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Stranded Ogun Politicians Take Cover Under Labour

‘Ajaokuta Steel Company, A National Disaster’

TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Vol. 29, no. 12,603

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Obama Urges Africa To Unite Against Terrorism, Sectarian Violence By Ikechukwu Onyewuchi niTed States’ President, U Barrack Obama, yesterday, linked growing terrorism in Africa to bad governance but insisted that, “in the case of the Boko Haram sect, there is (also) the religious rationale for what they are doing.” Obama, who spoke at the African young Leaders’ Town Hall meeting in Soweto, South Africa as part of his official tour of Africa, said the war on terror is not the exclusive preserve of the United States but a global issue. The Guardian monitored the session, which was aired by the Cable news network (Cnn). “it is not just the problem of the United States; it is a problem for everybody. When the US embassy was bombed in Kenya, more Kenyans were killed than foreigners,” the US President, who clearly avoided CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

NEWSFEATURE 29

Second Niger Bridge: Dream Waiting To Happen IBRUCENTRE 37

‘Unity Can Only Be Achieved

If We Thank And Praise God’ NEWS 4

Cold War... Warm Handshake: President Goodluck Jonathan (left) and Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, at the Port Harcourt International Airport as the President departs for Abuja after the commissioning of a hospital and a visit to the federal university at his Otueke village…yesterday.

Cash-less Policy Begins In Kano, Anambra, Rivers By Marcel Mbamalu, Chijioke Nelson (Lagos) and Abba Anwar (Kano)

Stakeholders Urge Smooth Transition

T will no longer be business as usual for bankers and their customers in Kano, Anambra, Abia, Rivers, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as electronic platforms take the centre stage of banking activities in those states beginning from tomorrow.

Already, banks are sensitising customers for take-off of the Central Bank of nigeria’s cash-less policy in the five additional states, with some of them sending text messages to account holders alerting them on new cash deposit and withdrawal benchmarks as well as other requirements of the scheme.

Three Corps i Members Kidnapped In Rivers

Although the Lagos pilot project, which began a year ago, is still fraught with challenges, ranging from poor iCT infrastructure to network ‘downtimes’ associated with poor quality of GSM services, among other bottlenecks, the CBn governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had insisted that the

project would be extended to these states in preparation for a nationwide rollout. The focus, however, is on key commercial and urban centres of Onitsha, Kano, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Aba. The apex bank cited heavy cash transactions in many of the states’ market or urban

centres as the compelling reason for  taking the scheme in the areas. But it is feared that the banks will still have to grapple with the traditional banking habits and, sometimes, low literacy and awareness level of the majority of businessmen in some of those states, many of whom are yet to understand the details despite the CBn’s campaign. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


TheGuardian Special Task Force Arrest 1,653 Suspects, Destroy 3,778 Illegal Refineries

2 | Sunday, June 30, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

From Madu Onuorah, Abuja N the last one year, a total of Iand1,653 suspects were arrested 3,778 illegal refineries destroyed in the in the ongoing anti-illegal bunkering patrols by the Joint Task Force (Operation PULO SHIELD) in the Niger Delta, according to Minister of State for Defence, Dr Olusola Obada. In addition, 120 barges, 878 Cotonou boats, 161 tanker trucks, 178 illegal fuel dumps and 5,238 surface tanks were also destroyed by the Task Force within the same period. Obada also said that the Defence Industries

Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) will collaborate with the private sector under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the production of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs). Obada said on Friday, while featuring in the ongoing ministerial press briefing in Abuja, that  the nation’s military has “enhanced protection of oil and gas facilities through air and ground patrols of pipeline networks to deter vandals from sabotage activities. Troops were deployed on most critical platforms on a  24/7  basis to enhance their security. While criminalities in the industry have not been

completely eliminated, efforts of the Joint Task Force have reduced the level crude oil theft drastically.” She stated that towards industrialising Nigeria through the military-industrial complex, “the Federal Government in 2012 set up a high powered committee headed by the Vice President to reposition the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) for greater efficiency. The report of the

committee had been submitted to the President and it is expected that the recommendations would help initiate a transformation in the local production of military equipment.” Already, Obada noted, DICON has entered into partnership with foreign companies for the manufacture of weapons, bulletproof vests and other equipment. She also disclosed that under the Ministry of Defence’s

health initiatives, 25,000 people had been place on retroviral therapy in the last one year  under the Ministry of Defence HIV programme. Obada said, “in the area of health care, the Ministry of Defence HIV Programme Emergency Plan Implementation Committee (EPIC) in partnership with the United States Department of Defence HIV Programme has offered HIV counseling and test services to many

Nigerians.  And placed over 25,000 on Anti-Retroviral Therapy. In the last year, 15 new sites were established providing services. The emergency plan implementation committee has established its first reference laboratory, which will be accorded international grade by the college of pathology. Can I just mention here that most of those to whom we have given anti retroviral therapy are civilians and not just people in the Armed Forces.”

Religious Interests Fuels Boko Haram, Says Obama CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Nigeria in his schedule — and in all his official speeches — said during the question-andanswer session yesterday. According to Obama, regional terror gangs like the Boko Haram in Nigeria, may not have grown transnational in capacity like others but they are doing a great harm in Africa. He explained that the US does not necessarily wish to get involved in war militarily, even as he stressed that his country will not likely intervene in specific matters but expects that the whole of African countries will “collaborate with us to fight” terrorism. Obama called on African leaders to build capacity to tackle terrorism, stating that his government will provide training and advice. The US’ President also hinted that the US is already partnering with Nigeria on education to develop human capital. According to him, the most important investment a nation can make is to develop its youths and encourage technological development,

adding “these days, businesses can go anywhere to get quality manpower.” Stating that it is the failings of governments that give rise to terrorism, he opined that responsive and democratic institutions are the best defence against terrorism. He said: “It is my strong belief that terrorism is more likely to emerge and take root where countries are not delivering for their people and where there are sources of conflict and unaligned frustrations that have not been adequately dealt with. “The danger we have right now, for example, in a place like Somalia, is that it’s been two generations, maybe three, since there was a functioning government inside of Somalia. We start to see some progress in part because of intervention by African nations in Somalia to clear the space and create the space for governance. But you look at what is happening in Mali, for example, right now, part of the problem is that they have a weak central government and democratic institutions that weren’t reaching out as far into the country as necessary.

President Obama, President Zuma and their wives, Michelle (left) and Madiba-Zuma (right) during the Obamas visit to South Africa...Saturday.

Cashless Policy Begins In Kano, Anambra, Rivers CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 A big chunk of the rural population in communities that feed into the commercial/ urban areas in most of the selected states  remain semi-literate, sometimes completely operating outside of the formal banking system. “For this reason, we are educating our customers, said an official of one of the new generation banks in Lagos. Asked to explain what the policy portends for those that would, henceforth, need banking services in the designated areas, she said new cash deposit and withdrawal benchmarks of N300,000 (for personal accounts and N3 million (for corporate accounts) will now be applied in the affected areas. Also, third-party cheques in excess of N150,000 can no longer be “cash-drawn” over the counter, even as she explained that “although you can use your ATM card to do transactions on a Point of Sale (POS) machine and other electronic/internet channels, you can no longer do more than N150,000 cash withdrawal with your ATM card in a day.” Meanwhile, World Bank’s Payment Systems and Remittances Specialist, Carlo

Corazza, said ‘revolution’ in global payment system has resulted in great savings, which are significant for development purposes. Corazza made the disclosure at the conference on cash-less initiative, organised by DeNovo Limited and Reach Legal Consulting, in conjunction with the CBN, in Lagos. “Going electronic,” he said, “can save about 75 per cent of costs usually associated with cash-based regime, which is huge, especially in this era of stretched resources, urging stakeholders to support the scheme. According to him, the system has also lowered the costs associated with physical barriers in international trade, making it easier for access to financial services in various countries, another positive signal in international cooperation. But Deputy Governor, Operations, CBN, Tunde Lemo, who was represented by the Director of Banking and Payments System Department, Dipo Fatokun, said the initiative became necessary, given the fact that an efficient payment system enhances financial inclusion, effective transmission mechanism of

monetary policy and overall financial stability. “This is because the cost of cash and associated risk of a cash-driven economy to Nigeria’s financial system were high and in response to these challenges, CBN and the Bankers’ Committee initiated the ‘Cash-Less Nigeria’ project with the pilot run in Lagos and now to be extended to five additional states- Abia, Anambra, Ogun, Kano, Rivers and Abuja by July 1. “Just this month, we went live on cheque truncation nationwide, thereby making cheque payments to clear within a clearing cycle of T+1. The CBN has licensed about 18 mobile payment operators to offer payment services via the mobile phone that over 100 million Nigerians carry. Fatokun added that the cash-less policy was designed to promote financial intermediation and inclusion, minimise revenue leakages and increase revenue generation, as well as reduce incidences of robbery and amount of cash payments in the system by encouraging electronic payments. The policy on withdrawal allows individual customer to make cumulative with-

drawal of N500, 000 daily across the counters and the ATM. “Withdrawal above this limit will attract the payment of a processing fee of three percent for the amount above the limit,” the official said. “Corporate customers are allowed to make cumulative withdrawal of N3, 000,000 daily. Withdrawal above the limit will attract a processing fee of five percent. “The policy on lodgment allows individual customer to make cumulative lodgment of N500, 000 daily. Lodgment above the limit will attract a processing fee of 2 percent above the limit. “Corporate customers are allowed to make cumulative lodgment of N3, 000,000 daily. Lodgment above the limit will attract a processing fee of three percent above the limit. “I need to make it clear that it is the account to which withdrawal and lodgment is made that bears the processing charges and not the individual that receives or deposits the cash. “Cumulative withdrawal/lodgment means the totality of all withdrawals and lodgments across all the customer’s accounts in the bank.”


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

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Boko Haram Kills Soldier, Abducts Three Others From Njadvara Musa, Damaturu USPECTED Boko Haram gunS10.45pm, men on Thursday, at about attacked a military post of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Potiskum, killing a soldier and abducting three others. The attack comes barely 24 hours after members of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Resolution (PCDR) arrived Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, on their nationwide tour. An eyewitness said the assailants arrived in three unmarked vehicles and a tricycle. They threw Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) at one of the checkpoints along Potiskum-Kano Road and fled to an unknown destination with the abducted soldiers. The Guardian learnt that gunmen also attacked the Shehu of Bama’s palace on Tuesday, while the committee mem-

JTF Rescues Three Teenage Girls, Recovers Arms, Ammunition In Borno, Yobe bers, led by the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Alhaji Kabiru Taminu Turaki, paid a courtesy visit to Ibrahim Kyari Umar El-Kanemi. Confirming Thursday’s incident in Damaturu, yesterday, a soldier said: “The corpse of our colleague in the Potiskum attack has been deposited at the General Hospital. The gunmen still operate with highly dangerous explosives and fast moving, but unregistered vehicles in Potiskum.” He noted that military operatives are on the trail of the gunmen, adding that fighter jets of the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) from Maiduguri Air Force Base have been dispatched to suspected Boko Haram training camps and hideouts in Yobe State. Narrating how the JTF post

YOBE was attacked, he said: “It was a coordinated ambush. But I cannot tell you exactly how some of our colleagues were abducted and taken to unknown destinations.” He disclosed that two weeks earlier, three soldiers were killed while two sustained injuries, barley six hours after insurgents killed seven secondary school students in Damaturu, the state capital. JTF spokesman, Lt. Eli Lazarus, however, said that only a soldier was injured, and confirmed the killing of seven students and two teachers at the school. “During this multiple attacks, soldiers were able to kill one of the terrorists and capture another alive,” Lazarus said.

Men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Maiduguri, Borno State, on Friday, rescued three girls allegedly abducted by suspected Boko Haram gunmen. The abductors had fled from their destroyed training camps and hideouts at Sambisa Games Reserve Forests (SGRF) and Kirenoa in the northern part of the state. The rescue, according to JTF sources in Maiduguri, yesterday, followed the uncovering of a new method of kidnapping by suspected Boko Haram insurgents. This entails disguising as taxi drivers to pick teenage girls to unknown destinations in Maiduguri metropolis. In a statement, JTF spokesman, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, said the insurgents are currently using taxicabs, mostly Volkswagen Golf or Toy-

ota Starlet with one or two disguised passengers. The statement reads in part: “Three teenage girls were at different times and places kidnapped in Maiduguri metropolis in less than ten days using this method. Luckily, all the kidnapped girls were rescued by the JTF and handed over to their parents.” Prior to the abduction of the three girls, there were no reported cases of kidnapping of female teenagers, only dozens of affluent people, top government officials and traditional leaders. These were kidnapped and released after payment of ransoms. Meanwhile, soldiers in Yobe State have discovered a Boko Haram hideout, recovering arms and ammunition, including police jackets and helmets.

Security: State Reinforces Vigilante Group To Compliment Police

OGUN By Gbenga Akinfenwa GUN State Government has taken steps to compliment effort of the police at curbing criminality at the grassroots by forming a new vigilance outfit. It has successfully merged Remo Neighborhood Watch with Vigilante Service Outfit (VSO) to end multiplicity and lingering clash of interest. The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Basorun Muyiwa Oladipo, who disclosed this at a stakeholders’ meeting in Abeokuta, at the weekend, said the merger was not only to end challenges confronting vigilante activities in Sagamu community, but also to have a strong and effective outfit to compliment effort of the police at curbing criminality. Oladipo, who noted that the merger took gradual process, with due consultation from November, 2012 till the final deal in May 2013, said the merger committee was also put in place to interface with stakeholders and Akarigbo in Council to sort out issues and reach a final and inclusive conclusion.

O

Controversy Trails Council’s Stolen Transformer JIGAWA From John Akubo, Dutse HE heads of top officials of T Dutse Capital Development Authority (DCDA) and Dutse

Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Tanko Almakura (right); Chairman, Pace Setters Schools, Kenneth Imansuangbon, and Father of the Day, Chief Tony Anenih, during the Pace Setters Schools Grand Graduation Ceremony in Abuja… yesterday.

State To Restrict General Hospitals To Referrals By Kamal Tayo Oropo ATIENTS seeking treatment for non-referral primary ailments in Lagos State General Hospitals may have to look elsewhere. The state governor, Babatunde Fashola, has disclosed that the government in the nearest future will begin to restrict access to its General Hospitals, as a move to encouraging the use of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs).

P

According to the governor, General Hospitals would only attend to patients referred from the PHCs. Fashola made this known during the flag-off ceremony of Eredo Primary Healthcare Centre in Epe Constituency II. He cited the example of the United Kingdom, saying that no specialist doctor would attend any patient without a referral from a general practitioner.

LAGOS “Very soon, no doctor will attend to you at the General Hospital, except you have a referral from a primary healthcare centre. What you seek in the UK is now here with you. You do not need to travel long distances anymore.” He urged residents of the area to utilise the facility, saying it has been well equipped with facilities and personnel

to diagnose ailments, including hypertension, cancer and diabetes. He also tasked them to report to the PHCs for cases, including antenatal, child delivery, malaria fever and typhoid fever. He said that the PHC would refer delicate cases to the General Hospitals where necessary. “What we seek to achieve is build a referral healthcare system that moves from a robust and intensive grass-

roots healthcare, starting from a 24-hour service delivery at various local governments, through to the General Hospitals, and up to the teaching hospitals. “This is the only way we can fully integrate, redistribute and optimise our assets. This model has succeeded in every part of the world; we want to replicate it here, to make healthcare a local success,” he said.

Gunmen Kidnap Three Corp Members In Rivers HREE corps members servT ing at the Ogonokom Community Secondary school, Abua/Odua Local Government Area of Rivers State, have been kidnapped. According to the state Police Public Relations Officer, Angela Agabe, the victims were

abducted at the school corper’s lodge. It was gathered that the kidnappers arrived at the lodge at about  12 am Friday, shot indiscriminately on the air before whisking their victims to an unknown destination. The abducted Corp mem-

RIVERS bers were two males and one female. Though kidnapping of Corp members has been a recurrent incident in the State, the menace subsided in the last one year, making this

case the first in several months. Agbade said the Police has intensified effort to secure the release of the hostages unhurt. A senior officer with the State National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) saidCorps

members at Ogonokom Community had been relocated temporarily to a nearby community for safety.   He added that they might go back to Ogonokom community when their security is guaranteed.

Council may roll over their involvement in the theft of an electricity transformer. The cat was let out of the bag after the Dutse Local Government Council purchased a transformer that was allegedly stolen from the DCDA and sold off at the cost of N400,000 naira. This is against the original market value of N2m. Sources at the DCDA disclosed that the transformer was stolen after its documents were forged, suggesting that it was auctioned to a staff and later taken to the Dutse Local Government. According to the source, the signatures of two top government officials, alongside a forged DCDA letter headed paper, were used in the act. When contacted, the chairman of Dutse Capital Development Authority, Alhaji Bashir Amin, confirmed the incident. He said that the culprit was undergoing quizzing. “When we got wind that a transformer was stolen from the DCDA store, we swung in to action to ensure a thorough investigation was carried out. This confirmed that it was actually stolen and sold to Dutse Local Government Council,” Amin said. The chairman said that the culprit, one Mallam Dalha Isa, was issued a suspension letter, following a query, which he did not respond to.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday June 30, 2013

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Why S’east PDP Shifted Caucus Meeting From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu HERE were indications yesT terday that the South East chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would endorse the return of all its officers who recently resigned from the national executive committee during her caucus meeting now slated for August. The Guardian gathered reli-

ably, yesterday, that the caucus meeting, billed for Enugu today has to be shifted, following the postponement of the special national convention of the party. Although there are several interests being expressed by individuals on the positions  allocated to the party, since their former occupants resigned, it would appear that the leadership of the

NATIONAL southeast has concluded plans to return all those who resigned, as they were said to have represented the zone well in the party. “This will also foster peace and continuity, as well as give the various states that brought them up a sense of fulfillment,” a source said. But the National Vice Chair-

man of the party in the southeast, Col Austeen Akobundu (rtd), told The Guardian that the issue of endorsing the return of anybody would only be discussed when the zonal caucus meets. He said, however, that the position allocated to the states before the resignation of the officers remains unchanged. “We are not changing the

positions. Abia State retains the National Vice Chairman (South East), Imo -National Women leader; Anambra National Publicity Secretary; Ebonyi -Deputy National Secretary,” he said. He confirmed that the meeting was postponed “due to the postponement of the national convention of the party,” adding that the southeast is solidly for PDP.

Akande Carpets Jonathan Over Amaechi Snub By Kamal Tayo Oropo OR snubbing obeisance Fnor,from the Rivers State goverMr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, in the full glare of two other world leaders, President Jonathan has drawn the ire of the National Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Bisi Akande, who described the president’s action as regrettable and unpresidential. Speaking yesterday with The Guardian, the former Osun State governor, likening the situation to the global respect for South Africa’s former President, Nelson Mandela, said what makes a great mind is quiet different from what makes a small mind. “You will recall that what makes Nelson Mandela great in the hearts of the world is that he can forget and forgive those who caused him pains during his travails in prison,” he said.

Third Toyin Falola Annual Conference Begins Tomorrow HE Annual International T Academic Conference named after Prof. Toyin Falola,

Bride’s father, Dele Unuigbe (left); bride’s mother, Mrs. Ayo Unuigbe (right), and couple, Mr. and Mrs. Alaba Shonibare, during their wedding ceremony in Lagos.

PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

Community Disputes STF’s Claim On Casualty Figures From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos HE people of Magama comT munity of Langtang South Local Government Council of Plateau State have questioned claim by the Special Task Force (STF) that it killed about 20 persons who invaded the community on Thursday, June 27.          Spokesman for the STF, Captain Salisu Ibrahim Mustapha, in a statement on Friday, June 28, had said the gunmen engaged the STF in a gun duel for several hours. And in the process, “about 20 of the assailants were killed while some who sustained gunshot wounds were arrested. Some motorcycles, weapons and ammunition were also recovered. Consequently, the attackers withdrew towards

Local Chief Wants Emergency Rule In Bauchi Yamini, Yelwa Shendam and Agikamai villages of Shendam council.” Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, leader of Magama community, Bonko Bintim, said that all they know was that 42 people from the Magama village were killed in the attack. On the claim by the STF that they succeeded in killing 20 of the invaders, he said, “we are not sure whether that happened because we have not seen the corpses of those killed by the STF. But we only know that 42 of our people were killed on that fateful Thursday. They were given a mass burial on Friday including my father who was also killed. We are yet

BAUCHI to see the corpses of those 20 invaders the STF claimed to have killed.” Confronted with this denial, Captain Mustapha told The Guardian yesterday that the bodies of the 20 attackers could not have been given to the community because they are foreigners who do not belong to the community. “The bodies should not have been given to the community because they do not belong to them. They are foreign bodies,” Mustapha stated. But he

could not account for the bodies whether they have been given mass burial or not. Meanwhile, the Secretary General of Sayawa Chiefdom of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Council of Bauchi State, Rev. Isaac Istifanus, has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Bauchi State. He stated this yesterday while addressing journalists at the NUJ Press Centre. Istifanus said many communities of Ningi and Misau Local Government had come under serious attacks by unknown gunmen leading to the loss of life and property.  

He said: “Like other parts of the Northern states in the country. Tafawa Balewa Local Government has been embroiled in crisis, which bother on religious intolerance and Fulani Invasion. “A lot of people from Tafawa Balewa Local Government have lost their lives, as a result of the crisis that has bedeviled the area. Captain Mustapha also talked about cases handed over to the Nigeria Police for investigation and prosecution by the STF from January 1, 2013 to date saying, from the period under review, 21 arrests were made.

