develop passion for whatever they like to do. Managing home and work My husband is very supportive. I close early so as to cook at home and do other chores. I do all my cooking for the week on weekends rather than cooking every day. Style I believe in simple and classic though I am trying to jazz it up a little bit. I don’t follow fashion trend.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

REPORTERSDIARY

Ajaokuta Steel Company… In The Eyes Of A Reporter By Chuks Nwanne HOUGH I’ve always heard the story of T Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL) and how the multi-billion- dollar investment initiated by the former President Alhaji Shehu Shagari, was abandoned by subsequent administrations, I never had opportunity of visiting the facility. Aside from publication on journals and Internet photos, the closest I had gone to the gigantic project were during our Aluta days; when we used to pass through that axis on our way from Enugu to Abuja for students struggles. The plan was to hook up with my contact person in Lokoja, before moving down to Ajaokuta, a journey of about 25 minutes. But as it turned out, my guide had some urgent engagement that took him out of town. I had to find my way. Thank God for GSM, I quickly put a call across to a colleague from that part of the country and he suggested that Ganaja Junction would be my best bet. “Once you get to the junction, tell the taxis that you are going to Ajaokuta, they will take you there; it’s not far from that junction,” the Igala native assured. Fortunately for me, the hotel I stayed was by Ganaja Junction; I never took notice of that when I checked in. With about 20 taxis lined up, I began to narrow down on my choice. Most importantly, I needed a younger chauffer, someone who could communicate in English or at least in Pidgin. I was still contemplating on whom to hire when a yellow taxi pulled over. “Oga, where are you going,” the driver asked politely. He was neatly dressed and young, so, I concluded he’s the right choice. I told him my destination and he signaled me to board. “Oga, Ajaokuta is a bit far from here o, and you know I will be carrying only you. So, your money go high small,” he said in English, which he delivered with thick Yoruba ascent. His name is Hakeem, a Muslim from one of the South Western states; his Tesbau was hung round the inner mirror. A married man with kids, if he had done his tertiary education, Hakeem would have made a good commentator; his street credibility is versed. His car stereo was long gone, but his ‘China Nokia’ phone provided enough sound; mostly Muslim songs, though. “I used to run from Lokoja to Abuja, but after I had an accident, I decided to join local route. It was a serious accident, but God saved me,” he started his familiarisation, showing the scare on his lips. “This government people have killed us; they have killed the youths. Even if you go to school, there’s no work to do; some people that went to the University are riding taxi and Keke with us. Everywhere you go, it’s okada, that’s the only thing the youths can do here,” he

lamented. “This road we are using now was constructed by Ibro (former Kogi Governor Ibrahim Idris); the man tried. That time, we used to work at the fertilizer company; that was where I made money to buy this taxi. But this new Governor, the man is not doing anything…” In my mind, I refused to be dragged into the task of determining the best man to have governed Kogi State, but not for Hakeem; he went on and on. As if determined to get me to contribute, he changed the topic. “You heard about that flood in Lokoja, this whole place was covered; only the roofs were showing. If you look at the houses, there are marks on the walls; the flood caused it.” So, why are people still living here, I asked. “Where do you want them to go? The government has not provided them with accommodation… Oga, where exactly are you going in Ajaokuta,” he asked.’ “The steel plant,” I responded. “Ah, they’ve killed Ajaokuta Steel,” he came on again. “I’m Yoruba, but I was born here; I’ve lived here all my life. Those days, the whole place was booming; if government had allowed Igbo people to invest there, that place would have developed more than Lokoja. But if you go to that place now, you will cry,” he said. With these words, Hakeem finally got me talking. It was like baptism of fire; a sign of what is to come. As the taxi, a Golf 2 hatchback, wheeled into Ajaokuta, about 15 minutes after Salem University, we were greeted by hundreds of abandoned Ajaokuta Steel housing units; they were overgrown by weeds. From bungalows to storey buildings, the uncompleted structure stretched down the road. What a waste! “You’ve not seen anything, look over there,” Hakeem said, pointing far into the bush, “all those houses there, nobody lives inside; they’ve been like that for years,” he quipped. From that moment, there was silence; Hakeem took a break, though one of Wasiu Ayinde’s popular tracks kept ringing from his phone. Inside, I kept wondering, how could anybody have abandoned a housing project of this magnitude to waste? In fact, it would have been better if government had given those buildings to members of the host community instead of leaving them in such a horrible state. Those structures are enough to create a new city. Finally, we got to the Ajaokuta Steel Company’s main gate, with the security men on guard. “I hope you have your ID card because this people may want to know why you are here,” Hakeem quizzed. All through our journey from Lokaja, I never disclosed my identity to him; there was no need and the ‘parrot driver’ didn’t even care. As we stopped by the gate to ask for proper direction to the admin building, the question finally popped up.

“I hope everything is alright? Who are you and whom exactly do you want to see here,” the slim man in his 50s queried. “He’s a corper, he need to see the admin manager,” Hakeem responded confidently. Luckily, the man was headed for the admin block, so, he joined us; he made things easy. Based on the reports I had read online, I was expecting to meet deserted premises with weeds; that was not the case. In fact, the flowers were well trimmed. Workers were on duty and the visitor’s car pack was engaged. Done with the usual security checks, I was directed to the 4th floor to see Muhammed L.D. Ibrahim, Deputy General Manager, Public Affairs & Information Department. I’ve once had an incident with an elevator, so, when the security man ushered me into one in Ajaokuta, I was a bit uncomfortable using a lift of ‘an abandoned’ facility. Surprisingly, the door shut and the engines rolled smoothly; inside smells fresh. Surrounded by his staff, including IT students, Ibrahim was working his computer when I stepped in. Initially, he was reluctant to take my queries; the fact that there was no prior notice worsened my case. Well, you don’t blame the PR man; with the way ‘Ajaokuta politics’ is going, everyone is playing safe. Notwithstanding, impromptu visit appeared suitable for assignments of this nature; chances are that you would see things for real. However, I took time to explain my mission and the resolve of The Guardian to set Ajaokuta record straight. With these words, Ibrahim suspended his computer, adjusted his seat to face me directly. “We’ve read reports in the media where the plant was descried as obsolete and decaying; it’s not true. The technical audit report by the Ukrainians recently states that the situation of the plant’s equipment and facility are satisfactory. If you don’t mind, I will take you there to see things for yourself,” he said. Gladly, I accepted his offer. At this point, I disengaged Hakeem. “Oga, take my number; if you need me, call,” he said. With one of his assistants and the driver, who was trained by the Russians, we were set for an unscheduled tour of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant; in deed, it was revealing. My plan after the tours was to return to Lokoja that night, but Ibrahim offered me the opportunity to see what life is like in Ajaokuta Estates. “If you don’t mind, I will take you to the quarters to see how we live there. It used to be better of before, but we are still there,” he said. We drove through the Mechanic Village, via Chukwumerije Roundabout, before we arrived Abuja Estate; I learnt the Sole Administrator lives within that area. In the middle of the Estate is a small relaxation spot; some kids were having swell time on the swing. We spent few minutes there, before I was finally taken to my temporal apartment; that was after having a dinner of rice and plantain at the official kitchen.

Located on Minna Lane, the building was solidly built to the taste of the expatriates, who lived there in the past. It’s a two-bedroom apartment, with kitchen and toilet; I stayed in 215G. The lights were on and the water system was in good condition. All through the night, I wondered why the Nigerian government suddenly abandoned such a gigantic facility, after sinking billions of Dollars? I thought of the abandoned plant, the unfinished housing units running into thousands and I asked myself, why are we so cursed? This is an investment that would have reduced our dependent on oil, with thousands of job opportunities for our teaming youths, who have all turned Keke drivers in the name of poverty alleviation. What a pity! I managed to get some sleep, but was up very early for my journey back to Lokoja; my new friend Hakeem was on ground to render his usual service. As we drove pass the Ajaokuta Steel Medical Centre, where Dr. Jeremiah Agbalaka (the Nigerian Doctor, who was rumoured to have found cure for Aids) once held sway, I pondered about the future of Nigeria and how politics is gradually dismantling the once ‘Giant of Africa.’ In my hotel that evening, I sat with my new friends; one is staff of the Kogi State Ministry of Education, the other a businessman. Along the line, Ajaokuta Steel issue came up again like a bad coin. From their contribution, it was obvious that both men have information about the plant in their palm. “Ajaokuta Steel is a great disaster. If you know how that place was before now, you will be surprised with what is happening there today,” the civil servant hinted. “Come to think of it, how come Indians were brought in to take over the place, when Russians, who built the plant showed interest? These are the questions we need to ask,” said the businessman. This was an opportunity to ask about the ‘sins’ of the Indians and both men wasted no time in giving out first hand info. “Look, I used to be a contractor in that company; I met the Indians. I remember one of them once told me that the day they went round the facility, there was a party. In truth, a lot of precious stones were taken aware from that place. That time, they were looking for people that have trailers; they hired mine. They were moving these things by the day, until the community protested,” he noted. “If you go around that village, you will see some trailers burnt down by the youths when they discovered what the Indians were doing; the scraps are still there,” the civil servant added. Well, lets hope that this new arrangement will scale through so that the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain. Lest I forget, my friend Hakeen monitored me through his phone until I landed in Lagos; he’s such as humble and caring fellow.


TheGuardian

20 THE GUARDIAN,Sunday, July 7, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Junior Guardian POEM

Sunshine Sammy’s World Of Words

African Child An African child Wakes up to a glorious sunny day The cock has crowed today again Yet another day with uncertainties lying ahead His fragile mind has learnt to think Too deep, unlike his peers in the developed nations In his very few years on earth.

UNSHINE Sammy loves to learn new words. Sammy will be happy if you participate in his game by sending him 10 additional words starting with the letter B. Babble Baccalaureate Bacillus Basilisk Beeswax Bestrew Binary Blemish Brine Budgerigar Please send your contributions to: The Junior Guardian Desk Rutam House P.M.B. 1217, Oshodi (Remember to write your name and address together with your passport photograph beside your entries.)

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By Anna Onyinye Year 5, Ocean Crest School, Lekki, Lagos.

RIDDLES 1 * I am a popular small animal for children * Take the 2nd letter of the alphabet, add the 1st letter of the alphabet and you will have the beginning of my name. * In the books and films, which speak about me, I have a beautiful blue colour and large ears. * Ah I forgot! In truth, one can find me in Africa or Asia and even in zoos. But that, I do not like too much because I prefer being in

RIDDLES 2

Pupils of Ocean Crest School, Lekki, Lagos during their cultural day

SORROW

SOLUTION TO BRAIN TEASER (12) MITIGATE RECEIVE INTEGRITY

REMEDY

DEVASTATING

PREDICT

ISSUES CHILD ABUSE

DEMOLISH

By Amobi Umeh 7 Red, Corona School, Gbagada * I start with the 13th letter of the alphabet.

HILD abuse has been happening since you and I were C born. The other day on my way to church, I saw a boy begging for food but he never got any. I want you to ask yourself

* An animated drawing was drawn from my history and the action occurred in Egypt.

this pertinent question: Are those beggars any different from you and me? Yet we treat and shun them like animals.

* I saved my people who were slave of the pharaohs.

Grandpa told me a story about a poor boy. He was so poor he could only eat bones and after some time, he died. There was a rich man who had more than enough to eat, but never gave the poor boy. He also died.

* Still don’t know? Eh well, seek inside the Bible!

After judgment, the poor boy went to heaven and the rich man to hell. The lesson this taught me is: Whether you are rich or not, it is relative!

THESAURUS INE a) sulk b) plant c) cry d) jump P Arouse a) stand b) awaken c) length d) colour Sway a) beat b) bend c) side d) dodge d) use Thrust a) push b) punch c) eat d) create Latch a) pack b) hang c) fastener d) drag Pliant a) flexible b) cool c) dry d) drop Encase a) box b) under c) cover d) dip

EVENT

Students Of Kuramo Junior College Got Cafeteria S part of its services to humanity, Rotary Club, Victoria IsA land recently donated a cafeteria to Kuramo Junior College, Victoria Island. Speaking at the commissioning of the project, the President of the club, Mrs. Pricilla Kuye (SAN) said they decided to equip the school to improve the studying environment of the students. She said the club built a library for the school last year but still saw the need to provide a canteen. In her reaction, the Principal, Kuramo College, Mrs. Ajise Caroline, disclosed that the club has demonstrated a large heart to the needs of the students. “This has never happened in the history of Lagos State. I also thank members of the club for their kind gestures and I pray the club will continue to grow from strength to strength.” Project Manager, Adeyinka Adedeji said it took a while to complete the project due to some challenges. “The project took some time but I assured the Principal that Rotary does not start something without finishing it. We would have loved to install wash hand basins but we have problem with water supply. We also intend to raise the wall but it might take more time. We are still going to provide tables and chairs for the students too.” The Elementary Orchestra Group of Greensprings School Lagos, performing at their graduation ceremony... last Tuesday.

COMPILED BY KIKELOLA OYEBOLA

(You can contact us on events for this page through: e-mail: jideoojo@yahoo.com

—Victor Olushola Ricketts


THE GUArDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

21

CAMPUS Happy rag Day

Students of Niger Delta University (NDU), Bayelsa State during their Rag Day carnival on Isaac Boro Expressway… last week.

Poly Student Wins N1m In Raid Promo By Gbenga Salau STUDENT of Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, Mr. Ajayi Fatoba, has emerged the first winner of N1 million in the ongoing Johnson Wax ‘Scratch Your Way To Millions’ promo. At an electronic draw held at the corporate head office of SC Johnson Wax limited in lagos last week, Fatoba was announced the first millionaire winner in the consumers’ promo. other categories of winners who emerged from the edraw include 10 winners of N100,000; four winners of N250,000; and two winners of N500,000. Winners in the N100,000 category are: Sophia (Benin), obi (Edo), Enimola Joseph (Kogi), onuoha (Enugu), Arikhan Moses (Edo), Nzeh Nelson

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(Enugu), Ejimofon Chuks (Enugu), onyenuforo Chijioke (Anambra), Perfect (Warri) and obili (Enugu). The N250,000 winners include Isuekebhor Edward (Abuja), Esther (Abuja), Hakeem (Kano) and Samuel Gabriel (Kaduna); and ogunsakin Bukola (Ibadan) and Akinyombo oluwatoyin (osun) emerged N500,000 winners. They were all contacted on phone immediately the draws were made. Managing Director of SC Johnson Wax, Mr. Kwame Wiafe, explained that the company is encouraged by the response of its consumers to the promo. He congratulated those that have emerged winners in

the first draw, and encouraged more consumers to participate in the promo campaign. The Marketing Manager, Mrs. onome odili, said more winners would emerge during the next draw, which is scheduled for the end of July, while consumers are rewarded daily with recharge cards. “All you need to do is to buy a 300ml can of Baygon or raid insecticide, look under the cover for a scratch card, send the code you find with your name, location and sex to 30288 and you could win an instant recharge card within 24 hours. You will also enter for the monthly e-draw where you can win cash prizes ranging from N100,000 to N1 million.”

Group raises Concern over Scrapping of NYSC • Others Want Separate Camps For Male and Female Corps Members By Isaac Taiwo And Toyosi Ajayi ACIlITATorS at the annual Campus Symposium have decried the rumored scrapping of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, stating that the service year is critical to youth development in Nigeria. The symposium, which was held at Yusuf Grillo Hall of Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) in lagos recently, was organised by McNext Intellectual Property to stimulate discussion on the relevance of the scheme. According to the convener, Mark C. orgu, “the symposium was designed for all Students’ Union Government leaders, associations and groups in higher institutions in lagos to critically examine the relevance of the NYSC to national unity and integration, especially on areas where the scheme can be improved upon in light of modern realities of security challenges in the country. At the end of the discussion, the

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stakeholders called on the federal and state governments to initiate practical demonstration of good governance and improve the quality of education in the country. “Nigeria is lagging behind among other nations in several areas, most especially scientific and technological developments, but this gap can be bridged only through purposeful investment in the education sector, while engaging the youths in profitable projects to move the nation forward.” In a related development, Secretary General of the  Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Dr. Khalid

Abubakar, at the end of its peace  and unity conference for Muslim scholars in Kaduna State, has called on the management of the NYSC to stop mixing males and females during the scheme’s physical exercise at orientation camps, as this violates Islamic tenets and offends the sensibilities of Muslims. He added that the decency and chastity of female corps members should be respected during physical exercises and other activities at the orientation camps by providing alternative camps for female Muslim corps members.

Unilorin Student Is Google Ambassador 300-level student of Zoology Department, University of Ilorin, Mr. Bakare Wale Monsuru, has been chosen as Google‘s Student Ambassador (GSA) for the 2013/2014 academic session. In an electronic mail conveying the news of the award to Bakare, organizers said the award fol-

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lowed a highly competitive selection process in which the student’s “application impressively stood out”. The e-mail, signed by Tayib Fall, indicated that part of the package for the award is an all-expense paid three-days training in Nairobi, Kenya between July 3 and July 5, 2013.

WISECrACKS People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds. It is something one creates. Thomas Szasz Gauge your success by what you gave up to achieve it. Eden Hampson It is impossible to win the great prizes in life without running risks. Theodore Roosevelt

LET US KNOW Every week, LIFE CAMPUS reports on events in students’ communities across the country. You can contribute by sending stories, gossips, reports on Diana Oyinlola, student of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) cuddling her baby while students representing all religious faiths in the country gathered to conduct the naming ceremo- events and your pictures for Campus ny. The baby was given the following names: Moremibiyi, (Moremi gave birth to this), Morounmoboni University (I came back with something worthy from the University), Awobola (Awo Faces to us at: templer2k2@yahoo.com or guardianlife2005@yahoo.com gave birth to wealth), Esinidanwoleyi (This is the result of examination)


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

SPECIAL REPORT

The Women Are Still Waiting Across board, implementation of the affirmation policy, which reserves 35 per cent of especially public appointments for women remains shallow. Just when Nigerian women will score 35 over 100 in the subject of job placement is difficult to determine even as the official noise about the success of the policy drowns the real achievements. By Kikelola Oyebola ESPITE being a signatory to several global D women-friendly policies such as the Beijing Declaration on Affirmative Action on

Dame Patience Jonathan, First Lady of Nigeria

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance

women, Nigeria’s public and private sectors have continued to be dominated by men. And in spite of much agitation and clamour for an acknowledgement of their importance and the vital role they play in the scheme of things nationally, Nigerian women have been barely accorded the much-needed recognition when it comes to core policies and decision-making. This has been the trend since independence although political parties in Nigeria have a penchant for making the welfare of women and children one of their cardinal agenda during campaigns. Affirmative Action, also known as positive discrimination in the UK and as employment equity in Canada, US and elsewhere, refers to policies that take factors including ‘race, colour, religion, sex or national origin’ into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group in ‘areas of employment, education and business.’ The term was first used in the United States in an Executive Order that was signed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted another Executive Order, which required government employers in that country to take ‘affirmative action’ to hire without regard to race, religion and national origin. In 1967, gender was added to the anti-discrimination list. Back home in Nigeria, former President Olusegun Obasanjo promulgated the National Gender Policy into law about seven years ago. The main thrust of the policy was to establish a clear vision and framework to guide the process of developing laws, policies and practices that will ensure equal rights and opportunities for women and men in all spheres and structures of government as well as in the workplace, community and the family. By 2007, Nigeria had approximately eight per cent female representation in appointive and elective positions in the country.

However, in 2011 during a political campaign in Jos Plateau State, President Goodluck Jonathan promised that his administration would reserve 35 per cent of ministerial and ambassadorial positions for Nigerian women if voted into power. The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan in support of her husband and with an apparent interest in the betterment of the Nigerian women’s lot, had traversed the entire country appealing to the executive to reserve 35 per cent of appointments for women. And shortly after becoming the First Lady, she launched the Women for Change and Development Initiative to campaign for the implementation of the 35 per cent affirmative action on women representation in governance. Since assumption of office, the Jonathan administration has witnessed a noticeable increase in the number of women appointed to ambassadorial and ministerial posts with some of them occupying sensitive posts that were hitherto reserved for the men. For instance, for the first time in the history of Nigeria, a female Chief Justice (CJN) was recently appointed to preside over the national judiciary. Before now, it was an unwritten tradition that only men could access this post. And as an act of encouragement, the People’s Democratic Party to which Jonathan belongs, granted all female politicians in its fold the opportunity of obtaining the expression of interest forms free. There is no doubting the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan is taking positive steps at establishing an all-inclusive government, which is evidenced by the large number of women in his cabinet. This number, however, accounts for about 32 out of the 35 per cent promised. The legislative is another ball game entirely, as the female representation there is nothing much. The percentage of women holding top positions is put at a mere 3.3 per cent. This picture is, however, not exactly reflected at the state and local levels where in many cases the status quo still prevails. Here, women’s plight as regards positions and appointments in governance are yet to record positive changes. Except for a few of the states, which are making genuine effort at elevating the status of women, not much is being done at actualising the 35 per cent Affirmative Action for Nigerian women. Indeed, only four states out of the 36 in the federation have approved the policy till date with another one intending to implement 30 per cent when it finally deems it fit to okay it. The rest are still in the process of

Justice Mariam Aloma-Mukhtar, first female Chief Justice of Nigeria


23

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

SPECIAL REPORT ... Waiting To Be Affirmed passing it into law. So, much as the Jonathan administration may want to beat its chest in proud acknowledgement of its achievement in this regard, the fact still remains that nationally, the success so far recorded at executing the affirmative action is a far cry from what is expected. What is thus portrayed is that the execution of the 35 per cent affirmative action on women is solely the president’s affair. He is on his own, as all others appear not to be under any obligation or not in a hurry to follow suit. Presently, female representation in elective and appointive posts at the federal level is put at a mere 16 per cent and nationally at 13 per cent. And although such bodies as the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) have expressed their satisfaction at the President’s effort at appointing an appreciable number of women in his cabinet, they are dissatisfied with the failure of some state governments to join in the movement. On his part, the President has continued to reassure the Nigerian womenfolk that the intention of his administration is to give even more than the promised 35 per cent eventually. But if other African countries such as Botswana, Rwanda and South Africa among others have already reached the benchmark with some of them even overshooting the target, how come Nigeria seems to find it hard to do? What are the underlying issues hindering its implementation? Or is it another case of the ubiquitous ‘Nigerian factor’? And having thrown in his lot with the women, is President Jonathan going to cajole executives of state and local governments to toe his line? How can the campaign be Mrs. Stella Oduah-Ogiemwonyi, Minister of Aviation taken further to the private sector?

Hajia Zainab Maina, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development

RANSOME-KUTI: ‘Political Will And Women Preparedness Are Required’ By Kikelola Oyebola T is the political will. It takes a very Igrain, strong individual to go against the against the popular, traditional environment to set the pace and say this is what we Nigerians stand for. Nigerian women have demonstrated their capacity over and over again. Everywhere you go, you see outstanding Nigerian women in top positions. Even domestically, Nigerian women are pulling their weight in commercial and economic activities. For instance, if you go to the market places, they are filled with women doing extremely well in spite of such challenges as lack of finance, inability to provide collateral for loans in financial institutions and even some legal impediments. But wherever you find assertive and progressive leadership that says ‘look I’m the leader and I’ll set the pace’ just like the CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who as soon as he assumed office was able to create some balance in the system, there will be progress. I think the challenges women face include psychological, economic and reli- Yemisi Ransome-Kuti gious among others, because they tell you be done. the husband is the head and the woman We need to be financially independent; to be is the tail. But I’d rather have it as the educationally, mentally and psychologically at woman being one side of the brain and par with the men we want to challenge. Once the man as the other side. However, someone is educated and psychologically women will ultimately have to take the equipped, the problem is solved. And when I’m responsibility. I have always said there is talking about education, I don’t mean school no better slave than a willing slave. When education. It’s more about sitting down and people have already conceded that they finding out about this world and other people are not equal to another gender, a gender out there, where we came from, where our planthat they brought into the world, then et came from, how the world was made, how it there is a big problem. was governed, the history of other nations, the As a way forward, first of all, Nigerian evolution of the human specie itself. Daily, new women have to find time for self-educa- things and facts concerning the evolution of the tion and then educate one another human specie are being discovered. The Lord because if you are operating from a posi- has given us the brain and ability to understand tion of conviction, understanding, knowl- the planet we are in and those facts are accessiedge, wisdom and confidence, there is the ble to you and I, particularly at this age of the assurance you’d behave and approach internet. things differently. So, women need to And then women who do advocacy for other empower themselves by getting whatever women, who run NGOs and are educated have is needed to enable them get what they the responsibility of gathering, digesting and desire in life; be it economically, be it simplifying such information and then finding a acquiring the skill and the economic mus- way of sharing and disseminating these inforcle because without money, nothing can mation and knowledge to other women.

Physical weakness has nothing to do with anything. Nobody is superior to anybody. We all change the equation based on the situation we are in. That is why women should decide that we no longer want to deceive the men by telling them they are superior. Women have the power; we bring the men to this world. We know that the formative years of the child’s growth are very significant, which is from age zero to seven. That is when they learn the most about who they are, what they should be doing, where they should be going, their position in the scheme of things, etc. And who is the educator, the guide to these children at this period? Is it not the mother? That is the point where nature has given us that control. If we decide to use it to develop human beings that are dysfunctional, then we can’t blame the men. We have been given that responsibility and role to play. We are the ones that bring up the men. So, we can’t blame them, we must blame ourselves. And so, the crucial question here is: What kind of men and women are we women raising? Are we bringing up human beings, who

are equally responsible, equally able to determine their strengths and weaknesses? And be able to partner with others so that they make a stronger whole rather than worrying about who is superior and who is not or who is inferior? And so every woman has this huge responsibility towards the proper upbringing and development of their children. Women should be human beings that can take care of themselves first, who understand nature and how the world works. Women should also be ready to be more cohesive and collaborative with one another. Older women should be role models and take the responsibility of nurturing and encouraging younger women, in whatever capacity they can to help them build good lives and have focus. It’s not good enough to say a woman can do this when no woman is doing it. Let us show the men how strong we are. The men need us to be as strong as we are supposed to be so that they too can be allowed to also develop themselves and not spend their entire lives focused on things that won’t ultimately lead to their mental, physical and spiritual development. We must help the men to develop their spiritual selves. There is need for women to help the youth and men develop their human, social and economic capacity fully. When a man is being constantly pressured to go look for money or acquire material things, this might make him engage in corruption or look for outlets through mistresses. But then, such a man won’t respect his partner because he who pays the piper dictates the tune. If you look at what happens in all the countries where they’ve gotten the formula right such as Denmark, Sweden, etc where there is balance and they’ve evolved, everyone in these societies wants to actualise their innate potentials. But Nigerian women also have to work side by side with the men in nation building because for instance, the South African women fought against apartheid alongside their men. So, they have merited it and can now raise their heads proudly and stand to be counted. Let all Nigerian women put on their skirts or trousers and fight to liberate their sons and daughters.


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THe GuaRDIaN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

SPeCIal RePORT

‘Yes... We Are On Course’ BISI ALABI WILLIAMS speaks with Senator Joy Emordi, Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Hon. Nkiruka Onyejeocha, House Committee on Aviation, Joe Odumakin, renowned human right activist and Adeola Azeez, Chairperson, WIMBIZ and country representative, Deutsche Bank on the issue of 35 per cent affirmation for women.

ed the industries, and it is somehow difficult to divorce politics from money. People need money to move around and run the campaigns and because of the high level of poverty in the country, money is needed to give to one’s constituent here and there. The question is how can women provide this financial muscle for other women who are interested in running for public offices? The way out is for women to rise above the odds and build enduring platforms that can support more female politicians to run for elective office.

‘We are Making Progress Though More Still Need To Be Done’

‘younger

Be Groomed For leadership Positions’ He large presence of women in President T Jonathan’s government cannot be attributed to moves aimed at meeting the Beijing Declaration in

China, which sought 35 per cent affirmative action in both elective and appointive positions for women. On women’s representation in Jonathan’s government I believe we have more women in appointive position and less in elective position. The increase in —NkeIRuka ONyeJeOCHa number of women ministers did not come by accident; it can be attributed to political will on the part of the present government to ensure women are Women Should adequately represented in governance.

ODay, women in Nigeria are not just T seen, they are also being heard. So many Nigerian women have distinguished them-

However, the political will was fueled by years of consistent and unrelenting advocacy and awareness created by women organisations and development partners for more women in governance. There have been various initiatives and programmes by women organisations to bring the issue of increasing the numbers of women in political and appointive positions to the front burner of political discourse since the beginning of the present democratic dispensation. It is disturbing to know that a lot of Nigerian men still see their election to political office as an exclusive preserve. This gives a lot of women trouble. If we want a change and if the 35 per cent must be realised, we must consciously put in place systems that will groom more young women to naturally emerge as leaders that will be responsible and responsive to the electorate who elected them and to the generality of Nigerians. —JOe ODuMakIN

selves and have risen to the pinnacle of their careers. So many of them are holding important portfolios at various levels in the present scheme of things. Before now, women could only boast of being the Commissioner for Minister of Women affairs or Minister of State for Women affairs etc. In those days, it was so difficult for women to go beyond the post of women leader in the political parties even after working very hard. They were not accepted as having done much and for them to be counted. But today, Nigerian women are recognised and accepted as stakeholders in the scheme of things. and this is very good for our democracy. Nigerian women have broken the glass ceiling and distinguished themselves across board. There is almost no sector of the nation’s life today where a woman has not made a mark. Many more are working very hard to stand up and be counted. So a lot has been achieved in the area of women development. and a lot of this success was achieved through hard work and on merit. Senator Joy Emordi as such, I am very proud of today’s Nigerian woman. I am not saying that we are there yet, but we are making a lot of progress. We must commend the First lady who canvassed seriously and tirelessly to ensure that Mr. President kept the promise. More women are now blazing the trail in political and other sectors of the economy.

‘We are For Percentage Representation’ ReaTING opportunities for these converC sations with corporate bodies is one of the key things WIMBIZ is trying to achieve

Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha

— SeNaTOR JOy eMORDI

‘Nigerian Women Should Take Their Destiny In Their Hands’ ReaT Nigerian women have made invaluG able contributions to the nation’s development. President Jonathan’s effort at including more women in his cabinet is a feat that ought to be commended and celebrated as a patriotic effort towards national development. In order to achieve the 35 per cent affirmative action, we must continue to build structures that favour women because they are gradually breaking the hurdles. The ratio of female senators and members of the House of Representatives is still very small though. What we have today is still a far cry from our expectation. We are not yet there. For a woman to run for an electoral office, she needs the economic muscle, the political will and a level playing ground. Running for an elective office is very tough. and how Joe Odumakin Adeola Azeez have the men ended up, not to talk of women? a few of us who dared to come out did so with determination and the readiness to face whatever comes out of it. If there is no conscious effort on the part of the political parties to field women and even bend the rules, if they have to, then we • 13 Female Ministers Out of 41— 32% will continue to have fewer women in politics. • 9 female senators out of 109— 6.4% Many people have failed to see the enormous power that resides in women as a deciding factor in most electoral contest. • 12 female Reps out of 360—3.3% Women constitute the highest category of voters in any election. and it is this power of the women that will bring about the desired • 4 female Deputy Governors out of 36—11.11% change in Nigeria. The question to ask is why do men vote for women? • 7 female Vice Chancellors out of 129—5.4% Men vote for women for obvious reasons. One being that hitherto, men have dominat-

Statistics Of Govt. establishment

through its myriad of programmes but most especially the Women on Boards (WIMBOaRD) Initiative. By identifying and creating a database of women who have the required pre-requisite skills to excel at high level positions and positioning ourselves to make appropriate recommendations to corporate management. Our WIMBOaRD advocacy, which has been adopted by the Central Bank of Nigeria, requires every financial institution to have a 30 per cent female representation on their board. We advocate for this because it has been proven empirically that: • Businesses with more women in leadership report better financial results. • Many peers, bosses, direct reports, and associates rated senior executive women up to 10 per cent better as leaders than male senior executives. • Companies with women on their boards outperform those with all male boards. • Clearly, the outcomes of women in leadership positions are positive for organisations. as a stakeholder and key player in business and management issues as they affect women, it would be good to note here that while WIMBIZ advocates for a percentage representation on boards, our advocacy is for qualified women and representation based on merit. Women must be chosen on merit and not to meet figures created to make male led corporations feel ethical. as a result, we believe that if the Nigerian government can pass a law that ensures the 35 per cent representation of women on boards of corporate organisations based on merit, we would not only have empowered women, we would have set a standard that ensures the development of our women. Only women can make the needed changes. We must stop doubting our abilities to take on these roles and conquer them. We must stop doubting our abilities to be good wives and mothers because we want a career for ourselves. Most importantly, we must educate, empower ourselves and continue to echo the need for change in how we are perceived in all arenas. Further, women need to start supporting other women. Many senior women struggle due to lack of sponsorship of someone at the executive table, i.e., someone who is prepared to put them forward, particularly for developmental projects and assignments in operational roles. Women need female mentors; people who have been there and are in a position to share their experiences. Women need to expect more for lasting change. By refusing to part with our skills without achieving our expectation in pay and work life balance, we slowly begin to take back the power. We must start to realise that our skills are worth what we believe them to be. This is what men do and as history has repeatedly proved, it works very well. Finally, women at all levels should engage their men: whether husbands, fathers, sons or brothers. Men need to be actively engaged in these strategies to improve transparency, and help surface and correct years of systemic bias. — aDeOla aZeeZ


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

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SPECIAL REPORT

What Men Feel About The Affirmation TUNDE AKINOLA spoke with Ambassador Akinjide Osuntokun, member, Presidential Advisory Council on International Relations and Professor of History and Strategic Studies, Yinka Odumakin, Spokesperson of Save Nigeria Group (SNG) and Pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere and Dr. Yunusa Tanko, National Chairman, National Conscience Party (NCP) and Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) on the issue of affirmative action on women.

ples where many men have failed. We need to get out of the mindset that subjects women to mere supporters,” he said. Odumakin cautioned Nigerian women on thinking that men would one day call them to be involved in decision-making process because this “will never happen. What they need to do is to assert themselves. They need to support themselves. From my own experience, women have constituted stumbling blocks to their success through petty rivalries. They should for once go beyond appeasing men. On election days, there are more women voters. They should capitalise on their numeric strength. They should enforce the affirmative action,” he said.

‘Cultural Issues Undermine Women’s Role In Politics’

‘Women Should Be Allowed To Contribute To Democratic Development’

SUNTOKUN stressed the need to overO come the country’s cultural problem before women could play the correct role in

ANKO said although there has been T improvement in trying to advocate assertive roles for women in politics, the

politics. He noted that until the fact is appreciated that Nigeria couldn’t ignore 50 per cent of its population; the country will continue to be deprived of the contribution of this significant part. Yinka Odumakin According to the former Envoy to Germany, since the Beijing Conference on the status of women in the world, many countries have put into action programmes to ensure that the voice of women is heard. He said the recommendation of the Beijing Conference was that at least a third of elective and appointive offices should go to women. “Few countries have met this. Even in established democracies of Great Britain, the United States and Europe, efforts are still being made to ensure that women play active roles in politics. “In the recent past, there have been women Prime Ministers in France, Great Britain and Turkey and now the German Chancellor sitting on the same seat that Adolf Hitler sat is a female. America is yet to produce a female head of government or Head of State. Some people in the United States are hoping that come 2016, Hillary Clinton may become the Democratic Party’s nominee for President,” he said. Osuntokun said that in Nigeria, beginning with the Obasanjo government, the country has made some efforts at increasing the profile of women in politics. “Obasanjo appointed considerable number of women into his cabinet and Goodluck Jonathan has taken it Prof. Akinjide Osuntokun further. Some states have even done better than the Federal government. For instance, Lagos State has a Deputy Governor and another woman as Secretary to government. Osun and Ekiti States also have female Deputy Governors but we still have a long way to go. Out of 36 governors in the country, there is not a single female. Hopefully by 2015, we may have one or two. “The problem Nigerian women have is the patriarchal nature of our society. Political meetings are usually held at night and husbands are not likely to allow their wives go to meetings at night and people generally frown at women being in politics,” he said.

‘Women Should Take Advantage Of Their Numeric Strength’ DUMAKIN said women could only O achieve their goals if they can assert themselves and work with one accord. He said the country still has a long way to go. “Someone told me that when you have men at political rallies you know they have come from their own volition, but when you see a lot of women in rallies they are mostly mobilised or hired. This is 2013 and women are still seen as cheerleaders, clappers, and people to be hired for a fee or supporters club and not as conscious people who can decide what they want to do. The roles reserved for women have been debased to clapping for political gladiators, grace their events and be used to sing songs against opponents while they sing their praises. This got me worried,” he said. According to Odumakin, although most women have been appointed to positions but in terms of elected offices, women are still lagging behind. “Those that get elected are either the wives of powerful politicians or a retired military general who has influence in politics. Very few get there on merit. “We have had women deputy governors,

Dr. Yunusa Tanko

but we know deputy governors are spare tyres in our clime, only Dame Virgy Etiaba in Anambra State rose to become an Acting Governor,” he stated. Odumakin added that there are limitations as well. “If a woman has what it takes to represent her people, there are limits to the level of her resources because elections in Nigeria today are cash fights. There are cultural and religious factors as well. There are areas in the country where the place of women in 2013 is still at the background. In such areas, when men talk, women don’t have a say and this type of environment cannot encourage women being in executive positions like governorship or presidency. We are still scratching the issue on the surface because

women have not been accorded their rightful place in the country,” he added. All these combined are the reasons we still remain where we are. Malawi and Liberia have shown that women can have a say because they have become presidents in those countries.” According to him, Malawian President, Joyce Hilda Banda, showed how morally upright a women leader could be when she sold off all the presidential fleet immediately she got to office on the grounds that the country could not afford them. “Nigeria had to go and take her with an Air-force jet when we were hosting the African Ladies summit. She showed moral where many men are still running their countries aground. Women have shown good exam-

adherence to 35 per cent affirmative action has not been too encouraging. To him, it is “shameful” for the role of women to be unrecognised because they constitute 49.48 per cent of the population in 2011 according to World Bank assessment. Tanko noted that since women are almost half of the population of the country, so they deserve more than what they are getting in terms of participation in nation building. He, however, said that women in recent time are getting involved in politics due to political reawakening and awareness. “Although we have the challenges of discrimination, Nigerian women have continued with their political ambition and contributing enormously to nation-building. We have recorded some measure of achievement even though we are yet to have a female President. “We had the likes of Margaret Ekpo, Hajiya Gambo Sawaba, Fumilayo Kuti in the 1950s, while in 1987 we had women like Maryam Babangida, who as First Lady made an appreciable impact on Nigerian women and encouraged them to aspire for the highest position in the land. Later on, we had Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Hajiya Rukiyya, Obi Ezekwesili, Professor Dora Akunyili and others. These women have and are still doing excellently well to defend the interest of our ever vibrant women.” Tanko also said that women are ever ready to lead if given the opportunity. This to him, made the NCP had Mrs. Teju Abiola as Deputy Governorship candidate. Mrs. Pauline Tallen contested for Plateau State governorship election. Mrs. Sara Jibrin contested for the position of President under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and some that came out as vice presidential candidates under various political parties. According to him, the above history is to know where we have come from in order to determine the present. “We can say that the women are being encouraged. NCP would even offer more if we are voted in to power come 2015.” He added that Nigeria is lagging behind in the 35 per cent affirmation for women in governance and politics mainly for cultural reasons, as African women are perceived to be confined to the house and taking care of the children. “Even in our villages they do not get involved in decision making but in the innermost chambers of their husbands who may be chiefs and kings they actually influence the decision of the men. “Religion also plays a great deal in the Northern parts of the country, as women are seen as people to be kept away in the house and not to be displayed because of their attractive nature and other values.” Tanko said that the men also muscle women out of positions. He said the involvement of heavy funds for election is an issue just as sexual harassment in some cases. “But most disturbing is the women themselves; they have ego problems among themselves. They are not supportive of their colleagues. Inferiority complex and other issues have been the problem, too. “It is also important to note that Nigerian women have not realised the enormous powers they have in their population and the influence they have to challenge male domination.”


