Issuu on Google+

S U N D A Y COVER 49

POLITICS 57

Much Ado About Constitution Amendment

Anambra 2014:

E D I T I O N

IBRUCENTRE 26

Christians Too Hot As Catalysts To Ignore For Change

SPECIAL REPORT 36

When States Go Borrowing

TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Vol. 29, No. 12,589

www.ngrguardiannews.com

How Almajiri System, Climate Change Fuel Terrorism, Religious Crisis By Tunde Akingbade and Tunde Akinola ECADES of environmental D imbalance, climate variations, food scarcity, with the attendant migrations, have been described as major “ingredients” fueling religious crisis and terrorism in

• Reports Warned Of Boko Haram Since 1990 • Former Security Chief, ACN Want ‘Honest’ Solution northern Nigeria. To ensure return of peace and development, therefore, former Chief of Army Staff (COAS)/Chief of Defence Staff,

Lieutenant General Alani Akinrinade, and National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Alhaji Lai Mohammed,

at the weekend, urged the Federal Government to “honestly” address the issues that fester terrorism. Stressing that draught-

induced migration makes conscription into terrorism gangs easy, Dr. Victor Fodeke, former Advisor to the African Union (AU) Climate Change Office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said the implication of extreme weather CONTINUED ON PAGE 4

N300

Bayero Cautions Against Extremism, Urges Forgiveness • Jonathan, Sultan, Governors Extol Emir’s Virtues From Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna), Mohammed Abubakar (Abuja) and Abba Anwar (Kano) EVERAL months after escapSterrorists, ing death in the hands of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, yesterday, urged Nigerians to eschew extremism, saying he has forgiven those who may have offended him. The call came just as President Goodluck Jonathan, Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, Arewa Elders and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, showered encomiums on the Emir, describing him as a symbol of Nigeria’s unity and embodiment of virtue and good leadership. Bayero, who drew a crowd of traditional rulers, politicians, religious, public and privatesector leaders to his Palace in celebration of his 50 years on the throne, quoted Prophet Muhammad as saying that taking a middle position is better than extreme positions in anything. He, therefore, called on parents to take good care of their CONTINUED ON PAGE 4

NEWS 5

Tinubu’s Mother Dies At 96, To Be Buried Today NEWS 6

President-General of the Association of Nigerian Market Women and Men and mother of former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, Alhaja Abibat Mogaji, who died yesterday in her Ikeja Home.

FAAN Rakes In N120m From Disused Airplanes


2

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

3


TheGuardian

4 | Sunday, June 16, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

The Guardian, Others Receive Rotary Awards By Isaac Taiwo OTARY International R (District 9110), on Friday, honoured four media houses, including The Guardian Newspapers Limited for their support towards the club’s activities. Publisher, Lady Maiden Ibru, received the award on behalf The Guardian. of

The event, tagged: An Evening with the Media, was held at Rotary Centre, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, and was attended by former chairman of The Punch, Chief Ajibola Ogunsola; publisher of Vanguard, Chief Sam Amuka-Pemu (represented by the Editor, Vanguard, Mr. Mideno Bayagbon). The publisher, This Day, Chief Nduka Obaigbena, was absent.

Reports Warned Of Boko Haram Insurgency Since 1990 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 (already being felt in Africa) could be more flooding, drought and migration of people and animals in search of water and pasture. Fodeke warned that, unless decisive steps are taken to combat climate change, critical infrastructure and food production in many parts of the country could be negatively affected. According to him, the “forced migration” resulting from the climatic conditions and infrastructure decay trigger negative security implications. Sources say, although “these were the remote causes, the immediate cause could be found in the past eight years of democracy where some politicians who were looking for votes and allies in religious terror machines made pledges of establishing theocratic institutions based on Islam.” Unpleasant environment in the North had genesis in the drought and rinderpest epidemics, which affected agriculture in Northern part of Nigeria. Experts also traced the problem of terror to the Almajiri system, a factor that was contained in the Justice Aniagolu, Bulunkutu El-Badawy, Jimeta – Yola Uwais and Gombe Reports. The Nigeria Environmental Study Action Team (NEST), during the Military era, organised a workshop on sustainable development and environment. Held in Kano, in 1990, the workshop, which was supported by Fredrich Ebert Foundation, a German nongovernmental organisation, was entitled, Sustainable development in Nigerian’s Dry BeltProblems and Prospects. An expert, Sabo Bako of the Department of Political Science, Ahmadu Bello, Zaria, at the workshop presented a paper on Ecological Crises and Social Conflict in Northern Nigeria’s Dry Belt, in which he traced the emergence of the notorious Maitasine sect, the group that can be tagged as the ‘forerunner’ of the now dreaded Boko Haram to the same geo political zone of current terror and bombings. The political scientist linked

together the social groups that participated in the Maitatsine urban revolts, which broke out in Kano in 1980; Maiduguri in 1982; Kaduna, 1982; Jimeta Yola in 1984; and Gombe in 1985. He noted that these groups are found in predominantly Muslim Sahelian towns, which hosted the victims of ecological disasters brought by desertification and rinderpest epidemics that ravaged the rural areas of the semiarid and arid parts of Nigeria and West Africa in the 1970s and 1980s killing cattle belonging to millions of people. Speaking as guest at the first anniversary of The Discourse with Jimi Disu, organised by Megalectrics limited (Operators of Classic FM 97.3, The Beat 99.9FM and Naija FM 102.7), former COAS, Akinrinade, said: “If we are not careful, we will spend half of the century chasing terrorists because we have not honestly examined the issues behind protests.” Although he said the President had no choice than to declare state of emergency in the three states, Akinrinade said the issue of unemployment among young people was a scourge that should be addressed. While calling for rebirth in the country’s educational system, Akinrinade noted: “we have to accept that education is the only way out of poverty. Our schools are not up to standard; hence, our universities do not produce graduates that are employable. In a similar vein, Alhaji Mohammed cautioned that the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) report that depicted Nigeria as the country with the highest number of out-of-school (57 million) portends danger for the nation. Mohammed asked: “What kind of future are we building when our children do not go to school? That means, in the future, we would be outsourcing people from the outside world to come and work for us in Nigeria and that is very sad.” Details On Page 22

In his address, District 9110 Governor, Kamoru Omotosho, said: “It is time to express our appreciation for support received from the various media houses. Rotary International, of late, has been very biblical with the injunction that what you do with your right hand, do not let your left hand know. But we have discovered that we need to re-orientate to cover a lot of grounds by identifying with professionals, like you, to tell the world what we are doing with full consciousness that with your co-operation, we would change the world and make life more comfortable for people. “We also owe our gratitude to other media houses that have also been supportive. But we have decided to honour only this four, for now.

You have made us feel so proud, particularly, this year. And we believe we should move forward by fully identifying with you too, through a programme of this nature. “We have also thought that our media practitioners should not just be friends of Rotary but that should they too become Rotarians, they would feel more committed. We appreciate the caliber of people you are, as distinguished professionals, and believe you would feel at home with the crop of professionals that the Rotary Club International is made up of. “At this juncture, we like to say that we will keep coming back to you and, as well, keep thanking you more and more.” The Chairman, Public Relations Committee, Larry

Agose, in his welcome address, said Rotary International is “doing this to appreciate the culture of giving to which we too are committed, and would continue to render to Nigerians.” Expressing her appreciation, Lady Maiden Ibru said she is delighted at the presentation. According to her, “We will continue to support Rotary International all over the World. It is the least we can do because part of our philosophy at The Guardian is also to reach out to people through social responsibility. “We know you are always making every attempt to raise funds to carry out your activities, so the least we can do is to actually give you those advertisements for free. Advertisements are now

very expensive. A page goes for the sum of N600,000. Anytime you see a page or half a page, it is a lot of money. Above all, I thank you very much for this honour, today.” Ogunsola and Bayagbon equally appreciated the gesture, pledging their continued support for Rotary International. In his closing remark, past District Governor, Rotary Club of Palmgrove Estate and Chief Operating Officer, The Dr. Alex Guardian, Thomopulos, appreciated “the presence of media houses, reporters, editors and particularly members of the Public Relations Committee, District 9110, which include my humble self, without whom the event of today would not have taken place.”

Former Chairman, Punch Nigeria Limited, Chief Ajibola Ogunshola (left); Chairman/Publisher, Guardian Newspapers Ltd, Lady Maiden Ibru; Past District Governor, Rotary International District 9110, Chief Julius Adebiyi Adelusi; and Chief Operating Officer, Guardian Newspapers Ltd, Alexander Thomopoulos, at the Rotary’s Evening with the Media where awards were given to publishers, including Lady Ibru, in Lagos… on Friday. PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

Jonathan, Sultan, Governors Extol Emir’s Virtues CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 children and bring them up in a good manner. He also asked for forgiveness from those he may have offended in the past. The Emir, who praised the Federal and the Kano State governments for good service delivery, urged Nigerians to cooperate more with government at all levels. “People should, therefore, cooperate with their governments to deliver. We mean governments at all levels,” he urged. The Emir commended public servants and private individuals, who attended the ceremony. “Our relationship with all people and governments has been cordial all these years. We are calling on people to always fear our Lord, Allah. That will help us leave peacefully in our country. Many things happened during these years, we can remember some and we cannot remember

some,” Bayero disclosed. He also commended those that sent in goodwill messages on the occasion of his golden jubilee as Emir and 80th birthday anniversary, saying: “Many people sent in their happy birthday to us, thinking that we are 80 years old. We are 83 years old, not 80 years. We prefer our age to be said as they are. Don’t reduce a year from our age,” Bayero said jokingly. Vice President Namadi Sambo, who represented President Jonathan at the event, described the Emir as “one of the pillars of unity, one of the most respected traditional rulers in the country and true builder of the Nigerian nationhood.” Kano, according to President Jonathan, has remained an inspirational centre of commerce in the Trans-Sahara. “We are very proud of you, Your Highness. The Kano Emirate Council has done much in the economic transformation of the State. And Kano has become

one of the greatest cities of Africa. Yours is, indeed, a Golden Rule.” The President, however, called on Nigerians to respect the rule of law in whatever position they find themselves. Sultan Abubakar commended the Emir’s efforts at managing his people in the last 50 years and thanked President Jonathan for attending the ceremony, through his Vice. “The gathering of today shows how resilient and dogged our people are when it comes to the unity of the nation, despite the security challenges. Look at people from all walks of life in the country are gathered today on this ground,” the Sultan noted. Kano State Governor, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, disclosed that he learned great lessons from the Emir during his (Kwankwaso’s) first tenure in office as governor between1999 and 2003. “Our Emir is a good father to all,” Kwankwaso stressed. In a statement issued

through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, Governor Fayemi congratulated Bayero, describing him as a bridge builder and a figure committed to the unity of the Nigerian Federation. Fayemi said the Kano monarch remains highly detribalised and has used his position to assist governments, at various levels, to ensure stability in the polity, especially when the corporate existence of the country was threatened. Similarly, Arewa elders, in a statement, said Ado Bayero is really worth celebrating, having proven himself as a “symbol of unity and peaceful coexistence and of our common values not only in the North but across the country”. The ACF National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony Sani, stressed “it is against this backdrop that ACF felicitates with the Emir and with the government and people of Kano State over the celebrations.”


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday June 16, 2013

NEWS

5

NEWS

Tinubu’s Mother, Abibat Mogaji, Dies At 96 By Kamal Tayo Oropo

• To Be Buried Today • Her Death Is A National Loss, Says Fashola

RONTLINE woman leader Fsociation and President-General, Asof Nigerian Market

Among early callers to commiserate with Tinubu were Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Lagos State first lady, Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola, Speaker Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, former federal commissioner for Works and Housing, Alhaji Femi Okunnu (SAN), National Publicity Secretary of ACN, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, cabinet members of Lagos State and many other sympathisers. Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) described as a great national and personal loss the passage of the pioneer Iyaloja/President General of the Market

Women and Men, Alhaja Abibat Mogaji is dead. Aged 96, the mother of former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, died at about 6 pm yesterday in her 10 Sunday Adigun, Lagos residence. According to Tinubu’s aide, Sunday Dare, Mrs. Mogaji will be buried according to Islamic rites today, Sunday, June 16 at the Vaults and Garden, Ikoyi by 11 am. Other rites, including special prayers and reception, are expected to follow at the Blue Roof Auditorium of the LTV 8, Agindigbi, Ikeja.

men and Women. In a condolence statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Hakeem Bello, Governor Fashola said the mother of his illustrious predecessor in office and the National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu throughout her life time was a forthright defender of the people and their right to economic empowerment adding that this trait has been imbibed by anyone, who has had the opportunity or privilege to fall within the ambit of her influence. According to the Governor, this peculiar trait is evident in the personality of her illustri-

ous son and former Governor of Lagos State, Tinubu, a leader with the love of the people at heart. Amosun described the late Mogaji as a woman in a million and her death a colossal loss to the nation. He, however, stated that her passing away is a celebration of life of a great Nigerian woman. The Guardian learnt that Tinubu heard of the death of his mother during a meeting with political associates in his Bourdillion Road, Ikoyi. They include the National Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Chief Bisi Akande, former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, National Legal Ad-

viser of the ACN, Dr. Muiz Banire and others. Sources close to the former governor said he will surely miss the woman because of his strong attachment to her. Speaking with The Guardian, former Ogun State governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba, described Alhaja Mogaji as a frontline leader, who was a very strong supporter of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the first Premier of the old Western Region. Osun State governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, described the death as a loss of a mother in a million. According to a statement issued and signed on behalf of Aregbesola by the Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, the death of the

Tinubu matriarch would leave a big vacuum both in politics and commercial sector of not only Lagos State, but Nigeria at large. Aregbesola said Madam Mogaji led a life of substance worthy of emulation. “Mama Abibat Mogaji was a mother in a million. We commiserate with children, particularly Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and others for the great loss. “We commiserate the Oba of Lagos, HRH Rilwan Akiolu, the Mogaji Family, the people of Lagos, particularly Alhaji Femi Okunnu; the party (ACN); the government of Lagos, market men and women in Nigeria and Lagos in particular.

Gunmen Kill Cleric, Others In Borno BORNO Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri month after the Military A Special Operations Force (MSOP) was deployed to com-

Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, presenting a gift to Baroness Valerie Amos, Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, during her visit to Delta State

Mend Threat: Security Beefed Up In Abuja From Karls Tsokar, Abuja OLLOWING reports of FnearTanker explosion in Abaji, Abuja yesterday to which the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) claimed responsibility, security in the Federal Capital would be beefed up today. Security sources in Abuja yesterday told The Guardian that the “incidence has called

for all operations in the FCT to a double up, to forestall any unpleasant occurrence that may aggravate the already fragile situation in the country”. Reports say that the spokesperson of MEND, Jomo Gbomo, had issued a statement earlier, claiming responsibility for the incidence, to which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) refuted.

ABUJA Gbomo said its field operatives stealthily attached portable military limpet explosives to the articulated tanker vehicles in a queue outside a depot of the NNPC in Abaji, sited near Abuja. He said this segment of attack, code-named “Operation Touch And Go”, was carried out partly to demand for the release of their leader Henry

Okah, incarcerated in South Africa for suspected terrorist activities, resignation of Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, among others. “The devices were timed to detonate simultaneously several seconds later, of which the outcome was predictable,” he stated. He threatened further that “From today (yesterday) every tanker vehicle we find dis-

tributing petroleum products including propane gas has become a legitimate target in our war against injustice, corruption, despotism and oppression,” and all drivers of such vehicles are still working at their own risk However, as at press time, the Police Public Relations Office said it was not aware of the incidence, but would work to ascertain the level of damage and the true source.

Edo Groups, PDP, Bicker Over Comments On Igbinedion From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City OLITICAL bickering beP tween the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and interest groups in the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) thickened, yesterday. A coalition of groups within the party took a swipe on the leadership of the PDP over statements credited to its chairman, Dan Orbih, that the national Vice President, South-South of the ACN, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, said that it was the PDP and a godfather that led to the failure of the

government of former Governor Lucky Igbinedion, and that some principal actors in the government contributed to failure of the administration. After a long silence, IzeIyamu, who was Chief of Staff to the governor and later Secretary to the State Government (SSG) between 1999 and 2007, last weekend, said the much-criticised eight years of former Igbinedion, was partly due to the “no manifesto, blueprint or plan for governance” by the PDP. The Coalition Network for Empowerment, Alaghodaro Group and Osarugwe Forum,

EDO in a joint statement read to journalists by Osagie Osazuwa, said the state chairman of the PDP “was not in the PDP as at 1999-2003 and so he could not actually say what transpired, as there was a godfather in the party who gave all instructions. “Dan Orbih came late from the ANPP, and so cannot ascertain happenings in the party, including one when the godfather ensured massive deregistration of PDP faithful, including Pastor IzeIyamu who was a chieftain.”

Also, the ACN in a statement signed by its publicity secretary, Dan Owegie, insisted that Ize-Iyamu was right when he declared that issues about godfathers destroyed the PDP in the state during Igbinedion’s administration. He said Orbih and the PDP Publicity Secretary, Matthew Urhoghide, were not members of the party at the time and were therefore not qualified to counter Ize-Iyamu’s account on the government. He said the PDP leadership would be deceiving the public by insinuating that IzeIyamu is the principal actor that contributed to the fall of

the said administration. “This is a blatant lie because Mr. Dan Orbih was not a member of the PDP during the administration of Chief Lucky Igbinedion. Dan Orbih and Matthew Urhoghide were both in the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), building castles in the air. “Nigerians are well abreast of how political godfathers operate. They do not need Dan Orbih or anyone else to interpret for them. So, when you are deceiving the people with language, they understand by reading between the lines.

bat Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, violence has erupted again in Borno, as gunmen suspected to be members of the Islamist terrorist’s sect, Thursday, attacked four communities of Hwa’a, Kunde, Gathahure and Gjigga of Gwoza Hills settlements, torching four churches with Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDS) and petrolbombs. According to Tada Garuta, a resident of Kunde, the gunmen climbed the hills on foot with explosives and petrol-bombs, and chanted God is great, in Arabic, before setting four local churches ablaze; and ransacked and emptied their bans of grains along with some livestock before moving over to the next community of Gathahure and Hwa’a at dawn. The attacked communities are located in Gwoza council area of Borno state of Mandara Hills, 151 kilometres south of Maiduguri, the state capital. It will be recalled that gunmen torched two churches at Hrazah and Hembe, both hill dwellers communities, in April this year, killing two residents. Garuta also told the Guardian, yesterday that after torching another church in Hwa’a community, the gunmen also killed Rev. Jacob Kwiza (Rtd) of Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN). He said: “As the gunmen threw some explosives at our church, they forced the retired Reverend to renounce Christianity and be converted to Islam. But Rev. Jacob defied their threats, insisting on being a Christian among his people on the hills of Hwa’a. They slit his throat with a sharp object. We started to flee for safety, as we don’t know who would be the next victim.” He said because of fear and terror inflicted on hill dwellers in Hwa’a community, none of the residents came to pick the body of slain Reverend for burial and prayers.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

6 NEWS

NEWS El-Rufai Condemns PDP’s Bribery Allegation

NATIONAL By Tunde Akinola ORMER Minister of Federal FMallam Capital Territory (FCT), Nasir El-Rufai, has condemned the allegation by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that Nasarawa State Governor, Umar Tanko AlMakura, plans to confiscate 150 hectares from villagers for the purpose of bribing him. PDP had alleged that AlMakura is planning to confiscate the land located at Karu-Panda Road to give to ElRufai to help him secure 2015 presidential ticket of the yetto-be registered All Progressives Congress  (APC) when he (El-Rufai) eventually becomes secretary of the party.

Onne Operator Laments Return OF Insecurity Chairman, Ogun State Chapter, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Alhaji Taju Bello (left); the couple, Taofeeq and Sekinah Bello; Former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba, at the Nikkah Ceremony of the couple at Darlington Hall, Ilupeju, Lagos… yesterday. PHOTO: CHARLES OKOLO

FAAN Rakes In N120m From Disused Airplanes By Wole Shadare EYOND ridding the naB tion’s airports of disused aircraft, there are indications that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) may have made a fortune from the disposal of the equipment. This revelation came as Chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Dr. Steve Mahonwu, described the manner aircraft were towed along the road as absurd. Noting that the last may not have been heard of the matter, he said it is only in Nigeria that such could happen. The Guardian learnt that each of the disposed aircraft have high economic value just as each of the abandoned airplanes goes for as high as N2 million. At a point, there were over 60 privately-owned airplanes at airports in Lagos, Kano, Abuja, Port-Harcourt, Benin, Kaduna, Ilorin, among others. Deputy Secretary General of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Mohammed Tukur, said the aircraft have high economic value, adding that a disused BAC1-11 aircraft costs between N2 million and N2.5 million. Among abandoned aircraft types were largely B737200/300, BAC1-11, B727, Cessna, Police choppers and other aircraft types. For over 60 abandoned planes, at least, N120 million could have gone to the airport authority as proceeds

•Airline Chief Decry Towing Of Planes On Lagos Roads

LAGOS from sale of the scraps. The aircraft frames are made of aluminium and, in most cases, are smelted for fabrication of kitchen utensils like spoons, forks, among others. The FAAN had early this year given owners of the abandoned airplanes some months to evacuate their property or would be confiscated and sold to would-bebuyers. The late Gabriel Oduyemi’s light airplane was sold to Captain M.J. Ekehinde for educational purposes. The aircraft became a subject of discourse because of the crude manner it was being towed on a busy road along Igando-LASU last week Thursday. It also raised posers on who authorised its release to be towed in such embarrassing manner. A couple of months ago, some aluminum smelters were seen at the airside of the Lagos airport cutting aircraft parts and smelting. The authority was in a long drawn battle with the owners who tasked them to provide them with a ‘grave yard’ for dismantling of the planes. They had gone to court to restrain the FAAN from carrying out the action, just as the aviation agency cited security and attraction of birds to the area, which have caused

birds entering the engines of planes and damaging them. Tukur, however backed the agency, saying, Lyou cannot abandon your aircraft for years in airports. If you do not need them again, it is the duty of FAAN to take them away”.

I support FAAN on this. Abandoned airplanes at our airport is a huge embarrassment to the country and in this period of insecurity, they must leave the airport”, he added. Speaking to The Guardian, spokesman for FAAN, Yakubu Dati explained that the removal of abandoned aircraft was as a result of threats they

pose to the safety and security of the airports and aircraft. “Apart from providing safe haven for terrorists, these aircraft are potential homes to birds and the danger of bird strikes is obvious. Following the expiration of deadlines, interested owners reclaimed theirs and those left unattended were evacuated forthwith”, he added.

World Population To Reach 8.1b In 2025 By Kamal Tayo Oropo (with agency reports) HE world’s population, acT cording to a recent United Nations’ forecast, will increase from its present 7.2 billion to 8.1 billion in 2025, with more than half of the growth coming from Africa. By 2050, it will reach 9.6 billion. That of Nigeria is expected to hit 440 million. India’s population is expected to surpass China’s by 2028 when each country will be about 1.45 billion, according to the report on World Population Prospects. While India’s population is forecast to grow to around 1.6 billion and then slowly decline to 1.5 billion in 2100, China’s is expected to start decreasing after 2030, possibly falling to 1.1 billion in 2100, it said. Among the fastest growing countries is Nigeria, whose population is expected to surpass the United State’s before the middle of the century

Nigeria Hits 420m In 2050, Rivals China In 2100 INTERNATIONAL and could start to rival China as the second most populous country in the world by the end of the century, according to the report. By 2050, Nigeria’s population is expected to reach more than 440 million people, compared to US’ 400 million. In 2100, the country is predicted to hover around 914 million. The report found that most countries with very high levels of fertility — more than five children per women — are on the UN’s list of least developed countries. Most are in Africa, but they also include Afghanistan and East Timor. But the average number of children per woman has swiftly declined in several large countries, including

China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Brazil and South Africa, leading to a reduction in population growth rates in much of the developing world. In contrast, many European and eastern Asia countries have very low fertility levels. The population in developing regions is projected to increase from 5.9 billion in 2013 to 8.2 billion in 2050. In contrast, the population of developed countries is expected to remain largely unchanged during that period, at around 1.3 billion people. The report found that Africa’s population could increase from 1.1 billion today to 2.4 billion in 2050, and potentially to 4.2 billion by 2100. Even as the number of children in less developed regions is at all time high at 1.7 billion. In those regions, children under age 15 account for 26 percent of the population.

Niger Delta States Low On Fiscal Discipline, Transparency – NDEBUMOG By Gbenga Akinfenwa OME States in the Niger Delta have been observed not to have public procurement and fiscal responsibility laws, while those that have do not have appropriate civil so-

S

ciety component, which ought to enhance monitoring and evaluation. This was the observation from a two-day training on budget tracking organised by the Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group (NDEBUMOG) in

Calabar, Cross River State for members of the civil society and government employees. A communiqué issued at the end of the training, which was signed by Opaka Dokubo, chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ-Rivers State)

and Mr. Georgehil Anthony, executive director, NDEBUMOG, noted that budget monitoring and evaluation is critical to development, urging governments in the region (Niger Delta) to put in place a structure in all the MDAs, which is to in-

volve relevant stakeholders within the Budget framework. The parley charged the civil society, media and other relevant stakeholders to step-up efforts towards carrying out oversight functions on budget monitoring and evaluation.

RIVERS By Kelvin Ebiri OMMERCIAL Manager of C Integrated Logistics Services (Intels), Mr. Sunny Ijere, said security on waterways in Niger Delta has deteriorated drastically in reticent times and that the situation is have negative impact on business activities in the area. He said this when members of board of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) to Onne Port, Rivers State. Ijere whose company provides logistical services to Shell, Mobil, Chevron, Eni, Total and several other oil companies, told the board members that illegal anchoring of various vessels at the Ikpokiri end of the port posses a threat to the oil and gas free zone.  He also lamented that illegal bunkering in Ikpokiri and Okrika has escalated. “From security intelligence, it was observed that security situation on shallow water and deep offshore has returned to the same situation it was during 2009 crisis,” he said.

Ogun Commences Health Week On Monday

OGUN By Gbenga Akinfenwa GUN State government O will on Monday commence its June round of 2013 Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW). The programme is part of the continued efforts of the State government at improving the health status of mothers and children in the State. The Director, Primary Health Care of the State, Dr. Kafayat Lawal, said the week-long event, which will run from Monday 17 to Friday 21, form part of the present administration’s commitment to provide essential health needs for mothers and children apart from reducing the prevalence of maternal mortality rate.


TheGuardian

7 Sunday, June 16, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Cityfile Abuja

Policy for or against the people? A distraught woman wonders why, before ticket expiration, her tire is clamped by staff of Integrated Parking Services at Adetokunbo Ademola Cresent, Abuja. She eventually zooms off in anger, following intervention by a senior staff... on Friday.

Residents Groan Under Park ‘n’ Pay Policy From Itunu Ajayi, Abuja OR vehicle owners in the Federal Capital TerFtheritory (FCT), the fear of oversight agents at city’s parking lots might be the beginning of wisdom. Stay beyond the time allotted and you’d be forced to cough out N5000. And should the vehicle be towed to the office of the managing contractor, each passing day would attract a demurrage of N1000.  The FCT administration came up with the policy, last year, compelling car owners to pay for parking privileges in the metropolis. The administration, however, did not construct any special facility for the purpose. What it did was simply mark out portions from existing roads and label them ‘parking spaces’.  Consequently, the roads become narrower and more prone to traffic gridlocks. To worsen matters, the partial or total barricade of some roads, as a result of measures to counter the Boko Haram insurgency, added to motorists’ nightmare. Four private companies were mandated to manage the parking project. They are Platinum Parking Management Services; Integrated Parking Services, ATB and NIGEC. Their operations, however, have been greeted by complaints and anger. Users lamented the excesses and unwholesome activities of managers. They spoke unanimously of arbitrary clamping of tyres, fraudulence by ticketing agents and bribery. These are no easy times for residents and those who live in the suburbs but have to come to the city every working day. For 30 minutes, users are required to part with N50. An hour attracts N100. And a day demands N650.  Many of the residents who spoke to The Guardian said the monies are outrageous, citing especially out-of-town persons who come to work on daily basis. These would have to part with N650, each day, totalling about N13,000, monthly. Those who work at the Federal Secretariat are not under this constraint, as available parking spaces attract only N100 per day. It is, however, a different story for their colleagues at parastatals and agencies. By implication, these would spend more in one day than their Federal Secretariat counterparts would in a week. These parking lots are mainly to be found around the Central Business District; Maitama, where government agencies and parastatals are located; Area 3 and 8, where there is a concentration of banks; Garki and some parts of Wuse.   Of interest are areas that are designated One-

Way. The administration’s revenue drive succeeds in turning walkways for pedestrians into parking lots. A typical case is Port Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbia Street in Garki 2, where it becomes difficult for parents to pick their wards from school. The walkways they once utilised for the few minutes they needed have disappeared. SERS of the parking spaces often engage in U heated arguments with oversight agents over what they say are calculated attempts to defraud them. They complain that the agents behave like touts and lack respect for members of the public. Another situation, which makes the policy distasteful to users, is the fact that each contractor issues a different ticket from the others. As a result, a ticket purchased in Maitama would prove invalid in Garki, as the user would have to purchase yet another ticket from a different operator. Residents also lamented the mischievous antics of the agents. When users arrive, they deliberately are nowhere to be found. The motorist, therefore, parks but returns to find his tire clamped. Residents say the agents do this in order to force out a bribe from users. “When one needs a space to park, these guys would be nowhere. They hide and watch you park, after a futile effort to locate them. Then all you’ll see is their clamp on your tire when you return. They do this so that when you begin to beg them, you are made to part with a thousand naira, minimum.  This is unfair! If I can afford to drive a car, how on earth would I not be able to pay N100 for a parking space?  But instead of going through the rigour of going to the bank to pay the N5000 fine, one would give them the money and leave them to their conscience, if they have one at all,” said Mr. Gabriel Harrison, a resident. The attention of The Guardian was drawn to the case of a man who heads one of the parking lots. The unscrupulous agent was in the habit of giving unsuspecting users his private account number for lodgement of the N5000 fine for clamped tires. This went on until a lady who had also been given the number uncovered the game and raised an alarm. She brought the issue to the notice of the company’s management. As at the time The Guardian visited the affected park, the culprit was still at his post, though he appeared more cautious, momentarily suspending the collection of illegal charges. Another scenario is where users overstay their tickets, because of unforeseen circumstances.

However, rather than wait for car owners to return and pay for extra time used, the agents go ahead to clamp their tires. Most annoying is that this is sometimes done, even when the car owner has some change to collect from the deposit made. Badmus Ikerika spoke of his experience: “These guys are just a bunch of illiterates. I was in Maitama. I paid for an hour and gave the guy N500. He did not have change. So, I said that I would collect it when I returned. But I eventually stayed for more than an hour. Alas! When I came back, my front tire was clamped. What arrant nonsense is that? After all, I still had N400 with the guy. Couldn’t common sense have told him to wait till I returned, so that the additional cost could be deducted? “They need to be trained and given more orientation.  And most importantly, could you imagine a body, like the NUC, not having a parking space. This city is being run as if the government is not prepared for anything. For God’s sake, we know the capital was moved here earlier than scheduled. But it has been long now; things ought to have taken shape beyond this. Establishments should be considering underground parking spaces by now. “We do things in this country based on selfish interest, and not with concern for the welfare of the people. Users of these parks are going through much pain than gain. And if you investigate the faces behind these parking space contracts, they will not be alien to people in government.” HE question on the lips of users is: where do T the proceeds go? And what has the FCT administration done with the huge amounts of money collected, since last year. Some argue that there could even be some measure of justification, if proceeds were channelled into sanitising the FCT, which they say is fast becoming one big public toilet. According to Mrs. Nina Ibrahim: “The chemical from urine has killed most flowers and the smell is ever so annoying. At some offices and ministries, you have to hold your breath. Money from these parking lots could be used to build public toilets.”  Mrs. Titilayo Adetifa, another resident, said she wasted two working days because of the inefficiency of ticket agents at a park. She said her tire was clamped, and by the time the issue was resolved, she discovered that one of her number plates had been removed, and that the fellow who did so had closed for the day. “Why should they remove my number plate? If it had not been found, I would have sued

them. This is sheer madness,” she said. Some residents have also complained that the frontage of their homes and offices were marked as parking lots to raise revenue for the government. This was the case at the house of a prominent Nigerian in Maitama. He had to engage the service of armed military personnel to reclaim his frontage.  The Guardian learnt that the furious homeowner had demanded to know where his visitors would park or whether they would also be required to pay money to the government to enter his premises. The Guardian approached some of the ticket agents. While some declined to comment, saying they have instructions not to speak with reporters, John Halilu of Platinum Parking Management Services debunked all the allegations. He said the problem with users is that they are not patient. They hurry to park and leave without waiting to be attended, only to turn around and accuse service providers of playing hide and seek. He said that if motorists do not give specific instructions for vehicles to be ticketed after the expiration of their time, the agents have little option but to clamp the tires. He, however, said that clamping is done after the expiration of a 15-minute grace period. He also said that vehicles are never towed to their offices without notifying the nearest police station. Halilu said: “I don’t think that is the reality; we are always around. You are a witness now. You can see our people all over the place. We have some monitoring team from the FCDA that are moving around to monitor the activities of the company.” On where proceeds go, he said: “Everything is remitted to the FCDA because they awarded the contract, in the first place. Even when a tyre is clamped, we send the charter to the FCDA, as well.  This contains the details of the clamped car. Those who have to pay fines are given an account number to pay into. We don’t collect cash from them.”  For the less than 10 minutes during which he spoke, he excused himself about 5 times in order to attend to motorists. And each time he came back, he was courteous, full of apologies for having to break the discussion.   At the Integrated Parking Service, along Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, it took The Guardian quite some time to locate an agent. And after one had been found, he said they have instructions not to speak to anyone on their mode of operation.


8

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

CITYFILE

Enugu Primary school pupils learn the harder way at Ugbene-Ajima, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area.

Sad Tale Of ‘Abandoned’ Schools From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu N some distant future, when they might have grown up, Iwould when sorry standards of living might have improved, they tell their children the stories of how they managed to ‘acquire’ education. They would churn out chapters of how, even after their state government had declared free and compulsory education from Primary to Junior Secondary level, bought and distributed buses to secondary schools in the state, they still sat on bare floors to receive lessons. They would recall images of how only four teachers had to handle a school consisting over 140 pupils, even after their state government had claimed it employed several volunteer teachers. They would, of course, remember how children walked to school with chairs on their heads and how they trekked to streams every morning to fetch water for the school because it had no pipe-borne water. But that’s not all. They would also remember how classrooms

had leaking roofs, broken windows and the school had been without toilets, even when the state’s Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC) sat atop N3.6b meant for the renovation of schools in the course of a year. The above obtains at Ugbene-Ajima, a rural community, about one hour’s drive from Council Headquarters in Umulokpa, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State. Between 7am and 8.30am on school days, tired but determined pupils would be seen carrying their school bags, alongside a chair or a container of water. Those who come from ‘well-to-do homes’ pack plastic chairs; others from ‘poorer’ homes make do with wooden chairs. The same situation applies at all the three schools in the community. Orient Primary School, with about 200 pupils has only four teachers. One of the classes, Class Two, has no teacher. As a result, staff make shifts to engage the children. The school has two dilapidated buildings directly opposite the only access road to the community. The buildings, without partitioning, serve as classroom, staff and headmaster’s office.

The teachers have no tables or chairs to work with. And bamboo poles at one end of a classroom function as shelves for important school materials. One of the teachers said: “We are used to this kind of environment. The current local government administration has remembered to grade the road to this town; otherwise, you would have turned back, half way to this place. “We are a forgotten people; it is only the present council leadership that is making some effort. Previous ones never knew that a place like this existed. They don’t even supply us with chalk, let alone registers. “We have four teachers who oversee more than 200 pupils. What we do is that each week, one teacher will have to combine classes with Elementary Two pupils, because they have no teacher. That’s how we have been doing it. You can see that one teacher is taking care of both Primary One and the Early Child Care, with a population of over 80 pupils. “We have cried for so long, but nobody has come to our aid. There is no water here. Our source of water is the village stream.” It was a similar picture at the Union Primary School. There, an Elementary Six pupil admitted that the teachers were doing their best to deliver. He pleaded with the state government to look into their plight. The school has a population of about 140 pupils, with eight teachers. Like Orient, the only school block is a dilapidated one. One of the teachers said, “We have been crying about this situation, yet nothing has come out. Our fear is that this building might finally collapse one day, during school hours, and the consequence might be disastrous.” Another is Central Primary School, Ugbene-Ajima, where many of the pupils sit on the bare floor, listening to their teacher. Although there were some benches with the inscription, ‘Catholic Women Organisation’, only few pupils occupied them.

Bad Road Thwarts Business Activities In Igbo-Etche From Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt ESIDENTS of Igbo-Etche in Etche Local Government Area of R Rivers State are passing through a harrowing experience on account of their road. Its deplorable state has almost grounded business activities. Agricultural produce suffers low patronage. People also find it difficult to go to the town to buy goods and services because many motorists have shunned its route. Prices of goods, like clothing and drinks, have shot up significantly, as motorists now charge exorbitant fees to ferry commodities. The major market in the area, located at Okoche Edegelem in Igbo-Etche, bears much of the brunt; motorists have to drop passengers with their loads a far distance off. If the road were in good condition, the town would have been about a 30-minute drive away from Port Harcourt. This could have helped decongest the overcrowded capital city. Unfortunately, the road has been abandoned for more than six years now. A visitor to the area would be compelled to ask whether IgboEtche is part of Rivers State, especially with the state administration continually singing about restoring the Garden City’s lost glory. Investigations revealed that persons who bought lands in the area have abandoned hope of developing them. One of such, Mr. David Anyanwu, told The Guardian, “I bought land in IgboEtche about seven years ago with the hope of developing it and

Rivers Deplorable road at Igbo-Etche in Etche Local Government Area, Rivers State.

moving down there with my family. But the deplorable state of the road has discouraged me. You can’t even get a tipper to move sand to the site.” Another resident stressed: “This town is very close to Port Harcourt where people are crammed together. If the roads were good, you will notice rapid development in this place. Most of the lands here have been bought, but people cannot develop them.” It has been alleged that refusal by people of the town to vote for Governor Chibuike Amaechi explains why the road was abandoned. Could this road eventually become the underbelly of the Amaechi years? The onset of rains has not helped matters; the condition of

Lagos Fashola Cautions On Danger Of Food Waste By Tunde Akingbade OVERNOR Babatunde G Fashola of Lagos State has frowned at the vast amount of food going to landfills; a situation he says creates more methane and significantly contributes to global warming. Methane is one of the most dangerous greenhouse gases (GHG) and has been implicated in global warming and climate change in recent years. Fashola spoke through his Deputy, Princess Adejoke Ore-

lope-Adefulire, who represented him at the World Environment Day celebrations in Lagos, last week. The theme of the event was: ‘Think.Eat.Save: Reduce Your Footprint’. Fashola noted that climate change affects agriculture, particularly food production. He said: “We have already begun to see some of the impact. Only last year, severe flooding across Nigeria showed us the damage that can be wrought by climate change.” He said that the avoidance

of food waste means efficient land use, improved water resource management and positive impact on climate change. The governor listed some food waste reduction tips to help reduce methane in the state’s landfills. These include: carrying out waste audits and product loss analysis for high waste areas; working with suppliers to reduce waste; offering discounts for near-expiration items; redesigning product packages to avoid waste; limiting menu choices and introduc-

ing flexible portioning; creating staff engagement programmes; increasing food donations; following storage guidance to keep food at its best; and requesting smaller portions of food. Mr. Tunji Bello, Environment Commissioner, lamented that many Nigerians take the environment for granted because “it has never crossed our minds that most of the resources from nature, most especially food, need to be economically deployed.” Bello said, “this administra-

the road has worsened. Even pedestrians are having a hard time using it. A pastor with Showers of Blessing Christian Centre in the area, Emma Carek, described the situation as awful and unbearable. He lamented that the road ruins business, agricultural development, youth empowerment, transportation and even church activities, and called on the state government to solve the problem urgently. Efforts to reach the State Commissioner for Works, Mr. Victor Giadom, for comment proved abortive. Calls to his phone were unanswered and a text message was not replied as at the time of filing this report.

tion strongly believes that a drastic reduction in food waste would have positive repercussions on climate change through more efficient use of land and better water resource management. If food is wasted, it means that all the resources, input and efforts deployed in the production of food items are also lost.” According to the Commissioner, “the culture of wasting food cannot be a guarantee for providing adequate food for the people. It would be an aberration to believe that there is enough food in the world, even when millions of people are starv-

ing. The situation of plenty food can become a truism, if we all stop food waste, so that we can conveniently change the course of human history.” Bello urged Lagosians to abide by the ‘Waste not, want not’ motto. He said: “We simply can’t afford to waste up to half of the food produced in our territory. The administration of Governor Fashola unflinchingly believes that the Think.Eat.Save campaign would definitely help reduce waste in our environment, and we are committed to its pursuit.”


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

9

CITYFILE

Ogun Refuse competes ‘favourably’ with traders at Ibafo market, Ogun State.

‘Public toilet looks on with envy as man urinates on a wall’.

Refuse Invades Ibafo Market

monstrous. The market also lacks good drainages. And where they exist, hundreds of water sachets, and other food items swim leisurely on stagnant water. Strangely, some people were seen patronising a food vendor beside one of the heaps, not caring a hoot about stench in the air. The situation in the community is not different either. Streets are littered with filth. The drainages are also blocked due to indiscriminate dumping of refuse.

By Oluwakemi Ajani

V

ISITORS to Ibafo market in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State must prepare to have their eyes assaulted by filth. They would be welcomed by heaps of refuse that give the impression every space in the market is struggling to become a dump.

Residents are appealing to local and state authorities to come to their aid urgently. The heaps grow by the day, as a result of continuous trading activities and lack of a functioning waste disposal mechanism. With the arrival of rains, rivulets of stomachturning ‘water’ are beginning to flow from the rubbish. The stench is horrible and the flies are

Ms. Yemisi-Ransome Kuti (left); Chief Nelson Jibunoh (right); Dr. Desmond Majekodunmi (second right)and another participant during the two-day retreat organised by the Policy Advocacy Partnership on Climate Change, in conjunction with the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Environment, and the State Accountability Voice Initiative at Orchid Hotel, Lekki.

Retreat For Lawmakers, Others On Climate Change By Kikelola Oyebola

A

two-day legislative retreat from June 6 to 7 provided yet another platform for concerned parties to deliberate on what new approach to take in tackling climate issues, the progress recorded in the battle to mitigate the effect of climate change in Lagos State and how to consolidate on the achievement made so far. The programme, organised by the Policy Advocacy Partnership on Climate Change (PAPPCC), in conjunction with the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on the Environment and the State Accountability Voice Initiative (SAVI), held at Orchid Hotel, Lekki, Lagos with the theme: Reshaping the Governance and Legal Structures of Climate Change in Lagos State. It served the purpose of bringing together legislators, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders to formulate new policies on climate change and fine-tune existing ones for better and more effective implementation and direction. Participants, including representatives of selected communities and interest groups, discussed at length the need for a more pro-active relationship between the government and citizens for an organised onslaught on the devastating effect of climate change in Lagos State, especially on locals residing along coastal lines and wetland areas of the state. Acknowledging the importance and timeliness of the programme, the Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment, Tunji Bello, in his good will message, said the state government needs the cooperation and support of citizens for a successful implementation of its many policies designed to overcome the threat posed by the problem. Outlining the numerous strategies put in

place by the Lagos State government, which include the ‘massive dredging, construction and maintenance of several drainage channels across the state, to curb the issue of flooding and the commencement of such projects as the Barbeach shoreline protection and reclamation project, the Eko Atlantic City Project, enforcement of clearing of all encroachment on drainage channels, as well as regular flood alert and early warning signals among others,’ Bello said it is now left for the citizenry and other stakeholders ‘to imbibe the muchneeded environmental consciousness necessary for mitigating and or adapting to the impacts of climate change.’ He urged all participants to ensure that the forum equips them, especially the lawmakers, with necessary skills and tools that will enable them contribute effectively to a robust policy and legal framework on climate change in the state. While commending the positive step that Nigeria and Lagos State in particular, is taking in the approach towards addressing the issue of climate change, Peter Carter, British Deputy High Commissioner, said the country shouldn’t content itself with taking actions at home. “This is a powerful country, with one of the strongest voices in Africa. The evidence you develop here and the practices that you adopt should be shared with other African countries. On the global stage, you have an important role to play in ensuring that Africa presents itself as a pro-active partner in the fight to mitigate the effects of climate change,” he said. As climate change presents the people of the world with many challenges, which require different but complementing solutions, Carter said the forward thinking and innovative approach being taken by the Lagos State government is an important step towards developing those solutions.

Missing Governor F members of the Nigerian Governors FoI24,rum (NGF) were in an aircraft on Friday, May 2013 and there was a crash (God forbid), the only surviving passenger would probably have been Yobe State’s Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam. The governor was neither seen at the “airport” before take-off nor available at the crash site, Abuja. CC is yet to know whether it was providence

Mrs. Folake Adegbola, a trader at the market, said: “Local government officials have not woken up to their responsibility in Ibafo. They neglect the market, yet they come around to collect dues.” She pleaded with local environmental officials to intervene in order to forestall an outbreak of diseases. Mr. Sule Ibrahim, a meat seller, said that despite payments to local officials waste disposal trucks have not been provided for the market.

that kept the Yobe Chief Executive away from that ill-fated meeting of the NGF. Of all the noise and pandemonium following the tragic crash of the NGF flight, no mention has been made of Alhaji Gaidam. The last time the Yobe Governor was in the news was when the Federal Government announced ‘partial’ emergency rule for three states hard hit by the Boko Haram insurgency; ever since then, Gaidam has been quiet. Yobe was named in a rather casual manner as the pilot, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and his co-pilot, Okauru, announced the Abuja-bound NGF flight. But Alhaji Gaidam was nowhere to be seen. At the Abuja ‘Airport,’ words later filtered in that Gaidam was attending to a crucial family issue. But back in Damaturu, His Excellency dispatched the Commissioner for Agriculture in his cabinet, Alhaji Ibi Farouk Gumel, to represent him on a delegation of ANPP stalwarts to Ebonyi State, to commiserate with the ANPP family and immediate relations of the former state Chairman of the party in that State, Chief Livinus Nwambe, who died few days earlier. Many within the ANPP family in Ebonyi praised the decision of Governor Gaidam to pay condolence to Ebonyi, rather than partake of the luxurious cruise on the NGF flight 524. But Commissioner Gumel, appearing in place of Alhaji Gaidam, disclosed that His Excellency wanted to make the trip, but was caught up by a very important State assignment. CC was surprised how the radar could not locate Governor Gaidam the very day the NGF super aircraft crashed. What a case of a missing governor!   

Divided By June 12? SN’T it surprising that June 12 was not strong Iagainst enough to keep the opposition united their common “enemy” — the ‘Africa’s biggest political party’ and its Oga at the top? Together, the joint opposition hopes to take a shot at the Presidency come 2015; and they have remained together in this noble enterprise. Using the Mega Opposition (not the proxy one) as a plank, the South West States-dominated party, the two “northern” parties and a faction of the Eastern Wise men have forged a united front in virtually everything except “family affair.” CC can delightfully say that a “common hate” for “bad governance” by a mega opposition is good for Nigerians and the economy: one, it keeps Nigerians “informed” of so-called presidential “missteps.” Two, Oga at the top no longer goes bare-footed; in fact, he now

runs with his army boots properly laced against his ankles. But, very disappointingly, the mega opposition suddenly stopped the united chase last Wednesday, June 12, 2013, only to resume operations the next day; truthfully, CC noticed a sharply divided house that fateful day: while South West States declared Public Holiday to commemorate the late MKO Abiola’s acclaimed victory in an election adjudged the fairest poll (isn’t it?) in Nigeria’s history, “the Northern alliance” were quiet, very quiet; even after Oga at the top made “personal” efforts to pay due respect for “national” feelings at the “graveside” of June 12. Interesting; isn’t it? CC just wonders whether, or not, June 12 will be reflected in the 2015 manifesto and the General made to gladly read it out to all Nigerians.


10

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

CITYFILE

Lagos: Commuters’ Hell Or Evolving Paradise? By Gbenga Akinfenwa, Oluwakemi Ajani and Paul Adunwoke AGOS is adjudged the second fastest growing city in Africa. Lnerve Factors linked to this include its significance as a commercial centre and strategic location as a port city. The city is, however, one huge transportation challenge, attributable to its large population. And while the state government continues to initiate policies aimed at mitigating the trouble, some of these decisions may have unwittingly made commuting more difficult. The unwholesome attitude of road users must, of course, be acknowledged. Many motorists drive and flout road regulations in ways that would make even the devil ashamed. Lamenting this situation, Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, once cried: “When we learn to obey traffic rules and regulations, the inevitable heavy traffic on our roads can be more efficiently and effectively managed. If, on the other hand, we try to beat the traffic by driving against oncoming vehicles, disregarding traffic lights or other such irresponsible behaviour, we only worsen the situation to our collective detriment.” In 2007, the state administration took a bold step at providing an alternative to rickety Molue buses. It banned their use on its highways and introduced the LAGBUS, which started operations on February 17, 2007. The new initiative currently has over 500 buses and runs along 40 routes. It operates a prepaid and on-the-bus ticketing service. Other bus schemes were also launched to alleviate the pains of commuters. These included those by the Lagos Integrated Transport Cooperative Society (LASITCOS) and TRANSMODAL Nigeria Limited. These were in addition to existing BRT and LAGBUS fleets. But despite these strides, the agonies of commuters linger on daily basis. Some major routes are neglected either entirely or in part. The buses oftentimes also perform skeletal operations. Long queues still attend bus stops.  Commuters have criticised LAGBUS operators for shoddy arrangements, lackadaisical attitude, unprofessionalism and poor human relations. The scheme, in recent times, has been faced with a number of problems, like depletion of its fleet due to poor maintenance. At various garages, decrepit and cannibalised buses can be seen. Today, LAGBUS may not boast 200 buses. Observers say LAGBUS staff number has dropped significantly due to sack and poor working conditions, noting that the development might not augur well for the state administration’s intentions at changing the face of commuting in the city. There is also apprehension that at the way the LAGBUS scheme is being run, if care is not taken, it could suffer similar fate as the Lagos State Transport Corporation (LSTC). Besides the perennial problem of bad roads, the challenges of transportation worsened, as a result of the ban on use of commercial motorcycles (Okada), widely believed to be the fastest way to beat periodic traffic snarls. Although the government said it was merely a restriction order and not an outright ban, the policy was hatched without an alternative. The government also appears set to ban the use of tricycles (Keke Napep), which have enjoyed acceptance among members of the public. Observers note that in saner climes, if government proposes a measure, like banning the use of commercial motorcycles, it should provide job alternatives for operators and palliatives for commuters. A worrying dimension to the so-called ban is that policemen

Lagos traffic yesterday, today and... Scene of a gridlock. (Inset: Long queue at a bus stop.)

and staff of other security agencies are seemingly exempted. It is widely reported that many a seized motorcycle ends up in the hands of unscrupulous security men. This would appear to explain why motorcycles used by such officers run without number plates. A commuter, Sola Adeoti, said that the absence of commercial motorcyclists contributes to the large numbers of people at bus stops. He noted that persons on the queue often have to wait for buses, some of which are trapped for minutes or even hours in traffic jams. “Before the Lagos State government banned Okada, even if there is a hold up, there are no long queues; people pick Okadas to wherever they want to go. But now, they spend more time at bus stops as a result of bad roads and poor traffic management,” Adeoti said. Meanwhile, there is unconfirmed rumour that the popular Danfo (Volkswagen mini buses) would soon be phased-out.  While the state might be commended for the creation of the Lagos Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to monitor vehicular movement, residents have blamed members of the agency for soliciting bribes from violators of traffic rules. This they say helps to aggravate the existing traffic nightmare. The state’s Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa, at a recent news briefing, however, disclosed initiatives the state government is packaging to ease the trouble of commuters. He said that the administration has given more franchisees for the operation of buses on new routes. He also stressed the ongoing expansion of Ikorodu Road by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA). Opeifa said that government has acquired more ferries and built jetties across the state to boost water transportation. He said the government is also planning the introduction of cable cars to ply routes in Apapa and Ikoyi, as part of efforts to provide more options to residents. Opeifa also restated government’s commitment to establishing a modern rail transportation system in the state.

House Of Assembly Invites More Community Leaders On NIGERCEM, State Impasse From Leo Sobechi, Abakaliki

T

HE Ebonyi State House of Assembly ad hoc committee has invited four other community leaders to its Tuesday June 18, 2013 sitting. The committee is investigating the impasse in NIGERCEM factory, Nkalagu, between the state government and core investor, the Ibeto Group. Those invited include Ishielu council chairman, Obinna Nwachukwu; member representing the area in the Assembly, Ikechukwu Ogbu; former Ishielu council chairman, Onwa Ali Onwa, and former legislator in the old Enugu State House of Assembly, Columba Nnaji.  