Al-Makura Advocates Emergency In Education Sector Visually Impaired Gets N2m Essay Prize From Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja OVERNOR Tanko AlG Makura of Nasarawa State has called for a state of emergency in the country’s education sector, as a way of addressing problems of academic excellence in public schools. Speaking yesterday at the 2013 graduation ceremony of Pace Setter Academy in Abuja, the governor said that unless urgent step is taken to tackle the downward trend of government-owned schools across the country, they

NASARAWA would be heading for the worst. “I have said it before that what we have now is that public schools are heading towards a situation of emergency. I said emergency because virtually all infrastructures needed in schools are nonexistent and that is the reason there is no attainment of excellence in public schools. “My consideration for Nasarawa State is to replicate what they have in Pace Setters

Academy in various schools in the state by creating environment conducive to learning, providing books and furniture and ensuring that teachers are properly orientated. My intention is to professionalise education in order to attain educational excellence. “There is no point sending children abroad when we have a good school such as this in the country that does not only pursue educational excellence but also pursues moral excellence,” he said. One of the highlights of the day was presentation of awards to winners of Barrister Kenneth Imansuagbon National Essay Competition.

the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas, Austin, will be kicked off at Lead City University, Ibadan tomorrow, Monday July 1, 2013 and run till Wednesday July 3, 2013. The 2013 edition of the conference devoted to “Ethnicity, Race and Place in Africa and the African Diaspora” will attract a wide array of distinguished scholars from the United States, Europe, The Caribbean and Asia. Keynote speakers at the conference include Professor Ken Harrow, Distinguished Academic from Michigan State University; Professor Moses Ochonu from Vanderbilt University, United States as well as Professor Tunde Bewaji from the University of the West Indies.

Nigerians Charged To Care For The Physically Challenged IGERIANS have been N charged to desist from pitying the physically impaired but create an environment conducive to making life meaningful for them. The charge came at the Celebration of Life and Love to the physically impaired community in Lagos State by the founder of the Olusoye Compensatory Centre, Mrs. Hellen Oluwasolafunmi Caulcrick at the Wesley School For The Blind, Ajao Road Surulere, Lagos. In their tributes at the event, teachers and the pupils of the Pacelli School For The Blind, Surulere; the Atunda Olu School For The Physically Impaired, Surulere Lagos; the Oshodi Blind Centre Lagos, among others, used the occasion to plead with all concerned to champion care for the disabled.


THE GUARdIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

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NEWS Obama Encounters Protests, Praise On South Africa visit By Kamal Tayo Oropo (With Agency Reports) .S. President Barack U Obama launched a historic visit to South Africa yesterday. This marked his first visit to the former apartheid enclave as president. Though welcomed by officials, some group of people were seen protesting outside the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus, where the U.S. president was speaking to young South Africans. The protesters said they oppose Obama’s foreign policy and criticized his performance on human rights issues.   South African President Jacob Zuma said he was “honoured” to host U.S. President Barack Obama on his first visit to the country, as president.  Obama held several bilateral talks and as well visited the Robben Is-

INTERNATIONAL land, where Mandela was imprisoned for decades. According to reports, many like 19-year-old student, Anathi Manciya, offered high praise for the U.S. president. “I think he’s a great leader.  I compare him to guys like Nelson Mandela.  I really like the dude,” said Manciya. But not all South Africans have been so welcoming. dozens of protesters had earlier in the morning gathered on the busy Soweto Road in front of the University of Johannesburg. They held aloft signs that read “Stop World War III — Remove Obama” and “Obama Killed Gadhafi — Who’s Next?” The protesters, who came from a prominent union coalition, a Muslim advocacy group

and South Africa’s Communist Party offered several reasons for their opposition. Claire Ceruti, a former UJ staff member, who is now a student there, is a self-identified socialist.  She says she opposes the university’s decision to confer an honorary doctorate on the American president.   “We’re calling it a dishonorary doctorate because we feel it will dishonour all of us to be just handing out these things to a Head of State, who for us, doesn’t have a very good record,” Ceruti said.   One of Obama’s goals on this trip was to speak to the youth of Africa.  But 19-year-old UJ student Nomagugu Hloma was having none of it.   “I do not want to hear anything from Barack Obama.  I am not interested in anything

he is going to say to me.  I do not view him as a credible leader, he is not,” Hloma said. “He killed Gadhafi, and the government of Gadhafi in Libya was a good government. We don’t regard him as a leader.  If we want leadership, we will speak to our own leaders.” Phutas Tseki, the regional chair of powerful trade coalition COSATU, said he belongs to the South African Communist Party.  He disagrees with Obama’s foreign policy decisions, noting that the American president has broken promises.   “When President Obama was ushered in to the world, he promised that he’s going to make sure that he settled the dispute between Palestine and Israel people,” Tseki said. “But

the United States has continued to support, financially, it has continued to support Israel through arms to attack and displace people of Palestine from their land.  There was a  promise that Guantanamo Bay is going to be closed, even today, people are still standing there for many years without trial.”   Since his election in 2008, most South Africans have expressed support for the American president, with some conferring upon him the highest possible praise by comparing him to South African icon Nelson Mandela. Many say they see something of their beloved leader in Obama.  Both were the first black president of their country, and both were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Reps Committee Tours National Theatre, Approves Concession By Daniel Anazia S part of Federal GovernA ment plan to redevelop the National Theatre, restoring it to its initial glory and generate revenue, members of the Federal House of Representatives Committee on Culture and Tourism, at the weekend, visited the national edifice to listen to the presentation of BGL Equity Group; the transaction adviser to the concession project. According to Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem duke, the concession project has been identified as a necessity in the implementation of the National Theatre masterplan, which requires the full utilisation of the land area earmarked for tourism and entertainment. Conducting the House Committee members round the National Theatre to see the level of rot and decay within the national monument, duke said, “it has be-

NATIONAL come imperative to develop the vast landmass around the National Theatre as the unkempt environment is an embarrassment to the nation, saying though the process is still at the preliminary stage, it is important to carry Nigerians along, especially members the National Assembly, who represent the interest of the people.” Speaking on the Committee’s view, Chairman of the Committee, Ben Nwankwo, said, “as a national monument that have been in existence for more than 35 years, it is very susceptible to private encroachment and government is desirous of transforming the entire place into an entertainment city that will be a signature entertainment centre in Africa such that Nigeria will be proud, and the centre capable of generating employment, creating wealth and making Nigeria realise its cultural mandate.

Standard Chartered Sponsors Artwork Auction TANdARd Chartered Bank has sponsored an auction of African artworks as part of efforts to aid its ‘Seeing is Believing’ project in Nigeria. Organised by Arthouse Contemporary, the sales pioneered by the Consumer Banking and Wholesale Banking departments of the bank in Nigeria, in conjunction with the Group’s Private Bank team raised over $72,000, which was channeled towards the eradication of avoidable blindness in the country in May, last year, during same event. According to a statement from the financial institution, the sponsorship gave the bank the opportunity to support the Nigerian art community, raise funds for ‘Seeing is Believing’ project and demonstrate its ‘One Bank’ approach to providing financial services to the public. The Head Private Banking,

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NATIONAL West, Stephen Richards-Evans, said: “With the growing worldwide interest in African art, we are pleased to showcase contemporary African art to increase awareness for our global initiative of tackling avoidable blindness. “Since 2003, ‘Seeing is Believing’ has reached over 31 million people in over 17 countries, through the provision of services to prevent and treat blindness and educate communities about eye health. “Through donations from customers, clients and staff, the bank has contributed to 2.86 million sight restorations and raised more than $55million, including bank matching. This money has gone on to provide funding for 80 projects globally.

Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun (left); Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina; Permanent Secretary, FMARD, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote; and Chairman, Nigeria Agribusiness Group, Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere at the 40th meeting of the Nigeria Council on Agriculture in Abeokuta, Ogun State … at the weekend. PHOTO: FABIAN ODUM

Group To Recall Inactive Reps From Chuks Collins, Awka NON-GOvERNMENTAL A group, Nzuko Imeobi-Idemili, has stated that it would move for the recall of any person or group of persons representing different segments or zones of Anambra State at the National Assembly and the State House that are not performing as expected. The group made up of indigenes of the State’s 17 communities that constitute the Idemili Federal Constituency met at Ogidi, the headquarters of Idemili North LGA, at the weekend to deliberate on issues concerning their Constituency. Speaking on the State’s development, Obiorah Okonkwo, the national leader, noted that the body needs synergy to work towards developing and uplifting the living standard of the people, adding that lawmakers disappear after getting the people’s votes during elections, and vowed to resist future reoccurrence. He stressed that with the tone of events, it’s not going to be business as usual with the politicians. Already a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Mr. Tony Muonagor, representing Idemili North Constituency, has been warned for the second time for alleged poor showing and unimpressive performance. Commenting of the recent warning giving to Muonagor,

ANAMBRA he said, “many of the electorates now have vague memory of Muonagor and his co-travelers because they simply disappear after getting our votes and have remained aloof to the people’s collective need. They are not just representing us, but themselves.”

Okonkwo, however, stated that before any stringent measure would be carried out on the erring representatives, they would be invited for discussion and to know how they intend to improve their areas, and if every attempt to improve on the areas fail, the group will commence their recall process.

Group Accuses Govt Of Marginalisation LUB 582, made up of promiC nent personalities from Kogi East has accused the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan of marginalising the Igala nation in Kogi State. In a statement signed by the club’s president, former managing director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), the group claimed that there is no Igala man in top management position in Jonathan’s administration. The statement said, “the club noted with utter dismay the neglect of capable Igala sons and daughters in Federal appointments. As of today, there are no Igala ministers, permanent secretaries, ambassadors and heads of Federal government parastatal, despite the fact that the Igala nation constitutes the ninth largest ethnic group in this country, adding that the relevant authorities should rectify this

EDO grievous anomaly without further delay.” On the dredging of River Niger, the group said, “The dredging of River Niger was improperly executed between Idah and Lokoja, saying, what has been done makes navigation in this area very difficult. It also faulted the non-implementation of the Inland port project earn marked for Idah and called on government to address this situation.” The Igala group also called for the rehabilitation and construction of Federal roads in Igalaland, namely, Shintaku – Anyigba, Anigba – Idan and Ankpa – Adoka – Makurdi roads, while expressing concerns over the stalled execution of the Bagana –Guto Bridge contract involving the Federal Government, Kogi and Nasarawa State Governments and a private organisation.

Minister Commends Jonathan On Women Empowerment

NATIONAL By Gbenga Akinfenwa RESIdENT Goodluck P Jonathan has been commended for his efforts aimed at promoting the welfare of Nigerian women. The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. diezani AllisonMadueke, who said this during the launch of her book titled, ‘Goodluck Ebele Jonathan: Champion For Women,’ stated that in the last two years, Jonathan has appointed women into over 30 per cent of the top positions in government, and also put in place programmes to help some of the country’s poorest women. She disclosed that the president has fulfilled his promise in the area of empowering, protecting and creating more opportunities for women, which according to her, includes the recent directive to appoint more women to the boards of Federal parastatals. The book, ‘Champion For Women’ examines some of the many accomplishments of Jonathan and his administration, aside from celebrating the growing power and opportunities for Nigeria’s women. Commenting on the book, Allison-Madueke said, “President Jonathan’s campaign commitments included empowering, protecting and creating more opportunities for women, adding that for the first time in Nigeria over 30 per cent of political appointments were given to women.”

Lawyer Tasks NASS On PIB

NATIONAL By Joseph Onyekwere MEKA Okwuosa, a LagosE based lawyer, has called on the National Assembly to give the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) the desired attention to ensure that it is not taken over by mundane issues. Okwuosa, who made the call in a lecture he delivered at the fourth day of the 2013 annual Law Week Summit, organised by the Lagos Chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), added that the parliament must ensure that the bill is passed timeously, so as to speed up investment in the s e c t o r . He stated that there are some shortcomings in the PIB 2012, which should be redressed in other to forestall hindrances in its implementation process, adding that proper measures must be put in place to ensure its effectiveness. President Goodluck Jonathan had on July 18, 2012, re-presented the bill to the seventh session of the National Assembly (NASS) for consideration and enactment. The bill has now scaled through the second reading in both houses of the NA. Okwuosa said the PIB originally introduced in december 2008, had undergone numerous revisions, which has been the subject of intense debates.


TheGuardian

7 Sunday, June 30, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Cityfile Where Have The Skilled Artisans Gone?

Are they actually learning the trade? Apprentices look on as their master stresses a point.

By Femi Alabi Onikeku ARPENTER wey no know him work, na swegbe; tailor wey de “C sew like carpenter, na swegbe… carpenter wey know him work, na kpako; tailor wey dey sew like tailor, na kpako,” sang the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti in 1971. Rendered in pidgin, 42 years ago, the afrobeat maestro highlighted the problem of competence (kpako) and incompetence (swegbe) among the country’s artisans. Ironically, 1971 was a time many, with nostalgia, would describe as a golden era: the days when things, at least, worked. Gone with the wind, perhaps. Many Nigerians, today, would reel out stories of sad encounters they have had with craftsmen. The scenarios are similar: an artisan’s appearance, workshop, business card etc give the impression that the job would be done satisfactorily. Money, time and trust are committed. And then a letdown follows. Sometimes, the service enquirer even finds he or she has more intelligence about the work than the so-called expert. “I saw this plumber and had the impression that he could fix the problem,” said Mr. Akolade, a Lagos resident. “I brought him on. He spent some time at work. But the job was badly executed. The man, eventually, picked up a quarrel and left. It appeared he did that to escape from his glaring inability to deliver. Later, another man was called, who fixed the water pipes successfully. The new man, clearly, exposed the incompetence of the first plumber.” Mr. Oyerinde also shares his experience: “My car developed an engine fault. But it was manageable; I could still move around. I simply wanted to forestall things snowballing into unknown crisis. The mechanic explained the problem away and went to work. Surprisingly, the car refused to start afterwards. We began to push it all over the place; something that didn’t happen before I visited the workshop.” Alhaji Azeez recounts his ordeal with tailors: “Many of my clothes have been spoilt. They get clothes from elsewhere and display them in front of their shops. You would think it is

their handiwork. The day you come to retrieve your cloth, you will not meet them in the shop, perhaps, so that the errors will not be noticed until you get home. They destroy your cloth.” So, why are mediocre craftspeople suddenly everywhere? Mr. Adeola is a professional welder with 30 years of experience. “Apprentices, these days, are impatient,” he said. He added that many are distracted and buckle easily under the weight of peer pressure. “And if they fail to learn the core principles of the job, they don’t perform well when they become independent.” Mr. Adeosun, a tailor, since 1990, said apprentices, unlike their peers several years ago, lack ability to endure hardship, and “youths, today, are only interested in how to get rich quick. They prefer to sell GSM recharge cards and work as payphone operators. They believe that by so doing, they will still get some daily returns. “Some come, and after a few days’ realisation that there would be no immediate access to cash, they zoom off. Some are signed in for a three-year apprenticeship. But they leave after the first year. Anyone who wants to learn a trade, proficiently, must be able to endure. Suffering precedes pleasure. But youths, these days, don’t want to hear that.” Adeosun thinks the government can reverse the situation by providing incentives, but not until he had lamented a certain “Federal Government allocation for entrepreneurs and apprentices that was announced on radio but which hung mid air and wouldn’t fall into their hands.” Some of these youths do not have apt backers to sustain them through the years of training, he said. “Imagine an apprentice who comes to the workshop hungry, how would such learn? In my time, I would head for work with 20 kobo. And it was sufficient for my feeding. That is impracticable now.” The society has a very wrong understanding of craftsmen, as being second-hand citizens, said Rev. Fr. Stephen Omoniyi, Rector of Don Bosco Technical Institute, Onitsha, even as he called on government to step up awareness on the importance of craft in the development of the nation.

One major culprit that might have pummelled the fortunes of artisanship is the widespread use of commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada: thanks to a harsh economy and perhaps some government officials’ interpretation of job creation and poverty alleviation. With the chances of raking in quick hundreds of naira daily or even thousands, erstwhile apprentices have snubbed the idea of learning a trade. But the ban on the use of Okada, in Lagos and other states of the country, might have forced a change of mind. According to Mr. Adeola, the prohibition might be a positive measure that could change the face of apprenticeship. “Many of them are returning to their former trades,” he said. And by implication, persons with a view to taking up Okada riding for a living, might well shelve the idea and learn some trade. But notwithstanding the poor quality of craftsmen in society or government’s paying of lip service to technical education, credit could be given to one geopolitical zone- the southeastfor ingenuity. People of Igbo extraction seem to have maintained a consistent streak whenever it comes to skills and innovation. This would explain why many Nigerians have happily taken home goods ‘made in London, Italy, France or the United States of America’; never able to prove they were actually crafted in Aba or Onitsha. “The informal sector in the Nigerian economy is in serious crisis,” says Dr. Bello Raji Abdullghafar, Senior Lecturer, University of Ilorin. “It is not like the formal sector that has methods of registration and rules guiding them. There is free entry; anybody can come from anywhere and claim knowledge on a certain trade.” Bello enumerated a number of factors responsible for incompetence in the sector. He identified poverty with a resultant erosion of social values, like honesty. Also fingered is lack of adequate monitoring by parents and pressure: “Children are not yet ready to be independent, but because the parents are depending on what the child will bring, they quickly want

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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

CITYFILE Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge: Approval For Tolling Stalls At Lagos Assembly By Wole Oyebade NGOING toll collection on the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge could O amount to illegality and breach of protocol on the part of the Lagos State government. Reason: the Lagos State House of Assembly has not given the needed approval because it is uncomfortable with the proposed concessioning and toll collection of the mega project solely funded by taxpayers’ money. But for its embattled Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, House members freely expressed reservations on concessioning and tolling agreements when it was presented as a motion in the last four plenary sittings. Ikuforiji is facing a 54-count charge of stealing N673 million, as alleged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Ikuforiji, supposed victim of “political persecution” in the fraud trial, had used his rather overbearing influence on 39 lawmakers to salvage a unanimous rejection of the “unholy” concession plan. The lawmakers were suspicious that the executive arm is playing a fast one by presenting voluminous concession document days before the official commissioning of the bridge and seeking its approval in line with the Public Private Partnership law existing in Lagos State. Some lawmakers were of the opinion that an outright rejection of the motion would have shown that the Legislative arm is not a rubber-stamp appendage of their executive counterpart. In a letter read on the floor of the Assembly, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye, had on behalf of the state government sought approval for the ‘Ratification of the Electronic Tolling System operation, maintenance, concession terms and conditions for the Lekki-Ikoyi toll bridge.’ Begging for approval are initial maximum tolls of N250 for saloon cars; N300 for mini vans, Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and light pick-up trucks; N400 for non-commercial buses with a maximum sitting capacity of 26 persons; N100 for motorcycles with 200cc capacity and above. Presenting the proposal on the eve of the commissioning by Governor Babatunde Fashola, Majority Leader, Dr Ajibayo Adey-

Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge

eye, noted that the bridge was built by the state government and had been concessioned to Lagos Tolling Company, working with two foreign technical partners. By the agreement, 73 per cent of revenue generated would go to the state government, while 27 per cent goes to the tolling company. Also, 80 per cent of all incidental activities, like adverts, go to the state government, and 20 per cent for the operating company. The concession agreement is for 10 years, and has five years renewable period. Adeyeye queried the government’s rationale in arriving at the revenue formula for tolling, adding that the public was agitated about tolling because it was built without making any provision for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for the people. Still on the motion, member of the House, Saka Fafunmi, noted that construction of the bridge was laudable, but “must Lagosian always pay toll on every project made by government?” He said: “On this one-kilometre bridge, I’m not convinced at all. After all, we did not borrow money to have this done.” Apparently in agreement with Fafunmi and co., Deputy Speaker of the House, Taiwo Kolawole took a swipe at the proposal for leaning on the 2011 Public-Private Partnership law. He said: “As far I’m concerned, this has nothing to do with PPP law. This is not about provision of infrastructure because the bridge has already been constructed using taxpayers’ money. So, why should we still toll a road that we have built with our money?” Deputy Speaker also noted something fishy about the proposal: “Again, this proposal is coming too late. Our consent should have been sought before the construction of the bridge and the tolling facility. They simply built it in anticipation that we will just approve it. For me, I don’t want to be part of this,”

Kolawole said. At an emergency plenary on May 31, beginning at 7:11 pm and lasting just 12 minutes, the House summoned the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Obafemi Hamzat, and the Special Adviser to the Governor on PPP, Ayo Gbeleyi, on the matter. The summon still did not convince the lawmakers when the concerned state officials appeared a week later. By then, the bridge had been commissioned and concessioned with immediate toll collection. Ibrahim Layode, Badagry I, directed the state’s officials to section 10(7) of the PPP law that stipulates that the approval of the House must be sought before going ahead with toll collection. While making his defense, Gbeleyi stated that the threshold for toll collection hinges upon fact that it operates on ‘noncompete clause’, adding that the government wanted sufficient amount of money to be able to maintain the bridge and that was how the high-end toll tariff was arrived at. The Deputy Speaker, Kolawole, representing Ajeromi-Ifelodun I, wondered if the plight of residents was taken into consideration in the whole idea of tolling. “We must be very careful in the way we carry on. We need to be very open. I’m not convinced by the analysis of Mr. Gbeleyi. Why is it that we should always emphasise on tolling anytime we build a befitting road?” Kolawole queried. The House is apparently not in favour of concession and toll collection, but could still not move a motion prior to adjournment till July 1, 2013. It is, however, in speculation that another breakfast meeting with the governor could change the minds of the lawmakers to buy the concession and tolling proposal hook, line and sinker.