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

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COVER

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Overcrowded lecture room, hallmark of Nigerian university system

ASUU Strike: 25 years On, Eggheads Search For Elusive Solution By Gregory Austin Nwakunor

IGERIA is a paradox. It exports what it N doesn’t have and imports what it has. It is just a bundle of contradictions. Currently, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is on strike over certain conditions in the educational sector that are gradually killing it, yet in the cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan, who is not only an academic, but is trying to Bring Back The Book, there are six professors — Prof. Ita Okon Bassey Ewa, Minister of Science and Technology; Prof. (Mrs.) Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’I, Minister of Education; Prof. (Mrs.) Viola Onwuliri, Minister of State, Foreign Affairs; Prof. Chinedu Osita Nebo, Minister for Power, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Minister of Health and Prof. Taoheed Adedoja Minister of Special Duties. Just imagine this contrasting fate: For almost seven years, Funsho Lawal has seen his two lovely children face educational challenges in a country that critics say has leaders with antiintellectual dispositions. His first son, Boluwatife, entered university in 2007 to study Medicine. The six- year course has almost ended up an eight-year programme. The year he entered, university teachers went on strike for three months. They followed up twice (one-week strike) in May 2008. In 2009, there was another for three months. 2013 is already pointing to the fact that the boy has added extra years through no fault of his. For Iretiola, Lawal’s first daughter, private university was it for her. Between 2010, when she entered, and now, the girl has had smooth sail without any disturbance in her programme. In the next few months, she would be out of school, and possibly, be out for at least four years before her elder brother, who went in three years earlier. Since 1992, 21 years ago, Nigerians have got used to ASUU strike and the ominous manner in which the hopes and fates of young ones are spun in the roulette wheel. And in the last few years, Nigeria has witnessed an almost yearly occurrence of strikes in the academics. Yet, since the mid-80s, the number of academics in government has grown large enough to function well. President Jonathan’s predecessor, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, also emerged from the aca-

demics. And he also had a minister, Dr Sam Egwu, who was at a time, a chapter chairman of ASUU at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT). The idea that intellectuals can revolutionise the government is not new in the country. Right from when Anthony Ukpabi Asika left the Ivory Tower to join the government of General Yakubu Gowon, every succeeding government has found the citadel of learning attractive to poach for the regime’s intellectual direction. Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s government also had erudite scholars such as Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike and Prof. Ishaya Audu. Prof. Folorunsho Gambari and Dr. Onaolapo Soleye were to follow as intellectuals of General Muhammadu Buhari regime. Though the military era did not consider intellectual capital development as a priority, General Ibrahim Babangida made it a ‘Holy Grail’ with the introduction of academics in major strata of the economy. When the Mass Mobilisation for Social Justice and Economic Recovery (MAMSER) Commission was launched in 1986, an academic, Professor Jerry Gana, was sought for as chairman. There was also Professor Molara Ogundipe in the commission. The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) had Professor Wole Soyinka as chairman. Professor Sam Oyovbaire was Minister of Information; the late Professor Olikoye Ransome Kuti was for Health, the late Prof. Aliyu Babatunde Fafunwa and Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, who in fact, initiated the Concert of Medium Power (G-15), was the External Affairs Minister. To have very credible election, Babangida also pitched his tent with the academic, as he had professors Eme Awa, Humphrey Nwosu and Okon Edet Uya. The Centre for Democratic Studies, which mid-wived the political education of Babangida’s transition programme, had Prof. Omo Omoruyi. These intellectuals brought new ideas to the sectors where they operated. And this actually had implication in the social engineering that characterised Babangida’s ‘Khakistocracy’. Coming to the regime of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Yar’Adua, there were Prof. ABC Nwosu, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, Prof. Dora Akunyili, Prof. Adenike Grange, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, Prof. Joy Ogwu, Prof. Oluyemi Adeniji and many more scholars. However, in spite of these positions and influ-

ence of former ASUU members, education in the country is still stymied. Many have reasoned that it is very strange that with these people in and out of government, it is still difficult for government to address the problems facing the sector. They note that even when the trio of Yar’Adua, Jonathan and Egwu were at the helms of affairs, things didn’t fare better for the educational sector, as there was strike that lasted three months. According to social commentators, these former ASUU members, now on the other side, especially as politicians, have critical roles to play in the repositioning of the country’s universities. To them, intellectual capital development is a sine qua non to sustainable socio-economic and political development of any nation. It is thus logical to ensure that citizens have access to education. “It is unfortunate that immediately many of them leave the Ivory Tower, they become politicians and hustlers, who use the appendage of consultants to look for avenues to be part of the cake sharing formula,” said Ifedayo Oluyinka, a student of the University of Lagos. According to observers of event in the sector, these people become tongue-in-cheek mouthpiece of government. “Many of them don’t even go back to their constituency, academic, so they see no reason why they should support ASUU or be ASUU go between.” A lecturer from the University of Lagos, who chose to be anonymous, said, “the situation in the universities is very deplorable and government is carrying on as if it does not care.” The lecturer said, “no teacher ever wants to go on strike. Strike is a last option and government always waits for this. When people talk of ASUU using other options, we laugh because the only language government understands and which rattles it, is strike. We know that the alternative to strike is dialogue, and reaching out for external interventions, but when all these fail, the only option left becomes a strike action.” The source said it would be wrong for people to always see ASUU as only interested in salaries, rather what they want is for government to create an environment that could help the universities attract and retain scholars not only from the country, but internationally. “What is government doing to safeguard the future of education and the country? The ASUU members are

not fighting a selfish war. They are not fighting for themselves; rather, they are fighting to protect the educational future of this country, which the government is deliberately killing.” Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, former ASUU president, had told The Guardian in 2009, that scholars from Europe and America no longer come to Nigerian universities for sabbatical because the atmosphere is not conducive for such. “It is unfortunate that we are fast domesticating the Nigerian University System and taking it away from its ‘University Concept’. ASUU is talking about creating a conducive teaching and learning environment, where scholars can seek truth, preserve truth and propagate truth through research, teaching and community service. The mandate is right now in jeopardy and that is all the agreement is seeking to achieve, not just the salary of professors,” Awuzie said. ANALYSTS have said the ongoing strike action by members of ASUU is a pointer to the fact that the government is not only anti-intellectual, but also bent on fomenting trouble, as what the lecturers are demanding are their entitlement. According to Dr. Karo Ogbinaka, who chairs the University of Lagos branch of ASUU, when the last strike over the same issue and others was suspended in January 2011, the Federal Government had agreed in a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to pay the university teachers their “earn allowances”, “which no lecturer has received since 2009.” Although Ogbinaka admitted that certain aspects of the MoU, such as the retirement age and pension clauses had been “addressed by 90 per cent,” he revealed that the government had been dishonest about the “earn allowances.” He stated that the “earn allowances” refer to what the teachers are entitled to for supervising post-graduate students’ theses and the excess workload entailed in attending to more students than the required number, in the course of their primary duties. He said: “Lecturers are entitled to earn allowances for taking on more number of students, which is excess workload, and for supervising master’s and Ph.D theses at the post-graduate level. Each lecturer has a defined number of students to teach. But when you assign more students to that lecturer, this means he will have more scripts to grade and this is excess workload.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 27


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

27

COVER

Government Is Culpable, Says ASUU sorial cadre from 65 years to 70 years. That was done this year, I think around May. We also had to threaten, decide to re-instate Governing Councils. Apart from these two, government did not comprehensively implement all issues relating to adequate funding of the system. In fact, what we noticed was that, all the tools that were needed What are the fundamental issues at stake in to enable government implement those aspects of the agreement have already been the strike? addressed. ELL, the issues are that, in 2009, we For instance, government said it would, on its signed an agreement with Federal own volition, set aside N100 billion for immeGovernment on how best to revitalise edudiate resuscitation of the universities. And cation, especially university education in the country. That agreement has four cardi- then, that would be in 2012. Then in 2013, 2014 and 2015 government said it is going to pronal issues: Funding of the universities so as to enable them rehabilitate their infrastruc- vide extra budgetary N400 billion each year. Because the presentation was clear to governture; and then, to provide teaching and learning facilities, University autonomy and ment that there is a problem in the system. And problem of that magnitude requires a sort academic freedom; staff welfare and condition of service, be improved so that academ- of Marshal Plan to address it. So, we were hopeful that if those aspects of ics will not be migrating from Nigeria to the MoU were implemented other countries. The fourth one is other faithfully, we would have put matters. Other matters are issues that also a foundation towards affect university education generally, but addressing the problems of they do not fall into the first three cateuniversity education in gories. Nigeria. Government said So, we had a comprehensive agreement. that before it can make availAnd I will like to remind people that we able that amount of money, took three years painstakingly taking each even the N100 billion, there is item to make sure that whatever we agree a need for us to go through on, both parties are in agreement. After an exercise of determining that, we spent no less than two years waitwhat are the priority-needs of ing for government to implement the the universities. agreement. The government decided even That assignment was conafter a strike to just implement the salary cluded by Committee set up component. Salary component is just one aspect of conditions of service. That was the by Federal Government under the chairmanship of only item that government implemented. We have had cause to go for another strike: the then Executive Secretary of TETFund, Professor A warning strike. And then, an indefinite Mahmud Yakub. That strike, which commenced on December 4, Committee had gone round 2011. With the intervention of the Secretary all public universities in the to the Government of the Federation, the country, including federal chairpersons of the National Assembly and states. And had been able Committees on education, we were able to to assess the level of dilapidareach some kind of Memorandum of tion, rot and decay in the sysUnderstanding, which was documented. tem. And it was scientifically In that MOU, government put down its documented. That report had plan to comprehensively implement the been submitted to govern2009 agreement. It was signed on January ment in July 2012. 24, 2012. With the signing, our members Surprisingly we are now talknationwide were convinced of the need to ing one year after governsuspend the strike action. And we did that ment had not moved foron February 2, 2012. ward. Towards implementing Now, it is just about one-and-a half years the recommendations of after, government has not been able to that… move forward. What do I mean by that? We were told that it had to There were about nine items on that go National Economic Memorandum of Understanding. Out of Council. At a point, we were nine, Federal Government was only able to told that National Economic comprehensively implement two. The first one requires signing a law. The review of the Council had finished working Fagge on it. It should be returned to retirement age of academics on the profesFederal Executive Council. But as it is, we are Dr. Nasir Isa Fagge, President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) puts the blame of the ongoing strike action squarely on the federal government, for failing repeatedly to honour agreements. He spoke to ABBA ANWAR, of The Guardian in Kano.

W

still waiting for the implementation of the recommendations of that report. That is one. There were other issues like registration of Pension Management Company for the university system. This one is no restricted to ASUU members. All staff of the university would be at liberty to register with that Pension Fund Administrator. And government promised to assist in the registration of that. As we talk today that company, in spite of all the efforts that we have put down, including getting ASUU to also contribute substantially in terms of buying shares in the company, government has not yet finalized the registration of that company. There are also other issues relating to academic allowances, which we have also agreed in that 2009 agreement. And we are talking of four years now. That’s the calculation of the quantum of money required to implement the earned academic allowances was computed. That money was in arrears for about three and

half years. And the Implementation Monitoring Committee — in charge of ensuring that the provisions of 2009 agreement were fully implemented — was charged with the responsibility of coming up with the analysis of the amount of money required. If government had commenced the implementation of the agreement in 2009, we wouldn’t have any arrears. So, really our members put everything together. There were issues also of transfer of landed property to universities to enable them set up what is called Property Management Company. The proceeds of which will now be geared into addressing serious issues in universities. There was also the issue of setting up of Research and Development Council in the country, to encourage research. The thinking is that, since our products do not have the appropriate training to fit into companies that produce in this country, this Council will now harness the products in the university so that they can be in tune with what is required in the industry.  We have really worked out over these things scientifically. And we are convinced that if that agreement is implemented, give Nigerian universities five years, they will start competing effectively with other universities internationally that are now taking away our students. In fact, we made a presentation to the late President ‘Yar Adu’a that will turnaround Nigerian universities and also help in attracting students from at least African countries. And that would generate revenue. As it is now, Ghana is taking most of the revenue in education in the West African subregion while South Africa is taking most of the revenue in education in Africa. So, we thought that if we turnaround our universities, many Africans would not want to take their children to Europe and America. We looked at all these; unfortunately, it became clear to us that government was just buying time. And we were even more convinced that the agreement was supposed to be renegotiated in June 2012. That is also one year now. Our members nationwide were asked to advice on what was the best way out, and they

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Search For Elusive Solution CONTINUED FROM PAGE 26

Rufa’i, during a ministerial briefing in Abuja, noted that education has been well funded but Instead of employing more lecturers, the univer- the fund not well utilised. She said: “Federal Ministry of Education has sities try to save cost by putting more pressure on us. And the money is not much. It is only N12,500 adequate funding and when adequately per month and a professor gets N15,000 per the- utilised, can deliver the sector and reposition it sis. What the government first said was that the to the pride of the nation.” But many have wondered what manner of money was too much and we (university teachers) decided to reduce our demand to 80 per cent funding is it, when Nigeria has never invested of what we asked for. The initial thing we heard up to 10 per cent of its yearly budget in educawas that they (government) forgot to include it in tion. African countries like Ghana invests not the budget. Then, the government said there was less than 30 per cent of their annual budget on no money and that it would pay 50 per cent. Then education and South Africa has been investing they said they would only pay a quarter of the 50 over 30 per cent on education. Many social commentators and analysts are per cent.” Ogbinaka said the non-payment of the of the opinion that the priorities of governallowances was the reason why many university ment should be to start cleaning up this ugly teachers had been reluctant to take on post-grad- image and bringing a positive engagement facuate students or accept to supervise theses at the tor. The reform of educational sector far outpost-graduate level. According to him, this also accounts for why Nigerian universities have been weighs the cost of having students at home and leaving them in the hands of politicians unable to attract foreign academics. Prior the commencement of strike action, the who turn them to ‘errand boys’ for their nefarMinister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu ious activities.

They also point out that government should put in place machinery that would encourage an inclusive discussion of the educational sector, and its funding, to save the system. This would help boost an image that is fast disappearing into the shadow. It is only logical that a lasting solution be evolved. This is the time for the Education Summit or Conference to be convoked. The National Assembly, as championed by Dr. Dipo Fashina, former ASUU president, in 2003, should summon the meeting. Not the ministry or NUC (National Universities Commission). The general consensus is that only those who are qualified by both knowledge and integrity should be at the summit. It should not be seen as “job for the boys,” or a way of compensating political supporters or as political patronage. To this end, former intellectuals in government, who still profess or live by the knowledge they impact, and not those who have become consultants and political jobbers should be co-opted.

ORMED in 1978, ASUU succeeded the Fcame Nigerian Association of Teachers, which into existence in 1965. In the 1980s, the union became more militant in its demands and had first organised a national strike in 1988 for fair wages and university autonomy. The military regime in power at that time, led by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), promptly proscribed the union on August 7, 1988 and confiscated all its property. Two years later, the ban was lifted, only for another ban to be imposed on August 23 1992, when ASUU, led by Prof. Attahiru Jega, former vice chancellor of Bayero University, Kano and now chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), went on another strike. Three months later, Prof. Aliu Babatunde Fafunwa, who was the country’s Education Minister at that time, led the Federal Government team that reached an agreement, which met several of ASUU’s demands. The 1992 FG/ASUU agreement soon became the yardstick used by ASUU to organise other strikes in 1994 and 1996 during Gen. Sani


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We Should Shut Down University System To Re-tool, Says Prof. Iyayi Professor Festus Iyayi, Head of Department, Business Administration, University of Benin is a former president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), he spoke to ALEMMAOZIORUVA ALIU in Benin City. What will you say about the ongoing strike by ASUU? NE thing we must understand is that the history of our country and of the human race as a whole shows that we

O

will not get anything unless we struggle. In fact, Nigeria is what it is because our people have refused to stand up against what is wrong; the corruption, rigging of election, the actions of our rulers that are done with impunity, those things just go on and on. These things are published in the newspapers daily and nothing happens, so one scandal gets bigger than the other and the country just goes on. The country is failing and everybody recognises that. The same thing in the area of education; we made an agreement with government in 2009 and people persuaded us to go back to work because government will implement the agreement, but what government did was to implement only part of the agreement that is related to some aspects of the salaries, but the main issue was the funding of the universities. If you come to the University of Benin for example, you will find that the classrooms are in a horrible, dilapidated state; the classrooms are overcrowded, and the labs are not what they should be. Students are doing theories of practical in many universities and in some universities they use kerosene stoves instead of Bunsen burners to conduct experiments; in many universities they have theory of practical. The students in the hostels live as if they are in piggeries, as if they are in poultries. You need to see them in a phenomenon where they call shot put; a student excretes into a black polythene bag and throw it through the window into the field because there are no toilet facilities, no water, no electricity and yet we claim to have universities in Nigeria. These things we addressed because in 2012, when we went on strike to bring the implementation of the agreement that we reached, the strike was apprehended by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). We met in the office and in the course of that meeting, government itself set up a team to go round the universities to do a need assessment. It produced a need assessment report and part of it has been published in the newspapers, they then went to the National Economic Council, and Federal Executive Council and when they reviewed the recommendations, President Jonathan himself said he was scandalised; he was embarrassed by what he saw and promised that action will be taken to provide funding for the universities. When we met with the SGF between January and March 2012, he told us that they have N100 billion ready to be given to the universities and that

Iyayi

Social Impact Of ASUU Strike By Ikechukwu Onyewuchi HE intermittent strikes by teachers in the T nation’s ivory towers have over the years been a cause for serious concern for parents, guardians, and observers of Nigeria’s educational sector. At different times, Nigerians have worried over the impact of sending students back home to give room for their lecturers to vent their displeasure on the way the government is running Universities. Particularly, fears of increased crime rate have been put forward. Other commentators have decried the spate at which some female students hop around, as escorts, in a bid to make extra money, basking in the freedom to explore the world away from hassles of assignments and presentations. Diagnosis of sociologists, touted to be social doctors, is not too far from this fear. They have decried the lingering dangers the closure of universities portend for the nation and its ripple effects on other sectors of economy. A lecturer in sociology of education at the University of Lagos, Dr. Soji Oni, said the lingering ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) strike, aside its obvious blow to the educational sector has ‘grievous social implications for the country.’ Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, the scholar said that due to reported cases of crime when universities downed tools years back; it is not unlikely to expect a surge in criminal activities while the strike lasts. He opined: “When the students don’t have anything to do many of them will go into crime. Some years ago, when ASUU was on strike, there were reported cases of campuses and communities where students were arrested for involvement in armed robbery. This is because when they are in school their academic activities keep them busy. They usually have a lot of assignment and presentations to battle with. “Students know that if they are not present at presentations, they will not pass the course. Now that they have three or four months at home, it gives room for a lot of things.”

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Like ASUU, ASUP Under Govt. Neglect Hammer By Gbenga Akinfenwa THE over two months between the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and the Federal Government, has grounded academic activities in Polytechnics across the country. It has further crippled the already ailing education sector. Sadly, there is no respite in sight. Since April 29, when the union embarked on an indefinite strike following an alleged federal government’s refusal to implement agreements reached with the union on enhancement of polytechnic education, government has refused to look into demands, and the leadership of ASUP has vowed that polytechnics would remain closed till government is ready to do the necessary thing.   There are about 15 demands tabled by the union. They want government to implement the non-constitution of governing councils for Polytechnics, Monotechnics, and Colleges of Technology; non-release of government White Paper of the visitation panels to federal polytechnics; non-commencement of the NEEDS Assessments of the Nigerian polytechnics; changing of deplorable conditions of state owned polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of technology and the continued appointment of unqualified persons as rectors and provosts by some state governments. Others are; failure of most state governments to implement the approved salary package (CONPCASS), and 65-year retirement age for union members; insistence of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to implement the Integrated Information System (IPPIS) module; continued delay in the amendment of the Polytechnics’ Act; the appointment of principal officers on acting positions in some poly-

tec hnics, monotechnics and colleges of technology beyond the approval periods; the review of the polytechnics’ scheme of service and non-commencement of the re-negotiation of the Federal Government/ASUP agreement, as contained in signed agreement.   The National President of ASUP, Chibuzor Asomugha disclosed few days ago that out of about 15 demands tabled by the union, only one, which was the constitution of governing council was half met, while about six governing councils were yet to be constituted. Before the commencement of the indefinite strike, ASUP had earlier this year issued a 30-day ultimatum to the Federal Government, followed by a 21-day ultimatum on March 25, 2013 and a subsequent one week warning strike before the full fledged strike took off. Several meetings held between government and the union always resulted in deadlock. The present position of the union based on the meeting of its National Executive Council (NEC) at the Labour House, Abuja was that all branches of the union should remain at home till the government fulfills its commitment to the union. Commentators and concerned Nigerians have begun to lambast government for handling polytechnic education in Nigeria with levity, culminating into graduates’ stigmatisation at the labour market. Analysts have continued to ask is, is strike action the only language the Nigerian government understands? When will lecturers no longer embark on strike action in Nigeria? With the current insecurity in Nigeria, why would government allow students from tertiary institution to waste their talents at home or roam

Mapoly Gate the streets, when they can be meaningfully engaged in the classrooms and many more. They claimed that the incessant strikes would not do anyone good but would only end up crippling an already ailing education sector. The lingering battle is not unconnected to the disparity, which has continued to create acrimony between Universities and their polytechnic counterparts. An analyst, Adewale Kupoliyi of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, said an effort by Federal Government to scrap the Higher National Diploma (HND) in the late 1970s with the hope of creating technicians that will be different from engineers produced by universities, failed due to the poor implementation of the policy that merely replaced HND with a lower certificate, National Technical Certificate (NTC),

which was resisted by students. “To address the anomaly, an attempt was made by the Olusegun Obasanjo Administration to end the discrimination between HND and BSc graduates. In a 40-page paper, the Presidential Committee on the Consolidation of Emoluments discovered that entrants into the public service with HND are barred from reaching the highest grade even when they were found competent,” he said. He noted that aside the ceiling on grade level/rank, other bias meted to HND holders include inequality in Salary Grade Level, which has forced majority into all kinds of unemployment, social vices, criminality, non-challant attitude and complete frustration by young men and women that are groomed to be technically-versatile, self employed and job creators.


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Strikes: Gains, Pains and Losses, By Prof Nwabueze, Others By Omiko Awa and Gbenga Salau ROFESSOR Ben Nwabueze (SAN) has said that P though academic staff has justification to agitate for better funding for the education sector using only strike as a tool to achieve its objective is counter-productive as it is compounding the problem of falling standard is the sector. To The constitutional lawyer, it is misplaced priority on the part of government that is responsible for poor budgetary allocation to the education sector. “You know my travails when I was in the Ministry of Education; it was strikes and strikes. I said to them at the time that strike is not the solution because the sufferers of the strikes are the students. When you have a strike of about six months, who suffers it more, the students, the staff would demand to be paid after the strike. But I refused to pay them when I was Minister of Education. I told them that we should put our hands together, you have a case; not enough money is being put into education. “And I have said that if I were president, I will declare my first year as education year, I will pour so much money into education. Education is money-consuming enterprise. If the money is spent, the dividends are there. I told them not to go on strike, they refused and I told them I would not pay. Thank God the non-academic staff appreciated my position and years after, they declared me the Best Minister. That is the problem, a complex matter. Education is not receiving the attention it requires, not enough money is being put into education. The staff; academic and non-academic, are not well enumerated, facilities are deplorable. So they have a good cause to agitate. But every time ASUU is on strike, the students suffer as they are not being taught, and that is part of the cause of the falling standard in education; the frequent strikes. “I was at a forum recently and the Vice president talked about creating mega universities that will accommodate two hundred thousand students. And I said to myself, we are talking about standards, lacks of facilities, students being produced are semi-literates and you want to create mega universities. I cannot understand. We have magic secondary schools, where students pass exams without going to examination halls; gov-

ernment is not doing anything about that. “It is just to create big names that they have established more universities, which will not lack applicants but what do they get at the end of the day, what does the country get at the end of the day, producing semi-literate graduates, is that what we need. So the problem is complex and the solution is ethical, social, non-violence revolution.” On why members of ASUU who are minister find it difficult to make changes, he said, “The minister is not in charge of money. I have said that government should pour more money into the education sector. I said so in several forums and that if I were president, I will make my first year in office education year and I will pump money into education, that is what we need.” He however argued that the less attention paid to the sector is a product of misplaced priority. “They do not have their priority right. They are more interested in putting money in other things, yet none of them yielding result. If you know the kind of money that is put into security, yes, it is an important aspect but what is the outcome of all that money. Large amount of the money put into security is not used for security; they are diverted into all kinds of things, useless things. Nothing can solve the problem except a revolution.” In the same vein, a senior academic staff of Lagos State University, (LASU), who pleaded to be anonymous opined that when ASUU members get government appointment they forget the ASUU mandate because they are not ASUU nominees for such positions and as human beings; they are bound to dance to the tunes of those that appoint them. On why the academic association always restore to strike each time to drive home their point, the don noted, “Strike appears to be the only language the people in power understand. Government hardly calls ASUU to meetings for negotiation until the association declares a strike and when they do, they do not always keep to their own side of the agreement. We are not enjoying the situation, but we cannot help it. “Owing to government failure to do the right thing, nip strike on the bud, ASUU has since seen it as a potent weapon to drive home its points, make its demands met. Historically, we have always used strike and ASUU leadership has never

BUK students vacating the campus during the week been compromised. Remember that Jega, Fashina, and Anwuzie strikes all achieved their aims, which further support the point that strike is the only weapon that can make government to act.” Could this method not be harmful to our education system? “Well, the effect on education is twofold. One of it is that it brings about delays and breaks in the academic calendar. However, strikes have not compromised the quality of Nigerian graduates because the lecturers have always in a resilient manner managed the situation by putting in more efforts to bear in the post strike pressures so that it could cover the syllabus or modules. “After all the Nigerian graduates have been employed in parastatals and private organisations, and they are coping effectively with the intellectual demands of their works. Also, Nigerian graduates who are opportune to travel out of the country excel in their postgraduate studies. You should know that the foundation of such excellent performance was laid here, despite the strikes. “However, it must be noted that strike can impact negatively on the quality of graduates in some areas such as the sciences, where more time is needed for laboratory work. This is why government should not delay in attending to

the demands of ASUU. “The other side of strike, which is a positive angle for the academia, is that it is what has given birth to laudable programmes like the Education Tax Fund (ETF) and a host of others as well as the few infrastructural developments recorded so far in the universities.”

Nwabueze

Shut Down The Universities... CONTINUED FROM PAGE 28 another N300 billion will be made available before the end of that era and that every year, subsequently, they will make N400 billion available; not one kobo has been available to the universities and so the rot continues. Ghana closed down its universities for a year or two to retool them and what do we hear now, Nigerian students are going to Ghana, billions and billions of naira are paid by Nigerians to Ghanaian universities. Ghana has only three or four universities; we have over 100 universities in Nigeria. So, why should people be going to Ghana for University education? Ghana shut down its universities and decided to do what is right. Government can shut down Nigerian universities for five years and put them in the shape they would want them to be so that we can do research, we can teach and also conduct community services. What we have is a charade, we don’t have universities, we have in order to that

pretend that we have universities. So, that is what ASUU is involved in, ASUU is saying look, let us have a proper university system, let us have a university system that actually works. You heard about the ratings of Universities, no Nigerian university makes it among the 1000th in the world, but South Africa can produce a university in that ranking even Ghana is now mentioned, Botswana is mentioned but Nigeria cannot boats of a single university that is among the first 1000 universities in the world. Nigerian academics are in the US, there are brilliant academics in Nigeria here, who are just struggling, doing what they can under very difficult circumstances. It is impossible to continue under the current trend and then pretend that we have universities, when in fact, we do not have any; that is what the strike is all about. What reasons did the federal government give for the non-release of the funds you talked about? What explanation does government

give to the people over unemployment, over poverty, over lack of electricity, over corruption over the poor health statistics that we have, do they have any explanations? They have no explanation other than to say there is no money. Where do the funds generated from taxes, and oil revenue go to? They are applied to the wrong priority; that is why you find Nigerians are now buying private jets. Nigeria is the biggest destination now for aircraft manufacturers in the world. You can imagine where the monies go to, they are stolen by the ruling elite, who have no interest in the destiny of this country. All the economic policies of Nigeria are crafted by the World Bank and IMF. We have a minister of Finance, coordinating minister of the economy, and all her measures are produced by the World Bank and she is simply implementing them here. We have so called captains of industries who import tooth picks into this country; they cannot manufacture bicycles, or tyres, they

cannot manufacture anything, but they import everything. We have refineries, we import refined products into the country, how can a country live like that? That is why when Nigerians travel outside, foreigners denigrate you because the ruling elites in Nigeria are irresponsible. The president of the Senate as at 2009, had N1.6 billion as constituency allowance; the Speaker had N1.2 billion as constituency allowance. Where does that happen? The President has over N1billion for his feeding for this year alone, where does that happen in any part of the world? Obama buys the food he eats in his own house. We have a ruling class that has no sense of history. But in the face of this, the students are the victims… The students are not the victims at all; the country is the victim. Do you know that Nigerians cannot register for postgraduate programmes abroad because Nigerian degrees are no longer accepted? Isn’t that worse than shutting down the universities

and then say let them be properly educated so that they can go outside and then compete with others and be recognised for the quality of degrees that they have? Shell and many other oil companies in Nigeria have to spend millions of naira and even dollars retraining graduates from Nigerian schools, where does that happen? So what is the way forward? The government has to re-order its priorities, the government has to honour the agreements it has reached, the government has to provide money for funding the universities for providing facilities; facilities for teaching, in the classroom, hostel, and laboratory. The government has to provide the funds for meeting those needs, and if it doesn’t do that, let the universities be shut down for the next 10 years, so we can have a proper university that students and staff can be proud of because the students that we have now are half baked. It is a disgrace and the ruling elite in Nigeria are a disgrace!


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Insincerity, Dishonour... The Grouse of ASUU By Daniel Anazia HE crisis between Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) T and government has been too many. The crisis, though historical, constitutes part of the wider governance crisis in the country: mismanagement of public utilities, poor policy execution, authoritarian rule, poor remuneration of the workforce, especially university teachers and the under-funding of social services. The Beginning — ASUU formed In 1978, ASUU became a successor to the Nigerian Association of University Teachers formed in 1965. It has gone from one issue to another with the government, leading to its militant demands and adoption of strike strategy as a result of government’s consistent and deliberate dishonour of agreement reached with the union, which has threatened the ideals of the educational sector in Nigeria, especially tertiary education. The first strike, proscription and Jega as President In 1988 the union organised a national strike to demand for ‘fair wages and university autonomy’. This resulted in its proscription and the confiscation of all its property on August 7, 1988 by the Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida military regime. The ban was lifted in 1990, but imposed a second time on August 23, 1992, when the union under the leadership of Prof. Attahiru Jega, then ASUU President, later former Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano and now chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), went on another strike. The first ‘Agreement’ Three months later, then Minister of Education, Prof. Aliu Babatunde Fafunwa, led the Federal Government team to reach an agreement, which met several of ASUU’s demands including the ‘right of workers to collective bargaining’. The agreement entitled Agreement Between The Federal Government of Nigeria and the Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities was negotiated in two phases. The first phase began on March 31 1992, and terminated in a deadlock in July 1992. The second phase began on August 20, 1992, and ended in an Agreement on September 3, 1992. The agreement became a valid contract within the context and meaning of the Trade Dispute Act of 1976, Cap. 437, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990. Government Violations According to The Guardian investigation, government on its part dishonoured and violated several aspects of the agreement by first attacking the Chapter Six of the Agreement. It merged the

Students in a matriculation ceremony; what hope for the future graduands?

University Academic (Staff) Salary Scale (UASS) with the Elongated University Salary Scale (EUSS). Secondly, the then Secretary of Education and renowned Constitutional Lawyer, Prof Ben Nwabueze, declared the agreement as a mere gentleman’s agreement and a document of limited obligation only binding in honour — a contract of imperfect obligations, which would be implemented only so long as overriding public interest or other compelling circumstances do not make it impracticable or inexpedient to do so. The third violation of the agreement was in 1994, and Chapters Four (which deals with funding of universities) and Five (which emphasized university autonomy and academic freedom) were attacked. The Panels Government’s position was at variance with the reports of three different panels of investigation — Kayode Eso Panel (1993), Ibrahim Dasuki Panel (1993), and the Kalu Anya Panel (1993-94) — set up by the Federal Government and they all in their reports respectively urged government to honor the agreement. Staggered Warning Strikes and Second Poscription After several attempts of unsuccessful soliciting by ASUU between May 1995 and May 1996 to get government renegotiate the 1992 agreement with them and avert the 1996 strike, the union, began its warning strikes, which were staggered through the week. And when all these failed to bring the government to the negotiating table, the body called out its members on a nationwide strike, which began on April 9, 1996. On May 15, 1996, the then Minister of Education, Dr. M.T. Liman,

unilaterally aborted the negotiations and announced the proscription of ASUU at the national level and a directive to the local unions to negotiate with their respective councils — a form of deregulated collective bargaining structure — was issued. The 1996 strike was carried out basically in defence of 1992 agreement following violations of some of its sections by the then military government and university authorities. Government had refused to review the agreement when it was due in May 1995, contrary to what was agreed. Return to Democracy: 2008, 2009 Strikes and a new Agreement With the return to democracy in 1999, and the Fourth Republic in place, ASUU continued with its demand of the rights of university teachers against opposition by the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo. In July 2002, Dr. Oladipo Fashina, then ASUU National President, petitioned the Justice Mustapha Akanbi led Independence Corrupt Practices Commission to investigate the authorities of the University of Ilorin for financial mismanagement and corruption. Again, the university teachers went on strike for three months in 2007; twice (one-week strike) in May 2008 to press for a range of demands including an ‘improved salary scheme and the reinstatement of 49 lecturers dismissed by the University of Ilorin. In June 2009, it ordered its members both in Federal and State universities nationwide to proceed on an indefinite strike over disagreements with the Federal Government on an agreement reached with the union. After three months of industrial action, it reached another agreement with the Federal Government in October 2009, which is now in abeyance.

Government Is Culpable them to come back. Why do you think government is so adamant felt that since government was not serious, we to look into your case all these while? I cannot talk for government. But if I can should just go ahead and resume the strike we just look at what I think is happening in the suspended on February 2, 2012. country… you see our economy has been The thinking of government is that we are like other workers. You pay us salary and then taken over by IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank. They dictate what we we forget about our work. We don’t operate do in our economy. The Bretton Woods that way. Academics are entrusted in deliverInstitutes are not interested in any developing. And if you pay us N1m…we said it at the ing country getting development.  We have negotiating table that if you pay us N1m each and we go back we face our students, we have seen it in many countries. Most of the counno researched-knowledge that we will deliver tries that have been able to achieve substantive development have been able to do away to them and move them in such a way that they will come out fully molded to fit into the with the recommendations of Bretton Woods development plan of this country, we will not Institutions. As it is now, it is agents of IMF and World be happy. And that is exactly our position. Bank that are running our economy. And We are not convinced that just payment of they insist that we must operate, in terms of salaries is key to addressing the problem in the university. You have to pay the appropriate budgeting, the Envelope System. This Envelope System means that there is prior salary because you don’t want academics to approved amount of money that must go migrate, which is what they are doing now! There are many Nigerian academics moving into each sector, which has been considered by IMF and World Bank. things outside this country, in many other And the government is not at liberty to alter countries, in fact moving economies. If you the provisions that were made. If we are want attract them back into the country, you going to continue doing that we have been must make the condition appropriate for

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spending how much amount of money on roads, do we have roads? Huge amount of money is also being spent on electricity, do we have electricity? But the issue is that, if you really want to address the problems of development in your country you must produce the manpower. That will take full responsibility of ensuring that all aspects of development are put in place. If you don’t have that there is no way you can move. China is moving because the Chinese have realized the import of empirical knowledge. And they have been able to train their people adequately. And recently we have heard about Brazil has moved from the level of developing country to a developed country. In fact, it is ranked as the sixth. Brazil may have its problems. But at least Lula Da Silva was able to move that country from abject poverty to a point where majority of the Brazilians are now above the poverty level. And the secret is that Brazil invested heavily in education.  With the recent crisis they have the government even came out to promise Brazilians that it would invest more and more in education. If you don’t have sound investigation in edu-

cation forget about development. This 20-2020 Vision, whatever…is not going to work. The first thing is you must have fully educated human resource in your country before you can move your economy. There is this view that strike option has not worked since 1992, how would you react to this? I wouldn’t say that it has not worked. For me, I have seen that the only way it seems to us now obviously to get government to react and start doing something, minimum as it is…is if you withdraw your services. If government were sincere, we don’t have to go on strike. In fact we have waited. Since the last time we suspended I mentioned that is about one and a half years now. We have been following government, having meetings and sometimes even on weekends. On Sundays we go and have meeting with government, matters are tabled, flushed out, we reached agreement on how best to move and then the next time you come it would appear as if you have not have not have the previous meeting. Government will take you back and then you

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Why We Went On Strike CONTINUED FROM PAGE 30 have to start…is like vicious circle going round and round. And you are not achieving anything out of it. So our members said well since we have tried our best one and a half years we have done anything we have been following government, we have been lobbying National Assembly, we have been talking to whoever matters and we have seen the light at the end of the tunnel, may be the best thing to do is to down tools. Some people are of the view that ASUU should start exploring other options like going to the National Assembly, though you have just mentioned inter-face with the Assembly, to lobby and do more of political engagement with policy makers. What is your reaction to that? We have been doing that. You see National Assembly, they really don’t seem to have a problem. Because whenever we go to them they are willing. I give you an example. When we confronted Comrade Uche Chukwumeirije with the issue of the need to avert a crisis, he was willing to push Senate to accommodate some of the requirements of implementing the 2009 agreement. But you see the problem is that, the Executive, if you alter a budget substantially, the Executive will not approve that budget. Is not as if we have not been going to National Assembly. We have been going. We have been interacting with Senate Committee on Education, House Committee on Education and we get assurances that they would do

their best. But the issue is that is the Executive willing to do what is right? As at this point our members are convinced that the Executive is not really showing signs that it is interested in doing what is right.

they will not continue to rely hundred percent on government. Because with researches you can also attract international research grants. And you can be able to deliver. There is also an issue we have in the agreement the implementation of the 26 If you are to advice Nigerian students over per cent minimum as recommended by the current strike action, what will it be? UNESCO to education on annual budgetary Let me make a point. A number of our basis. Many countries that have moved their members are still students. Because they are universities forward have been implementing pursuing their Masters and PhD degrees. And more than 30 per cent. once there is a strike we don’t exempt them. I give you an example. Ghana has been investStrike affects everything. First degree, subing not less than 30 per cent of its yearly budgdegree, post graduate everybody. So substan- et on education for more than 20 years! South tive proportion of or members are also stuAfrica has been expending more than 30 per dents. So we are also directly affected. cent. So if that is the case it is not surprising Apart from that we have our children and that our students and or lecturers are migratour spouses that are students. Once lectures ing to Ghana and South Africa for education. are not going they stay at home. We see Because the facilities to deliver are there. them. Yes we are not happy about that! But My advice to students is that let them considthis is a sacrifice that we, the students and er this as part of the sacrifice we are making. everybody in Nigeria who cares about educa- And I am also feeling that when we come out tion, every stakeholder in education should of this at least we would have moved governmake to ensure that we move education. ment towards doing what is right in educaLook we have been blamed time without tion. And is important to know that, but for number for not fault of ours. That we are pro- the fact we have been protesting over the years ducing graduates that do not fit into the we may not even have the universities that we labour market. When you employ them they have now. cannot deliver. Is not our fault! If you don’t have the facilities to train people you will just What do you think will be the fate of Nigerian go there and manage. And that is what we are universities in the next five years and beyond? saying. We don’t want to continue managI cannot determine. It depends upon what is ing! What we want is provide us with the done. If government begins from now to say tools to carry out our work. And we will do it we are willing to do what is right with educaeffectively. tion in Nigeria, I want assure you that our uniIs not the problem of academics. Because versities and our education system have very academics in Nigeria when they leave the bright future. And we are confident that we shores of their country and get outside the can able to turn around the plight of educacountry you will see them delivering. So it tion in Nigeria in such a way that our system means that is not the fault of academicians. will be competing effectively at international The problem is what do they have on the level. And that is what is lacking. Because you ground to deliver on their assignment. So cannot attract students from other countries if that is why we are saying paying us huge you are not ranked high globally. salary it doesn’t address the problem. But But if things will be put in good shape give provide the tools. Once you provide the Nigerian universities five years we will be able tools…over time our universities will now to come round address all the problems and not only be producing the adequate manstart competing effectively. But if government power that will move the developmental as usual decides not to do anything the decay aspirations of this country, but will also be will continue, we will continue to churn out able to generate income. In such a way that students that are half-baked or not even baked,

that will not contribute anything in terms of national development. That will also be a liability to the nation. Because once you superficially train a person you have given him the adequate training, he won’t be able to produce, he will not be able to participate in the production process. What he will do is he will become a parasite. And that is exactly what is happening in the country. You will find that most of our graduates are looking for opportunities to cut corners and make money. But if the training is deeply entrenched in them you will see that they will not just have education they will be fully educated. What I mean is that they will be able to look at a situation and say here is not part of me I am not going to participate. And they will look at where positive development is taking place and say okay this is where I belong. I will contribute here. If government refuses to heed to your demands, what should we expect? We will wait and see. I can’t tell you what we are going to do. That one is part of our strategy. We will wait and see if government does what is right we review our strategy. If government refuses to do what is right very soon, we will also sit down and review our strategy. Any specific message for parents and guardians of your students? I really sympathise with parents and guardian of students. I have no less than three students in the university who are now with me at home. You see, it is sacrifice that we must make. We have over the years been paying premium on paper qualification. That should not be the issue. Parents need to be coming into the university to see what is happening to your children. You come and see a situation where about 12 students will be living in a room that is meant for two people. We are treating them worst than pigs! What do we expect them to do when they take over this country? So, really parents should think we are looking at the problems. Let us all address them.

Academics In Corridor Of Power By Fabian Odum AkE a look at the list and a T common denominator is that they are all from the academia and beyond this, it is either they are still in power or have moved on. Clearly, the same constituency ties them together but while medics or legal practitioners busy themselves to better the lot of the people while the sun shines, these people in the Ivory tower have left little or no impact.