The panel had earlier invited 12 leaders from NIGERCEM’s host communities, including Chief Benson Kalu Aliedema, Chief Emmanuel Eze, Chief Joseph Agu (Nkalagu community); Chief Pius Nnaji, Mr. Patrick Ogbuabor, Mr. Ogbunkwu Nnaji (Umuhuali); Chief Lawrence Ogbuzuru, Chief Paul Omebe, Elder Boniface Ugwu (Amaezu); Chief James Ogbu Aguiyi, Mr. James Ogbu and Mr. Uchenna Idenyi of Nkalaha community. In a letter (reference number EBHA/LAD/ADHOC/0.1/VOL.1), signed by the Secretary of the panel, Mrs. Nwogbaga Chinyere, the committee invited the leaders “to an impor-

CITY SHOTS

Rest in filth... ‘Dead’ Keke NAPEP tricycles atop a refuse dump in Makoko, Lagos State. PHOTO: CHARLES OKOLO

tant meeting with the members” urging them to threat the matter with “utmost importance”.    Ebonyi State Government and the Ibeto Group have been having a running battle over the ownership of the cement manufacturing factory at Nkalagu, culminating in the sack of four traditional rulers

from the four autonomous host communities. The setting up of the committee followed a petition addressed to the Speaker of the Assembly, Chukwuma Nwazunku, by leaders of the affected communities asking the Assembly to intervene, to ensure that investment is not lost to bickering.

LIMGE/SHELL To Commission Fire Station By Gbenga Akinfenwa HE Lagos Island Millennium Group on Environment (LIMGE) has announced the planned commissioning of its N1b fire station in the heart of the city. The project, a key component of LIMGE’s ongoing rebirth agenda for the Lagos Island is in partnership with Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco), among other partners. At a pre-commissioning event recently in Lagos, President of LIMGE, Chief (Mrs.) Taiwo Taiwo, said the organisation’s target is to ensure that no building in Lagos Island is ever gutted by fire again, adding that the target is one of its mandates from inception.

T

“We are aware of the fact that the Lagos Island area is densely populated with close clusters and has always been prone to fire incidents even from colonial times. “What LIMGE is doing is showing example of private public partnership for others to see and get involved in their communities, so that we can build a better Lagos and Nigeria,” she said.  The project which will be officially commissioned in June boasts of a gym, recreational room, communication equipment, training facilities, four state-of-the-art fire fighting bikes, new fire fighting kits and top quality modern fire fighting and communication equipment.

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

By Stanley Azuakola

Where farting is a crime HEN news broke that Gov. Godswill Akpabio had sacked his W longstanding driver, everyone assumed that the driver had committed the unforgivable sin of telling Gov. Akpabio that he too had watched the video of the NGF election and knew that Gov. Amaechi was the clear winner. But that wasn’t even the man’s offense. The man’s crime sounds like a joke but in Nigeria truth sounds like fiction. The driver, popularly known as ‘Pilot’, was fired because he was audacious enough to fart in the car while chauffeuring His Excellency. Relatives of the driver have blamed their village witches for loosening the screws of the man’s anus at the wrong time because of envy over his privileged position. However investigations by A Pinch... revealed that the governor has become very cautious in recent times since he assumed the unofficial role of special enforcer to Pres. Jonathan. Gov. Godswill Akpabio was reportedly worried that since his enemies cannot get at him through the bullet-proof exterior of his official cars, they might try to come in through his driver’s bowels. A confidante of the governor said, “You know that it is not God’s will for Akpabio to die young. At this time when the world is on edge especially over the possibility of a chemical bomb attack in trouble spots like Syria, it would be foolish to ignore that his driver’s anus could be deployed by his haters as a conveyor of a chemical bomb.”

Aso Rock extends transformation agenda to clerics

SO Rock has concluded plans to submit a bill to the national A assembly which would ensure the transformation of Nigeria’s preachers. Announcing the move, the senior special assistant to Pres. Jonathan on who qualifies as a patriot and who does not qualify, Doyin Okupe, said that the problem with Nigerian preachers and their unpatriotic disposition was the absence of enabling laws. He said, “In South Africa, Mandela is sick and pastors kept vigil outside his hospital. But here our leaders fall sick on a daily basis but our clerics can’t even patriotically go and stand outside their hospitals. What a shame!” Subsequently, Okupe said a bill would be forwarded to the national assembly called “Clerics Patriotism Transformation Bill 2013”, which would ensure that “clerics always mobilise themselves outside of hospitals whenever a leader is sick.” This, according to him, is so we can maintain our status as the giant of Africa, which is now being severely threatened by South Africa. He said government would provide vigil allowance to the clerics for vigils which take place in foreign countries. Meanwhile a statement from the Association of Muslim and Christian clerics in Nigeria has described the proposed bill as useless. The statement said that how can clerics have vigils for our leaders when Nigerian leaders never fall sick. “When Patience Jonathan went abroad recently, she wasn’t sick, she only went to rest according to her but later died and rose again. When former president Yaradua was in Saudi Arabia, his aides said he was fine and climbing staircases. Even the Taraba governor, Danbaba Suntai, who was involved in a plane crash, is already fine according to his people and is doing exercises daily. So how can you tell us to go and do vigil for the healthy? Do you want them to accuse us of praying for their harm?”

CROWNED CLOWN (CeeCee) OF THE WEEK

E know we are in trouble when one man – Dan Etete – alloW cates an oil block to himself while serving as Petroleum Minister under Sani Abacha, had it taken away from him during Obasanjo’s tenure as president, but the man has now been settled by the current administration. He claims that all he got from the deal was “just N39 billion.” Yes that is N39 BILLION. We know we are in trouble when this whole messy deal, and the negotiation that dropped this obscene sum of money in the account of one person was led by none other than our country’s attorney-general, Mohammed Adoke, who used to be an attorney to Etete. We discover that we are screwed as a nation when a witness in the case declares in a foreign court that the deal was structured to be a “safe-sex transaction”, with the Nigerian government acting as a “condom” between buyers and seller. Our democratically elected government, a condom! Goodness!!! If you haven’t read about the Malabu case, go and read The Economist magazine report online and see the damning revelations. Then know that we are screwed. If it would give you any comfort, know that it was the government we elected, in cahoots with crooks that screwed us. The government charge was led by the attorney-general, Mohammed Bello Adoke, a crooked clown who takes the CeeCee this week.


TheGuardian

Sunday, June 16, 2013 | 11

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Outlook Medical Students And Legalised Abortion By Jerry Okwuosa EMBERS of the Nigerian Medical Students’ Association (NIMSA) are so keen on legalising abortion in Nigeria that people are beginning to wonder if their parents sent them to medical school to specialise in abortion. We know they all come from families who have been handling pregnancies successfully before they were even born, hence their parents and other stakeholders around are dismayed by this their consuming interest in this intrauterine child lynching (otherwise called abortion), moreso as it is common knowledge that pregnancy is neither a disease nor an illness that requires legislation or research to find a cure for. In short, abortion is not Healthcare. We became aware a fortnight ago of an international conference on Population, Health and Development, dubbed A Family Planning Summit, being organised by the Federation of African Medical Students’ Association (FAMSA) in Enugu from May 22 – 26, 2013. The major items on the programme of events were: • (Product exhibition (read display of Manual Vacuum Aspirators (abortion kit), condoms, IUDs, Oral Pills, Injectables, Insertables Pills etc.), • Sensitisation workshop on maternal mortality in Africa (read strategising for legalisation of abortion in the remaining 50 countries in Africa) and • Outreach to market women on modern contraceptive methods (read free distribution of contraceptive commodities and practical demonstration of how to deploy and use modern contraceptives). Family Planning Summit coincidentally is the title of the conference Melinda Gates hosted in July 2012 in London for the purpose of attacking the fertility of African women by means of self-injectable hormonal contraceptives. Actually, as soon as we read the obnoxious programme of this conference, we set out to alert and persuade our pro-life medical doctor friends to find a way of intervening on the side of life at the FAMSA conference about to start. One can imagine how badly jolted we were when we read on page 27 of The Guardian of May 23, 2013 that members of Nigerian Medical Students’ Association (NIMSA) staged a rally in Abuja, urging the Senate to restore that portion of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) (VAPP) Bill that was expunged by the House of Reps; the portion which states that “… Every woman shall have the right to enjoy reproductive health rights, including the right to medical abortion in cases of rape, incest and where the continued pregnancy endangers the life or the physical, mental, psychological or emotional health of the mother…” In the same article, one Dr. Patrick Eze – Youth Consultant and former National President of NIMSA – de-

M

CONversation

Performing abortion is negative medicine because it runs contrary to the Hippocratic Oath, which demands that doctors care and heal not kill. Abortionist doctors are assassins; they kill babies not for their love of the mothers or hatred for the babies but for money. These young people will learn post qualification that doctors do offer free consultation and treatment but never free abortions; that doctors who lack requisite skills turn to abortion to make ends meet clared: “This (expunged portion) was why the bill was started in the first place…As leaders of tomorrow, we want to start making important contributions through restoring the abortion portion of the bill…”. We thank Dr. P. Eze for letting the cat out of the bill sponsor’s bag and for confirming the concern of pro-lifers. These doctors-to-be need to be fed some home truths: Performing abortion is negative medicine because it runs contrary to the Hippocratic Oath, which demands that doctors care and heal not kill. Abortionist doctors are assassins; they kill babies not for their love of the mothers or hatred for the babies but for money. These young people will learn post qualification that doctors do offer free consultation and treatment but never free abortions; that doctors who lack requisite skills turn to abortion to make ends meet hence one of them quipped: how can we pay staff salaries without doing abortions? The sad irony is that doctors in private practice performing abortions does not make economic sense; abortionist doctors in private practice shoot themselves in the foot because they unwittingly kill off their patients and future patients (babies), who, were they to survive, would have continued to patronise their clinics first as children and later as parents with their own children. Consequently, abortionist doctors rather than expand their medical practices contract them by maiming mothers and killing off their

would-be patients in abortion. Doctors, who used to perform abortions and then stopped, are always happy to testify how their medical practices blossomed as a consequence of that “hard” decision to stop. My family doctor is one such doctor. Young doctors-to-be who may sincerely think they are justified fighting for legalisation of abortion in cases of rape, and incest-induced pregnancies and for the health of the mother should note well the following points for now and for later: •Rape and incest: “No one may be deprived of their life arbitrarily” says Article 6(1) of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The principal reason for providing in Article 6(5) of the original ICCPR text that the death sentence should not be carried out on a pregnant woman is to save the life of the unborn child. The logical imperative of the corollary of this directive requires that the state, also in order to save the life of the unborn child must prohibit and prevent the use of abortion or use of any form of death penalty imposed on an unborn child. The ICCPR recognises in Article 6(5) that the pregnant woman does indeed carry within her womb another human being who is entitled to special protection from the death penalty. This article, prohibiting the execution of pregnant women acknowledges that the child, from the state’s first knowledge of the child’s existence, is to be protected. Thus, arbitrary exceptions, such as rape and incest, which purport to justify “lawful abortion” are not valid. The child before birth, being innocent of any crime, may not be deprived lawfully of his or her life for “the inherent right to life…shall be protected by law… No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life”. If it is agreed that in order to save the life of an unborn child, the child’s mother is not to be executed even though the mother is guilty of a most serious crime punishable by death, it stands to reason that the same unborn child’s life should be spared irrespective of the serious crime of rape or incest committed by the child’s father - a rapist and incestuous father-. •Health of the mother: but pregnancy is rarely a threat. There exists a number of studies showing how very rarely pregnancy is a threat to the life of the mother, yet abortionists simply allege falsely that “childbirth is ten times more dangerous than abortion, thus making abortion the obvious choice.” There are however detailed rebuttals (two of which we quote below) to the false anti-life premise that abortion is safer than childbirth, whereas pregnancy is not a disease. The “Father of Foetology,” Hymie Gordon, M.D, Director of Medical Genetics at the Mayo Clinic USA, said that “In more than

25 years now of medical practice, I have come to learn that if a woman is healthy enough to become pregnant, she is healthy enough to complete the term — in spite of heart disease, liver disease, almost any disease. As far as I’m concerned, there are no medical indications for terminating a pregnancy.” and In 1998, a group of Ireland’s top gynecologists wrote: “We affirm that there are no medical circumstances justifying direct abortion i.e. no circumstances in which the life of a mother may only be saved by directly terminating the life of her unborn child.” Ireland has the best record of maternal mortality in the world. According to United States women themselves, between 1980 and 2004 in the USA, the cases involving “mother’s health”, “defect of the unborn” and “rape and incest” abortions (commonly known as “hard cases”) accounted for only zero point seven percent is one in 143 abortions of all abortions. Also, careful study of statistics reveals that very few women become pregnant from rape or incest. Abortion inflicts violence on women and kills innocent babies, yet direct abortion is not therapeutic, i.e. it does not “cure” anyone of an illness, but instead kills an innocent baby and maims his mother. Mother Teresa, during her Nobel Prize acceptance lecture in 1988 clarified this point: “Every abortion kills two — the child and the conscience of the mother. The latter will never forget that she, herself, has killed her own child. If you don’t want that child, I want it, give it to me!” Another reason they claim to want abortion legalised in Nigeria is to reduce high maternal mortality rate. But with abortion legalised, the quantum of abortion increases and more maternal deaths will always follow in developing countries. We wish also to point out that if a pregnant woman does not attempt abortion, she may die from any of the other five preventable causes of maternal deaths in the developing world, but not from abortion, thus reducing maternal deaths by the 11 per cent usually attributed to abortion. Minister of State for Health Dr. M. Pate told the Woman Deliver Global Conference in Kuala Lumpor the other day that our democracy dividend from the Midwifery Service Scheme was a reduction over three years of maternal mortality in Nigeria from a scandalous 789/100,000 live births to 369 (a 53.9 per cent drop which she said was 60 per cent). If true, this is good news indeed, which also confirms our position that Nigeria does not need legalised abortion to reduce her high maternal mortality rate. In Ghana and South Africa (two of the four African countries to legalise abortion) maternal mortality has skyrocketed with legalised abortion. In Ghana, Midwives are now providing comprehensive abortion services, thereby worsening their maternal mortality situation. Nigeria learn from others mistakes; do not legalise abortion or turn your Midwifery Service Scheme into an Abortion Service Scheme please. •Okwuosa lives in Lagos.

By Obe Ess


TheGuardian

12 | Sunday, June 16, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Editorial Tears Still For Dana Air Crash Victims

T

HE best tribute the airline, the government and all Nigerians could have paid out can still pay to the victims of the fatal June 3, 2012 crash of Dana Flight 992 is to pay adequate compensation to fully re-tool aviation infrastructure and ensure safer skies. It is however regrettable that, one year after, some unresolved issues raised by the air accident are as controversial as ever, meaning that the case on the unfortunate incident is not and cannot be closed yet. It is gratifying that both the federal and Lagos State governments have raised cenotaphs in Abuja and Lagos in honour of the dead. More fundamental, however, is the fact that such memorials have hardly changed attitude to accident victims. Cenotaphs are erected and life goes on for people in government and others not directly hit by losses. Until another accident happens. The Dana cenotaph, afterall, is the second major one in eight years after the Lisa crash in 2005 of a Bellview aircraft with 117 victims. The airline owes the beneficiaries their due compensation. One year is long enough a time to settle claims. There should be no excuses of documentation or whatever, again. In fact, relevant government agencies should stand up to assist the victims’ families. One other sore point in the whole saga is the controversial return of Dana Airline to the skies, less than six months after the accident. Too many questions are begging for answers on the government decision which many have argued was a complete disregard for the dead, more so when in past similar instances, the affected airlines were not given similar treatment. Will government’s likely claim of different circumstances of crash ever mean much to the affected operators? What did Dana do so soon after the crash to inform the accelerated recertification process? President Goodluck Jonathan pledged on the occasion of the crash anniversary that government would ensure safer skies henceforth. This is just as well, but government has to really convince Nigerians and other facility users that never again would it be business as usual for any operator. Beyond mere claims, the public would be interested in the concrete measures that have been introduced or are being enforced on safety matters for all aircraft and airline operators. The age of aircraft being allowed to fly the Nigerian airspace remains a major concern. Simply, government has a duty to protect its citizens and properly regulate the aviation industry to prevent a recurrence of air crashes. A certain lack of proper monitoring by the regulators is discernible in the Nigerian experience. One year after, there is no concrete evidence of a holistic approach to addressing emergencies, yet this is a key factor at the root of safety on ground and in the air. The Dana incident and its aftermath show that government owes the people more explanation while it strives to convince all and sundry that it is ready to guarantee safety in the skies.

LETTERS Constitutional Changes And Health Portfolio IR: Please permit me to Spublication respond to a June 6, 2013 in which you reported recent proposed constitutional amendments by the Senate Adhoc committee on constitution review. Particularly interesting is the rejection of the request for Ministerial nominees to come to the Senate with portfolios. According to the committee “Assigning portfolios should remain the prerogative of the President for reasons of flexibilities. Besides it has been shown that professional qualifications does not necessarily approximate to performance in practical terms”. From this, it is very clear that the upper chamber is very much aware that professional qualifications should not be the major criteria for determining the portfolio to be assigned to any minister and that the President is at liberty to appoint whomsoever he wishes. So my question is: Why is this not being observed in the Ministry of Health where a particular professional group has laid siege to the ministry as its birth right threatening fire and brimstone if other professional groups are made to occupy the post of the minister or commissioner. This is even more worrisome in the face of gross under performance and growing ineptitude on the part of this group. I think we all know the truth but to say it or implement

the right thing is the major problem facing the nation. I am particularly interested in the Ministry of Health because the sector has been bedevilled and has witnessed a lot of crisis/controversies/mismanagement in recent times. Sentiments and bias have come to stay instead of teamwork and professionalism, leading to poor health care delivery. The Senate deserves some commendation for knowing this truth even though they have failed to honestly resolve the lingering crisis in the health sector. Being a medical doctor does not translate to quality performance in practical terms more so as the ministers are

involved more in administrative duties. Thus I believe any professional in the health sector can be appointed minister of health, which is what the new constitutional amendment is preaching. The same policy applies to board of agencies and MDAs in the health ministry. Finally, I wish the Senate and the House of Representatives will have the courage to uphold the constitution, do what is morally right no matter whose ox is gored and equally advice the President to toe the same line. This I believe will bring some peace and sanity into the system. • Joshua Anunibe, Neighbourhood Health Initiative, Lagos.

Who’s A Model Of Anti-corruption? IR: In his letter to The in Britain, Darah was sad. S2013,Guardian , Thursday, May 2, What a model of anti-corruptitled “Family values and corruption.” G.G Darah attacked “hypocritical America” and her allies” as “not models of anti-corruption campaign.” I would like to know if Darah who was the campaign manager of James Ibori’s associate (Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan) is a model of anticorruption campaign? Uduaghan was Ibori’s commissioner of Health and Secretary to State Government. When James Ibori was acquitted of corruption in Nigeria, Darah was happy but when James Ibori was jailed of corruption

tion! I started from the premise that any discussion of corruption is worthless unless it is prepared to be frank. Let us then be frank. Let us start with Delta State. Charity begins at home. Is Delta State free from corruption? Is Darah a model of anti-corruption campaign in Delta State? Who is more hypocritical - Darah or America? A man is what he does! A country is what she does! •Omohakpor Enaye, Oleh, Delta State.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

13


14

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

15


16

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday June 16, 2013 streets in Lagos to be tarred way back. I stayed with my uncle, Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya on Oloje Street, Papa-Ajao. All the other streets around the area were tarred, except Oloje. When I asked, Uncle Bruce said the contract for the construction had been awarded by Mushin local government area. And at the appointed time, the road was done. A drive through the inner recesses of the mainland, off the facade of Western Avenue, Herbert Macaulay, Agege Motor Road, Ikorodu Road and other major arteries of the metropolis, would show how the municipal authorities used to work in those days. Now, Governor Babatunde Fashola is asking people to patiently wait until he is through with creating a beautiful facade for Lagos before attending to the areas where the actual for its convenience to create X number of coun- people leave. He does not need that understanding if the council areas are made to function at cils, while another state for the same reason of convenience may choose to have XY number of that level of governance. Does the governor have a clear picture of my street in Ikotun? It is councils. Both scenarios are of no consenot his business to know that. It is the business quences to the fundamental structure of a federation. But in the Nigerian experiment, where of the chairman of Alimosho local government. I am saying that the people cannot wait forever the governors lack the democratic temperafor the governor to finish with all the phases of ment to relate with the councils, much Lekki, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, etc before climbing progress will be recorded if the local governdown to Alimosho and such other areas of the ment areas are liberated from the monstrous state to make life better. grip of the governors in the new constitution. Development is not spatially sequential. One In the subsisting arrangement, it is difficult to area does not wait for another area to be develplace a finger on the exact functions of a council area. They are seen but not felt in any way. As oped by government before it takes its turn. In the governorship election, the governor did not a growing child back in my village in the early ask voters in Ikotun, Ejigbo, Igando, Ayobo, 70s, the then Midwest State government Isolo, Ajao Estate to hold back their voters until headed by Brigadier Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbevotes from the highbrow locations in Lagos had mudia was to a large extent farfetched in my world. What was very close to me in Oghara Ag- been ascertained. Development should follow the same pattern and more importantly, be barha-Otor and many other villages was the driven to benefit majority of the people. Eastern Urhobo Division with headquarters in It is taking forever for the link bridge between Ughelli, which detailed men of the Public Works Department whom we called ‘Road Mak- Oke Afa and Ajao Estate to be ready. Two others that will link the west end of Oke Afa with Ago, ers’ to clear weeds from our roads and also dig and Isheri Osun with Amuwo Odofin have sysside drainages to re-channel stagnant water tematically vanished from the radar. Yet, if put after rainfall. on stream, these bridges will help to ease, if not Other times, especially during dry seasons, completely eradicate, the perennial traffic snarl tractors were deployed from the headquarters on the Isolo – Ikotun road, as most motorists to grade our roads and make them much from the Ikotun, Ijegun, Isheri Osun and Ejigbo smoother. In the headquarters, major streets ends will use these alternative exit points from such as Akpodiete, Mission, Rice Mill, Oharisi, Post Office, Afiesere, Esegine, Edoge, etc were as- the sprawling Alimosho local government area. Even the situation on the Abeokuta Express way phalted. The roads then, just as they are today, will significantly improve because motorists were in categories. Trunk A roads ere for the who use that axis to escape from the hell that is central government, B for the state and C for the Isolo – Ikotun road, will not have need to do the municipal authorities and every level of all of that rigmarole in order to leave Alimosho. government understood where to come in. When I arrived in Lagos in 1987 for my National This is why my assessment of Governor Fashola Youth Service Corpse, I saw that the councils in will not yield to the hilarious bandwagon acclamation of a super performer. He has performed Lagos also maintained their roles in the development scheme. It was this strict adherence to below average. He collects taxes and other sundry levies from me and my assessment of roles that made it possible for most inner

Backlash Abraham Ogbodo

08055328079 (Sms only) abogbodo@yahoo.com HE Nigerian democracy is almost being perT petually described as fledging. Just exactly when the process will firm up and begin to run efficiently like other democracies in the world is difficult to know. The 1999 Constitution upon which the entire effort is rotating is not yet a stable document. In fact, the constitution is more notable for its inadequacies than otherwise. And every session of the National Assembly since 1999 when this dispensation started has had reason to vote for an amendment of the constitution to make it better although not much, in real terms, has been achieved. Right now, the Seventh National Assembly is reportedly at the twilight of another amendment. So many things are being proposed either for inclusion or exclusion from the constitution. But I will take just one which is dear to me. This is the status of local governments in the proposed amendment. One side of the argument says the council areas should be completely delisted from the constitution as a level of government, so that all transactions regarding the operation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall happen between the centre and the 36 states as federating units. The other side wants the retention of Section 7 and related provisions of the Constitutions, which define the council areas as a level in the three-tier government composition of the Nigerian federation. The Nigeria Governors Forum under Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State advanced good reasons why council areas cannot be made to deal directly with the centre, except through the states. The governors are united in pushing for this position because the bonding between councils and states, which gives the latter unlimited control over the former’s resources, serves the governors well. This is even provided for in Section (6) of the 1999 Constitution. On the face of it, the argument of the governors is watertight because, there can never be two sets of federating units in a federation. The councils are a function of the administrative strategies of the states under normal circumstances. In which case, a state may decide ANOTHER aspect of Mr. President’s mid-term report that should not be allowed to melt with other issues, without some attempt at critical review is that which explained his style of leadership. It was Anyim Pius Anyim, Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) and former Senate President, who handled this segment of the briefing on May 29, Democracy Day. He tried to explain what this administration had done in two years to entrench and advance the democratic culture. Being the leader of Africa’s largest political party and President of the entire federation, Goodluck Jonathan’s style of government is too important to miss out in critical reviews. The President’s style, whether real or imagined, or covertly expressed in some amorphous body language, is what citizens look up to, to gauge the mood of the polity. If the President does not make himself clear enough to citizens, he runs the risk of confusing those who look up to him for clear and appropriate direction. According to Anyim, the civic space, in the last two years has expanded tremendously for increased participation. It is upon this premise that the SGF went on to explain how this administration has yielded itself to different persuasions, in order to accommodate more tendencies as permitted in a democracy. For instance, he said there is now an expansion in the civil society community, which means more voices to call government to order whenever it is seen to be going off the radar. He also mentioned the unprecedented increase in female appointees, 13 female ministers and 26 female Special Advisers and other advisers; more freedom for citizens; higher scores in the fight against corruption; adherence to rule of law; electoral progress and a lot more positives. The SGF’s speech is about the longest of all the presentations and very detailed. It will be difficult to do a commentary on the entire speech within this space. But an aspect that is crucial to the stability of the country, particularly between now and 2015 is the progress report on electoral reforms. President Jonathan is the product of an election, whose victory did not come on a platter of gold. He should understand more than many people why elections and political stability are closely related. For Jonathan to assume the seat of acting President, following the death of late president Umaru Yaradua was a big task. But without asking for it, he enjoyed tremendous support from millions of citizens who had no interest in party politics. They simply saw in him a good

A Vote For Local Govt Autonomy

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

Jonathan’s Model Of Leadership measure of humility and calm. When it was again time for the 2011 elections, citizens listened to his promise of ‘fresh air’, which sounded different from previous campaign promises. That promise resonated with the mood in the country, where things hadn’t work for nearly 10 years, and the people yearned earnestly for real change. Strictly on electoral reform, it was President Jonathan who first hinted on the idea of a single tenure of six, seven years for president and governor, based on his experiences in the 2011 elections. He wanted a presidency that would not be encumbered by the challenges of re-election, so that the occupant of that office would just face the task of governance. Actually, 2011 was tough, both at the party level and in the general elections. For some, it was inconceivable that Jonathan could become President and they fought hard to frustrate that idea, but the votes counted, so it seemed, at the party primary and at the general elections. Jonathan now thought that the president/governor should not be taken through another round of breakneck elections in the name of second term. When the matter was put to the people at public sessions organised by the House of Representatives in the 360 constituencies on November 10 2012, majority said they preferred two terms of four years. But now, the Senate seems bent on a six-year single tenure and it is not clear whose script the senators are working on. The Presidency that first hinted on this idea sometime in July 2011 now appears uninterested and giving conditions on when the amendment should take effect. Something doesn’t seem quite clear here and it should be noted that the amendment process under president Obasanjo failed because of Third Term. The point is that any amendment that is designed to help 2015 elections should come in clear terms, without ulterior motives on the part of the

legislators and the others who may benefit from it. The presidency should not be found dictating to the Senate on when an amendment should take effect. If the Senate thinks what the House did in its public sessions was not comprehensive enough, let them harmonise and get back to the state Assemblies for more inputs. Another area that has brought Mr. President’s leadership integrity into focus is the management of his huge political party, where he is leader. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) looks very unstable and headed for a crash. As ruling party, a crash in the PDP will create ripple effects in other parties and sectors of social life. It was the mismanagement of PDP’s internal crisis after Jonathan’s emergence as candidate that expanded old fault lines, which troublemakers and terrorists enlarged to fit their own designs. Therefore, PDP must be careful this time around, especially in the management of the party’s primaries. This is where the leader, Jonathan must show uncommon style, different from what his party leadership wants to impose. Already, the Governors Forum, which had been predominantly PDP, is now fractured because of 2015. This same Forum assisted Jonathan in 2010 and 2011, when their input in the PDP primary was the ace he needed to defeat the almighty Northern Political Elders’ Forum. How the party resolves its 2015 ticket is crucial to the stability of the country. This must interest the President and he should not leave it to court jesters and the old brigades in his party to further mismanage. Is Jonathan interested in 2015? Let him come out plain and discuss with Nigerians. To push the matter between him and one half of the Governors’ Forum under the carpet is to play the ostrich and allow the polity to boil. The opposition has gained momentum and if care is not taken, they will gain more and balkanize the PDP. The point is that an un-

his performance must be benchmarked against the volume of benefits that accrue to me directly. I am at the verge of relocating from my personal house in the Ikotun area because the stress of the traffic to and fro my office daily except on Sundays, is taking a toll on my life. At Ajao Estate, where a property vendor is assisting with the search, the conditions of the internal roads are terrible. In fact, there are no roads but sheer earthen accesses created by residents to enable them get by with their lives. Usually, when traffic on the Abeokuta Express Way gets unbearable in the mornings, motorists from the Shasha area escape into the adjoining River Valley Estate to come out at the southern entrance of the estate by the canal before Cement BusStop. They do all of this to cut off a little stretch of the harrowing traffic and gain some breath. The conditions in the estate are also horrible. Both estates do not seem to fall under any level of government in Nigeria, because there is literally no government presence. Yet in the administrative taxonomy, both areas should come under a council administration precisely Oshodi – Isolo and Alimosho council areas of Lagos State. Perhaps, conditions in the two estates would be different if the council areas were not encumbered by the parasitic state government, which takes all the resources due the councils and gives back nothing commensurate. In a previous write-up, I had argued that the Nigerian democracy could do without state governors. I still stand by that position. The state governments do not even own territories. Local governments do and development cannot possibly come from quarters, which do not understand the terrain. It is a smaller version of the larger and perennial argument that the central government cannot be aloof at the national headquarters and understand the specific needs of the state governments. Same way, my state governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan for instance, cannot remain in Asaba and have a full view of the pressing needs of the Agbarha-Otor community. Because of such gaps, the governor, thinking he is acting in good faith, may ask his commissioner of health to build a mortuary for the community, instead of a primary healthcare centre. He is not to blame because he does not have all the information. Only the man closest to the people, the local government chairman has a full picture. And I ask that he be strengthened by the new constitution to do his job well. What the rest of us can do is to insist on accountability and ensure that hustlers who are looking for money to rent apartments or finance their marriages do not become council chairmen in the New Nigeria under the new constitution. healthy PDP at this point will exacerbate the security challenges that have been a major distraction for this government. In two years, contrary to what the SGF wants Nigerians to believe, Mr. President’s leadership model has not positively affected his party. The party managed to survive 2011 and expectations were that by mid-term, a lot of reconciliations would have occurred, towards building a stronger party for the next elections. Instead, there are now more troubles. Another scary area is the capacity of INEC to manage 2015. So far, INEC has not updated the infrastructure it used to prosecute the 2011 election. No one is sure of the state of the hardware that INEC used to register voters in 2011. Those data capture machines, some of which packed up in the field have not been updated or put to test. No one is sure of INEC’s data software, which of course needs updating by now. INEC is now counting on the National Population Commission (NPC) to provide it with a pathfinder into the population data, which it could use for fresh constituency delineation. NPC itself said recently that its data lacks integrity. Festus Odimegu, NPC chairman was fair enough to confess that some of the data he inherited lacks integrity. So, we are still likely to make do with an INEC that will manageably stage elections with an uncomfortable error margin. This is what the opposition will not take. We saw errors of late arrivals of men and materials in Edo and Ondo states. There were disturbing percentages of void votes, due to poor voter education; disturbing figures of voters who cannot locate their names and voting places. The only difference we saw in Edo and Ondo was the huge deployment of security agents to supervise the polls. In a general election, the security machinery will be greatly challenged to go round the country at the same time and in not less than three Saturdays. That is huge and should not be a feature of democracy where the civic space has expanded, as Mr. Anyim alleges. This, I think should interest Jonathan, more than that power-point presentation on May 29, which lacks reality. The assignment is not for the Presidency alone; but the challenges must be acknowledged first at that level before relevant stakeholders charged with resources and good leadership can confront them. But to bask in the euphoria of ‘one man one vote’, a catchphrase for free and fair elections is to court trouble. 2015 must be seen to be remarkably different from 2011, in deployments, voter access, transparency and results. Anything short of that could shorten and not deepen this democracy.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

UNTH Restores Open Heart Surgery

JUNIOR GUARDIAN P/18 CLIMATE CHANGE Marzwell Displays ‘Climate Culture At Competition Change... Search For Water Continues In The North.’ LAFETE P/29 MOVIEDOM P/35 Jackie Appiah For F.A.C.E. ‘Deepening Digital Marketing Knowledge....’ List Awards

P/22

NEWSPEOPLE P/24 ‘We Are Returning To Grassroots Participation.’


TheGuardian

THE GUARDIAN,Sunday, June 16, 2013 18

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Junior Guardian Marzwell Holds Inter-house Cultural Competition

W

ITH the recognition that cultural values form the founding principles of one’s early life, the management of Marzwell Nursery and Primary School, OkoOba, Agege, Lagos recently held 2013 inter-house cultural competition themed: “Unity in Diversity.” The well-attended event saw the pupils and staff of the school dressed in different royal regalia, representing different Nigerian ethnic groups and other countries. Parents and guests at the occasion were thrilled by the pupil’s presentations in Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Calabar, Edo, Ghana and Benin. Mrs. Omotayo Ajanaku, proprietress of the school said the purpose of the event is to expose the pupils to different cultural values and also inculcate moral lifestyles in the children while reminding them of the need to acknowledge their heritage. She said the school decided to go into cultural competition in order to create awareness about the usefulness of the world cultures so that they can easily identify people from other countries and adapt to every situation they find themselves in their higher academic pursuit. She noted that many parents don’t allow their children speak Nigerian local languages; rather they encourage them to speak in English. She, however, advised every parent to en-

CONTEST Solutions To Brain Teaser (9) RECENT

courage their children to speak in any local language they choose to speak. The School Head Teacher, Mrs. Ajoke Ademola said that the essence of the competition is to promote co-existence among the children. She said that Nigeria has over 50 different ethnic groups and three out of these are: Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. “We want to expose the kids to other ones that exist and also encourage parent to speak their language to the children. Using China as an example, she said other countries have succeeded in preserving their cultures while in Nigeria the cultural heritage is fading gradually. Ademola noted that from what the pupils displayed, they would be able to identify different languages and their culture anywhere they find themselves. Mr. Kojo Anthony, the PTA Chairman of the school said that Nigeria is rich in culture and parents should go back to the basics by encouraging their children to speak our local languages. A pupil that spoke to The Guardian said through the programme she was able to learn different Nigerian cultural attires and their languages.

—Oluwakemi Ajani Cross section of pupils in their tradition attires at the occasion

ALLOW

DOMINATE

APPEAL

Public School Pupils Get Berkley’s Scholarship

CURFEW

RELATION

ATTRACT

HIS year’s Children’s Day celebration for Berkley Science Magnet School, Lagos, took a different dimension, as the school management decided to extend a hand of fellowship to Ogudu Nursery and Primary School, Ojota, where an orphan, Haisat Abubakar and Promise Ihegadinma, received scholarship to complete their primary education with the school. Apart from showering gift items on the pupils at the event, which also marked the yearly Community Service programme of the school, pupils of Berkley school also had an opportunity to interact with their public school counterparts

T

and discuss their challenges. Chief Operating Officer of the school, Dr. Maria Onyia, said the overall aim is to perform its self-assigned duty to their adopted school as well as inculcate the spirit of giving into the children, who hardly know about the challenges of less privileged children. To her, the visit will benefit both groups. “Ogudu Nursery and Primary School students will appreciate the fellowship, friendship and supplies brought to them by our children, while our children will learn the virtues of sharing and giving also. More so, our children will develop renewed appreciation for what they have that

De Magarette School Ignites Pupils With Career Day

D

E Magarette School, Onitiri, Yaba in Lagos recently held her Career Day to enlighten the pupils on different professions in Nige-

Cross section of pupils at the event

COMPILED BY KIKELOLA OYEBOLA

ria. Speaking to Junior Guardian, the Head teacher, Mrs. Ruth O. Abolade said as the children are growing up, it is important to expose them to different professions in the country. With this, she added that choosing a profession would not be hard for them in the future. Abolade disclosed that it was the Proprietress of the school, Mrs. Cecilia Olaide Lawal that gave the idea to her. “The Career Day was the first of its kind. We have people that guide them to know what they want in life, as we believe in catching them young.” She said all the pupils surprised her with their presentations, saying, “Most of the demonstrations were eye openers and educated some of the teachers and parents beyond what they know.” Due to its success, the Head Teacher said they might start having the Career Day every year. “We want to start creating awareness in the children and preparing them for the future.” At the event, the school’s consultant Director of Edu Fun Consultants, Mr. Augustine Fayemi noted that the memory of the programme would linger for long and might play a determinant factor in the pupils’ lives in future. —Victor Olushola (You can contact us on events for this page through: e-mail: jideoojo@yahoo.com

other children do not enjoy”. She commended their parents for assisting them with the gift items, which included backpacks, toys, socks, pencils, notebooks, rulers, textbooks, story books and other essential supplies needed by primary school pupils. The items she said, were worth over N100, 000 while the scholarships was worth more than N500, 000 per pupil per annum. She said the school is not relenting in its effort to complement state government’s effort in revamping public school education. She also expressed willingness to contribute to teachers’ development of their adopted school. Officials of the School Education Board from Lagos State, Mrs. O. Oyesoro and the Supervisor, Kosofe Local Council Development Area, Mrs. Folake Ajayi, lauded Berkley School’s gesture urging other private schools to emulate the kind


19

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

CAMPUS Educational Social Networking Site, Kranta Debuts By Gbenga Oke NEW social online network known as Kranta has been launch. Kranta, established by Elara Technologies, is an educational site that affords members access to academic resource, including past questions of various examinations in Nigeria, ranging from common entrance to professional examinations for free. According to the CEO of Elara Technologies, Damola Olajide, his firm decided to design the site, www.kranta.com, because of obsession with noneducational social media contents by students, which is attributed to their dismal performances in examinations in recent times. He said because it would be virtually impossible to stop students from using smart phones or visiting social media online, the firm is launching the socioeducation portal and making learning pleasurable. Loaded with social networking features including profiles, activity feeds, comments and groups functionality, Kranta is poised to provide a robust learning experience enhanced by social engagement and collaboration. The site gives visitors a comprehensive assessment of one’s performance in test done online with statistical analysis. It also grants users access to a large database of educational materials in various fields of learning through an aggregating Desmond Alufohai of Miami, Florida (left); Ogbeide Derrick Oigiagbe; GM, RT Briscoe (Nigeria) Plc, Oseme Oigiagbe; and wife, Stella Oseme Oigiagbe, at the graduation search engine and makes it easy to find people who share study-related materials or establish new conceremony of Ogbeide at Towson University, Maryland, in the United States. tacts. The firm’s Chief Operating Officer, Opeyemi Obayan, said he is extremely happy that the project they have been working on for the past two years has been completed. “In less than three months General Ike Nwachukwu summit held at the since we launched the site, the portal has about From Gordi Udeajah, (Rtd) was the chairman Senator Anyim Pius 3,000 registered and active users,” said Obayan. Umuahia of the day. Anyim Auditorium. OSERS, charges and Vice Chancellor of The Ag. Director of the tasks  were raised MOUA, Prof. Hilary centre, Mrs. Georgina and assigned by par- Edeoga, used the occa- Edeoga, said the sumticipants  at  the 2013 sion to formerly present mit came barely six Gender Stakeholders to the university com- months after the launch Summit and Award munity the newly of the Centre for TUNBA Michael Olasubomi Balogun, last Ceremony of the appointed Pro- Gender  and Child week, explained why he gave the Otunba Michael Okpara Chancellor, Prof. Anya O. Development. Tunwase National Paediatric Centre to the University of Anya. He noted that God She said apart from College of Medicine of the University of Ibadan (UI). Agriculture, Umudike did not create anybody appraising governAccording to him, the institution was the first to (MOUA) in Abia State, or gender inferior, but ments’ efforts  at all levarouse his interest in children. which was organised by gave both men and els in nation building, Speaking in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, at the signing of the institution’s Centre women talents in equal poverty alleviation and the ‘Deed of Gift’, the businessman said a number of for Gender  and Child measure. gender mainstreaming, universities had approached him on the project, Development. Awards of honour were the event afforded par“but I decided on UI because it first lured me into The theme of the sum- bestowed on the state ticipants the opportunichildcare, and among other things, gave me a mit titled Nation governor, Dr. Theodore ty to appreciate men Doctorate degree in 1989 for my contributions to Building At 100: The Orji; wife of Bayelsa State and women, whose the economy, healthcare and education.” Issue of Gender governor, Dr. Rachael unprecedented and The centre is modeled after the Great Almond Mainstreaming, was Seriake Dickson; former laudable achievements Street Hospital in London, and would be totally deddelivered by former Information Minister, in the private and public icated to the care of children. Work began on the Ohanaeze  Ndigbo Prof. Dora Akunyili; and sector present a mirror project, which gulped over N2 billion during his President General and Nollywood actor, Mr. for the youths to chart a 60th birthday and was concluded 15 years after, and insurance guru, Prof. Joe Osita Iheme, popularly progressive path for Vice Chancellor of MOUA, Prof. Hilary Edeoga, presenting an award to handed over to the university at Balogun’s 75th Nollywood actor, Osita Iheme, aka Paw Paw at the summit. Irukwu, while Major- known as Paw Paw at the themselves. birthday. Provost of the University College Hospital (UCH), Prof. Olusegun Akinyinka, thanked the donor for the gesture. “With this project, you have truly shown you are a caring father, not only to your children, but to the nation. Your qualities are lacking in most Nigerians and we sincerely appreciate you and your HE Lagos State government students to visit the board’s family for giving the college this major gift.” mainly of students. The question was: has released N63,463,718.12 website for further informaBy Femi Alabi Onikeku “What legacies would today’s youth for immediate payment as bur- tion on required documents UI Vice Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Adewole, described the donation of the centre as outstanding and HEY had spent months, picking a leave for the next generation?” sary to Lagos State indigenes before payment can be unparalleled to the premier institution. twig here and a twig there. The There was no dull moment as young admitted into Lagos State effected. nest was ready, and full of eggs students took on the older generation. too! But the new creation may not be “Blame should not be placed on our University (LASU) in 2011/2012 Meanwhile, the board will announced to the world without cere- generation. We have no good founda- academic session to cushion the soon commence documenmony. And on June 4, 2014, The tion on which to rebuild our nation. effect of the increase in the insti- tation in readiness for 2013 The path of least resistance is the path of the loser. payments for beneficiaries H.G. Wells Weavers Club of the English Our politicians and leaders are tram- tution’s tuition fee. In a statement made available of local scholarship award. Department, University of Lagos (UNI- pling on past legacies,” lamented a to The Guardian by the The state has also approved I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God LAG), invited members of the public to young female respondent. Director/Secretary, Lagos State N160,142,717.12 as local schol- who has endowed us with sense, reason, and the launch of their anthology of The launch also featured a perform- Scholarship Board, Mrs. arship awards to indigenes intellect has intended us to forgo their use. poems: Our Legacy of Madness. ance by Melody Kuku, Bisoye Adeniji Dr. Chris Anyaokwu, a lecturer at the and Samuel Olatunji, all 100 Level stu- Yetunde Jegede, a total of 1,085 of the state in various tertiGalileo Galilei English Department and author of dents of the English/Arts Department. students will benefit from the ary institutions across the Beyond the Wall and Other Plays, cap- They enacted the poem: ‘To Him Who award. She enjoined concerned country. It is a common experience that a problem diffitured the thrust of the collection Has No Love’. Although it spoke of love, cult at night is resolved in the morning after the when he said: “Our fathers and past the actors were conspicuously attired committee of sleep has worked on it. leaders left legacies of patriotism, in costumes that depicted colonialism, John Steinbeck truth and honesty. But these are now and portrayed how Africa was wooed KITI State University is now the 45 programmes run by considered madness to our genera- from her values in embrace of foreign Goals are dreams with deadlines. reveling in its new status as the university, 34 have tion. No one is interested in patriot- ones. Diana Scharf Hunt one of the nation’s universibeen granted full accrediism, truth or honesty anymore. It is This was followed by a rendition of ties with all programmes fully tation, while 11 have interindeed gladdening to know that these Timi Dakolo’s ‘Great Nation’, by Melody accredited by the National im accredited status. The students have risen to pick our heroes’ Kuku and 200 Level student, William Universities Commission Vice Chancellor, Prof. Every week, LIFE CAMPUS reports on events in stuthread of legacies and build a better Alfred (also of the English/Arts (NUC). This is sequel to the Patrick Oladipo Aina, Nigeria.”  Department). The beauty of their per- outcome of the accreditation attributed the feat to God, dents’ communities across the country. You can conThe event featured a lively interactive formance may have evoked feelings of team, who visited the institu- the hard work of staff and tribute by sending stories, gossips, reports on events session between lecturers, special patriotism, as the erstwhile rapt audi- tion in November 2012. and your pictures for Campus Faces to us at: support of the state govguests, and the audience, comprised ence gave a standing ovation. The result revealed that of templer2k2@yahoo.com or ernment.

A

Stakeholders Raise Posers At Varsity Gender Summit

P

Balogun Donates Paediatric Centre To UI

O

When UNILAG Students Launched Lagos Commences Payment Of Bursary To Indigenes Our Legacy Of Madness T

T

WISECRACKS

Ekiti Varsity Gets NUC Accreditation

E

LET US KNOW


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

20

NEWSFEATURE

The medical team performing heart surgery on a patient last week. (Inset, Dr. Amah)

From Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) VEN with the medical gadgets plugged all over their body, the radiation on their faces was an indication that the worse was over and that they were doing well in their hospital beds after undergoing several hours of surgery to correct various heart conditions. Infact, one of the patients, Mr Chinedu Nwalusi from Amawbia in Anambra state, who had lived with a heart disease for several years before he was operated upon last Friday at the Cardiothoracic centre of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu by a team of medical experts drawn from Nigeria and overseas, said he was grateful to God. “But for this hospital, perhaps, people should have forgotten me by now because my case deteriorated so much last month. When I was brought here and the doctors diagnosed me and assured that something will be done, I was relieved. Thank God for his mercies”, he told The Guardian from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on Tuesday. Mr. Jude Uba, who also benefitted from the programme and recuperating from his hospital bed, added with much effort from his hospital bed, that he was doing well after the open heart surgery performed on him. Likewise Mrs. Georgina James, who hails from Abiriba in Ohofia local government area of Abia State, said from her hospital bed after the open heart surgery that she feels “better since they did this thing on me last Friday”. The resuscitated Open Heart Surgery at the hospital also came as a measure of relief for the patients as they would no longer have to pay about N2million naira elsewhere to obtain the treatment, but only N500,000 to get attention from the hospital. This is courtesy of the VOOM Foundation, a non-government organisation based in United States of America (USA), which brought medical equipment and other consumables to the UNTH free-of-charge for use as part of its humanitarian services. The organisation is also using her experts to treat cases of heart diseases at the hospital at no cost. The medical team of experts led by an

E

UNTH Restores Open Heart Surgery, Trains More Experts Saves N1.6 million from restoring Oxygen Plant American based Nigerian born, Dr Onyekwere Nzewi,  a cardiologist was in Enugu in March this year for the first time and returned to the hospital for the second time last Sunday to treat more cases and train the hospital staff. The Guardian investigation showed that the hospital, which had been known as centre of excellence in cardiothoracic surgery had not performed Open Heart Surgery in the past 10 years. The last time Open Heart Surgery was done in the hospital was in 2003 at its old site under the Kanu Nwankwo Heart Foundation. The stoppage was as a result of malfunction of the facilities as well as lack of requisite manpower to run the unit, which is said to be the most delicate in medical sciences. Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Christopher Amah, who spoke further on the development said, “When we came on board, we felt that this is a signature project for the hospital and that we needed to tackle it. We quickly moved a place that was antenatal ward before and started restructuring the place. We made it an Open Heart Surgery centre and as we were doing this, we were also training ourselves because after 10 years without action, those in the department had had their hands growing cold. In 2011/12, we sent about twelve persons for training at various times, some three months, six months and one year in a heart centre in India. To resume it, we had to arrange with our foreign partners, the VOOM foundation, a non-governmental organisation based in the United States of America. The Director happens to be our person, an Igboman and a Nigerian.  In one of the occasions that I travelled out, I met and discussed with them. The people now

went out and recruited volunteers; we fixed a date and they came in March; 14 of them ( 11 from USA, two from UK and one from Canada) “With these people, we have been able to resume open heart surgery at the UNTH and the Minister of Health came to commission the place and met with our foreign partners. It is not a one-off thing, but the idea is for them to come every two to three months and with our local people, as soon as they are able to transfer the skill, the partners can now be coming less frequently, may be  once or twice a year”, he added. When the Open Heart Surgery kicked off in March, eight persons had their heart problems operated upon and repaired out of the 12 persons screened by the hospital on the disease, while the rest were shifted to June this year, when the team would return for the second leg of the programme. The Guardian, which visited the hospital, last week, discovered that the second phase of the programme has commenced, as four persons had been operated upon as at Tuesday and were recovering rapidly. Amah said,  “We resumed Open Heart Surgery and other sophisticated cardio-thoracic surgeries in our hospital after the successful first phase on Sunday. This one going on currently is the second mission by our foreign partners.  They came back on Sunday from Island and United Kingdom, while the ones that came last March came from United States. They are 12 in number; eight are foreigners and four from Nigeria. “In this second phase, we screened eight patients but they came and after their examination, approved four for surgery and shifted the rest to August when they hopes to return to the country.”