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‘Govt Should Do More To Educate Craftsmen’ such to be independent, despite being halfbaked.” Another factor, according to Bello, is inadequate monitoring of government intervention in the sector. The National Standard Organisation and the National Orientation Agency also need to do more, he said. “An informal education should be organised for these informal workers, especially craftsmen and artisans. Programmes should be put in place to educate them. They constitute the largest number of listeners to the radio. When they work, they put the radio beside them. If programmes are run on the radio, on redirection and re-orientation, there will be improvement,” he said. Bello also called for improvement in electricity supply across the country. According to him, “Lack of sufficient power has caused a lot of distraction, to the extent that people who work with electricity prefer to venture into other menial jobs that do not require power supply. And here, we are not talking about learning and perfection; they are just there to make a living. If this problem is not dealt with, infiltration into other profession cannot reduce.” Is the situation hopeless? The Lagos State Government will not have its officials speak to the media, without an express order ‘from above’. As a result, the name of the Principal of one of its 17 Skill Acquisition Centres, and the location of the facility, will not be disclosed. When The Guardian visited the spacious, neat and green premises, about three hundred or more students were seen in various classroom-cum-departments receiving lessons from instructors. There was no shortage of instructional materials in every room. And the students beamed with enthusiasm. “Tuition is free. The state government set up the facility to fight poverty through skill acquisition, and also to rid the society of crime,” said the Principal. He disclosed that participants are tested periodically and upon graduation they get certificates of proficiency. They,

thereafter, receive loans from the Lagos State Microfinance Institution (LASMI) to set up their private businesses. The Lagos State initiative at providing competent hands and its ability to keep its skill acquisition centres running suggests that much money and resources have been deployed. According to the Principal, the Lagos model has even drawn the attention of other states with a view to replication. It will be recalled that during a visit to the Egan, Isheri and Mushin skills acquisition centres, wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, had expressed satisfaction at facilities put in place by the Lagos State Government. The Principal noted that a list of qualified graduates and their areas of expertise could be found at the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. But if the state has invested so much on these centres, then members of the public, who require specific services and quality, should have ready access to these artisans. Why tuck the list in some ministry’s cabinet? The Guardian’s investigation revealed that attempt to meet the centres’ graduates would entail writing “a letter to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. This would be sent to the Deputy Governor for approval. And in the next seven days, you are going to get result.” Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education in 2011 launched a new curriculum for Senior Secondary Schools, which will feature 34 trade/entrepreneurship subjects. According to the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), Prof. Godswill Obioma, the curriculum will equip SSCE graduates for higher education and provide technical, vocational and entrepreneurship skills. If the initiative works, the nation could have more people with basic knowledge to ‘fix things’ both for themselves and for others. But like all things government policy, proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Street cleaners in Omachi Estate. (Inset: One of the deplorable roads subjected to periodic cleaning.)

When Road Cleaning Becomes Laughable pathetic and unfortunate. A commuter, Dr. Josiah Appolous, said that TREET cleaning is a welcome development. sweeping a failed road, which needs urgent atBut when it is carried out on failed roads, it tention, is ridiculous, and a misplaced priority. becomes a misplaced priority. Appolous, the Chief Medical Director of Oasis This is the case with roads in Omachi Estate in Children Specialist Hospital said the sweepObio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers ing has further deepened potholes on the road, State. The roads, like Philip, Zion and Mosque forcing motorists to visit mechanics more ofStreet, among others, are in very deplorable ten. state. Yet road sweepers turn up every morning “Sweeping Omachi Road and some streets are to clean them. actually laughable. We believe that the essence The Niger Delta Development Commission of sweeping is to maintain neatness on a (NDDC) awarded the contract for the construc- smooth road. But when you come to a locality tion of the roads but the contractors did a very where people are crying that the roads are so bad job, subsequently abandoning them. bad and need urgent rehabilitation, and you It was learnt that the contractor for Philip see people sweeping them… Are they sweeping Road and Zion Street commenced work at the the sand that is supposed to help people drive site two years after the contract was awarded. smoothly?  The sweeping only helps to worsen The contractor, who refused to disclose his the potholes. name, or indicate the same on tools, only “To me, it is a misplacement of priority. The graded the road and poured sand. No concrete road has not been completed. And even the or asphalt was used. He packed up his tools and parts they managed to fix, a little, is turning left with a promise to return to the site to com- into big potholes. Instead of ensuring that the plete the project. Unfortunately, he has not contractors complete the project, the authorishown up. ties rather employed the services of road Five months after the road was graded, the sweepers. It’s ridiculous.” area started becoming impassable, especially Josiah condemned the attitude of road conwith the onset of rains. tractors who get full payment for jobs, yet Residents of the area describe the situation as

From Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt

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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

9

CITYFILE

Church Seeks Police Protection After Attacks By Hoodlums From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu HE Catholic Diocese of Awgu in Enugu State is seeking police protection for its priests and worshippers at St. Mary Catholic Church, Ogugu Community, following attacks by youths of the area. The Diocese said series of attacks had been launched against the church since April, when some youths invaded the church during its Easter Sunday worship leaving many with injuries. The Guardian learnt that in the latest incident, about 25 youths armed with dangerous weapons stormed the church, destroying objects of worship worth more than N5m. Seven members were also treated for deep cuts. Other items destroyed included 14 crucifixes, altar tables and clothes, chairs, electric fans, windows, lectern and altar candles. The parsonage was also damaged. The church, founded in 1938 now holds worship sessions under canopies. Narrating the ordeal in an SOS (Save our Soul)

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Church member look on with shock at some of the damaged items.

By Adidi Uyo AVE you ever tried to pay attention to the particular words that occur together with the word, “resources,” whenever you read news stories or articles in our newspapers or listen to public discussions in Nigeria? If you haven’t, let me give you a sample to digest, after which you should be able to do a couple of things: Determine whether such lexical occurrences are positive, neutral, or negative and state whether, on balance, such occurrences leave you uplifted or depressed with regard to the state of affairs in our country. To be sure, the incidence of two or more words occurring or being used together rather frequently is what linguists refer to as collocation. For example, if you were to hear somebody stop short of completing the statement, “Nigeria is one country whose leaders are known for plundering …,” you’d know that the word that would most likely follow is “resources.” The verb, “plundering,” collocates with the noun, “resources,” and their combination, “plundering resources,” is a collocation. Particular verbs and adjectives are used together with resources more frequently than others. And, we may add, some noun phrases are also use with it, too, like the one in the second sentence that follows: “What is the essence of having a university whose courses are neither accredited nor recognised? Why admit students into such programmes when it is clear that the effort amounts to a waste of time and resources?” Those two sentences are taken from “Crisis at the University of Abuja,” the editorial of The Guardian on Thursday, June 27, 2013. Tell me, what does country where people waste resources and leaders plunder resources do to you? Does it uplift or depress you? The knowledge that one’s country has abundant resources

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A Work-out On Collocation Of Resources Re Nigeria should uplift one’s soul. But how do you feel when you nobody in officialdom can gainsay the remark that, “…a majority of Nigerians are suffering amidst abundant resources that God has given to us”? That observation was part of the reaction of a reader who was commenting on a news story in The Nation of May 31, 2013, with the headline, “ACN TO JONATHAN: NO NEED FOR MARKING SCHEME.” Before you forget that our business is not only to state the mood in which the collocation of resources in Nigeria leaves us, but also to determine the type of collocation we encounter in the materials we are reading, let me say that in the two earlier collocations, “waste resources” and “plunder resources,” we have verbs being combined with our star or particular word, whereas in “abundant resources,” we have an adjective combining with our star word. And both verb-noun collocations are negative; but the adjective-noun collation is positive per se, although its context is negative. In case you don’t know, the work-out we are having here is actually In keeping with the promise we made in our last outing on the language train. Of the four items we had presented for the exercise on that excursion, we have dealt with the first two, more or less. The third item reminds me of a question that some foreign friend once asked me: “Have you ever wondered why your leaders are unable to harness your resources but, instead, excel at plundering them?”

that they also sit very close to their money just to ensure that the Owo does not develop wings overnight. These guys are wise enough to put their mouth directly hooked into the water tap. In fact, one of them, a well-respected academic entrepreneur, who founded a ‘leading’ ivory tower in the Southwest, has been described as the worst culprit (don’t just say convict) in this regard, making himself a prisoner in his own ‘business.’ From his breast pocket, he personally disburses money for the daily needs of the university, including diesel and stationery. Top-level gist say that, as chairman of the so-called University Board, the man is a pain on the neck of his work force, including his Vice Chancellor: since he has to be around for things to work, he practically resumes with the VC and closes 8pm everyday. This gives him enough time to observe every creeping or flying thing and to give it a proper name. For spending all the time at the school premises, working hours for most of the ‘leading’ key staff members now extend beyond 8pm, when Oga must have closed for the day. His ‘unfortunate’ Vice Chancellor’, who happened to have taught at MAUL (beware; that name is still controversially, being mauled at the National Assembly), had cause to complain to his former colleagues, CC gathered at the weekend. “In fact, I am just a glorified VC’; all of us who are called Vice Chancellors in these private universities are glorified VCs, they are just there in name. The owners are not leaving anything for us to manage,” he told his former colleagues.

Trust me not to dignify such a question with an answer, aberrant as it is! What I can say, of course, is that the collocation of resources in that question involves the combination of a verb with our star word. The first collocation per se, that is, “harness your resources,” is positive, but the second one, “plundering them,” is negative. And together both collocations do nothing but depress one’s soul. What is true of the third item is equally true of the fourth and last item in our work-out. I cannot tell how it was received by the powers that be at Aso Rock or whether the advice was heeded or not, but The Guardian in its editorial of December 12, 2012, concerning the official residence being built for the Vice President, did pontificate to this effect: “Mr. President, you need to reorder your priority and avoid squandering the national resources.” Talk about talking truth to power! Maybe the newspaper can tell us whether its pontification amounted to anything other than pouring water on a duck’s back, since they know that the man they are talking to is a person who claims that he does not give a damn! And neither do we, here, give a damn to that pontification, too, because talking truth to power is none of our business on the language train by any stretch of the imagination! If you can just let me say that the collocation in that pontification is one that combines a verb, “squandering,” with our star noun, “resources,” and that the collocation in no way uplifts my soul, my job is done.

LANGUAGE ON PARADE

Glorified VCs In Private Varsities AKE no mistakes about it! With the unregulated exorbitant M school fees at their disposal, owners of private universities in Naija now sit on gold mine. But CC can authoritatively report

addressed to the State Commissioner of Police, the Secretary of the Catholic Diocese of Awgu, Rev. Fr. Lawrence Eze, said priest and members were being threatened. The Guardian learnt that the attacks might have been caused by perceptions that the church was taking sides in a chieftaincy tussle in the area. The Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Anugwo said: “The most disturbing thing now is that since they destroyed the church, they have continued to threaten the members. We had taken the matter to the Zone 9 of the Nigeria Police, Umuahia, where they were asked to allow peace reign. But this was to no avail. In fact, they attacked the church again, when we went to Umuahia on the invitation of the AIG. The way this thing is going, nobody is sure of their next line of action because every day, they keep harassing members on the road and that is why we are asking for protection from the government and police.”

The respectable senior advocate from the West, directly supervises students’ school fees, personally undertakes payment of salaries and issues contracts all by himself, leaving no decision for his lame VC to make. Good lessons in frugality and corporate governance in an academic setting? We probably need to try out this model in Aso Rock, annex this troublesome National Assembly and the grand-standing Senate; we need to put them in ‘Oga at the top’s pocket, especially now that he has found some good shoes to wear. The problem though is that, to do this very well, Oga needs very high-heeled boots, which he can only get from the Mandara Mountains in Adamawa; that’s what he actually needs to put the sharp guys in his very deep pockets and keep the swagger going.

Honda Holds Safety Seminar For Commercial Cyclists By Gbenga Akinfenwa ONDA Manufacturing (Nigeria) Ltd has organised a safety seminar to train commercial motorcycle (Okada) operators on safety. The event, held at Civic Centre, Idi-Ape, Ibadan, was tagged, ‘Okada Riders and Other Road Users: Safety and Security Concerns’. It was organised in conjunction with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Police, and the operators’ unions, and was attended by the Sector Commander FRSC, Oyo State, G. O. Ogagaoghene (represented by Mr. Kolawole Salami; Deputy Commissioner of Police ‘B’ Department of Operations, Oyo State Police Command, DCP Musa Kimo; and representatives of the unions. Managing Director of the company, Toshio Kuwana in his welcome speech said Honda Manufacturing Nigeria Ltd. has been at the forefront in motorcycle safety education and campaign. He revealed that in 2012, Honda trained about 500 riders on safety and this year, it has trained about 300 more. Representative of the FRSC, Salami, said road accidents result in the death of an estimated 1.2 million people worldwide. He advised motorcyclists to pay careful attention to traffic rules. Oyo DCP, Kimo, lamented that Okada operators in Ibadan are notorious for recklessness. He advised government to take stringent measures to curtail their excesses, if it aims to realise its vision of becoming a mega city.

H

Who Runs Rivers’ Security Apparatus? R Chibuike Amaechi, the proud Rivers State Governor, may D just be crying wolf for nothing. After all, what is wrong with Aso Rock controlling the security apparatus of State? CC will only advise that the governor needs to consult former Anambra State Governors, Chinweoke Mbadinuju and Senator Chris Ngige, on how they survived the awesome power of the Federal Security Might and its, sometimes, painful denial of privileges. Baba in Otta has the details. The Mbadinuju/Ngige formula will definitely work for Amaechi because he has what it takes to pull the strings; with the 13 percent derivation, Rivers State has enough petro-Dollar

(irrespective of what the state government says to the contrary) to pay the consultancy fees, which the two ‘Ex-Excellencies’ might demand. Besides, CC can say categorically that neither Ngige nor Mbadinuju will be too expensive for an Amaechi. Those Bakassi guys of the Mbadinuju fame are still available for deployment and they can even outshine official forces. The trouble is that the number one lady from Aso Rock is now in charge of ‘ law and order’ in Port Harcourt and these Bakassi Guys don’t really know how to handle ‘fellow widows’. Ezon tu Ado e! Honda officials, speakers and chairmen of Okada operators’ union at the seminar.


10

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday June 30, 2013

Backlash Abraham Ogbodo

08055328079 (Sms only) abogbodo@yahoo.com

Visa Bond: The British Can Do Better greatly relieved reading that going to Iorwas London would no longer be as easy as ABC, like going from Onitsha to Owerri. I want to

in town who understand these issues better and can create a workable template for the government of Her Imperial Majesty in this direcsincerely thank the British government for tion. being very thoughtful; for making it a rule for Why should the British authorities be talking Nigerians to invest in some bonds before enof a paltry 3000 pounds when they could contering UK. My only problem is that the proveniently calibrate the bond to create a distincposal is not comprehensive. To restrict the tion between ordinary and extra-ordinary bond to only first time visitors to UK is seekers of British visa? I mean something like counter-productive. It means the rest of us, es- this: first time visitors including students – pecially governors, civil servants and the bur- 3000; renewal or fresh procurement for local geoning colony of political aides who are in a government councillors – 50,000; local governbetter stead to defray the three thousand ment chairmen – 100,000; state legislators – pounds bond will be allowed to move in and 200,000; commissioners – 200,000; House of out of UK just like that. Reps Members – 750,000; Senators – 1,000,000; This is why I do not like the British approach. ministers and heads of parastatals – 1,500,000 They do not know how to make laws. They are and governors and their deputies and memapplying the same method they applied close bers of their families – 3,000,000. The President to 200 years ago, when they were searching and his vice in line with international protocol for colonies in West Africa and elsewhere. should be liberated from all diplomatic encumWith all their claims to development, the brances. But Mama Patience Jonathan should British have not advanced beyond the applica- be captured on the list and made to pay the tion of indirect rule and I cannot understand same bond as state governors. why. Instead of making a more useful and diTo maximise the gains, the British should rect rule that will restrict the movement of adopt the model of the Chinese embassy in public officers in Nigeria, they are chasing Nigeria. The Chinese understand the visa econshadows with a bond rule that will punish in- omy better. They issue their visa, mainly to Igbo nocent people who are genuinely seeking to traders in piecemeal of three or six months breathe fresh air outside Nigeria. That, to me is only, without regard to frequency of visits to human rights abuse. China by the passport holder. These traders For instance, will this bond rule stop the gov- who are always travelling to China for genuine ernors from living almost permanently in UK business are compelled by that policy to visit and elsewhere in the Western world? It is like the consular section of the embassy every six these oyibo people do not even know that months or thereabout to pay good money to sesome Nigerian governors have more airtime cure a renewal. And often, it is not as simple as flying around the world than the busiest walking up there, pay the official fee and await British Airways pilot has. Sincerely, I cannot the issuance of a visa. There is a Nigerian consee the point that David Cameron wishes to tent even in Beijing and often, the surest road make here. If the intention is to raise some to China is through Nigerian middle men who good money to put the British economy on charge between N200, 000 to N300, 000 for the same pedestal with the Germans, then he just visa renewal. The fellows are good; they do should come straight so that he can have the not disappoint. An applicant gets the stuff at benefit of good counsel. There are consultants the appointed date and time without issues HEN I decided last week, to do this narraW tive in two parts, I had strong feelings that the subject matter was too sensitive to treat in a hurry. Same Sunday, there was one good opinion article and two interviews on the subject in another paper. By Monday, at least one radio channel streamed live conversations with its audience on the issue, after Adams Oshiomhole, Governor of Edo State was reported to have gone ahead to sign death warrants of two inmates on death row and they had been executed. By Thursday, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, again stressed that death penalty is still recognised in Nigeria, until the constitution and the criminal code are reversed. Friday, Foreign Affairs Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, pushed the argument further, when he declared that government was ready to defend the executions in Edo, which figures had climbed to four. He gave that indication in Abuja, at a consultative forum on the forthcoming review of human rights in Nigeria under the United Nations Universal Period Review. Nigeria is billed to appear before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva this October, for the periodic review of its human rights and death penalty is likely to feature prominently. Ashiru robbed it in, when he reminded countries that are posturing over application of death penalty in Nigeria that the criminal code under which it operates was inherited from ‘colonial powers’. So, this debate has gone viral and will remain with us until all segments of the Nigerian society are sufficiently educated, persuaded and convinced to commence a review of the law that recommends death penalty for certain crimes. Part of educating society and putting the options on the table is what this narrative will attempt to do. For Nigeria and other countries, particularly in Africa, that are consumers of Western culture, who are used to borrowing and consuming ideas and lifestyles without due consultations and reference with domestic traditions, it is important that a cost analysis of what they are borrowing is put on the table, so that they do not admit civilizations that are too sophisticated or too weird for their comprehension and comfort. In weighing the costs, it is important that we note the implications for the economy and for social life. Nigeria needs to have a lot of money before she would consider the abolishment of death penalty. The penitentiary has to be redesigned

once all conditions regarding payment and amount to be paid have been met. But the China story is stuff for another day. For now, let us discuss seriously how the British government can make more money that it badly needs to do things back home, including servicing the royal family. To make the formula less complex and more fruitful, I suggest that Cameron and his team should apply the comparative advantage theory propounded long ago by a Briton called David Ricardo. The theory says instead of a wild goose chase here, there and everywhere, nations should direct productive energies at areas where returns on efforts would be more than proportionate. Same way, instead of wasting the British scarce resources tracking down Nigerian first time visitors to Britain for a paltry £3000, the authorities should refocus for the new challenges by instructing the consular section in Nigeria to migrate immediately to the Chinese Visa Model. The British policy, which allows immigrants, in the best-case scenario, a generous 10-year visa life span is not business-like. Secondly, the bond should be limited to governors, ministers and senators. This done, we can now go ahead to enlarge the assumptions and say each of the 36 Nigerian governors would, all things being equal, renew their entry visas to Britain every quarter or four times a year. At £3million per renewal, each governor will pay £12million annually to the British government and 36 governors and their deputies will pay £12 times 72. It adds up to £864million. That sounds more like it than this three, three, thousand business they are planning to chase up and down. And that is only from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. If the arithmetic is stretched to the National Assembly, each of the 109 senators will pay a visa bond of £4million annually and a total of £436million for all senators. The 39 ministers will add £234million to the British treasury. We can also do a very conservative estimate and say others not specifically mentioned will jointly pay a total of £500million yearly to get their British visa. Altogether, we would be talking of something above two billion pounds. Converted to the soft naira, it is approximately N500 billion, enough to pay the subsidy money of one or two petroleum importers. The amount is also enough to pay all the British parliamentarians, maintain robustly the monarchy, including Prince William, his wife and their unborn baby for one year and there will still be change to do other things such as global shuttles by David Cameron to preach gay rights outside Britain. Yet, instead of thinking seriously in this direc-