Prof. Babs Fafunwa, late, however left outstanding marks, perhaps not for ASUU but education sector of the nation. A few others may claim to have done tangible things but ASUU’s think-tank attribute is largely left with question marks all over the land. Present Prof. Attahiru Jega Prof. Rukayat Ahmed Rufai Prof. Dibu Oyerinde Prof. Chinedu Nebo Past Ministers Prof. Jubrl Aminu

Rukayat

Jonathan

Osuji

Prof. Tam David-West Prof. Babatunde Fafunwa Dr. Iyorche Ayu Dr. Ibrahim T. Liman Dr. Abraham Imogie Prof. Okebukola Dr. Sam Egwu Prof. Dora Akunyili Prof. Seikh Ahmend Abdullah Agru Prof. Muhammed Abubakar Prof. Bart Nnaji Presidents President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Dr. Goodluck Jonathan

Egwu

Fafunwa

Aminu


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

32

LAFETE

Skirting the ‘Lekki’ boy

Victor Ebhomenye Victor Ebhomenye is a risk taker and gogetter. Though very young, he is not easily intimidated by anyone or anything. He is someone who loves to articulate his ideas and see them come to fruition. His dream is to be one of the greatest in his industry. This, he shares with BISI ALABI WILLIAMS. OPULARLY called ‘No. 1 Socialite in P Nigeria’, Victor Ebhomenye is the CEO of Blockwood Enterprise, a firm, which offers services in event production, structure PR, talent management and outsourcing. The company also runs eplanet247.com and the Rep Ur Hood series. “Event is all about managing people, communicating and putting smiles on their faces. And these are the things I love to do. I am really engaged in anything that has to do with managing yourself. In fact, that is the real thing that attracted me to this line of business,” Victor retorts, amidst laughter. As the ‘No 1 Socialite’, as he calls himself, his business is primarily to engage in movie production, but this is not a service he offers to the public, he tells you. He chose this because this is what he enjoys doing best. According to him, “it’s been fun interacting with people. Operating in the event and media industry is something you enjoy if you have the passion for it. It is also about a whole lot of entertainment and adventure.” He confessed that the business is very lucrative, as a lot of cash is involved. “It may look ordinary, but with close scrutiny, one would find out that the services I offer is a new services all together. Yes, there are DJs, and there are DGs, but I am one DJ with a difference.” Victors reveals that a lot of event companies don’t offer the services he is willing to offer. According to him, he is bringing a merge of different sectors in the industry together into one organisation, so, in that sense, he believes that if done properly, Blockwood will dominate the industry, “and make a lot of money from it,” he

again. However, one and a half years into his computer study programme, friends who were into entertainment nudged him to consider entertainment as a vocation. As an enthusiastic and adventure driven youth, Victor has loved every single moment of the experience, thereafter. He also loves the fun it provides. Somewhere down the line, he discovered that this was what I was called to do so! “The experience was real, and the timing is just right! I decided that I was going to be an entertainer. My vision is to be an entertainment mogul. My desire is to be like John Travolta who owns a plane and flies his family across the world. “All my life, I have been chasing my dream, and I won’t let go! Now I am doing very well as an entertainer and I intend to keep it that way. In fact, that’s what the whole No 1 Socialite in Nigeria story is all about. Going through depression and getting out of it took me a great deal of time to get me to where I am today.” Victor builds bridges between people and companies, even when he doesn’t have connections to them. But his grouse with the system is that people tend to look down on him because of his age. “When I tell people my age, they say, ‘okay’, you just started! But when proper research is carried out, that’s when they’d realise that he has achieved more than a lot of others in his age bracket. Victor is saddened by the fact that many young Nigerians today are suffering because nobody wants to give them a chance. Like many young, daring Nigerians, his heart is yearning for and is asking to be given a chance to prove his worth. He represents many young Nigerians, who are starters, but want to make it through life. “Please, give us a chance. This is all we ask,” Victor cries out. He is saddened that President Goodluck Jonathan has been unable to fix the power problem. He is discouraged that Nigeria’s major problem is electricity. He believes if power is stable for two or three years, the country would change, productivity would increase in every sector. “The mindset of Nigerians would change and so many other things would follow. If power works, it will boost the potentials and smiles. And this is his game plan as a young aspir- talent of the young ones. President Jonathan should focus on giving us power, 24/7, if he ing entrepreneur. does that he would have written his name in As a kid, he wanted to be a pilot because gold.” people around advised him to be one. As a young person, he believes that youths Therefore, he has Aeronautic Engineering to should avoid being in a hurry to get rich. To study in his first degree. But the growing him, “young people like himself should seek rate of plane crashes discouraged him. tutelage. They should learn from people that Finally, he chose something else: computhave been there before them. As I speak to ing. Mind you, his health condition, he is dyslexic, didn’t allow him to think of flying you, I have four mentors at the moment. One

of my mentors says that if you go meet someone that hasn’t done it, the person will tell you that its impossible, but if you go meet someone that has done it before, he would tell you that its possible but it’s not easy.” If he shares his experience with you, you can borrow from his experience and move your career forward. He says his most outstanding achievement till date is getting a scholarship to attend Fate Foundation Aspiring Entrepreneur programme, that AEP 46. “It can be done because in Nigeria here people always take you seriously when you are aged 30 and above. I am grateful to the Davidos, the Wizkid. I believe that it is possible to achieve success at any age regardless of the odds that the youths face. As long as you put your mind to it.” He continues, “right from when I was a little boy, I always had this mentality that I needed a protector obviously God is our spiritual protector but from primary school I always had this adult figure around me, whom I look up to. I have always looked-out for the best possible person that can keep me safe. I also had teachers/role models every now and then.” He adds, “while growing up, the watchword was for us to remember who we are and where we are from. They use to say quite a lot of other things but that the one that stands out for me. Have those Value helped me in life? Yeah, sure because when I was studing in England, Bedfordshire University, Luton town) these values always rang a bell in my ear; ‘Remember the house you come from’ so, I’ll definitely say it put me on track, I’ll say it helped me in my life and majority of the other ones they told me that I can’t remember now am sure that’s what has shaped me up to be the ‘Man’ I am today! ICTOR, who grew up in Gbagada, but V moved to Lekki in 1999, hails from Edo State, and is the eight of his father’s 10 kids. He says, “we were one of the first people to move to Lekki, so, I consider myself OmoLekki.” He attended the Igbinedion Education Centre (IEC), Benin City, for his secondary education before going to the UK, where he studied Computer Science. He also has a degree in Project Management called prince2, which certifies him to be a project manager. And his area of strength is his platform. He knows a lot of people in the industry and beyond that’s one of the reasons he tagged himself a Socialite because he makes things happen. Currently, he is attending the Fate Foundation Aspiring Entrepreneur Program (AEP), which came as a result of scholarship he bagged after successfully coming out of depression.

Laptops4Learning Nigeria Appreciates Clubhouse Facilitators help improve their learning abilities duractivities sometime in September. APTOPS4LEARNING (L4L) Nigeria is a NotLviding For-Profit Association with the aim of pro- Following from the various Club House activ- ing the period of Club House activities in laptops to Nigerian teachers and chil- ities L4LN at an ‘L4LN Teachers Seminar and their various schools. dren as a learning tool. L4LN’s goal is to provide school-age children in Nigeria with laptops, computers, software, training and conducive environment that will empower them to learn, explore, experiment and express themselves in creative and productive ways that will ultimately bring about transformative change in Nigeria. The organization was setup by a group of concerned individuals, which consist of Mr. Tomi Davies, Mr.Tunde Arogunmati, Carolyn Hall, Phil Hall, Abimbola Okoya-Urey, Funmi Onabolu, Diana Johnson and Ria Mastoroudes. The evolution of the project into a Computer Club chain template for schools has been a tremendous success in our pilot school, Kuramo Primary School, Victoria Island, which was officially sponsored by Golden Penny. The Golden Penny L4LN Club House was followed closely by Leventis L4LN Club House, which is located at Lagos Mainland Local Government School Ijero (LMLG), Ebute Metta West and sponsored by Leventis Foundation. Fast on the heels of these two Club Houses are an L4LN Club House in Little Saints Orphanage, Ogudu, which should start activities sometime in this month, and another in Government Primary School, Ikoyi to start

Lunch’ which held on the 1st of June 2013 in Lagoon Hall, Mainland Hotel, Lagos took its time to appreciate its team of facilitators who have dedicated their time and have worked tirelessly in the various L4LN Club Houses to achieve the L4LN aim of providing screen based technology to Nigerian Teachers and Children as a learning tool in order for them to embrace the 21st century. L4LN gave out certificates of participation to some facilitators while others got laptops to

Also present at the Seminar were representatives of one of the L4LN sponsors (Leventis Foundation), Local Government Chairmen, a representative of the Little Saints Orphanage, members of the L4LN Board of Directors, L4LN able volunteers and a host of others. The organisation is using this opportunity to once again thank its dedicated teachers for their tremendous contributions and to urge them to even greater heights

Ms. Abimbola Okoya (Dir. Operations, L4LN); Mr. Tomi Davies (CEO & Co-Founder L4LN); Mr. B.L.Adetona (Chairman, Lagos Mainland LG); Ms. Diana Johnson (Dir. Training, L4LN); Mrs. Apeleyin (Head Mistress, LMLG Primary School, Ijero); Dr. Abimbola Adewumi (Exec. Dir., Leventis Foundation, Nigeria) addressing the teachers; Mr. Ajai (Head Master, Kuramo Primary School, Kuramo)sits next to him


tHE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

33

MOVIEDOM

BY SHAIBU HUSSEINI

shaibu70@yahoo.com

Around and about Nollywood... Akpabio redeems N50 million pledge to Nollywood OVERNOR Godswill Akpabio of Akwa G Ibom State has redeemed the N50 million pledge made at the Presidential dinner to commemorate 20 years of Nollywood hosted by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in March. He had indicated at the ceremony that the funds should be used to endow prizes and award of excellence in honour of the president, who at the occasion, announced a N3 billion grant for the industry under a scheme he called Project Act Nollywood. the grant, President Jonathan indicated, would be used for capacity building, and to fund distribution as well as to produce quality scripts. Already, Ministry of Finance and tourism, Culture and National Orientation, whom the president directed to manage the fund, have released guidelines for the disbursement of the capacity building component of the fund. the fund managers have earmarked N300 million for that purpose. Governor Akpabio, who presented the 50 million cheque to a delegation of Nollywood led by the President of Association of Movie Producers (AMP) Zik Zulu Okafor wants the money to be used to endow prizes in the area of filmmaking in honour of President Jonathan. Andy Amenechi, president of the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN), who was at the presentation ceremony alongside top actress Stephanie Linus Idahosa and Secretary of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Abubakar Yakubu, said the money would be used for the purpose given. “It is to endow awards in the name of President Jonathan and that is exactly what it is going to be used for,” Amenechi stated. Some practitioners, have, however, called for the money to be put in Project Act Nollywood grant while others want the funds shared equally amongst ‘recognised guilds and associations in the industry’. they argued that some of the guilds need the fund to set Some Nollywood practitioners receiving the symbolic cheque from Governor Akpabio (inset) up structures that would help the further growth of the industry. Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), Nigeria (DGN), Andy Amenechi. Andy, who tampere Film Festival and many others. He has over 25 years cognate field experience in is a trainer for the ESODOC programme that television, film and radio production encomoffers workshops in documentary filmmak- passing Advertising, Marketing, New Media NENNA & Friends tV Show, the proing and he is currently on the advisory production and Multi -Media communicagramme from the stable of Wale board of New York’s Focus Features Africa tion, is the technical Director of the seven-day Adenuga Productions that has kept kids First, a programme that supports and men- long festival scheduled for the tinapa Resort informed and educated in a very relaxed and tors young African filmmakers. Also in the in Cross Rivers State from November 10 to 17. entertaining manner since July 2011, will team is President of Directors Guild of Joining the team as Chief Strategist is Norbert now be aired on AIt Network. the Nnenna & Friends TV Show, also known as the Brainpower Game, is an opportunity for students between Basic 7 and SS3 to learn various topics in a fun environment while engaging in healthy competition. Producer of the epic musical, Inale, and Chief Operating Officer Participation in this unique quiz tournaof BIK Entertainment, Keke Bongos, was in France for this year’s ment is free and the competing schools and Cannes International Film Festival and NollywoodWeek held in students get to win exciting gifts and prizes Paris. She shares her experience. as well as earn nationwide exposure and recognition. the show airs on AIt Network How did Cannes film festival go this year? every Monday at 5:30pm and on waptV t was a very overwhelming experience considering that it was (Startimes 116) every tuesday at 5:30pm. my first time. It was a huge learning experience for me. I took my film, Inale, with the hopes to find interested buyers, distributors and/or sales agents. I was able to make some very good conAFRIFF appoints Shiri as tacts with interested sales agents and distributors. Programmer, Jury coordinator

Nnenna and Friends tV Show on AIt network

N

Five over Five with Keke Bongos

I

OtABLE international film curator, programmer and writer on African cinema, N Keith Shiri, is in the African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) team as festival programmer and jury coordinator. the Zimbabwean cinephile comes to this assignment with a lot of experience. He is programme advisor to the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival and has also served in that position for the Venice Film Festival. He was a member of the World Cinema Fund from 2004 – 2007 and has been an expert advisor for the EU-ACP Films. Shiri has curated films for the Sharjah Biennale UAE and was the first Executive Director of the Southern African Film Festival. He is also founder and director of Africa at the Pictures and the London African Film Festival and Visiting Research Fellow for Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) University of Westminster, London. A long standing member of the jury of the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), Shiri has served as a jury on a number of festivals including the Berlin International Film Festival, the Dubai International Film Festival, Pan African Film

Was your participation and that of other Nigerians worth the trouble? I think to some extent we have, in terms of raising awareness of Nollywood, and I have spoken to some Nigerian producers who have benefited by way of forming partnerships with people met in such festivals. there is also a lot more than we haven’t yet tapped in to. Like? We should be able to have at least one movie that would be considered good enough to be screened in the festival, and have our government back it. Also, we need to have our producers in the festival. Nollywood is considered the third largest film industry, and we should be able to pull that weight by having at least one of our movies screened in the festivals. You were also at the Nollywood week in Paris?  Nollywood week, Paris went quite well. I chose not to have any expectations for this program, so, I was pleasantly surprised by how things went. the attendance to the screenings was quite overwhelming. Some of us had sold out theaters, with people sitting on the floor and standing in the cinemas to watch the films. When is Inale due to be released on DVD? I am finally working with a sales agent on the release. When a date for the worldwide release has been confirmed, I will let you know.

Ajaegbu, current chairman of Film/Video Producers and Marketers Association, Lagos. Shiri says he was looking forward to a memorable festival. He assured that the films that will be programmed for the festival would in addition to the choice venue- tinapa, guarantee an ultimate experience for filmmakers and filmgoers.


34

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

LAFETE

The glitz, the glam of Ebonylife Tv launch

Cutting of cake BY GREGORY AUSTIN NWAKUNOR EFORE the EbonyLife TV launch last Sunday, many B had questioned the ability of Mo Abudu to pull such kind of a string. From start to finish, it was carnival of sort with music, dance and drama. All the artistes on parade dazzled audiences with their exhilarating performances. Not even the torrential downpour in the evening rainfall in Lagos could deter the in-pouring of the jovial, anticipating and excited guests, as they arrived into the eager and energized welcome of the melodious steel drum music played by the List Entertainment Band and fittingly accompanied by the attractive dance displays provided by the flamboyant party revelers all the way from the coastal state of Cross River, the People’s Paradise. The launch, which held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, will go into the books as one of the most well attended events on the continent so far this year, featuring a commanding parade of the most glamorous “who-is-whos” in every sector of the economy including the media, fashion and entertainment, banking, telecoms, oil and gas, government, manufacturing, insurance, airline, hospitality and many more. From the highly camera-friendly Croisette to the Gold Carpet, the Media Wall to the cool piano music-oozing Jazz Bar, flashlights from the hoards of bubbly paparazzi announced the presence of pleasant looking guests in their dashing tuxedos and alluring, gorgeous dresses. The evening was certainly a compelling amalgam of the rich, the famous, the beautiful and the successful, all eagerly awaiting the beginning of the show that would herald the landmark launch of Africa’s first Global Black Entertainment Channel, EbonyLife TV Channel 165 on DStv. The Black-Tie event, which was hosted by Dare ArtAlade and the delectable Dolapo Oni was chaired by His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR), President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, ably represented by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku. Mr. Steve Forbes, world renowned media mogul, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media was the Keynote Speaker at the event. The other speakers on the night included the MD of Multichoice Nigeria, Mr. John Ugbe; Executive Governor of Cross River State, His Excellency, Mr. Liyel Imoke; Federal Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga; EbonyLife TV’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mo Abudu; and Executive Director, EbonyLife TV, Mr. Lanre Olusola. Speaker after speaker warmed the effervescent atmosphere with glowing speeches about the Channel and its impressively phenomenal launch. Delivering on its promise to thrill the guests with the best of the past, the present and the future, the event featured some of the most sizzling, eye-catching and never-seen-before highlights from blistering hot music and entertainment performances from the duo of Mr. Incredible (MI) and Commander Ebenezer Obey; the duo of Victor Olaiya and TuFAce; Omawunmi and Onyeka Onwenu; WizKid and Sunny Ade; TuFace and Dami Krane. A major feature of the music entertainment interludes was the sizzling collaborative performance by

Mr. Capable Banky W, the delectable Tiwa Savage, the Juju Maestro himself, King Sunny Ade and the Elegant Stallion, Onyeka Onwenu. Seun Kuti treated the guests to an ecstatic show while earlier on in the evening Nikki Laoye had evoked a renewed sense of national patriotism with her eclectic performance of the Nigerian National Anthem. Another definitely unforgettable highlight of the “Past, Present and Future” theme of the event was Fashion by Deola Sagoe, a commemorative, classy and futuristic fashion ensemble that showcased three whopping generations of the finest of classic African haute couture by Odua Creations (Deola Sagoe’s mother), Deola Sagoe and Clan (Deola Sagoe’s children). The runway blitz featured memorable pieces by Odua Creations, the progenitor of the Deola Sagoe and Clan fashion dynasties. It was followed by the display of enchanting pieces from the Spring/Summer 2013 Collection of the fashion visionary herself, Deola Sagoe, and finally the guests were mesmerized by fashion as defined by Sagoe’s children’s label, Clan, in a feature called A/W 14 Collection. A major highlight of the launch was the celebration of important personalities who have and continue to have significant influence on the media, entertainment, business, political and economic landscapes of the African continent. The awardees included His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, for his administration’s support to the Nigerian Media & Entertainment Industry; The awards, which followed intense research and thorough verification exercise by Forbes, saw Tope Shonubi, Tonye Cole and Ade Odunsi, founders of Sahara Energy Resources Limited, being honoured for their contribution to the Nigerian oil and gas industry. Also honoured were Joke Silva (for her contribution to the development of film and TV industry in Africa), Evang. Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade, Onyeka Onwenu and Innocent (Tuface) Idibia (for their contributions to the development of African music). Deola Sagoe was recognised for her contribution to the development of African fashion industry. “I thought it was an excellent evening. Mo has indeed raised the bar again,” said Mr. Wale Goodluck, Corporate Services Executive, MTN. Cole, Managing Director of Sahara Group believes, “What EbonyLife TV has come up with in the short space of time between when Mo first talked to me about her dream and the actual reality of that dream is truly astounding. As I sat and watched the unfolding of that reality, I was once again reminded of just why we are a great people who can achieve greatness with hard work, passion and belief. She made me proud to be African.” An elated and fulfilled Mo Abudu, was full of appreciation for all those who helped make the Channel and the launch possible through their support. “From

Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku (receiving award on behalf of His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR), President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria); former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke; Chairman and CEO Forbes Media, Steve Forbes.

Onyeka Onwenu; CEO EbonyLife TV, Mo Abudu; Honorable Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku; His Excellency, Gov. Liyel Imoke of Cross River State; His wife, Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke; Chairman and CEO Forbes Media, Mr. Steve Forbes; CEO of Sahara Group, Mr. Tonye Cole; Mrs Joke Silva and Deola Sagoe.

dream to reality, EbonyLife TV would never have been possible without the invaluable support of a host of individuals and brands too numerous to mention now. However, I would specifically like to thank First Bank Plc for their investment and belief in us. I want to thank them immensely for helping us realize our dream. To everyone else who has stood tenaciously by us, we appreciate you for

coming along with us on this exciting mission of telling Africa’s stories with passion, soul and sincerity. Thank you and thank you again.” The event was supported by key brands including MTN, Nigerian Breweries, US State Department, Cross River State, First Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, UBA Plc, Eko Hotel and Suites, Beat FM, Arik Air, Mac Cosmetics, GDN, makers of Veuve Clicquot and Belvedere Vodka.


35

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

LAFETE All That Jazz

Four & More: Miles Davis Live In Concert XCITEMENT is a very contagious commodiE ty. Listening to Miles Davis’ Four & More album recorded live in concert, it is apparent that excitement ruled the proceedings from the beginning to the end. The excitement to which I refer is like a chain reaction, from players to audience, from audience to players and from player to player, creating the ultimate performance. In general terms, this is the dynamic feeling that should intimately prevail in all jazz concerts; but, somehow, this culture is more associated with Miles Davis (whom the jazz world owes a whole lot) than anyone else. As an album, Four & More presents portions of two of Miles Davis’ concerts, which were held in Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. Miles was in rare form on both occasions because of the caliber of musicians he had on this recording date as sidemen; and of course the in- person nature of the performance. As a matter of fact, in - person performances show a side of the jazz musician that does not always appear in a recording studio. In Miles Davis’ case, his reaction to a particular audience or to the inspiration of the moment produced many memorable moments and wonderful results. The fact that Miles was an enigma to many people did not prevent his music from reaching them on many levels: Sometimes he turned his back on the audience; he walked away from the stage after enacting his own solo, an action he justified saying that he did so to give the other soloists the confidence to take their own turns, claiming that his presence might inhibit or intimidate them; Miles refused to announce his numbers claiming that he expected his fans to be familiar with them. And yet, he enjoyed a cult-followership. This album is a good example of how he related with his fans. The tunesincluding Four itself, So What, Walkin’ Joshua, Seven Steps To Heaven (all composed by Miles Davis) and There Is No Greater Love, a standard, had long been associated with Miles Davis and now fit the group like well-broken-in slippers. With this feat, Miles demonstrated a jazz truism – the more familiar a tune, the faster it is played. None of these pieces was played as slowly as in its originally recorded version, but the results are fascinating because of the many surprises found in the accompaniment and the solos. This is a well-knit group with many hours of playing together behind them; happily sailing through material they enjoy playing

together, and communicating their enjoyment to a responsive audience. All the musicians enjoyed solo concessions and the freedom to express themselves the ways they wished. Miles Davis rarely dictated to his group what to play and how to play it. That was not his own way of assuming leadership role. Although he was mindful of the music’s central focus and the high standard of accomplishment individually and collectively, he left every musician to his own devices. The combination of Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams and George Coleman shows how creative musicians can retain their individualities while performing in a well - established and well - defined area of group and solo playing. The guide lines laid down by their predecessors (such as Red Garland, the pianist who introduced block chords into his solo concept; Paul Chambers, the bass player who gained fame and mass acceptance, following on the heels of Ray Brown of the Oscar Peterson Trio; Philly Joe Jones, the highly technical drummer who came into prominence with the Miles Davis Quintet; John Coltrane, the saxophonist who took the modal technique of improvisation to an avant garde level, having imbibed the spirit from Miles Davis’ memorable Kind Of Blue session of 1959) are very much in evidence, as are their own extensions and newer directions. The rhythm section’s cohesive regard for time and space adds much to the excitement and feeling of tension and release which are such important parts of every Miles Davis performance. The contrast of rhythmic complexity with a deceptively simple trumpet line is a devise that was perfected by earlier Miles Davis groups, but Hancock, Carter and Williams make it sound as if they have just discovered it. Four& More is on the same monumental level as ESP, My Funny Valentine, Miles Davis In Europe, Quiet Nights, Seven Steps To Heaven, Sketches Of Spain and the land mark album, Kind Of Blue; but they each possess their different and distinct qualities. Each album has its own concept and the special musicians selected by Miles Davis to accomplish the various concepts. The concept of Kind Of Blue for example is that of experimenting with ‘modal’, which finds musicians improvising along the tramlines of scales rather than chord progressions. And for this project, he chose pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, alto saxophonist Julian Cannonball Adderley,

tenor man John Coltrane, bass player Paul Chambers and drummer Willy Cobb who were all proud that they were part of this revolution. But Four & More is a masterpiece, a demonstration of excellence, which finds Miles Davis performing brilliantly with musicians whose talents he respects, and saying what he has to say in his own highly personal way. The music can only corroborate what few observations I have made. The tempos border on the ridiculous – the ensemble and

solos racing at fast speed but yet achieving a cohesion that comes with machine - gun precision. When we hear what the gentlemen of the ensemble accomplish, we can better appreciate Miles’ inspirational qualities and the true essence of jazz. Four & More is one of the remarkable reissues currently waiting to be listened to and appreciated - as a collector’s item- by today’s generation of jazz musicians.

Lagos soaked up in Project Fame’s All Star Concert BY GREGORY AUSTIN NWAKUNOR T was fun and excitement last weekend, as MTN’s Project Fame’s All-Stars Concert held at the Oriental Hotels on Lekki Road, Victoria Island, Lagos. With great expectations from youths and music fans, who were craving for a similar experience as residents of Calabar did earlier, the event venue was soaked up with good music from KCEE of ‘Limpopo’, Praiz, Wizkid, Iyanya, Chidinma and Kesse. Remarkably, some of these artistes rise to stardom actually started less than five years, after they participated in MTN Project Fame West Africa. The Lagos show, however, redefined engagement, as it created a buzz on social networks across the globe, with live streaming on Youtube, overwhelming posts on Facebook, live tweets on Twitter and shared images on Instagram attracting over 27 million eyeballs across 150 countries in less than 24 hours of the concert. It was a tremendous achievement as youths at the event and all around the world were given the rare opportunity to connect with their favourite artistes and share commentaries and images of themselves on a platform they so much cherish. On the epoch-making event, Margaret Okure, a 25 year-old student and resident of Lekki, was full of excitement. While expressing her delight with such an opportunity to connect with her passion by sharing live images from a major event. For her, “it’s like letting my friends into the

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groove even while they are not here.” Interestingly, the company is not unfamiliar with cutting-edge initiatives. Precisely, three months ago, it became the toast, as it re-launched one of its youth-centric offerings, MTN Pulse. Across Nigeria, Over 10 million youths were engaged all-night, with several images and tweets of ‘onapulsingP’ going viral. This time, as a leader in the industry, fans and participants at the concert were able to see their tweets  projected live on a large LED screen as the artistes treated them to great music. So, as fans were busy dancing and enjoying the live vibes, they were also taking pictures and uploading them to the social network. The same experience was recorded in Calabar. The city known for tourism and culture became a hub of delight for youths there and its environs, as people actually came all the way from Akwa-Ibom, Rivers and even Imo states to watch the concert. In addition to the innovative use of social media platforms, the Concerts —Lagos and Calabar— delivered outstanding performances from Project Fame’s stars drawn from season 1 to 5. Nii from Ghana from season 1 is still going strong. Anis and Tomiwa from season 2, Tolu and Yetunde from season 3, Monica and Roy from season 4, Ella, Marvellous and Ayo from season 5 all rocked the fans and the stage on a night full of  fun, music  and innovation from the telecom’s outfit.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

LAFETE Weyinmi’s leadership lift for corporate governance By Florence Utor OOD leadership has been a challenge in Nigeria for a long time, especially since the incursion of military into the political space. In almost all the levels of governance, whether corporate or not, incompetence is glorified. As a result, nothing seems to be working. But Weyinmi Jemide, executive coach, group facilitator, trainer and transformer has taken it upon himself to begin a leadership workshop in Nigeria, using models that worked for others. In collaboration with Stephen Hoel of Diversity Leadership Consultants in Orlando, Florida U.S.A and Richard Obire of Iris Consulting, Lagos, the group recently held a two-day leadership training for 30 people. Weyinmi said the workshop is a facilitated one, not instructional where you tell people “here is a model that can make your organisation better. Every participant is practically engaged, as the model gives them opportunity to see how much they are living the leadership behavior, practice on a daily basis and develop the leadership practice inventory, which are 30 questions that they rate themselves and other people around them who see them regularly and give them feedback on how often they see them exhibiting the five practices.” The research that came up with the five models began since 1982 but is coming to Nigeria for the first time and hopes to organise other sessions for politicians soon. Hoel said harnessing leadership potentials in everyone is what made a team of researchers to begin asking questions such as: Are there a set of skills or abilities that make great leaders or are they just born? After many years, these researchers found out what people do when they are at their best. They also found out from their case studies and interviews that leaders are not just born, but any individual can learn the skills to become great, whether man, woman, young or old, position. Race, they discovered, doesn’t have anything to do with it. According to Hoel, successful leaders know where they are going, thus, they inspire a shared vision of what the future looks like. However, to convince their constituency on where they are going, they look for ways to challenge the processes, as well as not do things the same way every time. According to him, “these are basically the things people do to have great leadership experience.” The researchers first wrote 25 practices in the first book using all these research. Between then and now, they are on the fifth edition, which is based on many stories that they collected over the years and have found out that this is not just true in the United States, but in 34 other countries that studied the same leadership model. Obire brought it home by using the longheld argument that leaders are born not made. The research done on the leadership is based on ordinary people in organizations, what they do when people around them are ready to go an extra mile. “You don’t have to be born a leader,” he emphasised. He continues, “for me, this is a very practical model with a set of learnable skills, evidence based that each individual can relate to, because at some point in everyone’s life, either at school, organizations, they have exhibited these five practices in some form or the other. The work also has an adaption to fit into schools so it is very transformational.” He argues, “there are formal and informal organizations. Even within a household, parents are leaders and children follow them and do what they are asked to because they know that if they don’t, there will be consequences, but once they gain their independence, they do exactly what they want, not necessarily what they are taught. There is always a want to and have to, but what the leadership challenge is saying is if you are in a position where people have to follow you, you need to get to a point where you behave like a leader such that those that have to follow will begin to follow because they want to.”

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Caption: Weyinmi (left), Hoel and Obire

Nielsen donates items to Correctional Centres in Lagos IELSEN Cares, a global corporate social N responsibility programme of the Nielsen Company, world’s leading information and

Nielsen Nigeria said that it is part of their conflict with the law or who seek protecprogramme globally to reach out to the tive custody. He also added that there is a family court society where they operate, to emphasize measurement company that enables compa- which handles cases of the boys to deterand to volunteer their services in about a nies to understand consumers and conhundred countries where they are domimine why they should be admitted into sumer behaviour has donated items worth ciled. the home, with the help of a family social several thousands of naira to four “June 13 of every year is set aside for this service which is located in all the 54 LGAs Correctional Centres in Lagos to commemo- in the state. purpose. It could have been any other form rate the Nielsen Global Impact Day, celebratof service, but because we are after those “The boys have responded positively to ed in over hundred countries where the correction, they go to school on their own who are vulnerable in the society, those company has presence regardless of the area and come back home because they know who need to be lifted up physically and psyand community.  chologically in any way we can help, that is that the comfort they get from the home, One of the managers from the Nielsen del- they cannot get it anywhere. For those who why we chose charity”. egates, who visited the Children Transit Among the items donated by Nielsen prefer to do vocational training, they are Home, Idi-Araba, Lagos, housing three includes bags of rice and beans, garri , allowed to choose.” Correctional Centres: Special Correctional juices noodles , radio sets, slippers, beverHe thanked Nielsen for extending their Centre for Girls, Children Correctional care to these boys adding that the needs of ages, biscuits, notebooks, cooking oil, CSDs Centre for Girls and Children Centre, Mrs. (Carbonated Soft Drinks) among others. the boys would be better known if they Omolola Oyebola, Human Resource Manager speak to them personally. Glaxosmith Kline, Classic Beverages, Nielsen— West Africa said that staff of the FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, De One of the managers from the Nielsen company were putting away their tasks and delegates who visited the Correctional United Foods Industries Limited, responsibilities for the eventful day to share Centre for Junior Boys, Sabo Yaba Mr. Seun TwiningsOvaltine Nigeria Ltd and Golden and spend time with children of the homes Penny Nigeria also supported. Olonode, Consumer Research Manager at in expression of their love for humanity and also, to celebrate Nielsen 90th year anniversary with the children of these homes. To this end, she said the company had visited the homes to support them in kind and products even as she implored the children to have open mind towards what members of the team who paired into mentoring groups had come to share with the children. The principals of the Correctional Centres while explaining the essence of the Centre said the Correctional Unit is under the Social Welfare Office of Youth and Social Development, Lagos State and is meant for children who are vulnerable and helped from the street to lead a better life.  They said that if the state failed to help these children and they become miscreants on the street that the society will be full of vices even when we try to rid society of such and prevent delinquency. The principals further said all hope is not lost on the children some of who they said are  victims of family breakups and societal impediments which makes them face what they are facing even as they emphatically said that no child is entirely bad on his or her own and that every child can still achieve maximum potential in life. The team detached into two groups and one team visited the Correctional Centre for Junior Boys, Yaba that has a capacity for 75 boys, but currently accommodates 30. The principal of the home while briefing Nielsen staff on the welfare of the boys disclosed that the home accommodates boys between ages 8-14 who are either orphaned, Head of Interim National Government (ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan and Shola Adeyegbe, a Partner, Cowrie traumatized, beyond parental control, in Partners, at the Nigeria Finance and Investment Forum in Abuja... recently


TheGuardian

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

37

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

IbruCentre Moslems in Nigeria will, on Wednesday, July 10, join their counterparts across the globe to observe this year’s Ramadan fasting. Prescribed for all Moslems, fasting (Sawm) like the other Pillars of Islam — belief, worship, charitable giving and pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) — is best summarised in the famous Hadith of Gabriel. This 30-day long event, which draws Moslems nearer to Allah, is known to usher in the Eid-al-Fitr celebrations. In this interview with CHRIS IREKAMBA, some Moslem clerics harp on change of attitude, fear of God and the impacts on their members and the society. A Moslem Who Reads The Qur’an Knows It’s Evil To Take Life (Professor Is-haq Akintola, Lecturer, Lagos State University, LASU, Ojo, Lagos)

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HERE are very high expectations among Moslems, who are preparing for Ramadan in the next few days. Some of these are spiritual, economic and political, while others are related to our health. Spiritually, we are preparing for an elevation from the terrestrial sphere to the celestial world. We have had 11 months of laissez-faire approach to life; it is now time to train ourselves for a whole month of discipline and restraint. We are going to be closer to Allah than before. Qur’an 2:183 affirms that Ramadan is prescribed for Moslems to make them fear the Lord. It says, “Oh you who believe; we have ordained fasting for you in the month of Ramadan, so that, you may be pious (la’alakum tatakuun).” Ramadan is a change agent; it reforms society. The essence is piety (taqwah) and this is what we presently need in this country. Ramadan is capable of impacting on our style of leadership the same it changes the ordinary citizen. A leader who is fasting gets closer to Allah. If a leader reads in the Qur’an where Allah threatens double punishment for leaders, for deceiving the citizens (Qur’an 33:67) he is most likely going to refrain from being bad. When he reads where the Qur’an says the curse of Allah is on oppressors (7:44) he will review his oppressive propensities. A Moslem candidate preparing his manifesto will caution himself when he reads the words of Allah, which asks rhetorically, “Oh you who believe! Why do you promise what you will not do? It is a grave sin to say what you will not do” (61:23). The Moslem politician, who reads the portion where Allah warns leaders against reneging on their promises (17:34), he will go back to the drawing board to crosscheck his campaign promises and strive to redeem them. The corrupt Moslem politician will feel disturbed in spirit, if he reads where Allah warns against misappropriation of public funds (Qur’an 2:188) and that those who consume people’s money are simply swallowing fire (Qur’an 4:10, 29-30). We need taqwah among our leaders. It will make them change their mindset in leadership positions. Too many of our leaders are dealers, only a few are serving the people. Take a look across the Federation, while some governors are giving jobs to the youths others are enriching themselves and their cronies. Taqwah is what we need. It will bring reform in all sectors and curb corruption. Ditto for the ordinary citizen. He comes across the verse that warns Moslems against killing their fellowmen (4:29; 6:151); he will surely change his violent ways. The rebellious and recalcitrant will be full of remorse if he reads or hears (Qur’an 4:59) that commands Moslems to obey constituted authority. Those who have been evading tax or refusing to pay electricity bills are most likely to pay up all arrears if they come across the Qur’an’s lesson on cooperation in righteousness (ta’awanuu ‘alaa al-lbirri wa at-taqwah 5:2). Even if they do not read the Qur’an themselves, they have ample opportunity to have access to the teachings of the Qur’an in Tafseer gatherings and Ramadan lectures. We are not expecting anything different. As for when it is going to be celebrated, I assume you mean the festival at the end of Ramadan, the ‘Id-al-Fitr. The knowledge of that is in the hands of Allah. It will be interpreted by our scholars and pro-

Akintola

Eniafe

Bello

RAMADAN FASTING:

Clerics Speak On Change Of Attitude And Fear Of God ASTING is prescribed on Moslems by nounced by our distinguished leader, the Sultan Allah (Q2:183), therefore, we expect that of Sokoto and President-General, the Nigerian Moslems should fast in compliance with the preSupreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). scription. They should rejoice at Ramadan. Unity is also expected particularly with respect to the During Ramadan Extra Discipline Is commencement of the fasting period. We Demanded From Moslems should follow the Commencement Rule as laid (Professor Lai Olurode, Chairman, Board of the Elec- down by Prophet Muhammad namely: to start toral Institute and National Commissioner, Indefasting on sighting the crescent (Ramadan) or pendent National Electoral Commission (INEC, complete Sha’baan (preceding month), where Abuja) climatic conditions impair visibility of the cresASTING is prescribed for all Moslems during cent. We expect market women to be more inthe month of Ramadan in accordance with terested in sharing the blessing of Ramadan Chapter 2 verses 183, 1854, 185 and 187 of the Qur’an. rather than abnormal profit they will get by inFasting period is for 29 or 30 days depending on creasing prices of food stuffs. Government, in moon sighting. Almost all prophets of God had the spirit of Ramadan, should ensure regular fasting prescribed for them. But Ramadan was power supply, and easy flow of traffic to make prescribed for Prophet Mohammed as the things easy for fasting working class Moslems. prophet of Allah. Young children, very old people, Ramadan provides opportunity for spiritual nursing mothers, the frail and sick are, however, upliftment, moral rehabilitation and the cleansexempted to fast. During the month, Moslems ing of the general body system. The essence of are expected to refrain from food, drink, smokfasting is to awaken God’s consciousness (taqwa ing, vulgar talks and from sexual relationships. Allah) in Moslems, which will make them better The highest degree of piousness is expected from Moslems and by extension good citizens. fasting Moslems. In fact, more acts of patriotism Ramadan is a generous period because it comes and citizenship are expected of fasting Muslims. with forgiveness, blessings and salvation. It is a Impact of fasting on Moslems can be discerned time to think more about the less privileged from three level — at the social level, Ramadan is a apart from thanking Allah for everything. leveler, it creates a sense of identification with the The politicians and those at the helm of affairs poor; the rich and the poor mingle together with should take advantage of Ramadan to make live virtually no restrain. It thus breeds solidarity more meaningful to the people. among diverse people; every one is humbled. Sec- The date of celebration of Id-al-Fitr at the end of ondly, it expresses religious commitment and Ramadan is, again, determined by either the obedience to the unseen Creator. Withdrawal sighting of the moon or the completion of the from the world of food, eating and the lustful 30-day fasting period. things of life make one to be sober, reflective and pensive as well. The rituals of Ramadan are such ‘This Is Time To Ask Allah For Strength To Do that they demand extra discipline; the moral les- What Is Right’ son is immense. The third significance is, it en(Uztaz Taofeek Y. Eniafe, Chief Missioner, Dairatual ables us to appreciate and have empathy for Razakizat Association of Nigeria and Imam, Anu those who have to go without the basic necessi- Oluwapo Mosque, Orile Oshodi, Lagos) ties of life on a regular basis. For leaders, Ramadan is thus politically significant, it forges a ASED on the Islamic teachings, we follow the sort of common consciousness, which traverses moon. Definitely, we are in Shaban, which is across ethno-religious boundaries. Also, wealth is the eighth month of the moon. Ramadan is the re-distributed during the period of Ramadan ninth month. So, by God’s Grace Shaban will be from the rich to the poor. 29 on Sunday and 30 on Monday. It’s either 29 or Acts of terrorism have been devastating in their 30. If we sight the moon on Sunday night, we consequences, many had lost their breadwinwill start the fasting on Monday, but if we did ners, homes and means livelihood. I expect more not sight the moon on Sunday, definitely, Shaacts of kindness during this Ramadan than last ban is 30 and we will commence fasting on Tuesyear and more commitment to Nigeria as our day. All Moslems are to abide by the law of home. Acts of terrorism have no Islamic support fasting, which includes forgiving one another and are expected to nosedive during this period. and believing Allah for the strength to do what is right. This is a period to really forget who you ‘Essence Of Fasting Is To Awaken God’s are or your position, as what matters is your huConsciousness In Moslems’ mility and generosity. You have to think about (Alhaji Abdur Rahman Bello, Imam, Al-Barika the less privileged, even, when we are not exMosque,Olambe) pected to eat three times a day, we have those who can fast but cannot afford the early morning food; you have to provide for such people if

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Olurode you are in a position to do so. The other aspect is that you have to learn what Taqwa specifies for every Moslem. Taqwa means the fear of God; as a Moslem you have to fear God. God in the Quran said, “I have to proclaim fasting on you as I have already proclaimed it on those who are created before you. That you (people) may have the fear of me, Allah.’ Definitely, fasting itself is being proclaimed on us so that we can fear God and this fear is specified in different ways. One of which, is what I have already mentioned. Two, you have to abstain from every negative action such as drinking and smoking; they will not allow you to be closer to God. We are to do away with every bad habit — fornication or adultery. You cannot be fasting and at the same time indulge in immoral affairs with woman or men. Even those who are not married, fasting period is not the time for them to begin to look for wife to marry, after you break your fasting in the evening you may search, but not during fasting hours. During fasting you are expected to move closer to God, so that, your prayer will be answered. If you want God to answer your prayer, definitely, you have to do what He wants. During fasting, any negative thing such as fighting, acts of terrorism, disturbing the peace of others in the neighbourhood are not encouraged. When I was young during the fasting period we worked in the midnight. We listened to lectures, seminars, workshops and at the same time propagated our religion. At that time, those who went to work would come back in the evening and we would listen to lectures in the evening till midnight. But this time around, it’s not same because of what is going on in the country, which is not right. This period we are expected to do something for God without the second person knowing about it. For instance, we have those who would buy mat or kettles for the mosque while some would donate various some of money including the construction of boreholes without making it known to others. These are good deeds that God is looking for. And even if you don’t have money to do any of such things you can do some menial jobs such as cleaning the mosque. This is the period we should focus more on studying the Quran and avoid being idle. Terrorists are not true Muslims, because the teachings of the Quran and Prophet Mohammed do not permit us to kill; so, whosever kills an innocent person goes against the teachings. Islam has no terrorists; it is a religion of peace. If they need anything they should dialogue with the Federal Government rather than terrorising the country. The teaching of Islam does not encourage anybody or group of persons to terrorise any individual, group or government. It is against Sharia law. We are going to have enormous teachings in this 30-day act. One of the teachings say, ‘if somebody slaps you or beat you or even pinch you, you have to say, ‘no, I will not retaliate because I’m a Moslem. I’m fasting.’ Definitely, after fasting if somebody slaps you or pinches you, you will tell the person ‘if not because I’m a Moslem you would have known who I am.’ That is why I said all these terrorists are not Moslems. No Moslem should put the law into his hands. We always leave everything in the hands of God, because He is the High Judge. He said, in the Holy Quran ‘is it not Me that knows how to judge?’ and we respond ‘… you are the only one that can judge.’ That is why I said the terrorists are not Moslems, they are people who want to fight for themselves, instead of leaving it for God. If you want to fight for yourself definitely, you are saying that God is not for you.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

38

IBRUCENTRE

Sunday School Destiny Destroyers (3) Memory verse: “... a man diligent in his business shall stand before kings... not stand before mean men,” Proverbs 22:29. Bible passage: Proverbs 6:4-11. Introduction In last lesson we identified sin, prayerlessness and pride as potent destiny destroyers. Today we will identify more. Laziness The destructive power of laziness is masked by its being an omission rather than an act. God commanded us to work very hard for six days and rest every seventh day. Ex.20:9-10, Jn. 5:17, Jn. 9:4. Laziness destroys individuals, families and even nations. Laziness is a more serious sin than many realize. Pr.18:9, 16;22:29; Tit. 2:14, Rm. 12:11. “Yet a little sleep, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that traveleth,

By Gabriel Agbo “The terrible storm raged unabated for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until all hopes were gone. As the darkness gave way to the early morning light...” Acts 27: 20, 33. AM thoroughly being blessed by these messages on the prophetic intervention. My faith and courage are really being enhanced. The word of God is rich, vast, deep and very dynamic. Yes, I have in the past preached from some of these passages, but I think I’m receiving new insights into them. When you love and open yourself up to His word, you’ll begin to see things the way heaven sees them. You will begin to operate in the supernatural while still a human. No situation will be able to harass or embarrass you again. Our God is alive and in perfect control of everything that happens in the entire universe. Praise God! You know we have been trying to show that there are situations or problems that will only and always require prophetic intervention to solve. Paul was sailing to Rome to appear before Caesar. They were 276 people on board with cargoes and, suddenly, the weather changed; the storm arose, the sea became very unfriendly and they were in serious danger of all perishing

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... With Pastor Enoch Adeboye

and thy want as an armed man.” Prov. 6:10-11. What is your personal ‘Gross Domestic Product’ and how much value have you added to your family or to your nation today or this month? Pleasure Pleasure refers to the excessive gratification of the senses. It is an over indulgence of the flesh and inordinate satisfaction of lust. Pleasure seekers lack self-discipline necessary to fulfil destinies, 1Tim. 5:6. Culprits include appetite, Ex. 16:3, Num. 11:4-6, Phil. 3:19 worldliness I Jn. 2:15-17, Matt. 16:24, Gal. 2:20, I Cor. 9:27, pleasures of the eyes, of the flesh and the pride of life. Demonic attacks Demons attack destinies. The devil assigns demons over nations, cities, territories, families and individuals, Eph. 6:12, Dan. 10:12-13. Demons are consulted by magicians, astrologers, star-

gazers, necromancers, monthly prognosticators and false prophets, Isa. 47:13, Dan. 2:2, Gen. 41:24. Demons invoke curses, exchange destinies and blessings, kill steal and destroy, Jn. 10:10, Ex. 15:9, Jer. 30:16 Conclusion It is time to rein in your wild pleasures and bring your flesh under control. Remove yourself from influence of deceivers, who hold the careless and the lazy captive. Do not be like Esau, who sold his birth right for a plate of pottage and later wept bitterly, but failed to recover it Heb. 12:16-17. You will fulfil destiny in Jesus’ name.