Amah, added that the International Children heart foundation has indicated interest to key in the Open Heart Surgery of the hospital, stressing that a team of medical experts from the group would be in the hospital in December to attend to heart cases for children. “The International Children Heart Foundation has keyed into this programme and they want to make it specifically for children. The foundation said it wants to use it as Christmas bonus for the Nigerian children. They will partner with the VOOM Foundation to bring the best in terms of children’s pediatric cardiac surgery in December, so we are having the children then. Our hospital is a designated National Centre of Cardiothoracic and the signature hologram for the project is the Open Heart Surgery, which we do. Due to some circumstances, it stopped 10 years ago but by the humble effort of this administration and cooperation of our staff and of course the collaboration with our overseas partners”, he said. He talked about other developments in the hospital, since it was moved from its permanent site in 2007 to the new site. “When we came on board three years ago, so many things were not as they ought to be. I met a hospital where workers were on strike, three workers’ union were on strike the day I took over. The body of Consultants was divided into two, along ethnic and state lines. There were serious issues that hindered work in this place and these issues almost crippled the hospital. I think that one of the good things that God helped us to do was not only brokering peace and restored harmony between management and staff, all those rifts and divisions are a thing of

CONTINUED ON PAGE 21


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

21

HEALTH By Daniel Anazia

A

S concerned stakeholders intensify efforts to lower malaria prevalence across countries especially in Africa, more innovative ways to strengthen the global campaign against the disease are also unfolding. One of such innovations is the strategic alliance between the Ogun State Government and Reckitt Benckiser’s Mortein insecticide brand, which both parties have joined hands to bring down the current malaria prevalence in Nigeria and ultimately the entire African continent. The partnership between the state government and the company was predicated on the conviction that malaria was preventable but there was the need for stakeholders to take more proactive steps in order to halt the current trend of avoidable deaths resulting from the disease, especially among pregnant mothers and children below five years of age. In light of the above, both the state and Reckitt Benckiser for the first time jointly commemorated this year’s World Malaria Day in Abeokuta to demonstrate leadership in the advocacy campaign to end malaria scourge, thereby offering succour to hundreds of residents of the state, in particular new and expectant mothers as well as children. On the partnership, the Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, said, “Due to the strategic placement of Africa as the new hub for the world’s economy, it was imperative to accord malaria eradication pri-

Public-Private Partnership Boosts Roll-back Malaria Strategy In Ogun ing awareness at all levels to help people, especially at the grassroots to be more responsive to the global effort to combat and overcome the malaria scourge in Nigeria. According to study, Malaria is responsible for about 66 per cent of all clinic visits in Nigeria. Health workers are sometimes forced to work overtime, as doctors and nurses are often on duty for over 12 hours a day, while women and children wait for hours for medical consultation. The high point of Mortein-supported World Malaria Day celebration in the state was the affirmation to a pledge by representatives of pregnant women and new mothers to join the crusade on malaria prevention and eradication. The pledge-making session, led by Mortein Anti-Malaria Campaign Spokesperson, Omawumi Megbele. Tagged ‘Mortein Mothers Pledge Against Malaria’, it reads: “I am a Nigerian mother and I promise to wait no longer to take up the malaria fight. Protecting my child from mosquito bites, I stand firm to protect my own. No stagnant water or dirt in my home. Let’s embrace our countries’ plight; standing as one. One enemy, one fight.”

tion of responsible corporate citizenship which he said underpinned the company’s love and commitment not only to the people of the state, but to Nigeria as a whole. General Manager Central (West & East) Africa, Reckitt Benckiser, Mr. Ashok Bashin, explained the need to fill what he called the ‘deadly gaps’ in the various malaria eradication programmes informed the intervention initiative being provided by the company. He adds that, “empowering families and communities through participation — while improving their knowledge about how to prevent, recognise and treat malaria — is an important part of Reckitt Benckiser’s malaria prevention work. “Community workers should try to sensitise the local population about preventing malaria through the use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), cleaning their environment on regular basis, avoidance of stagnant water in their surroundings and use of insecticides like Mortein which is safe on both the mother and child”, he declared. With this year theme as: Invest in the Future: Defeat Malaria, the celebration aimed at creat-

ority and every support needed to overcome the alarming prevalence rate.” Adding, “The Ministry of Health had mapped out six core intervention areas to strengthen the fight against malaria scourge. These interventions include Malaria Prevention; Diagnosis and Case Management; Malaria in Pregnancy and Under 5 Children; Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilization (ACSM); Health System Strengthening (HSS) and Information Management (IM).” Soyinka said the focus of the ministry was to scale-up intervention initiatives that include appropriate measures to promote positive behaviour change, strengthen the health system to deliver package of interventions and adequately mobilize for action against malaria through a broad based partnership. While describing the partnership with Reckitt Benckiser as timely, he commended the company for its Mortein anti-malaria initiative and called on other well-meaning corporate organizations and institutions in Nigeria to emulate the company in a bid to make the country malaria-free. He adds that the initiative was a demonstra-

Spiritual Healing And Medical Healing By Moji Solanke

NTERESTINGLY many patients and medical professionals, and this includes many Nigerian doctors, would agree that healing is the sole prerogative of God. Therefore a more appropriate title, and comparison would be ‘spiritual treatment and medical treatment’. There are different methods of medical treatment, broadly classified into physiology and psychology — from the use of drugs and surgery in the allopathic method, to the use of placebos in homeopathy. There is also the use of electricity and counseling in psychiatry and psychology, hospices, and the more recent use of ‘Wellness’ clinics. Obviously the diversity of treatment in medicine, attest to the commitment of medical science in finding a cure for ailments, while trusting God to actually bring about healing.   Spiritual healing on the

I

other hand has only one method of treatment, and this is the method practiced by Jesus Christ. It is based on the science of Christ. It has no formulas or prescriptions although it has rules for its application. These rules include, but are not limited to, relying radically on God, having an absolute faith in God’s ability, willingness and immediacy, accepting man as God’s image and likeness and accepting the spiritual as more real than the material.   In Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy (1829 – 1910), a Christian, spiritual healer, wrote an interesting statement. ‘In 1866, I discovered the Science of Christ and its rules for the healing of the sick’. To prove to the world that she had indeed found the science of Christ healing, she spent three years studying only the Bible and the

UNTH Restores Open Heart Surgery CONTINUED FROM PAGE 20 the past and our hospital is now working as one and people are happy doing their work. “ I can quickly remember that the hospital had a radiotherapy facility that was installed in 2006 by VAMED – a company engaged by the federal government to beef up some teaching hospitals to a standard. The radiotherapy equipment is the facility for treating cancer. Before we came, that facility had been vandalised two or three times and was never put to use. Our people were suffering untold hardship moving to other places where you have the facility either in Ibadan or Zaria. It was terrible and at a time, some of them wrote petition to the Presidency, which was copied to us complaining of the situation. So when we came, because of the public interest, we decided to take it up to ensure that the facility was resuscitated. By the grace of God, working with VAMED, PIPC (Presidential Implementation Project Committee), we were able to fix the facility sometime last year. “You may wish to know that this is the only facility for South East and Southsouth and I felt very fulfilled when that machine started working because it meant relieving a lot of people from their suffering. I say so based on my philosophy that we must make UNTH a place that if I fall sick tomorrow, I should be glad to be taken to UNTH. We have been able to restore it even though we have some challenges in that there is a five year maintenance warrantee attached to the facility, which expired last November.” Amah said that the hospital was now saving about N1.6 million weekly, following

the restoration of her oxygen plant that broke down and was abandoned several years ago. “The hospital was spending about N1.6 million every week to buy oxygen from external vendors. We have restored that plant.  We now produce oxygen; we have saved the UNTH N1.6 million every week. Our problem at the moment and why we are not producing at commercial quantity is due to the cylinder to bottle the oxygen, it is not easy to find them and buy, we have been making efforts to procure more cylinders, the moment we have enough cylinder, we can start selling oxygen to the public. But in the meantime, the Enugu Emergency Response team comes to our hospital to collect oxygen. There are some other institutions that we give oxygen for emergency. “When we moved from the old site, the whole of the new site was occupied including the non- clinical areas turned into clinical areas because all the facilities were not built. Then if you go to our clinical areas, you see patients lying on the balcony because there was on ward, no bed. We immediately thought of how to increase the wards available and in 2011, we got a block completed for accounts and audit and that enabled us to move them, while the former departments for account and audit were converted to Neurosurgery and Amenity ward. Go there, these are wards with self-contained rooms, 24 hours dedicated electricity-generating set and equipped to test. So anybody no matter your calibre can afford it,” he added.

works of Jesus; and these being her only teacher, proved, with outstanding success, the efficacy of her discovery and the right to use the word science in conjunction with Christ. She confirms in the book. ‘I have had no other help in this line of light’. She also writes that few invalids turn to God till all physical supports have failed, because there is so little faith in His disposition and power to heal disease. One of the reasons those who seek medical treatment usually choose to do so, is because it is deemed scientific in nature, thus giving it authenticity and practical reliability. The realisation that there is actually the science of Christ, assures the sincere seeker that spiritual treatment, while not based on materiality, is reliable and authentic, as well as efficacious and practical. When it is further understood that healing only comes from God, the source of spiritual

healing, it becomes obvious why even the best medical sciences are today paying more attention to the vital and increasingly indispensable, role that scientific spirituality, (to borrow from the idea and nomenclature of Eddy), plays in healing. Whatever works to alleviate suffering and the many ills of humanity is definitely contributing a noble service, and medical science is such a profession; yet spiritual treatment and healing offers, through the science of Christ, a way to be free from the fear and uncertainty which attend the human experience, especially in the area of health. The overriding message is that anyone can benefit from spiritual healing, and in very practical ways too.

m_asolanke@hotmail.com

Health And Your Mind

Mind And The Kingdom Of Heaven (4) By Babatunde Ayo-Vaughan

N the previous article based on the explanation I offered, when you here the statement — order is the first law in heaven, it is not particularly a statement extolling a religious creed. If anything, it is a scientific fact, only if we have all come to appreciate what the concept of heaven really stands for. As I had explained it, it ought to register in the minds of men everywhere that heaven as a concept, stands for the storehouse of intelligence. For a very long time, it has stood out as an abode that stands on its own outside the material world; where the souls that have departed this world go to or better still an abode that is higher than the world. I am not out to say anything is defective with these conceptions. These conceptions serve purposes of convenience, which are better appreciated in the hands of cosmopolitan and deep thinkers of which Jesus was one as well as Mohammed and many of the other credible prophets; who indeed understand what heaven truly stands for – The storehouse of intelligence. When Jesus said in his Lord’s prayer that ‘thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’, then those who are truly serious about a genuine understanding of what the concept of heaven stands for ought to have been much more concerned about what the factor of heaven is upon the earth that should have made Jesus to say that the will of God should be done on earth as it is in heaven. This is what calls to relevance this topic. It is pertinent for me to bring in a vital statement of Jesus at this point for us to ponder what the nature of heaven is. What factor, if any, it has got on the operations of the earth and if such factor exists in the operations of heaven on earth, what is the link between heaven and the earth in this sense? Jesus said ‘Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into

I

barns, yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, o ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought saying what shall we eat or what shall we drink or wherewithal shall we be clothed…. For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things but seek ye first the kingdom of God (Heaven) and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.’ I think this statement must have revealed considerably well what the factor of heaven could be upon the operations of the earth and what indeed the nature of heaven could be. The statement seems to suggest that even if the kingdom of God or heaven could still represent an abode somewhere, the primary concern of human beings on earth should be how to truly appreciate the fact that the influence of that kingdom could actually be established here on earth and that, that influence is already actually operating on earth could be responsible for the fowls of the air not having barns and they are eating and the grasses of the field are growing beautifully and Solomon in all his glory could not claim to be as colourful as them. These creatures are not professing any religion but they are very well protected by God because they seem to have an instinctive understanding of what heaven is according to Jesus. Why then is man not connecting? Jesus said it is because they are of little faith. How then do you exercise real faith? This is where the issue of man’s mind comes into it.

babatund_2@yahoo.com


22

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

CLIMATE CHANGE

Displacement, Climate Change… And The Rise of Terrorism In Northern Nigeria By Tunde Akingbade T was another day. It was the Cassava Festival Day in Bunachor, a village in Cross River State where Drill ranch is located. Though it was supposed to be a day of celebration, tragedy, however, struck: The floods came. The rivers around had overflowed their banks as a result of an unprecedented rainfall measuring 23 cm. It was the highest in 15 years, according to Peter Jenkins and Liza Gadsby, two Americans helping in the protection of drills and other endangered monkeys. The fast animals sought refuge on treetops and avoided being swept away as some of the earth on Afi Mountain collapsed under the torrential rainfall. Unable to escape the unusual heavy rainfall, Ekki, an old drill, looked on helplessly. She was already 25 years old and was not as agile and swift as the younger ones who escaped to the top of the tree. Ekki was swept away. If animals could talk, maybe they would have told the world the rains were unusual. Perhaps too, if they had written documents from their ancestors, they would have likened the events to Noah’s days in the Bible. But they don’t talk, neither do they have recorded documents of the past. In a village lacking preservation techniques, there was shortage of food. The 400 drills and chimpanzees being taken care of by Pandrillus Foundation also suffered. It was the same terrible news of flooding and ecological nightmare across the country, especially in the coastal areas. Rivers Niger and Benue — two major rivers in West Africa, with sources from Fouta Djalon Mountain in Sierra Leone and Cameroun Mountains — overflowed their banks in Lokoja, the confluence city. The situation was so bad that animals were swept from forest into cities and reptiles into streams. Even Otueke, Bayelsa State, President Goodluck Jonathan’s hometown, was almost submerged. Roads were cut off same way the Northern part of Nigeria was cut off from the south by the over flowing rivers. For the first time, disasters associated with climate change stared government officials, politicians, policy makers and people in the face. The years of erratic weather and warm earth have finally manifested in Nigeria. Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, renowned environmentalist, told The Guardian that the Middle Belt would likely be the region of conflicts when converging ethnic groups want to outsmart one another as a result of global warming and climate change. Bassey noted that the environmental degradation has led to many of the crises in Niger Delta. He particularly regretted government’s inability to implement the UNEP report of 2011 on the clean up of contaminated land in Ogoni, Rivers State. He also confirmed that the conflicts in Niger Delta region of Nigeria have their roots in ecological disasters resulting from crude oil prospecting, extraction and production. UNEP, in the report, had noted that Ogoniland had been polluted by crude on to a depth of five metres. Thus, the water in the area is not fit for human consumption. According to climate experts, in the last two decades, there have been a series of conflicts, which many overlook, not knowing they have relationship with climate change. The last 10 hottest years were found from 2000. Coincidentally, it began with Nigeria’s democratic rule. Ironically, the extreme weather and degradation of the environment have fertilised militant and terror groups in the far North Eastern part of the country common as well as the creeks in the Niger Delta.

I

WO weeks ago, the world celebrated the T World Environment Day under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The theme of this celebration was, Think. Eat. Save. The theme embraced the entire ideals of environmental protection and climate change seen from inter disciplinary approach. Studies in the archives of Nigeria Environment Study Action Team (NEST) based in Ibadan showed that birds such as Arabian Bustard, Savile Bustard, Cream Coloured Couiser, African Coloured Dove/ European Turtle Doves, Double Breasted Barfet, which are known as bio-indicators (who give signal of impending ecological problems) have migrat-

People searching for water ed when they began to feel the dry spells, unusual and erratic weather and struggle over water in the dry river beds. Last year was one of the 10 hottest years on record. The year 2011 was also in the league of hottest years, with 2010 tieing with 2005. The year 2009 was also a hot year. And as a result of ecological problems, migration and displacement have been taking place steadily. Dr. Daniel Gwari, one of Nigeria’s Climate Change negotiators at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP), told The Guardian that fishermen who depend on Lake Chad had to move when the water on their side in Nigerian dried up. According to Gwari, some former fishermen have shifted to farming. He said water in riverbeds is found not enough to cultivate their crops, they moved again. He noted that the population of some communities has been reduced due to migration of people in search of water, arable lands and means of livelihood. The nomads and those migrating as a result of ecological problems are also found in Western and Eastern states too. For Dr. Victor Fodeke, who was Advisor, African Union (AU) Climate Change Office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the consequences and implication of extreme weather that is being felt in Africa is that there would be more flooding, drought and migration of people and animals in search of water and pasture. Fodeke warned that unless Nigerians took decisive steps to combat climate change, critical infrastructures such as roads, rails and other forms of transformation would be affected. According to him, food production in many parts of Nigerian will be affected, and there will be forced migration. This also has security implication.

breeding ground for desperate and willing religious zealots and extremists. During the military era, NEST organised a workshop to enlighten everybody on sustainable development and environment. Held in Kano, in 1990, the workshop, which was supported by Fredrich Ebert Foundation, a German non-governmental organisation, was entitled, Sustainable development in Nigerian’s Dry Belt-Problems and Prospects. Professor K.O. Ologe edited proceeding of the workshop. At the NEST workshop, an expert, Sabo Bako, of the Department of Political Science, Ahmadu Bello, Zaria presented a paper on River Bed in North East Ecological Crises and Social Conflict in Northern Nigeria’s Dry Belt. In his paper, Bako traced the emergence of the notorious Maitasine sect, the group that can be tagged as the ‘forerunner’ of the now dreaded Boko Haram to the same geo political zone of current terror and bombings. The political scientist linked together the social groups that participated in the Maitatsine urban revolts, which broke out in Kano in 1980 Maiduguri in 1982, Kaduna, 1982, Jimeta Yola in 1984 and Gombe in 1985. He noted that these groups are found in predominantly Muslim Sahelian towns, which hosted the victims of ecological disasters brought by desertification and rinderpest epidemics, which ravaged the rural areas of the semi – arid and arid parts of Nigeria and West Africa in the 1970s and 1980s killing the cattle of millions of people. The social scientist spent four years on the Bassey study and he found that most of the persons who took part in the religions riots were originally peasant farmers and pastoralists, who were impoverished, devastated and dispossessed of their means of subsistence and proDr. Daniel Gwari, one of Nigeria’s Climate duction such as farmland and livestock, in the Change negotiators at the United Nations course of the long and severe ecological crises Framework Convention on Climate Change which debilitated their environment. (UNFCCC), is a lecturer at the University of OURCES say that the ingredients to fertilise Many of them were found to have migrated Maiduguri. He spoke with TUNDE AKINGBADE the religious zealots can be traced to envito other towns in “a chaotic state of absolute on problems of desertification, climate ronmental imbalance and climate variations, poverty and social dislocation in search of change, loss of water and biodiversity and which occurred many decades ago. These were food, water, shelter, jobs and means of liveliecological conflicts in Borno area of the counthe remote causes, though, the immediate hood.” try. cause can be found in the past eight years of Today, regrettably, many people wonder how democracy where some politicians who were the North became a fertile ground for this dasHAT is the situation in Borno State as looking for votes and allies in religious terror tardly and evil level of religious extremism. regards Climate Change? machines made pledges of establishing theoAt the time Bako carried out his study, he The climate has been changing over the cratic institutions based on Islam. emphasised that the complete separation years to the extent that rainfall has decreased It will be recalled that the unpleasant enviimposed by the introduction and intensificaconsiderably. Except for the last two years ronment in the North had genesis in the tion of large-scale commodity production such when there was a little improvement, rainfall drought and rinderpest epidemics, which as World Bank Agricultural Projects, Agro-allied pattern has recorded a steady decline. The dryaffected agriculture in Northern part of industries and the River Basin Development ing up of Lake Chad on the Nigerian side eviNigeria. Authorities (RDAs) fuelled commoditisation of dences this. And Nigerians whose livelihood Experts also traced problem of availability of labour, land and the movement of labour from depended on that part of the lake had had to terror to the Almajiri system, which the expert rural areas to urban industrialisation. move to the other side. This is not a good Bako recalled in his report was contained in Studies carried out on the Maitasine rioters experience. It has resulted in a lot of conflicts. the Justice Aniagolu report, Bulunkutu Elshowed that some of them were from Chad, Those who could not move to the other side Badawy Report, Jimeta – Yola Uwais Report and Cameroun, Niger, Mali, Sudan, Morocco and had to look for other means of livelihood. It Gombe Report. This region has become a Upper Volta. It is pertinent to mention that of

GWARI: Conflicts In

S

W


23

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

CLIMATE CHANGE

FODEKE: Some African States Will Cease To Exist Dr. Victor Fodeke worked at the Climate Change office of the African Union as Advisor. He was also Head of Special Climate Change Unit, Federal Ministry of Environment before his retirement. Fodeke, who led negotiation from Nigeria in the past to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference, spoke to TUNDE AKINGBADE on consequences of climate change.

sequences such as flood implication on human health, sea and others, which can remove same states from existence. Some states will definitely cease to exist, especially those in the coastal areas. Lands will be inundated. People will be rendered harmless and you know the attendant crisis where dangerous reptiles can be swept into human habitation. Disease will also be on the increase and people will not be able to eat. You can imagine the number of people who died last year HAT are the consequences of climate change? in Nigeria during the flooding across the country. Some The implications are that there will be more flooding, states within the African continent will cease to exist. drought and migration. According to a scenario painted by The flood of last year affected the Afi Mountain. There was a one of the consultant of an America government’s agency, some states will cease to exist and economic infrastructure particular gorilla that could not climb the tree to escape like the others. That appears to portend so much danger to will be affected. Incase of Nigeria, sea level rise will affect the economic underbelly of the nation. If we cannot sell off animals in the face of Climate Change? The biggest animals that will be affected are human as fast as we can in a period of one year, things will be terrible. In some states with critical infrastructures such as road beings, especially women who will begin to give birth on trees. Women and children are at the epicenter of proband rail transportation, and the land people farm is filled lems caused by climate change. Now, when you talk about with water, food production will be affected. There will be the consideration, the natural resources and the biodiversiforced migration and the security implication could be ty there, they will be wiped off. It will be a big loss to conmind-boggling. I think that was what led to the African servation efforts and plant planet because that place is one Union Risk Capacity, which is taking care of drought and food security right now. There is need to include other con- of the Bio-diversity hot spots in the world.

W

Fodeke

KUPI: Our Plight, Migration, Relocation And Erratic Weather Alhaji Usman Nga Kupi is Sapeyi of Garki, Abuja. He has been on the throne since 1990. He witnessed the evolution and growth of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Kupi spoke with TUNDE AKINGBADE on the indigenous people of Abuja, displacement, migration and climate change. OW long has Garki been in existence? H It has been in existence for a long time now. The original inhabitants are Gbagyi. Hausa people call them Gwari. The ethnic Gbagyis’ brief history shows that their ancestors migrated from the Middle East and moved towards Borno State in search of pastoral life. They moved down to a base in Zaria, Kaduna State. Not known to be lazy, the Gbagyi man moved on in search of food. We were great hunters as well as great farmers. In search of a better place to settle, our people moved away from Zaria to a certain place that is now called the Gwari Area Council. Our people stayed there for some time. Again, as a result of the inter-tribal wars, some of our people moved from that village to settle on that field (pointing outside the palace) over there. It was a thick forest. The place served as defence fortress against enemy attack. However, there were attacks from Hausa people. The battle went on for a while and it got to a point that our people said, Sis geri to gagara chi (this territory is unconquerable) Wanageri ya gagara chi! This is what has been shortened to ‘Garki!’ Since then, we have been living here. From historical records, we find that during those periods of Hausa raids and inter-tribal wars, there was also a form of slave trade. So, people had to stay uphill because they did not want to be captured and sold to slave raiders. When there was no longer slave trade and inter-tribal wars

Fodeke ceased, they came down and settled at the foot of the hill. The Hausa also came and mingled with them. Before the amalgamation of Northern and Southern protectorates, this palace where we are and the entire area was where the white men settled. We were all answerable to the Emir of Abuja. That was before the creation of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. There, we had a district called Garki. It was created in February 1913. At that time, only Gbagyi people were owners of the land. Later, the Hausa people came. However, since the Federal Capital Territory was carved out, we have continually been displaced. The United Nations is really concerned about indigenous people, environment and natural disasters. When the government displaces you,

takes your land and now declares your building again illegal; that’s big challenge? When you are displaced by the state, you are turned into a menace in the society. I keep asking government, when you take land away from the people, why can’t you give them alternative? At the same time, we suffer from cultural erosion. Our culture is going extinct; our traditional religion is being destroyed. There were places I knew when I was a kid where our fathers used to perform traditional rites. These places have been pulled down or demolished. This has psychological effect on the indigenous people. Other ethnic groups have moved here with their own cultural values and they have infused them into our people. The small population of the indigenous people in Abuja will have to bear the weight of other

165 million who come here regularly or settle here. When they come with their own culture, if care is not taken, the local culture will disappear. There is also impact of modern religion – Christianity and Islam on our people’s culture, values and religion. How can government protect the people and the environment? The Nigerian government is one of the problems. It must carry people along. Let us take for instance, the Niger Delta people, a lot of oil exploration took place there and people felt that they were being exploited and short changed. This led to the agitation by the youths there. Sadly, this led to the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa and some people. Why I am saying that the problem is with the Nigerian government is that whenever they begin a project, the communities there are not taken care of. So, what I am saying is that the government must change because we need peace to prevail in this country. We must change so as to get better things in this country. We need peace. Whenever projects are cited, let the government carry people along. What do you see in all these in relationship to the problem of Climate Change, which the United Nations through the United Nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) has been championing ? The issue of Climate Change is real. When it happens, it affects the production of crops that have been planted. It has affected some of our people who still have land to farm. Some of us have to go out of our way to get products, whenever there is heavy rain. It affects our farming system and products. If you relate this to problems facing the country, as I have said earlier, unemployment, youth’s restiveness and other challenges, your mind will not be at rest. When there is security in the land, every thing will be okay, but with insecurity, no one can say he has peace of mind and development cannot happen.

North Is Due To Dwindling Agricultural Production has led more people into poverty. The issue of climate change is very glaring in that region. It’s impacting on the population seriously, in different ways. Can you explain the migration in the region as a result of climate change? To start with, around Lake Chad, people who depended on fishing had to move when water was no longer on their side. Some went into farming. And when the same scenario played out, they moved on too. Everybody moved south wards in Sudan Savannah where the situation is more palatable. There are communities that have moved completely or their population reduced due to migration. There are places where ground water has been reduced by the heat? The ground water, to some extent, depends on rainwater. If rain is not falling normally, certainly the ground water will reduce because of poor recharge. Also, increased

extraction of ground water by the population definitely has become noticeable too. People have sunk bole holes that are so deep and they extract water at great depth and you cannot use such sources for agriculture except for some small-scale farming. What about rivers that are drying up? You know most of the rivers in the area are seasonal rivers and they depend on rainfall. As soon as rain falls, demand on water from such rivers is always on the increase, and within a very short time, they are exhausted. Human beings and livestock exhaust the water within a few months. If you look at the issue of food security, is this not a disaster waiting to happen? It’s a potential disaster for Nigeria because the region is a rich source of food — not just for people who live there, not for the North, but for all parts of the country. Over the years, it has supplied vegetable, fish, cereals and beans to other places. These food items are produced in large quantities in this

region and taken to other parts of the country. Because of Climate Change, people are not able to produce enough for their consumption, let alone export. The south had depended for a long time on vegetables from the region. And without good rainfall, people cannot do anything. The agriculture they now carry out is just for local consumption. A hungry man is an angry man. When people have nothing to do, no food to eat or no future, there is tension. Is this not linked to the tension in the region? That’s correct. You know that agriculture employs majority of population in the region. When they are affected by weather or climate, these people would lose their jobs. When people have no jobs or anything that can bring food to their table, they become targets for those who perpetrate evil and conflicts. In a way, the conflicts in the North East can be attributed to the lack of employment due to the dwindling nature of agriculture in the region caused by erratic weather pattern. Gwari


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

24

NEWSPEOPLE

NIMN: ‘We Are Returning To Grassroots Participation, Management By Committees’ By Gbenga Salau HE crisis that had engulfed the National InT stitute of Marketing of Nigeria, (NIMN) over the years may be winding down with the appointment of an acting president, who has moved into action to smoothen ruffled feathers and aggrieved parties. The crisis had, hitherto torn the institute into factions. Attempt to put an end to the crisis some years back resulted in bringing together loyalists from the two factions headed by Chief Lugard Aimiuwu. But he stepped aside recently, after some bickering, allowing the emergence of Mr. Ganiu Koledoye, a committed administrator. The National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria, (NIMN) came into being in 2003 through an Act signed into law by then President Olusegun Obasanjo. The action collapsed these bodies the Nigerian Marketing Association (NIMARK) and the Chartered Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (CIMN), into one. The two bodies, before the merger, operated independently. But years after its formation, the institute was swallowed up by leadership crises, slowing its progress. It even resulted in two factions, with each having separate offices on the same road, about five hundred metres away from each other. The Guardian caught up with Koledoye recently and he denied that there are factions in the institute. Hear him, “We do not have two factions; there is only one National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria, (NIMN). There are members who are aggrieved and they felt the only way they could effect change was to institute legal action. They are members of the institute; we are one. And we have seen the futility of that; that it is not going to help. So, we do not have factions. We have people who are unhappy about the way things were done or the way they perceived the situation three years ago. As far as I am concerned, all these are things that would be resolved in time. “About the reason behind the gradual withdrawal of Chief Lugard Aimiuwu from the institute, I will say that the institute suddenly found itself in some difficulties. In my understanding, we had strategy failure. The Aimiuwu leadership came with a notion, when it assumed office that the best way to manage the affairs of the institute was to start from the scratch and he came with the concept of transformation. Transformation, to him, is a way of achieving change and it can be very violent, crude or extreme. And it manifested all these features. He did this because he felt that some of the policies and strategies of the factions were not consistent with his thinking. Therefore, he drove everybody towards the transformation strategy. “Some of us knew that in an environment like that, such transformation strategy would not work. We tried to encourage him to soft-pedal on this, as he was creating enmity. People were feeling alienated because they could not find expression and identity with the new image he was creating. There were those who felt that the way the institute was run was not their own understanding of how it should be. They came from a school and approach that was totally different from his. They did not insist on having a faction but they said they wanted a new leadership. “The consequence of the strategy adopted, which I called strategy failure, was that people became alienated and disgruntled and it hurts the institute in many ways, as people began to avoid taking part in its activities. Members stopped contributing their subventions and subscriptions. As a matter of fact, once you dissociated yourselves from your customers, inevitably, you are going to have difficulty. And that strategy drew us to the point where some leaders and fellows had to, after looking at the ways things were being done, argued that perhaps the driver of that strategy should relinquish office. And to his credit, Chief Aimiuwu, was initially adamant; though the performance on ground showed that he was losing touch of the entire situation. “When he later saw that, he decided that he

had given his best and coupled with the fact that he had so many other activities he was doing, he felt that he did not have sufficient time to restrategise. Of course, that would have been very difficult, as he is somebody who is absolutely sold on transformation strategy. Therefore, he decided that he would step aside and allow others to take up the mantle of leadership and it was at that juncture that the council elected me to lead the association, between now and August, when the Annual General Meeting would be held and a substantive president sworn in.” Koledoye is however looking beyond the crisis within the body because, according to him, “One good thing is that I have been there before; I have run the institute as a president of a faction. So I know what it is all about, though things are changing, coupled with the fact that a lot of people feel aggrieved. So my priority is to douse the tension. There were structures and chapters, which were put in place but not functioning. The chapters are an extension of the council administration and ordinarily they ought to have certain level of autonomy, which did not happen. That I had unlocked. I told my colleagues that we have to build the institute from the grassroots. People have to come up for membership from their various chapters. And the leaders elected at chapters’ level should have the freedom to do certain things. “Hitherto, because of the need to change everything or transform it, it appears that the national headquarters dominated the scene to the detriment of the chapters. What I have done is to rekindle interest in chapter formation by allowing them to be involved in decisions, which they really should be doing. So, on one hand, they get more participation and show more interest. Also, you reduce cost because when everything is over centralised, the institute will continue to incur huge cost. Another contentious area, he says, is involving fellows in the activities of the institute. These are people who have reached a level of membership in the institute that they can contribute immensely to the way the institute is run, not only in terms of knowledge but also in resources. They also felt alienated. And the first thing we did as a Council was to inaugurate the Body of Fellows and allow them to elect their own chairman. The Body of Fellows according to our Act is an advisory body, and if we are to succeed, we have to allow participation of people in telling us what they feel we should be doing. We have unlocked those two areas. “Another thing we have done is consultation with the decision makers in the industry and the academia. We have been to a couple of companies and few more to go. We shall be going to 25 companies in Lagos, 20 in Ibadan and by the time we finish the six months visitation structure, we should be reaching about 75 key corporate bodies in Nigeria to reassure them that they are invited to take part fully in our activities and develop the institute. “Aside that, we are going to establish all the committees, which are mandatory, because institutes are not commer-

Koledoye

cial entity; they are shadow political structure. In fact, according to the structure of managing institute, it is management by committees. So, we are now going to set up all the committees critical to the survival of the institute because that is how an institute is supposed to be run, in order to have checks and balances. Thus, we are re-invigorating the likes of education committee, programmes committee, regulatory and compliance committee. We are yet to implement the aspect of the Act, which gives us responsibility to regulate the practice of marketing in the country. And people are worried about that that we have a lot of quacks in our profession. We are going to put these in place within the next few weeks. Free and fair elections remain a key issue in the affairs of the institute and the acting President said, “I am also focusing and ensuring that we have free and fair election for people to elect their own leaders and not people pushed to them. Already, as a Council, we have decided that those who want to take part in the election, as a contestant or electorate, would have to register at their chapters. Hence, it is grassroots, not something pushed on people. Virtually all our members now, especially those who have not registered with their chapters, are told to go back to their various locations. And if they do not have a chapter within their location, they should go to the nearest one to register and participate in the activities. “Before, people

feel a bit aggrieved that they were not given a fair deal. But, of course, there are two sides to that; my complain is that even when there was a strategy failure, only one group came up with what was truly legal and what I consider to be in line with due process and consistent with the Act. These are the group of 22 members, who actually triggered a section of the Act, which enabled them to call for an emergency general meeting to discuss issues affecting the institute. If people had adopted any other form of change, insisting on change of leadership, perhaps, it may not have been justified and we could have been going round the same circle.” On the AGM slated for August, he disclosed that plans are in the pipelines to make it members’ AGM “because they would sponsor their AGM and an opportunity for everybody to renew its vow to the institute. An event committee will be established and the Assistant Director, Corporate Affairs will play a major role in that exercise.” He is however optimistic that the institute would experience great lift calling on members to believe so through positive participation. “People should really get more involved. We should not develop a lukewarm attitude when there are disagreements. People should come, get more involved and express themselves. The institute is open now, everybody can speak and contribute because it belongs to members; not a private enterprise as it is membership driven. “We have to commend Chief Aimiuwu because I was very close to him; towards the last couple of months, he felt that he had not achieved its main objective, which was to make the institute bigger than any other in the country. But of course, when we are embarking on strategies, there are issues around the environment, especially about members’ sensitivity. So, I will appeal that people should come back and build the institute.” Asked to substantiate the claim that the immediate past president had to leave because of misappropriation of fund, he replied, “I do not know about that. What happened is that the G22, as part of their memorandum, wrote a petition that as far as they were concerned the funds were not properly managed. That is being investigated by a panel set up by the former president and supported by the council. And the panel is absolutely independent, and when they come up with their findings, it will be available to the council to move to the next level and all members will be duly informed.”


25

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

On Prepositions We Stand By Adidi Uyo

O

N June 12, 1993 millions of Nigerians went to the polls to elect a President for their country. On that day, it rained in some parts of the country. In other parts of the country, the sun shone. And in a few places on that day, the sun shone piercingly. But in spite of the elements, Nigerians across the length and breadth of the country, queued to vote in accordance with the rules established for them by the National Electoral Commission, NEC – did they call it Option A4? Given the giddy events of the week of the election, especially, the late night ruling of Justice Bassey Ikpeme in Abuja on June 10 that the election must not hold, NEC must have known that it was putting its neck on the line when it gave the green light for the election to go on, according to its schedule. But neither NEC nor the millions of Nigerians who went to vote on June 12 had an inkling of the grave that has been dug for them and their country by the military president, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Like a waxing crescent, Babangida’s grave hole and its grave dimensions would be revealed gradually in the following days and weeks for Nigerians and the world to see. Gotcha, as the Americans would say! You must have thought that you were reading an introduction to a treatise on June 12, wondering

whether or not L.O.P had gone political. Not a chance! Detour is not in the vocabulary of the language train, much less, derailment. As you know too well, anniversary is an occasion for commemoration – a time for remembering and celebrating something that we refuse to forget, because of its preciousness to us. If there is one thing all dyed-in-the-wool democrats and lovers of a truly united Nigeria refuse to forget, it June 12, 1993. It was on day that Nigerians from north to south, and from east to west, cast aside all their primordial predispositions and came together to cast their vote for a pillar upon which they wanted their nation to stand. That pillar, need we say, was Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, the winner of the June 12 presidential election, whose results were annulled by Babangida. By standing on June 12 and dying for June 12, MKO, as he was fondly called, has become its eternal symbol. But because June 12 is a supercharged political matter, and politics the sweetest taboo on the language train, the only way we can commemorate the day and the man who symbolises it is to resort to a feature of language. And if my memory serves me right, the most reverberating refrain of the individuals and

groups that committed themselves to the struggle for the actualisation of June was: “ON June 12 We Stand.” Ask any member of ALAN – the Association of Language Aficionados of Nigeria, and he or she will tell you, in case you don’t know, that the slogan, “ON June 12 We Stand” stands on the linguistic creature, more specifically, the grammatical element called PREPOSITION. That is our way of saying that, from the moment the language train set out on its journey, today, the parade had been on, full steam. You can verify that claim by looking closely at the opening paragraph and counting the prepositions therein. Sixteen prepositions, you will find, beginning with the very first word there, “on.” No problem, if only a tally will convince you! Sentence 1 has five prepositions; Sentence 2 has 3; Sentence 3 and 4 have 2 each; and Sentence 5 has six. Of the five sentences in the opening paragraph, only Sentence 5 presents different kinds of prepositions, based on the criterion of size-cum-structure. This criterion, by the way, gives us four types of prepositions: simple, double, complex, and disguised prepositions. Whereas all the prepositions in Sentence 1, 2, 3, and 4 are simple prepositions, Sentence 5 has two complex prepositions: in

Language on parade

spite of and in accordance with. A complex preposition has a noun sandwiched between two simple prepositions. One question many Nigerians are asking 20 years on is:: “What lessons have we learnt from June 12?” Hmm, there might well be a dozen or more lessons that we could learn from June 12. But if you ask me, the only moral that would make sense to me is one that stands heavily on prepositions. You see, Abiola stood for what he believed in, stayed the course to the end, and paid the ultimate price for his conviction. If I may borrow that memorable title from our one and only Noble laureate: The man died, but his soul lives. If you don’t mind, let me modify my previous statement to say that the only moral that would make sense to me is one that at once flows from Abiola’s dogged commitment and steadfastness and that stands on solid simple and complex prepositions. So, try to catch my drift by paying attention to the capitalised words. When a people cannot stand FOR what they believe is right and stay ON the course TO the end, they kill the soul OF their nation. And what is a nation WITHOUT a soul? WITH its soul mortified, Nigeria is a nation IN NEED OF reincarnation, not transformation, or even reformation. For as that Chinese proverb has it: “You cannot carve rotten wood.”

Lagos State governor, Babatunde raji Fashola, director, LSpWC, rasheed Teslim-Balogun and the executive Chairman, LSpWC, gbenga akintola at the Commissioning of the paving Stone production Section of the Corporation.

Lagos Sector Commander, Federal road Safety Corps, nseobong akpabio (left), deputy Corps Marshal (operations), Boboye oyeyemi and Corps public Communications officer, Jonas agwu at the operation rain Storm awareness for the drivers in Lagos. pHoTo: FeMI adeBeSIn-KuTI

Head Hortcultural research, Lagos parks & garden agency; ganiyat Bashorun (left), associate director Client & Industries, akintola Williams deloite, eme agha, and Head of Tree planting department, Toyin utomakili, at the 2013 deloitte Impact day celebration in Lagos.

Chartered accountant and Founder, Fola ogunsola Foundation, Mrs. Fola ogunsola(left); Senator olabiyi durojaiye; and Senior pastor, Trinity House, Ituah Ighodalo, at the formal unveiling of the Foundation in Lagos.

Company Secretary, uBa Capital Limited, Leo okafor (left); Managing director, union Trustees Limited, Mrs. o.o. aiyepola; Managing director, KingsThrones Limited, akin adeniyi; Managing director, uBa Trustees Limited, Mrs. ‘Toyin Sanni; executive director, nigeria Stock exchange, Haruna Jalo-Waziri; Managing director, Continental reinsurance Limited, dr. Femi oyetunji; Managing director, Lead Capital plc, Bimbo olashore; and executive Secretary, association of Investment advisers and portfolio Managers, akinduro philips, during IapM Members evening and awards night, in Lagos.

president, Lagos Business School alumni association (LBSaa), demola aladekomo (left); Managing director, Swift networks, Charles anudu; former Vice-Chancellor, pan african university, prof. albert alos; and Managing director, Central Securities Clearing Systems plc, Kyari Bukar, during LBSaa 2013 president dinner, in Lagos.


TheGuardian

26 THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

IbruCentre Christians As Change Agents In the beginning, Christians were revered. Their words were their honour. They were often sought after in times of pains and sorrows. They had healing balms. They were called SUs, a coinage from Scripture Union. But indeed, this coinage was ridiculing — SU was Suegbe Union. They lived their lives wholly soaked in the gospel of Christ. They acted as people who were not of this world. They didn’t own mansions, they didn’t own fleet of cars. Neither did they dress flamboyantly. They were just contented to serve the Lord, influencing the society through their impeccable characters. Things have, however, changed from what they were in the beginning. There are no SUs again, just a few. Many self-professing Christians now worship mammon and dress indecently to the glory of the ‘gods’ they serve. From the Biblical point of view, Jesus Christ, in His time, was the most effective leader and change agent (John 21). He exemplified this by His moral life — providing food for the less privileged, healing the sick and setting captives free. The question, therefore, is how can Christians, today, act as catalysts for change in the community, where they operate? Clerics, who shared their thoughts with CHRIS IREKAMBA and OLUWAKEMI AJANI agreed that it is possible for Christians to be change agents.

EFERRING to everybody that goes to church, as a Christian, R is a mistake. But in the real sense, a Christian is somebody who deliberately, willingly and by choice, has decided to fol-

Osa-Oni

Ofuya

‘Living By Example On Daily Basis’ Esho

Akin-Jojn

Ayokunle

Okechukwu

‘Early Days, Parastatals And Companies Employed Christians As Accountants’ (ARCHBISHOP JOHN OSA-ONI, General Overseer, Vineyard Christian Ministries, Osolo Way, Ajao Estate) HRISTIANS can be change agents because the Bible says they are the salt and the light of the world. Since they are the light of the world, they can easily make a change. The Bible didn’t just stop at that, it says they are salt of the earth. Salt preserves. It is what we are and anything short of that it shouldn’t be. In the early days, Christians were appointed as accountants by different parastatals; companies were coming to churches to employ Christians to work with them as their accountants. And I believe we still have believers, who cannot be corrupted because anywhere there is light, darkness disappears. True Disciples of Christ can make a difference wherever they are found. Unfortunately, today, the system has changed. Parastatals no longer look for credible people, but are after quota system, and that is why we have all manners of people in the system. We still have genuine born again believers, who will not add somebody’s money to their own. However, there are also Christians by name, such people are not practising Christians. A practicing Christian is different from someone, who is a Christian by name or birth. I do believe there are still Christians, who will not soil their hands either in the Senate, House of Representatives or wherever they find themselves. Such people are contented with what they earn or have. True Christians can stand out by their deeds and actions. The Bible says, ‘godliness with contentment is a great gain’, we can pursue it; it can be our lifestyle. For instance, we have trained so many people in the university, some of them I don’t even know their parents. Some of them are Muslims, so, in different ways, we can be change agents or show good examples in our communities or work places. The day, we held our medical outreach, we treated people with appendicitis and hernia free of charge. But we don’t talk about them. And in less than a year, I think, we must have done 200 surgeries without collecting a Kobo from anybody. We’ve treated thousands of people, who are sick and as well gave out drugs free. There was a time that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) gave us drugs, when they heard that we were going for medical outreach, which we do twice a year. The Bible tells us that whatever the right hand does, the left hand should not know; some of us are still practicing that and we don’t carry such things to the press because they are done for the Lord. The Bible says, ‘he that lendeth to the poor, lendeth to the Lord.’ If you are, now, lending to the poor and you are on the

low Christ. In other words, you should ask yourself what would Jesus do in every situation? I know if Jesus Christ were to be in an office, he would not steal or cause confusion. There are Christians who live that way. These are people that are truly transformed. The church is now a mixed multitude, and because of that, the true picture of Christians is blurred. Don’t forget that Jesus said, ‘you are the light of the world, and salt of the earth’. Therefore, every true Christian should refuse to be part of the darkness of the world. Any true Christian must take that stand, swim against the tide. If you are not ready to swim against the tide, then you cannot be a true Christian. Not everybody that bears Paul or Michael is a Christian. That is not the measure of how to know a Christian. The Bible says, ‘by their fruits you will know them’. It’s not because they go to church. If a Christian, for example, unknown to the public, realises that he/she has stolen N10m, the standard of the word of God is that he/she must return that to the appropriate quarter. That is restitution and we teach it here. That is how to be change agent. The Bible says, ‘be not deceived God is not mocked’ when you deceive people, you are not really deceiving them, you are deceiving yourself because you can’t deceive God and at end of the day, the truth will catch up with you. That is the way it works. In this matter, the change agents themselves must be people called by God. However, one of the factors militating against Christians as change agent is that no man can tell you that you are a man of God. And anybody can rise up and say ‘I’m a man of God’, even when he has ulterior motives. You must be seen to be practicing the word of God, as a change agent.

C

(REV. DR SAMSON OLASUPO AYOKUNLE, President and CEO, Nigerian Baptist Convention and National Vice President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) HRISTIANS can be change agents because we believe that they are already changed themselves. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that ‘if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things have passed, all have become new.’ This passage talks about a changed individual. The best agent that has ever come to the world — Jesus Christ — brings about this change. Christians can bring about change by the exemplary way they live on daily basis. Jesus says, ‘let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, who is in heaven’. This saying was also repeated in another form to Titus by Paul in Titus 3:8. Christians must shun corruption wherever they may be. They must be ready to display Christian love, kindness, humility, hardwork and the virtues that can make a people or nation great. They can also bring about change by teaching others to walk in godly way and to shun vices. Some of the so-called Christians that are not living right are either Christians by name and not by practice or had compromised the godly standard one way or the other. Ability to live right is a function of your determination to live and die for what you know is right. When a Christian does not want to be the odd man out in the community of people who have legitimised evil or corruption, such a Christian may compromise the right behaviour. When we run from persecution by the powers above us, who may be opposed to change, we may not be change agents. If Moses were to run away from the fierce anger of Pharaoh, he would not have been able to deliver the children of Israel from bondage. We must be ready to endure all the pains that change brings, so that, generations after us would be able to benefit from our own pains.

C

‘We Are To Set Godly Examples’

Waive

Idowu

front pages of newspapers or always at the television stations, know it that you are blowing your trumpet; you have got your reward. I don’t want my reward to come from men or from the government. I want it to come from God. I don’t think there’s anything that can limit any man, who has a passion to touch another life from doing so. I have a child in Ibadan, whose school fees from primary to secondary school lies on me. The father is a driver, while the mother is a petty trader; they are not from my town. So, nothing can stop passion except the owner of passion — God.

‘If A Christian Steals N10m, He/She Must Return That Money’ (REV. DOM OFUYA, Senior Pastor/Zonal Superintendent, Foursquare Gospel Church, Zonal Headquarters, Ajao Estate, Lagos)

(PATRICK ESHO, Senior/Presiding Pastor Rabboni Ministry International, Lagos) HEY are supposed to be the light of the world. As the light of the world we are expected set godly examples for the world to follow.  We should show the examples Jesus taught us when He was here on earth, as they are recorded in the Bible. Jesus lived the life he is telling us to live. As his Disciples, our lives cannot be different from His. To refresh our minds, all born again Christians should be disciples of Christ and a disciple is a follower and an imitator of Christ in all respects. The life of Christians is the Bible the world is studying and following. So, as  Christians, we must show good examples in every area of life for people to emulate our good deeds. That was why they were first called Christians in Antioch, Acts 11:26. This was because their lives were Christ-like and the people noticed that they were with Christ when he was here on earth. It is possible to live a good Christian life just like our Lord Jesus Christ did. A true Christian will use the life of Jesus as his/her benchmark for all his/her actions. The grace has been made available to us to do this and His grace is sufficient for us to accomplish anything, 2 Corinthians 12:8. God said to Abraham in

T

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

CONTINUED ON PAGE 28


27

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

IBRUCENTRE

Sunday School ...With Pastor Enoch Adeboye

Leadership Memory Verse: “Be diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.” Proverbs 27:23. Bible Passage: Jeremiah 23:1-4. Introduction HE most excellent module of leadership was designed and executed by the Good Shepherd. He lived and died for the sheep. Jn. 10:11. Roles of an effective Christian leader Finest leadership qualities are in His footprints, 1 Pet. 2:21. He led, fed, nurtured, comforted and encouraged His followers. Apostle Paul followed Christ, Gal. 2:20, 1 Cor. 11:1. He nourished the sheep, with the living word of God, Deut. 8:3. He also comforts the sheep, binding up their wounds, Ezek. 34:16. We suffer many injuries and need compassionate leaders who will bear our burdens, encourage us.

T

He disciplines with gentleness, Gal. 6:2. The Lord disciplines those He loves, Pro. 3:12 and the Christian leader must follow His example. The devil tries to lure Christians away with false doctrine, Mat. 7:15. Jn. 14:6. Followers Today many people are heading in the wrong direction •Blind leading the blind A blind leader cannot see the dangers himself and his followers are in grave peril e.g. a church whose Pastor cannot see spiritually will find it difficult to succeed. Both will fall into the ditch. Examples: Practitioners of false religion, Mt. 15:14 •The blind It is a shame for a leader to be blind while the members are sighted e.g. a Pastor that lacks spiritual gifts. This will erode his

authority as a leader I Sam. 3:4-17, Num. 22:16-18, 23:19-26. It also results into confusion and disagreements, which may eventually lead to strife. •The sighted This is ideal. It is good for a leader to see things before they happen and warn his people accordingly. This type of a church will move fast, 2 Kg. 5:20-26, 6:15-17. •Like for like This is the type of leadership the church is expected to have. The Pastor and the congregation will be tandem. The congregation will be a check on the activities of the leader and vice versa, 2 Kg. 2:1-11. Conclusion The one who leads you will determine where you end up. Pray for visionary and spiritually discerning leaders in the body of Christ. Invest in the development of your spiritual gifts.

War Against Occultism, Witchcraft And False Religion (3) By Gabriel Agbo Blood and human sacrifices LOOD and human sacrifices are integral part of occultism and they are very detestable to God. God hates spilling or eating of blood. He made it very clear in the Bible. He said we should not toy with blood because in it lies the life of a creature. And it is only God, who created life that has the right to take it. Leviticus 17: 10 – 11 says: “And I will turn against anyone, whether an Israelite or a foreigner living among you, who eats or drinks blood in any form. I will cut off such a person from the community, for the life of creature is in its blood.” “But the Lord said, ‘what have you done? It is a common knowledge that occult practices involve the use of blood in the initiation rites and other sacrifices. The demons involve in these activities will always demand for blood, especially human blood. This has been the testimony of almost all who came out of such evil groups.

B

The spilling of blood (including its usage) in the occult world is directed and coordinated by Satan, himself. This practice is no doubt responsible for most sudden and mysterious disappearances of persons, some accidents, ritual killings, baby and human trafficking and others, in our society today. The blood of most of these victims is used for rituals, especially for wealth, positions, servicing demonic altars and for spiritual power. Or how do you want to explain the many unresolved kidnappings incidents and often found dismembered human bodies that often litter our streets today? Why is it always the very important organs that will be missing from these found bodies? Let’s look at the report of a one-time agent of darkness, who is now a preacher — Emmanuel Eni. He wrote in his book, Delivered From The Power Of Darkness (1987:13), that he was given human blood to initiate him into the occult world by a friend. Listen. “She then slaughtered the child into pieces and poured both the blood and the flesh into a tray and asked me to eat. I re-

fused, but before I knew what was happening, I was not only chewing the meat, but also licking the blood.” Horrible! This is the extent the devil can go to destroy human beings. Incidentally, I repented under this man’s ministry in the 80s. I have not see him since then, but I remember he went around exposing the secrets of the kingdom of darkness, which centres on spilling, using of blood and destruction of human life. He brought so many people to the Lord through these chilling testimonies. May God bless him! So many political, business, spiritual and other empires you see today are built and sustained by human blood sacrifices. True!  We have many shocking accounts recorded in our books Power Of Midnight Prayer and Breaking Generational Curses: Claiming Your Freedom. And the blood of these victims keep crying to God for vengeance. Yes, just like the blood of Abel in Genesis 4:10. Nobody was there when Cain killed Abel, but God heard the cry of his blood from heaven. And because Cain shed Abel’s blood, God cursed him. The Bible said in Habakkuk 2:12, “Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and established a city by iniquity!”

Rev Agbo is of the Assemblies of God Nigeria. 08037113283, gabrielagbo@yahoo.com

Jesus Christ, The Corn From Heaven By S.K. Abiara OR someone to enjoy the Fpeace good things of life and of mind; there is need

Bishop, Diocese of Oleh Delta State, Rt. Rev. John Usiwoma Aruakpor and other Bishops, during synod of the Diocese at Ebenezer Church, Ozoro, Isoko North L.G.A Delta State.

“You rulers make decisions based on bribes; you priests teach God’s law only for a price; you prophets won’t prophesy unless you are paid. Yet all of you claim to depend on the Lord. No harm can come to us; you say, for the Lord is here among us,” Micah 3v11.

From The Rector

HE book of prophet Micah is a quick reT minder that God hates sin, but loves the sinner. Sin and all it stands for attracts

Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor

punishment and, so, sinners cannot go unpunished. When Adam violated the laws of God by eating the forbidden fruit, God handed down judgment to him. Gen. 3v14 -17. The nation of Israel sinned against God in diverse ways according to Micah: fraud Micah 2v2, theft 2v8, greed 2v9, debauchery 2v11, oppression 3v3, hypocrisy 3v4, heresy 3v5, injustice 3v9, extortion and lying 6v12, murder 7v2. The Bible attests that sin is a reproach to any nation, (Proverbs 14v34). Such volume of sin in Israel certainly will attract His judgment, which must come according to Micah 1v5. Today, God singled out the sins of these persons: rulers, priests and prophets. Their main sin was bribe. Exodus 23v8 says: ‘Do not accept

to live in Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ is the corn from heaven. You must be in the word if you desire to live a meaningful life, if you want miracle, signs and wonders, you must be in the word; if you want to go to heaven, you must live and eat the word. Jesus promises that whatever is asked in His name shall be done, if you abide in Him. How can you abide in Him? Go through the word of God, digest and abide in it without ceasing. “If you remain in me and my

Beware! a bribe, for it blinds and perverts justice.’ Rulers were supposed to lead God’s people, but instead they demanded money before they could perform their duties. Dubiously they cheated their subjects and shamelessly enriched themselves. It is possible they were receiving ten per cent kick back, upfront and left things undone thereto bringing hardship to their subjects. In Nigerian parlance, there was no good governance and the dividends of democracy were a far cry. Yes, if money that could have been spent on valu-

able projects to alleviate the sufferings of the masses is fretted away by such thing like bribe, how can the people receive the benefits of good governance? Certainly, God was unhappy with the leaders. For the priests, the supposed mouthpieces of God, money also blinded their spiritual eyes. It was suggested that they lowered the quality of their preaching to the congregations, so, as not to lose members and at the same time their patronage. These pastors forgot that the love of money is the root of all evils, I Tim. 6v10.

words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” (John 15:7 God bless. Prophet Abiara, General Evangelist, Christ Apostolic Church (CAC). skabiaraofciem@yahoo.co.uk

However, it is not surprising that today the number of churches and their leaders have no corresponding spiritual effect on the lives of the worshippers. The reason may not be farfetched; priests, preachers have watered down the gospel and sinners feel too comfortable in church. After all, they pay their tithes, buy items of worship (handkerchief, olive oil), buy cars for their spiritual leaders, sponsor their endless oversea trips and such other condemnable things that make the spiritual leaders to feel good. How can God be happy in such a situation? Everyone in God’s service should beware to avoid God’s punishment. We need to be reconciled to God through Christ and earnestly ask the Holy Spirit to keep us on track to the glory of God.

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


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

28

IBRUCENTRE

Christians As Catalysts For Change CONTINUED FROM PAGE 26 Gen 17:1b: ‘I am the Almighty God, walk before me and be perfect.’ It is a command to us. God will not command us to do what is not possible for us to do. It may be difficult, but it is possible if we look up to the Author and the Finisher of our faith for help. Philippians 4:13 says: ‘I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.’ Matt 19:26 says: ‘With God, all things are possible for them, who believe.’ Our failure to do so, is disobedience, and the consequences of disobedience will apply. We have no excuses not to do so, Rom 1:20, Rom 2. There may be factors that can militate against this, but they are all human factors and all human factors can be overcome when we apply the word of God.