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

Who’s Afraid Of Hangman’s Noose? and made very conducive for those whose death sentences would be converted, if need be, to life. Nigeria’s prisons, as they are now cannot sustain a normal and sane person, not to talk of felons convicted for serious crimes. The idea in Western and civilized countries is to spare convicts that would ordinarily be executed, with a view to reclaiming their perfidious souls and making them useful once again. You do not just spare a life for the fun of it, but you have to have the infrastructure and the good intentions. Here, we seem to have the intention, but grossly lack the facilities. Therefore, it will amount to a worse state of miscarriage of justice, to spare a felon and subject him/her to the kind of inhuman prison conditions in Nigeria. Let’s take the case of Norway for instance, which has abolished death penalty. This is a stupendously, rich, oil producing European country, with a well-managed population of around five million people. Human life here is precious, not one soul to waste. Life expectancy in Norway is not afflicted by the horde of ailments, social and biological, that seek to threaten human life in Nigeria on hourly basis. On a good day, there shouldn’t be any economic reason to drive any sane Norwegian to commit horrible crimes such as murder. And when it happens, the jurisprudence is more concerned with issues of motive and state of mind. This is one thing the Nigerian justice system does not pretend to have. The legal system here does not have the finesse (a function of huge resources) to dig into the psychology of crime. Crime is crime. When the ‘lunatic’ right wing extremist, Anders Behring Breivik killed not less than 80 young people, single-handedly, at an island youth camp on July 22, 2011, he knew what awaited him, a listening justice system. He unleashed an unprovoked mass murder of some hapless youth and went to court smiling. He was found sane during trial and convicted for terrorism and premeditated mur-

der and given the maximum sentence of 21 miserable years. That is the highest penalty for that kind of offence in Norway. For killing so many people, young and promising Norwegians, he got just 21 years? And guess what, he now most probably lives in Halden, regarded to be world ‘s most humane prison, where he gets five star treatment in terms of facilities and staff. The prison officials handle him very carefully, like a celebrity, so that he does not think lowly of himself, enough for him to want to commit suicide. He taunts his handlers and reads all manner of meanings to their actions, because the State does not want him to die. The facilities here rank very high, like in any fivestar recreation centre. The idea is to make this unrepentant killer cool enough to get rehabilitated and returned to society. His room is furnished with en-suit bathroom, mini fridge and flatscreen TV. It is a home away from the kind of home where Breivik’s criminal intentions were not detected; with games, gardens, all good things you can think of. Like giving a grown up misfit some toys to play with. That is Norway. I find it difficult to make a comparison with Nigeria, because all the indices do not fall in place. In the first place, how do you explain to a mourning populace, parents, teachers and friends, that the murderer of their loved ones deserves pardon? If mourners are willing to forgive and society is willing to move on, where is the rehab centre to put such an outlaw? And if there are such facilities here, and the death penalty is abolished, what is the assurance that that will not be an incentive for more crime to be committed? Sure, Halden will be paradise to many criminally minded Nigerians and thousands of misguided youth will go mad to have a room there. The point is that, because death penalty has been abolished in one overfed, civilized society, where crime is pampered because it is supposed to be an aberration, because every other thing is

tion the British are reaching for peanuts as if they are also monkeys. They must learn to up their game. They are too conservative for the modern world. It is this unwillingness to detach from their old ways that is making them lag behind in a number of the things in Europe. Perhaps, they still see the British Empire as where the sun rises and never sets. Sorry, that empire is long defunct. Whatever is not achieved between sunrise and sun set within contemporary Britain is better forgotten. That imperial claim to boundlessness is anachronistic in modern contexts and the British must start to invent more creative ways of appropriating other people’s resources for their own good. Anyway, the resources of Nigeria, as it was in the colonial days, are available for the grabs. In the specific matter of the visa bond, the British know what they are doing. Too many Nigerians are struggling to reach UK by whatever means and some experts in London must have seen in this mad passion an opportunity to enhance the British treasury. It is excellent thinking if you ask me. I hear Abuja is threatening a retaliatory policy. That is where I am worried because it is not the right way to go about this matter. I mean, £3000 is nothing to the colony of desperados who want to escape from the suffocation that is Nigeria and if some self-serving government officials in a false show of nationalism make matters worse for the escapees, I cannot foreclose the consequences here. Meanwhile, without sounding immodest, I have offered options in this article that will help both sides. It is top class consultancy service. International best practices allow for 10 per cent service charge in transactions such as this. If I have a tenth of two billion hard British pounds, which translates to £200million, I will order Boeing or any other aircraft manufacturer to deliver a private jet at my doorstep within 24 hours. The balance is more than enough for me to overwhelm the system and emerge as the governor of my state in 2015. I may even decide to take a shot at the presidency, because I can adequately match Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP in a neighbour-to-neighbour campaign. But I am letting all of that to go for good reason. My 17-year old daughter who is at the International school Ibadan preparing for what they call Cambridge Matriculation (I guess it is the equivalent of Nigeria’s former Higher School Certificate) has dropped hint to advance to the actual Cambridge. I am praying for her and I have also asked her to work hard for excellent grades. I do not want a threat to this ambition and the ambitions of thousands of other young Nigerians by this visa bond regime. I never heard of that before! made equal to ensure that crime is not committed, does not mean it will work here and now, where every other thing is upside down. Nigeria does not have the kind of wealth those who dictate the pace in Western civilization have; as a people, we do not place a collective high premium on human life. We are blessed with a huge population, highly fecund and uncontrollable, and it seems we can dispense with the less than 1000 figures of unproductive, death row population in the prisons. After all, we lose hundreds daily in Plateau, Zamfara and all over. Why keep a menacing population you do not have plans for, seems to be the thinking. Another matter related to this is the campaign for same sex. Western civilization seems set on a reckless fast lane into extinction. They are exchanging old, time-honoured social rules for extreme sensuous gratification in the name of liberalism. Europeans and Americans love to experiment with life, to the extent that they have yielded themselves to willful enslavement by their passions and indulgences. And they are looking for converts everywhere. Just imagine that the highest authorities in some Western country are now compelling poor African countries to join their same-sex fantasy clubs. They are threatening to withdraw financial support to countries that refuse to say yes to same sex. Having conquered all the challenges of life, both domestic and extraterrestrial, they have thrown off religion, same old relic they smuggled into old colonies and have embraced orgies of homosexuality, lesbianism, zoophilia and other strange behaviour. And they are looking to export to undiscerning citizens of the world. They came to Nigeria to market same-sex and met a brick wall; they will continue to come in different guises. They are willing to offer money to persons and groups that will propagate these neo-liberal habits. So, it makes more sense for people of receiving countries (I mean those who do not dictate any pace on global issues, like Nigeria), to weigh ideas and lifestyles considered to be politically correct overseas, but harmful and distasteful to local sensibilities. In many instances, there are contradictions in what the world order postulates and the realities across global nooks and crannies. Why will the correct World want to abolish death penalty, but is unable to check illegal shipment of small arms to poor countries? What do people do with small arms, to kill, kill and kill and after you grant the killers amnesty? Very funny!


TheGuardian

Sunday, June 30, 2013 | 11

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Outlook The Trouble With Federal Character By Remi Sonaiya HE release by the Federal Ministry of Education of the cut-off points applicable to indigenes of the various states of the federation seeking admission into the 104 Unity Secondary Schools has led to agitations by (mostly southern) stakeholders, including state governments, parents and the pupils themselves, that the federal character principle be abolished. The facts are shocking: while pupils from Anambra, Delta, Lagos and Plateau states have to score a minimum of 139, 131, 133 and 97 points, respectively, to gain admission into any of the Unity Schools, and regardless of whether they are male or female, their counterparts from Bauchi, Jigawa and Nassarawa states would be admitted with a minimum of 35, 44 and 58 points respectively. Had that been the end of the story, maybe there would not be much dust being raised over the issue. The matter becomes truly revolting with the revelation that male candidates from Kebbi, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara states qualify for admission into those schools with less than 10 points! – 9, 9, 3, 2 and 4, respectively. Their female counterparts, interestingly, have to score higher – 20, 13, 11 and 27 respectively for Kebbi, Sokoto, Taraba and Yobe states. In the entire nation, it is only in the case of Zamfara State that the cut-off point for females is lower than that of males. The fact that for several northern states, girls have to score higher than boys in order to gain admission into a secondary school is in itself an interesting development, and should be examined closely by some of our social scientists. The impression, which had prevailed over a long time, was that it was girls who had to be enticed with all kinds of incentives in order for them to attend school. So, what has changed? The federal character principle, it is well known, is enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Section 14 (3) of the Nigerian Constitution states the following: “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or any of its agencies.” Thus stated, the federal character principle actually appears to be concerned about fairness, equity and justice for all, especially given the ethnic diversity of the nation. Its objective, purportedly, is to ensure that in the running of the affairs of the nation, no group of people from a particular locality would feel excluded due to lack of representation; that is, there would not evolve within the country two distinct groups – insiders versus outsiders. Unfortunately, the Federal Character Princi-

T

CONversation

Prof. Ruqquayatu Rufai, Minister of Education ple is wrongheaded and flawed in its presumed justification. It is in reality founded upon the premise that there is a “national cake” to be shared, and what is important is that every ethnic group be represented at the table; once the groups have taken their share, it is up to them to do with it as they please. This is basically what has led to the creation of more and more states over the years, and the continuing agitation for more to be created: we have increasingly narrowly-defined groups wanting to be represented at the cakesharing table. They want to grab their portion of the cake and go back home to consume it as they please. And that is precisely what happens. The governors return home from Abuja with their pockets bulging with their share of the national cake, and it is left to them entirely to determine what to do with it. One governor chooses to purchase a befitting private jet for himself; another decides that sponsoring the mass wedding of a thousand young people in his domain is his priority, and declares the day on which the event takes place as the best in his entire existence; several decide that the time has come for them to travel the world; many suddenly realise that it would not be a bad idea to own a house in several state capitals around the nation as well as in London and Dubai. A few “idealistic” ones among them, however, have dreams of transforming their states and therefore embark on development projects in different areas – educa-

tion, health care, and the provision of other services – which actually does make a change in the lives of their people. Most of them carry out the construction of some poorly executed projects as well – so that there would be enough photographs to fill the centre-spread of the newspapers when the time for project commissioning comes, usually on the occasion of their second anniversary in office, as we recently witnessed. Gaining admission into a Unity School (as well as being appointed into some public office) also becomes a mere cake-sharing occasion, by the application to it of the federal character principle. What the proponents and promoters of the principle fail to recognise, however, is that the reality here is different from that of merely sitting around a table to determine what portion of the revenue from the sale of crude oil goes to a particular state. There are a host of issues at stake, when dealing with education, for example, not least among which is that of qualification – people have to “qualify” to gain admission into and to graduate from educational institutions. The matter of qualification itself derives from the overarching notion of standards: a person “qualifies” by attaining a determined level (or standard) of competence; even institutions have to “qualify” for them to be allowed to dispense training in a particular field (e.g. by having the required number of qualified teachers and disposing of the required facilities). How “highly qualified” individuals in the Federal Ministry of Education would choose to close their eyes to these matters clearly demonstrates again the propensity which many of those who manage our affairs have for playing the ostrich with the crucial issues of our development. The Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu, is said to have defended the published cut-off points, insisting that, “the reason that the schools were established in the first place was for unity”. Nigerians are truly original! Imagine spending huge sums of money to establish and maintain 104 schools across the country, but not primarily because you wanted to develop the minds of your children, nor in order to prepare the manpower your country would need in the future for its development; no, all that you cared about was that the Efik and Ibibio children would learn to become friends with the Tiv, Igala and Nupe children! If educating the children had been the primary objective of establishing those schools, there is no way that anybody would have been able to justify admitting a child with a score of two into them. Just think of the frustration of the teacher who would have to teach such a child, as well as the resources going to waste because that child is unable to benefit from what is being dis-

pensed. More importantly, what is the sense in applying “federal character” to admission into secondary schools when nobody in government cares to ensure that all the primary schools in the country operate at a comparable level, providing all the necessary infrastructure and facilities, ensuring that their teachers are well trained and carefully following the agreed curriculum? It is only then that admission into the Unity Schools would be based on real competition – and it would be totally unnecessary to have different cutoff points for the states. The same goes for government appointments, which are equally required by law to reflect “federal character”. The important question to ask is: If a state is free to determine its priority, and chooses not to deploy its resources in the area of developing its citizens in a way that would prepare and qualify them to operate effectively in the academic and professional areas of endeavour, why should it have the same rights as those who do? Finally, if we had a functioning government in Nigeria, with every community properly served and adequately provided for (with electricity, water, good roads, standard schools and hospitals), it is doubtful that people would care whether those running the nation’s affairs were from their own ethnic group or not. They might as well be green men from Mars! The federal character principle, to my mind, is actually a dubious means sought to whitewash a corrupt system and give it the appearance of fairness. The reality is that it is still a handful of people who benefit from the resources of the nation at the expense of the vast majority. I cannot point to the benefits that accrue to me personally because of the appointment into government ministries, departments or agencies of a few individuals from the Southwest. I would most gladly have all those who run the nation’s affairs come from the Gwari ethnic group, if they were known to be people of integrity and if they possessed the skills and competence required for the job they were given to do. The Constitution claims that the federal character principle was necessary in order to “promote national unity and also to command national loyalty”. National loyalty cannot be promoted when the people are not served. Finally, I would just like to suggest that we abolish this federal character (I was tempted to add the word “nonsense”, but I refrained!), and get to work seriously confronting the enormous challenges facing us as a nation. Our situation is desperate, and we cannot afford to play politics with our development and ultimate survival. Right now, what we need are individuals with the abilities required to rescue us from the doldrums and set us on the path of true development, which would manifest in an improved quality of life for us as a people. •Sonaiya is a retired Professor of French Language and Applied Linguistics.

By Obe Ess


TheGuardian

12 | Sunday, June 30, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Editorial SON And Domestic Manufacturing ITH the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON’s call on domestic manufacturers and importers of finished products not included in the SON exemption list to have them registered under SON’s e-products registration initiative comes the need to re-assess Nigeria’s quest for a resuscitation of the manufacturing sector and the strategies being employed. The SON — proposed initiative, it is claimed, will facilitate traceability of products. Additionally, an electronic security system is being set up to enable other collaborating authorities to alert the agency when imported products arrive. Beginning from July, non-compliant products (these are deemed substandard) will be confiscated. The initiative is aimed at strengthening the SON Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP), which was introduced in 2005 for the purpose of checking the influx of substandard and unsafe goods. The main objective of the SONCAP scheme is to ensure that major exporter — countries especially in Asia, manufacture Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS)-compliant products for export to the country thereby providing the basis for fair competition between Asian exporters and local manufacturers. Such a policy is a recipe for domestic industrialisation as it does not seek to satisfy domestic demand primarily through domestic manufacturing. Expectedly eight years into the scheme, SON itself has now found out that, “80 per cent of products consumed in this country are imported from abroad.” And to continue that trend, it is not surprising that the latest e-registration programme grandstandingly targets “reduction and control of substandard products in circulation to less than 30 per cent” and with no specified time frame. The programme will, therefore, not eliminate unfair competition from abroad. As SON is well aware, Nigerian importers pay in advance with foreign exchange physically carted to exporters for the substandard goods shipped into and dumped on the country. Hence, the antidote to the importation and dumping of substandard goods (the touted objective of SON) is for all imports to be paid for legitimately through banking channels by restricting imports under the category of “NOT VALID FOr FOrEIGN EXCHANGE” to personal effects. That step automatically weeds out substandard goods. This antidotal policy measure best serves the national interest and it should be put in place permanently. Such a development will allow the agency to focus on setting and enforcing standards for local manufactures, which exporters would voluntarily aspire to meet. The SON requires no reminding that in 1970 when its operations began, the manufacturing sector accounted for 7.2 per cent of GDP. Under the import substitution industrialisation policy, domestic manufacturing experienced its heyday with the sector’s contribution to GDP reaching 10.4 per cent in 1983. But subsequent policy inconsistencies have seriously hurt the manufacturing sector. In the last eight years while foreign-based manufacturers were being rewarded through the SONCAP scheme, the manufacturing sector’s annual average share of GDP fell to about 4.5 per cent. Now, suppose that in 2005 the SON positively geared its efforts towards ensuring that local manufacturers produced within eight years 80 per cent of finished products consumed in the country! Then all things being equal, the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP today would be 18.0 per cent, which almost equals the manufacturing sector’s 18.6 per cent share of South Africa’s GDP in 2005. Therefore, it is recommended that the SON should embark on the above action plan but with a shorter time - frame to achieve the target. Thus guaranteed the huge domestic market, local and foreign investors (including foreign-based producers of widely accepted imported goods) would not only gulp down the idle installed manufacturing capacity that has hovered around 50 per cent for a decade but also confidently invest in any necessary additional manufacturing capacity thereby creating massive employment opportunities. For example, does it make economic sense to leave the country’s tyre manufacturing factories shut for any length of time? Arguments about ensuring competitiveness of local manufactures are defeatist and irrelevant knowing full well that most imported products sell at higher prices in their countries of origin. With regard to the paucity of infrastructure, investors would take up stopgap infrastructural costs in order to satisfy gaping demand. In any case, production costs are artificially high and would plummet if fiscal deficits that are consistently above 15 per cent of GDP yearly are kept within the appropriated level of less than three per cent of GDP per year. To concentrate on promoting local manufacturing has other advantages. Firstly, SON will have much easier time to make locally produced goods NIS-compliant than the SONCAP scheme has witnessed. Secondly, the numerous hazards associated with imported substandard products are avoided. Thirdly, the country truly conserves its foreign exchange. And fourthly, the usual linkages of manufacturing industries will further expand the GDP base. SON should, therefore, refocus and bolster plans at long last by the Ministry of Trade and Investment to set an appropriate tariff regime in order to raise the contribution of the manufacturing sector to GDP. However, in light of the opportunities missed in the last eight years through the SONCAP scheme, SON should doubly brace up and help push up the manufacturing sector’s share of GDP to 18 per cent by 2017 instead of the Ministry of Trade and Investment’s proposed pedestrian target of 10 per cent. Elected administrations with four-year tenure cannot afford the luxury of executing any programmes at a snail’s pace while most citizens suffer harrowing privations.

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LETTERS

If Mandela Is A Nigerian.... Ir: In the words of Franz Swrapped Fanon, “any leader that is in himself will surely make a small package”. This profound saying captures the lives of most leaders that Africa, nay Nigeria, have paraded for decades. The resultant effect of this is that most countries who have had the misfortune of coming under the stranglehold of these “rulers touted leaders”  have tales of misery and grim deprivations while their overlords relish in suffocating abundance. Suffice it to say that it will only take a little time for these leaders to know that what would actually determine their  inimitable presence in the hearts of the people, especially after office, is their impact while they had the opportunity of  service. The unfolding case of ailing Nelson Mandela, avant garde of South African blacks liberation and past President calls for some reflections.  The story of the patriarch’s hospitalized for old age accentuated ailment in  a South African hospital is not really the news, but the reported unparalleled emotional support and prayers he has been receiving on his sick bed from south Africans who do not wish the departure of the great leader any time soon. To all intents, it appeared to be

another pay day for the antiracist warlords as the people demonstrated their love and appreciation to him even in these his dying days. Whilst as a practicing Christian one may be quick to remit the power to kill and to make alive to the Almighty God, South Africans have proved a point to the whole world and especially those who parade themselves as leaders that whatsoever you sow you will reap definitely in your life time. It is amazing that in this same Africa, we have witnessed some  citizens celebrating with frenzy the untimely exit of many unpopular or selfish leaders, even when situation that led to their death or ailment was pitiable. The lesson to all from the

Mandela situation is that love is reciprocal and that the law of retribution is still extant. I wonder if any leader in Nigeria, whether living or dead would attract such emotional support. rather, to the people it will be a  case of good riddance to another bad rubbish. My take is that love is not constrained by geography. In whatever clime that it is sown, it has the character and capacity of giving the same result. For Madiba, I join the teeming South Africans to wish him quick recovery if this sickness is not unto  death, and  if it is, the day has already shown what the night will look like after his final exit.  After all, to live is actually not to die in the hearts of those that love you! •Tope Adaramola, Ogun State.

A Bold Step On Immorality Ir: The thorny issues of Saffecting morality in Nigeria are really the country’s development to the extent that any action on the part of individuals, organization or government to curb immorality in any form is laudable. It is on this premise that the legislation of the National Assembly on homosexuality and same sex marriage is a remarkable one and a step in the right

direction and I highly commend them for that. I, therefore, make a passionate appeal to our President to expedite action in signing that piece of legislation into law. If this is done the current legislature and executives would have written their name in gold, by taking a stand against sexual immorality in Nigeria. •Cajetan Ilo, Ebonyi State University.


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Danjuma: Only If My People Would • Lamentations of a retired General short supply are patriotic elder statesmen, who will use their experience and wisdom to give our counIRING from the hip, as soldiers are wont to do, the try a clear sense of purpose and direction. retired General and a former Chief of Defence He charged the leadership to wake up from selfStaff, Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma hit the bull’s eye, induced slumber and truly chart a fresh path to when he delivered the knock on the nation general- deliver the region from a decaying economy and ly but the northern leaders in particular. declining human resources consequent upon a At a ceremony in Zaria, Kaduna state recently, majorly educationally impotent youth. where he was turbaned the Jarmai, Zazzau by the By any stretch of imagination, the newly turbaned Emir of Zaria, Alhj. Shehu Idris, the retired top mili- Jarmai of Zazzau is not a poor man; from the sea to tary brass did not hide his sadness at the loss of cut- the creek and land, there are investments that ting edge political leadership of a once vibrant would keep his generations well enamored in laynorth. ered soft blankets on royal beds for scores of years “When elders become decadent, the youth are to come. bound to become delinquent. Our people are conLuckily, the TY Danjuma Foundation that pledged fused and perplexed; they’ve become like flock scat- five million dollars about two years ago for global tered on many hills without a shepherd. This is clear child and maternal healthcare, has also been doing indication of leadership failure,” Danjuma grieved. things in different geo-political zones of the counIn a veiled reference to the tumult largely in parts try. But given the picture of what has become of the of the north, the philanthropist said the region’s status of the north, the General’s contribution is ‘delinquent youths,’ have been deployed to selfish like a drop of water on a parched earth. use due to joblessness and destitution. But the gap between the rich and the poor does “The masses of our people are chained down in not seem to narrow for now, rather if the present dehumanising and grinding poverty while we con- mindset continues, a condition the philanthropist tinue to maintain few islands of false prosperity in a abhors, it will only get wider. turbulent ocean of penury and squalor, he continHear his lamentation: “Our society and economy ued. are in tatters. In a highly competitive world, our It could not have come at a better place (the Emir’s children are missing out in getting qualitative and Palace, Zaria) and occasion of the turbaning, to deliv- functional education.” These are basic indices for er the deliver the truth that many dread to be priming growth and development of a people and reminded that the cookie is crumbling fast, and while it has been generally lacking, the situation something needs to be done fast. with the north, where army of youths cling on In a scathing remark on politicians, he said, hope that is not forthcoming. “Nigeria, and indeed northern Nigeria, has never Though he warned that northern elders should be been in short supply of politicians’ scheming and more circumspect in making comments in public screaming for due that would not be in the overall interest of the and undue region, he thinks mutual distrust would quite advantages. counter productive. “What has “This is the time for elders to be circumspect and been in temperate in their utterances; it is not in our character as northerners to talk too much. We need to think more, pray more, plan more, work harder, relate better, and talk less. Battles are better fought and won through wisdom and strategy than through inflammable pronouncements and political tantrums,” he counseled during his speech at the turbaning event. Given the kind ethno-religious configuration of the north, where there are lines of division between the so-called core north and the middle belt, it does appear that some measure of social mechanics by younger northern elements is beginning to thaw the icy intra-regional relationship. Else, it would have been far-fetched to imagine the conferment of this traditional title on Danjuma by the Emir of Zazzau, which also attracted the cream of leaders in the land. Perhaps, the north is ready to amend and open more space for the masses to breathe air of liberty that would guarantee equitable allocation of resources, infrastructure and building of the human capital starting from the commoners upward. Trained soldiers don’t like firing blanks but one is afraid the retired General may be doing so in the midst of a powerful elite, who love it cozy at the top, amid the genuflecting and prostrating, praisesinging talakawas. Interestingly, the leaders love to have it so; it smacks of disrespect if the commoners do not line the street, or in front of their palatial country homes and market places to do the rankadede ritual. Whether the numerous nocturnal meetings of the elite would treat items in their agenda that would change anything is a long shot from here but that is if only Danjuma’s charge and pleas would be taken serious. The Taraba state-born General and former Minister of Defence, is listed on the Forbes 10 richest Nigerians. Danjuma has a net worth of $600 million made through the 2006 sale for $1.7 billion of an oil block he was given by the regime of former President Sani Abacha to a Chinese consortium. He is chairman of oil exploration firm, South Atlantic Petroleum. He is also the country’s biggest philanthropist, having endowed his charity, the TY Danjuma Foundation, with $100 million. On state matters, he advises President Jonathan.