Did you get that? Please, let’s bring out those fearful negative phrases from that situation: rough sailing, great difficulty, against us, struggle along, lost a time, becoming dangerous, so late, so severe, blotted out and all hope was lost. Wow! All these are just to describe what happened on a single journey? Just for Apostle Paul to sail to Rome and stand before the Emperor Caesar, Satan raised such a formidable chain of obstacles. Yes, the journey was that important to the forces of haven and hell. God had told Paul that he would take the gospel to the gentiles, and going to Rome was a very important part of that mission. He would (through his trial) release the good news to the ruler of in the water. God! Permit me to quote directly some of the fearful words used to the empire and other Roman citizens. The enemy would have describe what Paul and his co-travelers went through, “we had none of these and he promptly mobilized the dark forces in the several days of rough sailing, and after great difficulty we finally air and in the water to stop the trip at all cost. He wanted to deneared Cnidus. But the wind was against us, so we sailed down stroy (sink) Paul, the ship and all the other 275 passengers. But, you know very well that the real target was the word of to the leeward side of Crete, past the Cape of Salmone. We strugGod that the apostle was conveying. And this is exactly what the gled along the coast with great difficulty and finally arrived at enemy is doing to you. Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea. We had lost a time. The Now, how do you think the enemy will let you rest when he weather was becoming dangerous for long voyages by then because it was so late in the fall.” The typhoon was so severe that it knows that God will use you to set millions of his captives free? You won’t! blotted out the sun and stars and all hope was lost. Terrible! His Word Came When all hope was lost, Paul suddenly woke up to declare the intention and the intervention of haven in the situation. He told them to be of good courage that no life will be lost. He gave direction to the sailors, who wanted to abandon the ship to save their own lives. He begged everybody to eat after 14 days of fearimposed fasting. His message cheered others up. It brought life and hope back into them. And this is what this message is intended for. Darkness gave way for morning The bible said that as all these were going on, the long and thick darkness began to give way to the morning light. The Sun began to rise and shine again. Praise God! Things began to look up. The morning will always come. Yes, you have stayed in that darkness for too long, lost all the hope, wasted a lot of time and resources, suffered, harassed, embarrassed and famished, but the light is now appearing in your situation. I command your day to break forth in the mighty name of Jesus! Rev. Agbo is of the Assemblies of God Nigeria. gabrielagbo@yahoo.com

The Sun Will Shine Again

Treasurer, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter, Bishop Sola Ore (left), Vice Chairman, PFN, Rev. Femi Asiwaju, Chairman, PFN, Apostle Alex Bamgbola, Secretary, PFN, Apostle Friday Idawor, Welfare Officer, PFN, Evangelist Esther Adjah and the Media and Publicity Secretary, Apostle Israel U. Oku, during the monthly meeting of the Fellowship at the Secretariat, Guiding Light Assembly, Ikoyi, Lagos... recently.

PFN Gives Succour To Members, Grassroots Churches By Kenechukwu Ezeonyejiaku

The Amazing Power Of Praise (2) By S.K. Abiara HERE are different principles in life that make things to effortlessly happen anytime they are properly applied. One of these principles is praise before petition. This is a method of acknowledging God’s greatness, securing His attention through praises before asking for personal things in prayer. This is a sure way to speedily secure God divine intervention and win any battle we may face in life. We are not expected to triumph or receive some k ind of breakthroughs and blessings before we give God praise. We are encouraged to thank and praise him in all situations because he is worthy of our praise.

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As you choose to praise God in the midst of difficult circumstances, God will fight for It may be a difficult thing to do, you; He will give you victory nevertheless it is possible. Why over your enemies. and how? We have records of Paul and Silas were stripped, people like us, who had serious beaten, chained and thrown challenges yet they chose to into the inner cell. Despite this praise and acknowledge God in miserable situation, they the midst of their troubles. They praised God, praying and sang and spoke of the glory of singing as the other prisoners God from a sincere heart, and listened. Thorough praise has they experienced unprecethe capacity to shake any andented victory. cient foundation holding your An illustration of this could be destiny, career, marriage seen in Jehoshaphat’s combound. No matter your cirmendable faith in God, when a cumstance, praise God. coalition of Moab, Ammon and singing Levites, came to Satan is equally aware of the Edom II Chron. 20:1-30 attacked where the enemy was losecret of victory in praising him. Learning of the invasion, cated, they found that their God in times of trouble. enemy had an inter-army ri- So, he works tirelessly to stop Jehoshaphat did not despair, valry, which resulted to but called for a time of fasting the children of God from and prayer in Jerusalem. God re- armed conflict and finally using the weapon. Resist Satan sponded to the prayer, voiced by their defeat. The only task of temptation today, and take up the King, himself, through an at- the Judean force was to col- the weapon of praise and it lect the booty of the dead tendant prophet, and God will surprise you what God promised him victory. When Je- opponents. That is what will do thereafter. praise can do. hoshaphat‘s troops, led by skabiaraofciem@yahoo.co.uk

HE Lagos State chapter of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria T (PFN), in its vision and service has presented financial welfare packages to the suffering member churches in its 12 provinces. The two beneficiaries, Badagry and Ojo provinces, received the sum of N100, 000 each. At presentation of the cheques at the State Secretariat, Guiding Light Assembly, Ikoyi, Lagos, the Chairman of the Fellowship, Apostle Alexander O. Bamgbola, said, “the initiative was necessitated by the enormous suffering, which the grassroots churches and their ministers are passing through.  According to him, “welfare is needed at the grassroots level as a way of helping the ministries, many of who are in sheds and uncompleted buildings apart from alleviating the plights of the individual families and ministers that cannot pay the school fees of their children and their house rents. One of the recipients, Bishop Andy Ogbu, Chairman of Ojo Province of PFN, said, “the gesture is a proof of what PFN stands for, which is caring for one another and meeting the needs of people.” Ogbu informed that the package would be used to minister to widows and pastors that their churches are suffering. Speaking on the fellowship’s efforts at easing the suffering of their member churches in the Northern part of the country, Bamgbola said the leadership of the organisation at the national level is doing a lot in that aspect and called on churches and individuals to key into the vision.


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We Honour Virgin Mary, We Don’t Worship Her, Says Rev. Nwachukwu The Mini-stadium of the Lagos Trade Fair Complex, Badagry Expressway, last Sunday, witnessed the coming together of different parishes of the Catholic Church to honour the Blessed Virgin Mary, ‘Mother of Perpetual Help’. The yearly feast, which coincided with the parish day celebration attracted Catholic clerics, including the Bishop of Minna Diocese, Most Rev. Martin Igwe Uzoukwu, chief celebrant; the Vice-provincial Superior of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in Nigeria, Very Rev. Fr. Callistus Nwachukwu, the host; Rev. Fr. Lawrence Odoemena, parish priest, feast coordinator; Rev. Fr. Vincent Ezezue among others. Shortly after the event, the Very Rev. Fr. Callistus Nwachukwu spoke to CHRIS IREKAMBA and RALPH UGWU about the event. Excerpts: HAT exactly informed the “Mother of Perpetual Help” W feast? The Church has given the Redemptorists Fathers and Brothers the privilege to make the icon of ‘Our Mother of Perpetual Help’ known throughout the world. Since the feast of Our Mother of Perpetual is usually celebrated every June 27, it becomes a parish affair to mark it in a special way, hence, the yearly celebration. What is your view on other churches that frown at this celebration and as well accuse the Catholics of worshipping Virgin Mary? The Catholic Church does not and will never worship Mary, because, she is a creature of God. We worship God and pray to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is act of ignorance to conclude that we worship Mary. We honour the Blessed Virgin. God was the first to honour Mary by making her the mother of His only begotten son and gave her a place in the plan of salvation. So, the Church asked her to intercede for us as she interceded for the couple at the wedding, which was held in Canaan in Galilee, John 2:1-11. And in John 19:25-27, at the foot of the cross, Jesus gave His mother to us as the mother of all humanity. The Redemptorists have often championed the cause of this yearly event in Nigeria; why is it so? The whole Church honours our “Mother of Perpetual Help” and the Redemptorists Congregation is part of the universal church. However, in 1866, Pope Pius IX entrusted the icon into the care of the Redemptorists with words ‘make her known to the world.’ That is why the Redemptorists are championing the cause. The congregation of the Most of Holy Redeemer came to Nigeria from the US in September 1987, with one important mission. How has the journey been so far? The Redemptorists were invited by the Emeritus Archbishop

of Lagos, His Eminence Anthony Cardinal Okogie in September, 1987. Since then, we have expanded to other places and are now working in 11 Catholic dioceses with 79 priests and four final professed Rev. Brothers and about 51 students. What are your regrets, judging from the past religious crisis and the precarious condition Christians have to face in the North? My regret is the fact that innocent people have been killed for professing their faith in Christ Jesus. Unfortunately, the political elite at times use religion to divide the people. It is very sad that many people have lost their life in the name of religion. What are your advise to Catholics and non-Catholics, who are facing serious challenges in the North? I urge both the Catholics and non-Catholics to put their trust in Christ and work together to spread the gospel with love and respect to other faith. The Christian message is love of God and love for our neighbours. Looking back to when the congregation came to Nigeria and now, how would you summarise your prayer? The journey so far has not been easy and the Lord Jesus has promised to be with us until the end of time. I pray the Lord to

Nwachukwu

Same-sex Marriages: GKS Ministers Commend NASS On New Bill By Omiko Awa INISTERS of God’s KingM dom Society have hailed the decision by the National Assembly to ban same-sex marriages in Nigeria, even as they described as highly unfortunate reports that some Western countries are threatening to impose sanctions on the country if the bill is eventually passed into law.  In a communiqué issued at the end of their yearly conference in Salem City, Warri, the ministers urged the Federal Government not to be intimidated by the threats and should go ahead to pass the bill into law. “Homosexuality is contrary to nature and directly violates the laws of God. It was because of this sin that God Almighty destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  The same punishment awaits those “…who knowing the judgment of God, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” they declared, citing Romans 1:32 and 2 Peter 2:5-7 among other parts of the Holy Bible. The statement signed by the

publicity secretary, Brother Benedict Hart, said it was astonishing that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Directorate in Ogun State was reported to have decamped a female youth corps member because she refused to wear trousers. The Church stated: “We are amazed at this development because we know that institutions such as the NYSC and the Police have skirts for women, who ask for them. Why then should women be compelled to wear trousers contrary to their faith in a supposedly democratic dispensation, which has respect for human rights?” Noting that National Assembly professed Christians and leaders of Churches, who are known to oppose the wearing of trousers by women, had kept silent on the issue, GKS stressed the need to respect the religious sensibilities of those who believe that wearing of trousers violates their faith. On the fight against insurgents in some parts of the country, the ministers appealed to groups and individuals, who have grievances against the government to

use constitutional means to redress such grievances, pointing that they should not take laws into their hands by resorting to violence and killing security operatives. “Governments and groups in the country should always use dialogue to resolve their differences, as this enables all parties to understand themselves better and find solutions,” they said. The ministers also commended the decision of the

General Synod of the Church of England for rejecting the draft legislation to allow women to become bishops. They said, “we, hereby, reiterate that those God has appointed to rule, to hold offices, to instruct and govern His Church, to officiate at assemblies for public worship from time of old to the Christian era are the men” according to 1Corinthians 11:3; 14:34-35; 37; 1 Timothy 2: 11-15 and others.

Springs Of Wisdom By PASTOR W.F KUMUYI

Spectacular Acts Of Faith VERYWHERE — in the church, in families or in secular pursuits E — you can neither succeed nor triumph in any worthwhile venture except you have faith. The more active your faith, the more effective you become. It was through such faith that many personalities in the Bible, identified as heroes of faith, ‘subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” Here is the faith that links a Christian with God’s unfailing power and grants him access to the treasure throve of heaven. And using heaven’s abundant resources, the believer is able to successfully fight the battles of life. Evident in the actions of the above heroes of faith, are nine distinct characteristics. They correspond with the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit, namely, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. Quite clearly then, there is a connection between faith and the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. The more he is filled and energized by the Spirit of God, the greater the faith he will manifest. Similarly, the nine distinct exploits of faith also agree with the nine gifts of the Spirit - the word of wisdom; the word of knowledge; faith; the gifts of healing; the working of miracles; prophecy, discerning of spirits; divers kinds of tongues; and the interpretation of tongues. All these manifestations of divine gifts are the products of the Holy Spirit. The Bible talks of different kinds of faith. There is saving faith, living faith and strong faith. When a man has faith, it is impossible to conquer him. When the Philistines came against the people of God, King David did not depend on his natural strength or ability to win the battle, neither did he resort to wielding man-made weapons of war. He chose to consult the Lord. It was faith that prompted him to do so. “And David did so as the Lord commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer.” The heroes of faith overcame kingdoms and powers that were bent on hindering them from possessing the Promised Land. The same way, there are promises that the Lord has given to all believers, but there are always powerful spiritual forces that may want to hinder you from enjoying those promises. You can only subdue them when you rise up in faith. Sin and unbelief cause backsliding, but with faith, you can lead a righteous life in this present world. If you find it difficult staying out of evil, wickedness and sinful indulgence, it is not because your community or society is so corrupt, but rather because you lack faith to live victoriously over sin. As the Lord helped believers of old to subdue kingdoms and accomplish righteous acts, so He is willing to help you today. Biblical characters like Noah, Joseph, Samuel and Job, all lived righteously by faith. Job’s faith, for one, shorn radiantly even in times of great and intense suffering. “In all this, Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Although he faced seemingly overwhelming trials and troubles, he was able to overcome them all, only because of his strong faith in God. Just like Zacharias and Elizabeth, another distinguished couple in the Bible, Abraham and his wife, Sarah, had earlier faced a similar challenge of delay in child bearing. Yet, in the face of this situation, Abraham “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” There may be times you are surrounded by enemies intent on destroying your career, frustrating your aspirations, or even ending your life. At such times, you need faith to survive. As Daniel overcame the threat of death in the lions’ den, so you can triumph over even the most dire situation in life, if you retain strong faith in God. There is power in steady, stable faith. If you believe the Lord with your all your heart you will overcome. The heroes of faith were just simple and weak men like you and me, but ‘out of weakness, (they) were made strong.’ Is there any evil plan to drive you away from your matrimonial home, or place of work, or school? Are some wicked people seeking to willfully seize your property? Whatever challenge you may face, you must rise up and begin to claim God’s promises that cannot fail. References: Hebrews 11: 33, 34; Galatians 5:22,23; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; Luke 7:50; Matthew 17:20; Romans 4:20; 2 Samuel 5:25; Titus 2:12; Job 1:22; Luke 1:6; Isaiah 8:19 and Romans 4:20 (All scriptures are from Kings James Version).

Cleric, Others Stress Importance Of Love As Panacea To Societal Ills HE Very Rev. Fr. Jude OdiT aka, Provincial Superior, Northwest Africa Province of the Society of Jesus, has urged Christians to imbibe the virtues of love, obedience and discipline as a way of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and making the society better. At the thanksgiving celebration of the Feast of St. John the Baptist by Knights of St. John International, St. Francis Commandery 726, Idimu, Lagos, the cleric described love as antidote for national development.

Odiaka urged Nigerians to express genuine love to one another, stressing that love is capable of conquering any form of crisis, including those that threaten national security. “I want to re-emphasise that love conquers everything and we need to show it in everything we do. It is the antidote to most of our societal problems. The crux of the matter, is that love is missing in our country today, if we love one another, we will not engage in the ills that are threatening to tear us apart,’’ he said.

The cleric also enjoined religious leaders to take special care in guiding youths on the right path, to keep them off crime. Brig. Gen Kola Olowu, immediate Past President of Knights of St. John International, called on the youths to make their impact felt in the society by challenging the current socio-economic status of the country. “Youths should be instruments of development in the society, they should be productive and enterprising with their talents. As a unique and

important group in the society, their productivity is needed to strengthen the nation, which can only be achieved through hard work,” he said. Ngozi Ogaziechi, President, Ladies Auxiliary (LAUX 608), Idimu, also called on parents and guardians to teach the youths good morals and patriotism. She said: “parents should not deny the children basic rights such as the truth, love, attention and reassurance. They need it to grow and impact on the society.”


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The Price For Success By Seyi Ogunorunyinka ATAN does not attack Ssonsnonentities; he has his reafor attacking successful people or those who have great potentials. The price to pay for one house is different from the price for two, if they are of the same size, shape and in the same location. For a student to pass his examination in flying colours, he must pay the price of sleepless nights. The successful story of every man is backed up with the stories of things he has to sacrifice to achieve success — the examinations, trials and tribulations. Jesus sacrificed His life; that was the price He paid for us to live. Often, we see people who want to make it in life, yet they don’t want to pay the price. In this country, people like positions of authority in government, offices, social clubs, societies and even in the house of God, but they are not willing to

pay the price. Those who are in positions, but refuse to work for their positions; will be removed. The Lord appoints and removes. The pertinent question to ask is: ‘Where did God tell you He is taking you to and what are you seeing presently?’ Most times, the Lord is telling you that He is taking you to a glorious height, but what you see is trouble. If you allow what you are seeing to hinder you from getting to where God has promised you, then you have yourself to blame. If you just walk to that position that God is taking you to without trials and tribulations, how will you appreciate it? That is why some people who were appointed into positions of power in this ministry, those who did not go through trials and tribulations before getting there, and are now abusing their positions shall be removed. We should realise that the power in the church is not based on quantity, but

on quality. If you have studied me very well, you will know that I am not afraid of battle and I am not in a hurry. I wait on the Lord, He has never failed me and He will never fail. In life, what you see is very important. Also crucial is how you are seeing what you see. When you see trouble; do you see it as something that can overwhelm you or as something that you can deal with? Your vision is not bigger than you. What you see may be the limit of where you can go. In Genesis 13:14-17, the Bible says, “The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land,

for I am giving it to you.” This means that Abraham was the one to limit himself; he could possess as far as he saw. When the Lord calls, He equips. Before the Lord showed you the vision, He had already empowered you. So, whatever trials and tribulations you encounter, you are already equipped to overcome them. In what ways are you limiting yourself? Are you in the habit of rationalising God’s words and instructions to you? Do you take the word of God seriously or lightly? Do you go back to God or to man if you encounter problems while you are on a mission for God? These are some of the issues you have to seriously consider if you don’t want to fail in life and give excuses for failure. Pastor Ogunorunyinka, General Overseer, The Promisedland Restoration Ministries, Surulere, Lagos. pastorseyiogunorunyinka@gmail.com

Living Waters By Pastor Lazarus Muoka

God Is Angry With The Wicked (1)

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ANY people in the world, today, feign ignorant of the causes of their problem. Thus, it becomes a norm in our society for most people to assert they do not know what is happening to them. And true to their assertion, they have gone to many places for solution; but none has come their way. Many of them have resorted to lamenting their situation and saying ‘they do not know what is happening to them.’ Of course, when a problem could not be diagnosed it becomes very difficult to address. And the more the problem lingers without solution, the more the victim becomes confused on what to do. It does not matter whether the victims of this ignorance are believers or not; for as long as they could not trace the causes of their problem, the solution is faraway. But this case could be resolved and even punctured if the victims know the mind of God. Many people are suffering from afflictions that would not respond to any solution or be diagnosed because God is angry with them. They will try all known solution, yet there will be no solution. And the more they seek solution to the problem, the more they thrust themselves deeper into confused state. Ps. 7:11b says, “… God is angry with the wicked every day.” God has clearly spoken through this verse and given answer to as many that are saying they do not know what is happening to them. As long as one remains an unrepentant sinner, God’s anger will continue to manifest in his life. If you are a sinner and claim you don’t know what your problem is, let it be known to you that God is angry with you. God does not only detest sin, but angry with those who continue to indulge in it. He is angry today, and every day, with the ungodly and impenitent sinners. Psalms 7: 11-13 says, “God judgeth the righteous and God is angry with the wicked every day… he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.” God has spoken against people, who would not accept the reality of His divine order. It is a pity that stubborn sinners will never understand this until they actually experience it. If you do If you are a sinner and not want to repent or do not see the need to stop your devilish claim you don’t know what acts, do not say you don’t know your problem is, let it be what your problems are or what known to you that God is is happening to you. Know it, angry with you. God does that God is angry with you and there will be no solutions to not only detest sin, but some of your problems until angry with those who conyou repent…give your life to tinue to indulge in it. Jesus Christ.

Catholic Young Men Association Holds 14th Yearly Lecture Chairman, Planning Committee, Catholic Young Men Association, (CYMA), Maryland, Lagos, Mr. Emmanuel Uwukhor (left), President, CYMA, Mr. Vincent Uba and Financial Secretary of the Association, Mr. Innocent Madu, during a press Conference to herald the forthcoming 14th yearly lecture of the Association in Lagos… last Thursday.

Stigmata And The Catholic Faith By Gabriel Osu AST week Sunday, one of our Lleading dailies published

the story of Sister Martina Oforka, who it said bleeds mysteriously on her forehead, palms, eyes and feet like the reenactment of the passion of Jesus Christ during crucifixion by the Jews. She is also said to be blessed with the gift of revelation and breaking of curses, including destruction of charms and others. There was also the narration of how the host (body and blood of Christ) given to her turned into blood. Since the story first broke out, I have been inundated with series of calls from different group of people. Could the story be true or just one of those make-believe ‘miracles’ usually masterminded by some false prophets to deceive the faithful? If it is real, they reasoned, what does it portend for the Nigerian Church, especially in the light of several other divine revelation and apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary purportedly witnessed

in some parts of the country in the years past? The veracity of the report on Sister Oforka is not for me to make, as the Church has laid down processes of verifying such. The church is cautious and conducts scientific and psychological testing on the subject before declaring the signs of Christ to be valid. However, I will try to throw more light on the issue of stigmata in general terms. The stigmata are the wounds of Jesus inflicted by God upon the body of the saint-mysticvictim soul. They consist of the five wounds of Jesus, which are the nail wounds in the hands and feet, along with the wound in the side, next to the heart. The most famous of the stigmatics, St. Francis of Assisi, received the stigmata in these places. They can be either visible or invisible. St Catherine of Sienna received the stigmata of the five wounds in a vision, but asked God to make them disappear, after which she experienced only the pains of the wounds. The main purpose of the stigmata is so that the saint may

suffer in union with Jesus for the conversion of sinners, that is, for the redemption of humanity. Those, who bear the stigmata are then “co-redeemers” with Christ, as they, with their limited human capabilities, share in His sufferings and participate in a special way in His Redemption. The Catholic Church has over the years documented series of cases of stigmata. So far, about 60 saints or blessed have been known to experience the phenomenon, with over 20 cases witnessed in the 19th century alone. Some of the stigmatics include, Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824), Augustinian; Elizabeth Canori Mora (1774-1825), Trinitarian Tertiary; Anna Maria Taïgi (1769-1837); Maria Dominica Lazzari (1815-48); Marie de Moerl (1812-68) and Louise Lateau (1850-83), Franciscan Tertiaries Perhaps one of the most celebrated cases in recent times is that of a Capuchin priest, Padre Pio (Pius) of Pietrelcina. He was born Francesco Forgione and given the name Pius (Italian: Pio). He became fa-

mous for bearing the stigmata. On June 16, 2002, Pope John Paul II canonized him. The issue of stigmata has come under severe investigation over the years, as experts try to unveil the mystery behind it. Some physiologists believe that the wounds might be produced in a purely natural manner by the sole action of the imagination coupled with lively emotions. However, there are some major attributes of stigmata: physicians do not succeed in curing these wounds with remedies; unlike natural wounds of a certain duration, those of stigmatics do not give forth a fetid odour and sometimes these wounds give forth perfumes. Jesus Christ continuously reveals Himself to humanity in several ways, one of which is through the stigmatics. Our faith should not be based on the things seen, but on things unseen. Remember that the devil also performs magic to confuse the people of God.   Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos

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HE Catholic Young Men Association of St. Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland, Lagos, will on Sunday, July 14, hold its 14th yearly lecture with the theme: “Nigeria: The Politics of Oil Subsidy and The Socio-economic Implications”, at McGovern Hall (inside the Church Compound), at 2pm. The Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is expected as the Guest Speaker, while Chairman of the occasion is former Chairman of Nigerian Red Cross, Emmanuel Ijewere. Other dignitaries include First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Emmanuella Fashola, as Chief Guest of Honour, Royal Father of the Day, HRH Igwe (Col), C.A.O. Muoghalu (rtd), Father of the Day, Chief G. Okafor, MD, WINCO Foam Ltd; Mother of the Day, Lady C. O. Egbedeyi and Special Youngman of the Day, Dr. Ikechukwu Okogbue, MD, Kenon Oil and Gas Ltd, among others. The association will also give award to individuals who have made significant contributions to the growth of the society.

Ajibola Urges Moslems To Shun Evil

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HE former judge of International Court of Justice (ICJ) and founder of the Islamic Mission for Africa (IMA), His Excellency, Judge Bola Ajibola has appealed to the government and the citizenry to see the new month of Ramadan 1434AH as a period of sober reflection and time to shun evil vices in the society. In a statement sent to The Guardian by his Media Aide, Idris Katib, Ajibola also congratulated Muslims on the emergence of another Ramadan, while giving the appeal during a two-day pre-Ramadan free healthcare and counselling at the IMA Hospital, Abiola Way, Abeokuta, Ogun State. Stressing the health benefits of Ramadan fast, Ajibola said, “people should go for frequent medical check-up, they should not wait until they break down before doing this.” Encouraging Muslims to preserve their good health to undertake the religious observance, he said the newly procured hospital equipment would enhance medical treatment of people in the rock city.


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IBRUCENTRE By Ernest Onuoha EFINITELY, the church of God will march on D and the gates of hell shall never prevail against it. It is true the devil is fighting fiercely, but God through the blood of the lamb will keep His people pure and unpolluted. However, some of the visible ways through which the evil affects the church include: The introduction of a dangerous revisionist agenda by saying a man should marry a man (gay) and a woman should marry a woman (lesbian). This was not how God intended it according to the creation story. In the beginning, God made them male and female, Gen. 1:27 and we could see the reaction of Adam when he woke up and saw the woman God made by his side: ‘And the man said, This is now the bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man,’ Gen. 2v23. Any attempt to twist this is a negation and should not be encouraged at all. The family is the nucleus of society, anything that affects it will also affect the wider society, if this shameful coming together of man and man, woman and woman is allowed, God’s intention for the marriage institution will be defeated. ‘For this reason a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall no longer be two but one.’

From The Rector Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor

Homosexuality And Its Effect On The Church (II) Sometimes homosexual swap when they want to have children; children born under this atmosphere sometimes are defaced, neither here nor there. Of course, they will not be normal children as some may take to alcoholism, drug addicts, armed robbery, street children, in short they will become instruments in the hand of the devil. Caldwell a great psychologist was right when he observed that: ‘the milieu of one’s development affects that particular development,’ we are the product of our environment. Another point is that the future of the church with this generation of children will be at risk. You know they say: ‘you cannot give what you don’t have.’ In case they come into the or-

dained ministry, you can imagine the type of ministry they will be running. It is possible they will likely trample upon holy things of God because their conduct and their character do not depict them as worthy shepherds that the flock can look up to. It is an incontrovertible statement that the activities of homosexuals will in no small measure weaken the faith of believers including the youths as some are drawn into this sinful act and are at crossroads already. But those who practice or encourage such will not inherit the kingdom of God. We pity the worldwide Anglican Church as this evil has brought a great division. It is no longer news that some Bishops could not attend the last Lambert Conference and have set up a

parallel conference known as Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) as a way of running away from this pollution. Those who attend GAFCON believe in the original gospel and the authority of the scriptures. Sodom and Gomorrah could not escape. Do you think those who are involved today will escape it too? Truly, homosexuality is a sin, a negation of biblical principles and comes from the pit of hell. Anyone who is involved in it is sick and needs help. VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.www.ibrucentre.org

‘Amnesty, Not Divine Amnesty’ By Ngozi Maduoma

Bishop on the Lake, Rt. Rev. Chijioke Oti (right), Bishop of Enugu North, Rt. Rev. Sustanese Eze, Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, Dr. (Mrs.) Joyce Chukwuma, Bishop of Enugu, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, Bishop of Ijebu Southwest, Rt. Rev. Babatunde Ogunbanwo, Bishop of Okigwe South, Rt. Rev. David Onuoha and Mrs. Onuoha at the Order of Thanksgiving Service and Award of Honour for the Second Session of 15th Synod of the Diocese of Enugu (Anglican Communion) in the Province of Enugu, at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Asata, Enugu, Enugu State. PHOTO: ISAAC TAIWO

Presbyterian Church Raises Alarm Over Human Trafficking By Bisi Alabi Williams HE Synod of the West of The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, has raised an alarm over the ugly phenomenon of forced prostitution and child/human organ trafficking, which it said, had assumed pandemic proportions in Nigeria. In a communiqué issued at the end of its 18th yearly meeting, which was held at the Lagos Presbyterian Church, Yaba, the Synod described the phenomenon as the 21st century slavery, saying its a major threat to family life and a great sin before God. The Synod called on the Federal Government and all stakeholders to fully address the rising social vice through sensitisation, social mobilisation and empowerment. The communiqué, jointly signed by the newly elected Moderator of the Synod, Rev. Nnanna Odege and the Synod Clerk, Rev. Bassey Ayek Bassey, commended the Federal Government for the appreciable improvement in the energy sector adding that government should not relent its efforts until Nigeria attains the required energy level to sustain the nation’s infrastructure. It also commended the National Assembly for its decisions on some burning issues such as the ban on gay marriage and the ratification of the State of Emergency declared in three Northern States over the Boko Haram threat to national security. The Synod frowned at the rising level of corruption in Nigeria, which it described as the bane and bedrock of other vices plaguing the nation and called government at all levels, religious organisations and all well-meaning Nigerians to join hands in fighting the scourge that is ravaging the society. On the 2015 general elections, the Synod called for early preparations in order to plug every loophole and ensure successful elections while urging federal government and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to commence the sensitisation of the public and the revision of the voters’ register as a way of avoiding ugly incidents. The Synod called on the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), to mobilise all affiliated churches to intensify prayers for peace and progress of the na-

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It also commended the National Assembly for its decisions on some burning issues such as the ban on gay marriage and the ratification of the State of Emergency declared in three Northern States over the Boko Haram threat to national security. tion. The communiqué also observed the impact of climate change vis-à-vis the flood menace in Nigeria and called on the Government and its relevant agencies to intensity efforts on flood control and management while it sympathized with the victims of the 2012 flood disasters in Nigeria.

THE Bishop of Lokoja Diocese and Archbishop of Lokoja Province, Most Rev. Emmanuel A. S. Egbunu, has said that the state pardon granted to nine members of the Boko Haram sect is not divine. The cleric made this observation during the first session of the Seventh Synod of the Lokoja Anglican Diocese, which was held at the Anglican Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, Lokoja. Speaking on the theme, ‘He, who has ears to hear let him hear,’ the Archbishop said the Synod aimed to caution against the increasingly casual and careless attitude to spiritual truths, which Christians are not taking serious. He noted that Christianity is being redefined by those who should guard Biblical truth, adding that the concern is no longer, ‘what does the scriptures say? But what Bishop A or Papa B, or Pastor C has said. According to the Archbishop, it is in remembering what has been heard that believers will not fall into error in the face of strange experiences, adding that a practical way to avoid this, is to memorise the scripture, meditate on the passages they have read, taking sermon notes and reviewing them. Bishop Egbunu stated that if a brief survey of the Bible should be carried out, that it would be shocking to discover that the great teachings or doctrines of God,

Satan, man, salvation, heaven and hell may have been compromised, adding that not paying emphasis on the right doctrines has led to biblical truths to be watered down in a way that people now feel they possess the license to do as they want. He also pointed out that doctrines such as holiness, righteousness, divorce, remarrying, restitution and forgiveness have suffered the same fate. The cleric noted that the Church in Nigeria is divided along ethnic, denominational and doctrinal line, adding that a divided Church is its own worst enemy. Observing that people now choose, which doctrine to follow, Egbunu urged believers to know that it is more important to be faithful than to be powerful. He emphasised that the theme is by no means restricted to the Church because the Church is part of a larger society and cannot be detached from the yearnings and aspirations of the society. He said over time politicians speak of how to improve the lot of the people, but when they get to office they forget what they had promised to do. The cleric called on Christians to note that the Bible is clear about God’s unchanging verdict on those who shed innocent blood from the time of Cain to this day, stating that when there is no genuine repentance, the Federal government’s amnesty can never be a divine one.

Catholic Priest Bags Award, Canvasses For Better Media Reportage By Ikechukwu Onyewuchi ERY Rev. Livinus Ukah has V urged journalists in the country to always seek to correct the wrong impression western media hold about the country. He said they should praise President Goodluck Jonathan, whenever he does the right thing, as part of the ways to project the country to the world. Ukah disclosed this after he was presented with an award, The West African Personality of Integrity, at SS Joachim and Anne Catholic Church, Meiran Parish, by the Federation of

West African Freelance Journalists, Ghana, for his contribution to human development through his writing and service in the vineyard of God. Speaking with The Guardian, Ukah said: “Nigerian journalists should be more ideological, we have fine media gurus, but there are some who do not really tell the masses what is happening in the Nigerian society. The media have a lot of responsibility to the people with their reporting. They should ensure that politicians fulfil their campaign promises. Nigerian journalists should as

a duty try to correct the wrong concepts western journalists have created about the country and the Third world nations. We should be proud of our country and praise our politicians, especially the President whenever he does well. Our news should not just be the negative ones, because praise re-enforces.” According to Mr. Abayomi, president, Federation of West African Freelance Journalists, Ghana, “the award, which used to be the Nigerian distinguished Achievers Award has been presented to governors of Gombe and Bauchi

states before they became governors, adding that last year’s award was presented to Rev. Fr. Anselm Agodo, a Benin-based herbal doctor.” The Chief Executive Officer of Marketing Edge Media Group, Mr. John Ajayi described Ukah as a de-tribalised Nigerian, in the mould of Tai Solarin. He is most deserving and worthy of the award. He said Monsignor has also distinguished himself in the service of God. Reading a catalogue of accolades and excerpts he commended Ukah for his service to humanity and contributions to the growth of the people and parishes he has handled.


42 Sunday, July 7, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

TheGuardian

Business FAAN/AIC Conflict...