‘Christians Sweeten Lives And Eradicate Corruption’ (DR. FRANCIS BOLA AKIN-JOHN, International Church Growth Ministries) HRISTIANS are meant to be change agents in the world. A true Christian brings change to others by showing the personal transformation he has experienced with the Lord. The Disciples of Christ in the first century church brought change to their world. It was written of them that they turned the world upside down. As light, Christians are to dispel the darkness in the world. As salt, they are to sweeten lives and eradicate corruption. Christians should be change agents, not by their own power or oratory, but by the power of God living inside them. The number one way to be a change agent is to live right and transparently in office, home, school, business and wherever you are. The power to change others can only be derived from the good examples you are setting before men. Without godly and exemplary living, we cannot bring change to others. The number two way is to pray for our nation. Prayers will attract the power of God to deliver our society from evil forces. Prayer will strengthen good values and eradicate wicked policies that make evil to thrive in our society. The third way is to speak out for justice, fair play and godly values in our society. Christians must champion justice and fair play in every strata of our society. We must speak out against oppression and injustices. Of course, it will not be easy, because there will be persecutions and misrepresentations by those who want things to remain the way they are. People will read meanings to the motives and castigate you, but we must keep on working until we see the desired change in our nation.

C

‘If We Obey The Bible As The Supreme Rule For Life And Conduct’ (REV FRANCIS EJIROGHENE WAIVE, General Overseer, Fresh Anointing Missionary Ministries Inc, Senior Pastor, Church of the Anointing, Warri Delta State) T should not be a question of how Christians can be agents of change. True Christianity is changing lives. So, if your own life is not changed and you are not affecting others for good, it follows that you are not a Christian, though you may be a very prominent church member. Churchinity is different from Christianity. It is a shame that true Christians are getting scare in our country, even, as the number of churches and churchgoers are increasing rapidly. When we got born again in the 70s, people knew that we were a different people. And we were change agents in our families, neighbourhoods, places of work and schools. The early church as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, were so much of change agents that some people described them as ‘those that have turned the world upside down’.  Christians can change this nation. I charge all who call on the name of the Lord in this country to stand up and be counted. Let us be the light and the salt we are called to be. Let us obey the Bible as the supreme rule for life and conduct. Then we will really be the change agents that are. The early Christians impacted their society for good. The history of revivals is replete with stories of communities that were transformed as a result of the practice of true Christianity. The fact that missionaries, who brought the gospel here, were agents of change is no secret. The Scripture Union (SU) revival that hit this country after the civil war and lasted up to the early 80s saw Christians, who changed the way of life and previously accepted norms in their neighbourhoods. Truly, he who will introduce into public affairs the principles of true Christianity will change the face of the earth. Sadly, however, as the SU revival waned in the mid-80s, the church in Nigeria became an all-comers affair, both in their private and public lives; many who profess faith in Christ have been a source of shame to the gospel. And this is so widespread that in some parts of the world, it is thought that it is impossible to be a Nigerian as well as a Christian.  Perhaps, our global image as a nation of corrupt people is partly responsible for this, but we

I

know that many Christians, who have had the privilege of public office, have joined the bandwagon. The refrain has been, ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’ But I believe that God has a remnant. I pray that everyone who reads this will take up the challenge. Let us change the now popular statement in the community of churches worldwide that ‘Christianity in Nigeria is a mile wide and an inch deep.’ Of course, the same factors that brought the practice of Christianity to this low ebb in Nigeria are militating against the restoration of the true faith in the land. The most crucial factor is the shallow preaching of Nigerian pastors and priests. When last did you hear a sermon on repentance, either in church or in the mass media? Pastors no longer preach the Bible, we preach motivation, success, power and everything that will excite our people and help us milk the sheep dry! Heaven is no longer our destination. We rather urge our flock to enjoy this world. By our lifestyles we tell the world what we believe. And this cuts across denominational background. I queried a Catholic priest why he had to put a congratulatory message on television for a politician. It is not ethical. By the way, who is still talking of ethics? The church has become so worldly and the world so churchy that you can’t see the difference.

‘We Are Spiritual Change Agents, Not Psychological’ (Pastor Julian Ejikeme Okechukwu, General Overseer of Christ Manifest Ministries, Lagos) HRIST is the prime change Agent in the world. And every Christian has the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit inhabits our newborn spirit, which is the core of the human personage. This Spirit of Christ in us is a re-creative Transformer, a Changer. So, we are ‘game changers’ by reason of the game Changer inside of us. We are still here on earth to change humans and things for the glory of God through Christ. This fruit-bearing project is what is delaying our glorious transportation to the blessed kingdom. Christ uses us to change personalities and situations. The Word is a formidable weapon of change and transformation in human lives and situations. We are spiritual change agents, not psychological or somatic change agents. We do this by the spiritual power in the Word, we speak and live. As it is written, ‘And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power’ (1Cor.2:4). On our own, without Christ, we ‘can do nothing’. But Christ asserted in Matthew 19:26 that ‘With men, this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.’ And a popular verse in Philippians says, ‘I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me’ 4:13. The major challenge some Christians have is ignorance: crass ignorance and classified ignorance. These make them to live below expectation and to suffer lethal effect of lack of knowledge. Some do not know the Lord Jesus or have His Spirit. Not having the knowledge of the hidden wisdom and truth of the blessed Kingdom, as appointed, is a serious handicap for a Christian. Such a Christian cannot be a change agent. Pursuing of gain with its thrills and frills, which many have exchanged for godliness, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost are such distracting factors that blind the Christian or cripple growth and personal spiritual development. Not knowing exactly what God has called them to, they swing with every wind of half-baked doctrines in sundry situations and circumstances to the detriment of their soul. Let’s instead, seek for the knowledge of the Lord Jesus through the truth of His Word by the Spirit and live it out. The testimony of Christ is the Gospel of total salvation, holiness, sound health, prosperity, good success and eternal life in heaven. And we must not settle for anything less.

C

‘We Should Refuse To Be Part Of Darkness’ (PROPHET GBENGA AJADI, General Overseer, His Praise Deliverance Chapel, Ogudu, Lagos). HE Bible says, ‘we are the light of the world’, and another portion adds, ‘we should be perfect,’ just as our heavenly father is ‘perfect’. A Christian should be a role model and an example for unbelievers to emulate. There are factors that can militate against our being change agent. For instance, the love of money and worldly affection are on the increase and these things are equally affecting the mood of Christians. Christian leaders must endeavour to speak the truth at all times. We are not really preaching the gospel the way we should. Some people come to the church to do their Thanksgiving, after they have embezzled government money. They should be discouraged. Let us tell such people the absolute truth. We must not join the multitude to do evil; we should refuse to be part of darkness. Christians can be change agents, if only we can preach the truth and go back to our first love. Many pastors don’t undergo training and such can have negative effect on us. The only way we can be a change agent is to preach the gospel, truthfully.

T

Springs Of Wisdom By PASTOR W.F KUMUYI

Triumph Over Adversity WO words - temptations and trials - are commonly T used in the scriptures to underscore the challenges Christians are bound to contend with. Temptation generally connotes two things: enticement or solicitation to commit sin, and trial, trouble and test purposefully designed to prove the genuineness of your Christian faith. It is in the second sense that Apostle James calls on all Christians ‘to count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.’ Just as trials in the fire are needed to test the genuineness of some gems, like gold or diamond, the trials you go through in life are meant to reveal how true or genuine your convictions are. Anybody can claim to be a Christian or a religious person until trials of life come to separate the sheep from the goats, the professors from the practitioners. Life is full of trials, troubles, temptations and difficulties. Job acknowledged this fact when he noted that ‘man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.’ Similarly, the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes candidly remarks: “For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.” First, as the Lord rightly noted, trials, troubles, disappointments, suffering, hardship, sorrow and other adverse circumstances break or disturb the smooth flow of life. But no matter how severe they are, they cannot destroy the faith of a real believer. Second, Christ’s intercessory prayers for the saints assures you of ultimate victory. Amid the trials and sufferings of life, His word comforts and strengthens you in every situation. Apart from the ultimate goal, which is proving the genuineness of your religious profession, trials strengthen your faith; lead you to fervent prayer; and prove your love for God. Trials also produce in you greater commitment to the Lord, just as they perfect, whatever may be lacking in your character. The question is, why does God allow trials and why should you regard them as a thing of joy? The answers are not far-fetched. A good soldier is tested in the battlefield and not in the barracks. Your strength and sincerity are tested in the battlefield of life. Persecution, therefore, should not be regarded as a strange experience. Joseph, David, Paul, Peter, and even the Lord were persecuted or faced trials of their faith, during their lifetimes. Things like doctrinal knowledge, church affiliation, Christian activities or church responsibilities do not sufficiently prove a believer’s love for God. But holding fast to the Lord in times of trials, hardship and temptation, does. That was the point The Lord drew attention to when, at the Sermon on the Mount, He said: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” A believer who does not experience persecution, opposition or trial on account of his profession should examine the authenticity of his or her faith. To start with, trials make you imbibe a calm disposition in every circumstance. Trials, rather than weaken you, should bring revival into your life, as you pray and trust God more. In all trials, be rest assured that the Lord will not allow them to exceed your spiritual capability. Rather than allowing them to destroying you, God uses trials to develop you into an inimitable character. References: James 1: 2-4; Job 14:1; 5:6,7; Ecclesiastes 2:22,23; John 16:33; 1 Peter 4:12,13; Matthew 5:10-12; Luke 6:26; Romans 5:3-5; 1 Peter 5:10. All scriptures are taken from Kings James Version of the Bible.

have happened. Who are his advisers, his counselors? Lack of adequate preparation for the union has destroyed many homes and lives. “And part of the reasons marriages are crumbling is that Church of God, now, lack discipline.” By Bisi Alabi Williams race is a very personal thing. “Commitment is the key to our re- She observed that the church would lose relevance if counseling is removed from the marriage process, saying that the standard of HE need for Christian to seek counsel before getting married lationship with God. The interpretation of scriptures is given God’s word cannot be sacrificed on the altar of modernity. “We by the interpretation of the Holy Spirit,” she said. has again come to the fore. Pastor Bridget Ahigbe gave the adOn what the Bible says about the last days, she stated that in should always humble ourselves and reconcile with our partners vise at the just concluded Couple’s Retreat of the Daughters of the last days, many Christians will depart from the faith, they when err. Even when couples are separated, they could still reconSarah Ministry, Ebgeda, Lagos. Ahigbe said, “Christians should cile if they humble themselves. Now is the time to go back to God”. will have itchy ears and employ teachers that will tell them not go into marriage without proper counseling and duly She advised couples in troubled marriages to seek help before it what will sooth them. Therefore, the church must go back to preparing for it, adding that failure to so, easily opens the union gets to the point of divorce, stressing that divorce is satanic bethe basics, by repenting from pleasing self to pleasing God. to the enemy.” She informed that Christians are compromising cause it is not God’s desire for couples. “Divorce has serious impliSpeaking on wife murder, the Pastor noted, “before a man about a lot of things, today, and the earlier the church purges itcations on the couples, the kids, families and society at large,” she self of compromise, the better for it. He noted that the Christian gets to the point of killing his wife, something drastic must noted.

‘Seek Counsel Before Marriage’ T


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

29

IBRUCENTRE

Be Wary Of Over-ambition By Gabriel Osu “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12) AVE you even been consumed by a burning passion to attain a certain goal, such that you are ready to do whatever is humanly possible to attain it? Have you ever been so engrossed in a particular project (aside God) such that every other thing takes the back stage? Is there a position of prominence that is so appealing to you that nothing else matters, until you grab it? If your answer is yes, then you are part of the group of people I wish to describe as ‘over-ambitious’ It is a natural trait for humans to want to be at an advantageous position over others. To attain prominence, many strife day and night in search of power and knowledge that would give them edge over others. Some do so through dint of hard work and perseverance while some seek prominence through clandestine means. For the latter, the end justifies the means. This is where we need to be careful. Why? Over ambition, rather than becoming a blessing, can consume and overpower the wholesome pursuit of achieving one’s goals. 1Timothy 6:9, says: “...those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” There is nothing wrong for one to be ambitious. Most lofty goals in life are attained through the ambitious nature of men, who strife to better their lot. A man without ambition is purposeless. God has built in everyone the ability and capacity to attain great height, to go into the world and subdue it. That is why he is endowed with the necessary intellect and superior spirit to rule over other creatures of God. However, as in every other gift that we are blessed with, we

H

must be cautious with the type of goals we set and how we plan to attain them. These days, it is not uncommon to see all sorts of motivational books giving tips on how to achieve all that you set your heart to do. You know them; books like Think And Grow Rich, The Power Of Creative Thinking, The Richest Man In Babylon, The 48 Laws Of Power and others. These are books that can make the most complacent of men to wake up from slumber. While they can indeed serve some purposes, they may also become obsessive tools for the weak and vulnerable. Have you wondered why some people indulge in money rituals? It is because they want to get money quick. I once read the confession of a repentant ritualist, who revealed that not all who indulge in money ritual achieve their goals because not everyone is destined to be a millionaire. According to him, the charms work for only those who have been destined to be rich in the first place. It merely accelerates the attainment of their destiny. Those who have read Macbeth would recall the tragedy that befell Macbeth as he allowed his heart and soul to be consumed by the ambition to become king, even to the extent of murdering the king. The Bible is very clear about the kind of evil that goes with over ambition. There are stories of some power brokers who in their quest for earthly glory, bow down before all sorts of gods. In Matt 4:8-10, our Lord Jesus Christ was tempted, but he stood firmly on the path of honour. What about you? Monsignor Osu, Director of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos

Cross section of worshippers at the two-day power-packed international crusade tagged: ‘That Yoke Must Break’ organised by the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Ministries at the Chosen Revival Ground, ljesha, Lagos… on June 2.

Amazing Grace (1) By Seyi Ogunorunyinka Zechariah 4:1, when the angel of the Lord came to IforNZechariah with a message that was not meant for him, but Zerubbabel, he rejected it. God realised that Zerubbabel might doubt Zechariah’s words and that he might not believe the message that was sent to him and so Zechariah 4:9 states further, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you.” What state of mind could Zerubbabel possibly have been in to make God believe that he would doubt Zechariah’s words? Zerubbabel was an elect of God, a man who knew and was serving the Lord, a man who was on a mission for God and for whom God had done many things in the past. Despite all that he knew about the Lord, Zerubbabel was going through a situation that gave him cause to wonder if his problems could really be solved, simply because he received a message that God said, He would solve the problems. He must have prayed and fasted and done all he could to solve his problems without any result. So, the message that came from Zechariah that Zerubbabel’s problems would be solved just by the Lord’s grace must have been difficult for him to believe. God knows everything that is going on in our minds and so He realised that Zerubbabel would have difficulty believing the message that He sent.

God told Zerubbabel, “You are trying to build me a temple in your own power; you have done everything, you have laboured and you have calculated, but nothing is working according to your plans. Don’t you know that it is only by my grace that things will work?” When you begin to understand grace, you will never feel too proud or look down on anyone again. You will know that everything you have been able to accomplish in your life is only by the special grace of God. The fact that you are alive, have a job, a car or rich, is all as a result of grace. Until you have a divine encounter with the Almighty, you will not be able to understand what grace is. Sometimes, you do not understand grace, until you go through affliction. Zerubbabel was tired that he could not even hear from God any more. It was only as a result of God’s grace that He even sent a message through Zechariah. When God spoke to Zerubbabel, it became the turning point of his life. A turning point is a sudden change in direction and situation. When the turning point comes in your life, it will bring opportunities. If you have laboured a lot and you have nothing to show for it, and then all of a sudden a word comes from God, there is nothing as great as that moment; because it’s a turning point in your life. You may have thought it was over, but God suddenly showed up to turn your situation around.

Pastor Ogunorunyinka, General Overseer, The Promisedland Restoration Ministries, Surulere, Lagos. 08032011797, 08029319152, pastorseyiogunorunyinka@gmail.com

Living Waters By Pastor Lazarus Muoka

Keeping Your Eyes Off The Vanities Of Life (2) NTIL we turn our eyes off the vanities of this world, we U will not serve God faithfully. This is because the vanities of life deaden our hearts to the things of God, they make us to disobey God and the more we free ourselves from them, the closer we will move to God. These vanities have in many ways drawn multitudes away from the paths of godliness. The eye is apt to make one take a stand. But it is our duty to put it under control, so it does not put us in trouble. He that fears being burnt by fire must not play with fire. And he that fears being drowned must keep out of deep waters. So, also he that desires heaven must ensure he keeps his eyes off the vanities of this world. If we give all attention to God, we will get His attention. When Adam was in good relationship with God, he lacked nothing. Just like Adam, if we fix our gaze on God instead of on the material and perishable things of this world, He will supply all our needs. The devil is very wise and wicked. He knows how to catch man; he tried his strategy in the Garden of Eden and succeeded. And after succeeding at the very beginning, he knows that he could continue to succeed if any man is ignorant of his ways, which includes deceiving people with the things they see and eat. John 8:32 says: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” You must know the trick and deceit of the devil to be able to escape from his snare. For it is this knowledge that will make you free from Satan’s yoke, spiritual taskmasters, fear, oppression, limitation, barrenness and others. We must come to the Light in order to know the Truth. It is only the Light that can reveal the Truth to us. And who is this Light? The Bible states clearly that Jesus is that Light, He is the word of God personified, and if we are born again through His word and following Him through His word, we must not allow the same thing that happened to Adam and Eve to happen to us. John 8:12, “then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Jesus is the fountain from, which intellectual and spiritual understanding proceeds. Without Him all will be in darkness, misery and death. The world, which is blind in itself, cannot come to have light, but in Christ alone. If you are in the Light, you shall be saved from ignorance, infidelity and sin. Those, who follow Christ will not walk in darkness, they will not be left without the truth, which are necessary to keep them away from destructive error. Remember the Bible says, “there is a way that seems right in the eyes of man, but the end thereof is destruction.” Beloved, let us not follow the way of the world, the way of vanity, which has taken many people to hell fire. Let us look up to Jesus, the Light.

Church Celebrates 7th Anniversary th

N celebration of its 7 anniversary, The Spring of LivIGod, ingwater Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of Ogba, Lagos has put together a five-day programme, which will run from Tuesday to Sunday July 21, in the church auditorium. With the theme, God of Perfection, the five-day programme will feature Bible study, prayer, praise and climax with a Thanksgiving Service on Sunday July 21. Speaking about the event, the host Pastor, Charles Imuzeze, noted that the anniversary would also serve as avenue to honour past pastors of the parish, whose services have helped to take the parish to great heights. “To share blessings of this special anniversary celebration, all past pastors of this parish will be honoured for their various contributions in the parish.”

‘Nation’s Challenges Beyond Human Abilities’ From Joke Falaju (Abuja) HE Senior Pastor of House On The Rock, The Refuge, Abuja, Goodheart Ekwueme, has said that issues militating against the nation’s development are beyond human abilities. Ekwueme stated that the country is in need of divine intervention, despite the people’s claim of God’s steadfast faithfulness. Speaking ahead of the church’s forthcoming festival of praise tagged, Jam Mega Festival, the Senior Pastor explained that the prayers of Christians have being helpful, else the country’s current socio-economic challenges would have overwhelmed its citizen, adding that majority of the people in the nation’s ruling class and followers have continued to lead contradictory lifestyles. “As Christians, we live by faith and pray that the country will not remain like this. We have serious challenges in our nation today, but irrespective of these challenges, God has kept Nigeria in place.”

T


30

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

LAFETE Benin youths turn MTN Project Fame’s Audition to entertainment feast T was convivial atmosphere at the audiIProject tions’ venue for the sixth season of MTN Fame West Africa, in Benin, last weekend, as over 20,000 youths converged on the Constantial Hotel, directly located opposite Benin Airport. In the first audition to be held in Nigeria for this year’s edition of the popular subregion musical reality TV show, the youths commented that they have turned out that much because of the proven record of MTN Project Fame for producing music super stars. A Sociology undergraduate from the University of Benin, Augusta Ukwah, who came in the company of her friends to be auditioned, said, “no doubt the MTN Project Fame holds a wider appeal to youths here, having seen hitherto little known young Nigerians like Iyanya, Chidimma and Praize take advantage of the platform, through the technical supports of the music reality show’s faculty members and judges, to achieve their dreams of becoming music stars.” In the same vein, members of the Red Cross Society, Ugbowo Detachment of the University Of Benin, seized the moment at the audition venue, when they created an unusual buzz of drumming and singing to the delight of the thousands of participants attending the audition. Asked why they chose the venue to highlight their activities, some of them said, though they were just passing by on an endurance trek, they chose to identify with a project that is empowering Nigerian youths, who are dreaming big dreams of stardom, in a distinct way that gives hope to young people across the country and the sub-region. The massive turnout at the centre is an attestation to the projection by music buffs that the industry is set for a boom. The same effect was recorded at the Abuja venue of audition where thousands of youth also gather to get an opportunity to showcase their music talents. EANWHILE, Kwara Hotel, located in M GRA, Ilorin and Port Harcourt hosted the auditions yesterday ahead of the All-

Stars concert in Calabar next weekend. According to reports, youths from Imo, Bayelsa, Delta and some other neighbouring states auditioned for the Port Harcourt leg in order not to miss out on the once in-ayear opportunity of participating in the Project Fame contest. The venue, Rachael Hotel, Harbour Road, was filled with expectant youths. It is on record that the show has contin-

ued to produce talents with depth and appeal in the trade. So far, over 15 graduates of the musical academy have recorded singles and albums that become listeners’ delight, either on radio, terrestrial or cable television networks, across the entire continent. This season, however, the reality show is set to bring together this array of musical stars for a concert that has been titled ‘All-Stars

Concerts’ as a testimonial of five years of nurturing hitherto ordinary youths into musical super-stars. Featuring are Iyanya, Praiz, Chidimma, Kesse, Nicholas, Tolu, Monica, Ayo, Oyinkansade, Musulyn, Adetoun, Christian, Yetunde ‘OmoIbadan’ and many others and Wizkid, holding in Calabar and Lagos on June 21 and 28.

Andy Bello, a music producer and cinematographer, cheering participants at the MTN Project Fame Season 6 audition in Benin. Mark Ebi, host of 'Saturday Spice' on EBS, Edo State, is behind.

Etisalat Partners Spinlet on Customised Digital Music App EADING telecommunication’s company, Lvalue Etisalat Nigeria, is creating more mobile and fun for its music-loving customers

scription, and the subscriber need not worry Music App is to provide absolute enjoyment about further subscription because subsefor the music lover. We have a large library of quent renewals will be automatic,” further local and international albums and tracks. with Nigeria’s first branded Spinlet music explained. As for local music, the Etisalat Spinlet Music application called the Etisalat Spinlet Digital Chief Marketing Officer of Spinlet, Mark App offers albums from contemporary Music App, in partnership with international Redguard, confirmed that Etisalat Nigeria music artistes including Tuface Idibia, Eldee digital music download service, Spinlet. was the first network to have an exclusive de Don, Banky W, MI, Darey Art Alade, Buchi The App is designed to enable Etisalat cus- Spinlet App. and IcePrince to Nigeria’s finest old-school tomers download and share a broad collec“The core essence of the Etisalat Spinlet like Fela, Osita Osadebe, Dele Ojo, Alex Zitto, tion of ethnic and international songs on their mobile devices. The newly launched App allows customers to enjoy music on the move by downloading albums or tracks to mobile devices. It is an affordable pay-per-download model and AST rising act, Klever Jay, has gives the Etisalat customer the advantage of inked a multi-million-naira free live streaming, so that friends can also deal with Black Wall Street; a enjoy the music. record label based in the Speaking about the new mobile music serv- Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. ice, Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat The deal comes with a brand Nigeria, Wael Ammar, said the application new car worth N11 million, a was yet another innovative service from house in upscale Asokoro Etisalat to bring personalization and interacDistrict, Abuja and Black Wall tivity to its customers. “For our customers, Street gold chain worth N5 mildownloading and sharing music is now lion. cheaper, easier, mobile and legal. Etisalat cusAccording to Suni, CEO, Black tomers now have access to an almost limitWall Street/Avatar, Klever Jay’s less library of musical content on the go. We career has been transformed as have also made the application very easy to a new single entitled, Omo Aye use and affordable. For us at Etisalat, it is will be released by the label on about designing fun and entertaining servicJune 16, 2013 while the video will es for customers because they are the centre also drop by the end of June. of our business and we take them very seri“I see that Klever Jay has talent ous,” he said. and we need to push that talent Ammar also said the subscription plans for out for the world to appreciate. download were flexible, with interested He did this on his own before. Etisalat subscribers also enjoying bonus data But now that we are behind for a seamless experience. “To start enjoying him, he will do better. We have the music app, our music-loving customers just inked a 2-album three year are required to download and install the deal with him,” Suni says. Etisalat Spinlet Digital Music app to a mobile Shot at choice locations in the phone or any other internet-enabled mobile United States and Nigeria, the device. Click on a preferred subscription plan video of the new single was on the app and begin to enjoy exclusive directed by none other than access to music tracks and albums,” he Jeffery, the man who did the explained. “The appropriate charges will be video for The Game’s hit track, deducted from airtime balance during subMy Life. Klever Jay and Suni

Blackky, Evi Edna Ogoli, Mandators, Adewale Ayuba, Ras Kimono, Onyeka Onwenu, Bright Chimezie, Benita Okojie, Tosin Jegede and Bobby Benson. The genres available to the Etisalat subscriber are limitless including highlife, jazz, gospel, blues, hip hop and more. The best part is that both the music lover and artiste do not have to worry about piracy,” Redgaurd said.

Klever Jay set to drop Omo Aye on Blackwall Street

F


31

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

LAFETE Deepening digital marketing knowledge through conference BY GREGORY AUSTIN NWAKUNOR IGITAL Marketing took the centrestage recently, as marketing experts put aside all other business to focus exclusively on seizing the opportunity available. It was a passionate, intellectually creative conference where delegate’s knowledge of strategic and tactical approaches to the practice of digital marketing was broadened. Organised by Simon Page Business School, a leading provider of professional business education in Nigeria, the conference and exhibition, an interactive two-day event, saw in attendance marketing leaders, key decision makers and astute business professionals across corporate Nigeria’s blue chip firms. According to Princewill Omorogiuwa, CEO of the School and organizers of the digital conference, “what excites me the most about digital marketing is the unprecedented targeting opportunities that it presents to us. It is possible to geo-target people in specific locations around the world and in the country and serve them with your products and services. This is phenomenal; he quipped, and is the reason why we put together this conference, to give marketers an edge that helps them remain at the very fore front of their industries.” Delegates had first-hand knowledge from some of the most successful digital marketing practitioners in the country and globally. Headlining the conference panelists was respected global trainer on digital marketing, Mike Berry, whose expose was titled the Big Beasts of Digital Marketing. Stephen Boadi, the Digital Marketing Manager for PZ, Africa Region; Bukola Akingbade, CEO Bytesize and Tola Ayanwale, CEO DraftFCB Interactive, joined him. They took delegates through real-world skills development including demos, tips and tricks, and how-to sessions that helped them learn how to use digital marketing tools more effectively and also identified the trends that matter, projecting them forward over the next 12 months and showing what marketers can do about them now. With the theme, Deploying Digital Marketing for Competitive Advantage, delegates were clearly challenged to do more in this sphere. Akingbade spoke on Digitally Wired for Business Success. Her presentation revealed so much about how brands must understand that digital is changing the rules in marketing and that brands need to change their thinking. Ayanwale then came on and elaborated in a case study revelation how DraftFCB Interactive was able to through the Sharp

D

Sule project for its client reinvent consumer engagement using Social Media. And then came the first external speaker Boadi, and what an inspiring presentation he gave — Don’t Be Left Behind. He said, “digital works best when integrated into the wider marketing activity,” but more importantly he advised brands to “be out there and manage your reputation or one will be created for you.” Berry, in his presentation, didn’t disappoint as he dwelt on what he called the big beasts of digital marketing, which received a lot of questions as delegates sought to glean from his nearly 20 years experience in that field. There were breakout sessions also, Temiloluwa Sobowale, Lead consultant Intelligent Interactive Limited discussed Understanding Digital Marketing Risks. It was an eye opener to everyone as delegates were alerted to the damages that online brand fraud could cause to brands locally and globally. With data that could not be waved away, delegates sat up when he revealed that “your Brand can be attacked from anywhere in the world by the world’s leading fraudsters” and proceeded to show them how. Gboyega Adelowore, the Nigeria Country Manager of Yookos capped the session when he looked at what works and what doesn’t work in social content marketing. One outcome of thought leadership is that it often challenges. The delegates left really pleased and signified a strong interest to attend next year’s event. “It was indeed a great outing and we sincerely look forward to exhibiting next year,” said Kunle Shokunbi, Head Business and Strategy at Hotsauce, one of the exhibitors. “The whole event was extremely useful and really well organised. The speakers were fantastic,” quipped Ted Phido, Managing Director, The Write Note. This conference said an excited Victor Ogundele, Brand Manager PZ Cussons, “has really shown us great insights into how we can amplify our campaigns using the digital tools. I have learnt a lot and I am going to be using them into the things I am going to be doing.” An important highlight of the event was give aways by Etisalat, sponsors of the conference and Samsung who gave out Galaxy Tabs during the event. The roll call of exhibitors who interacted with delegates included Samsung, Etisalat, Hotsauce, DraftFCB Interactive, Naij.com, WSI-Axon and 3rdFloor limited (from Ghana).

IMON Page Business School is a modern Ssional and dynamic institution offers profesbusiness education and training, and also thought leading business and educational events such as conferences and seminars across Africa. It is the largest provider of   Chartered Institute of

Marketing, UK, CAM UK (Marketing and Digital Communications), in Africa. Over the last three years in Nigeria, over 900 marketing and finance professionals from blue chip companies including all the Telcos, major banks and major FMCG’s have trained in the school.

When Tuface and friends Connected Lagos HE Indoor Sports Hall of University of T Lagos was a beehive of heightened performances by Nigeria’s hip-hop stars as well as the huge turnout of students to round up the thrilling Tuface and friends campus connect tour sponsored by Amstel Malt, the premium low sugar malt drink from the stable of Nigerian Breweries plc. The Campus Connect gig train, which was received in Benin City, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Abuja had several budding and notable artistes thrilling their fans. They include Ranson, Money B, Hype M.C, Efa, Young Grace, 2Sec, Rocksteady, Damy Crane, Sheyi Shay, Rough Coil, Vector, Solid Star, Phyno, Sound Sultan and the winner of Amstel Malta Show time in 2012, Same. Music lovers in Lagos got more than they bargained for as these music acts offered interactive music renditions, which drew endless applause and joyful moments from them. The mammoth crowd, comprising students from University of Lagos, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos State Polytechnic and Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education Lagos defied the heavy downpour to enjoy music performance by Tuface and friends. Speaking on behalf of the Brand Manager, Amstel Malta, Miss Hannatu Ageni Yusuf expressed her appreciation for the impressive turn out and the outstanding musical performances. “The brand has always championed and advanced the course of youths by encour-

aging them to be the best that they can be. Tonight’s performance is also a clear demonstration of being able to connect to the University students and the good people of Lagos”. She added: “It has a penchant for promoting good values in the youths in a bid to chart a good course for Nigeria as a nation. Innocent Ujah Idibia, popularly called Tuface, and his friends have been awesome and the brand is indeed delighted to be associated with them.” She assured that the next edition would be bigger and more exciting as the team would do a proper analysis to adjust and add on some ideas to create that moment of interaction with Nigerian hip hop stars and the students. Apart from churning out some his iconic music tracks, Tuface also pepped up his performance with a repertoire of chorographers while he perfected the act of singing as well as skillfully manoeuvring his lanky gait. With cans of Amstel Malta in their hand, Tuface proved to his fans for the umpteenth time why he is unarguably one of Nigeria’s hottest musical exports to the global scene. The crowd cheered endlessly as Tuface recreated his popular tracks with improvisations. Tracks such as For instance, Bush meat, Nfana Ibaga, U no holy pass, See me so, No shaking, Enter the place, Implication and his hit track from his recent, Away and Beyond album tagged, Ihe neme.  Certainly, Tuface backed by his friends lived up to his billing as one of Nigeria’s top acts, he also provided the undergraduates with the opportunity to be the best they can be.

Scenes from the conference

Rosiji splashes gifts on widows, unemployed youths BY IJEOMA OPARA OLAJI Rosiji, the founder of Gaurapad Empowerment Programme (GEP), has rewarded members who have worked and contributed immensely to the growth and sustenance of the foundation. Held at the Water Parks Resort, Ikeja, Lagos, the event attracted people from all walks of life, especially from the showbiz circuit. Among those who came were Stella Monye (coordinator of the programme), Charly Boy, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Bright Chimezie, Orits Wiliki, Ras Kimono and Chinedu Ikedieze, popularly known as Aki. Seventeen brand new cars, 29 plots of land in Lagos, 75 television sets and 114 fridges running into several millions of naira were presented to widows, unemployed youths, junior workers and others. The one-time president of Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN), in his speech, maintained that everyone who got any reward deserves and is worth it in all ramifications, while adding that it is the organisation’s way of

B

showing appreciation to members who have worked very hard. “Some people have been there for us all these years. It is our aim to build a better society and we need to do all we can to encourage others to have small enterprises,” Rosiji said. Ikedieze, who presented the invited widows with their gifts, while commending Rosiji’s generosity, said he is deeply touched by his kind gesture to widows, as his mother recently became a widow. “Touching the lives of these widows gives me a sense happiness because these women have lost their husbands and need smiles on their faces and heart to keep them going, which Bolaji has done,” he said.   Rosiji, who was conferred with United Nations Ambassador of peace, in 2010, has equally received numerous humanitarian and human rights awards on various national and international organisations.


32

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

33


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

34 BY BENSON IDONIJE benidoni@yahoo.com

All That Jazz

ARTSVILLE

Anatomy Of Art Blakey’s Drumming

BY TOYIN AKINOSHO

Rolling Dollar Didn’t See Documentary Before He Died ATAI Rolling Dollar was unable to see the only video documentary Flegend on his life until he passed away. The screening of Rolling Dollar: A Unplugged, produced and directed by Femi Odugbemi, was premiered at the 3rd iREP Documentary Film Festival last March. “The plan was to have him as special Guest of Honour”, recalls Jahman Anikulapo, the Film’s assistant producer, “and he had agreed as at January; then came the U.S Tour. A legend Unplugged turned out to be a hit with iREP Festival participants, such that by popular demand, it was slated for the April edition of iREP Monthly Film Screening. “We reached him again to say we’d like to show it, but he said the tour had been extended, and so could not be present”, Anikulapo explains. When Odugbemi turned 50 in late May, a screening of the 55 minute film was a highlight of the festivities. The producers sent a message to arrange to pick up the legendary musician. “We were told he was already in hospital. That is how he ended up never having seeing the film”. A joint statement by CORA, the culture advocacy group and iREP noted that “his symbolic death, on the 20th anniversary of June 12, 1993, is instructive of the unique contribution that the artist brings to the discourse on National well being”. Rolling Dollar was one of the last mainstream practitioners of the music still very active, one of a few Octogenarians with very busy performing schedule; he had projected an aura of immortality. Until he death he was one of the few Kokoma musicians, whose main instrument was the agidigbo (the thumb piano), to influence Highlife with their palwine-type guitar style. An evening of tributes, involving reflections on his life; reviews of his career; performances by friends, the screening of A legend Unplugged, and a session of musical tributes by his fellow veteran highlife musicians, is scheduled for the Freedom Park on Broad Street on Wednesday, June 19, to celebrate the essence of the life of a true, authentic Nigerian original.

NLNG Gives A Nod To Etisalat Prize HERE was a lot of cheer among the arts community when the T Etisalat Prize for first time writers of published fiction novels was announced a week and half ago. The Prize aims, according to the

HE world acclaimed Elvin Jones T was indeed a great drummer. He was pushed to the limelight by his dynamic drumming with avantgardist John Coltrane, in 1961. The undeniable fact still remains however, that like ex- Miles Davis’ drummer Anthony Williams, Reshied Ali, Eddie Blackwell and a host of others, he was influenced by the eclecticism of Art Blakey - from whose many styles and techniques they all picked up their various sides and dimensions – to forge their own individual directions. Art Blakey typifies the rhythm of jazz, the force in time, which ties the performer to his audience. It is this aspect of jazz, which propels and forces the listener into a direct physical response that is the music’s strength and individuality. While jazz is capable of great beauty, dignity, elegance, profundity and massive depth of feeling, these considerations are secondary to the basic propulsive quality of the music. The primary meaning of jazz is tied to the rhythmic response it creates in its listeners. And Art Blakey is the total embodiment of this whole essence! The rhythmic concept of Art Blakey confirms the danceability of jazz, if dancing is a response with the body. The dance to jazz is most often as simple as head- swinging, foot- stomping, finger-popping and snapping. It is the personal response of the jazz listener which binds him to, and makes him a part of the music, the activity which separates him from the purely passive listener. No jazz soloist can achieve meaningful results without the ability to create this feeling of rhythmic tension to be relieved through physical activity. This is to be considered in the light of jazz as the music of a supported soloist: It has always been natural to accept such propulsive skill from a Paul Chambers or Jo Jones (whose operational habitat is

the rhythm section), but the rarer ability of a Dexter Gordon or Sonny Rollins to create this feeling for himself in his solo line is a subtler thing, too easy to pass over in careless listening. While the rhythm section had always been known to be present to provide a background quality against which the soloist could create, an evolution has also taken place, moving the section to the point of loss of collective identity in the inter relating solo lines of its members. This has necessarily created new demands upon the listener as well as the soloist, with respect to absorbing this more complex propulsion into his own playing. Art Blakey represents such a shift of emphasis as a drummer. Perfectly characterized by his individual strength, his drumming is built on the expression of ideas characteristic to the drum, even to the extent of giving this primacy to the feeling the soloist may be creating. Art Blakey does not give easily, rather forcing the elements surrounding him, if capable enough, into his groove. The difficulty lies in the fact that Art frequently plays things which other musicians, even drummers do not necessarily feel, creating the added tension of rhythmic incompatibility. Yet he plays with the strong sureness that his way is right for him, and with such a feeling cannot compromise himself into the rhythmically simpler, more economical style to which other drummers may be more suited. As a drummer, Art tends to always keep something going, as opposed to merely providing a steadily moving beat. A constant development, never as extensive as a solo, limited by its responsibility to the soloist, characterizes his playing. The beat is always there, but more often than not, it is other than the more common even dotted eighth and sixteenth repetition; instead one finds the simple syncopations and phrases growing into the question- and-

statement, “to serve as a platform for the discovery of new creative talent out of the continent and invariably promote the burgeoning publishing industry in Africa”. The news was broken to this column by an unlikely source. Ifeanyi Mbanefo, Community Affairs Manager at the gas company, NLNG, has been the public face of the nine-yearold, $100,000(N15.7 million) Nigeria Literary Prize which the company sponsors. “It’s a good initiative”, he said, “let’s keep it coming”. Was he speaking for the NLNG?, we asked. “No that’s an unfair interpretation”, responded a friend who was with him at the time of the news break. Mbanefo himself was more pointed. “I haven’t exactly made any comment you can quote”. Perhaps Mr. Mbanefo, a passionanswers, complex phrase developments, and contrapuntal feeling of ate promoter of the NLP, was merely sizing up the competition? which non melodic rhythm is capa- Truly, if there’s any award that the Etisalat Prize is competing with, it is the UK based Caine Prize, which is also about new fictional voices ble in the proper hands. Due to the idea growth in his play- from the continent. The NLNG sponsored Nigeria Literature prize is ing, Art may tend to occasionally over for all of literature, as is the Wole Soyinka Prize For Literature. The power the soloist with what he has new award is open to new writers of African citizenship whose first going; with a weak soloist Blakey’s fiction novel (over 30,000 words) was published in the last 24 overwhelming and seemingly com- months. Authors and their publishers can be based anywhere in the world. Entries will be accepted for two categories; Full length English petitive qualities can easily inhibit fiction novels and Flash Fiction Short Stories. Details are at http://etiactivity. With a strong enough performer however, the added impetus salatprize.com. of a development, secondary to but continuous with his, may inspire new performance levels, called forth by Etisalat Prize: The Limpopo Perspective corresponding levels of background activity. The immediate association HE Southern African world view will colour the judging of the here is to the remarkable combinamaiden Etisalat Prize For Literature, no doubt. True? Maybe, tions on record of Art and Thelonious maybe not. Of the four man panel of judges of the award, worth Monk, another unquenchable indi- 15,000 British Pounds( 3.73Million Naira), two are South Africans, vidual, with each tempering his the third is a Nigerian married to a Zimbabwean and the fourth is a unique strength with appreciation Thirty something year old Kenyan writer who spent eight years for the other. In a collaborative effort, studying in South Africa. There’s a South African aura around the both musicians recorded a unique patrons’ boardroom too, even though the membership is far more album, one that should be treated as diverse than that of the Judge ‘ Panel. There are two Nigerians living a collector’s item, in 1957. Critics con- in South Africa, there is one South African, as there are two promitinue to refer to it as an ideal nent members of the British literary establishment, one of who matchup which should have been originally hailed from Zimbabwe. The sixth member is a leading repeated in future years - in order to Ghanaian author. But, give the organisers some credit. Pumla Gqola, appeal to a wider audience. the chair of the judging panel is Associate Professor in the With the immense percussive and Department of African Literature at the University of the melodic resources always at his dis- Witwatersrand. “She is acclaimed as one of South Africa’s most influposal, Blakey’s drumming is a direct ential public intellectuals and is the feminist author of What is slavexpression of his feelings and temery to me? Postcolonial/slave memory in post-apartheid South perament. Considering his personal Africa and A renegade called Simphiwe”, according to the release. individuality and strength as well as Sarah Manyinka is described as an Anglo-Nigerian writer with a the overall drive and conception of repertoire of published essays, academic papers, book reviews and his playing, Art Blakey and his legacy short stories. She studied at the University of Birmingham and demand the respect and attention Bordeaux completing her doctorate at the University of California, not only of today’s emerging drum- Berkeley. She currently teaches literature at the San Francisco State mers but also the entire jazz world. University. Her first novel In Dependence was published by in the UK Art Blakey recorded quite extensively by Legend Press and in Africa by Cassava Republic Press. In from the 1950s till 1990, the year that Dependence was featured for Black History Month by the UK’s he exited, investing his feelings and largest book store chain. Billy Kahora is the Managing Editor of the ideas into every recording. literary Journal Kwani?. He completed an M.Sc in Creative Writing Prominent among them are the with a distinction as a Chevening Scholar at the University of Night at Birdland series, Ritual, At the Edinburgh in 2007 and was in 2012 announced as one of the shortCafé Bohemia, Once upon A Groove, listed writers for the 2012 Caine Prize for African Writing. He was a The Complete Blue Note Recordings, Regional Judge for the 2009 Commonwealths Prize. But perhaps Meet You At The Jazz Corner of The the one name that saves the organisers from any accusation of World series, The Jazz Messengers regional chauvinism is that of Zakes Mda, who, though South with Thelonious Monk, The Three African, is easily one of the top five claimants to the Nobel Prize for Blind Mice series among many oth- Literature from the continent. Mda is both a Judge and a Patron of ers. the prize. Forget what the press release says about him and just go look for a copy of any of these three novels: Heart Of Redness, Cion or Ways Of Dying. Mda is an outstanding novelist in a class of his

T


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

35

MOVIEDOM

BY SHAIBU HUSSEINI

shaibu70@yahoo.com

Around and about Nollywood... Award for AMAA’s Peace Osigwe, Jackie Appiah, others in the US

Videos, Branded T-Shirts, Travel Boxes, Notebooks and lots of special gifts and stories to share with their family and friends as well as watch their London adventures on wapTV (StarTimes 116) across Nigeria. Information on participation can be sourced at info@nnenaandfriends.com or at Nnenna and Friends office on Tiamiyu Street, Ajao Estate, off Airport Road, Lagos.

ACE2FACE Africa, yesterday, hosted its FSponsored second yearly F.A.C.E. List Awards. by State Farm and Arik Airlines, those honoured include Dr. Carlos Lopes (leadership), Peace Anyiam Osigwe (trendsetter) and popular actress, Jackie Appiah (entertainment). Other honourees are George Etim (service), Korto Momolu (fashion) and Aziz adetimirin (media). Proceeds from the black-tie event will be donated to this year’s beneficiary, Raising HOPE Foundation for their work with orphans and disadvantaged children in Africa. The show, which was hosted by Eric J. Henderson of Huffington Post, held at  The Times Centre, New York City. Media Partners include BlackEnterpise.com, ETV Ghana, Bronxnet TV, and F2FA Magazine. Reputed as an organisation devoted to being ‘The Voice’ of the emergent generation of African descendants, Face2face Africa established The F.A.C.E. List Awards in 2011 as a platform to acknowledge, celebrate and honour outstanding achievements of Africans and friends of Africa who are contributing towards a more dynamic and advanced global community.

NFC boss canvasses Nigeria, Europe film collaboration ANAGING Director of Nigerian Film M Corporation (NFC), Dr. Danjuma Dadu, has called for sustainable partnership between Nigeria and promoters of European Film Festival, towards having Nigerian films screened on the platform of structured film festivals in European countries. Dadu maintains that the screening of Nigerian films in Europe will not only promote the cultural ties between Nigeria and other nations of the world, but also entrench the appreciation of various cultures among peoples of the world. The NFC boss, in a chat during the a courtesy call on him, in Jos, Plateau State, by the Head of delegation of the European Film Festival Mrs. Belin Calvo Uyarra, commended the European countries for mounting the film festival, and in making Jos, one of the host centres for the 2013 edition.  Cultural Attaché of the Spanish Embassy in Nigeria, Eva Barta, accompanied Mrs. Calvo-Uyarra. The National Film Institute, Jos hosted the four-day film festival from June 6 to 9. Earlier, in an address at the flag off of the festival, Dadu said collaboration efforts between nations of the World and Nigeria need to improve because Nigerian films have shown monumental improvement both technically and professionally “and have become very phenomenal in promoting development of positive potentials in Nigeria, with far reaching and deep impact across the world. The NFC, Dadu added, was committed to encouraging and supporting practitioners in the production of films with local content, but using best practices that meet international standards. Mrs. Calvo-Uyarra, who is also the Head, Political Desk of the European Union (Countries) in Nigeria, informed film enthusiasts at the opening ceremony that the European Film Festival, since 2008, has served as a platform for Nigerians to experience Europe through the ‘lenses’ of some of the best contemporary film producers in the world. A total of 15 European (produced) films were screened during the four day film festival whose audience included students of the National Film Institute Jos, the University of Jos, and the NTA Television College.

EANWHILE, yesterday, Nollywood M patriots celebrated the chairman of the BOT of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Ifeanyi Dike, who survived two major kidney transplants. The party attracted high networth guests and celebrities from Nollywood — marketers, producers, actors and directors — held in Surulere. In attendance were Ibinabo Fiberisima, Zik Zulu, Ejike Asiegbu, Chico Ejiro, Obi Osotule, Chidi Iheisie Okafor, Chinedu Ikedieze, Charles Novia, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, Emeka Enyiocha, Tari West, Victor Osuagwu, Sunny Mcdon, Emma Ogugua, Norbert Ajeagbu, Andy Best Nnadi, Chiege Alisigwe, Hakeem Rahman, Fred Amata and Chidi Nwokeabia who led the Nollywood patriot to host the evening and hordes of other practitioners.

Jackie Appiah

International Student Film Festival opens in Jos on Tuesday HE International Students Film Festival T (ISFF) jointly organised by the National Film Institute (NFI), Jos; University of Jos (UJ) and University of Lagos (UNILAG) and sponsored by the World Bank, under the STEP –B project for Centre of Excellence in Multimedia Technology and Cinematography, begins in Jos, Plateau State, on June 18. The theme of the fourday long festival is Moving Images: Talking Peace. The festival is aimed at discovering talents and exposing students to international standards in film production. It is also aimed at fostering interaction with industry professionals, reward excellence, raise the awareness of young talents and refine skills through competition on an international level. Essentially, the festival is expected to draw participants from over 50 institutions of higher learning within Nigeria, Africa and Asia running courses in film and related media studies, with over 2000 students also expected to attend. The festival secretariat named Prof. Irene Salami-Agunloye, Prof. John Egwugwu Illah, Femi Odugbemi and film journalist and critic, Shaibu Husseini, as members of the jury. It was also gathered that the former Managing Director of Nigeria Film Corporation (NFC), Dr. Hyginus Ekwuazi, would give the key note. Additional information on the festival can be sourced from www.isffjos2013.com.

Directors Guild commences screening of members HE leadership of the Director Guild of T Nigeria (DGN) has commenced plans to revalidate and update its register of members. President of the DGN, Andy Amenechi, said the process involves the screening of both old and new members. The movie director also stated that what members need for the exercise, which commenced yesterday at the popular Nollywood artistes’ hangout, Winnis Hotel,

Entries still open for 4TH EKO International Film Festival HE fourth edition of the yearly Eko T International Film Festival, promoted as a festival that contributes to the position-

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe on Folawiyo Bankole Street, Surulere, Lagos. Members, according to Amenechi are expected to attend the screening exercise with their application forms, a confirmation of payment for the application form and dues and copies of their educational attainment. Members are also to come with a “5x7 photograph and DVD copies of your best three productions for evaluation,” Amenechi said.

Nnenna and Friends prepare for London tour

UE to popular demand by kids, teens and D their parents, deadline for the ongoing registration for Nnenna & Friends London

Tour has been extended to June 22. The one week tour, which holds in August, promises to be an exciting trip as Nnenna and the participants would visit Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, The Greenwich Meridian, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and enjoy special activities including River Thames Cruise, London City Tour, Ice Skating and lots more. It is open to everyone from ages 6 to 18 who will all return home with Pictures,

ing of Nigeria as a creative hub through its focus on high quality Nigerian and foreign films, is to hold in Lagos from November 18 to 23. As with other editions, it will present films in nine sections including feature, short, documentaries and student films. This edition will also include a 1-minute short film showcase, which is aimed at encouraging people to use their handheld devices to make films on any subject. There will also be a key focus on workshops and industry meetings and lectures to be facilitated by regional and international film experts. The workshop is designed to help shape future generations of Nigerian filmmakers. According to Hope Opara, publisher of Supple Magazine and honcho of Supple Communications Limited, promoters of the festival, “last year, the festival opened with Operation Libertad, premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, and directed by the Swiss Nicolas Wadimoff. We will also focus on Nigerian filmmakers this year as we look to strengthen the position of Nigerian film industry. We expect that Nigerian film will make 60 per cent film to be screened this year.” More information on the festival can be sourced at www.ekoiff.org


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

36

SPECIAL REPORT

Debt Is ‘Good’;Let’s Go A borrowing By Marcel Mbamalu T seems the argument —the wisdom, or otherIwhat wise, of living in borrowed times, spending is yet to come, almost like eating the future — will never end. On a larger scale, those who simply do not like the face of President Goodluck Jonathan say Nigeria, the African giant, aptly fits into this description, borrowing in times of plenty and lack. As former Finance and Transport Minister, Dr Kalu Idika Kalu, would advocate, aggressive borrowing at concessionary rate for infrastructure building is desirable for a developing country like Nigeria. Globally speaking, government budgets are often in deficit — meaning that expected expenditure weighs (but not always heavily) against expected income — and those who run the political economy borrow to fund these fiscal gaps. The reason is simple: Rather than wait for several years, say 20 or 30 years, to accumulate enough funds to undertake certain projects, governments, specially in the developing world, borrow, hoping and planning to be able to repay and service the debt with the expected revenue. Besides, as regulators in an economy, governments could borrow, not because they needed to borrow money, but because they want to be at the bottom of earning to create the necessary environment for stability. However, these “excuses” only sit well for taxbased economies, which struggle to “eke out a living.” Nigeria’s oil wells that have gushed out over N50 trillion in the last 13 years (going by trend of figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)), would testify against its membership of this club. Having earned so much from crude, the country appears to have abandoned its heritage in Agriculture, solid minerals and tourism (remember the Yankari Game Reserve, the Ogbunike Cave and others). Just two weeks ago, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the amiable Coordinating Minister for the Economy, who doubles as Finance Minister, was forced again to issue a statement, announcing that the nation’s foreign debt is just a paltry $6.67 billion. Paltry? Conventional global econometrics put the red line for sovereign debts at three percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP); and the Minister’s figure represents three percent of Nigeria’s GDP. A safe zone, one might say! But GDP calculation, many argue, could come with some tinge of “gerrymandering.” Nigeria, presently calculates its real GDP using 1990 prices as the base year. Media reports, early in the year, stated that the NBS was poised to re-base the real GDP. Rebasing the real GDP would allow the NBS to increase the 1990 base-year prices to 2008, meaning that real GDP would be calculated using 2008 prices. The real GDP — the total output of goods and services produced in an economy at the prices of a particular year (1990 in Nigeria’s case), often referred to as the base year — as opposed to nominal GDP, reflects the real value of goods/services produced in a given year. While nominal GDP is calculated using current market prices (this is an unreliable estimation when it comes to determining impact on quality of lives), the real GDP is often adjusted for inflation to provide a relatively true picture of the purchasing power. International “business partners”, therefore, deal with countries based on their real GDP, which derives strength from a particular baseyear considered realistic enough to even out attendant oddities in inflation, governance and other issues. The implication of rebasing to higher prices of a more recent year, is that the country’s GDP could be higher than normal, giving the erroneous impression of buoyancy that would, at least, sustain pass-mark verdict (going by ‘nominal’ numbers). Expectedly, those, who should know — including Professor Akpan Ekpo of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) and financial analyst Bismarck Rewane — reportedly raised the red flag: As Rewane rightly put it, this could provide the needed political mileage for government; but it amounts to slipping into high-heeled shoes just to appear tall. Reports quoted concerned analysts as warning of significant decline in foreign aid (as if we should continue to depend on crumbs from masters’ tables) from multilateral donor agencies and developed countries. Rewane reportedly observed that higher nom-

Nwankwo

Okonjo-Iweala inal GDP figure would help Nigeria’s status move some rungs up the ladder — from a lowincome to middle-income country; but analysts warned that artificial bloating of real ‘income,’ could ‘asphyxiate’ Nigeria’s foreign aid and support as low-income African giant. The nation’s nominal GDP estimate currently stands at $273.8 billion, with real GDP estimated to decline from seven percent to five percent in 2013. Should the NBS have its way (moving from the 1990 prices to 2008 prices), therefore, nominal GDP could jump to some $4oo billion. Applying the maximum deficit-to-GDP-ratio of 3.0 per cent, the upper borrowing limit for government will increase. And the mathematics is simple: three per cent of $400 billion means more legitimate window for external (and even internal) borrowings. In fact, by the proposed new standard, the country needs to borrow, at least, $12 billion to begin to flout any fiscal rule ‘common-sensically.’ The Finance Minister’s figure of $6.67 external debt could be three percent of GDP, going by the 1990 base-year standard, but it means that the country largely remains ‘under-borrowed’ and actually has another $5.33 billion to attain the upper limit if the NBS carries out its “threat.” However, while borrowing (when it is specifically done for infrastructure/real human capital building and development) is not bad in itself, countries would not want to deliberately “beef up” GDP numbers just to look politically beautiful. On fears over rising profile of public debt, Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Dr Abraham Nwankwo, in Lagos stressed, “the body posture of government is very much in consonance with the posture of the Nigerian people. And that is, the growth of debt is not an objective in itself; it is the objective of government to moderate the rate of growth of both external and domestic debt.” He said the Federal Government hopes to use the paraphernalia of public debt “to encourage private sector to take the lead in taking advantage of both the domestic and external market to mobilise resources to grow the economy, to generate employment and to generate growth and reduce poverty.” This position, coming from the appropriate quarters, is considered heart-warming in view of ongoing debate over external and domestic debts. But he made further clarifications: Contrary to popular understanding, it was never the intention of government to exit — and the country, as

a matter of fact, did not exit — the Paris Club in 2005. Nigeria decided to exit the Paris club and the London Club debt but certainly not from borrowing from the occasional windows of the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund and the Islamic Development Bank. “It is not correct to say that Nigeria completely exited its external debt; it is not a desirable objective. We borrowed from the World Bank, AfDB, which is still remnant of 3.5 billion, to fund projects in education, in water and in water supply and other social services,” Nwankwo disclosed in Lagos. And the bulk of foreign debts in states come from these sources mentioned by the DMO boss. Debt Burden In States ONSEQUENTLY, States now bite off more than they can chew; and straight figures from the DMO are loud enough to prove this. The total external debt stock for the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) stands at $2,384,178 million; debt service in 2012 gulped $76.78 million from the states. Lagos, Kaduna, Cross River, Ogun, Oyo, Katsina, Bauchi and Akwa Ibom States occupy the highest rung of the debt ladder. Their debt stock are Lagos, $611.25 million (25.64 percent); Kaduna, $215.68 million (9.05 percent); Cross River $113.03 million (4.74 percent); Ogun, $102.06 (4.28 percent); Oyo, $76.68 million (3.22 percent); Katsina, $74.69 (3.13 percent); and Bauchi, $67.13 (2.82 percent). Conversely, Borno, Delta and Plateau States have the lowest debt stock, ‘booking’ relatively paltry $14.15 million, $18.99 million, and $21.93 million, representing 0.59 percent, 0.80 percent and 0.02 percent respectively. On the local scene, the bond market is another borrowing platform with states like Rivers, Ogun, Oyo, Lagos and others either coasting home with funds or seeking necessary approvals to do so. Conflicting signals over the debt burden issue prompted The Guardian to take a “tour” of some of the States and the avalanche of complaints were as stunning as they were interesting: The Kaduna State Government has been under pressure over domestic and foreign debts incurred to finance various programmes, which the opposition considers as elephant projects. The State’s foreign debt stock has reportedly hit over $380 million and domestic debt N45 billion since the former governor, and now Vice President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, handed over to the late former Governor, Patrick Yakowa.