By Fabian Odum

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In This Book, You’ll By Anote Ajeluorou IMI Solanke is a master in the folklore Jtelling genre and has spent the past 50 years African stories to children. He draws significantly from African oral tradition, and has used the didactic morals in these tales to nurture generations of young ones to appreciate Africa’s core values. Now, he has taken his oral tales to another level, with the publication of a book, Ancient and Modern Tales. In this narrative, the great grandpa storyteller tells of how he would christen his new book at his 71st birthday on Thursday this week, noting, “Those of us in the area of children entertainment, we often go into their realm and usually draw from our own experience things that will be total for them. There are people who do that from all over the world, people from America, in Disneyland created Micky Mouse. Till date some of our children are used to who Micky Mouse is. “In my book Ancient and Modern Tales, the tales themselves provide guidance for the artworks, which are from the colours of newspapers use; no brush or oil was used but through innovativeness we create some things that I had imbibed as a child – some masquerades that waited for us at the river we normally go to collect water in my hometown, some characters that were used to frighten us as little children, some cultural entities that I grew up with. So, these artworks are fused in a seamless manner. That’s why I call the book ancient and modern; I related some modern frequencies to some of the characters that are very modern, all embedded in the tales. And it has been finished as a book over a year ago, but somehow I’ve been busy. But then I said out of 365 days a year, what are you busy doing? I now said use that your birth to christen, like a child naming ceremony, for this book. “And I’m asking these people who are my bankers and those who put up adverts to come be part of it. But I know it’s not soccer, it’s not hiphop, it’s not golf, but it’s something more realistic than all these things I’ve mentioned because when you’ve lived a life more than 70, and you’re still proud of whatever profession you’ve been doing, all these extensions, this kind of book, the kind of album that have been coming out, they are all extension to the profession. In the book you’ll see my involvement with dramatic arts because some of those because of those I created are very dramatic; you’ll find some dramatic figurations in the writings. “And you’ll see me and you’ll see the child that’s still inherent in me!” At 71, when many would have long forgotten about their childhood, Solanke says he just couldn’t. But he also says what children these days have lost in not being able to listen to grandpas and grandmas tell culturally-stimulating folktales like the ones he tells, they have gained by being exposed to IT, video games and computers. So, he asserts, “Culturally, they have lost the aspect of intense rhythm and rhyme of our culture. But on the other hand, they have gained IT and 36 hours of music in one small pallet they call memory card, a small digital gadget, something you can mistake for sweet but it’s not sweet. “Also, they now have games; I’m telling you it’s in this manner that these people created games from the other parts of the world. Those games, the characters that you see in them are just created to excite children. They are animative movements made to whip questions from the minds of children because as I’ve been able to work with children for over 50 years now, I noticed that they are very honest. They are honest in blanket of integrity, ready to absorb a lot of education that is offered them. “So, children are I have been friends now for a long time. They call me great grand-

pa because some people I have interacted with have now become grandfathers and it’s very interesting. And because when you’re in this area, a lot of things can make you special because of your interest. I say something everyday; that ambition can make you into something but desire can do something else for you. “In all my work, I did what I do not because of money or recognition. Before we started doing it on WNTV/WNBS in Ibadan, artists of those days were doing it because they loved doing it, and because of local popularity and familiar appreciation among those around them. What we were doing then kept us unlike today when we do it because we want to make money. “So, we were desirous of it; that’s the reason why personally, even when I’m 80 or 90, I’ll still be working with children”. The master storyteller is alarmed that what we are loosing in terms of culture, is being gained by outsiders, and that a time is coming when it would be exported back for us to buy. His book, he posits, is a possible means of stemming that ugly tide, adding, “There are comics being done here. But what we’re loosing on this side, some people are gaining on their own side. We are as Africans have looked down too much on our cultural heritage; we have looked down so much on it. We’ve got to a point where we’ve learnt from different cultures and imbibed them, raised them higher than our own original attitudes of being. There is a great personality in one of the newspapers. These are people, artists who can do great things. But when you take them to people who have just sponsored hiphop productions to the tune of millions of naira, they don’t show interest. Whereas, foreigners will soon be coming to teach us our culture; foreigners will come here to teach us our culture!” He explained further, “A lot of people traveling out and coming back tell us many things. My wife just came back from Cuba and said the impact Cuban House of Culture made on her was so huge. Their traditional Nigerian, African culture orientation, practices in their shrines left her dumbfounded because of what she saw. These things we’re gladly throwing away in the name of foreign religion - usually Christianity and Islam Cubans and other Diaspora Africans have gathered them and given them their rightful place, place of pride. And they were telling my wife and others, ‘look, your blood is in us; your blood is in us. Can you dance to bata? Can you dance to dundun drums?!’ And they played them the way they know it. “And my wife and the others were all surprised. And they were dressed in the old ritual regalia. My wife said it reminded her of one iya osun in Badagry, who knew nothing more than osun worship in those days; that person in Cuba was dressed like that Badagry woman of old. That’s the way I mean it by saying foreigners will come here to teach us our culture in years to come. These things we’re throwing away are the things people outside are studying very seriously, deeply, like the Yoruba language and culture, just like Hausa, Igbo and many other African languages and cultures. They are being taught in different universities in America and South America. Whereas, we’re abhorring the fact that our languages be taught to our children because we want our children to understand how to speak good English! But the children end up speaking the wrong type of English”. NLIKE most culture producers and U promoters who believe that savaging culture resides solely with government, Solanke provides a better argument. According to him, “What culture promoters like me should do we’re still doing and earning accolades for being able to continue doing them – we’re still researching, still raking up information


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See The Child That’s Still In Me, Says Jimi Solanke in different poetic lyrics, in drama; yes, we’re still doing it. But everything cannot depend on government alone. “There is only one ministry of culture and tourism, but they have no money for everything in culture promotion. Take for instance, Nigeria’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. If you look through that ministry, you’ll see different parastatals or smaller units – National Theatre, Centre for Black African Arts and Culture, National Gallery of Arts; under tourism, there are also different units. If you count them they are up to 13 or more under one ministry. Which one then should be responsible for language promotion? Which among them is that one that is doing the job of cultural reorientation? Which one? “So, there must be that political will, total interest from government to say that our culture must be prime in our agenda, then they will get people who will sponsor it. They all have their ready-made curriculum; they all have their ready-made approach to how to run their programmes in their different parastatals. They run them this year; they will run them next year and so on without producing any result in anything concrete. “We cannot then say government can or should do it. Now, let me tell you something about our multinational money-gobbling organisations. They have their jobs to do in the country in their areas of operation. Are they doing it? No! They are doing much less or nothing when it comes to cultural interest. Let me tell you, in England, they spend billions of pounds in sustaining not only the British culture, but some other cultures that are domiciled in Britain. I’ve had friends who had thousands and millions of pounds in grants to come and document something here in Nigeria and we worked together on those projects. Now, they took those documents away and kept them over there; we can’t have access to them.

“So like I said, they will come back and reach us our culture and we’ll pay heavily. Such are the importance of multinationals in other parts of the world. Even in America, I earned $10,000 just to be telling stories to their children and to teach them how to build African huts from mud and clay; we go and collect grass and make some other African artefacts. What have we done here? We’re so self-oriented. Even if the money is put out, it will be chopped by those in charge!” He also understands the prevailing apathy in government circles and the ambivalence of the nation’s motion picture sector and what it keeps unleashing on society. As he states, “Not many people are concerned because they have equated our culture with rituals and voodoo and killings and demonism like it’s being portrayed in Nollywood films… “Yes, it is, even to the extent that it frightens many of these people. In their minds, when you talk about culture, the next things is, the man will die! Or how he will use his wife or son for money ritual; they have forgotten that traditional culture is very far apart from such rituals. Traditional culture and religion are not as bastardized as what is being portrayed in these films! “They are all in this same bracket; the noise has been going before the advent of Nollywood, as far back as 1968 and 1971, the noise that government should back culture in all forms. Do those in government know anything! Let them go to Mbare in Enugu; let them go to some other places, the shrine in Ede. Now, let me take another example; when the white men came and showed them that Osun Osogbo is a very important deity, that’s when government

came into it and began to promote it. That’s a strong example for you. So, we are trying to say that a lot of our cultural expansions will be developed by outsiders and then government will take interest. Nollywood is not our only cultural expression; no!” This Thursday at Freedom Park, Lagos Island, Solanke will launch the book. He explains what it is intended to achieve and those who will attend, noting, “There are things in it that are written for the ordinary man. I don’t have a Ph.D or degree, but I only attended the School of Drama in 1963 at University of Ibadan and became a performer. And since then I have been able to practicalise every aspect of my study; that’s why I sing, I dance even at 71 and people will clap. I have trained professionals, who work with me and I take them to the areas where we do research. When we talk about kurekure in those days as children, everybody will run back it was believed to be always lurking at the back of the school at night, and waiting to catch anybody that strays. “There were so many stories; stories about ogomugomu and many others. This is just the first edition. We want the information to reach everybody about the cultural things around us by people who are working in that area so that ordinary people can have access and have something to gain from it. “So, I’ve invited three of Her Excellencies (wives of Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti States); there will also be Chief (Mrs.) Maiden Ibru, Erelu Abiola Dosumu and Auty Franscesca Emmanuel all leading the pack. We’re talking about children

here and a book about children and a book with a foreword written by Professor Wole Soyinka. So, when you call baba, he might not have the time, but when you call madam, they know it’s a bigger arena for them. Normally, you don’t talk about father and children; rather, you talk about women and children. That is the whole idea; it’s a children’s book; it’s a mothers’ thing!”

Job opportunity… th TB Joshua’s 50 Birthday Gift To The Young By Chuks Nwanne

UST like it was predicted, Prophet TB Jgrand; Joshua’s birthday celebration was the Synagogue Church of All

Nations (SCOAN) was fully loaded with guests. But surprisingly, the prophet was not at the event to celebrate his birthday. Instead, he preferred to go to the mountain to commune with his creator. Notwithstanding his absence, the birthday bash went on as planned — his men took charge of events. Notable among guests at the event were former Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN) president and renowned flutist, Tee-Mac Itseli, who performed some of his evergreen songs. Comedians Julius Agwu, Lepacious Bose and MC Abbey were also present, including the King of Comedy, Ali Baba, who anchored the programme. In his birthday message that was delivered on his behalf by one of his pastors, prophet Joshua

called for the focus of the celebration to be redirected towards care for

the less privileged and job creation for unemployed graduates. “The best way to celebrate this birthday is to be on your knees and thank God for the life of T.B. Joshua. Pray for the Church of God for a strong bond of love. Pray for your nation and the whole world and rededicate yourself to the acts of giving. Be a father to the fatherless and a benefactor to the needy. Raise the standard of living through the little you are going to invest,” he said. The prophet then charged the congregation, “Those things you have for T.B. Joshua, even what you will spend on a greeting card, put it together and spend it on this commission. Whatever you have as a gift for the ceremony or the occasion of my 50th birthday; put it together and use it to redirect yourself to the acts of giving.” Topmost on Joshua’s agenda is to facilitate the creation of jobs for frustrated graduates, calling on all in the position to support job-seekers to come forward. “We must get jobs for people who are jobless. This is the number one project for my 50th birthday; I’m going to pursue it. Graduates are everywhere without a job.” Last Sunday, Prophet Joshua set the ball rolling as part of efforts aimed at fulfilling his promises. Already, some organizations, within and outside the country, are already buying into his job creation project, including the MBA Tour group, who visited the

church that Sunday, to announce their partnership with Emmanuel TV. Speaking at the event, the West African representative of the MBA Tour, Ms Hannah Bertillia Acquah informed that her organization and Emmanuel TV share mutual goals. “You have a wonderful man of God, who is passionate about people. He sees success from failure; he sees gold when there’s still clay. It is a pleasure to associated with Emmanuel TV and Prophet TB Joshua.” Describing the MBA Tour as a platform that encourages people to look beyond their limits, Acquah explained that based on the partnership, Prophet Joshua has agreed to assist some youths with financial scholarship to take the programme. “Our partnership will enable African students, who demonstrate outstanding potentials, access to fellows at the world’s top business schools and academic institutions, including MIT Sloan School of Management; Yale School of Management; Columbia Business School; Harvard Business School; Erasmus University and others.” Meanwhile, the selection process in Nigeria is scheduled for Saturday, October 5, at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. Similar screening will also he held in Ghana, South Africa and Kenya

on different dates. Candidates will be able to register online at no cost stating from mid-July on the MBA Tour website www.thembatour.com, www.businessdayonline.com and www.emmanuel.tv. The ideal candidate must have a least two yeas professional work experience, GMAT examination for some of the schools. Meanwhile, thousands of organisations around the world have offered to partner with TB Joshua by providing job opportunities for Africans through the initiative. Hundreds of such letters were read at the event, with the organisations stating available vacancies in their establishment. “Most of these companies are owned by people of other religions; this is an opportunity for everybody. We must love one another and be ready to help people. We are here to build people, not juts building structures.” Last week, the project began in earnest, as TB Joshua facilitated the employment of 24 graduates in jobs, 22 of whom were not members of The SCOAN. He called on churches worldwide to join in the call for job creation with no strings attached. “If every church and organisation embarks on telling people in the position to get graduates jobs instead of campaigning for money and prosperity, it will change the situation,” he said.


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Sunday, June 30, 2013

LIVINGWOMAN

SPOTLIGHT

NEWSFEATURE

P/29

Second Niger Bridge, Eastern Gateway, Waiting For Its Reality BUSINESS

P/18 ‘Police Imagemaking Is Not Exclusive To Male Officers’

P/19

‘Children With Learning Difficulties Need Professional Help’ SPECIALREPORT P/22 How Govt Policy Rendered Ajaokuta A National Disaster

P/43 NIMASA Vs NLNG: As The ‘War’ Over Levies Continues...


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Braide By Odita Sunday ER appointment elicited concern and even skepticism in some quarters. For the very first time, a Police image-making office in Nigeria was to wear a woman face and in Lagos State, too. With all the peculiarities and complexities of the former capital city, the question on many lips was: Would a woman be able to effectively serve as the spokesperson of the Lagos State Police Command? But a year after assumption of office, Ngozi Conchita Braide has proved such skeptics wrong, as she is still standing and marching bravely in a field that only men had ventured. Her attractive, friendly mien notwithstanding, Ngozi appears to have come to stay having tried in her way to stamp her identity and create her own position as the Police Public Relations Officer in the Lagos Command. “I don’t believe that the Public Relations position is a reserve for the men. In Nigeria police, we are all given equal opportunities to succeed. We don’t have ‘women’ and ‘men’ in the police, what we have is ‘police officers’. I love challenges because it brings out the best in me. When I was called upon to handle this position having gone through a rigorous interview, people were asking: ‘can she make it? “If you want to be a successful person, there are hurdles you need to scale and I feel my present position is one of such in my career. Since I came on board as the spokesperson of the Command, I have not seen anything extraordinary,” she said. Said to be gentle and unassuming, Ngozi is guided by the need to do the right thing at any time. Said she: “I want to make certain changes in the PPRO department so that when I leave here, I will feel fulfilled and happy that I have made my mark in the Command. Basically, I

H

don’t see the job as challenging as people think. I just see my task as one of those duties I have to carry out as a police officer. “As the image maker of the Command, I like to instill discipline in the officers and rank and files working with me. I am a very principled and discipline person. I hate indiscipline.” Women are believed to be unserious when it comes to management and administration, but Braide said that is not her case, describing herself as one of the most serious persons in the world. “Men are not the only seriousminded ones, I am a serious-minded person. I do any duty assigned to me without complains, I hate working under supervision. Women too are very serious. For instance, in Nigeria today, women hold very sensitive positions. “In some countries of the world, we have women as presidents and prime ministers. The Late Margaret Thatcher ruled Great Britain and she was successful. Even a child born today knows that there was a female leader called Margaret Thatcher. Women are thorough people, so I will never agree that we are not serious.” Braide is a rugged woman who is combat ready at all times. These probably were the qualities her mother saw that made her urge her daughter to join the Nigeria Police. The female officer heeded her mother’s advice and abandoned her university education at the Abia State University, Uturu to join the force as a Cadet Inspector. Since then, Ngozi, who later studied English Language at the Lagos State University, has brought great repute to her family. Since joining the Nigeria Police in 1996 as a Cadet Inspector, she has attended several professional courses within and outside Nigeria. “I joined the Police as a teenager. Immediately I completed my secondary education, I got ad-

‘Police Image-making Is Not Exclusive To Male Officers’ mission into the Abia State University and I was in my second year when they got a form for me to join the police as a Cadet Inspector. Shortly after, I left the school and went to the Police Academy. I had passed through series of interview and in the end, I was selected.   “This is the first job I have ever done in my life and it is going to be the last by the special grace of God. I will work and retire successfully as a police officer,” she said. Young and articulate, the officer is a lover of good people and a passionate crime fighter. She attended the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Academy in Atlanta, United States where she obtained a certificate in International Postblast Investigation in 2000. She also attended a course in Psychotraumatology, Debriefing and Diffusing Course in Switzerland in 2001. She was part of a prosecution course at the Nigeria Police Detective College, Enugu in 1999 and successfully participated in two United Nations Peace Keeping Operations and was also in UNMIK Kosovo in 2000. At the United Nations Peace Keeping Operation in Liberia in 2006, she was appointed head of the Finance Unit of the United Nations Police and also served with International Criminal Police Organisation, INTERPOL, from 1999 to 2003. At INTERPOL, she was attached to Organised Crime Division, (OCD) and from 2003 to 2007; she worked at Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) and Special Fraud Unit (SFU) from 2007 to 2012. That Ngozi is enjoying her career will be stating the obvious. Not only is she proud to be a police officer, she is certain it couldn’t have been better, as she says: “I am happy to belong here and I don’t think there is a more interesting job than the one I am doing. “I have no regrets being here. And just like I told you when I started the job, I will not fail because I love what I am doing. I will be up and doing, as I have learnt a lot just like I told you nine months ago. I still welcome advice from everybody— journalists, the public as well as my colleagues. All of this has really helped me a lot. I have been enjoying every bit of my stay here.” On the challenges confronting her in the office, she says: “People don’t believe when you are trying to tell them the truth. That is the situation I have found myself here. Because I am a public relations officer, the public tends to believe that I am paid to lie. If you say exactly what happened, the public sees it as lies no matter the evidence you present. Even when

“I don’t believe that the Public Relations position is a reserve for the men. In Nigeria police, we are all given equal opportunities to succeed. We don’t have ‘women’ and ‘men’ in the police, what we have is ‘police officers’. I love challenges because it brings out the best in me.

the PRO goes out of her way to confirm what transpired, people still don’t believe. It is a very big challenge and it makes me sad.” And her view on the ban on commercial motorcyclists popularly called ‘Okada’ by the Lagos State government? Braide said the decision was in the interest of Lagosians since it has to do with security of lives and property. “Okada riders were always involved in different kinds of crime. We found out that 90 per cent of robbery cases last year was carried out with okada. They even rob with it during the day. And because of the heavy traffic in Lagos, it is always impossible to pursue them with vehicles. “Aside all this, the riders would not obey traffic laws. There is a law that was meant for okada riders but they would not obey it. They don’t even bother to understand what traffic law is all about. In fact, they constituted themselves into a nuisance. To me, the ban of okada from plying certain routes is one of the best decisions Lagos State government has taken. “Mind you, they were not banned on all the roads. It is only on some routes but you still see them plying these routes. And when they get arrested for violating the rules, they turn round to accuse the police of wrongful arrests. “There are lots of things that the law says concerning okada operation. It is not just ‘don’t ply this or that routes.’ If an okada rider is plying an approved route but is still violating some of the stated rules, he will be arrested. For instance, you see them carrying pregnant women and children below 12 years, which is against the law. Some of them don’t wear crash helmets and as soon as an accident happens, they die instantly because they hit their heads on the ground. “They also carry more than one person on the bike. Again, most of the motorcycles are not registered. But the general public is not aware of all these things and do not pay attention to them. Most of them don’t have rider’s permit. You see them carrying load in front of the motorcycles making it impossible for them to ride well. In such a case, both the okada rider and the passenger are offenders. The Nigeria Police is only assisting the government to make sure that the pertinent laws are obeyed to the letter.” Ngozi still sees herself as a learner in the field of police/media relations, describing the spokesman of the Nigeria Police, Chief Superintendent Frank Mba as her teacher in the field of police public relations. She said: “I have not finished learning from my friends in the prints and electronics media. There are some things I am working on before my tenure completes to boost the image of the Command.   “I am starting a tour soonest. I shall be engaging policemen at the Divisions on the need to be neat and project police in good light. I am sure the public will be happy for the kind of policemen they will be seeing after my tour. “There is a transformation going on now in the police. In a few years, every policeman will be looking smartly dressed like the IGP, CP Umar Manko, Force PRO, Frank Mba and myself. “It is part of the agenda of the present police administration to ensure that Nigerians are proud of their police. MD Abubakar’s regime is not just that of ‘good looks’, it is also a regime of civility, seriousness, and friendliness to the public. Everyone would agree to the fact that there is real change going on in the Nigeria Police.”