When Concessioning Runs Amok

By Geoff Iyatse HETHER in maritime sector, oil refining or telecommunications, the argument is the same. A few individuals acting on behalf of the government signs unclear and spurious documents ‘dashing’ national heritages to cronies. Shortly after, another ‘patriotic’ individual seeks reversal of the deal under the pretense of protecting some ‘national interest’. That was the story in the Nigeria Telecommunications Limited. That was also the issue in the case of the Nigerian Insurance Corporation (NICON). And now, a similar antics between AIC Limited and the Federal Airports Authority Nigeria (FAAN) has turned the country’s gateway into a typical Lagos garage. On February 17, 1998, AIC and FAAN executed a deed of lease which gave a parcel of land covering an area of 11.654 hectares at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, IKeja, to the former to build an hotel. The 50-year leasehold would give a similar right to AIC in Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano, which would be developed in phases. But the simple agreement signed during the administration of late Gen. Sani Abacha seems to have run amok following the second coming of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. AIC moved to site on May 15, 2000 to commence the construction of the five-star Flightpath Hotel. But the managing director of FAAN addressed a letter to Chief Harry Akande the following day directing him to recall the contractor and ensure the withdrawal of all materials that must have been moved to the site. The action was taken after AIC said it spent $8.3 in “getting the site ready for development, including payments to architect, consultants and contractors…” Its General Manager, Chief Niyi Akande, said last week that it had also constructed the perimetre fencing and would have achieved a lot more but for failure of FAAN to contribute

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Authority In Search Of Concessionaire Since 1978 How Three Previous Agreements Flopped its 25 per cent equity, which amounts to $6 million. An internal memo issued from Director of Comm. Pl & Inv to Airport Manager on April 22, 1999 had clear AIC contractor, saying: “the company has also indicated its desire to prepare the ground for immediate development through Messrs Fuegerolle Construction Ltd, one of the group of companies working on the project. “In this regard, official and workers of the construction company and other members of the group of companies involved will henceforth be visiting/working on the site. Please accord them your almost cooperation and grant them access anytime, any day to the site.” FANN, indeed, admitted that it was actively involved in the proposed hotel, at least in ownership. A letter addressed by the Ministry of Aviation to then Head of State, General Abdulasalami Abubakar (rtd) April 23, 1999 detailed the equity ownership as: • AIC — 35 per cent ($8.4 million), • Hilton International—10 per cent ($2.4 million), • FAAN — 25 per cent ($6 million) and • Others — 30 per cent ($7.2 million) The estimated cost of the project was $60 million made up 60 per cent debt financing and the 40 per cent equity funding as broken down by the letter. The letter signed by Capt Ben Briggs, the then Minister of Aviation, explained that the Ministry of Finance had endorsed “the project in principle but advised that FAAN should contribute the land as its equity share in the project while holding the land in perpetuity. The authority, however, favoured leasing of the land because of its short and long run advantages.” The letter noted that the option it took was “more tidy and straight forward to administer

than counter trading the land for equity shares”, adding that the method it adopted would ensure higher returns eventually. “I have examined the project, as considered, and consider it attractive and worthy of investment,” noted Briggs, who also observed that the hotel would break even in the fifth year. Its internal rate of returns (IRR) was put at 18.5 per cent while return on equity/capital (ROC) was estimated at 30.9 per cent in the first 10 years of operation when it would have fully paid up the initial capital investment according to feasibility report prepared by Messrs BDO Hospitality Consulting. Through the letter, the ministry sought the approval of the head of state for the purchase of the government’s equity, which, according to Akande, was still being expected when the same FAAN that was to own the shares in trust, wrote to stop the project. N the heat of the stoppage, a letter issued IJune from the Office of the Vice President on 9, 2000 sought Minister of Aviation’s intervention in the ensuing conflict. The minister was, by the letter, advised to ensure the smooth take-of of the project. Still, there was no form of discussion that translated into amicable resolution. That left AIC with no option but to seek redress at arbitration as stipulated in the agreement. General Manager, Corporate Communications, FAAN, Yakubu Dati, explained to The Guardian that the concessioning was done without due consideration of the implications for security of the terminal and in violation of the master plan of the airport. He noted: “The concessioning was signed during the Abacha administration. And you will recall that many things were done under the table in that era. And the area that was given to AIC was against the advice of

FAAN but because of the military junta they went ahead. That portion was earmarked in the master plan for expansion of the airport terminal. In the past 35 years the airport has been built, there has been no expansion because that land has been taken over by concessionaire against the advice of FAAN as at the time it was signed. “Besides, it was against all security considerations because it was just behind the terminal. If somebody lives in the hotel, he would be seeing the terminal. Based on that when Obasanjo came to power, those issues came up. And because of the overriding public interest, it was agreed that the concessioning should be cancelled. AIC went to arbitration, which awarded $48 million. FAAN said how could we pay such amount of money on a land where there was no development except barbwire. “The airport needs expansion. In the next five years, if you cannot expand MMA, it will be dead because nobody will be able to come in or go out. The crowd will be too much. Of what use will it be to have an hotel while there is no airport.” FAAN felt the investment AIC put into the project was not commensurate with what was awarded by the arbitration tribunal, which, according to Dati, prompted the authority to challenge the matter in court. Eventually, FAAN was granted victory by Justice Ibrahim Buba just last month. Dati, indeed, argued that the concessioning was granted by the military against FAAN’s professional advice and that the action contravened the master plan of the airport. Yet, FAAN had indicated through official letters that it planned to use the portion of land for an hotel since the airport was built in 1978. A letter address to Minister of Aviation as at July 1998 read: “In the Murtala Mohammed Airport master plan, a viable site was originally earmarked for the development of a five-star hotel. The hotel was to be developed

CONTINUED ON PAGE 44


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

BUSINESS

AIC Hilton Hotel: History Of Failed Concessioning CONTINUED FROM PAGE 43 along with MMA International Terminal Building of the complex. “Sine inception of operation in 1978, the management has been anxious to provide modern hotels of international standard to boost tourism and the authority’s revenue of our international airports. In its search for companies to develop hotels on turnkey basis, more than four big corporate organisations had made frantic efforts to develop hotels at Lagos and Kano.” N the letter, the authority disclosed that Ivelop AIC first submitted proposal in 1978 to dea five-star hotel to be managed by Marnot Holiday Inn. Companion Bernard Construction (CBC) of France followed with another proposal around 1984. CBC, which was said to have been introduced by Messrs Fasusi Associate of Nigeria Limited, went beyond mere interest to sign an agreement for the hotel development, which was not realised. FAAN continued to search for a credible organisation to build the hotel it was “anxious” about in 1989, it received yet another proposal from MPA Group Limited, an engineering firm linked with the renowned HFP. The company went to as far as singing another failed agreement. Fasusi Associate, the same company that introduced CBC, tendered for the same project was granted approval with agreement signed in 1989. Until 1997, Fasusi, working with Accor of France as management partner, had a lease title that was terminated in 1997 for non-performance. FAAN, according its own letter, renewed the search in 1996 when Fasusi’s right was still in force. That was when Modotel Nigeria Limited and, for the second time, AIC put in application in March, 1997. The letter by FAAN said the defunct Char-

tered Bank of Nigeria Limited had signified interest to be the financial adviser while John Seifert, an English architect, who designed Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, was engaged on the project. It stated that all parties jointly agreed on the site before a lease was given and that the authority had received N2 million “as part of the consideration for premium and grand rent.” Further findings show that FAAN also received the ground rent for 1999, being second year of the lease (even though the date was said to have been shifted for the authority’s failure to pay its equity which stalled the project), but rejected that of 2000 on the ground of contract revocation. AIC had maintained that the issue of the hotel’s height and some other related matters had earlier been resolved with FAAN’s previous management in a letter to AIC/Hilton conveying approval for the site plan, the structure and architectural designs. Following the stoppage of, AIC’s General Manager, Mr. Niyi Akande, said the company instituted a case against FAAN at the Federal High Court, Lagos, which was decided in 2002 and referred to arbitration. He said the arbitration panel headed by the late Justice Kayode Eso awarded $48 million as damages against FAAN, but regretted that the agency had not obeyed the ruling. Eso’s awards against FAAN were loss of profits – $46.584 million, refund of Hilton’s deposit – $1 million, registrars’ compensation $180,000 and counsel fees – $300,000. Akande said that while FAAN delayed its equity contribution, four other investors were ready to take up their shares. He quarried the sincerity of FAAN on the issue when it has gone to China to look for loan to go ahead with the hotel. “In 2000 when they stopped the project, there was no merit in the decision they took; they were merely playing politics with the matter,” he added. But Dati refuted report that FAAN is seeking loan to build an hotel on the same land. He said

that the authority is rather building cities, car park and hotels, around the country’s airports as part of its newly introduced aerotropolis concept. He said the present parking lot, and not the contested parcel of land, will be used for the hotel and six-storey car park planned under the new concept. While the project will extend to other airports, Dati said it will kick-off at MMA, Lagos. At completion, according to him, the airports will become more viable. FAAN is fighting on all fronts. Its conflict with Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited lingers. Head of the company’s Corporate Communications, Steve Omolale-Ajulo, said FAAN’ s consistent violation of its agreement has continued to impact negatively on the company’s operations. “FAAN illegally manages the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) because it is part of the agreement we entered into with FAAN. Ministry of Aviation has remodeled, in violation of court’s order, the GAT. They are earning the revenue BiCourtney should have been earning. Over 50 per cent of the revenue we should have been earning by the concession agreement is now earned by FAAN,” he noted. He said that the company has won all the six cases filed against FAAN who has neither appealed nor quashed them but resulted to self-help measures hiding under the cloak of public interest. EANWHILE, FAAN’s spokesman reitM erated that Bi-Courtney connived with dubious ministry official to extend the concession contract the authority has with it from 12 to 38 years. He argued further that the agreement does not include some areas Bi-Courtney is laying

claim, including GAT. “The concessionaire has not been able to show documents to prove that they own GAT. In aviation, where do you have one person controlling area that is as big as what they claim will be controlled by an individual in 38 years?” he questioned. On why FAAN signed the agreements it could not implement, Dati said people were removed and others brought in to put pen on the dotted lines because of the overriding influence of certain individuals. “What we discover is that people sign concessions and use the documents for all kinds of frauds; they use them to acquire loans without developing the property. That is the problem,” he continued. Still on floppy concessioning, just recently, a Federal High Court in Lagos, declared as invalid a contract which Societe International Telecommunication Aeronautiques (SITA) entered with FAAN. It awarded N5 billion as general damages to the plaintiff, Maevis Limited, and set aside SITA’s agreement with FAAN. Justice Buba held that SITA was wrong to have entered into a contract with FAAN. The judge said SITA bidded for the contract but lost, yet it somehow got FAAN to award it the contract. According to him, the firm was aware of a pending court case on the transaction, yet it went ahead to sign an invalid contract, which is null and void. Maevis had commenced the action against SITA and SITA Telecommunications through a writ of summons, statement of claim and other processes dated March 19, 2012. It sought a declaration that the defendants were liable to the plaintiff for willfully procuring and inducing FAAN to breach its subsisting agreement with Maevis. FAAN in March 23, 2012 terminated the agreement between itself and Maevis on the Airports Operations Management System (AOMS), citing inability of the concessionaires to stick to terms of the agreement. RESIDENT of Aviation Round Table, Captain P Dele Ore, blamed the endless conflict between FAAN and concessionaires on overbear-

Aviation Minister, Stella Odua

ing personal interest. He noted that government officials have no regard for the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Act. He described the violation of the act and other relevant ones as the major problem trailing all national heritages that have been concenssioned. “If they are guided by these acts, there will be no problem. The opening statement of that act says that the government cannot afford to fund everything. In that case, the public private partnership (PPP) becomes the option. Government needs money for education, health and other sectors that touch the lives of the people directly. Aviation is important but it does not have overwhelming impact on the lives of every Nigerian like other sectors; it touches only the elites. So, the government cannot afford to fund aviation projects. “But in bringing the private sector into the system, they signed all kinds of contract without recourse to relevant laws. These are parastatals and you know that chief executives of these agencies stay in office in an average of 15 months. They will create the problems that will not be solved until the fourth or fifth person takes over. That is when the whole problem escalates. “They don’t have the national interest at heart; they don’t follow the acts enacted by the government. Those contracts were selfish; they did not take into account national interest and posterity. Because they were selfish, it was easier to go to court to seek another interest. That is why you hear of different manner of rulings.” He noted that the AIC/FAAN conflict would embarrass the country, noting that it is a testimony against the lousiness of the supervisory ministry. The expert said that Aviation Ministry neglected what it should have done and influenced the signing of the contract, which is causing problem. “The rule of law has been jettisoned. When your predecessor enters an agreement, no matter what it is you must follow the laiddown process of actualising or terminating it. But they are in hurry to complete it now. Yet, they normally have the backing of government who looks the other way when they take the laws into their hands. This will drive away investment because airports all over the world operate on concessioning. Why is it that ours does not work? The signal is that we cannot


THE GUARDIAN, sunday, July 7, 2013

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BUsINEss By Joseph Onyekwere

The Legal Fireworks

However, after the change of power in 1999, the approval for the permit was held back by the Obasanjo administration after studying carefully the process that led to the concessioning, which indeed showed that some things were wrong in the process and that the process was not transparent enough.  In May 2000, FAAN wrote AIC/Hilton to vacate the land stating irregularities in the concession process and concerns about the proposed height of the hotel. AIC rushed to court and got arbitration panel to award his company damages against FAAN to the tune of 47-million naira on a land without structure. FAAN appealed and the decision has just been overturned. By this judgment, the parcel of land in question has now become free for massive infrastructural development at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, under the aerotropolis project, including an ultramodern hotel complex, a multi-storey car park and other related projects, designed to expand facilities at the airport.

s result of the recent judgment delivered by a Federal High Court, Lagos, quashing an arbitration decision, which awarded ownership of a large parcel of land at the Lagos Airport to AIC Limited, FAAN had filed another suit to set aside the The history of the AIC International Airport the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, award of the contract, which the firm beat Hotel project dates back to 1978. The first deFAAN, has now reclaimed the property. four other bidders in on March 3, 1997 as a resign was done by AIC Limited in 1978 for the FAAN and AIC, a firm owned by Chief Harry sult of FAAN’s open invitation. But before then Federal Ministry of Transport and AviaAkande had been embroiled in a protracted Idris, FAAN filed and application asking the tion. The hotel was to be owned by the Fedlegal dispute over the ownership of the land court to transfer all its cases before Justice eral Government and designed and project meant for the construction of a hotel comIdris to the Chief Judge for reassignment. managed by AIC. Unfortunately, the project plex at the Murtala Muhammed Airport When Kasunmu could not oppose the appliwas not completed due to the lack of availIkeja.  cation, it was subsequently transferred from able government funding. The trial judge, Ibrahim Buba, who consoliIdris’ court. On March 3, 1997, as a result of FAAN’s open dated three suits between the parties in his AIC and the aviation agency had been eminvitation, preliminary discussions and visjudgment delivered on June 19, ruled that broiled in bitter acrimony over the plan by its to probable site locations, AIC submitted the Arbitral tribunal, which had awarded the former to execute a concession it won in to the Managing Director of FAAN their proAIC Ltd the sum of $48, 124, 000, miss-con1996 to build a multi-billion dollar Flightpath posal principally aimed at developing a Five ducted itself and went outside its jurisdicHotels and Resorts at the Murtala star chain of Airport Hotels to be named tion in rendering the final award between Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and Flightpath Hotels and Resorts, in four interthe parties on June 1, 2010. He consequently three other airports, namely, Lagos, Abuja, national airports in Nigeria, namely, Lagos, declared the award null and void and Kano and Port-Harcourt. Abuja, Kano and Port-Harcourt. thereby set it aside. AIC Limited had filed two suits on the matter, following the award of the arbitration, seeking first, an order to set aside the decision contained in part of the final arbitration award, asking that the same be remitted back to the arbitrator for reconsideration and secondly, that the arbitration be enforced. However, Justice Buba in his judgment set aside these two suits. FAAN had earlier filed an application, challenging the ruling of the arbitrator that awarded AIC Ltd the sum of over 48 million dollars. Prior to the judgment, Justice Mohammed Idris was handling the matter, which was also filed by FAAN. AIC, through its counsel, Professor A.B Kasunmu sAN filed preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit, saying the action should be struck out being an abuse of the process of court, having regard to the reliefs being sought in the case and the reliefs being sought in a sister suit as well as pending applications in the suit. FAAN had through its motion on notice filed on its behalf on January 22, 2013 by Chijioke Okoli, sought to restrain AIC from occupying the parcel of land. FAAN in its counter affidavit to the motion on notice, noted that the land in dispute was the subject matter of Arbitration between the parties, which was handled by late Justice Kayode Eso. In an affidavit deposed to by Abiodun Taiwo, a litigation officer in the chambers of AB Kasunmu sAN, the defendants averred that although the arbitrator ruled in favour of AIC Limited on all issues of law and fact raised before him, and awarded the sum of $48, 124, 000 as damages for breach against FAAN, “the arbitrator cannot order specific performance of the contract between the parties, which was in turn based on the ground that the Arbitrator would have no power to supervise the enforcement of such an order”. He swore that the property in dispute was leased to AIC Limited for a period of 50 years by Deed of Lease dated 17th February 1998, adding that the AIC limited commenced operation in respect of the Hotel Project on the site that FAAN threatened to take over possession of the site by force. “That AIC Limited has not only been in continued and undisturbed possession of the land since 1998, it has also fenced the land round and has structures on the land for its security staff and port cabins for building Deputy President, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Mr Remi Bello (left) Assistant Director, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) of NIgeria, Mr Iheanyi Anyahara; and materials and equipment”, he averred. Chief Executive Officer, FRC, Mr Jim Obazee, at an enlightenment programme on the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) held at Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.  

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Awaiting The Five star Hotel By Ikechukwu Onyewuchi AsT week, The Guardian visited the land in dispute seeking answers as to why the site is lying idle. Driving from Oshodi axis to the airport, the land lays on the left hand side of the road, adjacent the arrival terminal of the international wing of the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA). It is bushy, with negligible human presence. since 1998 when the land was leased, it remains idle. A small building stands in the middle, close to the perimeter fencing. With neat roofing sheets and freshly cemented walls, the building seems to serve a purpose – obviously to ward off trespassers.

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Caveats against trespassers also dot the fence. At intervals, a passer-by is greeted by signposts announcing the owner – AIC and the proposed Hilton Hotel. There is also a car park with huts, serving air travellers. The huts are modern, wearing the look of shades at beaches. They are tucked inwards, away from the expressway. In front, at the teeth of the road, rests another signpost of Hilton Hotel. Mr. Ben, a taxi driver in the axis, said the land has been idle forever, stating that it is bushy because of the sustained court proceedings. He said FAAN has not been able to work on the land or even clear the bush because of the dispute. “FAAN has huge tractors they use to clear

bushes and keep the airport clean. This place is an airport, a gateway to Nigeria. Nobody will want to see it bushy. This situation breeds all sorts of animals, and it poses a lot of risks to travellers,” he said. A portion of the land, lying close to a car park, was reportedly being cleared last week by FAAN officials before they were stopped by AIC Limited. The altercation was widely reported with versions alluding to use of thugs. A source said after FAAN officials were stopped from clearing the area, policemen were stationed there to prevent either party from doing anything on the land. He revealed that the police have taken over the land till the final judge-

ment is given. However, he said that they had left few minutes before the visit. At the airport, everyday, as the lingering feud hovers in the air, people go about their business as usual, shuttling around the world and other parts of the country for business and pleasure. On one side of the land (close to the arrivals terminal), lays a police post and a car park. The entrance to the land is cordoned off with red tapes. Inside is another post where there is no sign of life in it. The freshly-cut grass is changing colour. Looking from afar, the cleared area appears to have been done hurriedly – a sign of the disruption of the exercise.


HE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

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BUSINESS NLI Tax Debate...

Experts Chart Path For Efficient, Transparent System By Geoff Iyatse IKE death, tax is but a necessity not many people want to accept as life reality. Corporate organisations seek ways of shortchanging the government by under declaring taxable incomes while individuals rather want to evade payment entirely. Unfortunately, very few economies have experienced real infrastructural breakthrough, such as Nigeria seeks, without a tax management system that is efficient, economic and effective. If residents of other countries have reasons to evade taxes, those living in Nigeria have more reasons to do so. Nigerians’ aversion for tax is rather compounded by the multitude of challenges facing the collection and payment process, hence the call for reform, which the government has neither discarded nor implemented with dispatch. The call came to the fore and, indeed, generated emotions recently at the Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, when the Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI) presented the second volume of its white papers series. While those who stood in for the government wondered why the public find it difficult to pay taxes, those on the side of the masses could not understand what custodians do with the revenue they seek to generate. And Chief Executive Officer of the initiative, Mr. Yinka Oyinlola, also shared the concern of the majority. He observed that when government cannot account for tax revenues, payers find a way to circumvent compliance. He was, however, certain that the country cannot continue to trudge without effective tax system and prudent management of generated revenues. As shale oil/gas development looks upward, Oyinlola said taxation remains the most sustainable means of funding public spending and projects. But his thought came with some reservation. “Nigeria”, he said: “must find a way to articulate an effective taxation system.” And building a system that guarantees reliable tax revenues, according to him, is a responsibility of all, saying: “The time to build the system is now.” But government, Oyinloa said, must chart a path that encourages uncritical views on the way forward, which NLI seeks with the white paper. He said the paper drafting and presentation, which was done in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers Nigeria (PWC), is NLI’s contribution to efforts to re-build the tax system that was destroyed by the overreliance on oil and gas revenue. Oyinlola, like most people have suggested, said expected reform must focus on building a system that is convenient, economical as well as technologically friendly. And he believes the more people talk about the need for reform, the most likely that government (and tax regulators) will get it right. Chairman, the Senate Committee on Finance, Ahmed Makarfi, said the reform must interest those who plan to come into the government as much as serving public officers, saying “that is the only way a sustainable system could be build across board” The lawmaker, who drew a link between efficient taxation system and successful leadership, called for a shift of attention from higher payment to efficiency. Disclosing that the government has started making budgetary provision for the reform,

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Abdullahi Atta of FIRS (left); CEO of NLI, Yinka Oyinlola; and Ahmed Makarfi at the presentation of NLI White Paper on tax reform in Abuja.

Support Decentralised Of VAT the former Kaduna State governor said it would be unfortunate if those implementing the process allows ‘Nigerian factor’ to creep into the template. But chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Kabir Mashi, said the reform Nigerians seems to see afar has commenced. He enumerated measures already embarked upon by the agency to make corporate entities and individuals do tax documentation online. Mashi, who was represented by a director of FIRS, Abdullahi Atta, said oil and gas sector would be automated in September after which operators will be able to carry out tax-related operations at the click of computer keyboard. Other sectors, he said, would follow the oil and gas shortly. Renowned accountant, Akintola Williams, who writes the foreword of the 123-page collection of articles on taxation, says: “Democratic government is enhanced by the need to raise tax and whenever necessary

to raise the level of taxation… Transparency on the part of persons in whose hands public funds is held is an absolute necessity.” Williams regrets that the National Tax Policy approved in 2010 to provide guidelines to regulate implementation is yet to be implemented. He also wonders why the structure of implementation has not been established despite the obvious flaws in the existing system. The publication is a collection of 12 articles by leading taxation experts and former enforcers. Managing Director of PWC, Ken Ibokwe, in its article — The Hallmark of a Good Tax System — says there could only be higher tax revenue at the long run if businesses are genuinely encouraged to grow. His argument agrees with everyday complaints that multiple taxation is not in the interest of the economy at large. According to him, a good tax system, which Nigeria should aspire to achieve, must be strategic, coherent, efficient, fair and transparent. He says tax system devoid of these qualifies is anti-economy and can-

Health And Safety At Work: The UK Vs Nigeria (1) By Helen-Linda Azodoh The UK HE health and safety of employees at work in the UK is taken very seriously by employers. Employees should be able to perform their duties in a safe environment without fear of the risk of injury to their physical and mental health. Every employer has the general duty “to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees”. Failure to do this can result in an employee suing his employer for personal injury. The employer can also be sued for corporate manslaughter where failure to comply with the legislation has resulted to death. In the UK, the health and safety of employees at work is governed by the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974. The Health and Safety Executive to-

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gether with local authorities, is responsible for enforcing the act. It is a criminal offence to breach duties imposed under the act. The penalties for breaching the law is governed by the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008 (HSOA). This act introduced a new schedule to the already existing Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974. It altered the existing penalties for health and safety offences by increasing the fine limits. It also changed the mode of trial for some offences. Previously, the Magistrate’s Court had the power to impose £5000 fine per breach of the act, but the new HSOA increased that limit of £20,000. It also provides for a custodial sentence of up to two years imprisonment where the accused is a person and not a corporate body. If the case goes to the Crown Court, the Judge has the power to impose an unlimited fine, as well as a custodial sentence.

not support real development. He calls on legislative arm to make clear laws while executive efficiently implements them for the over-all economic growth. The judiciary, he says, has a responsibility to ensure fair and transparent system. Ibokwe, however, is shocked that younger generations are not as patriotic as the older ones, who had to fulfill the civil responsibility even as subsistent farmers. Assessing a 10-year reform system spanning over 2002 and 2012, former FIRS chairman, Mrs Ifueko Omoigui Okauru, listed challenges that informed the move. Interestingly, some of the challenges listed are still valid till date. Some of such challenges are government’s heavy reliance on oil revenue; lack of clarity on taxation authority and lack of specific policy direction on tax matters Others are insufficient information available to tax payers; multiple taxation by government at all levels; non-refund of excess taxes to payers and poor accountability on the part of the government. The 20-page article of the taxation czar says reform will always be part of the process. She notes that new government, policies and economic direction will always call for changes that can only be effected through reforms. Titilayo Oke, in a study many will describe as pro-people, writes: “To develop the private sector, the government must strengthen and streamline the current tax administration and regulatory procedures.” She points out that infrastructure decay has been a major challenge militating against the business environment just she warns that continued deviance to call for tax harmonisation will not do the country any good. Oke, a lawyer, says poor tax coordination is a key reason the country consistently rakes low in the World Bank’s doing Business index, where it sinks lower than many African countries such as Botswana, Ethopia, Rwanda, Malawi, Ghana, Zambia and South Africa in ease of paying taxes. “Ambiguities in laws and the level of inefficiency and complacency of revenue officials are contributory factors to the time the burden on a taxpayer. As estimated, several collecting authorities exist for different taxes thus filling manual returns and making payments to separate tax authorities, which … display various levels of unprofessionalism increase the time to comply,” she observes. She suggests the streamlining of payable taxes and producing a list that must be adhere to by all ties of government. She also says caution must be exercised in introducing new taxes while prevailing circumstances thoroughly assessed to mitigate negative impact of such levy. Perhaps, the contribution of Kenneth Erikume, a senior associate of PWC, is carefully researched in the outburst of Oke in mind. It is titled Tackling Multiple Taxation Without Compromising Fiscal Federalism. After detailed analysis on how tax system address the disproportionate relationship among federating units, he states: “fiscal decentralization at the local and state level should be increased through direct administration of certain taxes and through more allocations from the centre. Allowing states to administer certain taxes (especially indirect taxes) like value added tax (VAT) would be more appropriately administered at state level rather than allocating from the central pool.” Meanwhile, Dipo Okuribido, an associate of Banwo & Ighodalo, dwells extensively on VAT. He also concludes that more decentralized VAT system will assist with a more efficient distribution of tax revenue across states without significantly depriving the centre of revenue.

And indeed, since the inception of HSOA, the courts have effected these upper limits in cases. For example, in a case in a London Crown Court, a company director received a fine of £99,500 and a further £150,000 penalty to cover the cost of the prosecution. Little wonder the enforcement of the Act is taken very seriously. Employers in the UK are required to have a Health and Safety policy if they employ five or more staff. There are six key regulations UK employers have to be aware of.

Azodoh, Chartered MCIPD (London), is a human resource consultant based in the UK. She is also MD of Orchardview HR Solutions, accompany that provides HR training to organisations in Nigeria. Email:helen.azodoh@virgin.net


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

46

BUSINESS

Government Needs To Review NHF –By Ogunjobi Olabisi Ogunjobi, Chairman of the Board of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), spoke to journalists in Abuja on challenges facing the housing sector and the need to review the National Housing Fund (NHF) Act. NKECHI ONYEDIKA was there. Is the current N5billion capital base of the FMBN enough to cater for the housing need of Nigerians? BOUT two months ago, President Goodluck Jonathan made an announcement that the bank was going to be recapitalised. But we also need to look at the parameters because FMBN is not the only avenue by which the government puts money into housing. The Ministry of Lands and Housing and Urban Development is a big channel for provision of housing. Apart from that, government has also created what we call the National Refinancing Corporation which will address another aspect of provision of houses to the upper segment of the society. So the government is looking at various ways, and the state governments are also doing their best; the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police and the Navy are all making contributions. It is in this regard that we cannot look at FMBN in isolation. Secondly, what is the correct figure of the housing demand? When we talk of 16 million deficit, how robust is that statistics? For me, as an economist, we need to look at that very carefully, because in most developing countries like Nigeria, statistics are just somehow. It is when all these issue are looked at critically that we can we can put a figure on the needed capital base. Recently you spoke on the challenges facing NHF as well as the need to review the existing Act governing it. Could you throw more light on it? My statement was an analysis of the situation. It talks about the challenges we are facing, the operational environment, and the achievements of the fund, particularly in the last two-year. First and foremost, it

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Ogunjobi would interest you to know that NHF is twenty-five years old and as such, the Act guiding this institution by now has become obsolete. When we say obsolete, it is not with a negative connotation; what we are saying is that the parameters that were used at the time of setting up the institution have changed because of the dynamic situation in the Nigerian economy. For example, we say you have to contribute 2.5 per cent of salary earned. If you are earning N3, 000 a month, how much was the minimum wage at that time compared with the 18,000 we have today? The 2.5 per cent of N18, 000 today

amounts to N450.How many years would you contribute 450 for you to buy a house of 5 million? That is to say that yes, at that time the amount was sufficient, but when you look at the situation today, it is not correct anymore. Therefore there is a need to reverse or amend the Act to take care of the current issues. I also said that, like most agencies in this country, one cannot say that the performance has been optimal, (there is no need to deceive ourselves), but I did clearly state that over the last two years, the contributions and collections which we have been able to make

Mr. Steve Murphy, Vice President, Hitachi Data Systems Limited, a company that provides storage solution services. In a chat with GEOFF IYATSE, he talked on the need for effective data storage in anInternet-driven economy, why his company is investing in Nigeria and other issues. What is unique about Hitachi Data System? UR database is very unique because we fundamentally produced it for our consumers, so we do several storages and software. You hear people talking about data today and they talk about how to manage it, but I think consumers have stopped buying diverse storage devices. What they buy now is solution and we have delivered those solutions to our customers.  There are three ways we have deliver those solutions, one is about the complexity, the other one is the management, and the third is the containment growth. We are creating more information than we ever have done. A lot is happening in airline businesses, telecommunication businesses, the machines producing the smart phones, planes and all of those things will be generating a lot of data and we will help too manage all that. This will employ thousands of Nigerians directly and indirectly. What is your focal point in terms of people and business? We supply to all businesses, every industry that have to call us, government, education, university, police, health care and financial institutes, the big key sector and others. We have real credentials on this stuff, so when customers or big company have issues with data, we have the solutions. We have solutions for them so where ever we go we say we have done this we done that for their problems. What we are bringing into Nigeria is world-class performance, world class delivery, and we are not just doing it for the first time. We are bringing in lots of experience into Nigeria. How do you combine price and quality in terms of the affordability of your products? You cannot become number one in the world if you don’t get the price right. You may have the best technology in the world but if it is too expensive people won’t buy it. You get the price right by a couple of things, one you have to understand the value of their solution. We help the customer to really understand the total cost of ownership of the solution and help the customers in terms of investment and in terms of range of purchase of solutions that we have.

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Murphy

been recognised again by Fortune Magazine as one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ in 2013, which is the second consecutive year your company has been named on this prestigious annual list. How did you achieve this? Our company was described as the best place to work because we are very optimistic about our staff and we are growing businesses. People like that because we are not aggressive in the way we employ our workers. We create space for them to contribute their part and the first thing we do is that we train our workers on what is expected of them. The second thing is the leadership of the people we bring in. We have a global board of people that are very open and mobile. Not only that, we get members of our teams from the local countries and these people also work to ensure that the company is growing. The third thing is education. We equip and educate our staff, making sure that they get used to the technology of the company and of most of the competitors. If we continue to do that, we will continue to train the staffs teaching them the moral ethics of doing business in a clean way. We think that many people love that and by that, create a good environment for the brand. Why did you choose Nigeria as your investment destination despite the security treats and infrastructural challenges? There are two main reasons. The first is the market growth here, which I will describe as being very incredible. And about 30 per cent of the population of Nigeria is made up middle class citizens who are in need of good and affordable data system. That is the more reason why most consumers across the regions are creating data. Data needs to be processed, conducive, and strong. It should last. Having all these in mind, we made available our digital data system for the capturing of data by our customers and the handling of their data. That is what we have been doing to some of the big with some of the oil companies and financial banks across the nation and also the oil and institutions. That is to tell you that we are not gas companies. The second thing is the availhere to compete but to create a very big part- ability of customers around Nigeria and that nership with a lot of Nigerian companies and is the reason why companies from the Middle East, South Africa, and Europe are moving into by that we want to have the largest partner this region for investment. Like Chevron, MTN here in Nigeria. We will be partnering with them and having a business to business rela- came into this country because there is existence of customers for their products and servtionship with the small companies. We inices and that is the fundamental reason why tend to help in their growth to larger ones. Hitachi came into the country to support the We compete based on the quality of services given. We are extremely fast, we are better, we IT system. Our operation is not limited to Nigeria; we have our branches and entities in other are reliable and the customers know that when they deal with Hitachi, they can trust us. regions like South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Hitachi Data Systems Corporation (HDS) has Ghana and Uganda.

‘Opportunities In Nigeria Outweighs Market Risk’ They say I have a problem over here and we help them work it within their budget to get what they need. We have a lot of scale in the business so when we are buying component to put things together we are buying at such huge volume to have the price that will suit the consumers. The global credit crunch has had a multiplier effect across economies in Africa; in what ways are you going to make a positive impact in the Nigerian economy? We are not going to flood the whole of Lagos with our brands but what we are doing is to have a more structural approach towards the market and that is what we have been doing

is over 40 per cent of what was collected over the last 18 years. We have our weak points and our strong points, all we need do make the scheme achieve its desired result of adding to the country’s housing stock, is to build on the strong points. Apart from the Nigerian Workers who are statutorily mandated to contribute this 2.5 per cent, are there other stakeholders that are captured in the Act? Yes, the amount being paid is not limited only to these stakeholders. It also includes the commercial banks and insurance companies. According to the Act, the two categories of stakeholders are supposed to make investment into the NHF. However, up till-date, they are not doing that. The Central Bank of Nigeria is supposed to enforce the contributions of the commercial banks has equally not be doing so. How do you intend to work with the management of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to restore confidence in the scheme? We know that till date, not all the states in the country have signed up to it. You are correct, till date only 18 states are contributing to the scheme. However, what we have been doing over the last two years is to persuade and convince the states that have withdrawn to come back and in the last two years more than 10 states have come back so we have only 8 left and we are working to see how they will come back. The question then is: how would they come back? They need to see the benefits of their contributions to NHF and that will bring us to the production of the housing stock. Over the last few years, FMBN has been making efforts to increase production of the housing stock. As part of the strategies to win back confidence, we now engage in dialogue with other relevant stakeholders like the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) Nigeria Employees’ Consultative Forum (NECA), Trade Union Congress, (TUC) with a view to ensuring that we have a common understanding and we are equally committed to making the NHF the key element in provision of houses to the Nigerian populace. But more importantly, one of the things which this institution is going to do (which we have started now), is to strive toward efficiency as an institution. 


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

BUSINESSAGRO InstaPro:

One Extruder, Multiple Products, More Jobs By Fabian Odum IGERIA’S population is burgeoning and N consequently, mouths to feed multiplying; the figure is already estimated at about 170 million people and the world is also hitting projections above seven billion. The urgent need has always been the ability to feed the entire population. Growth and hunger in the world are disturbing facts. The UN estimates that by 2050, the world population will reach nine billion… almost all the growth is taking place in under developed and developing countries. With decreasing cultivable land, poverty, malnutrition and loss and lack of jobs, utilization of local resources using relatively simple and adaptable technologies to provide food and create jobs that would employ local people becomes a pressing need. Interestingly, the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) is attracting and spurring more business opportunities in the various chains, whether in crop or livestock agri-investment. Only recently one of the market leaders and inventor of high shear extruders, Instapro of USA came calling to town. It met in a workshop with high networth companies and individuals with investment and strong involvement in the agroallied sector at Westown Hotels in Lagos. By its design, extruders are mechanical equipment that form food shapes and extract oil from oil seeds, cereals and legumes, where applicable for the food and feed industry. InstraPro Vice President, Mr. Karl Arnold said the extruders which come in many models and varied functionalities have found use in human food, pet food, aquatic feed as well as waste product/by product processing. He said though the equipment came into use in the late 60s, they have been modified and brought to international standard, which has now made a household name in many countries. Whether in the farm or in the food industry, extruders continued to play great roles in unit processing activities for grains such as soybean and lots more. In this instance, Arnold said the initial challenge of the inherent anti-nutritional factors in raw soybean, although rich in protein (38 per cent) and oil (18 per cent), restricted farmers utilisation of the legume. It forced farmers in the past to sell their raw soybean and buy back the by-products of soybean oil production known as soybean meal. With the use of extruders, he explained

the dry extrusion as a process of cooking, partial dehydration and sterilization during which heat is generated through friction. Now, farmers and investors have improved options of using eclectically powered units that cook the legumes, in some cases, in less than a minute and on a continuous basis. “It cooks the material in 30 seconds, thereby making it faster even then the microwave,” Arnold revealed. Since Nigerians are increasingly consuming soybean in various processed forms, its processing opens up more opportunities at being gainfully employed in the soybean value chain. Soy products including the milk have found place in the industry as more food is being produced in the country. Extruders apply to production of vegetable oils from maize, groundnut cottonseed and other oil-bearing seeds and its by-products are ready raw materials for the animal feed industry. A notable stakeholder in the agribusiness sector and a driver of youth involvement in agriculture, Mr. Sotonye Anga of Community of Agricultural Stakeholders of Nigeria (CASON), raised the point that the equipment be made available and affordable so that more young people could be encouraged to move into farming. This move did not come without Anga’s insight into what impact the extruders could do in the value chain of various agro-commodities. For instance, apart from InstraPro’s Model 2000 series flagship, which cook, expand, sterilize and dehydrate a wide range of products, other models have been deployed in food and feed processing activities. Arnold said they can produce mechanically extracted oils for use in food and feed, adaptable for single barrel or double barrel use and can be equipped with steam pre conditioners to produce pet and aquatic feeds, shaped products and texturised proteins. Even a wider range of activities would perfectly fit job creation for youths in that the dry extruders, like is used in other parts of the world, are being utilized for oil extraction from palm fruit and kernel, co-extruding legumes and grains for food and feed applications. Others according to Mr. Michael David, InstaPro’s executive for Nigeria and West Africa, include recycling secondary resources of the poultry, swine, fish and marine industries, rice brain stabilisation, sterilisation of complete feed and manufacturing of speciesspecific ingredients. David said these extruders have found use in the nutrition intervention programmes around the world especially in the World Food Programmes (WFP) because of the ability to cook the product, gelatinise starch, deactivate anti-nutritional factors and

InstaPro’s Vice President, Arnold exchange pleasantries with Dr. Gloria Elemo, DG, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Lagos at the seminar recently reduce microbial loads, purely by heat of friction. Due to the ease with which oil is extracted from oil seeds, production of fat reduced flours are achieved and supply of health products for the Health food market is made possible. The characteristics of the extruders to produce textured vegetable proteins (meat-like chewy food products) and handling blends

of raw ingredients may have informed the request by Dr. Gloria Elemo, DirectorGeneral, Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) to seek a networking with InstraPro to develop further the institute’s innovative High Nutrient Density (HND) food products suitable for the military and perhaps even in the exploratory stage, space or space-mimicked power packed food capsules.

Seven New Crop Varieties Ready For Nigerian Farmers HAIRMAN, National C Varieties Release Committee (NVRC) Mr. Oladosu Awoyemi, has announced the release of seven new hybrid crop varieties to Nigerian farmers and seed companies. Awoyemi, who spoke in Ibadan at the 18th Meeting of National Committee on Naming, Registration and Release of Crop Varieties, Livestock/Fisheries said the seven were approved out of a total of 16 varieties nominated for registration and release. The seven crops are four maize varieties namely Sammaz 38, Sammaz 39, Ife maize Hyb 5 and Ife maize Hyb 6, two sorghum varieties namely PD86W15 and PD86W16 and one sweet potato variety named UMSP0/3. On maize, he explained that International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan led others in developing all the four varieties. Awoyemi said that the first variety, Summaz 38 was rec-

ommended for release based on its intermediate level of pro - vitamin A content, high yield, resistance to southern corn leaf blight disease. Awoyemi said the variety was also resistant to southern corn leaf spot, curvularia leaf spot and maize virus diseases. For the second maize, Summaz 39, he said it was recommended based on the same qualities but it had a higher level of pro - vitamin A content. Awoyemi said Ife maize Hyb5 was recommended based on its early maturity and Striga disease resistance. The Committee Chairman said Ife maize Hyb-6, was recommended based on the same quality but in addition, for its drought tolerance, and resistance to Striga, Corvularia, streak, leaf spot and bacteria blight. On the Sorghum varieties, he said PD86W15 developed by a private seed company, DuPont Pioneer Nigeria, was recommended based on its tolerance to Metsulfurum

Methyl which is the herbicide seed treatment which controls Striga disease. Awoyemi said it also had good stay green characteristic and small plant type adaptable to mechanization. He said the second variety of sorghum, PD87W16 also developed by Dupont Pioneer Nigeria   had same characteristics as P86W15. On the single sweet potato variety, UMSPO/13, introduced by National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, Awoyemi said it was   recommended for release based on its high carotene content, high yield and tolerance to sweet potato virus disease and weevils. Dr Sunday Aladele, the Acting Director of National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), Ibadan which is the Committee’s Secretariat observed that most institutions did not acknowledge the role of the Agency when publicising their registered and released crop varieties.

Oil Extraction From Seeds Opens Fresh Vista HE Federal Government’s Transformation T Agenda has been commended by Mr. Jeff Ekwegh, Managing Director, Bulk Products Limited, Lagos, particularly in Agriculture and Rural Development. Ekwegh said that the Government’s Agricultural Programmes would achieve food security for the country and increase exports. He said, that the programmes were in consonance with the efforts of the company towards improved Agricultural Technology in the nation. Ekwegh, said that Bulk Products Limited, is the sole representative in Nigeria of a German Company specialised in oil seed recovery technology. The Managing Director, said that the German Company - IBG MONFORTS OEKOTEC,

with over 50years experience in the technology of oil extraction from oil seed crops, noted that “its production units are used in the production of high quality cold pressed vegetable oils that retain their original colour and clarity in addition to their natural taste, aroma and ingredients”. Ekwegh, said that in the production of vegetable oils, extracted Palm Kernel Seeds, Groundnut, Soya Bean, Cashew nut, Coconut, Corn, Oil Bean seed, Melon, Olive etc etc., adding that the KOMET oil expellers - CA59G powered by a three phase motor and a small hand powered model CA59-1H are available. “They could work flawlessly under tropical conditions because they are sturdy, robust and easy to operate with minimal maintenance,” Ekwegh explained.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

Birthdays TEDOLA, Sir Michael, adO ministrator, politician, public relations expert, businessman and former executive governor of Lagos State will be 87 on Tuesday, July 16, 2013. He was born on July 16, 1926 at Odoragunsin, Epe Local Government Area of Lagos State. Educated at St. Mathias Primary School, Lafiaji and Holy Cross Primary School, both on Lagos Island. He attended Government College, Kaduna and later St. Leo’s College, Abeokuta. He later won a Scholarship to study Journalism at Regent Street, Polytechnic of Central London and graduated with a Diploma in June 1958. He started his working career as a teacher at his alma mater, St. Leo’s College, Abeokuta. On completion of his journalism training in London, he secured appointment as a News reporter at St. Pancras Chronicle. He continued his reportorial at The Guardian Newspaper, Manchester, England rising to the post of subeditor, Foreign News Desk. He later moved to The Times of London and served in the team of Hansard Editors in the British House of Commons in 1959. On arrival in Nigeria, he continued his professional journalism practice as Information Officer in the public service of the Western Nigeria Government from 1959-1961. While in the service, he was made the Editor of the Western Nigeria Illustration. In 1961, he veered into public relations and served as Public Relations Manager, Western Nigeria Television/Western Broadcasting Service, 1961-1964 and later Manager Public Affairs Division, Mobil Oil Group of Companies, 1964-1977. Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations; Chairman, Nigeria Press Club of Nigeria; member, British Institute of Public Relations, London. In his service to humanity, he initiated and has continued to fund the

Obaigbena

Otunyo

Michael Otedola University Scholarship Awards Scheme for the indigent indigenes of Epe Division and other parts of Lagos State. He was elected the ninth Governor of Lagos State on December 4, 1991 under National Republican Convention (NRC). He holds traditional title of Asiwaju of Odoragunsin.

tended Edo College, Benin City and Government College, Ughelli before proceeding to University of Benin, Benin City. He attended various professional, management and Graduate Schools of Business in United States, United Kingdom, South Africa and Nigeria. He started his career at Nigerian Observer in 1978 where he was a satirist, writer and cartoonist at various times. He later became coordinating editor of The Dawn monthly magazine. He left Nigeria for UK where he worked with advertising agency, NAL and as a media

OBAIGBENA, Nduka, artist, journalist, politician, businessman and publisher of Thisday Newspapers, Lagos will be 54 on Sunday, July 14, 2013. Born on July 14, 1959 in Ibadan, Oyo State, he hails from Delta State and at-

consultant with Michael Jarvis and Partners. In 1984, he became a special section representative, Newsweek magazine, New York and as the Nigerian Representative, Time magazine, New York, United States of America. In 1986, at the age of 26, he established a weekly new magazine, ThisWeek. In 1994, he was elected a member of the constitutional conference, which drafted the present Nigerian Constitution. In 1995, he founded Leaders and Company, publishers of ThisDay newspapers. He is a member of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria. OTUNYO, Engr. (Dr.) Amaziah Walter, university lecturer and hotel proprietor was 59 on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Born on July 3, 1954, he attended St. Peter Clavers College Aghalokpe, St. Georges Grammar School, Obionoma and Edo College, Benin City. He had his B.sc (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nigeria (1973-78); M.Sc Civil/Structural Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA (1982); Ph.D. Geot-

(L-R) Barr. Mike Essien, Board Member Books for Africa (BFA), Dr. Patrick J. Plonski, Executive Director of BFA, Ijeoma Arguba, Centre Manager, British Council PH, and Dr. Tex Wariboko, Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor and State Co-ordinator NEPAD at the flag off of the one million books project initiative by NEPAD Rivers State.

echnical Engineering from the Rivers State University of Science & Technology, Port Harcourt (1993). He worked as a Trainee Maintenance Engineer in Bendel Brewery Ltd., Benin City (1979-81). He was a pipe restraint design engineer in Bechtel Power Corporation, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA (1981-82). He was at various times an oil and gas engineer, project engineer and major project manager in Shell Petroleum Develop-

ment Company (Nig) Ltd., (1984-04). He is the owner of AMANDA Hotels Ltd in Port Harcourt. He was employed as a senior Lecturer in the Department of Civil/Environmental Engineering, University of Port Harcourt, (2007-01); member of the ancient Order of the Knight of St. John International, (KSJI). Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.