C

It is believed that debt servicing took a toll on the State’s economy, dwarfing the developmental efforts of the deceased governor, Yakowa. The Kaduna State Chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) recently urged Governor Yero to resign if he could not run the State without foreign loans. State Chairman of the Party, Mohammed Soba, in a statement called on the State Assembly to probe all foreign loans obtained by Governor Yero with a view to ascertaining their economic viability. In Lagos, Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr. Ben Akabueze, explained why he could not give specific figures on the state’s debt profile. Akabueze said: “We are not talking of static figure. By the time we conclude today’s activities, the figure must have either moved up or down. “If you are expecting me to give you specific amount, I am not going to do that,” he said. The commissioner described as immaterial, the issue of ascertaining the exact amount of debt. “What is going round as the figure is, at best, an aggregate sum. However, what is important is the sustainability of the debt. In Lagos State, the aggregate debt amounts to less than one percent of annual revenue. Because of this, it is not correct to say the State is having financial problem”, the Commissioner said. Although no government official in Cross River is willing to comment on the exact debt stock of the State, it was gathered that much of its debt was incurred during the construction of Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort, as well as the Cable Car in Obudu Mountain Resort under the administration of former Governor Donald Duke. In Ogun, eyebrows are being raised over the rising debt profile, as political watchers, including the opposition, hide under the ensuing debate to criticise government. This is notwithstanding that fact that the Ibikunle Amosun administration has received praise in several quarters over its “urban renewal policy.” All in all, many an analyst would say borrowing in the midst of plenty is a red flag for corruption; when borrowing is done without clear-cut strategies, the polity suffers. After all, didn’t former US President, Benjamin Franklin (incidentally from the same Western world) warn that he who goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing?


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

37

SPECIAL REPORT

LAGOS: A Sweet Bitter Profile Of The Most-indebted State By Kamal Tayo Oropo ANY financial experts have made conM vincing argument for debts. They see a strong correlation between indebtedness and development. Global trends also seem to lend credence to saying, “the more developed a country is, the greater its debt.” This, ordinarily, should offer some comfort to the people and government of Lagos, whose debt at the last fiscal year stood roughly at about N300 billion, making it the most indebted State. Yet, debt is good as long as it is used judiciously, especially to finance capital projects that have direct impart on the wellbeing of majority of the people and not to for the interest of government officials. Judging from project implementation ratio of the Babatunde Raji Fashola-led government, one may infer that the government is relatively making the maximum use of whatever debt it has incurred. But debt is debt and interests, which, in most cases, outlive the tenure of current political offices holders, must be paid on it. However, when debt becomes excessive, problems loom. And going by recent experiences where debts are incurred for white elephants projects or for recurrent and overhead expenditures, as alluded to by the Lagos State commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr. Ben Akabueze, public apprehension over the debt profile of the state may be understandable. This experience, which renders the economy unsustainable, may have prompted not only apprehension, but desire to know exactly, and in certain terms from the government, how much is the total debt package. Explaining why he could not put specific figures on the State’s debt, Akabueze said: “We are not talking of static figure. By the time we conclude today’s activities the figure must have either moved up or down.” Not impressed and pressed further to give the exact amount the state owed as at the end of last fiscal year, Akabueze stood his ground, saying; “if you are expecting me to give you specific amount, I am not going to do that.” The Commissioner stressed that the issue of exact amount of the debt or the volume is immaterial, even as he stressed that this

Fashola is just part of the story. “What is going round as the figure is at best aggregate sum. However, what is important is the sustainability of the debt. In Lagos State, the aggregate debt amount to less than 1 percent of annual revenue. Because of this, it is not correct to say the state is having financial problem”, he said. Citing Brazil, a country which embraced aggressive borrowing to finance capital projects but which is presently one of the world’s biggest economies, as an example, Akabueze said the country was going after any available fund for its development. But assuring the public that borrowing is in the economic interest of the people, he said all borrowings by the state government is for development and strictly for capital projects. “We don’t borrow for recurrent expenditures. In fact, we save about 40 per-

While the figure of N300bn is subject to debate, that of N270bn is less so. Debt, on its own, according to financial experts, is not intrinsically bad. It is a twoedged sword: when controlled, moderated and judiciously used, debt leads to growth. Beyond a certain level, debt becomes bad for the health of any economy. But then, questions are asked whether it was necessary for Lagos to have borrowed so much externally and domestically. This becomes relevant in view of the allocations to the state (about N176bn for 2012) from the Federation Account and the state’s internally generated revenue of more than N276 billion in 2012, making a sum total of about N452 billion. Fear had been expressed in certain quarters that the most worrisome part of the state government development plans is the debt the state is incurring, especially bonds.  This, according to them, is a potential source of problems in the future. The fear is more telling in a situation of the pervasive feeling that the people merely exist for the comfort of those in the authorities. A situation where those in government get richer but the government itself gets poorer. The public may, however, be comforted if indeed the government does not borrow money or raise bonds, according to Akabueze, to spend on non-capital expenditure. If the government raise fund to invest in infrastructures capable of paying back the loan in the shortest period possible as well as such loans cent of our revenue for capital expenditure are obtained under favourable conditions. In and only borrow to augment shortfall”, this regard, raising bonds that come in the said Akabueze. region of 13 percent interest may not be too The Guardian, however, gathered from fig- palatable in the pubic interest. There are more ures from the Central Bank of Nigeria favourable ways of attracting global funds. (CBN) and the Debt Management Office According to the CBN governor, Malam Sanusi (DMO) that Lagos State’s represent 8.58 per Lamido Sanusi, who spoke to recently to The cent of the country’s total foreign debt Guardian, such funds are readily available and stock, while being responsible for 23.3 per everywhere. What government needs to do is cent of the foreign debts owed by the 36 to come up with a convincing atmosphere states and the FCT. and integrity to attract such funds. The state’s foreign debt, as at June 2012, The debt profile of major cities like Atlanta, stood at $517,677,672 (or N82,828,427,500). Dubai, Johannesburg and so on, are much This is in addition to N187 billion taken larger than that of Lagos. from the capital market, thus making a In fact, the Lagos State debt compared to its total of N270 billion. This is outside undisGDP is actually very low. The GDP is estimated closed amount of loan from commercial at $30bn, while outstanding debts is about banks, leading to speculations that the $1billion. Debt burden only becomes unsusstate’s total debt profile might be in the tainable when debt to GDP exceeds 50 perregion of N300bn. cent.

Knocks For Ajmobi Over Debt Burden In Oyo From Iyabo Lawal, Ibadan HORTLY after his one year in office, govSa letter ernor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State sent to the State House of Assembly

Ajimobi

requesting approval to raise N50 billion from the capital market. The fund, according to him, would be used on developmental projects. The request did not only receive quick approval of the lawmakers, but they also granted the request to obtain a $56.24 million (about N8.5 billion) loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB). The House of Assembly hinged its approval on the need to accelerate development.  But the approval of the N50-billion bond bill and subsequent preparation of the State government to raise same resulted in criticisms from the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP)  and other interest groups. The state chapter of the PDP berated the governor for trying to plunge the State into huge indebtedness through the bond and the AfDB loan. It maintained that the projects that the government wanted to finance with the bond and loan had no bearing with the development of the State. It also maintained that the government did not lack funds, but was short of ideas and expertise on how to develop the

State. The PDP further alleged that, since the Ajimobi administration came on board,  allocation accruing to the State — from the Federation Account — and its share of VAT (Value-added Tax) revenue are way beyond what previous administrations received. Its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), the PDP argued, had also gone up due to what it called increase in all its rates and charges with reduced wage bill following reduction in its work force due to dismissal of thousands of workers from the State’s Civil Service. It then wondered why the government needed more money when, in actual fact, it had not shown ample capacity to judiciously use available resources. The PDP urged the government to emulate past administrations that executed meaningful infrastructure projects without borrowing from any source. To the South-West PDP, the attempt by the Oyo State government to raise the N50 billion bond and the N8.5 billion loan from the ADB could only be regarded as the circle of mortgage of the future of the children in the zone by ACN governors. It said: “Before now, we thought Oyo State was sane because it was the only ACN State that had not joined the league of bond takers of bondage. But now, that the Oyo State House of Assembly has also approved N50 billion bond for the government, we can

only begin to pity future governments in the South-West States that will be saddled with the burden of repaying funds spent 50 years before they assumed office. Lagos is the highest debtor State in Nigeria in spite of its over N25 billion monthly Internally Generated Revenue, Osun is owing over N120 billion, Ekiti is owing over N30 billion and ready to take N30 billion more, Ogun is set to take N100 billion bond and awarding construction of 10 roads at N100 billion to be funded by the contractors, and now Oyo is set to take N50 billion bond and borrow N8.5 billion. However, the state government, in justifying the bond and loan, said they were meant to execute some development projects that would change the face of the State. The government, through the Commissioner for Finance, Zachaeus Adelabu, listed the capital projects to be executed with the bond to include: the Urban Mass Transit scheme of the government; development of agricultural silos of 10,000 metric tonnes in each of the three Senatorial Districts and construction of ultra- modern markets. Others include the building of agricultural processing plants in each Senatorial District; construction of Ibadan Circular Road; construction of a five-star hotel, canning/ agroprocessing factory, housing estate, as well as construction of logistics centres/ industrial parks across the state.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

38

SPECIAL REPORT

ONDO: A Lion Herbivore? From Niyi Bello, Akure HEN, three months ago, the Debt W Management Office (DMO) board, headed by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, issued a statement describing Ondo State as being on the verge of failing the solvency test in management of its domestic debt, attention was shifted to the desirability, or otherwise, of an oil-producing state mortgaging its economy on debt procurement. In the domestic debt sustainability analysis undertaken by the DMO, Ondo State and five others were categorised as yellow meaning that if they crossed the debt threshold already acquired, they would be declared insolvent. The analysis was done based on the capability of each state to continually service the debt burden without compromising on its statutory responsibility to citizens in the area of human and physical development taking into consideration the revenue strength in relation to the debt overhang. The issue of debt procurement in Ondo, which occupied the fifth position on the list of nine oil-producing states of the federation with exclusive rights to the statutory 13 percent Oil Mineral Derivation Fund from which it hoped to garner N20 billion this fiscal year, has always been contentious with people from different political divides rising to either support or condemn it. Also as the largest producer of cocoa and other export produce, accounting for about

half the total national production, which could be harnessed to open a new frontier of economic development in the mono-commodity petroleum-based national economy, Ondo has great potentials to develop its capacity to raise funds from within. Besides, the state’s tottering Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) drive, from where a paltry N12 billion is targeted this year, could be explored through effective tax regime from its vibrant public service and the working population, payment of duties through cocoa and other export grading fees as well as exploitation of its vast forest reserves, where again it has the largest number of acreage in the country. Among its peers in the South West geo-political zone, with almost the same socio-political and economic landscape, Ondo is the most endowed and critics of borrowing have argued that the State, by virtue of its advantages, has no need to mortgage its economy whatsoever. It would be recalled that the immediate past administration of Dr. Olusegun Agagu once toyed with the idea of raising N30 billion from the capital market after about five years of a bond-free economy but the Labour Party (LP) which then called itself “a government-in-waiting” vehemently opposed the idea on the ground that the state had no need to borrow. The first visit of the Ondo Government to the capital market was the 2012 fiscal year when the first tranche of a N50 billion bond was floated even though it raised a lot of dusts in the political circle with the opposition condemning the move on the same ground that

the LP stood on five years earlier. But at a meeting where negotiations on the issuing programme were wrapped up on the procurement of the N27 billion first tranche, the governor allayed the fears of the opposition and gave assurance that the proceeds will be properly managed towards the realization of his administration’s transformative agenda. He told a gathering of State officials and representatives of issuing houses like Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, Union Capital Market Limited, Standard Chartered, Fidelity Bank PLC, FBN Capital, FCMB Capital Market Limited, Longterm Global Capital Limited and Skye Financial Services Limited among others that the state would make the best use of the fund. His words, “This Bond is to finance a myriad of developmental projects across the length and breadth of the state in a bid to actualize our administration’s vision of transforming Ondo State from a sleepy agrarian community into a hub of economic activities with an underlay of a hybrid of industrial, agro-allied and servicepropelled economic substructure. “From inception, this administration has expressed its determination to harness the vast resources of the state for the benefit and well being of the greater percentage of the people. In fact, more than anything else since the introduction of our paradigm shift in governance, the distinguishing feature of our administration from previous ones has remained the emphasis and reliance on grassroots and people-centered policies and programmes to provide the momentum for state development” At the event, the governor outlined the progress already made in each of his administration’s programmes which includes; urban renewal, rural community development, education, health agriculture, industrialization, and wealth creation among others. Mimiko also told the officials that his administration’s integrated community development exercise has opened new opportunities for the people to identify their developmental needs, prioritize them and participate in their implementation adding that the approach has been applied in more than 250

communities with more than 300 projects delivered On health and education, Mimiko stressed that the state is giving the two vital sectors the deserved priority in such a way that the world bank on its website has listed the state’s Save Motherhood Programme known as ‘ABIYE’ as one of the success stories coming out of Africa while its achievements in the education sector have been attracting stakeholders in the education industry across the country. He further stated that his administration is leveraging on agriculture where it has comparative advantage to tackle graduate unemployment through the introduction of farm settlements where the youths are engaged to carry out modern farming as participant-owners. In the area of industrialisation, Mimiko reaffirmed the determination of his administration to harness the abundant natural resources and develop Ore in Odigbo Local Government Area of the state into a modern commercial city. He however expressed delight that the first tranche of the bond was over-subscribed by about N2.1 billion which he said was an indication that the investors believe in the capacity of the state to make the bond issue a reality. Also, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Aderotimi Adelola commented on the opposition to the desire of the state to seek financial assistance from the money market in forms of bond to finance some capital projects which some political opponents described as “uncalled for in an oilproducing state.” Adelola said “It is not out of place for governments to borrow money for specific projects all over the world. Governments borrow from money and capital markets and even in Nigeria; we are not the only state. Lagos State, despite its financial buoyancy, borrowed more than N100 billion, Rivers State, another oil-producing state has got its own and even Osun State is now looking for N60 billion.”

Ogun Soaring Debt Profile Raises Serious Concern For Citizens source that the debt profile of Ogun State as at the end of last March has risen to over N58b. The HE fast rising debt profile of Ogun State, loan is being service monthly with over N1b popularly called the gateway state has from the monthly Internally Generated Revenue begun to raise lots of concerns and debate (IGR) put at N3.5b. among the citizens, political watchers and This reality has begun to raise serious concern the opposition. in the state and beyond, especially among the Despite self-praise by the state government oppositions, in the light of the fact that 2015 on the level of developmental projects across gubernatorial election would soon approach. the state, the growing fear is that if the pres- They are afraid that the governors might be ent government’s thirst for borrowing is not doing this deliberately, in case he didn’t win in bridled, it may plunge the state into econom- his re-election bid, to set a debt trap for his sucic obscurity before 2015. cessors. Before now, lots of eyebrow had been raised But the state government has come out to say based on the fact that the debt status of the that it has adopted effective financial model, state had been shrouded in secrecy. There which ensures fiscal responsibility and provides were conflicting figures on the level of borthe framework for the management of debt as rowing. At different fora, the people of the prescribed by international best practice. state had severally expected the state goverThe state Commissioner for Finance, Mrs. Kemi nor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun to disclose the Adeosun, who at a recent press briefing declined state’s debt status but rather than do this, he to give any categorical figure about the debt, has continued to write proposal to the State said “The problem is every time we talk about House of Assembly to seek their consent for debt, people have this idea that you are just pilthe approval of new bonds. ing the debt one atop of the other. We are not The Labour Party (LP) chieftains in the state doing that. We are using debt but we are repayrecently accused the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state of piling up debts in the last two years under the guise of urban renewal programme and road construction projects. They alleged that the state had now been indebted to the tune of N200 billion. Another report within the state has it that the state is indebted to the tune of N100bn. For months, the Legislators who claimed to have been sidelined by the executive as far as the debt status was concern had described the decision as an affront to them as the second arm of government. What surprised most of the commentators was that the ACN, who strongly criticised the immediate past administration of Otunba Gbenga Daniel for borrowing could embarked on a process which it was desperately averse to. Unfortunately, as at today the correct debt profile left by Daniel is still enmeshed in controversy. While Daniel claim he left N46b, the state Commissioner for Finance said it was N87b, before a member of the ACN said it was N78. The Guardian confirmed from a grapevine

By Gbenga Akinfenwa

T

Amosun

ing. We are comfortable. We are not piling up the debt. We are keeping it under manageable control and limits and we are providing services to the people. You can see what the money is being used for,” she said. She denied claims that the state’s debts have climbed to N200billion as rumored, saying the state’s accounts as at December 2012, were currently at the final stages of being audited and would soon be published. “The sustainability analysis conducted on the state’s debt revealed that the state government debt is well within the thresholds set at federal level and is thus both sustainable and responsible. As you are all aware we inherited a debt profile of N87bn in My 2011. We have worked assiduously to reduce it and by December 2011 our re-engineering efforts reduced it to N61, 718,109,920b as published in our audited accounts for December 2011. “Our December 2012 figures are at the final stages of being audited and I am proud to report that the figure has reduced marginally to N61, 640billion that is despite taking N14.95b new loans in the year, we repaid an equal amount keeping the overall figure stable. “This year as part of the 2013 budget the House of Assembly gave an approval for N16.6b in bank loans. As at today, we have taken just N7b of that amount…we paid off substantial elements of the inherited debts as well as servicing financing for current infrastructural projects. Within the 12 months under review we have repaid a total of N15.9b of debt, as a result of which between 2011 and 2012 we have maintained the overall position. We have continued to prioritise the human creditors as a result of Pension Arrears and other staff claims stand at N9, 316,351,142 as compared to N13, 174,876,981 in December 2011. A reduction of N3, 858,475,839 (29%),” she said. The commissioner pointed out that the state has increased the number of taxpayers, which, according to her, had improved the internally generated revenue of the government, adding that the state paying over a billion naira to service the state’s debt monthly. Though the Commissioner did not give details of the borrowing but Amosun’s Special Adviser on Social Media, Damilola Ogunpola posted on the Facebook, a social media the

details of the facilities with banks as at 28/02/2013 as follows: “First Bank - N18bn (infrastructural development), EcoBank (SUBEB) (Legacy) - N1, 633,158,188.26, UBA (Agric Loan) - N1bn, FCMB (Legacy) - N3.750bn, GTB - N500m, GTB - N7.5bn (Road compensations)=Total - N32, 413,158, 188.26. “Principal Repayment-First Bank - N3, 703,762,536.21, EcoBank - N1, 092,122,548.37, UBA - N112, 104,573.53, GTB - N624, 999,999.99= Total - N5, 919,018,137.12. He noted that balances as at 28th February 2013 are First Bank - N14, 296,237,463.79, EcoBank - N571, 035,639.93, UBA - N887, 895,426.47, GTB - N500m, GTB - N6, 875,000,000.01= Total: N26, 494,140,051.14 (Ogun State debt profile). “ It is however important to let the good people know that this administration has embarked on the construction of roads worth N90bn with contracts worth N40bn yet to be signed and all contractors involved have been mobilized 35% which translates to N31.5bn!!! This success was recorded without borrowing because of the 200% increase in IGR, blocking of leakages and effective implementation of PITA,” he said. The Minority Leader of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Job Olufemi Akintan, representing Yewa North II State Constituency, who allays fear of the citizens, said before any loan approval, the Legislators normally ask series of questions to actually know if the state can repay the proposed to discourage backlogs of unpaid loans. He noted that loans are basically meant for infrastructural development, roads construction, model school construction and capital projects of the administration, adding that there are still some contractual obligations like contracts, that are still ongoing. “There are series of issues raised, it lies on our activities in the assembly, there are structure we have put in place, there is no loan request made without us asking for the repayment plan. We always study them, if we see that it may affect incoming administration, I don’t think the house would grand the request. We always do our own internal work before we give any approval and we would have been convinced that the state could service the loan before we give approval,” he said.


39

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

SPECIAL REPORT

Mixed Reactions Trail Ekiti’s N23b Debt From Muyiwa Adeyemi, Ado Ekiti Ekiti State that receives monthly allocaFtionOR tion of about N2.7 billion from the federaaccount and nets in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N500m, the debt burden of

N23 billion may appear huge when juxtaposed with what the state generates every month; but a breakdown of the debt, the payment schedule and what the loans were used for seems to have justified the debt, many believe. When Governor Kayode Fayemi took over

the mantle of leadership on October 16, 2010, he specifically promised that he would approach the capital market to raise money in order to execute various projects of his government, especially the Urban Renewal Projects and other “Legacy Projects.” After a long debate on the merit and otherwise of the bond, there seemed to be a consensus prompting the State House of Assembly to approve the proposed N20 billion bond. The bond was raised in 2011. Apart from this bond, the administration inherited foreign debt of about N4 billion from the old Ondo State, which the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Dapo Kolawole, said was expended to build Ero and Ureje dams that provided portable water for the State. Kolawole also disclosed that the administration inherited about N8.5 billion from the ousted Chief Segun Oni’s administration, the repayment of which it is grappling with simply because the loan was not well structured. The State owes, at least, N4 billion local debt. Kolawole, however, stressed that the Federal Government is yet to offset its N8.5 billion debt to Ekiti. According to him, “this money was part of the expenses on the federal roads in Ekiti State. As at present, the Federal Director of Works in Ekiti State has confirmed N8.5 billion and there are still more works going on some Federal Government roads”. Out of the N20 billion bond raised from the capital market, N6 billon has been paid as at last month. Justifying the essence of the loan, the Commissioner observed that any govern-

ment working to meet the yearnings of its people, especially in the area of infrastructure development, must not shy away from raising money with favourable repayment conditions. According to him, out of the 20 roads earmarked for construction (using proceeds from the bonds issued), 11 were completed and commissioned prior to the second anniversary of the Fayemi administration, while nine will be commissioned before the last quarter of the year. But the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State, Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe, is of different opinion. The bond, according to him, has plunged the State into unnecessary debt. Ogundipe said it has become clear that the present administration cannot offset the debts before the expiration of its tenure, meaning that the coming administration will not only meet empty treasury but also huge debts. He also criticised the government for not spending the borrowed funds on projects that will provide employment opportunities for unemployed youths in the State. According to him, “there is no way anybody can justify this loan because all what we see Fayemi doing is repairing the roads already tarred by the PDP administration.” But a public analyst and economist, Dr Kunle Famakinwa, dismissed Ogundipe’s position as lacking in substance, considering the conditions under which the State obtained the loan. According to him, it is normal for government — State or federal — to obtain loan to finance projects as no government can embark on any meaningful project with its paltry monthly allocation

Fayemi

Rivers Having Difficulty Accessing Bonds From Ann Godwin (Port Harcourt) ONTROVERSY trails debts owed by the CWhile Rivers State Government. the State affirmed that its decision to take loans was propelled by the need to complete all projects initiated by Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s administration, it stressed that this does not imply that the State is broke. Financial analysts reason that the tendency for continuous borrowing  may weaken the  economic future of the State. Its House of Assembly recently approved a N100-billion loan from the Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB), the approval of which followed Amaechi’s request to that effect. The loan was to attract eight per cent interest. In his request, Amaechi explained that the loan was to enable the State complete several stalled construction projects, which had increased the pains of the people. He added that the loan would be paid back in three years through Internally Generated Revenue on an agreed interest rate. Before then, the State Government had requested a N30 billion loan for infrastructural development. It later, demanded another N120 billion bond for completion of developmental projects, outside an earlier approved N250 billion repayment bond. The governor had in the latest loan  request letter to the legislators explained that the N100Bn loan was against the N120bn bond earlier approved by the State House of Assembly  in 2012 that was not accessed due to high interest rate  attached to it. He stressed that this factor compelled the administration to substitute the N120Bn bond with N100Bn loan. Investigation also revealed that the State Government has not drawn down from the N250 billion bond approved by the House of Assembly as a result of stringent conditions attached by the bond  regulatory authority. The government said it has been taking bridging loans in anticipation of upcoming cash tranche. The State in its 2013 appropriation bill, budgeted N490.32bn and it was gathered that four banks have indicated interest to  offer a

N120bn lifeline to help the State Government achieve its targets. During separate debate on the loan request,  some of the lawmakers, including Ikuinyi Ibani (Andoni Constituency), Michael O. Chinda  (Obio/Akpor Constituency II), and Martins Amaewhule ( Obio/Akpor I),  opposed the request. They demanded detail clarifications from the executive on why the bond was turned to loan and the delay in accessing it. The lawmakers added that the projects to be executed with the loan were not specified in the request, which, according to them, was critical. But lawmakers like Benibo Fredrick Anabraba ( Akuku-Toru Constituency II), Gift Nwokocha  (Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Constituency I), Golden Ngozi Chioma (Etche Constituency II), Onari Brown  (Akuku-Toru Constituency I) and Josiah John Olu  (Eleme constituency) argued in favour of the request saying,  it would enable the State Government to complete the numerous on going projects in the state. The Assembly, however, certified the request and gave the governor smooth ride noting, that the internally Generated Revenue, (IGR) profile of the state was huge enough to service the loans on agreeable terms. The State lawmakers also consented to the necessity of the loan stressing the need to execute the life touching projects in the state. Within the period, however, the Rivers State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) condemned the loan approval, saying, the request was a clear indication that the State was broke and could not on its own function effectively without external help. The party lamented that, despite the situation, Amaechi did not see anything wrong in purchasing a new aircraft for  $48 million, adding that the approval by the lawmakers would encourage Amaechi to run the State on borrowed funds. Following controversies surrounding the State borrowings, the State Assembly took a

bold move to check the threatening debt burden of the State through the introduction of Debt Management bill. House leader and sponsor of the bill, Mr. Chidi Lloyd, noted that the debt was currently incurred in an uncoordinated and inefficient manner. He reiterated the need to involve financial experts to handle the situation. According to him, the State Commissioner for Finance, Chamberlain Peterside, its Budget and Economic Planning counterpart, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), George Feyii, and the AccountantGeneral will be part of the team . Lloyd explained that the bill would provide for the raising of loans through the issuance of bonds, notes and other debt securities and for connected purposes”. He said the bill, when passed as law, “will serve as a legal framework to guide the government in the raising of bond and loan for pursuance of projects, building of infrastructure for the economic development of the State”. During debate on the bill, which has 27 clauses and 28 citations, some lawmakers expressed reservation on the workability of the bill while some applauded it. Victor Ihunwo (Port Harcourt constituency III) called for its withdrawal stating that its demerits out-weigh the merits.  Ihunwo reasoned that, beyond creating employment opportunities for Rivers people, “the bill did not  include how the debt management will brief the House periodically to avert  the temptation of borrowing  by subsequent governments. He also argued that the State does not require additional loans. The bill was, however, passed into law after scaling through first and second reading. Peterside, in an interview, explained the delay in accessing some of the bonds. He said:  “Apart from interest hikes, we have gone very far in the journey of getting this bond. We have surmounted some obstacles. We have proved in the eyes of the public (and the experts) that we are capable of uitilising any funds borrowed for the purpose of investment in infrastructure; pro-

vide dividends of democracy, to provide good life for the people, but not to borrow to pay salary, to spend on frivolity or waste”. He pointed out that the huddle for issuing bond is very high , adding that Rivers was not the first state to seek for bond but  noted that the state seems to be going for it  when the conditions have been raised very high by the regulatory authority which is the Pensions Commission (Pencom). “We have passed a Bond Law, we have Debt Management Law, and we have passed the Pensions Act that created the Rivers State Pensions Board. These are things that were not there at all. We had to do all this from the scratch. The last huddle we face now is with the Pension Commission, for us to become Pension-Fund compliant to enable the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to invest in our Bond”. He refuted allegations that the State was broke, stressing that the internationally  generated revenue  of the state has increased  hugely under Governor Amaechi .

Amaechi


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

40

SPECIAL REPORT

To Curb Loan Growth, Cross River Moves To Increase IGR From Anietie Akpan, Calabar

earmarked for debt servicing in 2012, over N7 billion was re-paid, representing about LTHOUGH no government official is 56 percent as at the third quarter of the willing to disclose figures, it was gath- 2012 Fiscal year. ered that much of the (over N23b) debt However, in March 2012 during his hanging over Cross River State, was appearance before the Senate joint comincurred during the construction of mittee on National Planning, Finance, Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort and Appropriation and States and Local the Cable Car in Obudu Mountain Resort Government, the Chairman of the under the administration of former Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Governor Donald Duke. Fiscal Commission, Mr. Elias Mbam, disThe State Governor Senator Liyel Imoke closed that the state’s external debt stood in his 2012 budget presentation had stat- at $107.532m. ed that, “as a state, we are committed to In his 2013 budget presentation, Imoke meeting our debt servicing obligations. said “in the 2012 appropriation law, which In 2011, we spent over N10bn on servicing was revenue-driven to ensure internal of our local and international debt obliearnings reasonably supported over-all gations. recurrent needs, a total of “Let me re-state our commitment to N24,450,950,404 was anticipated to be remain a responsible government by generated by the Internal Revenue Service honouring the terms of our debt agree(IRS) and MDAs.  By the third quarter, we ments and maintaining a sustainable generated N9.6 billion representing 52 level of debt commensurate with the percent of the target for that period.  Our rate and pace of our development as a records show that this is the highest ever State. We have, accordingly, set aside the recorded internal revenue generated in sum of N13billion for debt servicing in the history of the State for that nine 2012.  This represents 22 per cent of our month period. This remarkable success total recurrent estimate for the year. has spurred us to meet our full poten“Encouraged by our progress and seem- tials.” ingly impressed by the management of He noted that, as at 2012, “the State conour debt profile, we are expecting about tributed the sum of 50 million naira N5.6bn as loans and grants from monthly to the Reserve fund which now International Development stands at over N6 billion. We remain undeOrganisations in 2012. We intend to con- terred in our resolve to guarantee the tinue to meet our debt servicing obligafuture for our children despite the current tions in 2012.” financial difficulties”. As a responsible administration, we Already, there are fears that the State may were able to meet our debt servicing not meet its Internally Generated Revenue obligations to our creditors.  Efforts at (IGR) target this year as the IRS is rocked efficiently managing public debts yieldwith over N12 billion fraud. The governed the desired results, and earned the ment has set up an Administrative Panel of support and confidence of relevant insti- Inquiry to get to the root of the matter. tutions and partners.  Of the N13 billion

A

Imoke

‘In Taraba, Govt’s Penchant For Domestic Loans Worry Financial Institutions’ road project in each of the 16 Local Government Councils. According to a staff of the Ministry of NE would have thought that, with the absence of Governor Danbaba Suntai, who Finance, “the truth of the whole matter is that had been out of Taraba since October last year budgets are not implemented in this State. Our debt burden as at now is very scaring. But due to ill health, the debt burden of the State thank God that it will not tell on us much since would be minimal; but this is not the case. we learnt this acting governor will soon be While the debt burden of the state has conmade governor. You know the rest of the story tinued to increase drastically, as some loans better than I do.” were incurred without following “due “The only difference between the acting goverprocess” or drawing the attention of the nor and our sick governor is that Ministries, House of Assembly, the IGR continues to fall Boards, Agencies and Parastatals now receive below expectation. The revenue target of the State since its cre- their monthly running cost. But as for budget ation on August 1991 had never been met due implementation and debt burden, they are both competing.” to what many consider as the lukewarm attiPiqued by the debt burden, financial institutude of leaders. For this, reason, the State govtions in the State, The Guardian learnt, are at ernment continues to borrow. the verge of resolving to cease from doling out The 2013 budget which was pegged at loans to the State, pending when the existing N73,415,972,736.00 with an Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N8,833,710,061.00 loans are repaid. “I would have ask you to wait pending when I and Federal Statutory Allocation of seek for clearance from my headquarters to N42,359,199,958.00 was no doubt the lowest speak to you, but since it is on a lighter mood budget in the country. and my name will not be on print, I will open Even before the budget was passed into law up to you.” by the members of the House of Assembly, a The Banker took The Guardian through some proposed supplementary budget of about N10billion billed to be financed through bor- records of unpaid loans the state has incurred, from the past administration to the present rowing was presented by government and one, and stated that “very soon, all the banks this was hurriedly passed by lawmakers. operating in this State will stop giving them When contacted for comment, the House Committee Chairman on Information, Daniel (Taraba State government) loans.” Ishaya Gani, said the loan became necessary so that the acting governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, The only difference between the acting could execution some projects. governor and our sick governor is that Apart from that amount, virtually all ongoMinistries, Boards, Agencies and ing projects in the State are being financed with loans. Parastatals now receive their monthly Before the ill-fated plane crash involving the running cost. But as for budget implegovernor, a total sum of N10 billion was promentation and debt burden, they are cured as loan from one of the new generation banks. It was to be invested in four-kilometre both competing

From Charles Akpeji, Jalingo

O

Umar, Taraba State Acting Gov.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

41

SPECIAL REPORT

‘Ebonyi Weary Of Undue Exposure To Debts’ From Leo Sobechi, Abakaliki BONYI State Government says it E knows the deleterious effect of being over exposed to debts, the reason it kicked against the “pre-scheduled” N20 billion bond facility from the capital market. Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Timothy Odaah, revealed that, out of the N20 billion sourced from the capital market, only N16.5 billion was accessed, leaving a balance of N3.5 billion. He added that the money was specifically tied to capital projects, including bridges, water schemes, international market and a new State Secretariat, among others. Reacting to The Guardian’s query on the State’s profile, Odaah, however, explained that the State received N6 billion as bond from one of the trustee banks housing the bond facility. His words: “We discovered that even as the coupon rate for the N20 billion was being applied to the N16.5 billion the State Government accessed, attempt to access the outstanding N3.5 billion showed that the fees payable, including consultancy, registration and sundry surcharges, would be too exorbitant. “What we did, therefore, was to

approach one of the trustee banks housing the bond facility asking them to grant us N6 billion additional facilities to tackle capital projects. Remember, we have been using the ISPO of N20 billion meanwhile; so, with the additional N6 billion, it can be seen that we are accessing N22 billion in the sense that the coupon rate (interest) is the same and we are not charged extra costs for consultancy and registration.” Odaah, who is also the dean of States Commissioners of Finance in the country, added that the N20 billion deductions from the Federation Account from Ebonyi State’s accruals would be in conformity with the interest on N20 billion even when N16.5 billion was accessed. “Therefore, since the N22 billion would co-terminate with the N20 billion bonds, our decision to take the N6 billion instead of going to obtain the remaining N3.5 billion could be said to be the best by any State government in the country. We would continue to service the N22 billion being the sum of N16.5 billion and N6 billion with the same ISPO on the N20 billion. This, to me, represents the wisest finan-

cial decision based on the exclusion of extra cost,” he declared. Odaah, a lawyer by profession, also hinted that N300 million loan expected from the World Bank is the only deficit provision in the 2013 Budget. He added that allocation from FAC constitutes about 74.1 percent of the State’s N104, 374, 364, 400 total budget. While delivering the 2013 budget proposal to the state House of Assembly, Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Martin Elechi, disclosed that the 2013 fiscal year would witness a recurrent expenditure of N35.76 billion. He pointed out that, though N17.1 billion and N7.88 billion have been projected for Personnel Emolument and Overhead Charges respectively, a provision of N8 billion has been made to service debts of the State Government as loan repayment in respect of the 2010 Bond Issue as well as inherited Foreign Loans due for repayment. The Governor added that N200 million has also been set aside for payment of outstanding contractual bills from contractors handling various State Government projects in the instant fiscal year. Elechi

We Haven’t Borrowed A Dime, Says Anambra Govt lion or 19.13 percent, Environment N7.531 billion or 10.62 percent and general administraN an apparent reaction to the issue of debt tion N22.836 billion or 37.85 percent. He explained that the budget  is resultburden in States, the Anambra State Government has said it is focused on pursu- based and a continuation of government vision of achieving the Millennium ing and realising the Anambra State Development Goals(MDGs) by 2015 and the Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS), which encourages development in all sectors, and has not borrowed a dime to achieve its objectives. With ANIDS, the Peter Obi administration has embarked on development of education, industrials, tourism, health and agricultural From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu sectors, among others, investing on related projects. HERE are issues reserved only in the know of a Of note is the fact that Anambra has mainprivilege few, irrespective of the yearning or tained that it has not borrowed money, at claim by anybody that such issue was a public home or abroad, or sourced funds from one. The debt profile of Enugu State, the details financial institutions for the purpose of of which appears to be the prerogative of a few improving the economic fortunes of the persons, falls in this category. states. Attempts made to get government officials talk Efforts made to obtain the debt figure for about the debt profile of the state in the last couAnambra proved abortive as the State ple of days yielded little result. Commissioner, Ngozi Okoye, said the Debt In fact, on one of the occasions, when he was Management Office (DMO) need to obtain contacted, State Commissioner of Finance, clearance before giving any report. Godson Nnadi, directed the inquiry to the However, investigation reveals that Debt Management Department (DMD) of the Anambra falls under a low debt range of Ministry, where the lady in charge, exclaimed, “you want to sack me from work? I am a civil ser$26,708,648.52. The State is said not to be vant and there are things that I cannot disclose among the list of governments that have to you. There are things, which even the successfully raised various sums of money Commissioner can as well not disclose to you. If from the market through bond issue. Also, there is anybody who should talk about this, the local governments have not been please, not me. We have records of whatever we involved in raising municipal bonds  for infrastructure projects in their various com- do here and they are well known to the Government House.” munities. The other attempt was at a town hall meeting The State Government, this year, presentcalled by the Governor, Sullivan Chime. ed a total budget size of N110.890 billion to Since the schedule was for the governor to presthe State House of Assembly for consideraent his score card and, as much as possible, tion. The governor said it represents an increase respond to some nagging issues, it was felt that of 33.28 percent over that of  2012 which was he could use the opportunity to respond to the debt burden of the State. N83.200 billion, and that the sum is made Alas, when the opportunity came and the up of N70.895 billion for capital expenditure question was put, the governor merely referred and N39.995 billion recurrent expenditure. the reporter to the Commissioner of Finance, He explained the estimated amount of who, though was present, was not allowed to N70.895 billion is expected from capital respond to the issue. receipts, an increase of 51.07 percent over The governor had said, “I will direct you to the that of 2012 which was N46.929 billion. State’s Accountant-General and Commissioner The projected revenue earning for 2013 is for Finance. I am sure you did not expect him to N66.500 billion, made up of Internally come to this gathering with his books and you Generated Revenue (IGR) of N12.550 billion know when it comes to money, you don’t just or 18.80 per cent and the federation allocamention figures, you must be saying the correct tion account of N54 billion or 81.20 percent. thing. The emphasis is on poverty reduction “We publish our books every year, what we measures with the economic sector allocat- make and what we spend. If you don’t have those ed the sum of N22.966 billion or 32.39 perrecords, please go to them, they will give you”. cent of the capital budget, social N13.562 bilOn Friday, May 31, the full paraphernalia of

From Uzoma Nzeagwu, Awka

I

strategy of Integrated Developments, saying that it is aimed at steering the state towards achieving comprehensive development. The policy thrust of the budget include among others to sustain and intensify various interventions in the area of poverty

reduction; promote the implementation of projects/programmes which addresses the critical targets of MDGs and intensify the enthronement of good governance, as well as adopting relevant reforms in the public services and public financial management system.

Enugu’s Debt Profile: A Guarded Secret

T

finance and budget departments of the State government was at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre, Enugu to perform the annual ritual of Budget breakdown. Again, the Commissioner evaded the issue of Enugu’s debt burden, when he was confronted with it. But State Director of Economic Planning, Dan Onyishi, provided an inkling into the Internally Generated Revenue of the State when he Said: “About N14 billion is expected from IGR this year. “Over the years, there has been an increase in the IGR of the State. In 2007, it was N1.7 billion, but as at last year (2012), it rose to N12.2 billion from the provisional figure released by the Accountant General’s office.

Chime

At the rate we are going, we are likely to go higher this year, because we have realised that the quality of system in place drives investment and we expect that investors will capitalise on the serenity of Enugu to invest and boost the IGR.” In the 2013 budget breakdown provided by Commissioner Nnadi however, government would borrow a total of Three billion, eight hundred and forty-one million, four hundred and twenty-three thousand, four hundred and eight naira internally this year. It also expects an external loan of Three billion, five hundred million Naira from the following external sources: World Bank loan for rural access and mobility project, N845 million; World Bank – assistance for Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) N550 million; World Bank loan on Fadama 3, N1,055.000; World Bank loan for commercial agriculture, N700 million and loan for urban water N350 million. There are also grants from internal and external donors amounting to Four billion, six hundred and seventy-four million, one hundred and Eighty-six thousand Naira, among others. But  a report on the programme for establishment of debt management departments and domestic debt data reconstruction in the 36 states of the federation and FCT (2008 -2012) published by the Debt Management Office (DMO) in 2012, put Enugu State debt as at December 2011 at over N10.887 billion. These, the report said, include contractors’ arrears of N495,764,517.96; commercial bank loans N4,242,038,485.39; state bonds, nil; pension and gratuity arrears N6,059,475,639.95; government-to-government debt, nil; salary arrears and other staff claims, N84,907,737.80; and other liabilities, N4,979,852. It could not, however, be confirmed whether, or not, the debts have been reduced or increased over the years, since no official of the state government was willing to undertake the assignment. Speaking on the debt profile, an Economist, Dr John Okere, urged the State to concentrate effort on areas that could help it boost her internally generated revenue to avoid leaning so much on federal allocation and external aids.


TheGuardian

42 Sunday, June 16, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Business

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Resort Savings &Loans Plc, Mr. Abimbola Olayinka (left); Chairman, Francis Babatunde Adefarati; and Solicitor/Secretary, Ms. Shade Ogundare, during the Completion Board Meeting of the mortgage bank in Lagos…on Tuesday. PHOTO: KAYLA GRAGE

How To Deepen Nigeria’s Mortgage Market, By RSL Boss In respect of its Rights Issue and Initial Public Offer, Resort Savings & Loans Plc, last week, held Completion Board Meeting in Lagos, after which Managing Director, Abimbola Olayinka, spoke to KAYLA GRAGE on the need to deepen the nation’s mortgage sector by creating more options for ‘home seekers. Excerpts: What significance does this completion board meeting hold for Resort Savings and Loans? HIS particular event is to bring all the stakeholders together. Basically, we are coming out to the market to raise about N3.5 billion, because we have authorised share capital of N10 billion. The essence is that we want to be the most capitalised mortgage bank in this country. Secondly, we want to bring wealth to existing and new investors because we are doing a Rights Issue (in the form of one for three shares) and Initial Public Offer (IPO) for new investors to come and enjoy the benefit from RSL. Mortgage is quite a new concept in this part of the world and it is gradually gaining ground. We strongly believe that this is the right time to invest in a mortgage sector and then you would be able to enjoy some perpetuity stream of good cash flow basically because you are dealing with a sector funding housing development. Right now, there’s a housing deficit of 16 to 17 million in the market and we really want to take full advantage of that. Real Estate appears not to be having the best outing at the Stock market despite the huge potentials of the sector… No, I don’t agree with that. RSL is the most traded stock in the mortgage subsector of the capital market right now; I don’t believe that investors do not want to invest in the mortgage sector. Basically, it’s for those who only understand the mortgage market; it’s a long-term business and you can see from our projections that in a few years, we are going to generate some good dividends and good earnings. There is also the high possibility of having capital appreciation in the stock right now. What do you hope to do with the funds from the Rights Issue And IPO? There are four vehicles or projects where we are going to put the money. One of them is the Nigeria Mortgage and Financing Company initiated by

T

the Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria and now being co-funded by the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria. We are investing in that company with about N400 million, and we are committing to that. Apart from that, we intend to upgrade our IT infrastructure; we are already deploying e-payment channels all over, including ATM card but we are going to the next level we really want to update IT infrastructure in terms of networking. Also, we intend to open some cash offices and banks in specific locations to fund estate development in specific locations all over the country. But first, we want to create mortgages and you can only create mortgages using longterm funds, equity is one of the keys you can use to do that. An average Nigerian build house for five to six years. But the whole concept changed overtime such that, instead of saving and building for over five or 6 years, you can move into a house now, stop paying your rent and enjoy good facility; you can also enjoy capital appreciation on the property from the first day you purchased it. We have to create awareness but the majority are within the average in terms of earning capacity. What they need is just a decent home. We are not looking at building houses of N50 million, N100million…no! Just look at the range of N10 million, N20 million, that’s our target market and there’s quite a number of people who can afford to pay decent mortgages towards owning a home. We strongly believe that if you create the right awareness, they will come in with their savings over two to three years; after that, they can book mortgages. Can you take us through your operations, the modus operandi, through which people can have access to these mortgages; is the process really as simple as you say? Anybody can work into any of our branches and employee can provide our range of products that we have — from the national mortgage fund, to resort investment, mortgage plan and other packages. It depends on what you want. We also have a large list of properties that you can pur-

chase, so you can walk in and pick. We also have a very vibrant Estate department, both for managing and identifying properties you want, and you tell us the location and we can find the property. With that, we can create mortgages for you after you would have banked with us for, at least, six months to one year. How does Nigerian laws on property and land use really affect mortgages? The Land Use Act affects the mortgage sector because it’s a monster. It’s a monster because it’s a rigid law that has given all the power to the governor to do a lot of things on the land. Basically, a land should be traded on the stock market as shares. We believe that, that’s the way it should be. All you need is to get your certificate of occupancy (C/O). After getting it, if you want to transfer your land from Mr. A to Mr. B, you don’t have to go for a governor’s consent. We should just have a proper land registry that would be able to transact the land and sell the stocks. But getting Certificate of Occupancy is very cumbersome; isn’t it? We know, that’s just the first step; just make sure the land is tradable. The second step is for the Governor and those on the state authorities to avoid treating the land as something that cannot be given out. They (governors) should treat the land as something that can be accessed and should make it available. Ultimately, the price of the houses would be affordable and then the cost of the mortgages also would be available to the average man on the street. The National Housing Fund, as it were, has its own issues, as contributors complain of not being able to access housing loans; what really are the problems? Well, there are issues in everything. The bottom line is that the National Housing Fund, you know, is on a subsidy scheme and it is also based on the contribution being made. The contribution, 2.5 percent of our basic pay, is very small. The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria can only give what they have. So, we need to deepen the contribution. The more Nigerians that go into it, the more contributions there are, the more funds that would be available to

us as mortgage donor. Are you canvassing an increase of the 2.5 percent statutory monthly contribution or that efforts should be made to deepen the market by bringing in more people into the scheme? Both should be done. The number of people contributing to the fund is on the low side. Do you see corruption in the scheme? No. I don’t think so. The key thing is that people want to be convinced that it is actually real. So, a lot of people are still holding back, staying on the fence saying are you sure?” More daily marketing should be done. When we go out marketing everyday, a lot of people say, ‘ are you sure we are going to get this loan?’ Process the loan and you see we are getting disbursement. Some contributors don’t really have a choice of opting out… But if you come to RSL, we will process a loan for you. No matter how much you’ve contributed the maximum you can borrow is N15 million subject to your ability to repay the loan; that is, your cash flow and not more than onethird of earnings, should be used in repaying the loan. It is the bank that is carrying the risk on you because we are obtaining the fund from the FMBN that is holding the contribution of every one of us. Basically, RSL is one of the mortgage banks that are accredited by the FMBN to partake in the National Housing Fund. Basically, once we feel comfortable with the customer and we feel he has a good cash flow and has the ability to pay the loan, we source the fund from the FMBN at four percent for on-lending to customer at six percent. What other major issues do you see in Nigeria’s housing scheme(s)? There are real issues in housing in Nigeria: The first one is cost of land. Cost of land is on the high side. Also, the cost of getting title to the land is also on the high side. Then, you now talk of cost of the building materials. Basically, the first thing I said is the C/O. You should be able to treat it in such a way that when I’m transferring stocks within two to three percent, it will be the only cost. But If I want to get my C/O now, it will cost me x amount of Naira, which shouldn’t be; it should be something that is affordable. Lagos State is already working on that, they’ve broken down all the various locations in Lagos State to various land tenement rate. The persquare metre of various lands in various locations in Lagos State is on different levels in terms of when you want to do your mortgage, because the price you pay in Ikoyi should be different from the price in Ajegunle. They’ve done that, but we still believe that more should be done.