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday June 30, 2013

19

SPOTLIGHT

Anayo Ezennia had enjoyed a successful career in the financial and information communication sectors before stumbling into cognitive skills training. Having discovered she has a passion for this line of activity, she established Cogniskills Learning Enhancement Centre. She spoke recently to OLUWAKEMI AJANI on the need for parents to seek early professional solutions when their children have learning difficulties. About the Centre OGNISKILLS Learning Enhancement Centre is a learning enhancement and improvement resource facility, which provides cognitive skills training that targets the underlying mental and reading skills of its clients. These mental skills are vital for easy, fast and effective learning. Cognitive Skills are the underlying fundamental skills that are often overlooked but essential tools of learning. Cognitive skills must function well for you to efficiently and easily read, think, prioritise, understand, plan, remember and solve problems. Examples of cognitive skills are: Attention (selective, divided and sustained), memory (long and short term), visual perception, processing speed, logic and reasoning, comprehension and auditory processing. They are mental capabilities you need to successfully learn academic subjects. When cognitive skills are strong, academic learning is fast, easy, efficient and even fun. When cognitive skills are weak, academic learning will be at best a struggle. I started operations in 2009 and I work with individuals of different learning capabilities from the age of six years and above. Inspiration In 2005, a friend of mine who had undergone cognitive skills training in USA asked me to help her set up a learning centre in Ikoyi. She trained me and we provided cognitive training together for children living in Ikoyi, Lekki and Victoria Island for three years before she returned to the US in 2008. During the course of training the children in Ikoyi, I was able to appreciate the pains that children with learning disabilities and their parents’ experience. I made up my mind that I am going to continue to provide learning solutions to such children and I believe that is where my calling is. After she left I travelled to South Africa for further training and certification. After returning to Nigeria, I registered Cogniskills Ltd. in 2009. The basics I start by conducting an assessment on our students to determine to what degree they possess the vital cognitive skills necessary for strong academic performance. This is done either online or on a one-on-one interactive basis. I also provide specific on-line, one-onone and group cognitive skills enhancement programmes to students with weak learning skills for development and strengthening. I also work with high and average academic achievers who want to record stronger academic performance. ‘Parents should seek early intervention and address the problem immediately because as the child suffers psychologically, emotionally, socially and mentally, so do they. This problem must not be allowed to get out of hand. The good news is that there is hope for all children no matter the learning challenges. The only difference is the length of time it takes to overcome the challenge after cognitive training and this in turn depends on the severity of the challenge. Challenges One of these is creating awareness. Parents do not understand what cognitive training is all about. There is little or no emphasis on providing learning solutions through cognitive training in the country. They think that extra lessons for the child are the solution. The child improves with the help of the lesson teacher in a particular year but falls further behind when faced with bigger challenges during the next academic year. But cognitive training helps what is learnt to become permanent so that the child performs his or her academic duties independently. Illiteracy is another challenge. A lot of people do not understand the meaning of cognitive skills. Seventy-five per cent of Nigerians think the word ‘cognitive’ refers to ‘mental’ problems. So, parents whose children have learning difficulties that can easily be corrected by undergoing cognitive training shy away from seeking proper intervention because they do not want people to label the child as having ‘mental problems’. I often come across parents whose children are obviously struggling, but they claim that there is nothing wrong with the child. Or that it’s just a spiritual problem. When we come across such parents, we ask them to take their time to make up their minds because they will

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‘Children With Learning Difficulties Need Professional Help’ never believe that what you have done has made any difference in the life of the child. Also, inability of parents to exercise patience especially when they expect instant improvement in a child who has lived with a certain challenge for many years. People need to understand that the length of time and amount of attention given will depend on the severity of the disorder. Severe challenges take a longer time to correct while mild cases take a shorter time. Some parents are impatient, and would expect you to perform magic in a short period of time. However, it is important to note that our programme does not cure specific disorders; instead, it helps correct the learning problems that come with such disorders. We only deal with the learning aspect so that when the children get to school, they can perform easier, faster and better in their academic work. Background I was born in Port Harcourt. I attended Santa Maria Primary School, Enugu because my parents were living there at the time. I also went to Queen’s School, Enugu. I studied Philosophy for my first degree at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Managerial Psychology as second degree at the University of Lagos. I came from a family of seven children. My dad was a Civil Engineer. He died in 2000. My mum is a retired principal. I had a strict upbringing; you know how strict teachers are. I am married with four children. My husband

Ezennia

and children live in Port Harcourt now. Growing up My mum was very strict with us. So, I was close to my dad, who used to call me ‘Iyanda’ after the Village Headmaster’s Kabiyesi’s Iyanda because I was always ready to run errands for him. He rewarded me well. Infact, I was the only one among my siblings who travelled to the east by air. My provisions list was never cancelled or reduced and I was never broke throughout my stay in the university. My dad spoilt me so much. For that my siblings thought he was partial with me. I was also a ‘Tom boy’. I loved climbing trees. I remember my dad flogged me once for climbing a tree. He had warned me against it and left for work. I climbed a mango tree in our compound and suddenly, I heard the sound of his horn at the gate. But it was too late because he saw me before the gate was opened for him to drive in. He flogged me very well. I also fought a lot in primary school. The boys were always looking for opportunities to beat me up because I am a teacher’s daughter and my mum had gone to the university for her degree programme. So, they felt since there was no one to protect my younger sibling, and me we should be taught a lesson. I had to learn to defend my brother and myself. Childhood dream I was very playful as a child. I don’t remem-

ber having any serious dream except that every now and then I dreamt of being a lawyer but never dwelled on it for too long. Managing home and career My children are grown. Two are in the university while two are in the boarding secondary schools. I am alone with my husband until the children come back on vacation. Managing the home is not a problem. At the office I have two trainers who assist me in Port Harcourt. This allows me time to travel to other states, especially Lagos, where I have many clients to train. Philosophy Break through the obstacles in your mind and you will have success knocking at your door. I can survive no matter the condition I find myself in. I have a driving force that wants to succeed where others failed. I don’t believe there is anything that is beyond the human capability. I possess strong communication and inter-personal skills. I think I developed good marketing skills during my years as a banker. My friends tease that I can sell anything. I also have the ability to work under pressure, high motivation, patience and tolerance. Advice No matter how bleak the future may look, there is always spring after every winter and summer after spring. In other words, do not give up or look for short cuts to success. Hard work always pays off if the determination and perseverance is there because, where there is a will there is always a way.


TheGuardian

THE GUARDIAN,Sunday, June 30, 2013 20

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Junior Guardian SOS Organises Talent Competition OS Kindergarten/Hermann Gmeiner Primary School, Isolo recently organised a talent competition for some schools in Lagos. The event featured activities such as arts, craft exhibition, spelling bee, public speaking, and choral performance among the children. The biannual programme with the theme: “ICT and the Nigerian child,” held at the school auditorium. At their public speaking, the children enumerated the negative and positive impact of information communication technology (ICT), on children. Mr. Dada Olusanya, head teacher of SOS school said the event was to hunt for talents

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SOLUTIONS TO BRAIN TEASER (11)

and to catch the children young. “It is a biannual programme. Every two years we bring schools together to hunt for talents and to also catch them young. We usually have different topics and this year’s is: ICT and the Nigerian child. So, we are looking at the negative and positive effect of ICT on the Nigerian child. Five schools competed at this year’s programme and each came up with salient points to defend their stand on the negative and positive effects of ICT on Nigerian child. “I believe that ICT will be more resourceful to children because information is on the Internet. All they need is to tap

DISORDER OPPOSITION

EFFECTIVE CONFIGURE

it and get to know what is happening around them,” Olusanya said. He disclosed that the competition will enable the children make friends and interact among themselves and also build confidence in them in orders to speak bold in a crowd. “We want our children to socialise with other children to enable them make friends and exchange ideas because we are so much concerned about their future. We want to build confidence in them. By seeing and facing an audience, they should be bold enough to address them.

— Paul Adunwoke

POSTULATE

MIRACLE

MAJORITY

INJURIOUS

THESAURUS Nostalgia a) air b) homesickness c) lively d) sweet Preponderance a) prevalence b) light c) slow d) cut Choke a) nut b) tool c) strangle d) bite Derail a) walk b) disrupt c) catch d) dance Haggle a) shout b) cough c) bargain d) show

POEM

Stipend a) a lot b) salary c) give d) favour Drudgery a) dirty b) drag c) hard d) labour Hovel a) hole b) line c) hut d) window Warped a) changed b) misshapen c) darkened d) blew Daunted a) wet b) frightened c) closed d) bent Banter a) tease b) sing c) draw d) paint Rack a) nail b) stand c) wing d) stick

Dear Calendar, How is January and February? Please tell March that April said that May would be coming by June. And tell July that August said that September would be having her marriage with October by November and please tell November that anyone who reads this would have a lovely December. From Calendar, 2013 By Amaka Aghasili, Teenland College, Ojota, Lagos.

Pupils of Higherland International School Mowe, Ogun State, celebrating Children’s Day.

BIRTHDAY GREETING Olusegun Ayomide Alayande Is 3

Pupils in their traditional attires welcome Governor Raji Fashola to the 2013 annual lecture of the Lagos State University Alumni Association...on Tuesday

COMPILED BY KIKELOLA OYEBOLA

PHOTO: GABRIEL IKHAHON

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

Mum and Dad wish her happy birthday


ThE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

21

CAMPUS

Students Urged To Be The Change By Oyinkansola Sadiq-Mabeko and Everistus Onwuzurike S part of celebrations to commemorate the annulment of June 12, 1993 elections, which has been dubbed the freest and fairest election in Nigeria’s history, World Changers International and lagos State University College of Medicine held a leadership training programme for students. The event tagged Take The Lead, Be The Change, witnessed impressive attendance from students at the college’s multipurpose hall. Chairman of the occasion and managing director of Police Mortgage Bank, Bola Adeboye, said though Nigeria is underdeveloped, the country’s survival depends on the availability of knowledge and the grooming of a new generation of leaders. President of World Changers International, Tim Ayoola, encouraged the students to cultivate the right attitude to life despite the present challenges.

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Don Unveils Book On healthy living By Kehinde Olatunji MEDICAl expert at the University College hospital (UCh), Ibadan, Dr. Yinka Dania, has launched a book on how to address various health challenges confronting Nigerians. The book with the title Choose Life was unveiled to the public recently at Supreme Management Training Centre, Ibadan. At the event, the author said one third of deaths in Nigeria are preventable. “Choose Life is a 220-page book written to bridge the gap of ignorance portrayed by many on health issues. The book also contains valuable information on appropriate actions to be taken in different situations.” In his remark, Chief Medical Director of UCh, Prof. Temitope Alonge, commended the author for pushing out the knowledge to the public.

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Shell Donates ICT Centre To Cross River Varsity hEll Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO), on Friday inaugurated an Information Communications Technology Centre it built for the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECh), in Calabar. The centre was handed over to the varsity’s management by SNEPCo’s managing director, Chike Onyejekwe. The N60 million centre has a furnished ICT block, 50 workstations with uninterrupted power units, a server, two printers and software. SNEPCo also provided a 27kVA soundproof generator for the facility. “The package includes Internet connectivity with a fully paid three-year subscription plus a one-year maintenance arrangement,” Onyejekwe said.

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Diana Oyinlola, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) student who delivered a baby in the toilet on campus at the baby’s naming ceremony last week.

Private Varsities Demand Own Share Of TETFUND By Ujunwa Atueyi SSUES affecting private university education in Nigeria, particularly access to Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) was the subject of discourse at the 29th meeting of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Registrars of Private Universities in

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When I Remember Fagbocious, Water Run Away My Eye... Students of Obafemi Awolowo University in a Candle Night procession last week for five leaders of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), including Oladimeji Azeez aka Fagbocious, who died in a motor accident on their way to intervene in the student crisis at the PHOTO: FEMI OGUNJOBI University of Uyo.

Crisis Averted As Policeman Chases Student Into UI Campus By Titiladunayo Daniel ‘Damilola N Wednesday June 19, 2013 a Police Constable attached to the Oyo State Police command, Ajisafe Amos, with Police Force number 497226, ‘invaded’ the University of Ibadan (UI) with arms in chase of one Adewale Adegboyega, who drove a red coloured honda Accord and incessantly shot at the car within the university premises. At first, the university community scampered to safety but after a volley of shots was released to render the car driven by a student of

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Guidance and Counseling immobile, students close to the scene of the incident summoned up courage and mobbed the policeman. But for the timely intervention of the DPO of Sango Police Division, student leaders and the university security outfit known as Abefele, it would have resulted to a revolt and possible lynching of the trigger-happy policeman for disrupting the peace on campus. According to Adegboyega, who is suspected to be an online fraudster, he was chased from Mokola to the university gate because he failed to tip the men in black. In protest of the action

of the police team, the students led by the Student Union Government President, Babatunde Badmus, demanded the dismissal of the policeman. he added that it was dangerous for a policeman to shoot into the air in a densely populated environment like a university campus. The students seized the identity card of the policeman to prevent possible denial that the person who pulled the trigger was not a policeman. Daniel is president of the Union of Campus Journalists, University of Ibadan

Parents’ Forum Donates lab To Crescent

By Fatimat Ogunneye BlOCk of x-ray laboratory has been donated to Crescent University, Abeokuta by the chairman of the institution’s Parents’ Forum, Otunba Fatai Olukoga, who is a special adviser to lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola. The gesture came on the heels of a multi-million Naira x-ray machine and ICT laboratory given by Dr. Remi Olowude to the university. Olukoga said that he chose to bestow the building based on his belief that “good health is Otunba Fatai Olukoga(right), with Registrar, Crescent University, Zakariyyah Ajibola (middle) life” and that every student deserves the best, unveiling the newly donated block housing the x-ray section of the university clinic. especially in healthcare. “The university alone Nigeria (CVCRPU), recently held at Babcock Nigeria (ICAN), Nigerian Institute of cannot shoulder all the University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State. Management (NIM), among others, con- burden of infrastructural The conference, under the chairmanship cerning accreditations. development, hence we of Bowen University, Iwo Vice-Chancellor, CVCRPU noted that apart from contribut- are contributing our Prof. Timothy Olagbemiro, drew represen- ing immensely to the development of terti- quota to fast-track the tatives from more than half of the 50 ary education by opening up admission university’s developlicensed private universities. spaces, money in the pool of the Tertiary ment,” he said. Other pertinent issues discussed included Education Trust Fund includes taxes paid offering opportunities to the less privi- by private universities and they should The Registrar, Zakariyah Ajibola, expressed his leged to gain access to tertiary education, therefore not be denied from benefiting. seeking due recognition from the Federal The group also demanded for representa- appreciation on behalf of Government, and getting clarifications on tion in the membership of relevant educa- the university managethe existing relationships between the tion agencies, including the NUC and Joint ment to the donor. The National Universities Commission (NUC) Admission and Matriculation Board secretary to the Parents’ Forum, Mr. Ishaq Bisiriyu, and the professional bodies including the (JAMB). Institute of Chartered Accountants of revealed that another

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project of the forum would soon be completed for unveiling. Ogunneye is a 400-Level Microbiology student of Crescent University

WISECRACkS I love the man who can smile in trouble, gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. Thomas Paine It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always. Oprah Winfrey Good management consists in showing average people how to do the work of superior people. John. D. Rockefeller Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish. Sam Walton

LET US KNOW Every week, LIFE CAMPUS reports on events in students’ communities across the country. You can contribute by sending stories, gossips, reports on events and your pictures for Campus Faces to us at: templer2k2@yahoo.com or guardianlife2005@yahoo.com


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

SPECIAL REPORT

Former president, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, lays the foundation stone of the steel complex

Inside Ajaokuta Steel Company By Chuks Nwanne HE establishment of the Ajaokuta Steel T Plant was made possible with Decree N0. 60 of 1979. By 1980, the then president, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, laid the foundation stone. The project was conceived and steadily developed with the vision of erecting a metallurgical process plant cum engineering complex. It has an erection base where all the steel plant equipment and facilities were sub-assembled before erecting them in the plant. It was to be the driving force of the nation’s quest for technological advancement, and by the time of its commissioning in 1983, the project had achieved about 95 per cent completion rate. Since the commissioning, the project has been embroiled in controversy. Part of the criticism against it is that its machines are ‘obsolete’ in addition to having an ‘outdated Blast Furnace’ model of steel production plant.

However, it is on record that, as at 1983, when the it was commissioned, the Light Mill, Billets Mill, Wire rod Mill, Medium section and Structural Mills of the steel plant were in operation. The vision then was that profits generated from the already rolling mills would provide the needed funds for the completion of the remaining five per cent of the blast furnace. Unfortunately, after President Shagari’s removal from office in 1983, through the Muhammadu Buhari-led coup, the Steel Plant was abandoned, while most of its engineers trained in the defunct Union of Soviet Sicialist Republic (USSR) to work in the plant, left to join other companies. Some, who were already ageing, had no option than to retire. Based on information on ground, the four mills in Ajaokuta Steel Company between 1985 and 1987 actually started optimal production; unfortunately, international politics played a devastating blow to the dream of steel development in the country.