Compiled by Gbenga Akinfenwa

EVENTS • The 2013 Convention of the Council of Foursquare Men (CFM) will come up from Wednesday July 10 to Friday July 12, 2013 at the Foursquare City, Ajebo, Ogun State. The theme is “Empowered By Grace” (Genesis 41: 38-43, 1 Cor. 15: 9-10). It will feature Salvation, Healing & many more. Ministering are Rev. Felix Meduoye, General Overseer, Rev. Ikechukwu Ugbaja, National Secretary, Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria,

Pastor Sam Tukura, Founder and General Overseer, Global Fire Centre, Nigeria and other anointed men of God. •The 2013 Juvenile Harvest of St. John’s African Church, Arigbajo, Ogun State comes up on Sunday July 14, 2013 at the Church’s Auditorium, Lagos-Abeokuta road, Arigbajo, Ewekoro Local Government Area by 10am. Ministering is Ven. E.B.A Gbadebo.

Prince and Mrs. Temitope Ogunbanke cutting their wedding cake after their Holy solemnization held recently at Immanuel Anglican Church, Asi-Ibadan, Oyo State.

Director of Project Design Development (PDD), Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Dr. Patrick Irabor (right) presenting certificate of participation to an Armed Forces personnel at the closing ceremony of a training held by FIIRO…Thursday.

Children of the Holy Ghost Apostolic Church Mission, Lagos celebrating 2013 feast day of the Church…recently.

Marketing Manager, Onome Odili; Sales Director, Dimeji Osinguwa and Managing Director, Kwame Wiafe all of SC Johnson Wax during the First Draw of winners on the Scratch Your Way To Millions Promo for Baygon and Raid Insecticides in Lagos recently.

Special Guest of Honour, Senator Olorunimbe Mamora (left), and Mr. Femi Adesina, during the 2013 Lagos State Medical Guild Ordinary General meeting at LASUTH Auditorium, Ikeja, Lagos.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

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HEALTH HEALTH & YOUR MIND Mind And The Kingdom Of Heaven (7) By Babatunde Ayo-Vaughan

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Mothers at a community health forum

Mothers Combating Deformity, Childhood Diseases By Chijioke Iremeka

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HILDHOOD diseases, especially convulsion and polio have been identified as the major causes of deformity among Nigerian children. World Health Organisation (WHO) ranked Nigeria the 8th highest country with high rate of children mortality in the world. These deaths are as a result of exposure to disease causing microorganisms due to poor sanitisation and hygiene, mal-nutrition, poor management of sicknesses in children as well as unavailability of affordable medical health facilities. This was further compounded by the level of poverty sweeping across the length and breadth of the country, especially in the Lagos

sub-urban communities, like Tedo water side, Apese, Karamo, Baruwa, Olugolo, Bamisoro, Itedo, Gedegede, Oniru and Ikate, Lekki in Eti-Osa, Local Council, where a group of mothers embarked on rescue mission. Against this background, this group of wives and mothers under the auspices of the “The Wife,” a faith-based ministry has organised a specialised training for the mothers in these communities to educate them on how to manage sickness in their children and the ways to avoid child mortality. Mission ‘Rescue Our Children 2011’ being the initiative of ‘The Wife’ is geared towards reducing high rate of child mortality in Nigeria, which it tends to achieve, through training of wives and mothers in these com-

munities on good home environment, sanitation, hygiene, effects of pollution and prevention of attendant diseases to improve children’s optimal health and development. In line with this, ‘The Wife’ team of medical personnel and counsellors offered the women free medical services as well as counselling. The team also thought them the use of thermometer to determine the body temperature of their children, advising them to bath their children with cool water in case of high temperature before giving paracetamol. Also, free thermometers, clothings, footwears and mosquito treated nets donated by the First Lady of Lagos state, Mrs Abimbola Fashola were given out to all women that participated, while ad-

God As The Physician By Moji Solanke N an address on June 6, 1899, Mary Baker Eddy, a Idented renowned Christian healer, with an unprecerecord of success in spiritual healing, announced that ‘divine Love’, [a name she used to signify God], ‘is our only physician, and never loses a case’. She spoke from personal experience spanning over thirty years; and for another 10 years after she gave that address, until her passing in 1910, she continued to heal, and teach others to heal spiritually, by prayerfully understanding that God is the only physician. While many in Nigeria today acknowledge God as the Healer, with many hospitals stating on their doors, ‘We care, but God heals,’ yet choosing Him as the Physician gives a different dimension. It brings the issue of treatment much closer to the patient. It demands an expectation of something from God that is practical and measurable. Everyone would naturally choose to be treated by a physician that has a record of never losing a case, yet, the burning question is, ‘Do we dare trust God as our Physician?’ It is so much easier to accept God as Healer, and leave Him out of being the Physician on the case. It requires less self abnegation, spiritual discipline and travailing in prayer. Looking to a human being, either as a medical, religious or traditional physician shifts the responsibility of the outcome of a case, to who the five material senses assure the anxious patient, is tangible, and is therefore seemingly more dependable. Leaving the shadowy elements of the actual healing to the mysterious workings of the invisible God assuages the conscience, with the assur-

ance that faith has been given its fair due. But many accounts of healing declare otherwise. These accounts begin from the time of Christ Jesus and other earliest records of spiritual healing, to the numerous accounts of healing which Eddy recorded during her day, as well as healing continuing today around the world, based on Eddy’s system of spiritual healing, having God as the only Physician, Throughout all ages, including this age in which we live, there are infallible accounts of the ability of God to deliver men from danger, be it in the form of poison, wild beasts, fire, raging floods and despotic tyrannies. Surely, this same God can deliver from sickness. In order to experience spiritual healing, there must be a willingness to rely radically on the Great Physician who never loses a case. Faith must rise to the heights of spiritual understanding, revealing God as utterly reliable. Man must be acknowledged and accepted as a spiritual, rather than a condemned, materially mortal being. Human thought must begin to glimpse what it means to be the image and likeness – the reflection – of God. A patient entrusts the care and recovery of health to a physician. Eddy, through her various published writings, her practical work of spiritual healing and especially through the system of spiritual healing which she discovered and gave to the world in her textbook Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, offers the world a different and viable choice. She confidently insists in her book that there is no reason for anyone to doubt the power and willingness of God to govern man’s entire action [and this includes all the functions of the human body].  So, it is really not as farfetched as it may first seem, to trust the care and recovery of

vising them to ensure the use of water guard to treat their children’s drinking water if the water is not boiled in avoidance of diarrhoea – watery stool. According to the Chief Coordinator, ‘The Wife’ Dr. Nkem Okoro, when you train a woman you have trained the whole nation. The concerted effort of each wife in the effective discharge of duties in her marriage and family values will translate to a better society. She said, “We understand the great efforts of a mother in nursing a sick child and the extra burden of caring for a deformed child ravaged by childhood disease such as polio and the agony of losing a child. Mothers, as stakeholders in giving birth and raising children are very instrumental to keeping them alive.” It is very pathetic, she noted, that mothers sit and watch their children die helplessly in their numbers. “We owe our children immense duty to do all we can to help them live healthy and develop normally into adulthood. It is our duty to take the children for routine immunisation to effectively combat childhood diseases that bring about permanent deformity.” Okoro stated that mothers are the most important healthcare facilitators and influences to their children, adding that a child cannot take himself for immunisation except the mother does, but warns the mothers to work with only competent medical professionals for treatment of a sick child. “Mothers place crucial riles that complement that of the medical professionals since they spend more time with the children. They, therefore, have more insight into that the children’s state of health,” she added Speaking on the child’s care, a Consultant Paediatrician, Dr. Olaide Lesi, advised the mothers to be sensitive with the changes in the child’s body temperature. “When child’s body is hot and there is fever, then, it’s sign of infection not just malaria, and at this point, undress and bath the child with cool water before giving paracetamol.”

believe I had in the previous articles move this topic to a point where you could accept my notion that ‘heaven’ is best conceived as the storehouse of intelligence. The general idea of it in the minds of people is that it is an abode somewhere outside this world, and there are points in the scriptures to support this idea including statements from Jesus. Significantly enough however, it was Jesus Himself that made it clear in one of His statements that the kingdom of heaven is not something that you look for either here nor there, but that it is something within you. As I had said previously, it might be difficult to interprete the notion of ‘within you’ outside the fact that it is something that is part and parcel of your being and this could logically be conceived to be the core of your MIND. A human being is really nothing without his mind and almost certainly this truth might logically apply in various degrees to every creature that is part of creation. It could be said that there is something of the mechanism of the mind in nature that binds every creature together which operates the rule of intelligence that keeps nature in harmony and not in chaos. This is why the planets are not colliding. This is how all known cycles can be reasonably predicted in their rotations and functions including the coming and going of eclipses among other things of harmony in nature that also accommodates what everybody everywhere recognizes as the regular coming and going of day and night. What I am steadily trying to drive out bringing in apparently what is scientific explanation is to be able to establish the truth that the concept of heaven that over these ages has been given mystical and celestial connotation can actually have its true and functional meaning at the material or mundane level of interpretation which will clearly be unveiled as representing the MECHANISM OF THE MIND. It is for this reason that it has been said that HEAVEN in the functional context of its meaning ought to be regarded as the storehouse of intelligence. I had told you much earlier on that in healthy intellectual circles where they don’t usually talk about religion but where they truly have a healthy understanding of the nature of God, they know that the best way to perceive God devoid of religious connotations but in recognition of his immense powers and influence on everything is to see Him either as the UNIVERSAL MIND or SUPREME INTELLIGENCE and I believe I can state it without any apologies that this must be the exact way by which Jesus must have been perceiving God that enabled Him to make that thought provoking statement that birds of the air have no barn to store food and yet God feeds them, grasses in the field are toiling without any hassles because God is equally in control of their needs He wondered as to why it is man that is failing to connect with God in this respect. He noted however that it is because man is of little faith. He then went on to say that man should seek first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness and everything that he needs will be given to him. What this statement implies is that the lower creatures mentioned were already partaking in the functions of the kingdom of heaven that is why God could take care of their needs and apparently there is a level of faith exhibited by these creatures. Jesus did not associate the faith of these creatures to any religion but the nature of their faith connects them firmly to God. This may suggest that in the final analysis it may not be religion that man needs to get to God but the understanding of faith and you will come to appreciate why indeed Jesus was a master psychologist. This is because scientific psychology will explain faith to you. Babatunde Ayo-vaughan Psychologist


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CITYFILE From Charles Okolo OU may have heard about this place (I shall reveal it Y shortly). When next you are in Warri, ensure that you are taken through it. This place is the kernel of many jokes by comedians, who often have something interesting to say about Warri. This place is less than a kilometre stretch but remains a major gateway into Warri city. A drive or walk through this point in Warri evokes different kinds of emotions for different persons. For some it is often eventful and others may see it as amusing.   For many people, Enerhen Junction (at last!) represents the bustling epicentre of Warri, through which waves of people must traverse daily in carrying out their businesses. It is also a hub of business activities where several financial and corporate institutions have set up shop, creating room for employment to hundreds of people in Warri metropolis.  But what has attracted comments most about Enerhen Junction is the low level criminality that pervaded the area until recently. A few years ago a national newspaper identified Enerhen Junction as one of the unsafe areas in Nigeria. No doubt, the researcher had in mind the rowdiness that cloaked a subtle but brutish tendency for survival. It was a congregation of small time hotheaded young men who seem bent on surviving by means other than legal. Some, mainly destitute, made Enerhen Junction their home, and to continue their stay, they must keep an unwritten code of silence; they may see an evil but are not under any obligation to warn or speak.   Without law and order Enerhen Junction became a very stressful place to encounter. Its annoying traffic congestion adds to the frustration of many road users. Indeed, you must brace up to pass through the road or seek an alternative route to your destination. Bus and taxi drivers park, pick and drop passengers without a care about other road users; their strident voices inviting passengers to board; anxious and sometimes angry impatient drivers honking their horn; vehicles trying to out- manoeuvre one another as they meander through the junction all add to the congestion that often times makes Enerhen Junction seem suffocating. In the past three months, however, there is a transformation

Returning Warri To Its Past Glory Citizen’s Write taking place at Enerhen Junction. Under the Delta State Governments Urban Renewal Scheme, the once notorious junction has taken a new shape. The junction improvement scheme stands out. It is now a beautiful imprint on the map of Delta State and clearly stamps Warri as a different metropolis that is after all habitable. When next you head to the Internet to google Warri, you will see the new Enerhen Junction as an interesting sight to behold. If the picture of Warri Google serves you is real time, you will see walkways, side roads, bus stops and service lanes. You will see also that a number of interesting furniture would have been carefully planted to create an interesting ambience; you will also observe that there would be no room for makeshift structures used by street urchins to launch guerrilla attacks on peace loving, hardworking citizens on their way to or from work. From Google map, you should see a number of plants strategically placed to subtly teach the value of incorporating greenery in the environment. Enerhen Junction, in its new look, can no longer be a place for the destitute to make their homes; it will no longer accommodate pickpockets or those who forcefully disposes others of their valuables in full glare. Those women who roast corn and plantain would have to ply their trade elsewhere as there can be no room for them in the new Enerhen Junction. Imagine Enerhen Junction without the usual chaotic and terrifying traffic jam. That is what the improvement of the axis would ultimately achieve, as soon as bus and taxi drivers begin to use the side roads and bus stops. Imagine also that you alight from a vehicle and you are embraced not only by the view in sight but also by the pedestrian

walkways that take you to any bus stop or the roads linked to Enerhen Junction. Road users in Warri will no longer have to inhale noxious fumes from vehicles trapped in an annoying traffic; the crazy honking of horns with its attendant noise pollution would be curbed and traversing the area would certainly be a pleasurable journey. The junction improvement is indeed a garland fitting for Warri metropolis. When the streetlights come up in Enerhen Junction, at night, it will provide road users with needed sense of security in what used to be a notoriously unsafe axis. Like the dew melts at the warmth of sunlight, no one needs to tell traders who display their wares into the road or on walkways that the dawn of a new era has come, because to eat an egg, you must crack the shell, and where necessary, garnish it.  No longer will traders display wares in what would now become one of the most beautiful spots in Warri metropolis, as the city takes a more urban shape. It is heartening to learn that Governor Uduaghan, while inspecting the Enerhen Junction improvement project, recently, hinted that more road junctions in the city would wear a similar bright new face. Whatever is done to bring glory to Warri and prepare it for the future is apparently welcome. Passing through the new Enerhen Junction should make the people of Delta State proud that of the transformation. The dress rehearsal of Enerhen Junction is still ongoing and people are already visualising the shape it will take when fully completed. To many, a marvellous thing is unfolding in their eyes, which I believe is kudos to Governor Uduaghan. I want to urge him to do more to bring back the old glory of Warri; not only in aesthetics but also in other infrastructure, and the commercial revival of the oil city. From what I have seen of Enerhen Junction, I am confident that with commitment and focus, it is possible to reposition Warri. Okolo is a resident of Warri, Delta State.

School Commissions Facility, As Expert Warns On Collapsed Buildings By Anthony Chidubem Nwachukwu HE board and management of Our Saviour’s School, EbutteT Metta, Lagos, have commissioned the school’s two-storey ‘Diamond’ building, borehole and water treatment plant, built by

Managing Director, Citibank Nigeria Limited, Umar Hafeez (left) and Regional Coordinator of the Department for International Development (DFID), Dr. Sina Fagbenro-Byron at the commissioning of Ikoyi Primary/Nursery School, renovated by the two organisations… recently.

Classroom Block Commissioned At Ikoyi School By Geoff Iyatse EGIONAL Coordinator of the Department for International Development (DFID), Dr. Sina Fagbenro-Byron, has called for improved working relationship between business organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on execution of corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. Fagbenro-Byron said this remains the most effective means CSR programmes could achieve impact. He made the observation at the commissioning of a classroom block, renovated by Citibank Nigeria Limited, in collaboration with DFID at Ikoyi Nursery/ Primary School, Lagos, during the recent Global Community Day. The bank provided funding for the renovation and establishment of a computer room, while DFID gave technical assistance. The DFID coordinator said the support would have gone to a less needy school had Citibank decided to execute the project alone. He noted that the bank’s partnership with DFID led to the selection of the school, which had been in a state of disrepair for years. “While many organisations are willing to contribute to their host community,” he noted, “their support go to the wrong place because they don’t have deep knowledge about community development, since it is not their core mandate. But when they partner development organisations and NGOs who are mainly into the kind of projects they want to execute, they get

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better result. This is the way to go.” Fagbenro-Byron charged corporate organisations in Nigeria to factor CSR programmes into their yearly budget and decide what percentage of their profit they wish to give to host communities through humanitarian projects. He noted that such bold decision would go a long way in helping the majority to overcome poverty and distress caused by poor infrastructure. Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Omar Hafeez, said the gesture was part of its contribution to the development of the country’s educational system. Noting that the effort would be sustained, he promised that the bank would identify other public institutions that need support. Besides, Hafeez said that the bank decided to chose public schools as part of the day’s celebration to show that such institutions need support and assistant from corporate organisations. He said the bank’s employees, family and friends under the platform of Citi Bank Volunteers around the world use the Global Community Day to reinforce the company’s commitment to improving communities. “Volunteerism is a central part of Citi employee experience, as they regularly engage in community service year-round. Global Community Day spotlights and reinforces a shared commitment … to collaborate and dedicate time and expertise to local community needs,” he said.

Bulk Construction Company Limited. Speaking at the commissioning, the school’s Chairman, Board of Management, Mr. Tom Ogboi, said the facilities were an expansion on the scope of “teaching and learning, delivery systems and technology, which were not envisaged at the conceptual stage.” Other facilities include eight classrooms with interactive white boards, library, language research centre, office accommodation, and toilets on every floor, among others. Ogboi said the borehole and water treatment plant were provided to ensure safe and clean drinking water for the school and its host community, the Nigerian Railway Corporation. The Chairman of Bulk Construction Company Ltd., Agunze Chibueze Ikokwu, explained, after the commissioning, that natural causes, like flood, earthquake, landslide; and human factors contribute to the collapse of buildings. Ikokwu, who fielded questions on the recent collapse of buildings across the country, condemned criminal profiteering by construction agents and dealers in building materials, and folly on the part of owners, who seek cheap alternatives. He said: “We always advocate that people get the design right, go to architects for the plan, structural engineers for input, electrical and mechanical engineers, as well as quantity surveyors for costing. If affordable, get qualified persons to construct, but if not, drop it and build up your cash adequacy, not cut corners, because in the case of buildings, unfortunately, it can cost lives.” He warned against constructing without building approval. He lamented that prospective tenants have become vulnerable to exploitation by people who expand aging buildings without approval from relevant authorities and adequate structural adjustments.

Building Guild Inspects Lagos Material Lab By Kayla Grage HE Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) has joined T forces with the Lagos State Material Laboratory (LSML) in its anti building collapse campaign. At a forum organised by the guild, Managing Consultant of LSML, Mr. Famakin Abel Shola, briefed participants on its activities at the laboratory. He disclosed that various tests are carried out on cement, water, granite, asphalt, bitumen and other materials. Shola said much of the patronage they get come from people outside Lagos state, blaming the situation on ignorance. Prof. Ebenezer Meshida, one of the technical partners at the laboratory, emphasised the need for professionals to synergise and work towards achieving a common goal. LSMTL Director, Adewale Adebowale, said the problem of building collapse and defects would be addressed at a forthcoming forum. He urged builders to avoid patronising quacks and explore the alternative of buying houses. BCPG National Official, Rotimi Ikugbayigbe, described the patnership as a necessary antidote against building collapse in Lagos State.


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POLITICS

ANAMBRA GOVERNORSHIP: Intrigues And Controversies Over Zoning, consensus arrangement From Leo Sobechi, who was in Awka CTIVITIES are on the upward swing in A Anambra State as the governorship poll approaches. There are serious indications that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would soon release its guidelines and timeline for the election, expected to hold around November ending, going by the 2010 Electoral Act. It was perhaps based on the expectation of the imminent release of the guidelines that the state headquarters of the two front running political parties, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Labour Party (LP) witnessed a frenzy of activities recently. Erstwhile Chief Executive Officer of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah, formally joined the LP to ventilate his governorship aspiration. Ubah’s entry into LP was the subject of intense speculations, such that the state chapter of the party had to hold its executive committee (SEC), meeting to erase suspicions that some big guns in the party had reserved the governorship ticket for a prominent member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from Anambra State. Sources said the suspicion was very deepseated that Ubah had to approach the leadership of the party to demand assurance that the ticket was still open.   During the SEC meeting held at the LP state Secretariat in Udoka Housing Estate, both the state chairman, Engineer Sam Osita Oraegbunam and the minority whip of the State Assembly, Mr. Emeka Anowu, tried to rationalise the meeting, dismissing insinuations that the party was playing the scripts of some PDP stalwarts. They said the “State Executive Committee (SEC), meeting was called to clarify various issues regarding the forthcoming governorship election in the state.” In separate interviews with The Guardian, the two stakeholders disclosed that LP decided to summon the SEC meeting to assure party faithful that no unilateral decision has been taken by the party on who should fly the party’s flag in the governorship election, adding that suggestions that Senator Andy Uba, Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah and Professor Chukwuma Soludo, have been given the green light to run on LP platform was false. Maintaining that the various stories being peddled by some interest groups about the true state of things in Anambra State chapter of LP could create crisis of confidence in the party, Mr. Oraegbunam declared that the SEC meeting became a better forum to lay the facts on the table. He added that Anambra LP has resolved that internal democracy, through free and fair primary election, would drive the selection of the governorship flag bearer of the party. He disclosed that though the former Chief Executive Officer of capital Oil, Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah, has reached out to the party, he was asked to register his membership of the party. On how his executive committee could react to a possible 3 a.m call from Aso Rock requesting a preferential treatment for any of the three big aspirants currently angling for the LP ticket, Oraegbunam said: “We have agreed that nobody except members of the state chapter of the party should dictate to us who the governorship candidate for LP in Anambra should be. Even at that, if Senator Andy Uba, Professor Chukwuma Soludo and Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah fulfill the membership requirements of the party, it would still be the ultimate right of the party stalwarts to know which among them has the best plans for Anambra State and have the passion to take governance of the state to the next level.” Anowu, who is also the member representing Ihiala 1 constituency, noted that there was nothing unusual about the SEC meeting, pointing out however, that though there

were some little issues with the way the party was run in the past, “the feelings in the party now is that things must be done according to the rules and regulations of the party.” He said the ‘beautiful bride’ status of Anambra LP could be traced to the democratic openness demonstrated by the party under Mr. Oraegbunam, declaring that his insistence that all those jostling to contest the governorship election on the party’s platform must join the party before seeking its flag, was to ensure that the Labour Party manifesto would be implemented when the government was formed. So, penultimate week, Ubah went to his Otolo Nnewi ward, filled and returned his membership form. He said: “I have done what I was told to do and I am ready to offer Anambra people genuine leadership and service.” Not prepared to be outshone by its closest rival, LP, the APGA State Secretariat near the Government House, Awka, played host to some of the many aspirants lining up to grab its flag. First to call at the APGA office was the Secretary to Anambra State Government (SSG) Mr. Oseloka H. Obaze. Accompanied by four of his close friends, Obaze in a brief note, told the APGA State Executives: “In furtherance to my personal commitment to public service and having been encouraged by well-meaning Anambrarians and close associates, following due diligence and introspection, I have this week commenced formal exploratory talks on my possible candidacy for the governorship of Anambra State in 2014. I am consulting with the state leaders, APGA State Executives and all key stakeholders, particularly those in Anambra North Senatorial zone. In the weeks ahead, I will provide further details.”  Next in line the same week was Barrister Chinedu Francis Idigo. The lawyer distributed glossy leaflets on which he outlined his “Focal governance goals.” Relying on that medium he told the APGA chieftains about his five star cardinal programmes. But while the state officials of APGA were wondering which among the gladiators could actually win the election for the party if selected, a prominent aspirant from the same North Senatorial Zone, Dr. Chike Obidigbo, stormed the state party headquarters with much fanfare. Escorted by a coterie of drumming and dancing supporters and some notable figures like the former SSG, Ichie Godfrey Ezeaku and popular Nollywood actor, Pete Edochie, Obidigbo said he was coming for the second time to meet with the State Working Committee members. Reading from a prepared speech titled, “At Times like This: A call for unity and consolidation,” Obidigbo praised former governors of the state, pointing out that “in no distant time, Anambra people would be challenged to elect another leader in the position of governor to pilot the affairs of the state.  Explaining why he wanted to be Governor of Anambra State, the industrialist-turned politician stated: “My desire to contest and become the next Governor is not motivated by any selfish interests. I have looked at the present socio-economic challenges of Anambra State and feel sufficiently prepared and ready to help solve the problems. More than anything else, I have the humble disposition that is required to serve Anambra people and continue from where Governor Peter Obi would stop. It is only those who do not appreciate good things that would write off the solid foundations for statecraft and order, which the Governor has laid. Peter Obi has by his personal disposition provided the enabling environment for Anam-

bra citizens to be the best they can be without being a maximum ruler. The peace we enjoy is crucial to the sheer industry and business ingenuity of our people”. The aspirant explained that he chose to run for the governorship on APGA platform mainly because “APGA presents a veritable show glass of the Igbo spirit of enterprise and brotherly love; APGA is a platform that wakes up our collective determination as a people to challenge our limitations and Anowu persecutions”. He urged party leaders to work towards unity and continue doing those things that mark Anambrarians out as a great people. State chairman of APGA, Mr. Egwuoyibo Okoye, told the aspirant that as members of the SWC, they would be impartial towards the aspirants, pointing out that “our neutrality is only towards aspirants from Anambra North Senatorial Zone” since according to him, any other aspirant would be told that the governorship had been zoned there. Okoye reminded Obidigbo of the challenges of politics, stressing that since there is the possibility that politics would eat into his time, he should strive to strike a balance between his business and his aspiration so that he may not have the need to lay off workers. Frontline Nollywood actor, Edochie told the audience that being the first time he was entering the headquarters of a political party, the integrity and reputation he has earned are not in danger by his support for Obidigbo, stressing that Obidigbo has Oraegbunam shown over the years that he is a man of his words. Edochie declared that the issue of zoning was central to the 2014 governorship, pointing out that fairness and equity demands that it should go to Anambra North Senatorial zone.     But at a reception organised for political office holders from Anambra Senatorial zone, the duo of Senator Chris Ngige and Hon. Mrs. Uche Ekwunife took up the issue of zoning, saying that it lacks foundation. Ngige went down memory lane reeling out all those that have held high political office from the Zone, including Rt. Hon. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ukpabi Asika, stressing that at no point did citizens of the state come together to talk about zoning. Though he did not remember any Anambra citizen from the North that has held the office of state governor, the Senator recalled that other Senators were urged to step down so that the late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo should become the Senate president. On her part, Iyom Ekwunife decried the importation of zoning into Anambra State. Ngige In an interview with The Guardian, the member of the House of Representatives had declared: “There is no zoning arrangement in Anambra State and not even within our party; so there is no zoning of the governorship to anywhere in particular for the 2014 governorship election.  I have participated actively in the politics of the state since 2007. There has never been a time when the elders, stakeholders, opinion leaders and leaders of thought sat down to discuss zoning and how it would be implemented.  If there was anything like that I would have been in the know.” She contended that in every election including the one that brought in the incumbent governor, candidates from every zone had contested and the people decided by their ballots.  “It is therefore improper for anyone or a clique to want to foist zoning on the state at this time,” she added. Weighing in on the zoning controversy, national vice chairman of Labour Party, (Southeast) chief Callistus Uju Okafor, told

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Ekwunife


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

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POLITICS

Wanted: A New And Vibrant NDDC Board By Aloysius Omo ITH a few weeks left in the life of the present Board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and in the midst of massive fraud allegations against the outgoing Board, the race for the top positions in the interventionist agency has gained momentum, with indications that the Presidency may prefer to appoint Board members from a mixed bag of knowledgeable politicians and technocrats, while the chief executive and executive directors may be recruited from within the NDDC itself. The decision to look inward for the a new chief executive and perhaps executive directors may stem from the desire by the Presidency to engage experienced and effective managerial hands that properly understand the complexity of the assignment and would be able to mobilise staff and materials quickly to accomplish the long awaited transformation of the Niger Delta Region. The wish of the Presidency, according to our sources, is to replicate other government agencies such as the NNPC, where the management team is usually groomed and recruited from within. If this plan comes to pass, it would be the first time in the life of the 12 year-old agency, that the chief executive would be an existing staff of the Commission. “This would ensure the appointment of an MD who would hit the ground and run, rather than a low capacity outsider, as in recent cases, who would sometimes take more than a year to go through the learning curve and in the process waste precious time on petty infighting that detract from the mandate of the agency,” a source said. In addition, the source said the persistent lack of focus, reckless award of contracts, widespread abandonment of projects, ignorance of the regional master plan and pervasive corruption that have characterized recent leadership of the NDDC irk the Presidency. The next chairman of the Board is expected to be appointed from Cross River State, while the MD will be appointed from Akwa Ibom State. So far, three names are making the rounds as possible appointees as chairman of the Board. They are Ukam Edodi, a seasoned administrator and retired director in NDDC; Bassey Ekefre, another seasoned administrator, who was President Jonathan’s boss some years ago in the defunct OMPADEC; Ekpo Okon, a former board member of NDDC and one-time chairman of PDP in Cross River State and Imaobong Inyang, the incumbent commissioner representing Akwa Ibom on the Board of NDDC. For the post of MD/CEO, ten candidates are said to have expressed interest in the top job. They include Edikan Eshett, the incumbent Executive Director, Projects; Prof. Richard King, a close aide of President Jonathan and member of the Presidential Monitoring Committee (PMC) on NDDC; Etido Inyang, a close aide of Governor Godswill Akpabio, who is currently a Special Adviser to the Governor on Technical Matters; and whose elder brother, Sam Inyang, was a board member of NDDC for four years. Others frequently mentioned for the top job are; Bassey Dan-Abia, a former commissioner and acting chairman of the NDDC, who is currently in the cabinet of Governor Akpabio; Mr. Anietie Usen, multiple award winning journalist, who has headed various departments of the NDDC since 2002 and now serves as the Director in charge of Abia State; Princewill Ekanem, a medical doctor who is now the director

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in charge of Bayelsa State; and Hon. Ndueso Essien, the former minister of Housing during the Yar’Adua administration. Should the President prefer a civil servant and an insider in the Commisssion, as being speculated, the focus may turn mainly to Dr. Ekanem and Mr. Usen. Harvard and Oxford trained, Usen began his journalism career in Punch Newspapers, before he joined Newswatch magazine as a pioneer reporter where he rose to become the General Editor before he went ahead to work for the London-based Africa Today magazine, as West African Regional Editor. He was also in the Board of Editors of Thisday Newspapers. His online profile also shows

that he was for five years the General Manager/CEO of Akwa Ibom Newspaper Corporation and Special Assistant to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State in the 90’s. On the other hand, Dr. Ekanem was in private medical practice before he joined NDDC, first as Special Assistant to the EDP, before he converted into a civil servant status. He holds several degrees outside medicine and was until recently the director in charge of Youths, Sports, Culture and Women Affairs. The source said both would however; have to convince Governor Akpabio of their complete loyalty before he nominates them for the appointment by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Jonathan

Intrigues, Zoning Controversies In Anambra CONTINUED FROM PAGE 51

ostensibly release the result. But that was not to be because word filtered in that the chairman of the traditional rulers from the zone, Igwe Roland Odegbo, lobbied members to support the aspirant that came tops, who is said to hail from the same local council as him. Two versions of the story made the rounds in Onitsha and environs. One version had it that seeing that his gambit of returning Mr. Oseloka Obaze through the consensus arrangement failed, Governor Peter Obi’s agents worked for the disruption of the consensus plan by alleging inducement against Igwe Odegbo. The other version had it that the SSG, Obaze, who was second to the last to meet with the traditional rulers and PGs, raised a point that other aspirants begun campaigns before the guidelines and that in the event of anyWar up North; collapse of consensus? body being named the consensus candiOT deterred by the voices of dissent date, nothing stops others from petitioning against zoning of the governorship to their district, leaders from the zone contin- INEC to sanction the candidate. However, though the committee decided ued in their search to build consensus around a credible aspirant from their area. not to announce any name, it was clear that A committee was set up to screen the aspi- a cloud of mutual suspicion has crept into the arrangement. Some elements from the rants with a view to ascertaining the North raised accusing fingers in the direcweighted points of capability to win the tion of Ifeanyi Ubah, alleging that his agents election. When the committee finished its may have penetrated the committee to work, it arranged the candidates in their order of voter appeal and handed the sealed delay the laudable consensus arrangement document to the Anambra North Senatorial to thin down the number of aspirants from the zone. Council of Traditional Rulers. Whatever be the case, two questions were Last Friday but one, the traditional rulers left dangling over the consensus: Is Goverand Presidents-General from the various nor Peter Obi sincere that in zoning the govtowns in the zone gathered at the Legislative Chamber of Onitsha local council secre- ernorship to Anambra North he does not have a favoured person in mind? Secondly, tariat to interact with the aspirants and The Guardian that power is never negotiated or given free of charge. While asking rhetorically whether “Anambrarians at any time sat down to zone governorship?” Okafor asserted:  “This zoning is Peter Obi’s mentality, it is his idea. If Peter Obi’s people believe in zoning what are the likes of Senator Ngige and Ekwunife doing on the field campaigning? Ngige took three years, Peter Obi now has eight years making it eleven years and Ngige from the same senatorial zone is still coming out to contest. Actually I don’t believe in zoning because nobody gives power. If Anambra North believes it is their turn let them bring out a credible candidate to the field and fight, if he wins, so be it!”

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has consensus ever worked and if so, is the North’s consensus option to zero down on candidates from which platform? Efforts to reach the committee chairman, Igwe Odegbo, for comments failed as he said through an aide that what they were doing does not require media publicity. At the staircase of the Onitsha Legislative chamber building, two men were overhead grumbling to the effect that if Governor Obi brings a candidate from Ogbaru, he would fail. Game changer in the offing? EANWHILE, as APGA and LP engage themselves in a show of muscle, there were hush-hush suggestions that stalwarts of PDP are sustaining their engagements with powerful deep pockets, to convince those that contested the 2010 governorship to withdraw from the 2014 race. This is just as most of the founding fathers and financiers of the party in Anambra were said to be buying into the zoning mantra. A source in Anambra PDP disclosed that; “part of the arguments being bandied by the PDP bigwigs to favour zoning was the discovery of oil in Anambra North. These moguls allege that there is the likelihood that if the zone does not produce the next governor, the state’s investments in oil could be shrunken. “Some of these financiers are afraid that militancy could rise from the area to endanger their investments. I can tell you that PDP was on the verge of adopting a consensus candidate to ensure that the former

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governorship aspirants on the party’s platform did run again,” he confided in The Guardian. As if to give credence to the scheming for a consensus candidate, what some youths termed a game changer happened at the State Secretariat of PDP. One Ugochukwu Okeke waltzed his way into Awka and drew attention to the possibility of PDP being the party to beat in the governorship. Okeke, who also hails from Anambra North, announced his intention to contest the governorship on the PDP ticket. He said he was coming to give politics a new lease, pointing out that the era of empty promises is gone. “This is the age of the youth and we have come to take what belongs to us; we have come to offer leadership,” he declared. But if the election were held today, the opposition would discover that the laugh is on them. While Ifeanyi Ubah’s entry could be said to have divided opposition, analysis of the possible voter segmentation would reveal that PDP might be the ultimate beneficiary, because as Ubah collects a chunk of the votes from those opposed to Governor Obi, it would be left to be seen how APGA could retain the number that voted for Obi in 2010. Moreover, it is evident that the sum total of votes recorded in favour of Professor Chukwuma Soludo, Dr. Andy Uba and Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu was greater than that 0of Obi. Demographics would indeed factor into the Anambra 2014 governorship and that is where the North is game. But it is still a long way to the field of actual play. 


TheGuardian

Sunday, July 7, 2013 53

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion The Youth Of Nigeria AM embarrassed that on his second visit to Africa, United States President Barack Obama again refused to set foot on Nigerian soil. Those who are in the know say Nigeria campaigned extremely hard to be one of Mr. Obama’s stops. His choice of respectable destinations were Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania Actually, he made it all quite clear during his first visit four years ago when he said at the Ghana parliament he favoured responsible, strong and sustainable democratic governments. “This is about more than holding elections — it’s also about what happens between them,” he noted. “Repression takes many forms, and too many nations are plagued by problems that condemn their people to poverty. No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought off by drug traffickers. No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the Port Authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end.” He did not, but could also have said: “No country is going to make progress when its leader asserts he does not give a damn about personal probity, and in effect, about the content of his own character. “No business wants to invest in a place where the government confers the nation’s highest honours, in broad daylight, upon the most dishonourable thieves or appoints them to high office.

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“No self-respecting person wants to live in a society where transparency and accountability may be spelling challenges for the public, but not performance issues for public servants. “No country is going to make progress when the hallways and lobbies of the executive and the legislature look more like the Main Wing of a maximum security prison than the revered chambers of men and women trusted with power. “No business wants to invest in a country where Mr. President is afraid to tell the First Lady that she is not Mrs. President; and that the law does not provide public resources in his name for rabble-rousing of her own definition. “No person wants to live in a society where governors forget they are not visiting sovereigns who come once in a while to pick up cheques, but are supposed to live and work in their States. “No country is going to make progress when governance is defined as Wednesday morning contract distribution to friends and cronies, and the rest of the week to conspicuous consumption and travel. “No self-respecting person wants to live in a country where the leadership grades its own performance and brags about how well it is doing.” Mr. Obama did not say those things, but they were all implied in his call for change in Africa, especially in Nigeria. Four years later, the danger is not simply that things have worsened; it is that Nigerians are being told they have never had it so good. Obama did not say those things, but the United States has not fundamentally got around to helping Nigeria, as opposed to the government of Nigeria, either. While the

United Kingdom has taken a proactive legal role in challenging corruption and atrocious governance in Nigeria, the United States does not seem uncomfortable when some of Nigeria’s greatest beneficiaries from bad governance and corruption come shopping. But Obama did say something, especially significant in 2009: The triumph of the future, he said, would be won by the youth. “You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions that serve the people,” he told them. He assured African youth they can accomplish a lot if they took responsibility for their future. “It won’t be easy,” he warned. “It will take time and effort.” On the part of the US, he said, “What we will do is increase assistance for responsible individuals and institutions, with a focus on supporting good governance — on parliaments, which check abuses of power and ensure that opposition voices are heard; on the rule of law, which ensures the equal administration of justice; on civic participation, so that young people get involved; and on concrete solutions to corruption like forensic accounting, automating services, strengthening hotlines, and protecting whistle-blowers to advance transparency and accountability.” Four years later, while Nigeria rots, the US has not delivered on this critical promise or outlined how it is to be implemented. Partly as a result, while countries like Ghana and Tanzania can at least speak in terms of hope, Nigeria is hurtling in the reverse direction, overrun by the most insipid and cynical government in 53 years. It is no surprise that, with mediocrity on the ascendancy, incompetence a state value and

sonala.olumhense@gmail.com

political promises casually ignored, only the greediest investors come to Nigeria. We guarantee neither life nor limb. We are committed to neither water nor clean air. Today’s story is the same as that of yesterday. It is no surprise that the youth of Nigeria is surviving on crumbs and leftovers, serving as drivers or thugs, or in kidnapping and assorted crime. Mostly, Nigerian youth is idle, not because it is lazy, but because it lacks opportunity. Governance is a treasure, just as unemployment does not matter. But it is not by coincidence that Jessica Matthews, co-inventor of the soccket, the amazing electricity-generating soccer ball that was presented to Obama in Tanzania last week, is a Nigerian-American. In Nigeria, she might have been selling “pure water” in traffic, as are thousands of our educationally-orphaned kids. The lesson is simple: while the US can achieve a lot in other parts of Africa, unless change takes root in Nigeria, change will not come to Africa. And no change will come to Nigeria unless we liberate and empower its youth. That is why it is to the youth of Nigeria that SOS is targeted, and dedicated.