43

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

BUSINESS

Africa’s Aid For Trade: Call For More Interventions Amid Positive Trend ing expectations in the continent and all partners are showing strong willingness in LTHOUGH Aid for Trade (AfT) in Africa is supporting the initiative.   starting to show results, interventions are AfT that is aimed at projects with a regional urgently needed to overcome the short and dimension is on the rise, with an emphasis long term constraints, this was the key meson economic infrastructure, building prosage by the UN Economic Commission for ductive capacities and trade facilitation. Africa underlining “African Case Stories: A However, more interventions are urgently Snapshot of Aid for Trade on the Ground in needed to overcome the short and long term Africa”. constraints.  In addition, it has been difficult The publication captures the African experi- to target greater employment, diversification ences on how AfT is progressing on the conti- or positive gender or poverty impacts nent from a total of 114 submitted case stothrough AfT interventions. ries. With improved M&E mechanisms and tools, “Since the AfT Initiative was launched in the it might be possible to fine-tune AfT responsHong Kong Ministerial Meeting in 2005, es to desired outcomes. Africa has received technical and financial Meanwhile, between July 8th and 10th, 2013 assistance for trade-related activities. In addi- Geneva will host the Fourth Global Review of tion, “AfT funding has been kept and priority AfT. The meeting will bring together key areas and categories identified by beneficiar- stakeholders worldwide, to monitor and disies are being targeted,” according to ECA cuss AfT practices from the perspective of experts. joining and adding value within the network The study’s baseline period (2002-2005) of production chains. shows the momentum of increasing commit- In addition, the meeting will debate the ments and disbursements has been susdevelopment benefits of participation to tained, with the structure of allocations global and regional value chains, notably in remaining the same. the context of the AU Action Plan to boost In 2009 Africa surpassed Asia, becoming the intra-African Trade, and of the on-going delibfirst recipient of AfT disbursements since the erations about the post-2015 development initiative was launched. agenda. Although AfT continues to be primarily As Africa represents the second largest channelled to infrastructure, a growing share recipient of Aid for Trade and has attached of commitments is going to building trade paramount importance to its transformation capacities and trade policy and regulations. agenda, a lot is at stake for the continent. This progress, according to ECA is promising In preparation for the Fourth Global Review, –– largely because AfT is increasingly matchECA, in collaboration with the World Trade

By Kamal Tayo Oropo

A

Organization (WTO) and the African Union Commission (AUC), has conducted a survey on how AfT can best contribute to boost intraAfrican trade. The survey targeted member States, Regional Economic Communities, as well as donors, and aimed at supporting the African Union’s Action Plan on boosting intra-Africa trade. Responses to the questionnaires highlighted the long-standing need to step up trade facilitation efforts, radically improve infrastructural provision, and accelerate the development of Africa’s productive capacities, all of which represent key national and regional priorities. In addition, the survey revealed the critical role of clearly defined regional integration strategies and associated policy priorities, as tools to enhance the development impact of Aid for Trade. Respondents also emphasized the importance of ensuring political will at all levels; establishing appropriate oversight mechanisms, and enhancing institutional capacities to address the difficulties encountered in developing bankable AfT projects. The survey report, which also contains an updated analysis of Aid for Trade flows to the region, will be discussed at the Fourth Global Review, and will inform the debate on how AfT can be best harnessed to help African producers connecting and moving up regional and global value chains. Meanwhile, ECA is also leading the Development Account (DA) Project made up of five UN Regional Commissions to strengthen the capacity of selected developing countries to formulate bankable AfT interventions and strengthen the

associated Monitoring and Evaluation systems. Each regional economic commission (ECA, ECLAC, ESCWA, ESCAP, and ECE) is pursuing these aims at a regional level through a regional workshop, an expert group meeting and technical capacity activities. It is expected that an interregional forum will take place to share experiences and lessons learnt. In the African region, the DA project focuses on supporting the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) by improving the capacities of African countries to tap into AfT resources, thereby contributing to covering infrastructural financing gaps. ECA selected five out of the 51 PIDA priority projects to serve as pioneers, and will work closely with concerned stakeholders to enhance their capacity in managing trade infrastructure projects, and mobilize resources through AfT. The African Institute for Economic Development and Planning and the African Trade Policy Centre will jointly lead and conduct a follow-up training workshop for selected PIDA project focal points from June 25-27, 2013, in Lusaka, Zambia. A subsequent monitoring and evaluation (M&E) Expert Group Meeting will follow later in the year to introduce and develop appropriate M&E systems, including regionally agreed indicators for tracking and monitoring of AfT implementation and success.

How Telecomunications Engineering Will Boost Capacity DUCATION is the compass to the future. As a sailor could be E easily lost at sea without a compass so would mankind derail on the path of progress without education? This important aspect of man naturally attracts keen attention and investment from governments. With corporations becoming wealthier, mankind is beginning to witness more social responsibility investments in education by the private sector rather than the government. An example is the Etisalat Telecommunications Engineering Programme (ETEP), a Masters Degree course in Telecommunications Engineering that would now be available at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. How can corporate social responsibility get better than this? The socio-economic benefits and the honour this initiative

bestows on the country is difficult to quantify, given that education is a virile seed that survives many generations and a necessity for development. And for Etisalat to strategically position itself to create skilled manpower at top levels of such highly technical and essential segment of the economy as telecommunications with the potential of boosting the Nigerian economy indicates that the company brings good conscience to bear on the conduct of its business in Nigeria. As the company continues to earn commendation for this landmark initiative, Chairman, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Hakeem Belo-Osagie, said: “It is aimed at contributing to local manpower with regards to telecommunications technology skills.” The chairman said he is proud to be associated with the strategic social investment because it is “West Africa’s first

Managing Director, Access Bank Nigeria Plc, Mr Aigboje Aig. Imoukhuede (left) and Chief Executive Officer, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC), Mr Jim Obazee when the former paid a courtesy call to FRC in Ikeja, Lagos… on Friday.

Masters degree course in Telecommunications Engineering which would earn Nigeria an enhanced image and reinforce her leadership of the sub-region.” The social investment has earned royal endorsements from a leading traditional ruler and one of the most respected voices in the northern part of Nigeria, the Emir of Zazzau, HRH, Alh Sheu Idris, CFR. The royal father praised the efforts of the telecommunications company at improving the quality of manpower available in telecommunications sector for common good. According to him, his delight at the initiative is because “the products of the initiative can transform the Nigerian economy, not just telecommunications. All wellmeaning Nigerians must commend this.” The royal father described Etisalat’s network as the best means of communications across the nation. A verdict he claimed is based on the feedback he received from not only his subjects, but also from friends and colleagues across the country, which according to him has validated Etisalat’s reputation as the fastest growing and most innovative telecommunications company in Nigeria. Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Steven Evans, explained that the goal of the project is to produce Nigerian graduate-specialists in telecommunications engineering who will contribute to the sector, as it is now becoming more important. He said: “Every year, about 15 to 20 students would be trained. Qualified university graduates of Electrical Electronics Engineering and related fields are eligible to apply. Etisalat will accept the M Sc. enrolled students during their course for internships, to further broaden their practical knowledge of telecommunications.” The company’s involvement is not limited to the Master’s degree programme. It would also be enhancing the training of lecturers to ensure that quality of students trained under the programme is at par with what obtains in leading universities across the world. Evans disclosed that apart from the establishment of the MSc course in telecommunications engineering at the ABU, the company would also be sponsoring lecturers from the University for a three-year Doctorate Degree Programme at Plymouth University in the United Kingdom. This he said was part of its efforts to strengthen ABU and make it the best university in telecommunications engineering. “Over the next five-years, Etisalat will sponsor ABU lectures to study for PhDs in Telecommunications Engineering at the Plymouth University, UK so that local expertise can be developed for the long term sustainability of the M Sc Program. We want to ensure the smooth take-off of the program. ABU and Plymouth University have agreed on the curriculum, with significant input from the Etisalat Academy. Students who are admitted for the MSc course will enjoy the opportunity of learning from visiting lecturers that will include lecturers from Plymouth University and the Etisalat Academy. We are set to make Nigerians technically equipped and proud,” Evans said. Observers are showing excitement at the bold step Etisalat has taken in boosting capability and capacity building in the telecommunications sector in Nigeria urging other corporate bodies to follow the good example.


44

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

BUSINESS

Nigeria: Economy In Search Of Raw Materials From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja

T

HAT Nigeria is a resource-based economy is not in contention. Yet, over 80 per cent of industrial raw material being used in the country is said to be imported. It is because there is dearth of locally-processed raw materials. Official statistics says most of the locally- produced raw materials in the country are in unusable state and, therefore, require value addition before they can be used by industries. The dearth of locally processed raw materials has forced manufacturers to resort to massive importation to augment the shortfall from local the market. Poor local capacity to add value to available raw materials, lack of access to capital to set up processing facilities among others are some of the impediments militating against effective utilisation of local raw materials. Experts say the rich mix climate, vegetation and geological factor make Nigeria a natural zone for diverse agricultural, mineral and renewable resources. These resources had for a long time not been optimally exploited because of the dominance of petroleum as the main source of national revenue until the 1980’s when Nigeria witnessed worsening economic scenarios resulting from falling oil output and prices, which contributed to a decline in per capital real Gross National Product (GNP). Of course, raw materials in their natural forms would not have any value for man and in modern terms, would not attract any market demand. Various forms of traditional or primitive engineering based on common sense, assumptions or practical experiences were developed in the olden days to add value to natural resources. These no longer hold water in current age of high-tech based economic revolution. Mineral resources are the primary raw materials for industrialization. Nigeria has abundant minerals for a wide range of industries. Iron ore and a host of other locally available metallurgical raw materials are being utilized for the local iron and steel industry. Crude oil and natural gas are the basic for the petrochemical and fertilizer industries. Statistics have it that there is a tremendous growth potential for the mineral industry in Nigeria, to meet local demands and that of the Economic Community of West African States. According to a country study report by the Library of Congress, manufacturing increased rapidly during the 1970s. The manufacturing sector produced a range of goods across all spectra of human endeavour. The Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN) puts the industrial capacity utilisation for 1993 at 30 per cent. Despite the spirited efforts to increase the domestic production efficiency, the activities of smuggling and the prevailing high cost of imported raw materials due to high exchange rate is still increasing production cost and making locally produced goods more expensive than their imported counterparts. Preference for imported goods is the order of the day while local industries have been forced to close down because of inability to compete in the same market with imported goods. Available statistics indicate that all developed countries grow their economy on the proliferation of a network of industries, which engage in converting raw materials, in the primary forms, to intermediate and final products. There is no doubt that Nigeria has competitive strength in raw materials and human resources. Nigeria is rated as having the largest market in Africa, enough to support a virile industrial sector. Nigeria is also richly endowed with abundant industrial raw materials in the agricultural and mineral sectors. These vast endowments imply that Nigeria should be home to various industries either agro-based or mineral related. But experts say these raw materials can only have relevance when processed. It has been argued that engineering a great role to play in evolving appropriate and desired technology to translate raw materials into market-driven products and hence drive and sustain the industrialization process. Nigeria is endowed with vast mineral resources. Mineral raw materials are known to form the bedrock for the establishment of chains of industries especially in the chemical sector of manufacturing. This has not been the case for Nigeria.

Executive Director, Maritime Safety and Shipping Development (NIMASA), Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba (left); Prof. Pat Utomi of the Lagos Business School; a beneficiary; Director General, NIMASA, Mr Ziakede Akpobolokemi; Acting Director (Shipping Development), NIMASA, Captain Warredi Enisuoh with beneficiaries of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) who were in India for studies at the sent-forth ceremony in Lagos. lus for the growth of processing industries. Rather, the mineral sector, until recently, In a recent chat with newsmen, he stressed Most nations are now grappling with the was totally neglected. The coal sub-sector, that the development of Nigeria’s intermedireality of finding local substitute for import- ate raw materials could save it over N2 trilwhich used to be a source of national reved raw materials, especially for energy and enue, was totally neglected with closures lion in foreign exchange in the next 25 years. other requirements. In fact, experts agree of existing mines. He said: “Our target is to increase the perthat local sourcing of raw materials would Statistics from the Raw Materials centage of local content in industrial raw stop huge importation and expatriation of Research and Development Council materials utilisation in Nigeria from the curforeign exchange to countries considered (RMRDC) indicate that Nigeria is also rent 25 per cent to 60 per cent in the next 25 blessed with an array of diverse non-metal- safe havens. years.This, by our estimation can save The Guardian learnt that application of lic minerals known as industrial mineral Nigeria over N2 trillion in foreign exchange engineering to industrial raw materials because of their popular use as basic raw for importation of intermediate of raw development is constrained largely due to materials in manufacturing industries materials, process equipment and impact engineering problems, technical skills and especially the chemical sector. The nationskills.” training facilities, basic raw materials, power al demand for industrial minerals as raw He spoke of how Nigeria is committing supply, inadequate protection, lack of stanmaterials far outweighs supply from existhuge foreign exchange to importing raw dardized parts, funding, including the coming mining companies. Sadly, Nigeria materials and products which could be mercialization of research and development. sourced from the country. depends almost totally (RMRDC puts it at The areas expert says should be exploited in 99.95 per cent) on imported quicklime for At a recent function in Abuja, the President water treatment despite the huge deposits order to improve the fortune of engineering of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria applications to industrial raw materials of limestone across the country. The agri(MAN) Kola Jamodu, said stressed that the cultural and road construction sectors also development are: advanced materials devel- Association was looking forward to a change opment, collaboration, investment, national in the country’s destiny, so that raw materidepend on imported quicklime for soil design competition, reverse engineering, treatment. RMRDC notes: “quicklime also als would be efficiently exploited to stimuand advanced manufacturing. forms the starting raw material for the late the emergence of cottage, small indusThe Director General of the Raw Materials production of thousands of other industritries in the mineral sector that would service Research and Development Council says that the manufacturing sector. al chemicals. The development of the over 80 per cent of industrial raw materials quicklime and phosphate industry can Stressing that global tariff walls and protecare currently being imported. serve to provide a catalyst bed for the protionists policies were collapsing and compeHe said: “Manufacturers can only source liferation of chemical industries in tition becoming stiffer in the emerging globraw materials locally if the materials are Nigeria. The chemical industrial sector in al village, he said developing countries like available. Even when the raw materials are Nigeria is still heavily import-dependent.” Nigeria, have not been able to exploit their available they are in unusable form .What we raw materials for industrial development Generally, the development of Nigeria solid minerals is currently limited majorly are trying to do is to encourage value addiand economic growth. tion which can mostly be done by small and to physical beneficiation by dry milling to According to him, it is disheartening that medium scale enterprises because they take Nigeria, with abundant natural resources, produce intermediate products for use by the materials from the unusable form to the has not been able to turn the natural petroleum, fertilizer and related companext intermediate stage. It is this intermedinies. These products are of low value. A resources into raw materials for industrial ate raw material that industries require, but use and save the country huge foreign yawning gap in the development of these since this is not available in the required minerals still exists in the area of convertexchange. quantity, most of the industries source their ing the minerals into chemicals, pharma“Nigeria is blessed with abundant natural raw materials from abroad. ceutical and cosmetic grade products raw materials such as timber, which is har“The discussions we have held with the through wet and chemical processing. nessed as input material for building paper Investment by the private sector in the use large scale industries showed that if these industry, furniture making and the likes. raw materials are available, both in quality of foreign technologies to achieve this has Also, coal, oil and natural gas, limestone, tin, and in quantity, they are ready to buy from also not been encouraging, according to columbite, palm oil, cocoa, rubber, to menwithin. Our plan is to encourage the estabindustrial experts. tion a few, are available in large deposits. lishment of resource-based cottage indusAgriculture remains Nigeria’s area of ecoRegrettably, the nation has not been able to tries in each geo-political zone which would nomic strength with the highest potential convert these natural resources into input for employment generation for majority of not only process and add value to the counmaterials for use by local industries.” the population. Although Nigeria depends try’s resources but also form the bedrock for Chairman, Senate Committee on Science industrial growth and the provision of need- and Technology, Robert Ajayi Boroffice told on the petroleum industry for its national revenue, the country is predominantly still ed goods. Currently, we are working towards The Guardian that Nigeria’s ability to transthe emergence of additional resource-based form available raw materials into products, an agricultural society. Nigeria is conseindustries. Our target is that at least one quently blessed with a variety of agriculwhich are acceptable and globally competismall scale resource-based industry would tural raw materials, which provide stimutive, is crucial for Nigeria to be self sufficient. emerge in each zone.”


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

45

BUSINESS Global Training Consulting (GTC) is set to come to Nigeria to engage in capacity building the country maximize its potential in the area of human and capital development. Mr. Idy Ekong, Director Energy of GTC, in this interview with JOKE FALAJU, spoke extensively on how the company will impact positively on Nigerian economy. What is Global Training Consulting all about? TC Energy is a capacity development organisation that aims at bringing solutions to oil and gas sector. GTC provides comprehensive and integrated solutions to energy industry in emerging economies. We offer and deliver training in a variety of format and we often focus our programmes in meeting organisation’s needs. We also intervene in selecting high quality management trainers for efficient service, facilities and service standard. We also focus our developmental strategies in three categories: training, consulting and commissioning of new oil and gas sector. Why the choice of Nigeria? Nigeria is the largest oil producing country in sub-Saharan Africa and the sixth in the world. We deem it necessary to contribute meaningfully in making sure that the sector grows more than what we are seeing today. We will incorporate our expertEkong ise knowledge and that of our counterpart in Nigeria to see that power, oil and gas sector is equate with foreign countries. All these and many more prompted us to develop interest in Nigeria. Demographically, Nigeria is an interesting country with a different ethnic groups and religious groups. For me, this is a blessing to GTC Energy long period of time, we observed and Nigeria. We are aware that that the energy sector has not come Nigerian economy comprises of up to standard when compared to the public and private sector. what is obtainable overseas. As a Having worked for the country for 10 years, we are familiar with result of this, the firm has to partner the requirements of the country. with Nigerian government to see What will be your primary focus? that power sector of the economy Primarily our focus is on oil and would be rank the same with that of her foreign counterpart thereby gas, which comprises upstream and downstream. Our focus also encouraging foreign investor to is on both the public and the pri- invest in the country. And this may vate sector, which play an impor- go a long way in ameliorating the rate of unemployment in the tant role in Nation’s economy. Having stayed in the country for Nigeria. Will you partner with Nigerian com-

G

‘Private Organisations Should Be Efficient In Services Delivery’ panies especially in the area of expertise and consultancy? As said earlier, we may not be able to achieve this laudable project without the assistance of some private and public companies in Nigeria. Who are your targets? Our target is basically the private and the public sector. Although, our first target is the public sector, which will believe that when this innovation is welcome by the public, the private sector we abide by it.

Asst. Commandant General Zone, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Lagos, Mr. Osaro Lugard (left); Mr. Dennis Amachree of General Electric and President, the Society for Security Practitioners Of Nigeria, Mr. Davidson Akhimien, at the 2nd Annual Conference of Head of Security Department and Executives Of Security Companies held at Victoria Island, Lagos.

What is new that GTC will want to showcase for Nigerians? We are here to add value to the sector by ensuring that we attract the right people into the country. Our interest is to make sure we bring what international investor are looking for, ensuring that there is no gap or break in the sector. Will you be collaborating with Nigerian government? You will we agree with me that every where in the world, the government alone may not be able to provide the entire basic infrastructure that is required, but the major thing we need from them is good road and security. When this is put in place by the government, GTC will partner with the federal and state government to provide all the essential amenities that is needed in the country. Do you think Nigeria is ready for such change? It is obvious that Nigeria is still a developing country, but this change if finally come through the citizen will benefit immensely. In life change they say is constant, and if this is absorbed, both individual and country at large will adapt. So in my opinion Nigeriais ripe enough for this transformation GTC Energy is trying to bring to the oil and gas sector. Do you have any specific time of stay in Nigeria? As long as is being absolved by both the private and public sector of the economy, GTC energy has come to stay. And it will play a predominant role in the economy. As you can see that we have started impacting our partners in business and we believe that the partnership will continue to exist. How will you include Nigerian institutions in your programs? We are in Tanzania and presently working to upgrade some of the Universities skills in terms of leadership. We actually have not started that yet in Nigeria. However, we are ready to partner with any of these institutions to share knowledge, to cross-train and to work with them, so we are very open to those areas. We have a partnership with the National Open Universities in Nigeria and we have just settled with them on some projects we have the train the trainer courses with the academic in order that they can facilitate our international training courses locally, which will give more people the opportunity to experience our training so we are working in partnership with them we are working in partnership with lots of institutions around the world. How do you intend to carry out your training programme in Nigeria? Firstly because we have launched new leadership training in the oil and gas will dovetail. This training has been launched around very technical aspects of the industry; however the CSRs we hope will impact on the sector. Our training will also be on the issue of avoid conflicts, compensation to locally people and the understanding of remediation to areas affected by exploration degradation. We are going to offer specific energy training that we have carried out around the world. When you do a programme with GTC you will gain or you can gain towards your distance learning Masters’ degree with Middlesex University so you will come along with GTC. Our framework of learning include case studies empirical evidence, methodology, theories, group discussions reflective learning and action plans that is the difference between what we do.

Work Place Culture: Difference Between The UK and Nigeria (3) By Helen-Linda Azodoh Another aspect of work place culture in Nigeria that absolutely shocks me is work place bullying. The way some managers and supervisors speak to their subordinate staff, amounts to nothing but bullying in any culture except maybe the Nigerian culture. I have witnessed a manager in a sizeable organisation in Nigeria throw personal abuses at her staff, on the shop floor. Her crime was the fact that she turned up late for work. Being late is not acceptable, but surely there are procedures to deal with this. The manager did not think twice about publicly humiliating this member of staff and insulting her person. She did not even seem to understand that her behaviour was totally unacceptable. If this were to happen in the UK (which it wouldn’t), the only person with a query to answer here would be the manager. There are rules and regulations governing work place bullying in the UK and people take them seriously. The Health and Safety at work act 1974 takes care of this. Here employers have a duty of care to protect employees’ health, safety and welfare at work. A breach could result in serious consequences for the employer. I wonder if any such legislation exists in Nigeria and if it does, is it enforced? Except it is an enforceable legislation, employers will not take notice and employees will continue to suffer abuse at work, which in turn impacts upon their productivity. Another culture which I am finding difficult to grasp is the formality of the work place environment. In the UK, every staff member is called by their first name, no matter their position in the hierarchy. Hence whenever I am asked my name at reception when I visit offices in Nigeria, I give them my first name without any salutations. I feel pretty awkward when I ask people their names and they tell me Mrs or Mr so and so. I find it a bit of a tongue twister having to address people with salutations. Most times, I end up chatting to people without using their names as I tend to forget the surnames anyway. I think when you are able to relate to clients and customers on a first name basis, it removes a barrier and facilitates communication. Moreover, first names are much easier to remember, especially with the sort of last names we have in Nigeria! I quite realise this is one aspect of the culture I need to get to grips with quite quickly. Work place culture is part and parcel of the culture of the organisation and as such has an impact on the performance of the organisation as a whole. According to an article on Organisational Culture by Orla O’Donnell and Richard Boyle (published in 2008 by the Institute of Public Administration), ‘culture affects the performance of organisations. In the private sector organisations studied, The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporations and 3M – there is a clear and explicit link between culture change and performance. But this can also be the case in the public sector despite the absence of a ‘bottom line.’’ They further go on to say that, ‘ it is particularly important for managers to pay attention to culture when reacting to or planning major organisational change. In conclusion, whereas most employees as well as managers may not pay any attention to workplace culture, the extent to which it can impact upon the performance and effectiveness of staff, and therefore, the bottom line of the organistaion cannot be under estimated. It is time to sit up and take note.

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@vir


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

46

BUSINESS

FRC Shuns Professionals With Foreign Certification By Geoff Iyatse HIEF Executive Officer of the C Financial Reporting Council (FRC), federal authority charged with the responsibility of regulating accounting practice, Jim Obazee, has disclosed that professionals certified abroad are not eligible to participate in the on-going registration carried out by the Council except they domesticate their qualifications. Obazee made the disclosure at the weekend when Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede paid a courtesy call to FRC’s headquarter in Lagos. He said the condition is to ensure that professionals who are registered to practise in the country understand peculiarities of the local environment. He also said FRC is in touch with relevant professional bodies on the matter to ensure that those seeking certification for the purpose of FRC professional registration sit for appropriate examinations required to make them understand local practice. FRC Act requires the Council to register and regulate professionals whose decisions impact on financial statements of quoted companies, public interest companies and government entities (including state and local governments). In an interview with The Guardian on Friday, Obazee explained that the law, by interpretation, implies that every chief accounting officer of an establishment or government (whether state or federal) obtains FRC registration certificate. He said there is no other means they can obtain FRC number (they are required to add to their endorsement) without registering. It would be recalled that churches and other non-profit organisations are, by the Act, required to file their financial statements with the newly-established FRC. This means those in charge the affected organisations and, as such, sign their books will also be required to register with the Council. “There is no way you can even be a council chairman if you have not registered. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has taken care of that,” he noted. According to him, INEC will also require that those who claim to be professional while vying for political office produce

their FRC certificates before clearance. He said the Council would continue to sensitive the public on the importance of the registration. Obazee also disclosed that the council is currently reviewing the books of financial institutions, which are, by the roadmap,

required to comply with the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) in 2012, to ascertain the level of compliance. He, however, said violators might not be sanctioned since they are firsttime adopters Access, Guarantee Trust and

send and receive office e-mails from the comfort of their mobile phones, giving them opportunity to connect work in and out of the office. The announcement follows the

FRC and Access Bank are exploring areas of possible collaborations to grow IFRS and financial system. The bank was at the forefront of the campaign for IFRS adoption before the law was passed in 2011.

Chief Operating Officer/Executive Director, Airtel Nigeria, Deepak Srivastava; Managing Director/CEO of Idems Ultimate Ltd, Unyime Idem, receives CEO Award and Best Channel Partner for 2012 from Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, at a gala night for Airtel Channel Partner… last week.

CRC GetsNew Chairman, Independent Director RC Credit Bureau Limited has C appointed Mrs. Caroline Anyanwu as new Chairman of its board and Mr. Frank Chikezie as independent director. The new Chairman is an Executive Director with Diamond Bank Plc.

Anyanwu, an Executive Director with Diamond Bank Plc, replaces Victor Etuokwu of Access Bank Plc who had chaired the board for two terms of four years while Chikezie replaces Mr. Sesan Bamisile who retired after serv-

Nokia Extends Mail For Exchange To Asha Smartphones OKIA Nigeria, has announced N that users of the Nokia Asha 311, 310, 309 and 308 can now

Zenith banks claimed they had transited to IFRS before the mandatory January 1, 2012. Obazee said FRS team has examined the financial statements of the three banks are satisfied with their format except few areas they are required to amend.

introduction of the Mail for Exchange app in the Nokia Store. The new app, which is compatible with Nokia Asha, allows users to sync their email, calendar and contacts data with Microsoft Exchange 2003, 2007, 2010 servers and 365 mobility online service.

Marketing Manager for Nokia, West Africa, Kesiena Ogbemi, explained that the introduction of the new app makes the Nokia Asha ready for business. “It will enable users to take their office wherever they go, enhancing their overall mobile experience for work,” he said.

ing his maximum tenure of four years as the company’s pioneer independent director. Anyanwu is the Executive Director, has been on the board of CRC since the formation of the company in 2006 except when she was on special assignment at Finbank Plc. She joined Diamond Bank in 2006 from United Bank for Africa Plc, where she was Head of Credit Risk Management. She had worked in various roles in the bank, including strategic planning, financial control, retail banking, operations and business process reengineering. As a first class graduate of Statistics, she started her professional career in

PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1985 where she qualified as a chartered accountant before moving to banking in 1988. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. Chikezie, Managing Director/CEO of Global Heights Consulting Limited, is a thoroughbred banker, financial management consultant and trainer. He has over 25 years experience during which he worked at ICON Limited, Manny Bank and Fidelity Bank Plc. He is a further obtaining a MBA in Financial Management from the University of Lagos as well as a MSc in Economics.

Fastjet, Red 1 Brings Low Cost Airfares To Nigeria ASTJET Plc, holding company of African FGhana Fly540 operating in Tanzania, Kenya, and Angola, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Red 1 Airways to operate in Nigeria. Fastjet, a low cost carrier, will through the MoU offer low cost flight within Nigeria and from the country to other destinations in Africa. The MoU brings

together Fastjet’s strong brand, reputation, management experience and economies of scale and RED1’s extensive local market knowledge to bear. Red 1 will be responsible for the capital required for the venture while Fastjet will be minority shareholder in the airline that will be branded Fastjet Nigeria. A commercial arrangement will exist between Red 1

and Fastjet for branding, operational framework and management services. Since launching in Tanzania in November 2012, Fastjet has established itself as a provider of safe, reliable and high quality air travel in Africa. The airline intends to replicate the same in Nigeria, said a statement. Fastjet CEO, Ed Winter, said: “The combination of Fastjet’s experience and Red 1’s

extensive knowledge of the local aviation market is a perfect foundation for a great airline. Nigerians deserve a new airline offering great value and operating to international standards.” Red 1 CEO, Dikko Nwachukwu, said: “We are excited to partner with Fastjet and humbled to bring to Nigeria its first true low cost carrier.” 


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

47

BUSINESSAGRO Nigeria Master Bakers Uneasy About Cassava Bread Development Fund • Customs stalls release of Fund, MDAs uncoordinated By Fabian Odum HE woes of stakeholders in the cassava value chain seem to T be increasing as fund, the lubricating oil of the business, is nowhere in sight. Though representatives of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development met with the executives of the Master bakers Association of Nigeria to harmonise issues in the pursuit of the development of cassava bread in Sagamu, Ogun state recently, the release of the funds and other ancillary equipment is yet to become a reality. The matter is not made any easier by the Department of Customs and Excise, which does not seem to be on top of the situation with the figures supposed to have accrued to the Fund in the past 12 months. The non-availability of this information has led the Minister of Agriculture to promise the launch of the fund several times in the last six months without success, a situation that has led stakeholders to question the sincerity of the Jonathan administration to transform the sector in practical terms. Public Relations Officer of the Master bakers Association of Nigeria Mr. Jude Okafor revealed that things requested of the federal government were different equipment like flour mixers, generators, and media campaign that will help increase the awareness and publicise the initiative of the President. On the part of the Customs, The Guardian made repeated efforts to get its HQ Public Relations Officer, Wale Adeniyi to give the necessary information ended in a brick wall. The release of the fund, which stakeholders believe would have run into billions of naira, has been bogged down by bureaucratic red tape. Though Adeniyi said the Customs is not in any way involved in disbursement of funds, it gives due diligence in the collection followed by the remission to dedicated account, perhaps domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Minister of Science And Technology, Professor Ita Okon Bassey Ewa, Left; Senator Jibril Waheed, Board Chairman, Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) and Dr. (Mrs.) Gloria Elemo, D-G, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Lagos at the inauguration of directors of both organisations in Abuja on Thursday. Days ago, when The Guardian still demanded the information, he said the officer handling that was officially away for a few days but on return, and after several text messages and phone call, it drew blanks. Even now, there appears to be lack of proper coordination between the Ministers of Finance, Agriculture, Trade and Investment and Science Technology and the Director General of the Budget Office, who were to initially to manage the fund. The fund, which the ministry is trying to get for the cassava bread project money is, generated from 65 per cent

Customs duty on the importation of wheat into the country. The cassava fund is to get 15 per cent from that duty. So far, the master bakers, according to Okafor, have not been part of the administration process but there are representatives from the agric ministry, who are involved. But the master bakers also have a grouse with the arrangement in which its members are not in the administration of the fund. The men of the baking trade wondered whether the Ministry could be managing the fund contributed without the core stakeholders being involved. For them, they want transparency at the top of the handling of the resources affecting the life and business of the thousands of bakers and people in the cassava value chain. Aside sound management of the financial portfolio of stakeholders, the meeting rose with a call on the ministry to make good the release of the fund, which has been tied to the Office of Comptrollers General of the Customs and Excise, which has Head Corporate and not released the figures so far collected. For some months now, Government Relations envis- there has been a repeated promise that the fund would be ages that with the support released in a few weeks. provided by the company, The delay, Okafor said has been affecting master bakers the trained farmers will be adversely. “Our members and other stakeholders are bombecome thought leaders in barding us with letters that if this thing is not properly mantheir respective communiaged, further deductions should stop so that the price of flour ties with their farms serving can return to status quo. as models to their colleagues For now, the flour producers have stopped the harassments of and further boost cocoa pro- master bakers, who were being arrested earlier for defaulting ductivity and production in in certain payments when they fell due. They assured that they the country. are going to find a peaceful way of resolving the issue.

OLAM Determined To Revive Cocoa, Trains Farmers NE of the nation’s leading O cocoa processing and exporting companies, OLAM is collaborating with farmers, private and government stakeholders in reviving ageing cocoa tree stocks in the South-west Nigeria. Towards the realisation of this goal, four local cocoa farmers from Ondo State were sponsored by OLAM for a 12-day training in cocoa rehabilitation at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) Ibadan.  All the four farmers are smallholder producers of cocoa and members of Ore Agbe Akure (OAA), a farmers group based in Ondo state and set up in 2011 with the support of the company. The training was organised by the Plant Breeding and Genetics department of the CRIN Ibadan in a bid to address the

issue of ageing tree stocks and improve yields. At the end of the training, the lead resource person, Dr. Daniel Adewale noted that Nigeria’s land area was no more expanding and most cocoa trees were already old. The resource person, who is also the Head of the Plant Breeding and Genetics department at CRIN said the new rehabilitation technology would bring about a 250 per cent increase in cocoa productivity if fully utilised. Adewale said the training was both classroom and field based with a focus on top grafting of chupons, side grafting, budwood sliding and vegetative propagation methods. One of the participants, Revd. Ojo Orimogunje thanked the company for giving him the opportunity to

be well trained. “What impressed me most is that what we were trained here in Ibadan, I never knew such existed in terms of cocoa production techniques,” Orinmogunje who is also the Vice Chairman, Igbalara Unit of Ore Agbe Akure said. Another participant, Mr. Lasun Adesokan, National Vice President, Cocoa Association of Nigeria said the training had come at the right time adding that when farmers fully make use of the technology, Nigeria would definitely become one of the global leaders in cocoa production and this will be in line with the Agricultural Minister Dr Akinwunmi Adesina’s Cocoa transformation agenda and position us as Africa’s largest producer in the not too distant future. Ade Adefeko, OLAM Nigeria’s

COMING EVENT FIIRO Holds 2nd Distinguished Guest Speaker’s Lecture nd

HE Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) holds the 2 of her T Distinguished Guest Speaker’s Lecture Series on Thursday, 20 June, 2013 at the institute’s Multipurpose auditorium by 10am. The talk will focus on, and increase awareness of Neutraceuticals as an increasing consumer choice and the need for greater research and investment in the food/drrink sector. The guest lecturer is Prof. Francis O. Shode – a Professor of Chemistry, an entrepreneur and accomplished academician. The event would be chaired by Professor K.Shingu Gamaniel, Director-General/CEO, Nigerian Institute of Pharmaceutical Research while the special guest of honour, Professor John Obafunwa-the Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University.


48

Birthdays SODIPO, Joseph Oladeinde Adepegba, professor of Anaesthesiology and Acupuncture, pioneer paediatric anaesthesiologist integrative physician and administrator will be 87 on Tuesday, June 18, 2013. Born on June 18, in Abeokuta, he was educated at Abeokuta Grammar School.  He also attended and graduated a medical doctor with honours at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin in 1957.  He was a Commonwealth scholar and was admitted to the University of Liverpool and Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith, and became a pioneer Fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, London. He was a recipient of the Canadian Universities Academic Staff Fellowship, which took him to the University of Toronto in 1968-70. Pioneer Honorary Consultant Anaesthesiologist, and Director of Critical Care Medicine at LUTH.  He was a visiting professor of Anaesthesiology and Acupuncture to the prestigious University of Vienna, Austria where he studied mechanism of Acupuncture Analgesia.  He was also a visiting professor to University of Helsikin and Tampere, Finland.  Former World Health Organisation (WHO) Expert Advisory Consultant on

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

Acupuncture and WHO consultant delegate to the First Interregional Symposium on Acupuncture and Maxibustion in Beijing, China 1979. Young Sodipo came to limelight as one of the pioneer of Anaesthesiologists in Africa and Nigeria.  He was elected the first Secretary-Treasurer of the Society of West African Anaesthetists in 1966 and delegate to the World Assembly of the Federation Societies of Anaesthesiology in London 1968 and was later admitted as the First African Executive Board Member of the World Federation Societies of Anaesthesiology (WFSA) and served for eight years. He served as a honorary Lieutenant Colonel member of the Nigerian Medical Corp in 1968.  He was awarded Doctor of Science (D.Sc) degree honorary causa and a gold medal for his research works on mechanism of acupuncture. He bagged merit award and honorary American citizenship of the City of Monterey Park, Los Angeles, California, USA; pioneer and founding Fellow, West African College of Surgeons, Fellow of the Nigerian Postgraduate Medical College, Anaesthesia. Pioneer Fellow of the International College of Surgeons in Nigeria, Distinguished Fellow of Acupuncture Foundation of Ireland. Director and Board member, International Soci-

Sodipo

Olaiya

ety of Oriental Medicine, Seoul, Korea; Korean Institute of Pharmacopuncture, Seol, Korea.  Director and Consultant of the International Council for Health Freedom, San Diego, USA.  Pioneer VicePresident of the International Association for Study of Pain, Washington, DC, USA. Founding member and Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT) National Complementary/Alternative Medical Association (NACAMA), Pioneer member of the Medical & Dental Council Committee on complementary/alternative medicine.  He holds the traditional title of Akogun of Igbein (Generalissimo) and Abese of Igbore, Abeokuta.

1929 in Ode, Ekiti State, he had his primary education at St. Mary’s Primary School, Ode Ekiti, 1936-41; Christ School, Ado Ekiti, 1942-47. He was third class clerk, Treasury Department, Old Secretariat, Marina, Lagos, 1950 and rose to become Executive Officer (Accounts). He later proceeded to Yaba College of Technology, Lagos to study accountancy between 1955 and 1958. He was also the Federal Training Centre, Lagos between 1959 and 1960; International Police Academy, Georgetown University, Washington DC, 1974; Malaysia National Cooperative College, Kuala, Lumpur, 1974; Senior Command Course, Staff College, Bukuru, 1982 and National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, 1983. He retired from service in 1984.

OLAIYA, Chief Benjamin Agboola, administrator and former Commissioner of Police in Imo and Ogun state was 84 yesterday. Born on June 15,

Miss Lawal Kafayat Oluwakemi 13 yrs and Olalere Amidat Ashabi 5 yrs during their birthday celebration in Lagos... last week.

Compiled by Gbenga Akinfenwa, gbengaherkin@yahoo.com Former Miss Chioma Pamela Emone and Mr Onyinye Vitus Okonkwo during their wedding ceremony held recently at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Maitama, Abuja.

Mr. Rotimi Famuagun, WEMA Bank Business Development Manager (left), Orereowu Branch, Dele Olaolu, Regional Executive, South West, Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu and Nurudeen Fagbenro, Executive Director, WEMA during a courtesy visit to the Deputy Governor in Ado-Ekiti.

Vice-President, Information Systems Audit Controll Association(ISACA), Lagos chapter,Tope Aladenusi (left); former President, Chris Ekeigwe; President, Peter Ineh and Information Branding Director, Uzo Odunukwe, during a courtesy visit in Lagos.

Founder of Christ The King’s Vineyard Apostolic Church, Pastor Ezekiel Oladosu (left) and his wife, Selina Oladosu, cut the cake to mark the dedication of the church building at Ilamose Estate, Oke-Afa, Isolo.

Mr. Adesesan Ogunde of the Ogun State Ministry of Justice with his wife and children, during his 50th birthday ceremony in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Mr Dada Ajai-Ikhile, Ex Officio (left), Mrs Omolara Ikpen, Financial  Secretary, Mrs Magdalene Osumah, Chairman,  PTA,  present a key bus to Mrs Catherine Ebuoma, Director of Halcyon International School, Ilupeju, Lagos while Mr Emmanuel  Bada looks on.  Business Development Manager, Kunal Grover; Human Resources Manager, Tawa Laniyan; Group MD, Vinay Grover; Head Banking and Clearing, Warebi Esuku at the 25 years anniversary celebration of Simba Group in Lagos.

Transition

Vice Chairman, Direct on PC, Mahesh Sadhwani (left), Managing Director, SWIFT Networks Ltd., Charles Anudu and Chief Operating Officer, Chuma Okoye at a press briefing on acquisition on PC in Lagos.

CAPTION: From middle The General Oversea of Christ Power Evangelical Ministry mark 9th years Anniversary/Thanks giving service from middle The General Oversea of Christ Power Evangelical Ministry Prophet Gideon Adenuga, Wife Evang. Mary Gideon, Choir Master Br. Muyiwa Oladele, Chief Usher Br. Babatunde Oshokoya and other members of the Church pastorates.

• Mrs. Comfort Mojisola Ayoka Adekunle, aged 70, is dead. She was a retired headmistress and devoted Christian. Service of songs and wake keep hold at her residence in Ishokun Oyo, Oyo State on Friday, June 21, 2013. Church service holds at the First Baptist Church, Ishokun Oyo at 1pm. Burial takes place on Saturday, June 22. Reception and entertainment of guests at the Old Oyo National Park, Iseyin Road, Oyo, after the burial. She is survived by her husband, Mr. Steve Ade

Adekunle and children, among whom are Mrs. Sade Adejumobi, Mr. Dapo Adekunle, Ayo Adekunle and grand children.


TheGuardian

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013 | 49

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Cover

Mark

Jonathan

Tambuwal

CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT: Will This NASS Turn Things Around For Good? From Adamu Abuh (Abuja) T was definitely not going to be a tea party for I7ththe David Mark/Aminu Waziri Tambuwal led National Assembly of the Fourth Republic, to actualize its legislative agenda of ensuring an open –ended amendment of the 1999 constitution on a terrain where their predecessors failed to achieve any meaningful impact. The 1999 Constitution, which was bequeathed to Nigerians by the Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakarled military administration, had little or no genuine input from the Nigerian people or their representatives. It is the fourth constitution since independence in October 1960 after those of 1960, 1963 and 1979. In the beginning, when the idea was initiated, it seems it was a mission impossible as power tussle between the legislators and the presidency on the one hand, and from among the legislators themselves constituted a clog in the wheel to the amendment of the constitution. The situation was further aggravated by the notion in certain quarters that the constitution amendment process is yet another ploy deployed by the legislators for self-aggrandisement in a multibillion naira guzzling project. This notion is reinforced by previous attempts did not achieve much, after a lot of resources were deployed. Relying on the powers conferred on them by the 1999 constitution to make laws for the good governance of the country, members of the national assembly trudged on, resolving to traverse the length and breadth of the country to seek the inputs of their respective constituencies to achieve the desired goal. This is crucial because the major argument against the 1999 Constitution was that it did not take into account what citizens want. Whether the collated views of Nigerians on salient matters ranging from tenure for the president, and governors, local council autonomy, immunity clause, states creation, presidential/cabinet system of government, Bicameral/uni-cameral legislature, fiscal federalism, power rotation, indegenship, gender equality, and resource control among others, would go down well with members of the both the National Assembly and two-thirds of the 36 state assemblies, when it is presented in the form of a

Bill is yet to be seen in the days ahead. The response trailing the public presentation of the collated outcome of the wishes of Nigerians on the proposed amendment of the constitution could negate the milestone recorded by the lawmakers as the protestations against the exercise is yet to abate till this day. Key interest groups in the mould of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) still insists that “all the grandstanding about amendments in the national assembly remains an exercise in futility, of unintended self-delusion and a dissipation of everybody’s time.” NADECO, which had never minced words in advocating for a sovereign national conference to formulate a new constitution for the country, in a recent proclamation to mark the anniversary of the annulment of June 12 polls in which late chief M.K.O Abiola was widely acclaimed to have won, reiterated that the National Assembly lacks the power to redress the shortfalls in the 1999 constitution. The pro-democracy group maintained that the 1999 constitution engendered the fertile ground for corruption, impunity, mediocrity, ethno-religious violence and hardship that persist among Nigerians. In the same vein, the Southern Nigeria People’s Assembly (SNPA), comprising key stakeholders like former vice president, chief Alex Ekwueme (south –east), chief Edwin Clark (south-south), Bishop Emmanuel Gbonigi (South-west) faulted the ongoing moves to amend the 1999 constitution by the National Assembly, on the premise that the power to give to Nigerians a constitution is domiciled with the people of Nigeria, who remain the sovereign authority to do so. The kano State Governor, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who is one of those that believe that it was too early to grant full autonomy to local councils in view of the fledgling nature of the actors at the grassroots’ level was of the school of thought that the exercise embarked upon by the lawmakers was solely aimed at enriching themselves to the detriment of the downtrodden. Speaking with the Guardian in a recent interview, he argues that rather than embark on constitutional amendment, the lawmakers should be more preoccupied with ensuring good gover-

nance in the polity.   He said: “As far as I am concerned, since I am reflecting the position of the people of Kano, since I am the one elected to govern the state, the general feeling here is that ‘look, we want better life, we want to see things on the ground.’ And I believe the people of Kano State as well as Nigerians are all good people. “All what Nigerians need, irrespective of the party in power, or whether it is a Muslim or Christian that is in power, all what people want is how and who can come and make life better for us, period! In this case, there is no issue of constitutional amendment.” Whether much would be achieved on the matter at hand would depend on the disposition of governors of the 36 states of the federation, who are now primed to reason that this initiative of the legislators as an attempt to whittle the enormous influence they wield in their respective domain. The see issues like council autonomy, financial independence for state legislators and abrogating the joint account system between states and councils as calculations designed to reduce states’ influence. But Alhaji Zakari Mohammed, who is the spokesperson of the House of Representatives who made reference to autonomy to the local councils, independence of the legislature in the second tier level of government as instances of milestone recorded in the initiative, insisting that there is something worth celebrating in the work done so far. Noting that work done so far on constitutional amendment would surely entrench and strengthen the country’s democracy and good governance, he urged the citizens to impress on their respective governors and members of the state’s Houses of Assemblies to approve all items proposed for amendment. Effort to address the inherent flaws in the constitution at the NASS actually began when four members of the House led by Dr. Jerry Ugokwe, then representing Idemili federal constituency of Anambra State, took the bull by the horns on July 13, 1999, when he moved a motion seeking for adoption of the 1999 Constitution as “Transitional Constitution” on the floor of House of Representatives. The motion which

sought to portray the constitution as an aberration was killed on the basis that it was out of order and not deserving any merit for legislative discussion. In May 23, 2000, a headway was achieved when the National Assembly, via the House of Representatives in a motion moved by the then House leader, Mohammed Wakil passed a resolution to set up a joint committee to review the 1999 Constitution alongside their Senate counterpart after a joint session, leading to the establishment of the Joint National Assembly Constitution Review Committee (JCRC) in September 2000. Due to the frosty relationship between the Senators under Chuba Okadigbo/Pius Anyim and Ghali Umar NaÁbba-led NASS and former president Olusegun Obasanjo, not much was achieved on constitutional amendment before the end of the First Assembly of the Fourth Republic in May 2003. The alleged quest by Obasanjo to cash in on the constitution amendment process to seek tenure elongation prior to the 2007 polls did not help matters as the constitution amendment Bill failed to see the light of the day on arrival at the floor of the Senate presided over by Senator Ken Nnamani. A power tussle between the Senate and the House of Representatives over chairmanship of the Constitution Review Committee ensued when the sixth Assembly picked up the gauntlet on the amendment of the constitution. After heated debate and hullabaloo by well-meaning Nigerians, it was resolved that the two chambers split into two separate Constitution Review Committees, headed by the Deputy Senate President for the upper chamber and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively. The decision to go separate ways turned out to be a blessing in disguise as each chamber was able to reach meaningful conclusion on different areas of the Constitution. Areas of disagreement between the two chambers were consequently harmonized at the conference of the two chambers, leading to a historic amendment of the Constitution for the first time before the expiration of the senator David Mark led 6th assembly.