By the time he assumed office as the President in 1999, the Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration made efforts to revitalise the steel plant, after what was described as an eye-opening working visit to the facility. To Obasanjo, the best option then was to concession the investment to Global System Steel Holdings Limited (GSHL) in 2005. Though his decision was lauded in some quarters, it was greatly criticised by steel workers and labour leaders, including the host community, who wondered why government should give away such gigantic project to foreigners, not to talk of Indians. Few months after takeover, the Indian firm was allegedly accused of going against the concessional agreement, which led to a faceoff between the firm and the company’s workers. The late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who set up an Interim management Committee (IMC) to oversee it, terminated the agreement in 2008. At that time, the Ajaokuta Steel branch

chairman of the Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ISSSAN), Comrade Abdulkareem Jimoh, was quoted as saying, “the concessionaires were just toying with the future of Nigeria, alleging that instead of completing the primary plant, GIHL was trading in iron ore and making billions of naira without showing commitments to revitalising the company.” Available information shows that for years, the Federal Government has been locked in arbitration with Global Steel Holdings Limited and Global Infrastructure Limited at the International Chamber of Commerce, London, for the return of Ajaokuta. The legal tussle, which started in 2008 when Global Steel dragged the Federal Government before the ICC, had Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke as leader of the Federal Government delegation. Ajaokuta Steel Company was concessioned to Global Steel during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo under the then privatisation programme of the Federal Government. However, shortly after the agreement was signed, allegations of downsizing and asset stripping cropped up, thereby putting the staff in loggerheads with the management, before it finally shuts down operations. But President Goodluck Jonathan reportedly intervened and the Federal Government regained total control of the steel company. Having given ruling in favour of Nigeria, Global Steel agreed to forfeit $1billion initially being demanded as damages allegedly suffered by the company while running the two plants. Many Nigerians, including Senator Smart Adeyemi, an indigene of Kogi, who described it as a great achievement by the Jonathan Administration, celebrated the victory. “I think the return of this complex is worth celebrating; they have succeeded in recovering Ajaokuta without any attendant financial obligation whatsoever. “This is a great achievement that deserves commendation, irrespective of political affiliation. We got to know that Global Steel asked for $1 billion damages but the concession was illegal and unlawful. I want Nigerians to know that the federal government has been in arbitration with the International Chamber of Commerce since the concession was terminated in 2007,” he said. Late last year, President Goodluck Jonathan reopened the Ajaokuta file, with the appointment of Isah Joseph Onobere as the sole administrator of Ajaokuta Steel Company, making him the first pioneer staff of the company to occupy such position. But Shortly after this appointment, the controversy over the plant being ‘obsolete’ resurfaced. In fact, there were allegation that the Federal Government may still be acting a script of the IMF and World Bank. Ajaokuta Steel Company had seen good days; the signs are everywhere. Aside from rickety signposts of some commercial banks that operated there, the mechanic workshop was dotted with abandoned vehicles. However, the access roads are still in good condition; a sign that the contractors did a good job. The Administrative and Welfare building of the company is an imposing structure that is well maintained till date. The foundation stone was laid on Monday, January 18, 1988, by the then General Manager Alhaji Muhammed Inuwa, but was commissioned on September 27, 1990, by the then Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida. When The Guardian visited, the Sole Administrator was said to be away in Abuja for a ministerial briefing, but the Deputy General manager, Public Affairs Department, Muhammed L.D Ibrahim was on hand to provide necessary information. The 2010 world statistical yearbook had put the total crude steel rates produced globally at 1.4 billion tones, of which 74 per cent was through blast furnace, the same technology adopted in Ajaokuta. However, record also shows that some of the plants that operated similar technology have since advanced with electronics, as against the manual technique obtainable in Ajaokuta. Also, the technical audit report by the Ukrainians, who visited the plant recently states that the situation of plant’s equip-


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

SPECIAL REPORT ment and facility are satisfactory, which means that mechanically, the Ajaokuta Steel plant’s equipment are generally in good condition; a tour of the facility by this reporter corroborated the report. For instance, the 110 MW capacity power plant has a transmission substation, with power line connected to the national grid; the machines are still humming. The plant was said to have produced more electricity than required in the plant, with the excess loaded into the national grid. At the Iron Ore Concentrate Stockyard, the fleets of stackers and declaimers are still there, while installations for the Sinter Plant and Sinter Stockyard are still intact, though looking abandoned. The Coke Oven & By-Products plant, which is 89 per cent complete, still stands, while the much-criticized Blast Furnace, which is 99 per cent completed is still intact. From the Steel Making Shop, which is 90 per cent completed, to the Billet Mill that is 100 per cent completed, the installations are still there; same with the Light Mill, Medium Section & Structural Mill. At the water facility, the machines at the water intake at the River Niger, including the Chemical Treatment Plant are still humming; the workers were there. “This place was built in a way that there are some plants that can never be allowed to go down, else there will be problem. So, our men are always on duty, production or no production. If I tell you what we go through to keep this place working, you won’t believe,” Ibrahim revealed. Behind the water in-take facility is the Captive River Port, which was completed in 1983 for loading and off loading; the installations still stand. The rail brined, which serviced the plant in those days, is still there, though no one is sure of its functionality. From the look of things, the machines and installations are looking old, though you could still see the ruggedness of the technology. For sure, the grasses are fast growing, but there are signs that they are regularly weeded to avoid disaster. “We can’t afford to have fire incident here, especially during dry season,” Ibrahim quipped. During a recent courtesy visit to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Mohammed Sada, in Abuja, Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria, Serhii Khanenko, who was accompanied by the president, Ukrainian Foreign Economic Corporation, Mr. Yergency Kazik, declared their interest, alongside their business partner, Reprom Company Limited, were ready to re-activate Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited to operate optimally. Expressing optimism that the complex would be handed over to the Ukrainian companies to revamp, the envoy invited the minister and his management team to visit Ukraine to assess similar industrial complexes in Eastern European The managing Director of Reprom Company Limited, Nigeria, Mr. Attah Achimugu, also disclosed that the minister had requested the financial plan to revamp the Ajaokuta steel plant, having adopted the technical plan of the company. He stated that currently, Reprom has $2.65 billion to execute the project and ramp up production capacity to 3.9 metric tones of steel per annum. Aside from fund, lack of raw materials could be another major challenge to the plant. While presenting his mid-term report on the progress and achievements of the mines and steel development ministry at the 2013 Ministerial Platform, Sada noted that, the problem of Ajaokuta is two-fold. He observed that right at the inception of Ajaokuta, certain key issues were left outstanding, and these key issues are the issues of raw materials and infrastructure. “There are attendant infrastructure requirement that must have to be attended to; currently anybody who is familiar with that will know that the Itakpe-Warri rail line is almost up and ready. That particular line was actually established to support steel production in that area. Another sort of infrastructure that needs to be in place is the infrastructure from the mine site to the factory and these are the issues that this government is cur-

‘Ajaokuta Steel Company Is A National Disaster’ He was on a separate mission at the Ajaokuta Steel Company that morning, but our discussion on the collapse of the steel plant attracted Ben Ukubile Atanu, a lecturer at the Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja. In this interview with CHUKS NWANNE, Atanu, who saw the good old days of the multi-billion-dollar investment, noted that lack of commitment on the side of the government contributed heavily to the collapse of the Ajaokuta dream. OU described yourself as ‘insider’ in Y Ajaokuta Steel Company, what exactly is your relationship with this company? I’ve been part and parcel of this organisation for quite some time. I used to be a businessman in Kano where I had a printing press. Then, I used to come in here to get jobs done; that was way back in the 80s, before I relocated to Lokoja. The situation here then was beautiful and things worked well. There were activities everywhere. Suddenly, things started going down. Today, it is unfortunate that the situation has gone this bad. At what point did things go bad? I can’t really say, but I remember I moved to Lokoja in 2001; by 2002, I became the SIWES coordinator for Kogi State Polytechnic based on the experience I’ve had over the years. One day, we were going to Ayingba for a zonal meeting with the Zonal Coordinator of ITF Lokoja; I can’t remember his name, but he’s from Katsina. On our way, we passed through Ajaokuta Steel Company and he kept on asking me, ‘where is this place?’ I told him it’s Ajaokuta Steel Company and he said, ‘I want to know the place.’ So, I had to make them to go through the place. When we got to the roundabout, he got out and asked, ‘why is this place like this?’ I told him I don’t know and he said, ‘it’s unfortunate.’ In fact, he said some things in Hausa, which I couldn’t pick, but I’m sure he cursed those who ran down the place. He said that if this place were functioning, a lot of these okada riders and touts would have been moved off the streets. How vibrant was Ajaokuta in those days? Those days, this place used to be very busy; apart from workers of the Steel Company, you had ancillary companies with a lot of staff. We had Julius Berger, Dumez… so many of them with thousands of workers living here in Ajaokuta. Today, Ajaokuta is disserted. For a long time, I didn’t come here, until three days back when I was called in here to check some things and I saw people moving around. I asked them, ‘are there still human beings working here?’ I was taken aback because I thought nothing was happening here anymore. Talking about the collapse of the investment, does it really have anything to do with the engineering and technology used by the Russians in the construction of the plant? I don’t think so. Sometime ago, I was listening to a programme on Voice of America (VOA); the voice of the commentator happened to be that of a woman. She made a statement that the greatest disaster of this century, in Africa, is Ajaokuta Steel Company. She said that there are two major steel companies in the continent; one is in South Africa the second one is Ajaokuta Steel Company in Nigeria. ‘That of South Africa is working, why is Ajaokuta not working…’ that was the question she put to the Nigerian government. Really, when you come in here, you feel bad that a structure like this is just standing and nothing is happening. Unfortunately, this thing will not get to the government; even if they see it, they will close their ears. During his administration, Obasanjo came to this place; I remember I was the one that printed the programme for his visit. He was very angry from the way he spoke; people thought that would be the end of the problem, but till date, we are still here. Whether there’s a curse on the land, nobody knows; whether there’s a curse on the country, nobody knows. It’s not just this place, there are so many investments that are down in Nigeria, but Ajaokuta Steel Company is a big disaster. Do you think the decision of Federal

Atanu Government to appoint a Sole Administrator is a right step? Look, all we need is the political will of the government; the single human being, who is taking over the place, may no be able to do anything. Yes, he has the will to do it, but what of the people at the top? Are they prepared to allow the place to work? If there’s that political will, let the president come down here and move round this facility; he will weep for Nigeria. And if he has that will, he will make this place work. It doesn’t take anything to bring the people who built this place. We know the defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) built the company, and the country has since disintegrated, but the company is still there. Bring them back and let them take a look at this place; they can fix this facility. People have always talked about the ‘politics of Ajaokuta,’ what kind of politics are we talking about? I happen to come from Igala and there’s an adage in my place that says, ‘what the chicken does not eat, it scatters.’ Those who have interest in buying over this place are people in government; if not, there’s no private person that has the money to buy this place. So, they are those who are already in the system who see the loopholes and they will want to buy over this place. So, it’s a matter of, ‘if we cannot buy the place, let us break it.’ It’s simple, that’s what’s happening here. But the Obasanjo administration made efforts with the concession of the company? Yes, they brought in some investors from China and India to resuscitate this place, but it won’t work. Why? First of all, get to the Metrological Training Centre here; the machines there, the papers are written in Russian language. You don’t bring an Indian to fix that kind of place; he will not know it. Secondly, I talked about the political will of government; if the government insists that this place will work, definitely it will work. If they face it, it will work. They are all working for their interest. Look, if I’m the head of this country and I don’t have interest in you, who is coming here to run the place, I will block you and bring in the person who will give me what I want. As long as the will from the top is not there, nothing will happen here. To what extent has this failure hampered the development of Ajaokuta community? It’s not only Ajaokuta community; the entire country is affected. You need to be in this place around 1985 to 1989 to see the world around here. There was a place called

the Russian Market; when you go there, you see people coming from all walks of life. I remember I bought a camera from that market. I don’t work here, but those days, we used to come here to buy things. Apart from that, we had ancillary companies; if you came in here you see the Tivs, Igbos, Yorubas… people from different parts of the country, who were thinking of settling down here. Then, you could see prospects. But because this place could not work, people had to leave. Apart from affecting the immediate community, it has affected the state; it has affected the entire nation. If the Ajaokuta Steel Company is working, this dependence on petroleum product will not be that much; at least, it would have reduced. With high cost of rods in the market, what do you think is stopping government from investing in steel? Let me tell you, I was in a mechanic workshop here in Ajaokuta last time; I had a problem with my car, so I had to stop over there. I met this man, who was a staff of Ajaokuta Steel Company. He was retired, but he couldn’t leave this place. He was giving analysis on this national electricity project they are doing. According to him, ‘if the Federal Government is serious, those pylons (high tension poles) they are importing can be produce in the Ajaokuta factory.’ He said that as a former staff of the plant, it would take about 6000 youths that will run shift over a period of three to four months to produce all the pylons they neede for the project all over the country. Today, it cannot happen because Ajaokuta Company is not working, but they are importing this steel from outside the country. We are like a man that lives by the river, but washes his hands with spit. We have everything we want here, but to manage our steel is wahala; we are interested in going outside. If the technology of the steel plant is right, like you pointed out, what of the manpower? I believe the USSR-trained-Nigerian engineers can run this place; some of them have been retired, forcefully. If the government says, ‘let’s do this’, these people can do it. There was a period when the place went comatose a bit – I don’t know the group that came that time – and the Nigerian engineers, who were trained by the Soviet said, ‘look, this people that came cannot do better than what we can do.’ So, they said, ‘let’s see what these people can do with all their boasting.’ I was there when they rolled out some metals; it was jubilation. You know when there’s a football match and your country wins; you need to see the way people jubilated that night when they succeeded in rolling out some of the mills.


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SPECIAL REPORT How Far Can Onobere Go With Restoring Ajakokuta Steel Company’s Pride? By Chuks Nwanne N November 14, 2012, President O Goodluck Jonathan approved the appointment of Isa Joseph Onobere as Sole Administrator of the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL). Described by his colleagues as a consummate and witty metallurgist, Onobere joined the services of the Steel Company in August 1982 as a metallurgist grade II and rose through the ranks to the position of Ag. Deputy General Manager in April 2004. While announcing his appointment, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Musa Mohammed Sada, said Onobere’s appointment was based on his experiences and professional nous in the minerals and metals sector, adding that he should be able to bring about the expected turn around in facility. A graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he bagged a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Metallurgy, Onobere also received several training in Nigeria and overseas; notable amongst them was his stint in the former Soviet Union, where he spent 12 months (1983 to 1984), cutting his teeth in the art of iron and steel making, with special reference to the Blast Furnace Technology. He was also at the Kobe Steel Plant in Japan in 2001, where he got some tutelage in FastMelt technology of steel making. So, to a large extent, his appointment to head ASCL could be described as a round peg in a round hole. About two months after his appointment, Onobere addressed a media briefing, where he unveiled his plans and programmes in the public domain, which is targeted at revamping the multi-billionnaira investment. “Since my appointment, I have held series of consultations with the workforce and sensitised them to brace up for the task of starting up operational activities in some key selected areas of the plant that can be put into operation,” he revealed at the parley. Before now, concerned Nigerians, especially those in the know of the level of efforts and huge resources sunk into the project, starting from the initiator, former president Alhaji Shehu Shagari, to his military and civilian successors, have pondered on the true state of the abandoned multi-billion-naira investment. Though words such as ‘decay’, ‘collapse,’ ‘comatose,’ ‘disaster’ have been used by many to describe the sorry state of the facility, Onobere, after his on ground assessment, insists the technology is not obsolete. “Let me put on record that the Ajaokuta Steel plant is not obsolete as put across to the public by some people, who are largely ignorant of steel technology.” Quoting from the recent technical audit conducted by the Ukrainians, who inspected the plant, the Sole Administrator stated, “the situation of the Steel Plant’s equipment and facilities are satisfactory. Mechanically, the Steel Plant equipment and facilities are generally in good condition.” Against the opinion in some quarters, faulting the Blast Furnace Technology of steel making, which was adopted in Ajaokuta, Onobere certified the technology, describing it as the best method through which large volumes of steel are produced in the world today. In what looks like an endorsement of the method, the World Steel Statistical Year Book of 2011 put total crude steel production in 2010 at 1.4 billion tonnes out of which 1.04 billion tonnes was through the Blast Furnace Technology, representing an average of 74 per cent of total steel produced in the world. “The question then is, can a technology that produces 74 per cent of world total steel production be obsolete? It is also important to note here that, all developed nations got to where they are today because they have a virile steel sector; even when some of them like Japan have no raw materials for steel production. Nigeria that has virtually all the needed raw materials for steel production is still in doldrums,” he frowned. Describing Ajaokuta plant as a great opportunity for the Nigerian nation to get industrialised, Onobere expressed determination on the side of his management

Onobere at the commissioning of the Jaw Crusher in ensuring that it does not miss the great opportunities this project has for the nation. “It is gratifying to note that the Ajaokuta Steel Plant is 98 per cent technically ready in terms of equipment erection. The Federal Government is doing everything possible to ensure the completion and commissioning of the plant as an integrated Steel Plant, once the arbitration issue is resolved.” For a nation like Nigeria, which is totally dependent on crude oil in its budgeting, the merits of a completed and commissioned steel plant like Ajaokuta Steel are numerous. Aside from producing estimated 1.3million MT per annum of liquid steel, the plant will generate thousands of employment for the citizenry. While direct employment is estimated at 15,000, indirect employment of unskilled, semiskilled and skilled workers in the downstream and upstream industries and services is estimated to be around 500,000. Besides, the investment will facilitate technological growth in the country, help Nigerian engineers and technicians in the acquisition of technical expertise and provide input for infrastructural development. This will in turn add value to our natural minerals that abound and untapped all over the country. “Without developing our own steel industry, we will end up exporting our natural minerals at very cheap rates, and import the finished products at exorbitant prices as it is with oil today. This project provides us with the opportunity for varied capacity building and economic diversification, especially in the march towards the realisation of vision 20-2020,” Onobere said. Recall that for about five years, the work force at the plant, especially the Senior Staff Association, was embroiled in internal strife, which made management/workers’ harmony almost a mirage in the company. To set the ball rolling in the quest to revive the plant, the present management took the first bold step to put its house in order by ensuring a stable industrial environment. “Our belief that a healthy and harmonious work force is a prerequisite for a peaceful industrial environment and productivity, the new Management waded into the matter and with the support of the Honourable Minister, Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Muhammed Sada, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr.

Linus Awute, I am pleased to announce that we have resolved this matter as a family and agreed to put the matter behind us for the good of the project,” Onobere hinted. While still bent on resolving the disquiet amongst the workforce, the Sole Administrator has articulated plans and decided to put the completed Units of the Plant into use. The strategy to start up these completed plants, according to Onobere, is borne out of the desire to engage the workforce in more productive activities, as well as preserve the plant equipment, as operating them is the best engineering and technical way of preservation. From the technical Inspection conducted in year 2010, the estimated sum of $513 million is required for the steel plant completion, including MSSM (Medium Section and Structural Mill) modification for rail track production, while the sum of about $500 million was estimated for external infrastructure, which includes rail lines, roads and development of raw material sites. Though the project is yet to be negotiated, the present arrangement is targeted at generating some revenue for the company in the interim, thereby reducing dependency on government. “We want to add value to the steel plant as an asset, giving it high standing in any possible self sustaining Public Private Partnership that may be considered after the completion and commissioning of the Steel Plant; and ensuring that the Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government and its vision 20.20.20 blue print on Steel is realised,” Onobere said. Based on the phase one of the project, the Steel Plant has four Rolling Mills, namely: Light Section Mill (LSM), Wire Rod Mill (WRM), Billet Mill (BM) and Medium Section and Structural Mill (MSSM). Going by the result of its assessment and careful study of the steel market in Nigeria, the management is of the opinion that starting activities in the completed units of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant would be most rewarding. It is on this premise that the company is negotiating with some willing investors to come in. Already, an agreement has been reached between the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited

(ASCL) and the Management of Reprom Company Nigeria Limited, on mutual commercial collaboration on the operation of the Light Section Mill. The collaboration will see Reprom providing 10,000 tonnes of billets per month for conversion at the Light Section Mill. ASCL is expected to generate some revenue from this arrangement in form of conversion fees. The engineering workshops at the plant, which consist of Machine and Tools Shop, Forge and Fabrication Shop, Foundry and Pattern Making Shop, Power Equipment Repair Shop and Rubberising Shop, will also be part of the pilot plan. These facilities, according to Onobere, have been used in the past to provide engineering maintenance services for organisations such as the cement industries, refineries and petrochemical companies. “Arising from these experiences, we have articulated plans to pro-actively market the facilities and capacities that abound here. We have designed market strategies that will bring in jobs to this facility; chief amongst is the adoption of ‘Jobbing Agents’ approach. The management of the workshops is also being reorganised for effectiveness. It would be made semi-autonomous for efficiency,” he said. As for the Metallurgical Training Centre (MTC), which is equipped with training facilities to train craftsmen and technicians for ASCL and other external agencies, the sole administrator is on the verge of making the section viable once again. Already, several training proposals have been received from organisations, who have indicated their interest in the Centre, including the National Mathematical Centre, Abuja, NDDC; Amnesty Programme and others. “The MoU will soon be signed and training commences immediately after this is done. In the meantime, we are doing everything possible to put the Center in CONTINUED ON PAGE 25


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SPECIAL REPORT CONTINUED FROM PAGE 24 good shape, in preparation for the commencement of training activities. We are ensuring that its environment is cleaned up and made comfortable and habitable,” he noted. Meanwhile, evidence on ground shows that the management has also stepped up contacts to attract future investment partners. Currently, the organisation has opened up discussions with Caltech Limited from British Virgin Islands. Already, their senior consultant has visited the Plant and there are hopes that the relationship will come to fruition. Proposals have also been received from ZSM/MZV on the Wire Rod Mill; Oxygen Plant; Power Plant etc and discussions are ongoing with them. The Plant is also linked with the Associated Global Matrix etc, all with a view to partnering with them and generating commercial activities in other completed units of the facility. “Ajaokuta Steel Plant is the only hope for the nation’s industrial and economic emancipation. We must stand our ground as a nation and should not succumb to the activities of international trade politics. There is no country in the world that has capacity to produce steel that will not capitalise on it.” In the words of Onobere, “industrialised nations will want a permanent hold on local steel markets as they have always tried to turn other countries such as Nigeria into a dumping ground for their own products at the detriment of the growth and technological development of the country. “Profitability is not only measured in terms of the accountants’ balance sheet, multiplier effects, technological, security, social and socio-economic potentials of an enterprise are greater indices in measuring profitability. The challenge to defend our economy is in our hands.” In what has been described as a ‘walk the talk’ approach of the new administration, the first Jaw Crusher, solely designed and manufactured by a team of engineers at the company, has been commissioned by the sole administrator, who commended the doggedness of the team for believing in themselves and their capacity. Presenting the machine, the Head of Engineering Works and Services, Ibrahim Muhammed Ogirma, traced the history of the struggle to design and produce Jaw Crushers on commercial basis in 1990, when the erstwhile Chief Executive of the Company, Olufunsho Elewa, was the General Manager (Engineering Services). Ogirma disclosed that following a survey carried out in some quarries by its engineers in Niger State, it was discovered that Jaw Crushers, which are used for crushing granites, rocks, limestone, solid minerals and other quarry materials were needed in large quantities in the medium and small scale mining industries. This discovery, according to him, led management to initiate discussions with the Raw Materials Research and Development Centre (RMDC), Abuja, which after some collaborative discussion agreed to assist in the marketing of the Crushers. Subsequent efforts failed to move the idea and the project forward until Longitrade Nigeria Limited came to the rescue with funding window. However, the final push came with the appointment of Onobere as sole administrator, whom he thanked for the support he gave the designers and production team with his constant visits and financial assistance towards the project. Wonah Agrisa Peter, Deputy General Manager (Engineering Workshops) led the team with Alonge Abraham as the designer, while Asuku Ariko Alhassan was the lead fabrication technologist. Also on the team were welders, electricians, technicians and craftsmen from the plant. From all indications, the new administration at the company has shown some level of determination and commitment in the move to revamp the plant. However, the question many asking is how long will he be able to sustain the tempo.