The Four Horsemen By Tunji Lardner MUST confess that I typically ignore the insincere and outright mendacious rant that issues forth like effluence from the Federal House of Representatives. However this morning, seating in traffic and listening to the radio, I was somewhat startled by the media report that the Speaker of the House, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, had reportedly warned that a revolution was afoot in Nigeria. I cocked my ear, turned up the volume and listen more intently to this unusual pronouncement from a key member of the ruling elite. Had I missed the memo, worse still, I found myself in total agreement with an honourable member of the house. Yikes! The apocalypse is upon us! I later went online to track down the story, and found this unedited and select excerpt in the Osun Defender. “The Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, has said a revolution is due in Nigeria because of endemic corruption in the country, coupled with the general disaffection of the people with the ruling elite. He said the kind of conditions that must subsist in order for any talk of revolution to be taken seriously were widely evident. He said, “The most compelling reasons for revolution throughout the ages were injustice, crushing poverty, marginalisation, rampant corruption, lawlessness, joblessness, and general disaffection with the ruling elite. You will agree with me that these describe conditions in our nation now, to a very large degree.” Tambuwal, who was represented by the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, said over the years, successive governments made efforts to deal with this menace, but to no avail. That these conditions exist is well known to all persons in authority but the results of these successive efforts have failed to yield the desired results. This therefore is the justification for the radical change from the present approach to a revolutionary one,” he stressed. A cynical political statement to bolster his political ambition I thought, and besides ‘he’ didn’t actually say these words himself, but through the proxy of someone else ostensibly delivering his speech. Nonetheless, the stark import of his warning, especially against the backdrop of the ongoing events in Egypt, must make politicians like him, shift uneasily in their pampered seats as public disaffection grows with the ruling elite. Does the diarchy in Egypt portend a plausible scenario for Nigeria? The speaker’s pity warning, spelling out in clear terms that the conditions for a ‘revolution’ exists must be taken very seriously, especially because we all have seen a glimpse of ‘people power’ during the fuel subsidy crisis very early last year. That might have been perhaps a foretaste of what the speaker believes is imminent. To recall and remember that period, the sudden announcement

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that overnight doubled the pump price of petrol happened against the immediate backdrop of a violent radical Muslim insurgency that a week before on Christmas day, near Abuja, bombed a church full of yuletide worshippers, killing scores, injuring hundreds, sowing nation-wide fear, panic and deeply unsettling the collective sense of nationhood. In the unfolding aftermath, young Nigerians in the thousands spontaneously took to the streets nationwide in protest against the increase in fuel prices, the crux of their complaints very rapidly evolved to a demand for anti corruption prosecution for the venal ruling elite and good governance. While the demonstrations were nominally all under the negotiating banner of the Nigeria Labour Congress (some might argue ultimately hijacked by the NLC), the teeming youths on the streets drew their energy and inspiration from Egypt’s Tahir square and the digital social medial strategy of the Arab Spring. A year and a half later, we must acknowledge a new phase of political awareness and civic empowerment. Nigeria’s Facebook generation are behind the scenes organizing themselves into new civic groups that are using both on and offline strategies to create new constituencies and communities to challenge the pervasive corruption and incompetence of their government. There is proof of a growing and in some instances angry debate about the principles and practice of good governance-or lack thereof- in Nigeria, a sure sign the public consciousness has quickly shifted to the business of holding government and elected officials accountable for their actions. The fact that the speaker acknowledges that the ruling class is aware of this important shift is a sign that the revolutionary spirit is trickling up to the middle class, whose growing understanding of their dwindling financial fortunes and their increasingly uncertain future will be the spark that ignites the kindling. Politicians intuitively know that revolutions typically are started and sustained not by the legitimate anger of the socalled ‘masses,’ but by the unmet demands of the rising expectations of the middle class. If you fail to deliver the public goods and services over a long period of time, there will be a push back by a coterie of strange bedfellows; sophisticated middle class urbanites joining forces with the urban poor and then spreading the protests nationwide through the ‘poverty tribe’the seventy percent of Nigerians under the age of thirty and the seventy percent of Nigerians who remain poor and destitute. As is clear to all, Nigeria is again at a dangerous crossroad, in which latent and hitherto buried problems and historical fault lines seem to be cracking to the top, all at the same time. While before now, it could be dismissed as the usual hiccups that now and again punctuate Nigeria’s unsteady crawl to nationhood; this time, all are in agreement that something out of the ordinary is unfolding. Nigerians all seem to be saying that enough

is enough and that we must somehow move forward. However, the problems we face today have long tactile historical roots of incompetence, corruption and a spectacular failure in leadership and vision over the last fifty years. So if indeed the apocalypse is upon us, as Tambawal would make us believe, then we can take some poetic licence and consider its four horsemen. From the many possible historical perspectives available, I propose four colliding factors that have converged to create this perfect malevolent storm that will be contributory factors for the fire next time. The Dutch disease Ever since crude oil was discovered in 1955 in a place called Oloibiri, the infection of the Dutch disease set in. In Nigeria the discovery of oil had led to the now famous ‘Resource Curse’ that has strangled all other potentially productive sectors, distorted all socio-economic indices, as well as polluted the political institutions and sharpening the struggle for resource control and access to political power. State Capture: As a direct consequence of these distortions and the perpetual fight for access to and control of the spoils of oil, the political system evolved, especially through the years of military rule, to centralize power and concentrate the nation’s resources into a handful of people (Perhaps as little as 1% of the population control more than 80% of its resources) that roughly constitute Nigeria’s Military-Political complex. Put another way, the Nigerian State at all levels have been captured by oligarchs that actually have their roots in the pre-independence design of colonial Nigeria. The youth bulge The teeming millions of angry, poor and unemployed young Nigerians that we all see but choose to ignore are the manifestation of the youth bulge theory. This hitherto silent majority have found their civic and nationalistic voices and are determined to be heard. On the darker flipside is the death and destruction being wrought by Boko Haram and other violent insurgency groups, especially in the oil rich Niger Delta. These protests by millions of disenfranchised young people for whom violence against the state have become their only option of expressing their legitimate dissatisfaction with the ruling elite. Social Media Nigeria’s Facebook generation have whole heartedly embraced the power of the social media and are putting the leveraged power of user social media networks to organize themselves as well as challenge both on and offline, the social and economic injustices of the Nigerian state. They have learnt the lessons of the ‘twitter revolution’ in North Africa and are determined to have their own revolution in democracy and good governance. So the issue now is not if, but when, it might be sooner than we think. Comments can be sent to: me.tlardner@gmail.com


TheGuardian

54 | Sunday, July 7, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion Homosexuality And The Culture Of Death By Emeka Nwosuh HE polite “faceoff” between visiting President Barack Obama and host President, Macky Sall of Senegal, underscores the opposing attitudes and the barely concealed hostile sentiments surrounding the question of the legitimacy and rights of homosexuals. This well-managed diplomatic faceoff comes at the heels of the USA Supreme Court’s ruling which recognizes the rights of married gays across State lines. President Barack Obama like the rest of his Western Colleagues such as David Cameron makes no pretenses about being an apostle for homosexual rights. Like the rest of his colleagues, he makes no attempt to hide the fact that he is willing to apply some brow beating or arm twisting tactics to get the rest of the world, particularly the poor African nations, to toe the “higher civilization” which they and their western media are selling or pushing down the throats of the rest of humankind. Of course, in this great missionary expedition, the media, academic and intellectual world are marshaled to drive home their message that homosexuality, far from being an exceptional human behavior is indeed a normal way of life and indeed, one to be promoted and imitated. Of course, given the chronic problem of amnesia that humankind is often liable to, such media and academic “truths”, “research findings” and public polls about the “normality” of homosexual behavior are often swallowed line, hook and sinker as gospel truths. But of course, we have all quickly forgotten how the same media, academic and intellectual world of the then West sold to their own people (and of course to us too) the “truth” and scientific evidence that Africa was a dark continent populated by soulless jungle animals who have no inkling of what culture and civilization meant and who, therefore, needed to be domesticated, cultured and civilized by sending them to the various plantations of the new world. How many still remember the media “truth” and evidence drummed daily into our brains about Saddam Hussein’s WMD (weapons of Mass Destruction) which posed a brutal threat not just to Israel and the Arab nations but to the entire human race. Most believed it and tacitly supported America’s crusade to remove this pernicious threat. Were it not for our collective amnesia, we ought to be more circumspect when we listen to the so-called academic and intellectual arguments and the savvy political speeches of political leaders like Barack Obama, David Cameron, Angela Merkel, etc. put forth in favor homosexual union. The second century anti-heretical writer, Bishop Irenaeus of Lyons, warns that the insidious nature of falsehood lies in its capacity to disguise itself in the form of truth, darkness in light. He accentuates his argument using the imagery of honey or milk laced with deadly poison. To the unsuspecting mind, it is nutritious food, but to a skilled and intelligent eye or mind, it ably sees through the false façade. Such trained eye or mind is quick to realize that it is death not life that lurks behind that veil. Death, therefore, is the ultimate intent of all falsehood. Be it the false anthropological studies and conferences on “primitive Africa”

T

JAW JAW By Didi Onu

Obama which provided the intellectual justification and prop for both the Slave trade and Colonialism or the falsehood that fired the Nazi or communist ideologies, or even the false media and diplomatic lies about Saddam’s WMD, the ultimate consequence is death: death of a people and of a civilization. The same death consequence is what is inherent in the current crusade for rights of homosexuals, especially the right for homosexual marriage and right to even adopt children. Beneath these well-crafted arguments about human rights and equality is the culture of death or the conspiracy against life, as Blessed John Paul of happy memory aptly described the present Western attitude and culture. We are being slowly but steadily lured and, if need be, bullied into accepting the death culture. The height of the enthronement of this culture of death was marked by the US Supreme court ruling that legalized abortion in the Roe vs. Wade case of 1973. As it is now, the battle cry was human rights: the right of a woman over her body. Of course, the fundamental right of the unborn to life was at best a mute question. Seeing that the battle cannot be easily worn, the death mongers opened a new battlefront: Euthanasia, that is, the socalled “sweet” or “painless death”. Pseudointellectuals who masqueraded themselves as intellectual or academic authorities wanted the rest of the ignorant world to believe that “mercy killing“ is a more civilized way of life. Again the argument was founded on the value of human rights: the right of the sick and dying to die peacefully and painlessly. But in both of these cases, one common denominator is the death instinct. Failing once again to have an outright and easy victory in the battle over euthanasia owing to the sustained opposition of the Catholic Church especially, these same death driven and death intoxicated men

Sall and women are now fighting the same old battle on the field of homosexual or gay union or marriage. As usual, the same standard battle cry is employed: human rights. Everyone, they argue, has a right to express and live out his/her sexual orientation, whatever this may be and the rest of society must accept and live with it. Whereas, it is quite easy to discern the death consequence of the previous battles, the death consequence of this latest battle is not so obvious to many. Yet, it is there. It only requires a little bit of critical intellectual reflection to uncover the death culture that lies beneath the whole debate on homosexual rights. The promoting of gay marriage and the concerted attempt to ensure and enforce the recognition of gay union/marriage as a “normal” or “regular” family with adoption rights like any other traditional family is nothing but a recipe for collective auto-annihilation. Although, the champions and apostles of the death culture have conveniently turned a blind eye to the damage their previous battles have done to the population census of many European nations, i.e. extremely low birthrates, the consequences of their death culture can only be successfully ignored or hidden as one can easily ignore or hide a ninemonth old pregnancy. It requires very little mental effort to imagine the possible societal impact of a generation of young men and women raised with the pernicious belief and mentality that gay marriage is a healthy and alternative ideal of family life to be pursed. Of course, what may stave off the tragedy of autoannihilation would be the counter-opposition of men and women committed to the culture and gospel of life, who continue to insist that, for however much we must promote and ensure the rights of individual persons, gay union or marriage and its perceived rights are

intrinsically antithetical to the fundamental right of self-preservation which is a right that accrues not only to individual persons but to the human community as a corporate person. Knowing too well of the overarching and powerful economic and financial benefits that cryptically underlie most ideologies and interests including those that pretend to advocate for human rights, one can readily understand the intensity with which the so-called right of every women to her body which extends to aborting the baby in her womb especially when it is considered intrusive and obstructive has been fought over the years. It is also quite easy to see the underlying economic benefit of selling the ideology of Saddam’s WMD since as one author surmises, there is as much fortune to be made from the destruction of a civilization or a country as to rebuilding it. If one doubts this, then ask the arm dealers and those who are engaged in reconstructing Iraq and other war destroyed countries. I’m not so sure I quite understand with the same clarity the economic or financial interests that underlie euthanasia and even still less, gay marriage. Beyond the absurd death wish and the pretentious protection of human rights and dignity, what is the underlying motive for pushing a style of life that has the capacity of destroying human society and civilization from its very roots? What could possibly lie at the wish to merely destroy something good and positive just for the mere pleasure of seeing it ruined and destroyed? Is this part of what Pope Benedict XVI described as the mystery of evil? At this point I need some time for further reflection. Rev. Fr Nwosuh lectures at the Dominican Institute, Samonda, Ibadan, Oyo State.


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Uduaghan: The Cat With Nine Lives By Chuks Nwanne ITH his latest victory at the Supreme Court, W it is perhaps time for the Delta State governor, Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan to sleep, at least, with one eye closed. Oh yes, with his seemingly uneding travails in the seat of power in Asaba, there’s every reason for the medical doctor-turned politician to keep that second eye perpetually open; there may just be some more ‘battles’ to fight ahead of the 2015 elections. The Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) candidate, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, had approached the court seeking for an order to set aside the March 21, 2012 judgment, which affirmed Uduaghan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the April 2011 election. Delivering judgment on the suit, Justice Suleman Galadima, who led a panel of four justices, said the application by Mr. Ogboru amounted to a gross abuse of court processes, which was capable of setting a dangerous precedence for the legal profession. Aside from affirming Uduaghan’s victory, the court also awarded a cost of N150,000 against Ogboru. What a sweet victory! A little flash back. On May 29, 2007, Dr. Uduaghan was sworn-in as the governor of Delta State in Nigeria, under PDP. He was formerly the Commissioner for Health, Delta State and later the Secretary to the Delta State Government (SSG). On May 29, 2011, he was sworn-in again as the governor of Delta State after the April 2011 general elections. But in between these two swearing-ins, was a third oath taking when on January 10, 2011, Uduaghan was sworn-in after winning the re-run governorship election in the state, following the landmark judgment by the Court of Appeal in Benin, Edo state, delivered by Justice Monica Domgbam-Mensen to annul the 2007 general elections in Delta State and order a re-run within 90 days. Now, you can at least understand why Uduaghan needs enough rest after that victory at the Supreme Court. How he has managed to survive all these years as the governor of Delta State remains a mystery. From the point his cousin and predecessor, James Onanefe Ibori, anointed him as his successor, Uduaghan had been on a hot seat. His candidacy was a big issue because some elders of the state, who wanted things differently, would not let him be. Even so, incompetence was not among the points counted against the medical doctor, having been in the corridors of power for years. Both friends and enemies managed to agree that he could do the job but the latter just wanted a candidate outside what they described as the Ibory dynasty. By the time he finally picked the PDP ticket to contest the 2007 governorship election, there

was serious crisis in the party; some aggrieved party men left and ganged up against him. Some, who stayed back, actually did so to fight the medical doctor from within. But Uduaghan won the election in spite of the stiff opposition and was sworn in. Expectedly, his victory was followed by a litany of litigations. The Uduaghan’s candidacy was reportedly driven home on the principle put forward by the G3, one of the informal political groups in Delta State in 2007, which preached the need for power shift after Ibori, from Delta Central to either the South or North Senatorial zone. This group argued that since Uduaghan is from the South, he should be allowed to move in after Ibori. However, this argument did not go down well with other aspirants, especially from Delta North, who felt that the South should come after the North had had its turn. This was the thinking that created the likes of Godswill Obielum and Godson Echegile amongst others. Other aspirants from Delta Central like Chief Obule insisted on full participation of all zones in the PDP Primaries. These were some of the huddles Uduaghan hat to scale to pick the PDP governorship ticket in 2007; how he did it is entirely his trade secrete. Aside from his main opponent in these elections and the subsequent tribunals and legal battles, Great Ogboru, who has challenged every Uduaghan victory, elder statesman Chief E.K Clark became even a bigger thorn in Uduaghan’s flesh. At different occasions, Chief Clark had maintained that Ibori imposed his cousin Uduaghan on Deltans, adding that the governorship of Delta was not a family affair. And for E.K Clark to stay on one’s neck, hmmm… it was pressure

enough to drive away sleep. In all, the onslaught against Uduaghan was prosecuted from two fronts; some fought from within, while the others fought from the outside. The arrowheads of the inner attack were Chief Clark and Godsday Orubebe. In fact the heat was so much that stakeholder had to arrange meetings to work out a power sharing formula between Uduaghan and Chief Clark even only to douse the rising heat. On the other hand, the late Senator Pius Akpo Ewherido who left PDP to join DPP, teamed up with Chief Ogboru against Uduaghan; their camp fought from the outside. Somehow, all the weapons of mass destruction fashioned against Uduaghan failed to prosper. On the far side was Mr. Peter Okocha of the Action Congress (AC), who stormed the election petition tribunal at that time, alleging that he was unlawfully excluded from contesting the 2007 gubernatorial election of Delta State. Okocha’s prayers seeking the nullification of Dr. Uduaghan’s election held no ground for the B.S Mohammed’s led tribunal; therefore, he had no difficulty in dismissing the petitioner’s case. Not satisfied with the decision of the election petition tribunal, he headed to the Court of Appeal in Benin City, but the Justice Monica Duogban Memser also dismissed the appeal. This time, Okocha, who is more of a businessman than a politician, read correctly the handwriting on the wall, took a break and returned to his business. The Supreme Court ruling is one of the many things currently going well for Uduaghan. His enemies have also turned against themselves. During their battle days, Chief Clark and Orubebe were the best of friends. Today, things have fallen apart between both men; a detail of their faceoff was widely reported in the dailies. In fact, some elders and concerned Deltans are now said to be mounting pressure on Uduaghan to come up with a plan to restore peace in the camp of his enemies. In the DPP camp between Ogboru and Sena-

tor Ewherido before the latter’s passing away, there was also turbulence. Ewherido, who was rumoured to be nursing governorship ambition under the party, was at crossroads with Ogboru. Having persistently suffered defeats at the polling boots and law courts, the late Senator must have reasoned that it was time for someone to retire Great Ogboru from the governorship race of Delta State. So, in effect, the storm in DPP before the death of Senator Ewherido had everything to do with who became the next governor of Delta State. Sentiments aside, Uduaghan is a different breed of politician; he has a way of combining the two incongruous tasks of fighting for his mandate and working to justify his mandate. His tacitumity is a virtue of sort in this regard. He had defeated Chief E.K Clark with sheer silence. He listens more than he talks and most times he tries not to talk anyhow. He does not also have permanent enemies and friends. At all times, it is the situation at hand that determines a friend or an enemy. So, who says medical doctors don’t understand politics? With what Senator Chris Ngige did with ACN in Anmabra State and now the survival streak of Uduaghan in Delta State, in spite of big powers and principalities, there’s need for a rethink about doctors and politics, especially when the doctor is short. Uduaghan also knows when to completely lower his guards, relegate politics to the back seat and push to the front row shared humanity. When Senator Ewherido took ill and was bedridden at the National Hospital, Abuja, Governor Uduaghan reportedly turned the hospital into his second home; he was there throughout the three days Ewherido was on admission and frantically made efforts to save the life of the late Senator, who was said to have slumped while making a phone call in his (the Senator’s) Abuja residence. What a brotherly love. Today, the Supreme Court has finally laid to rest, all anxieties regarding the last governorship election in Delta State. Now, the so-called cynics and detractors have no other option than to seek some form of accommodation in Delta State under Uduaghan at least till 2015. As for Uduaghan, the proverbial cat with nine lives, he can take a deep breath, laugh aloud, pop champagne and possibly go for some more thanksgiving. But it is also time for him to roll his sleeves and get down to real business; the remaining two years is an opportunity to show true leadership. No more distractions and therefore excuses for under performance. Time is of the essence.

Prohibitive Cost Of Tertiary Education In Southwest: Ogun Explains Own Case By Soyombo Opeyemi OUR Report titled Ogun: Rising Cost of TuY ition Smears Govt’s Alleged Free Education Policy, published in The Guardian of June 23, page 38) contained a lot of misinformation. The report is redolent with disinformation right from the title…Govt’s Alleged Free Education Policy. The writer is possibly the only reporter in Nigeria that is unaware that Ogun State, under the leadership of Senator Ibikunle Amosun, runs a free education, as a matter of policy, at the primary and secondary levels, hence his choice of the word “Alleged” – Govt’s “Alleged” Free Education Policy! Here is a section of the report in the Guardian of Saturday, January 21, 2012: “In fulfilment of his electoral promise to provide free and qualitative education to children in public primary and secondary schools, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State yesterday flagged off a state-wide distribution of free textbooks. “Speaking during the ceremony held at the Memorial Arcade Ground, Abeokuta, Amosun said, ‘Education is a fundamental human right, a means to improve the quality of life of the people and an essential part of social and human development.’ “This, according to him, explains why every credible leader in government accords education a primary place of honour.” (Emphasis supplied) The Guardian has equally reported our tangible efforts at ensuring that our own free education scheme at the two levels of schooling is real and functional. Abolition of school fees, distribution of free textbooks and instructional materials such as exercise books, pen-

cils, biros, file jackets and mathematical sets, restoration of running cost given to schools, payment of WAEC fees including those inherited from the previous administration, purchase of science consumables, regular payment of teachers’ salaries including clearing arrears inherited from the previous government, promotion of teachers as and when due, training and retraining of thousands of teachers, ongoing rehabilitation of school buildings in the midst of preparation to return the mission schools, construction of world class model schools, etc, have all been reported through news, features and articles by reporters of the Guardian. The gradual return of children from private schools to public schools, leading to significant rise in enrolment figures, bears eloquent testimony to the effectiveness of our free education programme. One therefore comes to the inescapable conclusion that your reporter was/ is very much aware of our free education policy and the outstanding successes recorded but chose to use expression like Govt’s “Alleged” Free Education Policy in a whimsical manner. Another deliberate distortion conveyed to the public by a mere glance at the full-page report (title, picture and special data) is the suggestion that Ogun runs free education at the tertiary level. This is unmitigated disinformation. This at-a-glance-presentation qualifies the reporter as an expert in the art of fabrication. The Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, never for once pledged free education at the tertiary level. As a matter of fact, the first cardinal programme of our administration is Affordable, Qualitative Education. The governor

was circumspect during the campaign not to fall into any trap. What he promised at the tertiary level was reduction of tuition fees. And he kept his promise. It is therefore a colossal lie for the reporter to suggest that Amosun had broken his “Social Contract with Ogun Students”. The Governor, during his electioneering campaign, promised to reduce the tuition fees of tertiary students, which had then been increased by 100 per cent by the departing government, by 50 per cent. Just like the then government did when we promised to create 10,000 jobs and it rushed at the eleventh hour to employ – irregularly – about 4,000 workers, it immediately announced a reduction of the tuition fees by 50 per cent. The Amosun administration further reduced the fees by 10 per cent, thus bringing its promised reduction to 60 per cent. It is therefore not correct to write that Amosun failed “to reduce the fees, but increasing it every year.” The Special Project reporter was very smart to ignore the tuition fees being paid by majority of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) students (just as he did when he focussed on Ogun debts the previous week) and quoted only the fees of Law, Medicine, Engineering and Pharmacy students (who pay levies to their various professional bodies for which the government has no control) after which he devoted one third of the entire page to data on tuitions fees in – wait a minute! – FEDERAL UNIVERSITIES!I suppose it is trite to compare like with like. And when that is done, it will be evident that things are far better in Ogun under the Amosun administration. It may interest the reader to recall that the OOU inherited by this government was a gloried secondary school. While the school was

dying, the last government was busy establishing mushroom tertiary colleges without the wherewithal to sustain them. Even mere running costs were not paid to the institutions while salaries up to 11 months were owed workers with Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), for instance, piling up debts in order to end its starvation. Things were so bad that OOU could not do convocation for eight consecutive sessions. Results of students could not be found; fees were paid into private pockets; no records of the actual students in the school; among other rackets that characterised all the facets of the previous administration. This government in 2012 cleared the backlog of convocations by graduating over 40,000 students. Convocation for 2013 has been done, staff and students audit carried out and financial sanitation ensured through automated payment system. OOU is gradually coming out of the stench. Senator Amosun never pretends to be a messiah. He never promised to solve all the problems in the education sector within four years. Even if the entire budget of the state for 2013 was thrown into the sector, it wouldn’t be enough because the sector was completely in ruins when this government came on board. Today, by all accounts, OOU is far better than we met it in May 2011. There is now tolerable degree of predictability in the academic calendar of the institution, and that’s a major plus for this administration. •Soyombo is Media Aide to Ogun State Governor.


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FAYEMI: It Was

Brought Me

Fayemi

Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State is in the eye of a little storm following his endorsement by the leadership of his party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) for another term of four years. In this interview with BIODUN FANORO, which took place before the endorsement, Fayemi said it was his track record that recommended him for governorship in 2007. Now, his performance has won him endorsement by the people. HERE are reports that your party has alT ready endorsed you for next year governorship election even when there are others with same aspiration. Has this not compromised your party’s internal democracy? HOW does endorsement conflict with internal democracy? I don’t see the contradiction at all. My party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has its process to pick its candidate. Details of this are enshrined in the party’s constitution and these processes stipulate steps to be taken when going for an election. As far as I am aware, that process has not even started. The endorsements are expressions of contentment, appreciation and faith on the part of those who do it. It is not possible to legislate against someone who wants to say, he is happy with the way Governor Kayode Fayemi has delivered on the promises he made to the people of Ekiti State. All of these achievements are clearly factual. Is it not true that we have delivered on free and compulsory education, up to secondary school level, as we promised? Is it not true

sional career. Now that I have been in office, demonstrated what I could do to Ekiti people, ensured that policies are delivered, what is therefore the reason or fear to bar any one from running? But there are claims that the party structure is already manipulated against others, as was alleged in Opeyemi Bamidele’s case? Well, is Opeyemi Bamidele running for seat of governor? To the best of my knowledge, I have not heard, neither have I seen any expression of interest on the part of Opeyemi that he is running. It is well within his right if he chooses to do that. All I know is that we have sent him to the House of Representatives to represent one of the six federal constituencies in the state. To the best of my knowledge, that is what he is doing. However, if he is desirous of running, he is very well aware of the party’s processes. But if I am not aware he is running, I wonder who will. I don’t think it is fair to accuse the party of manipulating the process. Come to think of it, I don’t think the process could be manipulated against someone who has not even come forward to declare he is running for an office. If groups, people that we are delivering on our free health proand structures have endorsed me, is that a magramme? Is it not true that we pay social secunipulation? Is it not a way of expressing their rity allowance to people that are 65 years and democratic view that we want you to continue above? Today, there are not less than 20,000 with the good work you have started? And if it beneficiaries. Is it not true that Ekiti secondary is about people who are fetish about zoning, school students have benefited from our proand would prefer that the good work and good gramme of one lap-top per student, where all governance must stop and be sacrificed on the the text books in all the subjects they offer are alter of zoning and that no governor must loaded? Is it not true that teachers have had spend more than four years in office, then that their salaries increased three times within the certainly stands logic on its head. As far as I spate of two years, from N8,000 in 2010 when I know, there is no provision in the Nigerian became governor to N13,000 in 2011 and now it Constitution that bars an incumbent governor is about N20,000. Is it not true that almost all from seeking re-election, neither is such a prothe roads in Ekiti are motorable now? So what is vision found in the constitution of the ACN. wrong with people expressing their appreciaOpeyemi Bamidele, as far as I know, is sometion that we have truly excelled in all these and one who is very knowledgeable about the many other areas? One thing that none of these structure of the party. He has served at one various groups that have endorsed me, includlevel or the other using the platform of the ing the state’s Elders’ Forum, the party’s Leaders’ party. Forum, have done is to insist that Fayemi has be- You have just denounced zoning; is there no come the party’s candidate for the election. I case of gentleman agreement regarding one have not even declared my intention to go for a term? second term. What happened on June 12 was Agreement between who and who? I am not that I accepted the endorsement by council aware of any agreement, either between the workers in the state. So far, there is nothing bar- party and myself or any particular individual ring any member of the state ACN who wants to and myself. I don’t do back-room deal, everyrun from declaring his or her interest. It’s a legit- thing I do, I do it in the open. I think I have imate interest of such members to run, I am a fairly decent reputation in this country and bedemocrat. yond as someone who stands for what he beWhat you are saying is that nobody has been lieves in. Let me quickly say this, which of shut out? course is known to many of my admirers in To my best of knowledge, nobody has been Ekiti, it was not ambition that brought me to shut out or prevented from declaring interest. I this seat. I am just there for service. Let me ream a leader of this party in the state; therefore I peat it, even at the risk of sounding immodest, am in a privileged position to know if anybody it was not ambition that brought me to this pohas been shut out. sition; it was a request by concerned Ekiti indiIf in theory, the endorsements do not mean genes. They were the people that urged me to others have been shut out, does it not mean in come and serve. Opeyemi indeed played a vital reality that their chances have been foreclosed? role in this project to come and serve. Many It is on record that before I emerged as the can- people were involved. They knew what they didate of this party in 2007, I ran against 17 aspi- did to convince me to come and run for the rants and I won. I had a track record then governorship of the state. So why would I now beyond my democracy activism and my profes-

take it as a matter of do or die as some people probably are wickedly insinuating? The truth is; I was identified, I was persuaded to serve, I was reluctant to come to serve, I was eventually convinced to serve, my wife was weighed on to convince me, at the end of the day I felt it could be mistaken for arrogance, so I agreed to serve. Since then I have been doing my best to justify the confidence reposed in me by all that I could deliver and with the help of the Almighty God and the unceasing support of Ekiti people, I have been delivering on all these promises. I have no vaulting ambition at all. You would be seeking re-election on the platform of a new and unknown platform, the All Progressives Congress (APC), could this not be counter-productive and be your party’s undoing? In the first instance, Ekiti people are very enlightened they could reasonably make their choices. It is not the length of time a party has been in existence that would determine who their choice would be. This is a society and people that have been fed on the diet of progressive politics. They have the unmistaken belief that the reason why a government is in place is to serve the interest of the people first. Incidentally, this is the very tradition where I came from. If you run through the various programmes my administration has put in place, which are aimed at making poverty history, be it through the cooperatives or through the social security allowances or through our free health, free and qualitative education programmes, it is to benefit the great number of people in our state. What is APC about? APC is the unanimity of progressive forces in our country to rescue Nigeria from perdition, from the journey without map that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has put Nigeria on over the last 14 years. On that day when decision would be made, it is going to be based on the simple question; that, as a person, has your life faired better under the PDP over the last 14 years? Ekiti people on their own know progressive politics as well as progressive platform, they could easily identify it; they know that, that is what APC is all about. The history and antecedent of Ekiti people have revealed clearly that they are not reactionary, they are not conservatives, they may not be the cosmopolitans of Lagos or the bureaucrats of Abuja, but one thing they know is what serves their interest best. And when that decision is to be made they are not going to have any doubt about some of the elements parading themselves as latter-day saints when they have no track record, when they were there for seven and a half years and they knew what our people went through under their tutelage. APC is poaching on PDP, which it has denigrated and seeking to replace. At the poll, how would you explain this to Ekiti electorate? The truth of the matter is that the PDP is not a monolith. The PDP is a conglomerate of a sort, of many characters. I have friends in the PDP that are even more progressive in their orientation than one or two individuals within the ACN. For this class of people, their hindrance is the platform, the PDP. Some of these people are in the PDP by the circumstance of the fact that in their own environment that is the only platform there. In their area, PDP was the only game in town. To that extent, we would be suffering from a mindset of over-generalisation, if we tar the PDP members with the same brush. For instance, our revered Audu Ogbeh used to be chairman of the PDP; today he is an elder in my party. Any time I sit down with chief Ogbeh, I marvel at some of the profound fundamental socio-democratic ideals that he espouses every time I speak with him. My brother, Prof. Julius Ihnovbere used to be in the PDP, I am very close to Julius, and I know the tradition he comes


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Not Ambition That Here, I’m Here To Serve from politically and ideologically speaking. At the end of the day, when he was frustrated out of the PDP we told him, ‘welcome back to your traditional home, you ought not to have been there in the first place’. If we are asking some people in the PDP who we consider to believe in the same ideals with us, who are running their states along the same socio-democratic template as we do in our states, and they share the same fundamental core values of anti-poverty strategy of freedom for all, of life more abundant, then PDP for such people is a platform and not truly their political and ideological home, where they are mere sojourners. This is certainly not new, neither, would Nigeria be the first place where it would happen. In the US, there were those called the Clintonian Republicans, because President Clinton (then) actually stole some of their ideals by adopting the mantra of a conservative economic agenda and won them over. So, APC has a duty to build a broad platform that is founded on core values and very clear principles. All these are clearly stated in the manifesto and constitution of the new party. Going by the reaction of ACN, it is raising alarm that progressivism would be endangered with the resuscitation of the Unity Party of Nigeria; do you think so? I don’t know what can endanger the progressives in the Southwest if live up to the ideals of our ideological progenitor, the late sage, chief Obafemi Awolowo. All I urged commentators on the Southwest to do is, to travel from Lagos to Ogun State, to Oyo State, to Osun State, to Ekiti State and let them pass their judgment, using what they have observed in terms of infrastructural transformation by the governments in these states. Nothing can secure us in the hearts of our people than these fantastic development we keep giving them everyday. Elements of this development litter everywhere across all these ACN states for everybody to behold. So the progressives in the Southwest fear no foe, neither do we believe anyone or any association poses a threat to us because we have remained in the mould of our revered progenitor, late chief Obafemi Awolowo and the people know this; they are our testimony and our guarantor of progressive politics. With the greatest respect to my elder, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, who I know very closely, especially during the pro-democracy movement, where he was at the forefront in the struggle to restore democracy, his contributions to the resuscitation of democracy is indeed undeniable, I am however, miffed by the story we are hearing about him and the resuscitated UPN. I must quickly concede to him, the right to set up a political party. The Nigerian Constitution guarantees the freedom of association. So I wish him well with the UPN. To my people in the Southwest, I would say, we should allow a thousand flowers grow, I am however glad that our people have a discerning and shining eyes, to identify the progressives. Surely, by their fruits we shall know them. You were persuaded to serve, three years down the lane, would those people be able to beat their chest today going by your performance? In absolute modesty, and with thanks to the Almighty God, I could say, we have come, we have seen the rots and we have conquered the rots. Within this short period, what was broken has not only be fixed, it has been further developed. Today, people come into Ado-Ekiti, and they marveled, asking if this is the same state capital, Ado-Ekiti that they saw just three years ago, that has now turned to a true city, a thing of beauty to behold. A friend of mine, who has been away for about five years, recently came home (AdoEkiti) and he missed the way to his father’s house, because the whole area has been overtaken by development. Today, market women trade till 11 p.m. in the night under the illumi-

nating streetlights, on all major roads and streets in Ado-Ekiti. Same for taxi drivers, they now work as late as 11 p.m. Happily, this is not limited to Ado-Ekiti, it is the same story in most towns in the state. We knew that if only Ado-Ekiti and a few major towns were lifted up, we would be faced with the problem of migration from the rural areas to those elevated towns. That was why we extended the metro renewal projects to the rural towns and villages. Your government had some face-off with workers some time ago; how you manage all that? I don’t know what you mean by face-off with workers. I don’t have any face-off with any worker. I have a pleasant relationship with workers in the state. But I’m also very clear about turning the face of Ekiti round comprehensively, not just in one area, but in all ramifications; including the professionalisation of the civil service, including blocking all the loop-hopes where our scarce resources are being swept away. If minorities of workers are not happy with that, then I leave them to the public court of the good people of Ekiti. If I could increase the Internally Generated Revenue of Ekiti from N100 million monthly to N600 million monthly, which is still not the target, without necessarily increasing the taxes and there are no new taxes for now, that should tell anybody about tax collection pattern before and what has been happening when we decided to use e-payment system for taxes and all other collections. People who were benefiting from that fraud, as few as they were would never speak well of our government. They would stop at nothing to instigate

opposition at any front against us, because they are very powerful, they also have the wherewithal to launch opposition and attack against us. I am however glad that the average worker in Ekiti who has got his salary upwardly reviewed three times in the two and a half years of this administration, who can now access car loan and housing loan, which he was never able to access under the former administration, who is treated and rated according to his competence and not according to the god-father he has in the system, and can become a Permanent Secretary simply by coming tops in the common test he did, without coming from the governor’s village, those ones are going to help tell our story much better. They may not be lousy, but they are credible, they are our ambassadors to propagate the good story of good governance, we have installed. The truth is that workers in Ekiti have never had it so good the way they are now having it under our administration today. If your government is truly delivering as you claim, why are people decamping from the ACN? Decamping is part and parcel of politics. At any given time, you would always have people who are not happy with the set-up, in any party, particularly the ruling party. Usually, they are people who are insatiable, you cannot please them. Some may want to become commissioners, but got full-time board appointment, some are eyeing full-time board membership, but got part-time, etc. So for reasons like these, they may decide to move into another party. And you can’t stop them, be-

Progressives In Southwest Fear No Foe

Fayemi

cause you will discover that they are not builders, they are not ready to make sacrifice to build the party. However, we never fail to tell them that there is always another time, if they make sacrifice today to build, tomorrow they could get what they could not get yesterday. Usually, those who decamped to other parties are those who see themselves as juggernauts. Thank God in the whole Ekiti ACN, we don’t have juggernauts. If I may recall, 17 aspirants who contested for the party’s ticket against me, who considered themselves as juggernauts decamped to the PDP. You know what happened, their supporters abandoned them, they did not go with them, they all voted for me in 2007 and in the re-run that followed it. The opposition says your victory at the Supreme Court was not on the basis of points, but on technicalities. So where is the basis of your confidence that you will triumph in next election? What the Supreme Court said was that it was an abuse of court processes for the matter to have come before it, because the court lacks jurisdiction in the first place. The matter had reached the final bus stop in the Court of Appeal and this bust stop had pronounced unambiguously that I won the election in 2007 and that I also won the re-run in 2009 and that those who stole my mandate should vacate the seat for me. Sadly, there is no provision in the Electoral Act for those who did that to be punished maximally, for stealing the mandate of the people. Is that why you have now resorted to probing the former governor, Segun Oni’s administration? I am shocked that people keep talking about this probing as if it is new. When I came into office, I set up an Administrative Contract Review Panel that looked into the contracts awarded by the Segun Oni administration. That panel came out with its findings. However, I decided to hold on to the report, to allow the court proceeding Segun Oni instituted to go on, so that he and his team would not be distracted. More importantly, so that I would not be accused of opening a new battle front against them, which could make them to be engaged in battle from two fronts. What I did was to allow them to concentrate on the legal battle they instituted. Now that the legal battle is over, this administration has a duty to the people of the state to bring to them the outcome of the investigation, which we used their resources to carry out for the purpose of promoting prudency, accountability, justice, fairness, equity and good governance. I am very glad that my brother, Segun Oni has said we are on the right track and that he would be ready to give account of his stewardship any time he is invited. So it is not a case of witch-hunting them after their Supreme Court losses? My brother Segun Oni knew that this investigation did not start after the Supreme Court judgment. He knew that this process had been on long before now. I just slowed it down because I didn’t want to be accused of intimidating or harassing them because they took me to the Supreme Court. I am a product of the rule of law, I am a democrat, I must allow every aggrieved person the opportunity and the unhindered environment to pursue his or her case to seek justice. Some people have accused you of using and dumping former Governor Ayo Fayose, who they say you now have cat and mouse relationship with. I am not in any cat and mouse relationship with former Governor Fayose. I have a tradition, which is that you would never find me denigrate anyone who has occupied this honourable seat I have the grace of God and of the people to occupy today. Doing that, I would


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Turkey, Brazil, Egypt...And Nigeria? By Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs Editor HE gale of people power manifesting as T protests by citizens who are fired by a strong conviction over style or substance of governance or national issues, that has now seen the fall of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi is something that watchers of global events are about now chronicling.  Long before last Wednesday’s sacking of Morsi’s government by the military, analysts had concluded that Egypt was on the brink of a Volcano. First it was Turkey. That was after Greece and then it was the turn of Brazil. But freshly bottled up angst were simmering all the while in Egypt before it boiled over. The current world events prove that the dust of the Arab spring is yet to settle. This eerie air of protests from across the globe may appear stultifying but there are lessons to be learnt by both leaders and citizens. lessons of people power and the dawning reality that citizens’ rights and demands may no longer be taken for granted. The people want to ventilate! In Turkey, protests started on 28th of May this year, sparked by outrage at a brutal eviction of a sit-in at Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park. Initially, people were merely protesting the park’s demolition. Subsequently, supporting protests and strikes took place across Turkey. People revolted against a wide range of concerns, at the core of which were issues of freedom of the press, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the government’s encroachment on Turkey’s secularism.  What was interesting in the mass movement in Turkey was that with practically no centralised leadership beyond the small organisation pulling off the original environmental protest, the protesters were able to make the desired impact. Now the street action in Turkey has already been compared with the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement as well as the Revolutions of 1989 and May 1968. After Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dismissed the protestors as “a few çapulcu” on 2 June, the protestors re-appropriated the term çapulcu (looter) for themselves (and coined the derivative “chapulling”, given the meaning of “fighting for your rights”). Now the sit-in at Taksim Gezi Park was only restored after police withdrew from Taksim Square by the beginning of last month. Before this, the world witnessed an Occupy-like camp with thousands of protestors in tents, organising a library, medical center, food distribution and their own media.  In brazil, the approval rating of the country’s president Dilma Rousseff’ sank by 27% points in less than three weeks as Brazilians took to the streets all over Brazil calling for a widerange of reforms.  What started as a protest against public transport fare increases in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city quickly turned into a widespread movement against corruption, high cost of living, the precarious public transport system, Brazil’s red tape, politicians in general, the absurd amounts of taxpayers’ money being spent to host the FIFA World Cup next year and such other ills the citizens thought they’d had enough of. Now, those protests are thought to be by far the most important in the past 20 years in Latin America’s largest country. We remember that in the early 90s, the movement “Caras Pintadas” consisted basically of young protesters with painted faces calling for the impeachment of former president Fernando Collor de Mello. In the 80s, the movement “Diretas Já” called for direct elections. However, quite differently from those successful movements, the recent protests do not appear to have clear goals. And pronto, the only issues the bulk of the masses clearly protested against were granted: the rise on the public transport fare was canceled in many cities and “PEC 37”- a proposal that would have granted immunity to high officials and given more power to the police, was overturned. Let us not forget that in the past decade over, 40 million Brazilians have escaped absolute poverty. So now that they have their basic needs attended, this has not stopped the citizenry to think: Even though so much of my paycheck goes directly to the government,