50 |

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

COVER

EKWEREMADU: Consensus Must Guide Whole • You Don’t Need Constitutional Amendment To Create States • Military Made State Creation Tedious And Difficult With The 1999 Constitution Ike Ekweremadu is Deputy Senate President and chairman of Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Amendment of the Constitution. He spoke to select journalists, where he gave insights into the recommendations of the committee. Our Abuja Bureau Chief, MADU ONUORAH, was there.  Excerpts On Experience So Far At Constitution Amendment N terms of experience, what went for us was the number of times we had been involved in constitutional review or amendment — this is the fourth— and we really benefitted from the work we did previously. We were conscious of how history would judge all of us and how our roles in this enterprise would be recorded. We were also conscious of the fact that the previous efforts yielded some positive results including the issues of electoral reform and taking care of what happened in the death of our President that traumatised all of us. This was because of the non-provision in the constitution of what happens when the President or Governor gets ill, and then, there is no transmission of authority. Because of these positive impacts of our previous exercise, we resolved we were not going to be Ekweremadu guided by high sentiments, but to ensure that we had same positive impact. One of the criticisms of the first amendment was that we focused on electoral reform — the illness of the president. But we had to look at it We also know that at the level of our Committee, what is needed to make from the contingency point of view before deala recommendation is a single majority of votes of members, it was easy ing with the issues Nigerians are concerned about such as evolution of powers, local council for the committee members to get enough votes to say we recommend autonomy, what form of executive system we this or that to the Senate. But we are also conscious of the fact that if we were going to operate and how to reposition our judiciary. This is because in the past, when get to the floor of the Senate, what we need is two third of the members. Ibrahim Mantu’s Committee wanted to We are talking of 74 senators to support it. And as a matter of fact, for take whole bunch of things, it all collapsed and those of us who believe in providence, we believe that power comes from we learnt from that exercise not to try to do everything at the same time. God. Those who have been president of Nigeria, they didn’t get there by The committee decided to adopt the implescheming. So, we will be stupid to begin to scheme because I don’t think mental approach in our own exercise by segmenting and prioritising things. We have dealt we are stupid. with issues that are really urgent at the time, but there are other issues that are equally important, which are some of the things that we have really police and they are not regulated, which is will serve the ends of our current democracy. dealt with now. And even now, it is not exhausdangerous. We felt that this will save us money, it will save tive as there are certain matters, which we were So, if we constitutionally approve decenus the crisis that comes with it and the chief unable to make proper recommendations to our tralised police or state police, then we are executive will be better focused. And for those colleagues because we have not been able to going to put arrangements in place that will who talk about turn by turn, it will keep reachbuild sufficient consensus. ing them easier. It resolves the economic, social This is because we need to build consensus that be able to coordinate it and then supervise it like the case of the courts. and security challenges that follow these fourwill enable issues to sail through at the level of Why Six-year single tenure year elections, which we have been practicing National Assembly as well as the State assemWe are not a country in isolation and we and we are having problems each time. These blies. We look at all these things and see how we are the things that formed it. approach it to see that whatever is done, doesn’t must be able to borrow from best example. We now said that those presently occupying come to naught. Some of these issues include the Secondly, we have had this 1999 Constitution and we’ve been having one kind of problem positions including my President and governors decentralisation of police, which is what some or the other in the system that refused to go might not contest as part of their sacrifice for a call State police. We would want some kind of away. And in finding solutions to some of better Nigeria. And let me say that my President decentralisation that allows for not just for the these challenges, one of them is the cost of has not told anybody that he wants to run anystate to have their own police, but possibly local elections and the crisis that goes with the way. So, I don’t know where people got that councils and some major institutions including reelection of incumbents, which is that either from that he is running. He said ‘by 2014 I will universities. And that’s the only way we can the incumbents are spending so much of make up my mind’ and I believe him. He can say secure this country. With this, major stakeholdI am not running anyway. And don’t forget that ers would be able to set up their own security sys- state resources to get reelected, which otherwise, shouldn’t have been, or someone is he was earliest person to mute this idea of a sintems that are well coordinated at particular levsomewhere creating so much trouble for the gle tenure of six years and he gave the same reaels, which is what happens in most advance countries. That’s eventually what we are going to Executives in order to push away the governor son we are giving now. So, he is also convinced about it. Whether to run or not is his personal do in this country. But because we have not been or the president to come in. These actions decision because constitutionally he is entitled able to secure sufficient consensus around it, we overheat the system and because we don’t have statistics in this country, we don’t know to run anyway. But we said those who are there decided to let it be and see what we can do to reposition the present police in such a way that it that a lot of people get killed, get injured, their now, if we say they will benefit from it, the implihouses and properties burnt. So, we asked our- cation therefore is that if any one of them wins can effective until such a time when Nigerians selves; is it worth it? If it is not worth it, then is re-election, he is going to spend 10 years instead will be able to understand that decentralisation there any place we had this kind of experience of eight years. So, that’s an option. The second of the police is the best way to go. in the past and how did they approach it? option is that we exclude them and appeal to Reaching Consensus So, we now took a global view and we looked them to make personal sacrifice in the interest It is difficult to reach a consensus because some at places like Latin America that had the same of the country because those who are involved people fear that the governors will use State scenario as we have now in the 70s and 80s. are basically the President, his Vice and about 10 police to intimidate their opponents. Some fear They came together just as we are doing now governors and their deputies. that some states are rich enough to set it up and opted for the single term solution. They I am sure Nigerians will find it difficult to while some others are too poor to do so. Then, there will be some level of inequality in the oper- even created a transition period. They had sin- accept a tenure of 10 years, if they participate ation of the decentralised police. Some even fear gle tenure of six years and when they seem to and they will think that it was the same elongahave a stabilised democracy, they started com- tion, which they were suspecting the President that it might break up the country, that some ing back to two-term tenures. If we do six when he made that proposition that were called states in the South can afford to acquire suffiyears of tenure here and we felt that it is too back to. They will now say that the President has cient weapons and say they are no longer a part now used the National Assembly to get what he of this country. But it will not happen because we long and the system stabilises, then we can couldn’t get himself directly. So, in order to are going to place certain limitations in terms of also revert and start doing two terms of four years each. Countries keep shifting when mat- show that what we are doing is informed by the type of arms and ammunitions the subpatriotism and the best interest of the country, national police can acquire. And don’t forget that ters like this comes up. The society itself is dynamic. We felt that this we suggested that those who are currently in most of the states have a semblance of a local the position should make sacrifice and not ben-

I

efit from it. But it is far from targeting any person. And we believe that if our colleagues in their wisdom during the debates feel that the President and the other governors should benefit from it, I don’t have a problem with it and I don’t think my colleagues will have a problem with it. If they also decide that the single tenure start by 2019 as it is good enough for the country but the timing is not good for 2015; that is also an option. But it is appropriate that we look at a single term, as a good option for us just as we are also canvassing that bicameral legislature is too expensive for us as a country. I believe that that also be visited someday. There are a lot of issues, which we need to revisit in the best interest of this country. But over time, as we practice our democracy and discover them, we will find solution and see how it helps us because as I said this is dynamic. We need to follow the dynamism and begin to adjust until we get something that if it is not perfect but near perfect. On Reaching Consensus With House First, look, for somebody to say the house is not supporting the position of the Senate on tenure or any other issue is not fair to the House because it has never considered it. Maybe, some individuals are making personal statements and I want to be quoted that those statements do not represent the position of the House because I know that the House of Representative had not discussed anything about it. It is just like Senate saying it is not supporting the position of the House. There will be crisis. So, there must be a point where we meet with the House and harmonise our positions. So, for somebody to say without even debate or discussion that any particular arm of the parliament will not agree with the other is calling for crisis. I don’t think the person was speaking for the House anyway because the House never at a time met to discuss our report. That is really unfair to the house. And I will not be disappointed in anyway, if any of our recommendations were not passed into law in the end. Look at the issue of autonomy for State Assemblies. We passed it at both the Senate and the House, but when we went to the State Assemblies, 23 supported it while all we needed for it to go through was 24. Today, the State Houses of Assembly are themselves calling for it. The Speakers had met severally are now putting pressures on us to put it in our list this time. So, even if this doesn’t work out and Nigerian feels we have made a mistake or that those parliamentarians have made a mistake by not supporting it, it could be revisited by subsequent parliaments. So, there is nothing personal about it. We did not make any recommendation under pressure. We also know that at the level of our Committee, what is needed to make a recom-

CONTINUED ON PAGE 51


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

| 51

COVER

Process Of Constitution Amendment CONTINUED FROM PAGE 50 mendation is a single majority of votes of members, it was easy for the committee members to get enough votes to say we recommend this or that to the Senate. But we are also conscious of the fact that if we get to the floor of the Senate, what we need is two third of the members. We are talking of 74 senators to support it. And as a matter of fact, for those of us who believe in providence, we believe that power comes from God. Those who have been president of Nigeria, they didn’t get there by scheming. So, we will be stupid to begin to scheme because I don’t think we are stupid. Former President Shehu Shagari never schemed to be president when he became president. He only wanted to be a Senator. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo came out of prison and wanted to go back to his farm. He didn’t scheme to be president but he ended up being president. The late President Umaru Musa YarAdua too wanted to go back to the classroom. He didn’t scheme to be president. President Goodluck Jonathan didn’t plan to be president until his boss died. Those who had wanted to be president in Nigeria didn’t make it. Nobody who had schemed to be president here succeeded. So, we are not strangers to Nigerian politics. The point I am making is that for anybody to think that we are working towards a particular person being president, it means that we are not students of history and if you call it superstition I don’t care. But I know and I think that every other person understand especially members of the parliament that it doesn’t make any sense to begin to scheme on how you will be president or how you will be governor and you begin to think that that’s how you are going to get it. What we did was actually informed by the best interest of this country. Okay, who was the President scheming for to replace him when he said we should do single term? You see, some Nigerians see things from the negative side most of the time and that’s very unfortunate. When things are well-intentioned people tend to bring all kinds of inference in order to destroy the best intentions. It is just some mischief-makers who are saying this. I am surprised somebody will be thinking along that line. On Pensions Recommendation For Former Presiding Officers Our country is founded on the principle of rule of law and one of the aspects of rule of law is equality. And equality invites equality. If the constitution had provided that former heads of states should benefit from some pension scheme at the end of their terms, the only way to explain that the presiding officers of the National Assembly did no benefit was because it was the executive that drew up the Constitution and there was no legislature at the time they made it. It cannot be explained in any other ground. David Mark has been Senate President for six years. Now, you have people who have been president for four years benefitting. And if you are a president for one year and even less, you can benefit as well. But somebody has been Senate President for six years and you say he is not entitled to any remuneration at the end of the tenure because he is David Mark. We need to be fair to ourselves. We have three arms of gov-

Former President Shehu Shagari never schemed to be president when he became president. He only wanted to be a Senator. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo came out of prison and wanted to go back to his farm. He didn’t scheme to be president but he ended up being president. The late President Umaru Musa YarAdua too wanted to go back to the classroom. He didn’t scheme to be president. President Goodluck Jonathan didn’t plan to be president until his boss died. Those who had wanted to be president in Nigeria didn’t make it. Nobody who had schemed to be president here succeeded. So, we are not strangers to Nigerian politics. ernment and heads of each arm of government there is a terminal remuneration and then you say because the National Assembly is neither executive nor judiciary it shouldn’t benefit; that’s not fair. It is not about us; don’t forget that there are people who held the position before and that others will hold it. We don’t know who it is going to be tomorrow. We don’t begin to look at the primary beneficiaries. We must look at it holistically. I think that it is the right thing to do irrespective of who is going to benefit from it. We must try as much as possible to balance both the responsibility and the benefits that goes with these arms of government.  And nobody called attention to it before for if somebody had called attention to it, I am sure that this would have reflected it from original draft of the constitution in 1999. On State Creation There is a Chinese proverb that says, “The faintest ink is better than the best idea.” All the analyses we did about the 61 requests for state creations are all written, so, I am not even going to look for any proof as the documents are there. We are talking about rule of law for Christ sake. If the Constitution says someone has to sign, that person must sign. There is no sentiment about it. Why are people worried about it? All they needed to do is to go and get the people to sign instead of living in regrets? We said the right people didn’t sign as they didn’t sign. Any person who said the right people signed let him come out and we will bring the documents we have. There are no sentiments about it. I come from the South East and South East wants a State. But they needed to have done the correct thing. At the level of the committee, they agreed to back any request from the South East that meets the criteria. You can ask any member of the committee. But we didn’t do that because there was no document to support it. So, what I expected those who agitated for States is to go and look at

their documents in the National Assembly. That’s one. Two, if you refuse to do organise local council elections as in the case of Anambra State, how are you going to get a State because you need elected councilors and chairmen to sign the request. Will Ekweremadu go and manufacture them just to give a state to the South East? People must do their job and I must do my own. I am not only a legislator. I am also a lawyer. I swore an oath to defend the constitution and now I preside where people will not just bring a document by traditional rulers and you want me to come and recommend it to my colleagues or convince them to accept it because I want a State for my people. My people can do better that what they did. We have all kinds of intellectuals in the South East and so it must be some kind of oversight. But if tomorrow, they come up with an amended copy where we have current members of the parliament from the federal to the state to the local council signing it, I can tell you that we would be very happy to call on INEC to go and do referendum in those places, which is the next step. So, that’s the issue.  You don’t need a constitutional amendment to create States. Go and read Section 8 of the Constitution. It said you make a request to the National Assembly supported by so so and so signatures. Once they receive it, for the purposes of authenticity, you verify it. Once you verify it, the next thing is for the Assembly to call on INEC pursuant to the Act establishing INEC and they will go and do a referendum. And when the referendum is done, you now take it to all the States of this country and you shouldn’t forget this because people think that that is the end of the matter if the National Assembly approves a request. You are going to take it to the 36 States and all the members of the assemblies will vote and you require one-third votes of the State Assemblies to consent to a particular State request no matter where it is coming from. And when you get that, then you bring the request back to the National Assembly for

voting, which is the last step. And you now need two third of the Senate and two third of the House to get it done. So, it is not an easy process. Signing the request for State creation is just the beginning. If you can’t do the basic thing of getting people to sign, I don’t know how you are going to go through the hurdles of going through the 36 states. So, those who are complaining are complaining for nothing. We looked at the possibility of relaxing the tedious process of amending the Constitution. But you see, you can amend any other aspect of the constitution with two third votes of the Senate and the House and simple majority of the House of Assembly in 24 States. But when you want to amend Section 8 or Section 9, which is the Section we are talking about, that has to do with States creation or something that has to do with Chapter 4 of the Constitution, which is fundamental human rights, you need a higher degree of resolution, which is 4 over 5. So, we felt that until we build sufficient consensus, it is going to be difficult to get such an amendment. That’s the constraint. The soldiers who made the 1999 Constitution were mindful of what they were doing. They knew the process they were putting in place for State creation was tedious and difficult. Recall that some time last year, I said it was near impossible to create a State and people misunderstood me and I stopped. Now, they are beginning to see it because at that point nobody wanted to read the provision of the constitution guiding the procedure. They were hoping that just like during the military era, the National Assembly will come one day and begin to announce that a state has been created. Some people still think that way till today.

South-Easterners Insist On State Creation For instance, he said that the present constitution vests much powers and responsibilities on ROFESSOR of Constitutional law, Prof the president, adding that one major challenge RACE Achara has said that the contin- the constitution has faced over time was that uing existence of the country after 2015 the document was too bulky that it is being as an indivisible entity would be largely subjected to various interpretations. Achara expressed fears that though Nigerians determined by the success of the ongoare desirous of changes in the constitution, it ing amendment of the 1999 constitumay take a much longer time to be realised tion. going by the way the National Assembly was He stated that Nigerians eagerly want the constitution to be amended so as to going about it. He said there was need for the National Assembly to seriously retool her strataddress certain flaws and anomalies in the polity, as well as strengthen the dem- egy and bring in experts from the various fields, who would work on the documents and ocratic institutions, stressing that the ideas already generated, if it hopes to meet the country had not worked effectively because the constitution it operates was July deadline, stressing that the legislators were occupied with too many national issues. foisted on it by the military. Achara said, “My fear is that the time frame the Achara stated that issues like equality National Assembly set for this exercise has in the polity, citizenship rights, tenure, passed and the reason why we can’t have it joint account system, state police, immunity clause, governance, local gov- within that time frame is because of the system they adopted, there are cacophony of ernment system, devolution of power views which I think has made the job complex. etc, are some issues that need to be Remember the National Assembly has its job addressed in the amendment. and various other issues dealing with the From Lawrence Njoku (ENUGU)

P

country, like the one now happening in the northern part of the country. So they are concerned with that and working hard to deal with those issues, for them to now go into the complicated problem of minute issues of our constitution, which is 320 sections, is something I think is difficult. The issue is, what time do they have to do a thorough job and churn out a document that can be appreciated by Nigerians?” As a way out, he suggested that, “the first thing I think they should do is to start properly, to go get the experts in this area. All professors of constitutional Law, professors of Political Science, professors of History, professors of Journalism, get all of them together, let them bring out something that will represent our new constitution, about areas that should be delved into in terms of amendment of constitution. You need to understand that first of all, there should be a reason for this amendment and we should determine what those things are; we need to draw distinction between issues of policy and

administration, everything is lumped together. “For instance, people are cutting tarred roads, we want to put it in our constitution; these are matters that should be dealt with by legislators as ordinary laws, the issue of constitution amendment is more technical and detailed and that is what the experts need to deal with, to be able to bring different ideas to know where to site functions and when they have done that, it will set out the process of debate on the floor of the National Assembly.  This is if they want to do an honest job because we are not trying to amend the constitution for amendment sake, but to better the life of our people and strengthen our institutions. Our constitution is fraught with so much error. It is so detailed that it has therefore lent itself to all sorts of ambiguities, interpretations and contradictions. So the first thing we need to do with our constitution is to cut it down to manageable limits and allow experts in the judiciary and body of law to handle it.”


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

52

COVER

CONST AMENDMENT: How The People Voted In The Proposed Amendment From Adamu Abuh, Terhemba Daka

• House Promises To Reflect Public Opinion, Sets August Deadline

ARRING unforeseen circumstances, the House of Representatives would have concluded all that is required to ensure an amendment of the 1999 constitution before the end of August this year. Chairman House committee on Media and Public Affairs, Zakari Mohammed disclosed that a sub-committee of the House led by Mr. Sam Tsokwa would soon present a clean copy of the proposed amendment to the entire 360 members of the House of Representatives for consideration.    He said: “The constitutional review committee has concluded its report and anytime from now, it would be laid before the House for debate. The first and second reading would come up soon. The entire 1999 constitution would be consolidated as a Bill. We have a sub-committee led by Sam Tsokwa that is supposed to report back in the next few days before we would now lay it. “I am sure by the time we come back from our two weeks break, (which commenced on June 6) a time would be fixed for it to be laid. A public hearing just like every other law making process would be done to at least take the views of individuals and even corporate bodies to come and contribute to it.” Explaining further, Mohammed noted: “But all I know is that we are still working within Tambuwal the timeframe. We initially said by May this year, but we are now looking at July-August. I Tambuwal said the decision, was in keepam sure that from what is on ground now by that time, we would have been home and ing with the promise by the 7th Assembly dry. The entire thing would be a painstaking that the House will make the process of the Public Sessions, and indeed, the entire effort and like surgeons in the theatre takConstitution amendment exercise transing delivery, you must be careful that both parent, inclusive and accountable to the the mother and the baby come out alive. Nigerian people. That is exactly the process. So, I want Eventually, the Ihedioha committee report Nigerians to be patient and we would put laid bare the aspirations of Nigerians, indithis issue behind us very soon.” The latest position by Mohammed was a by- cating, among others, that Nigerians would be happier if the enormous powers and product of the public presentations of the influences wielded by the 36 states govercollated results of the people’s public sesnors of the federation are whittled down sions of the review of the1999 Constitution, drastically. presented by the deputy Speaker and chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc In the 43-item template report unveiled before stakeholders, majority of Nigerians committee on the review of the 1999 constiwere unanimous in approving full autonotution, Emeka Ihedioha, on the April 18. my for the 774 councils. The Ihedioha-led committee held a groundSpecifically, in items 9, 10, 12, 13, 14 and 16 breaking retreat in May 2012 in Port of the template, Nigerians expressed the Harcourt, to lay a firm foundation for its desire that the local councils be granted work. The retreat attracted presentations and submissions by intellectuals, civil socie- financial autonomy, called for the abolishment of the joint state/local council ty groups, political interest groups, profesaccounts, so that allocations due to the sional associations and labour, among othlocal councils be paid to them directly; that ers. It produced a communiqué, which outthe local councils be accorded the status of lined key areas of focus and framework of a third tier of government, that the local action for the review process in earnest. councils be denied revenue allocation if The committee thereafter called for and unelected local council chairmen are at the received over 200 memoranda from diverse interest groups and members of the general helm, as well as defining the tenure of local councils chairmen and councilors in the public. Arising from the memos received, proposed amendment of the constitution. the committee formulated a 43-item temOf note is the call for the abolishment of plate of issues/questions, which covered the the often-abused state Independent crux of what changes/amendments Electoral Commission (SIECs), so that the Nigerians yearn for in the Constitution. Independent National Electoral This template formed the basis for engagCommission (INEC) conducts all elections, ing Nigerians at the grassroots in Peoples as well as granting financial autonomy to Public Sessions held across the 360 federal the states Houses of Assemblies, as is the constituencies in the country on November case with the National Assembly. 10, 2012. On the issue of state police, the preponderance of views by Nigerians indicated But the presentation of the report on the that they are not only opposed to the idea views that were collected from the 360 of giving governors control over the comFederal Constituencies on January 13 2013 was deferred for reasons that were not quite missioners of police in their respective clear, and some members of the civil society states, they agree that the current police structure and system as provided for in the protested. constitution be retained. The Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who According to the template, Nigerians also rose from a marathon meeting of principal rejected the insertion of rotation of the officers that lasted over three hours, had appeared at the conference hall 231, venue of office of the president between the norththe presentation and announced the cancel- ern and southern parts of Nigeria, as well as making the office of the president rotate lation of the event. among the six geo-political zones in the He based the cancellation on the need to country. put certain things right by doing more conThe question whether a provision be sultations on the issues. But fears heightinserted in the constitution to make the ened that the presentation may have been office of the Governor of a state rotate marred by credibility crisis.

B

Ihedioha among the three senatorial districts in the state was put before the constituencies, the verdict, based on the template went thus: 175 voted in support, 181 voted against the idea, while 4 constituencies remained undecided on the matter. The template further indicated that 225 as against 132 of the constituencies expressed support for the amendment of the constitution to make the immunity for the president, vice president, governor or deputy governor cover only civil proceedings while in office. Three constituencies remained undecided on the matter. Though Nigerians opposed the proposal to grant their compatriots in the Diaspora voting rights, they expressed preference for the retention of the present presidential system of government and bi-cameral legislature. When the question, should the office of the president or governor of a state be filled purely on merit, instead of zoning was put before Nigerians in the 360 constituencies, the total vote counts indicated thus: 224 voted in support, 135 opposed it while one constituency remained undecided on the issue. Nigerians also expressed support for the two term provisions for both the office of the governor and the president, independent candidacy in elections, creation of a role for traditional rulers in the constitution, the need for electoral reforms, reforms of the judicial institutions to ensure quicker dispensation of justice and separation of the office of the Accountant General of the federation by the creation of the office of the Accountant General of the states. Nigerians also expressed support for the amendment of the constitution to separate the office of the Attorney General of the federation from the position of Minister of Justice of the federation and enabling the revenue mobilisation allocation and fiscal commission send proposals for revenue allocation directly to the national assembly in order to avoid undue delays in preparation of the revenue formulae.  On the issue of fiscal federalism, votes from 236 constituencies outnumbered the views of 123 constituencies that opposed the proposal that Nigeria should implement the practice of federalism that allows states to control up to 50 percent of their resources and pay the reminder to the federation. Five constituencies remained

undecided on the issue. Similarly, 224 as against 125 constituencies voted against the proposal that the derivation component of revenue allocation be increased to at least 20 per cent. 11 constituencies remained undecided on the issue. Though those clamouring for an amendment to address gender issues, including but not limited to reserving certain percentage of elective offices for women failed to have their way, Nigerians supported the need for a specific provision in the constitution to take care of the interest of persons with disability. On the question whether section 315 (5) (a) and (d) be amended to remove the National Youth Service Corps Act, the Land Use Act, Public Complaints Commission Act, National Security Agencies Act from the constitution, 216 constituencies voted against the idea, while 139 were in support. Five constituencies remained undecided on the issue. On whether indegenship of an area be defined to include persons who have resided in an area for a continuous long period and therefore are entitled to accruing rights, duties and privileges, 188 constituencies voted in support while 167 voted against it. Five constituencies remained undecided on the issue at the centre of bloody conflicts in Plateau State and other parts of the country. A 3-day retreat was held at Protea Hotel, in Abuja barely three days after the public presentation of the collated report, where the Speaker Tambuwal tasked the 51-member committee to ensure that the draft bills were free from their personal prejudices.  Tambuwal specifically charged the Ad hoc Committee on the Review not to allow personal bias of members to influence the panel’s judgment, as the Committee members began work on the draft bills arising from the review exercise. The retreat was therefore designed to afford members an opportunity to deliberate on draft bills on the aspects of the 1999 Constitution that Nigerians would want to see amended, as was clearly indicated by the voting during the Peoples’ Public Sessions on November 10, 2012. “These bills must reflect craftsmanship, detail and lucidity. I must again emphasise the need for your work to be free of all personal bias. You must work only on data provided by the nationwide public hearing and your conclusion should reflect the aggregate opinion of fellow Nigerians. “As you well know, our country today faces many challenges and some of our people have been asking questions about the very nature of our union. We hope eventually to provide Nigerians with a Constitution that will answer some of these questions and further cement our hard fought unity.” Continuing, Tambuwal noted: “We cannot promise that after this exercise all Nigerians will be fully satisfied with the result or that all agitation will stop. As you have all seen from the analysis of the public hearing conducted in the constituencies, there is not a single subject matter on which we have a hundred percent agreement. “However, we can promise that it will be transparent, it will be fair and it will reflect the true desires of our people. We can also promise that the constitution we will finally present to Nigerians will be better than what we have presently,” he said. Deputy Speaker and chairman of the Review Committee, Ihedioha said the membership of the committee was deliberately selected to represent all relevant interests, because of the sensitive nature of the Review Process. “It is based on state representation, so that each state and Federal Capital Territory has a member chosen by the state caucus in the House. The Deputy Speaker is the chairman and all other principal officers except the Speaker are members. Five members represent interests of women and other special interests.


TheGuardian

Sunday, June 16, 2013 | 53

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion Anenih’s Proposed Automatic Tickets By Sufuyan Ojeifo

O

N Thursday, May 30, 2013, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, stirred the polity with a proposal that some people consider controversial: he proposed that the PDP should reward incumbent presidents and governors who perform well in office with an automatic second term ticket. Speaking in Abuja, at a dinner organised by President Goodluck Jonathan for select group of the party’s top leadership, Anenih said his proposal would position the PDP to come out of its present challenges stronger and more united. If accepted by the party, his advocacy will, naturally, make those who fall within his categorization, “skip” the usual rancorous party primaries. Prominent among the beneficiaries will be President Goodluck Jonathan whose perceived interest in the 2015 presidential contest has already generated heated arguments, especially after an Abuja High Court, presided over by Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi, last year declared him eligible to contest for a second term if he so wishes. Ever since the suggestion, Anenih, the man well known as political tactician-in-chief, has received unfair knocks from different quarters, especially from people who have either not fully digested and reflected deeply on it, or have opposed it for their selfish ends. Some have also wrongly interpreted it as a plan to undercut the democratic process. No doubt, Anenih’s proposal is borne out of his genuine concern for the PDP, which has been weighed down in recent times by internal problems.  His reasoning is that while party primaries are unavoidable, especially for incoming chief executives, it is definitely an unnecessary distraction for incumbents aspiring for a second term, especially when they do well.  Besides, as he argued, energies and financial resources could be reserved for the bigger battle against the other parties in the general elections. Though the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and other opposition groups have criticized the suggestion, the strongest of them has come from former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who has threatened to drag the PDP to court if the pol-

Jonathan icy is adopted.  While the ACF, the socio-cultural umbrella organisation of the North and obviously a meddlesome interloper in PDP’s internal affairs, condemned the suggestion on the grounds that it would violate the provisions of the Electoral Act on internal democracy, Atiku, an interested stakeholder and leading member of the party, said he opposed it because it amounted to a “consensus arrangement” and an “adoption” which would be equal to a “travesty of democracy.”  But then, Atiku’s utterances are most surprising, going by his political antecedents.  For a man who contested the PDP primaries of 2011 as the North’s “consensus” candidate, it is an irony that he has chosen to attack Anenih’s proposal on the argument that “consensus” arrangements are undemocratic.  When did Atiku, who gleefully celebrated his adoption by the Adamu Ciroma-led group of 17 Northern Elders, develop such a strong allergy to adoption and consensus?  As his democratic credentials have usually been criticised, the recent utterances are seen as one of those contradictions in his politics since his desperate quest for the presidency started in

2006. The question to ask is: is Anenih’s suggestion really undemocratic? The answer, of course, is no, especially if reference is made to practices in other democratic presidential systems?  One must never tire of making reference to the United States of America, not only because of her democratic history but because our present practice was directly lifted from there. The inescapable conclusion that must be arrived at is that over the years, it has become the convention in the US that an incumbent president is accorded sole candidacy of his political party at the party’s convention, so long as he is willing to run for a second term.  Even in advocating this practice, Anenih went further to suggest that the automatic tickets should go to incumbents who, by their performances, merit them.  So why then would anyone quarrel with the suggestion that such a practice is adopted in Nigeria where primaries for the president and governors are even more divisive and threaten national unity? In fairness though, Nigeria, which has been experimenting the US model of presidential democracy, both in the Second Republic and the present dispensation, has not deviated from this practice either. Alhaji Shehu Shagari and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who had, at those eras, sought re-election as sitting presidents, were obliged by their parties. In 1983, Shagari was largely unopposed for the ticket of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) while in 2003, Obasanjo prevailed against candidates like Alhaji Abubakar Rimi and Barnabas Gemade to get the PDP re-election ticket.   The difference is that unlike in the second Republic when Shagari’s reelection ticket was automatic, members of the ruling PDP have increasingly bickered over such issues.   What the present proposal seeks is simply to institutionalize it in the PDP and remove the uncertainty and unnecessary divisions that are associated with it.  The party will simply go to the nomination primaries with the candidatures of the lucky sitting presidents and governors as fait accompli, even if genuine opposition or prearranged opponents are encouraged to enter the race in order to give the processes a semblance of democracy through the stamp of voting.  The

party machinery would have been properly driven to seamlessly achieve the agenda. Indeed, in all her long history of democracy, the US has held the light on issues of political stability, which is the basis on which the policy of continuity and consensus is usually canvassed.   Since 1900, for instance, as many as 12 US presidents have been elected to a second term in office, while others failed.  It is instructive to note, however, that those who failed to make it, William Taft, Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, were not denied the tickets by their respective parties, but lost in the general elections proper, due to other factors. Two instances will suffice. In 1992, Republican Party’s George H.W. Bush lost his bid for reelection to Democratic Party’s William Clinton because of widespread discontent at home arising from a faltering economy and continued high deficit spending.   In 1981, Democratic Party’s Jimmy Carter lost his reelection campaign to Republican Party’s Ronald Reagan. Carter’s defeat was traceable to the hostage-taking of U.S. embassy staff members in Iran, which dominated the news during the last 14 months of his administration. The like of Atiku may have chosen to ignore the fact that while the choice of who becomes President ultimately rests with the people, the party in a presidential system has a duty to grant the sitting President the right of first refusal.  Besides, it is difficult to fault any proposal that reduces the rancour, disaffection and threats to national unity that are, these days, associated with the ruling party’s presidential primaries. Automatic tickets for reelections are therefore not only the practice in developed democracies, its adoption by the ruling party will certainly signpost increasing maturity in the nation’s democratic journey. After all, this is better than the process adopted in the opposition parties, especially the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) where some political godfather and quasi-political godfathers sit in the comfort of their mansions to select and impose candidates on the people for elective positions in their states.

Ojeifo contributed this piece from Abuja.

Single-term And Integrity In Governance By Vincent Bamigboye all the geopolitical zones would have produced a “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts President thus giving each of the zones that sense of belonging that encourages national absolutely” Lord John Dalton (1834-1902) cohesion and unity. The single term elections are N July 12, 2011, fresh from his electoral vic- also cheaper, easier to conduct and more transtory in the 2011 General Election, which parent since there should be little interference was attended by terrible violence and loss from incumbents who will have to leave office of lives and property, President Goodluck Ebele after the elections. A single term should encourJonathan proposed a single-term six-year age the holder to work hard in the interest of Presidency for those aspiring to rule Nigeria as economic and socio-political developments so against the current two-terms of four years each. that he can stamp his place in history without It was his belief, and many of us shared in the thought, considerations and wasted efforts it, that such an arrangement would lessen ten- that go with seeking re-election. sion in the polity and reduce violence, which are Hand-in-hand with single Presidency should often associated with second-term elections. The come zoning which should be easier to implesingle-term proposal was also to be extended to ment by the various political parties since contestants will be from the same geopolitical zone the State Governors. We were told that a Bill to that effect was being at any material point in time. prepared by the Presidency and would soon be Those who oppose single term Presidency claim sent to the National Assembly for consideration that it encourages corruption, irresponsibility and passage into law as required by the constitu- and prolongation of agony if the wrong person tion. To demonstrate his sincerity and most is elected. More importantly, a single term presiprobably not wanting to be assumed to be pur- dency will not be unique to Nigeria. There are suing an ambition to elongate his tenure, like we quite a number of nations making democratic all know President Obasanjo once attempted to progress, even when their presidents are limited do, President Jonathan was said to have declared to non-renewable terms. that he would not be a beneficiary of his propos- A few days ago, the Senate decided on the issue al. He would retire to his Otuoke country home of single non-renewable 6-year term for after completing one term by 2015. Some of us President and Governors. The Special Adviser to hailed this proposal as a monumental break the President on Political Matters, Dr. Ahmed from the past and a willingness of an incumbent Gulak, had on May 1 said President Goodluck President to make sacrifice in an attempt to Jonathan was ready to forget his ambition to run for second term in 2015 if the proposal for single change the face of politics in Nigeria. What are the advantages of single-term non-renewable six-year tenure sailed through. Presidency? Nigeria has six geopolitical zones This statement reinforced what Mr President and the presidency has been a most divisive said in July 2011 about wanting to make a sacriissue in our inter-ethnic relations. A single term fice and not being a beneficiary of such an rotational Presidency will douse tension and arrangement. One said a little prayer  for an ensure equal participation of each of the zones evolving statesman in President Jonathan. One in governance. Thus within a period of 36 years tried to reassure oneself that there is hope yet.

O

That optimism was dashed  after I read in  The Punch of 11 June that the same Dr Ahmed Gulak, probably after consulting with his principal and his other advisers, has made a U-turn. The Presidency, according to him, will only support the single term proposal if it comes to effect as from 2019 after President Jonathan would have possibly  completed a second term! The  U-turn raised the question of integrity. One was brought up with the belief that a man’s word should be his bound. A man of integrity should not change his mind at a whim. The blunt truth is that Jonathan is not guaranteed of winning re-election especially if the opposing parties organise well and win over the electorates at the polls. President Jonathan’s integrity could be further damaged by this U-turn. May I  remind readers  that this is not the first time we are witnessing this type of thing  from his Presidency. One remembers when  the then Vice President Jonathan said he was ready to continue as Vice President to a Northern nominee before the 2011 General Election so as to respect the Peoples Democratic Party’s policy on zoning. After some political abracadabra by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, it was agreed that President Jonathan should complete what would have been the  late President Yar’Adua’s two terms. One recollects President Obasanjo, while raising the hands of the then worried-looking President Jonathan at Abuja’s Eagles Square shortly before the 2011 General Election, promising the Nigerian nation that President Jonathan would be a one-term President. May be General Obasanjo was trying to assuage the loss suffered by the North  by the death  of Yar’Adua. The former President even hinted that he had an idea of who would succeed President Jonathan. General Obasanjo, a military man to the core and  one who should be honourable in words

and deeds, might be regretting his support for Jonathan now. The former leader is believed to be rooting for another presidential aspirant, probably from the north, come 2015. One has heard the argument about the North monopolizing the Nigerian Presidency in the past especially under the various military governments. What happened under the military should be consigned to the dustbin of history for Nigeria to move on. We are now in a democracy and there exists a gentleman zoning agreement in the ruling PDP. That agreement has not been respected so far. It seems as if the North will be shortchanged again in 2015. Let one make it clear that one is neither a  Northern apologist nor a follower of any political party but a true believer in fair play. Our democracy will not be advanced by dubious political arrangement that does not take the feelings of other members of the polity into consideration. Whoever goes to equity must have clean hands. There must be integrity in any political arrangement in order  to enhance peace and stability. President Jonathan  would not have demonstrated a desire for peace and stability if he insisted on continuing in office beyond 2015. One is not bothered by what the Dokubo Asaris of this world threaten or say but more about entrenching healthy democratic culture based on integrity which President Jonathan will enhance by standing down for another candidate come 2015. The Presidency under him will do well by supporting, unconditionally, the efforts by the Senate to introduce single term North / South rotational Presidency. Otherwise one will join the rank of those who believe that President Jonathan has been corrupted by the power he now wields. Bamigboye is Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist based in the United Kingdom


TheGuardian

54 | Sunday, June 16, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion Still On Mother And Child By Mark Nwagwu SAW an article titled, On Maternal and Infant Mortality, in The Guardian. Then on February 17, and on 21, I read succinct letters to the editor by Paul Akpa and Chris Chukwu, respectively, which sent me searching for the article by Bose Olayinka in The Guardian of January 14, and 15, 2013. And there was the brilliantly written monument, On Maternal and Infant Mortality. In this irresistible piece, Mrs. Olayinka graphically captured my unreserved loyalty to the woman, and to the child. Mrs. Olayinka’s strikes our conscience with the bitter truth: “[I]s removing pregnancy the best way of reducing maternal mortality? What happens when a woman actually does want to have children and still has to face the above mentioned issues? Think of a newly wedded couple that looks forward to their first born only for either the mother or child or even both of them to lose their lives due to some preventable causes. Of what use is spacing the births (which is itself something laudable and of benefit to mother and child) if the underlying causes of death in pregnancy and infancy are not tackled?” This is exceedingly excruciating and of uttermost import: the problems of mother and child are not solved or eliminated by adopting birth control measures, by whatever names they are called. Even in our better hospitals, the doctors still weep for poor management of pregnancies In 1964, in Stockholm, Sweden, my dear wife lost a child in pregnancy through a delayed diagnosis of the problem. When in 1965 the same problem reared its ugly head again, my wife, in her fifth month of pregnancy was rushed to the Karolinska Hospital, one of the finest hospitals in the world. I was still worried that being the best hospital or not was, not the issue but that my dear wife be safely delivered of her baby. Her obstetrician assured us, with some indignation: “This is Karolinska. We have not had any child death here through pregnancy for so long I don’t remember. One doesn’t easily get a bed here and we’ll make sure this pregnancy lasts to full term.” My wife was admitted into hospital in early February and our child was born in midApril. Yes, this had nothing whatsoever to do with birth control, contraceptives, or condoms, but with excellent medical care. Again, in 1974 when we returned to Nigeria for a year sabbatical leave, my wife had to be rushed to University College Hospital, Ibadan, for the emergency delivery of our second son. And the ingenious obstetrician on the case made sure the baby was safely rescued. Again, this had no relationship whatsoever with child spacing, or condoms, or any other form of preventing pregnancies but with expert and fastidious care. This story is repeated daily in our better hospitals, the doctors working themselves to their bare bones to have our babies

I

JAW JAW By Didi Onu

safely delivered of their mothers. Nigeria has no justifiable reason for being as poor as it is; and certainly the number of innumerable deaths recorded as a result of mismanaged pregnancies and uncared for babies is a huge disgrace and an affront on our humanity. The amiable Prof. B. Osotimehin would tell us that human rights demand that a woman have access to family planning, which is understood to mean whatever interferes with, or obstructs, the fertility of a woman. I love that scene from the 1963 movie, Cleopatra, where Elizabeth Taylor, as Cleopatra, holds her hip and twists them lovingly toward Caesar, played by Rex Harrison, and says ‘My breasts are full of love and life. My hips are rounded and well apart. Such women, they say, have sons.” And I would scream ever after, “Give me fertility or give me death.” Fertility is life, endless life. There may be sorrows; there may be pains; there may be wars; there may even be peace; there may be pestilence; and there may even be economic development, and gay marriages. But if there is no fertility, there is death. And that is where the world seems to be heading. Take the United States for example. Mark Mather, a leading demographic specialist from the Population References Bureau writing on what is driving the decline in U.S. population growth said, among others, “the total fertility rate (TFR) stood at 2.0 births per woman in 2009, down from 2.1 a few years ago – but preliminary data suggest this could drop below two births per woman in 2010. Latinos currently account for more than one fourth of all births in the United States but even this is declining, approaching three births per woman just a few years ago. If current trends continue

the Latina TFR could drop below 2.5 in the near future... population growth for Latinos averaged 3.6 per cent per year during the previous decade but fell to just 2.5 per cent between 2010 and 2011. There was a similar drop for Asian Americans during the same period from 3.6 to 2.2, while the White Non-Hispanic growth rate varied from 0 per cent to 0.1 per cent from 2000 to 2011. These demographic changes have a severe impact on U.S. life and politics and are surely set to influence who wins or loses the presidential elections of the future. Latinos, and Asian Americans tend to vote Democrats! For Singapore, a country touted as the gold standard for rapid transparent development the fertility rate was 1.20 in 2011, a slight increase from 1.15 in 2010. What is exceedingly frightening is that the total fertility rate has been on a general declining trend and has remained below the replacement level of 2.1 for more than 30 years. The declining trend in fertility rate we are told is due to two key factors: more people are staying single or getting married later and married couples are having their first child later and having fewer children. Singapore development has come at a steep price. This is not at all to say that Singapore developed because it had low fertility rates! They could still develop in spite of this. But is this the way we want to go? And what of the superpower China? Former US Secretary of State George Schultz tells us they have ahead of them the most dramatic changes of their age structure of any major country. Due to their one-child policy, China’s fertility rates sank low during the 1980’s and 90’s. As we learn from the World Bank, in 1970 fertility rate was a healthy and helpful 5.5 per woman; by 1980 it dropped drastically

to 2.6 and in 1990, even lower at 2.3. For 2012, estimates put the fertility rate at 1.55. To drive home even more poignantly this demographic debacle, the natural replacement rate in a population is 2.1 children per woman, that is a family of man and wife needs 2.1 children to replace them when the former die. Yes, women bear the brunt of our developmental woes; women menstruate, sometimes with painful consequences; men don’t; women get pregnant, men don’t; women bring their babies to life, men don’t; women breast-feed their babies, men don’t; where there is no man, the woman is left to care for her baby. Women suffer miserably when their lives, especially pregnancies, are uncared for. The eminent professor knows all this too well. And he knows that whether or not a woman uses birth control pills, or commits abortions at will, she still has to live a life in this world. Abortions and birth control pills do not produce light, water, schools, hospitals, or roads. Former President Bill Clinton on the cover of The Guardian February 27, 2013, berates Nigeria for its egregious waste of the oil wealth, much of which is brazenly stolen, the little left for a miserly living just cannot go round. And our women and their babies need these facilities that we all may have a population worth calling Nigerians. What is needed is what addresses the problems of the woman and her child. As our past Minister of Health, the affable professor knows about the congealed cesspool of Nigerian governance. He cannot say he likes what he sees in our government. He is a brilliant man, highly desirous of all that is good for women and all, I am sure. But his present efforts may be no more than his running on the wrong lane in the race for of mother and child care, though he is running fast and seems to be winning. Let us remind him of the male female ratio in China as a result of the obnoxious one-child policy that leads some families to kill their baby if it is a girl! In 1979, the male female ratio was 106 boys to 100 girls (106:100). In 1988, it was 111:100; in 2001, 117:100; in 2005, 120:100 and according to some U.S. reports as of January 2010 the average male-to-female sex ratio for the infant-tofour-year-old age group was 123:100. Two provinces in China, have sex ratios of 140:100 in the infant-to-four-year-old group. The biologically natural sex ratio is 105, that is, 105 boys for every 100 girls. At this rate, China will soon be importing women for marriage; and may already be doing so given its huge immigration numbers. For as long as we have breath, let us provide the wherewithal for mother and child to continue to live admirably. •Professor Nwagwu is of the Department of Biological Sciences Paul University, Awka.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

55

COVER

OPI: Constitutional Review Is Mere Window Dressing Idaye Opi, coordinator of the Niger Delta Project Group told  KELVIN EBIRI in Port Harcourt that the current constitutional review by the National Assembly will turn out to be mere window dressing because the issues at stake are too weighty for them to decide for the Nigerian nation. He insisted that Nigeria needs a far-reaching review and not this window dressing that the National Assembly has once again embarked on. WILL a six-year single tenure for a president and governor help to stabilize the polity? I think the two terms of four years each is better than one six-year single tenure. But then, it is a question of preference. If the rest of the country feels we should go for six years, so be it. For me, I don’t have problem with two terms. The advantage of two terms is that the man elected comes and works for four years and you have the opportunity to assess him and based on the performance of what he has done, you can decide whether or not he should take another shot for another four years. Within that period, if he did well in the first term, he should be able to consolidate on what he had started. When a man is campaigning for a second term, a lot of criticism and reactions are generated by the people. People across the political divide react and from there he begins to gauge himself to know how he performed the first term. And when the votes come in it will be a reflection of how he worked the first time and a pointer of how he is going to design his next roadmap for the second term. But if you say somebody should run for a six-year term, you will not be able to properly assess him. I feel that I will go for four years of two terms because it gives a chance to vote out a bad leader. We don’t want anyone to stay for six years. I know that there are arguments in support of it, but I know that there are demerits too. I think we should not just restrict ourselves to six years. Six years may not be enough to rule a country. Even those who rule for eight years of four per term still complain that there are things they could have done better if they had time. I think that to really run a government, eight years is better. The Americans have been doing this. We borrowed this from the United States. They have been operating this two terms of four years each. They are not stupid. They have reason why they stuck to two terms of four years each. I believe that one of the reasons is the ability to assess a man before you give him another opportunity to complete his good work, if he is doing well. You don’t change a system for the sake of changing it. You see the President who started this thing, he wanted a six-year single tenure and he also said he is not going to take benefit of it. So, the thing is backfiring and some people are taking advantage of that to undo him. But I am hearing that the House of Representatives will not allow it to fly because it is not only the Senate that can do amendment. Well, I don’t see them concluding the amendment before 2015. Even though they want to do that I don’t see them succeeding in all the amendments, because they are not qualified to amend the constitution. But even though they amend it and they succeed, I think it will be after Jonathan. Why is the National Assembly not qualified to review the constitution? I have always held this opinion and that is true, that there are two types of amendments. To amend a constitution means to amend some sections and move on. For this, the National Assembly is qualified. But what we are talking about in this country is not that kind of amendment. We are talking about substitution, an overhaul. We are talking about reviewing the entire thing and overhauling it.  The National Assembly is not meant for that. We are talking constitutional review and they don’t want to hear that this is not their turf.  For instance, you elected a man to go and

Opi

They know the truth but they don’t want to face it. I am sure that it will fail. The National Assembly members are busy running around to amend, it will not fly. What we need is complete overhaul. We will still be amending in the next 200 years. Ask them what is their view on federalism, they don’t have. They are doing window dressing because the issues are weighty and they cannot decide those issues for the Nigerian nation. Nigerians will decide, not the National Assembly. I think they did one recently. Why are they doing another one? It is the same thing we have been saying that this will not fly. I know that constitutional review is not something you do once. Was it not 2010 that we did the last one? We need a far- reaching review and not this window dressing that they are doing make laws for you, and one of the things in the constitution is whether the legislature should be part time or full time. Their remuneration is in question and we are asking whether it should be bicameral legislature or unicameral. These are issues we have to decide without them, independent of them. If you ask a man to decide what is going to concern his fate, you know where he is going to go. You don’t need a soothsayer to tell you he is going to decide in his favour. The National Assembly is an issue in the constitutional review. Why would you review a constitution for us when you are an issue? There are several questions that borders on how they run that Assembly, which we must look at. Respected Nigerians have called for a national conference. There has to be a conference and at the end of day, we have a referendum and the Nigerian nation will adopt and accept what they want as constitution. Then we can tell the National Assembly to go to work. Telling us that you are reviewing the constitution means you are telling us the condition you want to work. We elected you to work for us, so why will you spell out the condition for work. The constitution is the condition upon which the work is done. It spells out relationship between the tiers of government. It spells out how they function and the condition and all that. Politicians still don’t see Nigerians as important. They see us as if they are our masters. They are standing logic on its head. They cannot review the constitution. The psychology of an average politician is that he does not see

Nigerians as the people he is representing, because of the way they find themselves into power. So, they don’t see Nigerians as important. If they see us as important, it will be strange for you to tell me that you want to write my constitution and spell out the condition for you to work. It is absurd and they are not qualified to do it. That is why I say it will fail. Until we get this constitution properly amended, we are just wasting our time in this country. They know the truth but they don’t want to face it. I am sure that it will fail. The National Assembly members are busy running around to amend, it will not fly. What we need is complete overhaul. We will still be amending in the next 200 years. Ask them what is their view on federalism, they don’t have. They are doing window dressing because the issues are weighty and they cannot decide those issues for the Nigerian nation. Nigerians will decide, not the National Assembly. I think they did one recently. Why are they doing another one? It is the same thing we have been saying that this will not fly. I know that constitutional review is not something you do once. Was it not 2010 that we did the last one? We need a far- reaching review and not this window dressing that they are doing. You are seeing clearly that things are not working in this country but you don’t want to address them, instead you wish they could be swept under the carpet. The country will not move forward. These issues will not move away. I have given this quotation by Thomas Jefferson; “that the greatest enemies of the people are the criminals and the government.

And that in the case of the government, that we will use the chain of the constitution to chain those in government so they don’t become the official wing of the criminals.” So the chain we want to use in chaining you called the constitution you want to give us? You will manufacture it and give us. It means you will give us broom and rope. It will not be chain then. We need a strong chain to chain people in government, to make sure they behave according to the law. We need to chain officials of government with the constitution, so that they don’t become official wings of criminals. Will granting financial autonomy to local councils guarantee good governance? Financial autonomy for local government is very important. Those governors opposed to it are not being fair. They want to continue to control the councils. Local governments are the closest form of government to the people. There should be more independent for the local government to enable them deliver. The only way we can solve this is to have proper elections. When the votes count and the man in the council realizes that his ascendancy politically is dependent on the people, he will sit up and work for the people. To resist financial autonomy for local government is the height of greed and insensitivity. If the governors continue to insist that councils should not be financially independent, let the president too do the same to states and keep their money. The local government is the closest to the people and so should be empowered to do its work. Once people who are in politics know that their sustenance in power depends on how they perform, because the electorate will vote them out if they fail to perform, this country will behave well. Once the votes start counting, local government will state doing their work. Should state electoral commissions be scrapped or sustained? I will suggest that since we are in a federation, let us have state electoral commissions. It still boils down to having the votes count. I know that what people have said against it is true. For instance, when a PDP or ACN man is in power in a particular state, all the state elections will go his way. I know it is true, but that is because the votes don’t count. Let the votes count first, all these other issues will be settled when the votes count. If I know that my vote counts and the man that I elected has come back to me at the end of four years for reappraisal, he will behave himself. But when he knows he does not need me to be in power because his godfather will put him there, they will rig themselves in, if you like use national electoral commission or state, it is the same result. We should strengthen our institutions.

The National Assembly is an issue in the constitutional review. Why would you review a constitution for us when you are an issue? There are several questions that borders on how they run that Assembly, which we must look at. Respected Nigerians have called for a national conference. There has to be a conference and at the end of day, we have a referendum and the Nigerian nation will adopt and accept what they want as constitution. Then we can tell the National Assembly to go to work. Telling us that you are reviewing the constitution means you are telling us the condition you want to work. We elected you to work for us, so why will you spell out the condition for work. The constitution is the condition upon which the work is done. It spells out relationship between the tiers of government


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

56

COVER

IGINI: Let’s Strengthen Parties’ Internal Mike Igini is the Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner. In this chat with GBENGA SALAU, he gave an insight into how an amended Constitution would assist the 2015 elections. GOOD umpire is needed; do you think the A constitution amendment process has taken the INEC into consideration, and what areas in the constitution do you think should be amended to help INEC do a better job? YES, a constitution making process may require an aloof umpire if areas of contention require a referendum. Usually, it is best if areas of disagreement are decided by consensus, but where consensus cannot be reached, it is not unusual to take a referendum, which is where INEC may be needed as the only body under the law empowered to conduct referendum in Nigeria. Some areas of the law that need amendments are mostly within the ambit of the Electoral Act and not constitutional, such as the clause in Section 31 of the Electoral Act, which obligates INEC to accept party nominees to an election irrespective of whether the process which presents them was defective or not, such a legislation is a blow to the internal democracy of parties and it fetters INEC from properly administering elections. INEC should not tell parties how to nominate candidates, but every party should have a process for nominating its candidates and any breach of such process should be subject to accounting before an administrative process, otherwise we will keep flooding the courts with needless election litigation arising from party nominations. Additionally, there is the need to look into how parties are funded to allow for a broader ownership of party affairs by Nigerians, as well as the need to improve media access by all parties, and the need to institutionalize policy debates before elections to improve voter awareness and participation, but as I said these are all within the ambits of the Electoral Act which requires only the national Assembly to amend and not constitutional amendment as such. What additions will you suggest to sections of the constitution for an effective INEC? We want independence for the National Population Commission (NPC) that the body shall not be subject to direction except by National Assembly. The body must remained independent and a true umpire at all times by putting in place when necessary more measures that would constrain that independence. Another issue which the constitution should address is consequences for violating election laws, hence there should be in the constitution a provision for an independent Commission, which handles strictly election offences or an Election Offences Commission, which should have specialized units like forensic investigations with trained police officer in that unit and specialized legal officers who are specialist in constitutional and election laws in its departments. Also because of the long periods required to take some issue pertaining to democratic practices through our regular courts, It is my view that within the Federal Courts there should be a specialized constitutional court to dispense quickly with issues of pre-elections matters most especially because as you can see today, pre-election nomination matters since 2011 are still on going may be because there are no time limits unlike post election matters even though in practice, it has been hurrible the way and manner my constituency(election tribunals) has used these time limits . Why do you think the NASS is a bit tardy with amending the constitution? The legal process or processes for amending the constitution are clearly indicated in the constitution, requiring not only a specified quorum of the national legislature, but also a quorum of the legislatures of the 36 federating states, but beyond the legalistic mechanics, the important questions that ought to be addressed are what necessitates amendments, and why amendments should be the remediating intervention. Like all laws which affect social behaviour, the only true test of efficacy of the constitution is in its outcome when practiced, the use of a constitution is a mechanism which has been tested in

Igini

different contexts with varying successes and failures, and in many cases such test are still work in progress, hence we must realize that when we find that in practice some aspects of the provisions of the constitution are ineffectual then it has to be changed or amended. But the constitution is a topmost law in the hierarchy of laws, the grundnorm and because of its importance, mechanisms are stringent in amending it, hence the elaborate quorum, because of this, lower level laws or executive policies are made which require less stringent processes to amend in the form of Acts, bylaws and departmental policies and their derivative guidelines. All these layers of laws have a common origin, namely, the realization that society identifies a problem, need or issue which requires clearly stipulated statutes and directional guidelines to ensure that the issue is addressed with minimal equivocation on the regulation of behavior to meet that societal need or solve that societal problem. Therefore, to make a law at any level, the issues which necessitate such a law should be clearly defined, and if necessary quantified, information sought to make this definition clear, and a wide input of a stakeholders who will be affected or impacted by such laws sought and drafts clearly and widely propagated before such laws are taken through the process of approval and legitimisation. Are the issues coming up for amendment what we need to get things going as a nation? It depends on whether we want to take a short term or long-term view. If we want to take a short term view then we must address those key issues that have very important and wide impact on our collective social, political and economic needs, and live the rest for future

eventualities, but if we want to take a long term view then we should accept that we cannot know what all our current and future needs are or what they will be, in which case we should have an administrative process which collects and collates issues which border on our needs that require constitutional remedies and periodically have them clearly defined and presented before a constitutional court or present it through a defined legislative process for amendment as we currently do even though overwhelming Nigerians preferred a national dialogue and agreement on the contentious issues that continue to tear us apart. Taking the issues one after the other, what is your position on the issues? That is a very huge request, but I will try to address some that I feel have very important consequences. First on the issue of creation of new states, I feel we have belabored the point too often, in my view except on the basis of equity in the distribution of geopolitical entities where only the South East appear to hold the short end of the stick with 5 states and thus deserved one, creating new states will be superfluous because very many states created arbitrarily by soldiers are not viable and self sustaining. The direct reason adduced often for creating states has always been to bring development closer to people, In my view we can do that using the administrative structures we currently have if all these tiers of government will strategically decide to create growth areas or development areas say every two or three years using defined criteria.

A proposal of a single term of six years has been proposed with many arguments for and against. Those against, insist that two terms will induce better performance of incumbents, while those for, claim that a single term will reduce the many challenges which the politics of re-election imposes upon our democratic and also make affirmative rotation of power amongst the six geopolitical zones easier to implement

Let us take Oyo or Borno State for example, if the Federal, states and LGAs agree that every time a town in each state reaches a population of say 750, 000 people it becomes a development area, and must therefore attract some types of investment in which lets say, the federal government must construct a new railway terminal, and trunk roads, the state government must provide 30,000 houses every two years, four schools and 3 hospitals, and the local government must provide 5 markets, 50,000 low cost housing etc, I am not saying these are what the criteria should be, we have regional and town planners who can advise government on such criteria, and demographic departments who can give an accurate estimation of towns or areas which qualify for such criteria. But the point I am trying to make is that we do not have a pathway for development based on population and other data, this is why state creation is seen as such a pathway. Moreover, this issue flows into the need for local government autonomy within the state structure not the type of autonomy now canvassed that will make LGAs a ‘’federating unit’’ whatever that means to ensure that the strangle hold which states have over local governments, regarding some key issues like fiscal devolution and political de-concentration attenuated. We are not saying Local government should be completely expunged from state influence, but those aspects, which constrain grass-root development should be addressed because development is the reason for the democratic devolution of power to tiers of government, if in practice anything constrains such development it must be addressed. In practice we have seen that the fiscal bonds and the electoral processes, which tie the states to local governments are too strong to allow for better development in so many states except the only known and most sophisticated geopolitical zone. And we know that zone and so that ask me which zone. We can also say the same for the bonds of policing which tie the federal and state governments. It is my view that we need a federal police to keep the federating states at a healthy security level, but I also believe that there are some policing issues that are better addressed at state level, where only the concerned states can provide the needed support for such needs, hence I feel the policing of Nigeria should be de-concentrated and devolved according to our contextual requirements. Another issue, which has recently acquired significant salience is the issue of term limits and tenure. A proposal of a single term of six years has been proposed with many arguments for and against. Those against, insist that two terms will induce better performance of incumbents, while those for, claim that a single term will reduce the many challenges which the politics of re-election imposes upon our democratic and also make affirmative rotation of power amongst the six geopolitical zones easier to implement. What I get from both groups is that the process of transition of power in Nigeria still suffers a lot of weaknesses, which many Nigerians are concerned about. This fact is not new because political scientists who have studied the politics of transition in Nigeria and elsewhere have also observed these difficulties. To intellectualize the issue a little, those who have studied democratic political transitions in Nigeria have observed that whenever we have a consolidation election, that is an incumbent government contesting, the challenges are more than when we have transition elections, but on this president Jonathan was exceptional by his various statement such as ‘’my election is not worth the blood of any person please don’t rig for me’’. Similarly internationally some have noted that during the process of democratic transitions we often find elections which result in limitation of the choice of voters, or what Huntington called democracy without turnover and competition without alternation’. The very fact that there is a term limit of two terms, means that at some point there will definitely be a turnover, but all these arguments appear to be centered on transitions for its own sake, because we must remember that the reason people even argue about a second term is that they assume a regime may do so well that it deserves a second chance, and in some parliamentary case a continuing chance.


| 57

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

POLITICS

ANAMBRA 2014: The Platforms, Patrons And The Purse From Leo Sobechi, Abakaliki HE quietude in Anambra polity belies the T intensity of scheming by governorship aspirants to ensure that they fly the flag of eligible registered political parties in the state. Billboards, posters, handbills and branded vehicles are ready evidence that politicians are working hard for the forthcoming gubernatorial poll popularly styled Anambra 2014. Four political parties are more visible in the number of aspirants associated with them and they include, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), and the yet to be registered All Progressives Congress (APC). As is traditional to Anambra politics, choice platform ranks highly on the considerations for running and winning a governorship election. Many observers however point to the emergence of Governor Peter Obi to down play the place of platform in the scheme of things. But from a cursory analysis of elections in the state, there are three Ps that usually conspire to throw up a governor, namely Purse, Patrons and Platform. There is a common saying here that whoever would want to run for the governorship must have funds enough to contest the Nigerian Presidency. Money politics find great expression in Anambra. And where the aspirant is not swimming in much money, patrons gather to make him ascend the governorship seat. Presently, Prince Arthur Eze, appears the most consulted single individual in Anambra by governorship aspirants. Right from the days of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, through Dr. Chris Ngige down to Dr. Andy Uba, the mix of money and patrons (godfathers) have always played decisive roles in the election of a governor. Sources disclosed that the celebrated supremacy battle between former Governor Ngige and his patron, Chris Ubah, was actually an attempt by the sponsors to reap from their investment, destroy the administration and set the stage for the ‘real godfather’. “Ngige was programmed to fail so that it would be easier for Dr. Andy Uba to clinch the primaries the following year but also make a mark in governance and assert his presence in Anambra politics,” the source explained. Though many Anambra people believe that Dr. Ngige demystified governance in the state, the current thinking among the masses is that a person of integrity and not necessarily fortune should govern the state. Even a good platform still requires the ability and sagacity of aspirants to showcase massive purse and ability to win over strong patrons. Those concerns are occupying the time, talent and strategies of aspirants because these are the strong factors.    For now, the chief political activity in the state, apart from consultations with notable patrons is the search for platforms. Based on the strength and popularity of platforms, aspirants are scheming for space in the ‘feasible four’– APGA, PDP, LP and APC/ACN. About the most visible names adorning posters and billboards along the major streets and highways include, new faces like Patrick Obianwu, Paul Odenigbo, Ifeanyi Uba, chief Dubem Obaze, Dr. Chike Obidigbo and chief Godwin Ezeemo. Though the Senator representing Anambra Central in the Senate, Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige seems to be the alter ego of the ACN, he has a wealthy challenger in businessman Godwin Ezeemo. Party sources disclosed that unless the merger arrangement sails through, Ezeemo is most likely to fly the flag of ACN. “The young man has reached out to ACN leaders at the national level and oiled the party structure in the state and he is giving the national leadership some home truths on why he and not Ngige should contest the 2014 gubernatorial,” the source disclosed. Ezeemo was also said to have made huge financial donations to ACN both at the national and state levels to demonstrate his capacity to prosecute the governorship contest. But like a veteran contender that he is, Ngige has been making underground manuoevres, visiting political actors that are “relevant to winning the primary ticket.” It was gathered that it was in anticipation of the imminent registration of APC that the former Governor convened what he called a rainbow coalition drawn from across party lines in the merger proposition, to announce his “acceptance of the pressure to

Tukur

Obi

Okwu

run for the 2014 governorship.”    And despite the fact of the internal wrangling besetting the two platforms, PDP and APGA continue to hold attraction for governorship aspirants. The carryover of animosity and bottled-up anger over the February 6, 2010 governorship election still haunts PDP. Most party stalwarts expressed reservations over the selection of Professor Chukwuma Soludo as PDP flag bearer after a botched primary election contrived by external political interests. Yet, opinions are divided on how Soludo’s emergence caused the loss of the governorship in 2010. While some party stalwart blame the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor for not putting in extra effort to reconcile aggrieved fellow contestants after his emergence as flag bearer, others blame the loss on fractionalization of the party. The state chairman of the party, Prince Ken Emeakayi, said his determination to reconcile the party and win the 2014 governorship is irrevocable, pointing out that as a first step, he undertook a tour of the ward and local council organs of the party. The Reconciliation and Harmonization Committee, he set up has gained traction in trying to calm frayed nerves. Headed by former State Chief Judge, Justice Paul Obidigwe and grassroots politician, Barrister Okey Muo Aroh, as chairman and secretary, the committee said it has met with all the leaders of the various factions. “What remains is the production of harmonised party membership register comprising members of every faction; we have submitted interim report and peace is on the horizon,” the Committee chairman disclosed to The Guardian on the phone. But despite Obidigwe’s optimism, the likely aspiration of powerful political figures like Senator Andy Uba, Professor Soludo and Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu to contest the 2014 governorship poses a new threat. Though The Guardian gathered efforts are being made by some ‘very powerful figures’ to narrow the contest to a possible Soludo affair, some stalwarts said whatever arrangement adopted must pass through a transparent primary election. It was not clear whether the new faces are engaged in a collective lobby to narrow the primary race, but a reliable party source said; “the issue of zoning has thrown up new factors into the calculations,” Against the backdrop of insinuations of a possible zoning of the governorship, Secretary of the

Reconciliation Committee, Okey Muo Aroh, and grow the economy. said the mandate of the committee did not Yet, suspicious of the outcome of ongoing litiextend to screening aspirants or exploring the gations in APGA, Uba is said to have finalized possibility of zoning saying that what the plans to run on LP platform as his fall back Committee did was to visit aggrieved parties arrangement. Signs that Uba was ready to try including aspirants. his luck in LP emerged recently when Umeh Muo Aroh stressed that the Committee was in was said to have approached him at his the same page with the National Working Maitama, Abuja residence to solicit for funds Committee (NWC) in the search for durable for his (Umeh’s) factional National Executive peace in Anambra PDP. As the peace efforts Committee (NEC) meeting. But when Umeh continue, there are indications that the party allegedly turned down the $50, 000 conmay have to contend with a large number of tributed by Uba, the Oil magnate angrily told aspirants including jesters and pretenders. Umeh that he was tired of “this whole thing,” For now Dr. Obinna Uzoh, Nze Akachukwu saying that he was on his way to joining Labour. Nwankpo, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu, Mike Okoye, Mr. Uba was said to have complained bitterly that Tony Nwoye among others, have shown inter- he has been made to shoulder the financial est in the governorship on the PDP platform.      burden of the party (faction) alone. “Each time Even in the sight of the protracted leadership I bring money, you say it would not be enough; crisis in its fold, the All Progressives Grand the last time I paid N5 million to charter a plane Alliance (APGA) still holds the promise as the to fly Mr. Wole Olanipekun (SAN) to Enugu for party to beat in the governorship poll. For the the Court of Appeal sitting. You brought the sake of the governorship contest however, lawyer for me to settle his professional fee there is a clear division of the two factions of instead of the party, now you say Fifty Million the party in the state. The chairman of House Dollars is not enough to organise the NEC, how of Representatives Committee on much are you putting in?” Uba fumed, accordEnvironment, Iyom Uche Ekwunife, recently ing to a close source. Whether it was on the announced her interest to contest the gover- strength of that development that Umeh norship on APGA platform in style. A veteran begun moves to have the Movement for the governorship contender and the only female Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, (MASaspirant so far, Ekwunife dismisses the crisis SOB) chief Raph Uwazuruike mediate in the in the party as a petty family quarrel that APGA impasse, is better left to conjecture. It was would be easily resolved soon. She does not also gathered that Uba may hit a brick wall in yet plan to bank on any of the factions, though LP, as sources disclosed that Obi, through the sources suggest that, “Iyom is merely testing Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko has her political machinery to contest the Senate made “concrete overtures that LP be reserved seat in 2015.” for the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella However, the faction loyal to Governor Peter Adaeze Odua, to contest the governorship.” Obi has a swelling list of aspirants, including Though the source refused to confirm or deny Dr. Chike Obidigbo, former Secretary to involvement of the Presidency, it is not clear Anambra State Government, Paul Odenigbo, whether the Aviation Minister was being clevEmma Nweke, Dubem Obaze and his brother, erly sidetracked in the same manner Professor the current Secretary to the State Dora Akunyili was eased out of the Federal cabGovernment, Mr. Oseloka Obaze. inet with the promise of a Senate seat.   That of Victor Umeh has only one contender However, in an interview, the Anambra State in the person of chairman of Capital Oil and chairman of Labour Party (LP) Engineer Samuel Gas Limited, Mr. Ifeanyi Patrick Uba. The divi- Ositadimma Oraegbunam denied that either sion in APGA is also affecting the disposition Peter Obi or the Aviation Minister has made of the aspirants. While Ifeanyi Uba writes off contacts with him, stressing that Princess Governor Obi’s years in office as a disappoint- Oduah was not a member of LP. Oraegbunam ment, the prominent contender from declared that it was obvious that “Labour Party Anambra North, where the 2014 governorship has the brightest chances of winning the is zoned to, Dr. Obidigbo conveyed in his Anambra Governorship seat in 2014”. His handbills his belief that “Governor Obi has words: “In terms of party structure and cohedone well,” promising to continue from sion, if you ask me, I would say we are the best where the governor will atop to create jobs because we are intact, but some people give the impression that Labour is second or third. But I refuse to believe we are second or third because of the crisis in APGA and PDP.” While reiterating that “we have not had any contact with Princess Even in the sight of the protracted leadership crisis in its fold, the All Oduah, the LP chairman confessed that Ifeanyi Ubah has actually reached out to the party, sayProgressives Grand Alliance (APGA) still holds the promise as the party to ing that he is not a member of PDP. On whether beat in the governorship poll. For the sake of the governorship contest Senator Andy Uba has shown interest to run on LP platform, Oraegbunam declared: “As of however, there is a clear division of the two factions of the party in the today he is a member of PDP and a Senator repstate. The chairman of House of Representatives Committee on resenting Anambra South Senatorial District Environment, Iyom Uche Ekwunife, recently announced her interest to and he is not a member of Labour Party. What I

contest the governorship on APGA platform in style CONTINUED ON PAGE 58


58 |

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

POLITICS From Leo Sobechi, Abakaliki HE All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is T the political party platform of the incumbent Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi. To a great extent therefore, APGA occupies a central space in the schemes and designs for the forthcoming governorship election in the State. Surprisingly, the party has been enmeshed in a haunting leadership crisis for a better part of its existence. Being a party with predominant membership from the South East and Anambra in particular, the crisis situation in the party seems to betray the political behaviour of major actors in the state. In all the battles for the control of the soul of APGA, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) happens to be a major participant. Some observers hold the opinion that the electoral body was sometimes compromised to give its shaky stands over the APGA imbroglio. Even the outgoing Secretary of the Commission, Abdullahi A. Kaugama, was accused of being induced by the embattled national Chairman of the party, Victor Umeh, to author the letter recognising him (Umeh) as APGA national Chairman, despite the fact of the commission’s acquiescence to the April 8, 2013 National Convention that produced Maxi Okwu as the new national Chairman. Prior to the present letter, INEC had given out not less than seven correspondences on the APGA predicament. Apart from the mischief imputations against the missives, they are revealing to the shifting sands that APGA leadership have become. The confusion as to who would represent APGA at the national political reform conference in 2005 actually let loose the spiral of contrasting letters from INEC. In a letter with the subject: “RE: membership of APGA in the National Political Reform Conference” written to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) by its Director of Public Affairs, Steve Osemeke, INEC wrote: “With due reference to your letter dated 21/2/2005 on the above subject, I have been directed to inform you unequivocally, that even though the Commission is aware of some disagreements in the APGA, INEC has not formally taken any decision on the development. Consequently, the status quo should be maintained. This, by implication, means that chief Chekwas Okorie is the only APGA Chairman recognised by the Commission.” But unknown to the INEC Director of Public Affairs, the status quo was to become a subject of undulating interpretation. For instance, on June 28, 2005 in the letter to the party’s national Secretary, with reference number, INEC/OPS/PPMU/APGA/003/243, titled “RE: Leadership Crisis in APGA”; the Commission wrote: “I am directed to inform you that the Commission in exercise of the powers conferred on it by the 1999 Constitution, had at its meeting held on Thursday 23, June 2005, considered the circumstances and grounds surrounding the leadership crisis in APGA. Being satisfied with the findings and REPORTS of its appropriate committees on the subject, the Commission accorded due recognition to the appointment of chief Victor Umeh, as the acting national Chairman of APGA following the suspension and expulsion of the erstwhile national Chairman of the party, chief Chekwas Okorie and other officials in line with relevant provi-

Iwu

Jega

INEC’s Seeming Complicity In APGA’s Endless Crisis sions of the APGA Constitution.” “By a copy of this letter, the leadership under the former national Chairman is advised to hand over with immediate effect all assets, properties and documents belonging to the party including the Certificate of Registration to the new leadership. This letter is copied to the Inspector General of Police, the chairmen of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, (ICPC) and chairmen of 29 other registered political parties for corresponding recognition and their necessary action, please.” The letter was signed by Alhaji A. B. Jauro as Secretary. And barely a year after that recognition of Umeh as acting national Chairman, the Commission also made an about turn as could be seen from the letter written by the Chairman, Professor Maurice Iwu. In the letter dated December 22, 2006, INEC stated that; “sequel to the recent Court Order on the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA) the Political Parties Monitoring Committee should henceforth relate with the Chief Chekwas Okorie-led executives of APGA.” While directing the PPMC Chairman to “ensure due compliance according to the Court order,” Iwu added: “Unless any directive to the contrary is received this status should be maintained until the final resolution of the subsisting dispute

with the party.”   But despite the above position, on March 11, 2009, INEC released the APGA grant to Umeh through a letter with reference number INEC/OPS/PPM&L/APGA/003/1/108. With “Attention Sir Victor Umeh,” INEC Secretary Alhaji Kaugama kicked-off the subject: “Release of Party Grant to APGA.” “Please refer to the N6 million only, Political Party Grant for APGA that was recently released to you. Note however, that the release of the said grant does not imply resolution of the dispute over the chairmanship of APGA. I am to point out that the chairmanship of APGA remains a subject of litigation to be ultimately determined by the Courts,” the letter explained.  Could it be that the now rested release of party grants oiled the close relationship between Umeh and Secretary Kaugama, as some APGA faithful allege? A May 12, 2009 letter with reference number INEC/LG/CP/283/131, did not feed that suspicion. Addressed to the Commissioner of Police, General Investigation Section and captioned: “RE: Investigation Activities: Criminal Conspiracy and Forgery”; INEC through its Secretary Kaugama wrote: “Your letter CR. 3000/X/FHQ/ABJ/GI/Vol. T/149 of 7th April 2009 on the above subject refers. This is to inform you that the Certificate of Registration of APGA was collected by and is in the possession of chief Chekwas Okorie. That the Bank Account of

APGA known to the Commission at the time of registration of the party was domiciled with the defunct Manny Bank, that chief Chekwas Okorie is the current Chairman of APGA pending the final determination of the disputes by the Judiciary.” Yet, two days later, specifically on May 12, 2009; the Commission’s Deputy Secretary in charge of publicity, Mr. Osemeke released “INEC Statement on APGA leadership crisis.” The fourparagraph letter read: “Following series of misrepresentation in the media over the position of INEC on the leadership crisis in the APGA, INEC hereby issues the following clarification. This statement is made without prejudice to the pending litigation in respect of the leadership dispute under reference. It should be clearly stated that the Commission has not recognised chief Victor Umeh as the national Chairman of APGA. It will be recalled that following a petition by Victor Umeh as Treasurer of the party and his group, INEC on the 28 of June 2005 conferred recognition on chief Umeh in acting capacity, pending a resolution by a duly convened national convention of the party. The Commission, now having full recourse to the Constitution of APGA has come to the conclusion pursuant to Articles 18(1) and 19(2) of the said Constitution that pending the conclusion of the several litigations on the matter and particularly as there has been no convention of the party to change leadership; it shall relate with the party purely in consonance with the provisions of its Constitution. This Constitution is not in dispute by any of the parties. Consequently INEC will deal with the Chairman of APGA, Chief Chekwas Okorie, who is recognised by the party’s Constitution until the Courts make a final determination of the issues being litigated upon.” But instead of maintaining the sanity suggested by the reliance on APGA’s Constitution, INEC, through its Secretary, Kaugama, in a letter dated August 31, 2010 with reference number INEC/DPPM/APGA/003 fouled the water further. Addressed to Umeh, the letter said: “Your letter dated 22nd July 2010 refers. After a comprehensive review of the issues related to the leadership of APGA, I am to inform you that the Commission will resume full formal relationship with APGA leadership as established by the Courts. Accordingly, the Commission will continue to relate with the APGA under the leadership of chief Victor Umeh and Alhaji Sani A. Shinkaffi as national Secretary respectively”.     Only time will tell how soon INEC would make the next declaration. Nonetheless, it is still open to conjecture, whether the Commission’s indecision between holding onto the party’s Constitutional provisions and the conflicting judgments of the Courts was responsible for the confused state of things in APGA. However, two constant features from the APGA imbroglio are allegations of inducement and disregard to procedure. Or how else could any person or group rationalize the ascendance of the party’s Treasurer to the position of chairman, instead of the vice chairman or even secretary. They may not be wrong, those who describe the APGA conundrum as a curious political coup and an instance of Anambra politics of personality and pecuniary considerations. APGA could serve as a backcloth to preview the forthcoming governorship election in the State!

ANAMBRA 2014: The Platforms And The Purse CONTINUED FROM PAGE 57 want to assure you is that LP would have its primaries before PDP. Immediately INEC timetable is out, the Labour Party in Anambra would hold its primaries before the PDP. We are not going to accommodate so-called disgruntled PDP aspirants to run on our platform. We want to give Labour nomination to people who are proud to belong to the party.” The chairman however affirmed that no political party structure wins the governorship alone, pointing out that “there is going to be what I call synergies, alliances and accommodation of interests that will keep on coming up. You know there are two factions of APGA. By the time the litigations end, the one that loses out would move out and Labour Party will be ready to accommodate them. And when you come to PDP, you have up to ten people contesting, with each of them having his own structures. And I bet you PDP will never and cannot hold primaries; as such the PDP NWC will like to impose a candidate. All other disgruntled members will also move out in search of platforms and Labour would be ready to accommodate them. The structures we have on the ground are sound but we are

ready to accept and accommodate people who are going to be interested in the candidates we are going to present for the election,” he explained. Oraegbunam, reflecting on the political temperament of Anambra people added: “We have promised the masses of Anambra State that we are going to give them a fresh candidate with fresh ideas. We have had seven years of PDP governorship in the state and eight years of APGA. We are now saying let us replicate what is happening in Ondo State in Anambra. We want to take governance to the next level. We want to merge governance to the community needs; we want to take government to the people.” On the influence of money in Anambra politics Oraegbunam said; “Obviously and frankly speaking, there can be no way you can run election without money. Think of publicity, mobilization, logistics and documentation. So there is always going to be the money factor. But money is not the determining factor.” Zoning: EVEN though there is no unanimity over the issue of zoning the governorship to Anambra North Senatorial District, the idea has caught on with a great majority of citizens. The need for

fairness, equity and in keeping with the Nigeria Constitutional requirement for spread of political positions have combined to make the declaration by Governor Peter Obi that Anambra North should produce the governor in 2014 a critical and central issue of the election. Special Adviser to the President on Technical Matters, Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo said persons from Anambra North have been running for governorship in the state; therefore, democratic competition should be allowed to bear its good fruit. He said it does not make sense to exclude aspirants on the basis of zoning, which is a unilateral declaration of a departing potentate. But aspirants from Anambra North, like Obidigbo argue that the idea of zoning should not be seen as an appeal to enthrone mediocrity, pointing out that the issue is about recognising that “what is good for the goose is sauce for the gander.” He added that political alienation represents political corruption, which breed needless tension and bickering by the deprived peoples. When Governor Obi made the declaration that political power at the level of the gover-

norship should move to Anambra North in 2014, the immediate reaction of certain commentators was that it was the Governor’s practical strategy to ensure the exclusion of his archrivals that made his tenure and second term very challenging, including Senator Ngige, Senator Uba and Professor Soludo. Expectedly, PDP has taken more than a passing fancy at the possibility of using the zoning initiative to sideline the bigwigs in their fold that insist on contesting because they have deep pockets and wide connections. The situation has become tense with such financiers like Prince Arthur Eze and MiKe Nwakalor (Omelu Ora Nteje) coming out to support power shift. Even former governor Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, has voiced his support for zoning. As the Anambra governorship poll approaches, it is clear that zoning would feature prominently in the many contentious issues that would make the election competitive and upsetting. As could be gleaned from body language and political behaviour of Anambra politicians, much bad blood and plenty cash would be generated by the actors as time goes by.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

59

FOREIGNNEWS

Rouhani Wins Presidential Election IRAN EFORMIST-BACKED cleric R Hassan Rouhani has won Iran’s presidential election, securing just over 50 percent of the vote and so avoiding the need for a run-off. Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf was well behind in second place. Turnout was estimated at 72.2 percent among the 50 million Iranians who were eligible to vote to choose a successor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was ineligible to stand again. Mr Rouhani has pledged greater

detente and engagement with world powers. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is scheduled to ratify the vote on August 3. The new president will then take the oath in parliament. Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar announced that Rouhani had won 18,613,329 of the 36,704,156 votes cast. This represented 50.71 percent of the vote. Qalibaf won 6,077,292 votes to take second place (16.56 percent). Saeed Jalili came third and Mohsen Rezai fourth. Mr Najjar said that any presidential

Mandela Recovering Well –– Grandson ORMER South African President Fwell”Nelson Mandela is “recovering in hospital, his grandson says. Mr Mandela is spending his eighth day in hospital in the capital, Pretoria, to receive treatment for a recurring lung infection. His grandson Mandla Mandela said the former president “looked good” when he visited him in hospital. Mr Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 after leading the struggle against apartheid. He stepped down five years later. “I thank the nation and the world for the prayers for Madiba, and the

SOUTH AFRICA doctors and the office of the ANC for keeping the family updated,” Mandla Mandela said, using the former leader’s clan name, according to the AFP. Mandla Mandela’s comments seem to be essentially line with statements made by the South African government in recent days, balancing a reported improvement in the former leader’s condition with the fact that it remains serious, according to the BBC reports from Johannesburg.

Kidnapped Spanish Tourists Freed COLOMBIA WO kidnapped Spanish tourists T have been rescued by police in Colombia, while two people suspected of trying to collect a ransom have been held in Spain. Spain’s interior ministry said two officers from its kidnapping unit had travelled to Colombia and taken part in the release of the tourists. It is not known whether anyone was arrested in Colombia. It is unclear who was responsible for the kidnapping. The Spanish interior ministry said it was ruling out Colombia’s main rebel group, Farc, amid indications

that a criminal gang was behind the crime. The ministry said that a Syrian national and a Spanish citizen had been arrested in Madrid. Spanish radio network Cadena SER reported that one of Spain’s leading judges identified the freed tourists as one of his relatives, Maria Concepcion Marlaska, 43, and Angel Sanchez Hernandez, 49. The two, from the northern city of Aviles, were kidnapped last month in the province of La Guajira as they drove towards a tourist attraction near the Venezuelan border. They were in good health, National Court Judge Fernando Grande Marlaska told the radio station.

candidates unhappy with the results would have three days to lodge complaints to the Guardian Council. The winning candidate needed more than 50 percent of all bal-

lots cast, including invalid ones, to avoid a run-off. Voting had been extended by five hours on Friday evening to allow more people to cast their ballots. Although all six candidates were

seen as conservatives, analysts say Rouhani –– a 64-year-old cleric often described as “moderate” who has held several parliamentary posts and served as chief nuclear negotiator –– has been reaching out to reformists in recent days.

Quetta Hospital Siege Leaves 21 Dead UNMEN have attacked a hospiG tal in the western Pakistani city of Quetta, hours after an explosion on a bus killed at least 11 female university students. Hours later, gunmen stormed part of the hospital where the wounded were being treated, leaving at least 10 dead. A senior city official was killed in the exchange. Security forces are surrounding the building, Quetta is the capital of Balochistan province, which has seen a surge in militant violence in

PAKISTAN recent months. Some attacks are carried out by separatists and others by Islamists who oppose women’s education. The latest violence began when a bomb exploded on a bus carrying female students at a university . “It was an improvised explosive device placed in the women university bus,” police chief Zubair Mahmood said. Later explosions rocked the med-

ical centre where the students were being treated. Militants armed with grenades were positioned there and exchanged fire with members of the security forces who rushed to the scene. “They [the militants] are several in number, we are still facing resistance from them, and people are stranded inside the hospital. We are trying our best to rescue the people,” said Jan Mohammed Bulaidi, spokesman for Balochistan’s chief minister, Reuters reports.

Special Forces Soldiers ‘Killed By Gunmen’ In Benghazi LIBYA IX soldiers from an elite Libyan Sovernight army unit have been killed by masked gunmen in the restive eastern city of Benghazi. A source at the army’s command centre in the city told the BBC that the gunmen had attacked the headquarters of a special forces unit elite. This then led to heavy fighting in the area, he added.

Benghazi was the centre of the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011. It has become increasingly unstable amid clashes between militias made up of former rebels and the regular forces of the new authorities. Militias with different tribal and ideological links control parts of the city, which has seen a wave of attacks on government security forces. The official Facebook page of the special forces shows gruesome

images of some of the soldiers who died in the early hours of yesterday morning. Two of the men who died, according to BBC, appeared to have been summarily executed after being taken hostage by what the unit described as the Takfir group - a clear reference to Islamist militants. The latest clashes mark an escalation in the attacks against the special forces unit since they were deployed in the city about a month ago.

Moscow Opposes Syria No-Fly Zone USSIAN Foreign Minister Sergei R Lavrov has said any attempt to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria using US fighter jets and missiles operating from Jordan would violate international law. The US has moved Patriot missiles and F-16 fighter jets to Jordan, officially as part of an annual exer-

RUSSIA cise. Russia opposes any foreign military intervention in the Syrian conflict. The uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, which began in 2011, has left an estimated 93,000 people dead. “There have been leaks from Western media regarding the serious consideration to create a no-fly zone over Syria through the deployment of Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and F-16 jets in Jordan,” said Mr Lavrov, speaking at a joint news conference in Moscow with his Italian counterpart. “You don’t have to be a great expert to understand that this will violate international law,” he said. Lavrov also said evidence presented by the US of chemical weapons use in Syria apparently did not meet reliability criteria set out by the

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The US administration said earlier this week that it would give lethal aid to the Syrian rebels in light of evidence that President Assad’s forces had used chemical weapons in the civil war. The support of the West’s regional allies, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, helped the rebels after the uprising became militarised. But the tide turned after the Syrian government turned to Moscow and Tehran for help. Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon have also been involved in a recent government’s counter-offensive that resulted in the recapture of the strategically important town of Qusair. On Friday, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah promised the group would keep fighting in Syria “wherever needed”.

Pressure On Necas Grows As Scandal Deepens CZECH REPUBLIC RESSURE is growing on the P Czech PM to quit over allegations against a close aide of his in

Young recipients of the Nelson Mandela Children Fund, holding placards with pictures of Nelson Mandela, stand in front of the former stateman's Houghton house in Johannesburg with well wishers and singing the South African National Anthem… yesterday. PHOTO: AFP

a corruption scandal. PM Petr Necas, 48, has denied wrongdoing and said he will not stand down after close associates were charged in a police investigation. The head of the PM’s office, Jana Nagyova, was among them. She is also accused of abuse of power. President Milos Zeman says charges are “serious”. The charges follow armed police raids on government and private offices. Two former MPs, an ex-minister

and the current and former heads of military intelligence were also detained. President Milos Zeman was yesterday asked whether the cabinet led by Necas should remain in office in the wake of the charges. “I consider the charges that have been brought to be very serious, and after hearing from the chief of police and the supreme state attorney, I am coming to the conclusion that they are based on sufficient evidence. This is an indirect but clear answer to your question,” he said. The comments were the first on the issue by Zeman –– a political rival of Necas –– since the raids on Wednesday night.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 16, 2013

60

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS By Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs Editor

Today, there is a whole lot of politics by global powers on what happens in battle weary Syria where it is now said that about 93,000 people have been killed since the crisis (revolt) started. Early this month, the United Nations (UN) launched the largest appeal in its history, a $5 billion humanitarian aid to the middleeastern country. Judging by the latest UN figures, the Syrian conflict is by far the bloodiest and most enduring of all the Arab uprisings. And by the reckoning of international observers, it is the only one in the Arab spring series that has mutated into a full-scale, heavily militarised civil war. Scary War Data HE casualty figures have risen dramatically, especially since the two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, became caught up in the violence last July. Since then, the number of people killed has averaged more than 5,000 every month. Even at the height of the sectarian bloodletting in Iraq in 2006, the monthly death count only twice went over 3,000. The specter of violence in Syria prompted the UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to describe it as having a “drastically deteriorating pattern”. He then assured the world that the global body is braced not only for worsening casualty figures, but also for vast numbers of refugees joining those who have already flooded across the borders into neighbouring countries. The world is further shocked to hear from UN officials that the statistics that the global body has given are underestimated calculations, as it believes many deaths have not been reported. According to Pillay, Over 80 percent of those killed had been men, but generally the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says it has also documented the deaths of more than 1,700 children under the age of ten. Now, the latest figures from the UN demonstrate clearly that the Syrian conflict is by far the bloodiest and most enduring of all the Arab uprisings. It’s the only one that’s mutated into a full-scale, heavily militarised civil war. There were “cases of individual children being tortured and executed, and entire families, including babies, being massacred - which, along with this devastatingly high death toll, is a terrible reminder of just how vicious this conflict has become,” said the OHCHR What is more? A UN study has also disclosed that government forces and rebels were using boys and girls as “suicide bombers or human shields”. This level of desperation to win the war must be alarming to a watching world.  In the free for all bloodbath currently going on in Syria, it is sickening to find that armed opposition groups, including the Free Syrian Army, have been using children, both in combat and in support roles such as transporting supplies and loading cartridges. But for how long would the world continue to watch the unfolding scenario in Syria? Two of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council Russia and China have consistently blocked UN resolutions, which should impose further sanctions on the regime of Bashir Asad forcing diplomatic watchers to ask why there is no censure of both countries in the international media. Recently, mortar rounds hit the edges of Damascus’s airport, forcing delays to several flights. Syrian rebels have previously tried to seize the airport, which lies in the countryside around eastern Damascus known as the Ghouta. The area has also seen fierce fighting in recent months. May be the world do well be starting to take analysts such as the journalist Jim Muir more seriously in his numerous accounts detailing why there are many more issues bordering on international gang up and national geo-strategic interests that might keep the battle for the soul of Syria longer so long as neither the government or rebel forces is able to clearly win the war. Asked to give a situation report last week, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said one in three Syrians now need ‘’urgent humanitarian attention”.   But the world does not want to see this especially if more bloodshed can be avoided.

T

Assad

SYRIA: What The World Does Not Want To See ‘Diplomacy’ At Work EADING players of global politics in Syria seem to think that the regime of Asad is the problem. Even though the government has over the years demonstrated that it is capable of providing a common national roof for all Syrians of divergent persuasions-conservative, Islamists, Christian minorities and such other elements and to be a bulwark against extremism of any kind. Riding on this, diplomatic efforts at the United Nations Security Council to address the Syria crisis not withstanding, suffered this potentially fatal blow with the vetoing by Russia and China of a British-sponsored resolution that would have punished the Syrian government with severe sanctions and a cut out of it’s strategic activities. The world is used to that pattern. Yet there continued to be some hope following intense diplomatic pressure that the pattern would be exited soon. But that was not to be as Russia again last week blocked a United Nations Security Council declaration of alarm over the bloody siege of the Syrian town of al-Qusair by Syrian troops and Hezbollah guerrillas, Security Council diplomats said Saturday. Britain, president of the 15-nation council, had circulated a draft statement to fellow members voicing, “grave concern about the situation in alQusair, Syria, and in particular the impact on civilians of the ongoing fighting.” It would be the third time that Rusia and China had vetoed resolutions on Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began, and the collegial atmosphere in the Council chambers was said to be tinged with bitterness and acrimony afterward. The British ambassador, Sir Mark Lyall Grant,

L

told the Council after the vote, which was broadcast live on the United Nations’ Web site, that Britain was “appalled by the decision of Russia and China to veto this resolution aimed at ending the bloodshed in Syria.” Speaking to reporters later outside the Council’s chambers, Sir Mark said, “Frankly, it is impossible to understand why China and Russia felt it necessary to veto this text.” Adding voice to this Susan E. Rice, the American ambassador to the UN who has now been designated the US national security adviser also angrily denounced the vetoes. “We have missed yet another critical opportunity to work together,” she told the Council while calling it a “dark day.” and maintaining further that the significance of it all is  “the message it sends, which is that two permanent members of the Council are prepared to defend Assad to the bitter end.” But a deeper look at the politics playing out shows that Russia and China are ostensibly embittered by Security Council actions last year that led to Western military intervention in Libya and the downfall of its longtime leader, Muammar Ghadafi are said now to be intent on avoiding a repeat scenario in Syria. They have consistently objected to any resolutions concerning Syria that would impose sanctions or even criticize Assad for his efforts to crush an increasingly violent rebellion against his family’s four-decade hold on power. Russia, Assad’s most important foreign backer today, has also accused the West of funneling support to Assad’s opponents. Now, eleven Security Council members, including the other three permanent members — Britain, France and the United States — voted for the resolution while Pakistan and South Africa

Annan’s plan calls for a cease-fire, with the Syrian government taking the first step by halting the use of heavy weapons against the opposition. The plan also would create the basis for a political transition. In a statement, the former UN scribe’s spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi, said that Annan was “disappointed that, at this critical stage, the U.N. Security Council could not unite and take the strong and concerted action he had urged and hoped for

abstained. When the implication of the veto is further expanded, the world would see that the Security Council vote leaves in doubt the future of a 300member United Nations mission in Syria that was sent to monitor the peace plan, which was negotiated by Kofi Annan, the special envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League. Annan’s plan calls for a cease-fire, with the Syrian government taking the first step by halting the use of heavy weapons against the opposition. The plan also would create the basis for a political transition.  In a statement, the former UN scribe’s spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi, said that Annan was “disappointed that, at this critical stage, the U.N. Security Council could not unite and take the strong and concerted action he had urged and hoped for.” Envisaged New Line Of Action In a steady slide towards a convulsion of global proportions, pressure on the Security Council to take action against Syria has been mounting steadily, and several members have openly declared that the credibility of the UN would be at risk if the Council failed to take a decisive step. The resolution vetoed by Russia and China on last penultimate Thursday would have given Assad ten days to put the peace plan (which he had accepted three months ago but has basically ignored) into effect. The resolution would have imposed economic sanctions on the Syrian government under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter. That section of the charter also allows for military intervention to enforce Security Council demands. But here, the Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin told the Council in explaining the Russian veto. “We simply cannot accept a document under Chapter 7, one which would open the path for pressure of sanctions and further to external military involvement in Syrian domestic affairs,” To the West and it’s allies, this is dangerous talk. But it would seem that it was to help ease out the sit- tight Syrian president Bashar al-Assad that an opposition group drafted a plan for a transitional justice system that would impose harsh penalties against die-hard members of his inner circle and yet provide amnesty for most of his Alawite supporters. Maybe the big players of the Syrian game, all five permanent members of the UN Security Council need to take a good look t this proposal.


TheGuardian

Sports

Sunday, June 16, 2013 | 61

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

NE of the trends favoured by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari on O his return to the helm of A Seleção Brasileira has been assembling a squad featuring more domestic-based performers. At the FIFA Confederations Cup tagged Brazil 2013, which began yesterday, with hosts Brazil taking on Japan, there are ten players that come under that category, even without including Neymar, who has only recently signed on the dotted line for Barcelona. On the other hand, this Brazil group also includes players that have carved out virtually their entire careers abroad. A prime example is Givanildo Vieira de Souza, better known as Hulk, who is now finally gaining recognition in his homeland after already becoming a household name in many other corners of the globe. A native of Paraiba state, Hulk had a spell in the youth system at Sao Paulo and made his debut in the pro game at fellow Brazilian outfit Vitoria, though he would make just two topflight appearances for the Baiano club. His departure began a journey that has taken in three different Japanese teams, Porto and, since September 2012, Zenit. But it is only now, with a FIFA Confederations Cup on home soil underway, that the seasoned 26-year-old attacker has the ideal opportunity to show his countrymen first-hand what he is capable of. This process began yesterday in Brasilia with the Group A opener. “My main concern is to do my job properly, like I’ve been doing up to now,” he told FIFA.com on Friday, following A Seleção’s final pre-match training session at the Estadio Nacional. “I’ll be trying to be as focused as possible and do what the coach asks me to. I won’t necessarily go into the games thinking about how I can win over the fans.” During the friendly against England on 2 June, at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Hulk had to endure supporters chanting for the introduction of Lucas, in theory his direct rival for a starting spot. At the time, the Zenit player insisted it did not bother him, aware as he is that Brazilian fans have been unable to follow his career progress as closely as Lucas’s or Neymar’s for example, both of whom first rose to stardom within the domestic game. Often freely admitting he is better known in Europe than in Brazil, Hulk will take heart from Felipão’s faith in his abundant powers. Among these are the dynamism and tactical discipline to help give his side an edge in midfield, as well as a surfeit of speed and skill in wide areas. Next on the agenda is integrating his undoubted qualities with those of his team-mates, all pulling together to achieve the tactical plans Scolari has in mind. On that subject, the training sessions and friendly games of recent weeks have certainly proved productive. Following a 2-2

I’ll be trying to be as focused as possible and do what the coach asks me to. I won’t necessarily go into the games thinking about how I can win over the fans

Confederations Cup draw with England, Brazil went on to dispatch France 3-0 in a morale-boosting win in Porto Alegre. “Little by little, without getting carried away or trying to take shortcuts, we managed to pick up a great result in our last game,” said Hulk. “We’re going to stick to the good things we did...” Hulk is expected to play in a wide attacking role, with young Barça starlet Neymar on the opposite flank. The idea, however, is to make the most of the side’s improved synergy and switch positions regularly in a bid to catch opponents off-guard. “We’ve got total freedom to swap positions and it’s been working for us,” remarked Hulk. “And that’s not just Neymar and I, it applies to all the forward players.” Clearly, providing this Seleção squad gels into a tight-knit unit, their array of attacking talent will have the chance to shine and prove decisive, which in turn should take pressure off the rest of the team. And that is where Hulk’s opportunity to prove himself to the local fans could come in, even though he reiterated it is not his main concern. “If I were to win them over, the way I’d like to do it is like this: through my performances on the pitch, by giving it my best,” he concluded. “And that’s what I intend to do.” However, according to figures released on Friday, 739,176 tickets had already been sold for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013. The remaining 120,111 tickets are still on sale online and at FIFA’s ticket collection centres across the country. As at press time, tickets were still available for all games with the exception of yesterday’s opening match in Brasilia, the final in Rio de Janeiro and the group matches between Mexico and Italy in Rio today, between Spain and Uruguay in Recife also today as well as Brazil and Italy in Salvador on 22 June.  Nearly 194,000 of the tickets that have been sold have still to be collected from FIFA’s ticket collection locations at the six FIFA Confederations Cup venues just as FIFA has significantly increased the number of prebooked priority collection times.

Culled from fifa.com

Hulk

Eager To Prove Europe’s Fame On Home Soil


THE GUARDIAN Sunday, June 16, 2013

62

Blessing Okagbare

By Gowon Akpodonor HERE was a luminous smile on Blessing T Okagbare’s face as she stepped on to the podium to collect her gold medal last year at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, after setting a new record as the first Nigerian to win the All Nigeria Open four consecutive times. And then came a moment of sadness and distraught for Okagbare a few months later when against all expectations, the Sapele-born athlete finished last in the 100m women final at the London 2012 Olympics Games, despite posting a personal-best of 10.92 seconds in the semifinals to raise the hope of Nigerias. The mind cannot conjure up an image of the triumphant Okagbare in Calabar last year, without also recalling the flopped Okagbare at the London Olympics, which was one of Nigeria’s most disappointing moments in sports history. On Wednesday, Nigerian athletics watchers will shift attention to the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar, where this year’s Nigeria festival of athletics, the All Nigerian Open, will begin. The competition will serve as the selection ground for Team Nigeria’s athletes to the 14th IAAF World Athletics Championship holding in Moscow, Russia in August. It will last for three days. Formerly known as the Mobil Track and Field Championships, the All Nigerian Open in Calabar will be attended by all the country’s elite athletes (home and abroad). In preparation for the African Athletics Championship in Port Novo and the London Olympics last year, Okagbare won the heart of Calabar sports fans by beating fellow US-based Gloria Asumnu in a photo-finish race. She had the poorest reaction time at the blocks to win at 11.12 seconds. It was the closest race Okagbare had run in Nigeria since she came to limelight. There were no celebrations after the race because nobody was sure of the winner. The athletes and fans waited for the photo-finish machine even as media men swooped on both athletes. The waiting game lasted for some time.

Gloria Asumnu

Asumnu was born in the USA but changed nationality to Nigeria two years ago. She was leading the race and many thought she had won. Ten metres to the finish, Okagbare caught up with her and with a stunning deeping action, the camera picked her (Okagbare) as winner of the 100m with a time of 11.12 seconds. “I’m happy I won, but I wanted to return a faster time,” Okagbare told The Guardian shortly after the race. “The rains on the tracks affected us a little bit.” Before coming to Calabar last year, Okagbare had run 11.01 seconds and was targeting sub 11 seconds. The poor time, not withstanding, Okagbare, Asumnu (11.03 seconds) and Lawretta Ozoh (11.19 seconds) all made the standard for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Okagbare has since put behind her the nomedal show for Team Nigeria at the London 2012 Olympics and her focus is the IAAF World Athletics Championship in Moscow this August. According to the Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, there is no room for wild card for any Nigerian athlete who fails to show up for Wednesday’s trials in Calabar. Speaking with The Guardian at the end of the Warri 2013 CAA Grand Prix on Friday in Delta State, Nesiama said: “All our foreign-based athletes, including Blessing Okagbare, must attend this trial in Calabar if they must represent Nigeria at the World Championship in Moscow. They have to fight for positions in the team. Though some of them have qualified” Apart from Okagbare, focus will also be on fellow US-based female sprinter Gloria Asumnu, who narrowly missed the 100m gold last year. Asumnu is in great shape and highly favored for the crown this time around, if Okagbare failed to get it right from the block. A relaxed Asumnu won the 100m race at the Warri CAA Grand Prix on Friday in a time of 11.35 second. She told The Guardian shortly

Regina George

Adejoke O

Eyes On Okagbare, Asumnu Others... As Festival Of Athletics Ignites Calabar


63

THE GUARDIAN Sunday, June 16, 2013

0m race. He is ds others in a 10

e gold in Calabar

favoured to win th

Egwero lea

Odumosu

I want my record to be broken, and I believe Okagbare can do it. She has my support and I will continue to pray for her. She can win gold at the Olympics if she is focused and consistent. I see her as one of the Nigerian athletes to win gold at the Olympics soon.

Noah Akwu (left)

maican’s Usian , compets with Ja

after the race that her focus was title in Calabar. “I am in great shape and I have the confidence that I can get the job done in Calabar. I narrowly lost the 100m title last year to Blessing, but this time around, I pray to get things right. I don’t care who goes into the contest with me.” Ajoke Odumosu, Regina George, Amaka Ogoegbuna, Stephanie Kalu and new kid on the block, US-based Ugonna Ndu, are also female athletes to watch out for in Calabar. Ndu was the star attraction on Friday at the Warri City Stadium after beating celebrated American 100m female hurdler, Nichole Denby to the gold medal at the CAA Grand Prix. It was Ndu’s first race and victory for Nigeria. One area athletics buff will focus attention in this event is the female 4x100m relay, where Nigeria is yet to pick a ticket for the World Championship. The chance was burgled again on Friday in Warri following a poor baton exchange between two US-based athletes, Gloria Asumnu and Regina George. The AFN said the athletes will get it right in Calabar. Some foreign-based male athletes already waiting for action in Calabar are Fred Agbaje, Nurudeen Selim, Abiola Onakoya and Noah Akwu. Home-boy Ogho-Oghene Egwero, is another athlete to watch out in Calabar. He ran a fantastic race on Friday to win the 100m race at the Warri CAA Grand Prix in 10.18 seconds, beating America’s Mathieu Pritchett and others in the process. His greatest challenger, Obinna Metu is not in good shape at the moment, but a surprise from an up-coming athlete could come in the sprint. Since Team Nigeria’s failure in London 2012 Games, Wednesday’s All Nigerian Open in Calabar will be the first time Nigerians will come face-to-face with top stars like Okagbare, who narrowly missed the opportunity of setting a new African long jump record in Doha last month.

Bolt at the London

2012 Olympics

At the 2013 IAAF Diamond League in Doha, Okagbare jumped 7.14m to earn a silver medal in the women’s Long Jump event. The jump was good enough to earn her a temporary 2013 world lead before American Britney Reese’s 7.25m snatched the gold. However, Okagbare’s jump in Doha was good enough to erase the 7.12m that gave Chioma Ajunwa the Atlanta ’96 Olympic gold medal, but the fact that the jump was +2.2m per second wind assisted rendered her efforts unacceptable. The 7.14m jump in Doha could not be ratified by the AFN as a national record because it was wind assisted. Doha, Qatar has always been a rich hunting ground for Nigerian athletes. Seven years ago in Doha, former Nigerian sprint king, Olusoji Fasuba, raced to a new African 100m record of 9.85secs to push Namibian Frankie Fredericks’ 9.86secs into the archive. Even when Fasuba had dumped athletics for a career in the Royal British Navy, his record still stands to date as the fastest by any African. The 24-year-old Okagbare was the only African that featured in the Doha Golden League dominated by the Americans and she refused to be intimidated by the records of her Yankee rivals. She may have missed the African record in Doha; Okagbare, no doubt, has entered the club of seven-metre jumpers and can only be looking forward to improving before the 14th IAAF World Athletics Championships in Russia. One man who is looking forward to a better performance from Okagbare this Wednesday is the President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Solomon Ogba. He said: “I am really excited by Blessing’s feat in Doha. “It is true that the wind was above the acceptable level when she jumped 7.14m in Doha, but that did not mean that we should not appreciate her effort. Don’t forget that the competition in Doha was the first leg of the Diamond League and anything can happen in this our trials in Calabar.” Ogba, who was one of few Nigerians that cheered Okagbare during the Diamond League in Qatar, was particularly thrilled because the athlete did better than her personal best of 6.97m, which she clocked at the 2012 All Nigeria Open in Calabar. “Despite the disappointment of the last Olympic Games in London, I have never doubted the capacity of Blessing to better the 6.97m. I knew she is capable of making the 7m mark. She

I am in great shape and I have the confidence that I can get the job done in Calabar. I narrowly lost the 100m title last year to Blessing, but this time around, I pray to get things right. I don’t care who goes into the contest with me.

did that three times in Doha with relative ease. I pray she continues at the pace she has started the outdoor season without any injury and I am looking forward to seeing a better performance in Calabar,” Ogba stated. Many athletics followers are of the opinion that Okagbare would do herself better if she concentrated more on long jump and ignore sprints. But others believe that combining the sprint event is an added advantage to a jumper. For Okagbare to compete with the likes of America’s Britney Reese, two-time Olympic Games 100m champion, ShellyAnn Fraser-Pryce and London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medalist, Janay Deloach Soukup at the 14th IAAF World Championships in Moscow, she must prove her worth as true champion on Wednesday in Calabar. Looking ahead the event, AFN Technical Director, Nesiama said he is hopeful athletes like Okagbare and Asumnu would improve on their performance. He is of the opinion that it is just a matter of time before Ajunwa’s record is broken in the jump. Ajunwa is not happy that her record has remained unequalled and unbroken for 17 years. The police officer wants Okagbare to break her African record and set a new one beginning with this year’s All Nigerian Open in Calabar. Ajunwa is also backing Okagbare to eclipse her record as Nigeria’s only individual Olympic gold medalist at the Rio 2016 Olympics. “I want my record to be broken, and I believe Okagbare can do it. She has my support and I will continue to pray for her. She can win gold at the Olympics if she is focused and consistent. I see her as one of Nigerian athletes to win gold at the Olympics soon,” Ajunwa said. The success story of Okagbare on the track began at the West Africa Polytechnic Games, which held in Yaba College of Technology, Lagos in 2006. Competing for Otefe Polytechnic in Oghara, Delta State, Okagbare won two gold medals in the long jump and triple jump. A publication by The Guardian on the performance of Okagbare and another gold medalist, Believe Utabivwe during the games, attracted Ogba, who was then Commissioner for Sports in Delta State. Okagbare was quickly moved to Delta State University, Abraka and was later given a scholarship to study in the United States. She was invited to Team Nigeria’s camp in preparation for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, where she grabbed a bronze medal. She won gold for Nigeria in the Long jump at Maputo 2011 All Africa Games. Outside the track, the government and people of Cross River have promised to make this year’s All Nigerian Open Athletics Championship a memorable one for all visitors.


TheGuardian

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Warri 2013 CAA Grand Prix/Relays Fall Out

Losing To Nigeria Athlete Is No Big Deal, Says America’s Brunson By Gowon Akpodonor MERICA’S 110m hurdler Andrew Brunson, was so cheerful embracing Nigerian athletes and officials from one point of Warri City Stadium to another, despite running a disappointing race at the Confederation of African Athletics, CAA Grand Prix/Relays event on Friday. Brunson was one of the foreign athletes favoured to pick a gold medal at the event, going by his personal best (PB) time of 13.30 seconds. Nigeria’s Nurudeen Selim who ran 13.69 seconds beat him to the gold medal. The American returned at 13.86 seconds to settle for the bronze. Speaking with The Guardian after the race, Brunson said that he was never disappointed with his performance saying: “There is no big deal in losing a gold medal to a Nigerian in this race. I tried my best to win but it was not good enough. This is the year of the IAAF World Athletics Championship in Russia and my coming to Warri is to use this event as part of my training for the Americans trials, which holds next week (This week). Hopefully, I will make it to the World championship and I will meet Nigerian athletes again. I enjoyed myself here and I am looking forward

A

to come to Warri again if I have the opportunity to do so in future.” Apart from Brunson, two other Americans, Nichole Denby and Mathieu Pritchett were beaten in the women’s 100m hurdle and men’s 100m by Nigerians. Meanwhile, the President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Solomon Ogba has praised the country’s junior athletes for their performance at the Warri CAA Grand Prix/Relays. While the junior athletes were able to win gold in the 4x100 women relay, the senior failed due to poor baton exchange by two USbased athletes. The junior is the future of Nigeria’s athletics, Ogba told The Guardian at the end of the event. “We now have a pool where our coaches can easily pick athletes to represent those who are not measuring up to expectations.” Some of the junior athletes who gave a good account of themselves at the Warri 2013 CAA Grand Prix/Relays include, sprinter Harry Chibuke, who ran 10.47 seconds to pick a silver medal ahead of America’s Pritchett. Others were Ese Brume (silver in long jumper) and Efe Favour who gave a good account of herself in the women’s 100m hurdles.

Messi Breaks Maradona’s Record takes more IandTthanapparently a hamstring injury accusations of tax fraud  to keep Lionel Messi from scoring goals. The Barcelona forward completed a hat trick before the 50th minute of Argentina’s 4-0 win friendly win against Guatemala on Friday night. With that trio of goals, Messi has now surpassed Diego Maradona’s 34 goals on Argentina’s all-time top scorer’s list. The 25-year-old opened scoring after 15 minutes, with a crisp drive from distance,

before setting up Augusto Fernandez for the second goal. He scored from the spot shortly before half-time, after he was brought down. His three goals took him to 35 goals – level with Hernan Crespo, but 21 goals behind Gabriel Batistuta, who remains on top. Speaking to reporters after the game, Messi said: “Having overtaken Maradona is not important. The main thing was to end this friendly well as a team, which isn’t easy ahead of the holidays.”

Zambia’s Brazil’s 2014 Dreams Dim AMBIA’S 2014 world Cup Z hopes are looking grim after Sudan rallied to grindout a 1-1 draw in Ndola yesterday. It was a match leaders Record breaker…Messi after scoring his a hat trick for Argentina in their friendly against Guatemala on Friday night to break Diego Maradona’s record

Zambia needed to win to stay top ahead of the crucial Group D final decider against second place Ghana this September. Ghana Black Stars will play today away to Lesotho.

Eagles, Last Team To Arrive Brazil FRICAN champions A Nigeria landed in Sao Paulo, Brazil just before midnight on Saturday. They were the last team to arrive as the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup tournament got underway. Earlier scheduled to arrive on Thursday, the Super Eagles are 48 hours late after a stand-

off with Nigeria football authorities on bonuses payable. Yesterday, the first batch of Nigerian contingent from Windhoek to Johannesburg inexplicably missed their flight, but team administrator, Enebi Achor, who was in the second batch, worked hard to ensure that the batch

eventually arrived in Johannesburg early enough to retain seats on the connecting flight. “We are all on the same flight. Everything’s sorted out now,” Achor said on telephone from Johannesburg. The delegation flew aboard a South African Airways’ Airbus 340-600, with registration

number SA 224, from Johannesburg to Sao Paulo, and were expected to connect another flight to Belo Horizonte. On board were 22 players and 10 officials, with midfielder Ogenyi Onazi having sustained a knee injury in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Namibia in Windhoek

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

on

Wednesday. Officials said yesterday before the team left Johannesburg, that Onazi, who was in the team that triumphed at the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa earlier in the year and won the Copa Italia with SS Lazio last month, was still being expected to join the squad in South America. Nigeria play Tahiti, champions of Oceania at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte starting from 4pm Brazil time on Monday,

which is 8pm Nigeria time. The Nigeria Football Federation has informed the Nigerian Embassy in Brazil about the team’s arrival, and pleaded for extension of usual courtesies, even as the team would be taken over by the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the FIFA Confederations Cup. Coach Keshi said the team would have an official training session today, not long after their arrival.


Sun 16 June 2013 The Guardian Nigeria