Protest in Egypt why don’t my kids receive adequate education? Why are there not enough beds and doctors in public hospitals? Why is there so much crime? Etc. In a publication last week, Brazilian newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo estimated that over 353 Brazilian cities were affected by protests.  Back to the rave of the moment. Noisy celebrations erupted in Cairo as the army delivered its 48 hours ultimatum to Morsi to meet the people’s demands or face being ousted by the military. But the troubled president said a part of the military statement “may cause confusion in the complex national scene”. He vowed to stick to his “national reconciliation” plan maintaining that any attempt to oust a democratically elected government coup like can only be achieved over dead bodies in the streets.   Tens of thousands of flag-waving supporters of Tamarod (Rebel) - the opposition movement behind the protests - partied in Cairo’s Tahrir Square late into the night when the Army made it’s warning statement. What were the governance issues that the people of Egypt raged about for weeks? Besieging their Tahir Square, demonstrators said they were fed up with Morsi’s handling of the economy, and virtually every other aspect of his leadership. They had beef for Morsi over bread, over gas, so also with rolling blackouts. The protesters contended that Egypt’s vital tourism industry was all but dead blaming Morsi and his Islamist backers in the Muslim Brotherhood for the mess.  The political upheaval in Cairo was fueled further by the accusation that the fallen president had broken his pre-election promises to build an inclusive government. The people said they were angry because Morsi had stacked key positions with Muslim Brother appointees, and they disapproved of the constitution that Mursi pushed through, which they said did not do enough to protect the rights of women and minorities. To many Egyptians, that constitution functioned as an “extension of Morsi’s Islamist agenda” Even when Egypt’s state news agency Mena reported early last Tuesday that Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr had submitted his resignation, not many thought the government would go under on Wednesday without a snoozing over many dead bodies. Before then, there were at least five other ministers who had already reportedly resigned over the political crisis. The Egyptian military has been both hero and villain for the people involved in the ousting of President Mubarak in 2011. Well they were heroes when they put themselves between protesters and the Mubarak regime’s enforcers. But later they were widely criticised for holding onto power for too long. As we now see today, they have never given up their critical role behind the scenes, which also includes huge economic power. Now

Fallen Morsi who was relentlessly accused of putting the Brotherhood’s interests ahead of the country’s as a whole, became Egypt’s first Islamist president on 30 June 2012, after winning an election considered free and fair following the 2011 people power widely considered another revolution, which toppled Hosni Mubarak. Today, a high judge of Egypt’s Constitutional Court, Adli Mahmud Mansour, has been sworn in as interim leader, a day after the army ousted the defiant president promptly put him under house arrest. But he remains Egypt’s first freely elected leader. Mansour has said fresh elections were “the only way” forward, but so far has given no indication of when they would be held. He muted this just as reports filtered in that Mohammed Badie, supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been arrested in Marsa Matrouh, a Mediterranean coastal city to the west of Cairo. Lessons The lessons for countries in parts of the world where the people’s resentment does not always lead to enduring, tangible results looking especially at the protests in Egypt, are multifaceted.  Once citizens’ consciousness has grown to the level where impunity and bad governance have to be resisted, then there has to be Organisation.  For instance, the Tamarod movement has said that more than 22 million people signed a petition complaining about the let down in Egypt. That is organisation and networking. Now, more than 22 million signatures, that is more than a quarter of Egypt’s population all in support of a popular movement. Also the leaders of the protests were able to raise the consciousness of the mass that sought change. They were able to show high resentment for the fact that the people still do not feel secure since the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak. That they would not joke with security! They were visibly angry that Morsi’s government had to go “beg” the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $4.8bn loan to help shore up the public finances The Egyptian demonstrations also proved that intransigence as a “tool” employed by agitated leaders was always going to be counter productive. Apart from internal appeals and a few concerns shown by some other leaders, the appeal by the United States (US) president Barrack Obama during his Africa tour for Morsi to respond to the protesters’ concerns fell on deaf ears. The American president, according to a White House statement had  “underscored that the current crisis can only be resolved through a political process,”  Then there is the role of the much-vilified

social media. The world enjoyed its beautiful side in Egypt as it played a key part in the protests in terms of mobilization. Not least because much of the Turkish media downplayed the protests, particularly in the early stages.  There is always a cost for anything cherished. In the case of Egypt, the country’s health ministry said at least 10 people were killed and scores injured in clashes at rival protests across the country overnight.  But there are also reports that some 50 people have died since the latest unrest began before the army struck. For Turkey, police mostly in Ankara used tear gas and water cannon leading to injuries running into thousands, including critical ones, loss of sight, and equally a number of deaths. In all, over three thousand arrests were made...Sacrifices! The People Are Coming, Experts Affirm International relations experts have said that the happenings in Egypt, Brazil, Turkey and elsewhere have shown that people power would eventually triumph over unpopular regimes and intransigent leaders everywhere.  Dr. Nwangu Okeimiri in an interview with The Guardian on the matter stressed the importance of “awareness and the need not to suffer amnesia of any kind”  He said “there is always a place for street politics in governance which students of international relations also study and draw inferences for other generations.  For instance, the Egyptian people on the streets, not through a law suit or any such things, maintained that there had been “no justice” for people killed by security forces during the uprising and at anti-government protests since 2011” We saw and heard their popular refrain “No dignity is left” for Egyptians or their country. They felt assaulted by that. They were angry that Egypt had been deeply polarised. They did not rationalize that by bringing ethnic sentiments into it.” Also speaking, professor Oshita Oshita of the Institute of Security Studies, Abuja said the poor governance profile of many governments in Africa may make the fate of more countries on the continent to be decided by mass street anger. “Right now, the statistics are frightening. Mass movements have been testing the waters in Nigeria; as for instance during all those protests over fuel pump price increments. We look at Egypt, Brazil and Turkey where development indices are better than Nigeria’s and yet they seek improvement. In a globalized world, people learn from what’s happening even on a cliff edge of the world. This protests might just be some form of wake up call” The world waits for what happens next after Egypt.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, July 7, 2013

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INTERNATIONAL POLITICS HAT an eventful and exciting week this W has been. Barack Obama came to Africa, the Bolivian President was kidnapped and the most damaging revelations about the American state spying on some of her own most trusted allies was brought to the public realm. I will touch on all three of these events in this contribution.     In a futile attempt to apprehend the 30-year old American whistleblower, Mr. Edward Snowden, a plane that was carrying the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, was diverted to Austria on its way back to Bolivia from Russia. France and Portugal, based on intelligence reports from the Americans, closed their airspace to the plane because they believed that Snowden was on it and that he was being secretly smuggled back to Bolivia.  This was a plane that was part of the Bolivian state’s presidential fleet and that was carrying the President of that country. Bolivia is a sovereign state, which is not at war with anyone. This act was not only grossly disrespectful to the Bolivian State, but it also violated international law and all the norms and rules of international diplomacy and decency.  It was a clear breach of the Vienna Convention on international flights, which says that the aircraft of the leader of any sovereign state has immunity and cannot be treated in such a manner. To make matters worse the Presidential plane was searched and President Morales, by his own words, was treated as if he were nothing more than a “common criminal”. I would have to agree with the Bolivian vice President that in actual fact, Morales was actually “kidnapped by America, her European allies and the forces of imperialism.”  He was eventually released and allowed to fly home but up until then President Morales was holed up at the airport in Vienna, for no less than nine hours even though it immediately became clear to all that Snowden was not on his plane. This was a truly shameful episode. When the Americans and their allies treat leaders from the smaller and weaker nations of the world in such a way simply because those nations and those leaders have stood up for truth and justice and have resisted their ignoble quest to persecute the innocent and conquer the world, it diminishes us all.  From this incident alone, it ought to be clear to every right-thinking and discerning person that America, under President Barack Obama, is a nation that has literally been driven mad by its own paranoia and obsessions and that is completely drunk on power. Their ultimate objective is to control the entire world and to impose their will on each and every one of us.  I commend the courage of those truly progressive nations and leaders that have condemned the Americans and their allies on this issue, that have defied American imperialism and that have stood up for Snowden, for exposing the illegal and immoral acts of the Obama administration. These nations include Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba and a number of other Caribbean and Latin American countries. I also commend Julian Assange’s Wikileaks organistation for standing by him as well and I commend Russia and China for refusing to hand him over to America. It is the courage of those world leaders that are strong enough and that have cultivated the fortitude, the resolve, the decency and the humanity to rise up to the occasion, to stand up for the weak and to look the American bully in the eye and say “thus far and no further” that keeps the rest of us going.  Yet the revelations of the excesses the American state did not stop there. During the course of the week, they were also caught spying on some of their own European allies and friends. The fact that the American National Security Agency (aka No Such Agency) had bugged the telephones and internet activities of government officials, government buildings and foreign embassies of their closest allies in the world was brought to the attention of the world. The Europeans, quite rightly, have not taken the matter lightly. The reactions of the French President, Francois Hollande, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, have been one of absolute outrage and they have all wholeheartedly condemned the behaviour of the Americans in very harsh terms. They even went as far as to suggest that this matter could affect the massive deal on

Spies, Kidnappers And Obama The ‘Saviour’ trade regulations that the two economic powerhouses were about to begin negotiations on.  All these illegal acts and dark secrets by the American state were exposed by Edward Snowden’s revelations about the new PRISM system that the Obama administration is now using to spy on every individual and every government in the world. The implications of this are frightful and obvious to even the dullest amongst us and frankly speaking, it is disgraceful. Now I ask; where are the defenders of America now and where are the Obamalovers? Will they seek to defend this illegal, despicable and treacherous act of the Americans (who are prepared to go as low as to spy on even their own allies) as well? I say shame on them, shame on America and kudos to Snowden. He has exposed the illegal and indefensible acts of the American State and he has proved to the world that they seek to secretly watch, monitor and record the activities of every single non-American on the planet. It is left to the rest of us to either, resign our fate to God and accept it sheepishly, or to resist it as best as we can with our loud protests until we get our privacy and our security back. I am encouraged by the fact that even our very own President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration were also taken aback by this spying scandal and that they actually cultivated the courage to “warn the Americans” about their spying ways. On this issue I commend our President and our government.   This brings me to the issue of Obama’s visit to Africa. There can be little doubt that when President George W. Bush was in power he did a lot for Africa with his PEPFAR initiative, which saved the lives of millions of Africans and protected them from AIDS. Yet, he did not stop there. He also gave more financial aid to African countries than any American President that ever came before him, he supported Nigeria’s bid for debt relief and debt cancellation and, with his full implementation of President Bill Clinton’s AGOA initiative, he helped African

Obama

businesses to grow by opening up the American market to their consumer and agricultural products. These are just some of the things that George W. Bush did for Africa. By way of contrast, President Barack Obama has done next to nothing for us and has in fact dramatically reduced American aid, trade and support for our continent. It is ironic that Bush, who has no links with Africa and who is a conservative Republican, did so much for us whilst Obama, who is of African descent and who is a liberal Democrat, has done very little. Other than the paltry pledge of seven billion USD for the generation of electricity and power for a continent which is home to over 500 million people and the location of 53 independent countries, the only things that Obama appears to want to export to Africa are “homosexual rights”, “same sex marriage”, “same sex parenting”, drone bases and drone attacks and the PRISM spying system. His utter disdain and contempt for Nigeria in particular, though cleverly veiled, is interesting and significant. Despite our size, our standing and our relative strength on the African continent, he has snubbed us twice on his two visits to Africa by not coming here. Worse still, he has simply refused to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation, even though they have butchered no less than 5000 Nigerians in the last two years and even though he has put a bounty on the heads of no less than three of it’s leaders. Why the contradiction? If the leaders of Boko Haram are terrorists then surely the whole organisation is a terrorist one as well. Had Boko Haram been responsible for the deaths of even one American anywhere in the world, I have little doubt that the following day they would have been officially designated terrorists by the American government. Yet, that courtesy has not been extended to us even though thousands of our people have been slaughtered by that same organisation.  The question is, why the double standards? Is our blood not red too? Are our lives not as

important as that of others? If Al Shabab in East Africa, FIS in Algeria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Al Qaeda in the North African Sahel and the Middle East, Hamas in Gaza and the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan are labeled as terrorist organisations by the Americans, then why is Boko Haram exempted from that same label? These are just some of the contradictions of Barack Obama when it comes to his policies and attitude to Nigeria. Significantly, between 2005 and 2006, he was one of the few American senators who openly opposed the campaign for debt relief for our country. Thank goodness that despite that opposition we still got some debt relief without his support and by 2007 we paid off all our foreign debts.  Yet, despite his indifference and his lukewarm attitude towards us the African people generally, and the Nigerian people particularly, we continue to idolise Obama and slobber all over him as if he were the Messiah Himself, citing the fact that he is a black man, that he has a beautiful pepsodent smile, that he is “drop-dead gorgeous”, that he has a beautiful family and that he is a great orator that delivers brilliant and inspirational speeches as some of their reasons for doing so. Goodness me. What a country and what a people we are! Those that are moved by Obama’s Adonis-like looks and engaging oratory forget that Adolf Hitler delivered beautiful, inspiring and powerful speeches as well and that he was idolised in a similar fashion by the German people until he showed them his true colours. Of course by that time it was too late and 50 million people, including 6 million Jews and 20 million Russians, were killed as a consequence of Nazi aggression and World War 11. So much for powerful oratory and beautiful speeches. When it comes to fawning over Obama the questions for the Nigerian people are as follows. Do we have to bring sentiment into everything? When will we be governed by our heads and not by our hearts and our emotions? When will we appreciate the fact that a man ought to be judged by what he does and not by the colour of his skin or by what he says? They say that actions speak louder than words. Is that ancient truism totally lost on us? Some say Obama is the “saviour of the world” and the greatest thing since sliced bread, yet the same Obama has killed over 4000 innocent women, children and civilians in secret drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the last four years. This represents a 200 per cent increase in the number of civilians that George W. Bush killed with similar drone attacks in the same area in the period of 8 years. The same “saviour” Obama is supporting and seeks to further arm the most ruthless brand of wahabbi and Al Qaedainspired, islamist, salifist and jihadist forces in Syria, who call themselves “Syrian rebels” but who are in actual fact nothing more than a bunch of heartless and cannibalistic beasts that slaughter women, children, moderate sunni Muslims, shia Muslims, Christians, secularists, priests, nuns, ethnic minorities and anyone else that does not share their barbarous world view. They do not just kill their victims but they go a step further by cutting out and eating their hearts, organs and private parts after they have done so in the full glare of television cameras. These “people” are Obama’s friends.  As a final pointer, Obama the ‘saviour’ has just appointed Ambassador Susan Rice as his very own National Security Advisor. She is the pretty lady that flew to Nigeria and served our very own President-elect MKO Abiola a strange cup of tea at a secret meeting on July 15 1998, after which he coughed violently and dropped dead before her very eyes and at her very feet. Perhaps, we should all take a moment to ponder on the implications of that. Obama must really love us very much. With friends like him, who needs enemies?


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FOREIGNNEWS Italian Top Mafia Boss Caught In Bogota COLOMBIA OLOMBIAN police say they have C caught the alleged boss of Italy’s Calabrian mafia, who they described as Europe’s most wanted drugs trafficker. Roberto Pannunzi was detained in a shopping centre in the capital, Bogota, authorities said. He had been on the run since 2010, when he fled from a clinic in Rome, where he was receiving treatment as a prisoner. Italian prosecutors accuse Pannunzi of establishing the transatlantic cocaine trade between Italy and Colombia. As alleged head of the ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabrian mafia, he is suspected of helping to

import up to two tonnes of cocaine into Europe per month. The Italian was detained on Friday with the help of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Colombian defence ministry said in a statement. “Pannunzi, known as the Pablo Escobar of Italy, was the most wanted man in the country,” the defence ministry said in a twitter post. “When he was captured, Pannunzi identified himself with a fake Venezuelan identification card bearing the name Silvano Martino,” the ministry said. Roberto Pannunzi was first detained in Colombia in 1994 and extradited to Italy but was released when his detention order expired.

Petrochemical Train Explodes In Quebec’s Lac-Megantic TRAIN carrying petrochemiA cals has exploded in a Canadian town, forcing the evacuation of up to 1,000 people. The blast sent a fireball and black smoke into the air, destroying dozens of buildings in LacMegantic, some 155 miles (250 km) east of Montreal. The train derailed early yesterday; emergency services who worked through the night said they could not tell if there were any casualties. Firefighters from across the border in the US are helping tackle the blaze. “When you see the centre of your town almost destroyed, you’ll understand that we’re asking ourselves how we are going to get

CANADA through this event,” an emotional Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche told a televised news briefing. The train had 70 cars filled with petroleum products, some of which exploded, prompting fires in nearby homes. It is not clear what caused the explosion. Some of the train’s cargo spilled into the nearby Chaudiere river, said Environment Quebec spokesman Christian Blanchette. The train was reportedly destined for Maine. Lac-Megantic, a lakeside town close to the border with Maine and Vermont, is home to some 6,000 people.

Egyptian people carry the coffin of a victim of the Friday clashes during a funeral ceremony in the Cairo neighbourhood of al-Manial… yesterday. The clashes broke out overnight in al-Manial, as they also did in many other parts of Egypt, during Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations to demand the army restore the democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi two days after he was toppled in a coup. PHOTO: AFP

International Concern Over Clashes In Cairo … As Death Toll Rises To 36 EGYPT HE United States and United T Nations have expressed concern about Friday’s violence in Egypt following the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi, in which more than 36 people died.

The US state department urged Egypt’s leaders to put a stop to the violence. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for demonstrators to be protected. The army removed Mr Morsi on Wednesday following protests by millions.

ElBaradei To Become Prime Minister EADING liberal Egyptian politiLbe cian Mohamed ElBaradei is to named prime minister. Mena state news agency says he is meeting interim President Adly Mahmud Mansour, three days after the army removed Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi amid growing nationwide unrest. The move in turn triggered violent unrest by Morsi supporters on Friday. ElBaradei, a former head of the UN nuclear watchdog, leads an alliance of liberal and left-wing parties. In a BBC interview on Thursday,

Mr ElBaradei defended the army’s intervention, saying: “We were between a rock and a hard place.” “It is a painful measure, nobody wanted that,” he said. “But Mr Morsi unfortunately undermined his own legitimacy by declaring himself a few months ago as a pharaoh and then we got into a fist fight, and not a democratic process.” More than 30 people died and hundreds were wounded in Friday’s protests by Islamist supporters of the deposed president. Huge crowds have demonstrated again in Cairo yesterday to demand his reinstatement.

Pro-Morsi protesters were gathering on Saturday in Cairo’s Nasr City area. The ousted president’s opponents have called for demonstrations against the Muslim Brotherhood, to which he belongs. He is in detention, along with some senior Brotherhood figures. Early yesterday, state media reported the Brotherhood’s deputy leader Khairat el-Shater had been arrested at his Cairo home on suspicion of incitement

HE presidents of both T Nicaragua and Venezuela have indicated their countries could offer political asylum to US fugitive Edward Snowden. Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro said it would give asylum to the intelligence leaker, who is believed to be holed up in a tran-

sit area of Moscow airport. Meanwhile Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said his country would do so “if circumstances permit”. Wikileaks said Mr Snowden had applied to six additional countries on Friday. The whistleblowing website said it would not name the countries “due to attempted US interference”.

mer president Hosni Mubarak appeared in court on charges of corruption and involvement in the deaths of protesters during the 2011 revolution that ousted him and ultimately brought Morsi to power. The trial was adjourned until 17 August. Some 36 people died and more than 1,000 were hurt in Friday’s clashes, which have been condemned by the US. “We call on all Egyptian leaders to condemn the use of force and to prevent further violence among their supporters,” said state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Bamako Lifts State Of Emergency Ahead Of Presidential Vote ALI has lifted a state of emerM gency in place since January, when France intervened to help drive out Islamists occupying the north, officials say. The move comes after Mali’s army re-entered the key town of Kidal, held by Tuareg rebels, to improve security ahead of the presidential election.

Venezuela, Nicaragua Offer Snowden Asylum UNITED STATES

to violence. Meanwhile, the army issued a statement on its Facebook page denying that some of its field commanders were putting pressure on the commander-in-chief to reinstate President Morsi. “These rumours... come within the context of the continued attempts to spread rumours and lies as one of the methods of the systematic information warfare being waged against the armed forces with the aim of dividing its ranks and striking at its strong cohesion...,” the statement said. In a separate development, for-

Mr Snowden has already asked 21 countries for asylum, most of whom have turned down his request. But even if a country accepted the American’s application, getting there could prove difficult, the BBC in Moscow, reports. European airspace, according to BBC, could be closed to any aircraft suspected of carrying the fugitive.

MALI Rebels agreed to allow troops into the northern town as part of a peace deal. The election on 28 July will be the first in Mali since the military staged a coup in 2012. The occupation of Kidal had been a major obstacle to organising the presidential election. Tuareg rebels captured the town after the French-led offensive forced militant Islamists out of northern Mali in February. The Tuaregs have been fighting for autonomy in the north since Mali gained independence from France in 1960. They say they are marginalised by the government in the capital, Bamako. The main Tuareg rebel group, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), had worked with Islamist groups to seize the north of the country in 2012. But the rebel movement later broke with the Islamist groups and backed French efforts to oust them.

In June, the Malian government signed a peace deal with the MNLA, calling for an immediate ceasefire and for government troops to return to Kidal. The MNLA has watered down its demand for independence, saying it will settle, as a first step, for autonomy for the desert region where they live. Earlier this week, Mali’s constitutional court approved 28 presidential candidates, including four former prime ministers and a woman. But the head of the electoral commission, Mamadou Diamoutani, expressed doubt that the polls would be free and fair. “Currently, the big challenge is the distribution of 6,867,443 voters’ cards - we have four weeks to do it,” he said. “That job alone is tremendously difficult, given that 800,000 people are displaced or have become refugees.” A 12,600-strong UN peacekeeping force has been deployed to ensure stability in the lead-up to the nationwide vote.


TheGuardian

Sunday, July 7, 2013 |61

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Sports

Every time I had a manager that was not happy with it, I’ve said: ‘Listen, I’ll do it. If my performance is still good, I’ll keep playing; if it’s bad you drop me on the bench, that’s it.’ Ivorien Kolo Toure (left)and Ba contest for the ball in a past Chelsea/Manchester City clash “Every time I had a manager that was not happy with it, I’ve said: ‘Listen, I’ll do it. If my performance is still good, I’ll keep playing; if it’s bad you drop me on the bench, that’s it.’” Former Stoke striker Mamady Sidibe, 33, insists: “You have some players who are fasting on a match day and doing very well, it’s no problem. I make sure that on match day I’m not fasting Until recently, all Premier League players point. and not to give excuses to people.” named man of the match were awarded a bot- How can players who aren’t eating or drinkRamadan this year ends on 7 August, 10 days tle of champagne. Yet for Muslims, alcohol is ing for up to 18 hours of the day perform at the before the start of the Premier League season. forbidden. So when Manchester City midfield- highest level over 90 minutes of a game? Sponsorship deals have also been a source of er Yaya Toure politely refused to accept his Some players insist on fasting every day. tension. Teams who advertise gambling and pay award on religious grounds during a televiOthers may fast during training but not a day loan companies on their shirts put their sion interview, the competition organisers match day. Clubs tend to muddle through Muslim players in a difficult position, as it were forced to sit up and take notice. with some kind of compromise, but it can’t be means they are being used to promote activities Champagne was phased out and now all an easy period for players or managers. which contradict Islamic teaching. players receive a small trophy instead. Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby, 27, says: Last month Cisse said he planned to talk to When Liverpool won the League Cup final in “Arsenal would prefer me to not fast, but they Newcastle and their new sponsors, Wonga, 2012, players had the sensitivity to move the understand this is a special moment for me because he was worried his Muslim beliefs clothes of their team doctor, a devout Muslim, and they try to accommodate things to make would be compromised if he were seen to proout of the changing rooms so that alcohol me better.” mote the company. wasn’t sprayed over them. Ba, 28, admits he has had some issues with Crewe striker Nathan Ellington, 32, who has Yet there are challenges to managing Muslim managers about Ramadan, but says he has also played for Wigan and West Brom, takes the players and Ramadan is a particular pressure been steadfast. view that he cannot affect which sponsor his club chooses. He said: “I think that’s usually out of the hands of the Muslim. Although he’s not allowed to gamble, that’s something you cannot affect really.” Wigan keeper Ali Al-Habsi, 31, agrees: “We are players and these are things that are coming from the football club. We can’t do anything about it, we just do our job.” Fans are also getting an education in Muslim practices. When manager Alan Pardew suggested Ba’s slow start to the 2011-12 season was due to his fasting, fans picked up on it and marked every subsequent goal with a song celebrating how many goals he had scored since Ramadan, to the tune of Depeche Mode’s Just Can’t Get Enough. Children playing football in the parks of Newcastle have even been spotted falling to their knees as if in prayer themselves after scoring a goal. They may not completely understand what it means, but it’s a sign that Muslim practices are becoming a more familiar part of popular British culture. Demba Ba, (now of Chelsea) with former Newcastle United teammate, Papiss Cisse pray after the former Culled from the BBC scored against Aston Villa

The Religion Of Football As Islam prepares to mark the beginning of Ramadan next week, here is a look at the big impact the English Premier League’s 40 Muslim players are having on the game, N February 5, 2012, Newcastle United played O Aston Villa at St James’ Park and one moment symbolised the impact Muslim players were having on the Premier League. After 30 minutes, Demba Ba scored for the home side. He raced to the corner flag and was joined by Senegalese compatriot Papiss Cisse. The two devout Muslims then sank to their knees in prayer. The growing influx of Muslim players has been fuelled by the internationalisation of football. Scouts have spread their nets wider in the search for new talent and the Premier League has become a much more diverse place. Young men with origins in remote villages of West Africa or tough estates in Paris have become global stars. They may have found wealth and fame playing for English clubs, but many still hold on to something that is rooted in their cultural identity, something that guides them and comforts them when the going gets tough- their Islamic faith. When a player of the calibre of Ba, who left Newcastle last year to join Chelsea, says he is serious about his religion, some might argue clubs cannot afford not to listen. And there is a genuine willingness, on the part of managers and clubs, to understand and accommodate the religious needs of their players. Muslim footballers are provided with halal food, have the option to shower separately from the rest of the team and are given time and space for prayer.


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SPORTS

Nigerian Sportsmen, Administators...

At The Mercy Of Death

Oliha

By Gowon Akpodonor

F

ROM Sam Okwaraji in 1989, Amir Angwe (1995) and Charity Ikhidero (1987), the list keeps growing with a sizeable chunk of able-bodied Nigerian ex-players being cut down in their prime. The death of ex-Super Eagles midfield ‘General’ Thompson Oliha, in Ilorin last Sunday left many grown men crying like babies. Inside the Kwara Football Academy (KFA), where he worked for five years was like a graveyard. You could hear a pin drop miles away. Oliha was in charge of the academy’s under-16s before taking charge of the senior boy. The news of his death hit the kids really hard. The Golden Generation of the all-conquering 1994 Super Eagles squad is thinning out, as the country had lost two members of that team, Uche Okafor, who died in 2011 in USA and Rashidi Yekini (in 2012). Four members of the 1980 Green Eagles winning team had been snatched away by the cold hand of death. Midfield genius Muda Lawal, ‘Blockbuster’ Aloysius Atuegbu, goalkeeper Best Ogedegbe and Okey Isima are all gone. Again, the country also lost forward, Amir Angwe. The Julius Berger FC player became the first casualty in the domestic league when he mysteriously passed out in a match involving his team at the Onikan Stadium on October 29, 1995. Orobosa Adun of Warri Wolves slumped and died while training with other team mates, while Ocean Boys defender Emma Ogoli, died in a match involving his team and Niger Tornadoes

in Yenagoa, Promising goalie, Sam Okoye, then at Rangers, collapsed and died in inexplicable circumstances, when he went on trials to Iran sometime in 2006, while Endurance Idahor, a former Julius Berger and Dolphins’ player, also died suddenly in 2010 in a league game for his Sudanese club, El-Merriekh. One of Nigeria’s finest footballers in the 70s and 80s, Sam Ojebode, died in Ibadan, Oyo State of cancer of the lungs not too long. Ojebode was part of the Shooting Stars team that won the prestigious African Cup Winners Cup in 1976, which was Nigeria’s first continental trophy. He was the captain of the team between 1974 and 1980. Nigerian football family also lost coach Joseph Ladipo, popularly known as ‘Jossy Lad’ few weeks ago. He was part of 3SC coaching crew that won the maiden CAF Cup in 1992. He also led the Super Falcons to the Africa Women Championship (AWC) in Equatorial Guinea in 2008. Before then, the nation had lost coach Yemi Tella, who led the country to win the FIFA U-17 championship in Korea in 2007. The first coach to lead the National female U-17 team, Peter Egudia, had died somewhere in Delta State in 2010. Egudia was former assistant coach of the senior team, Super Falcons from 1995 to 1999. Before Egudia’s death, the country had lost a member of the then Green Eagles squad, David Lelekumor, who was a top

official of the Delta State Sports Council at a time. One of Nigeria’s finest sports administrators, Chief Daniel Idama, was also lost. His tenure as chairman of Julius Berger FC witnessed a lot of achievements for the bridge builders. An ex-player of the Super Falcons and first captain of Delta Queens FC, Felicia Eze, died last year, while a coach of the Falconets team to the last FIFA U-20 Women championship, Christopher Nwaehi also died recently. The domestic league had lost another player, Solomon Oboh of Warri Wolves in an auto crash in Agbarho, Delta State recently after watching his team played a league game in Warri. In the track and field, a member of Nigeria’s 4x400m relay team at Sydney 2000 Olympics, policeman Sunday Bada, was lost to the cold hand of death in Lagos last year. Bada, who hailed from Kwara State, was the Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) at the time of his death. Outside the field of play, those responsible for sports promotion in the country (the sporting media), has been hit by frequent death, with some best hands in the profession being out at their prime. After the death of the genius Ernest Okonkwo in 1990, sports-loving Nigerians lost the commanding voice and all the spices added to football commentaries, until Nnamdi Anazia came to the scene. Like Okonkwo, Anazia introduced new style to everything he covered or touched, coining new football terms from his vast arsenal. Anazia forced many Nigerians, especially those residing in Lagos and its environs to fall in love with his early morning sports programme at the seaside radio station at Lekki. He was fearless. While the ‘oracle’ Okonkwo was known for giving nicknames like mathematical, Chief Justice, The Big Boss, Field Marshall, Elastic Elaho, 10-10, Gangling Yekini, The Bull, Headmaster, Gentle Giant, Dodo Mayana and Agboni-Basket among others, to footballers on the pitch, Anazia, in his days, was fond of coining names for ‘corrupt’ sports administrators, no matter their positions. And just when his crusade against corruption in the nation’s sports was beginning to gain ground, Anazia was cut down and his golden voice was lost. The sports writing family had not recovered, when the chairman of Rivers State Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Henry Kalio, died in an auto crash along the Benin-Warri road on his


THE GUARDIAN Sunday, July 7, 2013

63

SPORTS way to Port Harcourt from a league match. The bit also lost Dave Enechukwu of Post Express newspaper, ace photographer, Jide Dehinsilu of Daily Times, Pat Opara of The Guardian, Atinuke Bakare of New Nigeria, Fatima Ahmed of ThisDay, Friday Eromosele of The Observer, Mustapha Abdullahi a.k.a Soko, Richard Aninam of Vanguard newspaper and Charles Arubi, a specialist in basketball reporting. Arubi was one of those who made sports writing a delight in his days with The Punch newspaper. The former chairman of Lagos SWAN), ever-smiling Emeka Enechi, was also cut down in his prime. The greatest tennis writer of all time, Deacon Ayo Ositelu (The Arena) of The Guardian died wile watching a sports programme on television, so also was ace photographer Sylva Eleanya of Vanguard newspaper. Joe Ighile of Channels television was in South Africa for coverage of the last Africa Nations Cup won by the Super Eagles. He was full of life as he departed the city of Rustenburg for Lagos on the day Nigeria played Cote d’Ivoire in the quarterfinal match. He died few days later while on duty and the news shook his colleagues, whom he left behind in South Africa to the marrow. Kunle Alade of Compass newspaper covered the local league with passion. He died in his sleep in Lagos after covering a press conference at the National Stadium in Lagos. Also lost within the last few weeks were the immediate past Group Sports Editor of ThisDay newspaper, Soleye Sholawumi Olaleye and Victoria Aigbirhio of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). She died of malaria few days after covering a Zenith Basketball game in Lagos. The frequent death of Nigerian sports men and women as well as sports journalists brings chilling silence to the industry on weekly basis. The death of Oliha in Ilorin last Sunday marked another sad moment. Oliha ‘The General’ died at the age of 44 after complaining of malaria. The former Super Eagles midfielder was also said to be vomiting after he led Kwara Football Academy to beat a Malian team, Ben Mackezie Football Foundation, on Saturday in Ilorin. Until his death, Oliha was the coach of the senior students of the Academy. Born in October 1, 1968 in Benin City, Edo, Oliha played for clubs in Africa and Europe. He made 31 appearances for Nigeria at senior level and scored twice. He was a member of the Super Eagles to the 1994 FIFA World Cup finals in the United States. He made his debut at senior level against Senegal in 1990. At club level, the late Oliha, who attended Western Boys High School in Benin City, played for Bendel Insurance (1985-1987), Iwuanyanwu Nationale (1988-1991), Africa Sports (1992-1993), Maccabi Ironi Ashdod F.C. (1993-1994) and Antalyaspor (1994-1995) before a knee injury ended his career at the age of 27. He made his last appearance at the 1994 FIFA World Cup, as a late substitute against Italy. He was known for his powerful shots and abilities in the air. He was yet to get the house promised him and other Super Eagles players by the Federal Government for winning the 1994 Nations Cup in Tunisia. Oliha also played at the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship. He was a member of the famous Chile ’87 Flying Eagles squad, which had the likes of Etim Esin, Lawrence Ukaegbu, Peter Neketien, Ene Okon, Adeolu Adekola, Nduka Ugbade, Willy Okpara, Jonathan Akpoborie and Victor Igbinoba. The team could not make it beyond the group stage after losing to Brazil, Yugoslavia and Italy, but ‘The General’ Oliha and some others were able to earn a senior cap.

Ojebode (second right)

One of his colleagues at KFA, Coach Paul Odey of the junior students, described Oliha’s death as tragic, not only to the academy but to Nigeria’s football in general. Emeka Ezeugo who played alongside Oliha in the Super Eagles paid glowing tribute on his Facebook page during the week. “So long, General,’’ he began. “I will miss how we used to control the middle of ballpark; you taking the offensive duty and myself digging in tough in the defence, suffocating all foreign threat. “How we wore our hearts on our sleeves, made Eagles super and supreme predator globally. God bless the dead,” Ezeugo added. On his part, Etim Esin recalled his playing days with Oliha at Chile ’87. “He was my roommate in Chile ‘87, it is so sad, may his humble soul rest in peace. What is happening to Nigeria that exinternationals are dying? Our heroes past die in penury and once they are gone, authorities will go and donate money to their families. This is sad.” Former Abia state governor Orji Uzor Kalu recalled an incident in 1988, when Oliha was unconscious for nearly 24 hours, while featuring for Iwuanyanwu Nationale (now Heartland FC). “It was at the June 17 Stadium Constantine, Algeria. Iwuanyanwu were away to Entente Petroles Setif of Algeria in the CAF Champion’s Cup grand-Finale. Oliha came in for Law Ukaegbu in the 65th minute and was ready to do or die. The Algerians went after him, and in five minutes, he was injured. Oliha had seven stitches on his face and was unconscious thereafter, but the young man was more concerned about the Cup than his health”, the ex-governor said during the week. Kalu spoke further in his tribute to Oliha. “From Owerri, he moved to Abidjan, to join Africa Sports in 1992. Same year, with Gabriel Okolosi, they won the Africa Winners Cup beating Vital’o of Burundi 5-1 aggregate. Oliha emerged the second highest scorer with three goals, behind Okolosi’s eight. On January 10, 1993 the duo became the first to win the Super Cup. “Oliha was so strong and friendly. At Senegal ’92, few hours to the semis between Nigeria and Ghana, he bumped into his Iwuanyanwu teammate and Black Star Edward Ansah in their Dakar hotel. ‘Eddie Murphy’, Oliha screamed as they embraced, talking less about their Nations Cup clash. I am sure his friends all over Africa will miss him, just like all of us”, Kalu said.

It was at the June 17 Stadium Constantine, Algeria. Iwuanyanwu were away to Entente Petroles Setif of Algeriain the CAF Champion’s Cup grand-Finale. Oliha came in for Law Ukaegbu in the 65th minute and was ready to do or die. The Algerians went after him, and in five minutes, he was injured. Oliha had seven stitches on his face and was unconscious thereafter but the young man was more concerned about the Cup than his health.

Ositelu

Yekini

Tella

Ogedegbe

Oke Isima

Enechi


TheGuardian

sunday, July 7, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

8th IAAF Youth Championship

Team Nigeria Hits Ukraine, Oduduru Promises gold By Gowon Akpodonor th

igeria’s team to the 8 N iaaF World Youth Championship in Donetsk, Ukraine, left Lagos yesterday with a promise not to let the country down. The team made up of eight boys and nine girls left the Murtala Mohammed international airport, Lagos, at 10pm aboard a Turkish airline. They are expected to arrive Donetsk, venue of the competition this evening. in the team are former international, endurance Ojokolo and some other coaches, as well as officials of the athletics Federation of Nigeria (aFN). Other coaches, including former hurdler, seigha Porbeni, are expected to join the team tomorrow. The competition will begin on Wednesday. speaking with The Guardian in Lagos yesterday, sprinter, Divine Oduduru who captured the 100m and 200m gold medals during the african Youth Championship (aYaC) in Warri, Delta state in March, said he would do everything to do the country proud at the championship. “i am in good shape and i am confident i will do well in the competition. all i need from Nigerians is prayer.”

Wimbledon 2013: Bartoli Beats Lisicki To Win Title Marion Bartoli won FwithraNCe’s her first grand slam title a dominant 6-1, 6-4 victory

Nigerian midfielder, Sunday Mba (right) tries to get the ball past Ivorian defender, Baresi Gloudoueu during their 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualification match in Kaduna yesterday. Nigeria won 4 - 1.

PHOTO: AFP

Super Eagles Dispatch Cote d’Ivoire 4-1 NFF Admits Owing Keshi Five Months Salary UNDaY Mba again destroyed Cote d’ivoire on saturday in a 2014 CHaN qualifier just as he did at the aFCON in February. The super eagles took a massive 4-1 advantage to abidjan with Mba grabbing a brace and assisting in the two other goals by the home team inside a packed ahmadu Bello stadium in Kaduna. The super eagles, aiming to qualify for the first time for the CHaN for local league players, opened scoring in the 21st minute through Pillars

s

striker, gambo Mohammed, before Mba made it 2-0 for Nigeria on the half hour. Dangerman, Tiecoura Coulibaly reduced the deficit for the visiting ivorians on 45 minutes to end the first half 21.  Mba completed his brace in the 51st minute, four minutes after he missed a big chance. second-half substitute ifeanyi edeh completed the rout when he slotted home the fourth goal in the 80th minute, again with Mba involved in the goal.  The ivorians finished the

game with nine men after two of their players were sent off for dangerous play in the second period.  gomo Onduku, who had a good game before he gave way for edeh, told MTNFootball.com he was delighted with the eagles performance.  “We showed them what we have in stock. i am very happy with my performance and that of the team as a whole. We were determined to win and that was what we got. We are not going to relent in the return leg,” Onduku told

MTNFootball.com  The return leg will take place in the weekend of July 20 and 21 in abidjan with the overall winners advancing to the tournament proper in south africa next year. Meanwhile, Nigeria coach stephen Keshi has not been paid since he led the super eagles to a third africa Cup of Nations title five months ago. However, the ex-super eagles captain has not made an official complaint. and the Nigerian Football Federation has told BBC sport that the situation is “under

Published by guardian Newspapers Limited, rutam House, isolo, Lagos Tel: 4489600, 2798269, 2798270, 07098147948, 07098147951 Fax: 4489712; advert Hotline Lagos: 7736351, abuja: 07098513445 all correspondence to guardian Newspapers Limited, P.M.B. 1217, Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria. (issN NO 0189-5125) editor: e-mail letters@ngrguardiannews.com aBraHaM OBOMeYOMa OgBODO • a member of the audit Bureau of Circulation •aBC

control”. “Between the federation and the coaching crew, we don’t have a problem,” said NFF general secretary general Musa amadu said yesterday. “Obligations to the coaching crew are always settled, and we have the understanding of the coaching crew in this regard” “We’ve been working together with stephen Keshi since November 2011 and he knows the peculiar situation [financial problems] of how things are with the federation. “We try as much as possible to pay our obligations, likewise the coach, and we’ve had a very good working relationship. “i know the coach will not bring to the fore any such matters,” he added.

over german 23rd seed, sabine Lisicki in the Wimbledon final. Bartoli won the first set in 30 minutes as Lisicki failed to cope with the enormity of a first grand slam final. The 23-year-old cut a fragile figure and was reduced to tears in the second set, helpless to prevent Bartoli from lifting the Venus rosewater dish. Bartoli ended with an ace, collapsing to the ground once victory was hers. When the stunned 15th seed rose to her feet, she celebrated by climbing to the players’ box to embrace family and friends. among those whom Bartoli hugged was her mentor and 2006 Wimbledon champion, amelie Mauresmo, the last Frenchwoman to win at sW19, and her father and former coach, Walter.

Bartoli


Sun 07 July 2013