‘Government Is Playing Politics With Ajaokuta Steel Project’ Alhaji Musa Isah Achuja is the Ohi of Eganyi land and chairman, Ajaokuta L.G.A Traditional Council. In this interview with CHUKS NWANNE, he expresses his people’s dissatisfaction with the collapse of Ajaokuta Steel Company. HAT was the feeling when the Shehu W Shagari administration took the initiative of citing the steel company here? We were very happy. In fact, then we thought that by this time, the whole place would have developed. We were thinking that as important as iron and steel is all over the world, by now, the place would be booming with activities. But to our greatest surprise, you can see the state of the investment. Did the community actually feel the impact of the plant when it commenced operations initially? In the 80s, the place was just like Abuja. The whole place was booming, as iron were being rolling out that time. But it got to the point that the whole thing went down because of internal politics. In Nigeria, we are never sincere with what we are doing. If this project were to be cited in other places, it would have been functioning. Unfortunately, we are in the minority. That’s why they are killing the investment, forgetting the outcome. They forget to understand that our generations will benefit from this project; Nigeria as a country can rely on Ajaekuta if the place is properly managed. As we are going, very soon, our oil will finish; look at what America is doing with oil now. If Nigeria could summon courage and put this place in order, the nation will benefit from this; it will also attract other investors. Do you think this collapse contributed to low investment here? If Ajaokuta Steel Company was in good order and the iron is rolling, a lot of other companies would have come to invest here. But because Ajaokuta is not functioning, other private investors are not coming anymore; even the once that came before, like Julius Berger and others, have all gone. Today, we are all complaining about unemployment, but if the government had paid attention to Ajaokuta Steel, it would have helped in providing employment opportunities for our youths. Initially, the Federal Government had the vision of creating a new city here, using the Ajaokuta plant as a focal point, what’s happening with the housing project? How beneficial is the initiative to your community? Go around and you will see the building decaying. In fact, at a time, we, the first class chiefs in the Kogi Central Senatorial Zone, went to see Shagari in 2007; that was the time of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. We went to him in Sokoto to complain about the state of Ajaokuta Steel and the housing project; we took time to explain the dangers of abandoning such massive investment. He promised us that he would be in Abuja to see the president over the issue, which he did; that was the time they concession Ajaokuta Steel Company. We

A section of the s teel plant

Achuja took it up and government got back the company. Were you against the concession of the company to Indians? We were quite against it; how can you ‘sell’ such a gigantic company just for your selfish interest? It’s not correct! So, we had to fight it out, through the way they ‘sold’ it; we fought and it was retrieved. That time, they had even removed the staff of the company from the budget; they could not collect their salaries for about 10 months. But we fought it out and it was reinstated; they had to do supplementary budget that year for Ajaokuta Steel Company. Today, they are taking their normal salary and we hope that by the grace of God, the company will come to life; I heard the Russians are interested in coming back. There were allegations that the Indians looted the facility? Yes, they were removing some things from the company; it’s confirmed. Precious stones… they nearly took the whole thing before we shouted. After the company was retrieved from them, they took us to court and we’ve won them; government has taken the place back. That’s why the Russians are coming back. What do you think, in your opinion, was

responsible for the inability of the Federal Government to get the Ajaokuta Steel Company working? Nigerians… we are not sincere to ourselves; that’s our major problem. Nigeria is not poor, but the management of our resources has never been done the right way. If our leaders could manage our resources effectively, we will be okay; people should be able to take three-square meal. But because of the bad leadership in the country, that’s why we are in serious problem. It’s not that they don’t know about the problems, they just don’t want to do the right thing. By the grace of God, we have put it before God; whether Nigerians like it or not, Ajaokuta Steel Company will work. Do you sometimes regret giving out your land for the project? We are regretting it now. Our people would have been using the land, if not for anything, at least, for farming. That’s why today, we’ve put everything before God; that company must work. Do you agree with the appointment of a Sole Administrator for the company? Do you consider it a right move by the government? What the government should have done is to ask what it will take to get the place running; they supposed to make the money available. In this case, they didn’t; that’s why the sole administrator, Isah Joseph Onobere, an indigene of Ajaokuta, is trying to get some part of the company functioning. If he succeeds, I’m confident that the place will come back to life, but the government has to be serious about it. All I know is that, if the government want to revive Ajaokuta steel, they will do it; they don’t even need to go out to borrow money for that purpose. The federal government has the right to say, ‘we must revamp Ajaokuta Steel.’ The problem here is that we are not sincere to ourselves. Is the community in support of the new administration and their strategy? Any time you have a project of this nature, it’s always advisable to put a son of the soil to manage the place. If they had done that, we would have gone far by now. This is the second time we are having an indigene as the head of the company; late Alhaji Idris Attah was there at some point. That time, work was going on well. But after an internal problem, he was removed. But since then, we’ve never had an indigene as head of the company. Like this boy is trying to do now, if he were from other parts of the country, he would not be doing what he’s doing now; he would have been interested in just making money. But you can see that the man is trying to bring the place back to life with this new strategy. He’s not waiting for the federal government to bring money; he has started with the little he could do. With this intention, I believe by the grace of God, Ajaokuta Steel Company will bounce back.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday June 30, 2013

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PERSPECTIVE

Gowon By Tunji Olaopa

our systemic dysfunctions. These public servants—Allison Ayida, Phillips Asiodu, Ahmed Joda, Ime Ebong, Ibrahim Damchida, AbduHE civil service, historically, has remained the lazeez Atta et al - who are in the category of the first and foremost framework for the rerole models we have celebrated namely, demption of the social contract between the Achebe, Soyinka, Bala Usman, Dudley, Bolanle government and the governed. In other words, Awe, Nana As’mau Dan Fodio, Awojobi the civil service resides in that turbulent space amongst others - occupied a delicate adminiswithin which the citizens make democratic detrative position between the immediate postmands on government and within which the gov- independence period and the conduct of the ernment in turn respond by aggregating these Nigerian Civil War. demands and implement policies that redress the What made these civil servants super? Warexpectations of the people. It is therefore signifi- ren Bennis gives us an insight: “Leaders learn cant that the civil service must always be at the by leading, and they learn best by leading in cutting edge of policy articulation and implemen- the face of obstacles. As weather shapes mountation to make governance functional and effec- tains, problems shape leaders.” In other words, tive. they were “super” because they lived in an inThere are two inviolable facts about the evoluteresting but unpalatable times. Nigeria was tion of Nigerian civil service that constitute the about to go to war and these public servants historical source of insights for the urgent trans- were confronted with the unenviable task of formation of the Nigerian state with the civil serv- fashioning a policy framework for war time ice itself as enabler. The first is the fact that the and post-war Nigeria. On the one hand, there Nigerian civil service is one of the significant lega- was a pending issue of articulating the second cies left by the colonialists which serves as a func- national development plan which was ongotional tool required to put the nation on the path ing with heavy technical involvement of acaof recovery that could match the rising expecta- demics like Ojetunji Aboyade who had worked tion of the people savouring the euphoria of inde- with the likes of Wolfgang Stolper on the conpendence. The second fact, deriving from the first, tent and methodology of the first developis that in spite of the twists and turns the civil serv- ment plan. The impending civil war therefore ice has gone through in its evolution, there is no provided a severe cloud of limitation around denying the great achievements and memorable which these professionals needed to work. lessons and insights which it has thrown up for When the war became inevitable, then the future adaptation. In past serials, I have highgruesome task of planning its policy trajectory lighted the achievements and expectations of the had to begin. And at this juncture, the patriotic corps of civil servants belonging to what we can character and professional acumen of these call the golden age of civil service in Nigeria. administrative chieftains kicked in. As In this new three-part serial, I will be outlining Theodore Roethke, the American poet noted, the achievement and operational dynamics of the eyes of these public servants had to see in those called the super permanent secretaries tothis dark time. Ayida came from the Ministry of wards leveraging their unique insights into the Economic Development, Joda from the Mindynamics of the civil service for the exigency of na- istry of Information, Asiodu from the Ministry tional transformation today. These insights con- of Industries (later Petroleum Resources), stitute a conceptual and practical storehouse Ebong from Finance and Atta joined also from which history offers us as remedy for revisiting Economic Development. This coalescence of

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Gowon’s Super Permanent Secretaries Model And The Project Of National Transformation professional expertise was brought to bear on the policy architecture of pre- and post-war Nigeria in a manner that facilitated economic resilience and reconstruction. In other words, these permanent secretaries constituted a critical mass of professionals required to steer the country through a dramatic period of policy turbulence. We can deduce, with hindsight, that Gowon was blessed with a portfolio of technocratic competencies at the heart of the civil service which enabled him to confront that singular burden of our history and the danger it posed to the battered national project of fashioning one unique people out of the many ethnic diversities. These professional competencies played our profoundly at the 1969 Ibadan Conference on Reconstruction and Development convened by the Ministry of Economic Development and the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research then headed by H.M.A Onitiri. This conference was significant for two reasons. First, it signaled the “town and gown” value relationship which guided the interaction of Nigerian leading economists and policy thinkers and the permanent secretaries including captains of industry. This relationship became a sort of thinktank framework that confronts policy challenges and complexities especially within a war and post-war situations. The think-tank, apart from managing the intricacies of emergency policy implementation during the war, also had to thread delicately through the minefield defined by high politics on the one hand and rational economic management on the other. It was a truly symbiotic relationship which rebound to the administrative health of the nation especially at a critical time defined by war and all round disaffection. Second, the conference was crucial to the outlining of the blueprint for post-war economic policy ecology as well as the foundations for the second and the initial third national development plans. Thus it was that the super permanent secretaries were crucial to the crafting of the second national development plan, the first indigenous strategic document produced solely by Nigerians and its implementation. The role of the super permanent secretary solidified, though in somewhat controversial and contentious manner, the template created by the Awolowo-Adebo model in the Western Region for the insertion of the civil service into the policy regime of any government hoping to bridge the divide between the government and the governed. This was obvious to Gowon at the time, and was the motive for his desire to lay a solid base for policy making and for erecting a legitimate foundation around which the nation can be pulled out of imminent disintegration. The result was that the civil service became not only a framework for harnessing a critical mass of professionals for national service, it also transformed into an administrative laboratory for multidisciplinary brainstorming about the directions a nation can take to national greatness and development. The synergy between town and gown was a beauty of team work energized by the obvious fulfillment the public servants derived from their works. The super permanent secretaries therefore gave the nation a template of what George Bush called “a community of service” dedicated to giving the nation policy form and national character. These public servants were con-

fronted with daunting national predicament and a leadership which had no training in the art of governance. While critics have highlighted perceived arrogance and high-handedness, we shouldn’t fail to appreciate the public spiritedness which dictated the promptness of stepping into a situation of incoherent national vision that demanded dispassionate but acute intellectual competence to see the vision through its worst kind of policy complexities. Thus, we have in the example of the super permanent secretaries a professional cadre of dedicated and visionary policy cum administrative leadership at the heart of the civil service willing and able to place the demands of the nation above and beyond primordial sentiments. Of course, that is what service entails—a person who can slave for the benefits of the national interest. The super permanent secretaries, in spite of their many failings and excesses, were public servants par excellence, who brought a much needed expertise, diligence and professionalism to the exigencies of national transformation in a time of trouble and crisis that threatened national existence. YNDON Johnson, former American president, Lrecover, once remarked that “Yesterday is not ours to but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” This thought manifests a characteristic of a leadership which is forward looking while learning and unlearning the mistakes and errors of the past. There is no doubt that the super permanent secretaries in the war years were people who were thrust into leadership positions by virtue of their professions and the essence of their career. In the first part of this serial, we outlined the historical trajectory within which these career public servants were compelled to exhibit their patriotism to a nation at war. In this part, we will examine the leadership dynamics inherent in the role these public servants were called to play in the face of herculean responsibilities. In the first part of this serial, I made the point that the super permanent secretaries gave the civil service and Nigeria a template for a community of service around which national transformation could take off. Yet, it was just a template that requires serious commitment to develop to the level of taking the civil service to its rightful place of leadership in any bid to transform a nation into a relevant good governance framework. Asiodu captures this possibility when he said: “In the formulation of government policy the Civil Services in Nigeria enjoy a potential primacy. It is still mainly only potential because very little sustained policy planning has yet been attempted in any case.” What Asiodu, as a member of the super permanent secretaries, allude to is the leadership potential of the civil service as the vanguard of national transformation in a state. This potentiality, as we saw in the first part, was demonstrated during the stressful years of the civil war in Nigeria when this critical mass of public servants took charge of a nation that was almost listless in terms of policy and governance. How then do we begin to excavate this leadership potential of the civil service? Before I joined the civil service, I was an unrepentant critic of the public service as a management system, but not as a profession. This is because one cannot but admire the profession that produced the likes of Adebo, Udoji, Akilu,


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday June 30, 2013

There are two inviolable facts about the evolution of Nigerian civil service that constitute the historical source of insights for the urgent transformation of the Nigerian state with the civil service itself as enabler. ... Ayida, Asiodu, Kolade, Joda, Longe and others who blazed the administrative trail in the civil service. However, after I had become an established civil servant and a reform activist, I remained even more critical, but for a different reason. My reason essentially is that a civil service ought essentially to function in a leadership capacity in such a manner that it becomes a management system that easily turns on the effectiveness and efficiency of its professional personnel. The lessons and the mistakes of the super permanent secretaries are all the more cogent because they are examples of the paradoxes and contradictions of the civil service. The super permanent secretaries are the exceptions to the dysfunction characterizing the civil service. A civil service aiming to take a leadership role in national transformation cannot afford only such odd exceptions. Indeed, the public debate seems to be preoccupied with righteous abuse of bureaucrats without a searching probe of the systemic causes that consigned the public servant helplessly to that bureaucratic fate. Yet, the struggle continues in the ongoing attempts to overcome the conception-reality gap as well as the passion without knowledge that has been the protracted framework guiding the reforms interventions of the so-called reform-minded in Nigeria. The conceptual and practical focus would remain the question of how public sector bureaucracy can be made more effective and growth-oriented; how values like quality, productivity, innovativeness, discipline, integrity, accountability, consumerorientation and professionalism can be institutionalized in the bureaucracy will ever remain relevant in time and space. Put in other words, the critical worry remains that of rethinking the strategic leadership responsibility of permanent secretaries in the undying quest to re-professionalise the civil service. The lessons from the super permanent secretaries therefore become more of a generational challenge to those of us who must bear the responsibility of a permanent secretary. The critical dysfunction within the civil service which has deprived it of its essential leadership role is best explained through Prof. Bob Garratt’s diagnosis of organizational governance as “the fish rotting from its head”. This analogy, derived from a Chinese proverb, is Garratt’s own way of highlighting the significance of corporate or organizational governance backstopped by a competent and effective management. What he calls “board competence” targets a critical mass of individuals with the professional wherewithal to jumpstart the dynamics of organizational renewal and progress. This expressly speaks to our own administrative system which requires a critical leadership corps within a civil service that ought to take the leadership in policy articulation and implementation which enables the government. This corps of super-PS’ were driven by lofty and inspiring goals to deliver higher performance while seeking always to improve policy frontiers by dedicating time and resources within the town and gown platforms to test new ideas. They succeeded in generating strategic options that inspired superior decisions. They aligned their MDAs through continuous learning by focusing on strategic success and rewarded officers who deliver it. They operated in the cutting edge of knowledge and deepen same by creating learning platforms for sharing comparable best practices experience through active participation in the works of such professional bodies as NIM, CIPMN, ICAN and the National Association for Public Administrators and Managers (NAPAM), the moribund public sector professional platform. Through remarkable basic talent management sense and succession pipelining driven by robust capacity development in partnership with the Institutes of Administration at Ife, Enugu and Zaria, they made spirited attempts to regenerate themselves by successfully increasing the number of people shaping policy options, making strategic choices, managing metrics and executing projects. The critical lesson for leadership: Here we envision reprofessionalisation of the civil service

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PERSPECTIVE with a critical corps of super-PS’-like professionals as well as the lesson of mentorship carried over from the administrative patriarchs as our benchmark. This was the era of the “civil services (where staff) are for most part recruited on merit, that are geared to efficiency standards, and are largely untouched by crude politics”. Their own failing should also be lesson for present and future generation of PS’ namely, that they didn’t demonstrate evidence that they were not satisfied with the bureaucratic business model which the 1971 Adebo and 1974 Udoji reports attempted to transcend in a visionary reading of the rot that was to set in from the late 70s. This is not surprising because the corps of super-PS’ were strong in policy and were smart enough to design beautiful programmes that enforced implementation by taking them through task force institutional pathways that tended to suit their military masters better. In spite of their failings as public servants, the super permanent secretaries were valiant administrators who were confronted with, on the one hand, the rigid and limiting control mechanism of the military and on the other, the dreadful prospect of an endless civil war and a disintegrated nation. Yet, they stood and served. And in serving, they lay the template of a leadership prospect for our civil service today. On their behalf, we can say, like Theodore Roosevelt: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure…” E have been assessing the role and W achievements of those who have been called the super permanent secretaries in the early 70s. The lessons they passed down to our generation is worth learning basically because they constituted a core corps of critical and professional expertise at a point when administrative leadership, policy foresight and unrestrained courage were the necessary conditions that would pull a nation back from the brink of disintegration. That same lesson is urgently required at this juncture in Nigeria’s history when the civil service again has a historical opportunity to serve as the organisational fulcrum around which the Nigerian state can deepen its legitimate contract with the citizens while at once fast tracking national transformation. In the second part of this serial, we made the point that these administrators were circumscribed by enormous historical conditions defined, on the one hand, by military dictatorship and its monolithic command

Olaopa

structure. On the other hand, they were pressed on every side to restore a nation that had fought a civil war and required rehabilitation and reconstruction on a large scale. It would be too much to ask if we think they would have triumphed in their endeavours without some gigantic failures. As Huw Wheldon once said, “The crime is not to avoid failure. The crime is not to give triumph a chance.” The modus operandi of the super permanent secretaries gave us a path that leads to success and a path we ought to be careful about. This glossed over path remains, for us, the limiting bureaucratic business model which, most often than not, leads to bureaupathology predicament of blind conformance that weaken initiatives and prompt performance. In other words, since the neglected Adebo and Udoji Reports of 1971 and 1974, there has been an urgent need to revisit and rehabilitate the public service business model by reconceptualising the Weberian old public administration system to adopt an operating system that decentralizes to redistributes strategic decision rights and authorities; deconstructs the entire human resource policy and service governance architecture including training, reward and performance management systems to transform MDAs into learning organizations that are accountable for their performance in measurable ways that are balanced, objective and developmental; working with an information systems that support subsidiarity sensitivity which allows top management to track what is going on at projects and frontlines in a manner that places public officers in stewardship relationship with the public. And the leadership profile of the super PS suggests poignantly that to change the public service requires new leadership whose raison d’être is rebuilding and transforming the PS through focused changes and injection into it an adaptive organizational values and culture with regenerative inner resilience through mechanism for (a) Creating environment that facilitates mission accomplishment; (b) New officers’ professional and career growth trajectory focused on installing a new productivity paradigm; and (c) Self-propelled rebirth of public service organizational energy The Nigerian civil service today is still challenged structurally in spite of the gains of the reforms of the last one decade and therefore, still in a state which requires urgent attention to avert gradual ostensible erosion of its relevance. It is in this sense that the 2009 National Strategy for Public Service Reforms (NSPSR) becomes a practical document for initiating the transformation needed to make the civil service, in the long-term, a world-class institution delivering services according to globally accepted standards that impact the lives of Nigerians. This strategic document encapsulates key proposals like Redefinition of the role of the state as a macro-economic governance imperative as basis for rethinking the PS governance architecture and management system Workforce study to determine service’s current and future skills composition, skills gap and desirable reskilling rooted in a servicewide competency catalogue that states in clear terms the professional skills for running government given new, emerging and anticipated future role of the state and redefined mandates of MDAs Deepening PPP service delivery protocols as basis for reengineering the PS’ business model Job Study and Job Evaluation to address internal relative job worth and to scientifically establish MDAs’ optimum staffing levels thereby getting the job-grade structure right and improving the links between pay and performance Institution of new system for staff career and profes-

sional development linked to training, certification by professional bodies and knowledge gatekeepers and a more balanced performance assessment metrics General rebranding of the PS and codification of its high-level framework and standards thereby strengthening its operational principles with legislation The NSPSR further acknowledges the significant need for a professional corps of administrative leadership which can power the civil service as a matter of strategic necessity. The document therefore wisely leverages the Senior Executive Service (SES) best practice to propose the constitution of a Public Service Transformation Scheme which will: (i) Introduce a cohort of change champions who will actively mentor and train (in concert with top high-profile professionals drawn from other sectors) a new generation of envisioned future managers; (ii) Infuse into the public service relevant good management practices from both the private sector and international sphere; and (iii) Close up professional and management skills gaps in the service. This new corps of administrative leadership, which will be tasked with the responsibility of midwifing institutional regeneration and value orientation for the civil service, will be a multidisciplinary team drawn from across the nation with due cognizance of the Federal Character principle to leverage the NSPSR itself as an implementation platform that initiates a transformation trajectory. The new corps of civil service leadership will also take responsibility to create not only a new succession trajectory through self-regeneration, but equally to put in place a template of productive synergy between rulers and advisers typified by the stimulating Awolowo-Adebo model of the first republic. The success of the civil service new business model strongly depends on its collaborative element, especially between the public service and the government, represented by the Minister-Permanent Secretary relationship. This relationship, to be effective, will need to instantiate a partnership that ensures working towards a shared goal of national transformation. This is important because any reform which the civil service intends requires a consistent and energetic political will that will ensure that the implementation reaches its logical conclusion. The play out of this Minister-PS relationship model with the super PS was a classic uneasy and adversarial one that saw the PS fighting every inch of the way to make policy impact under the apprehensive eyes of their military rulers and politicians who weren’t (as should be expected given our leel of political maturity), comfortable with letting go their governance privileges. Matters came to a head when in 1975, the time of the super PS was up, and the succeeding regime purged them from office. However, the uneasy relationship characterizing the adversarial model must be balanced by the legal and community models which solidify an obligatory mutuality that gets work done. That was the basis of the success story of Botswana, Singapore under Lee Kwan Yew and MITI technocratic corps in Japan. The legacy of the super permanent secretaries therefore derives from the insights their unique experience throw up for adoption within the exigencies confronting the civil service in Nigeria today. Moving beyond the present predicament foisted by a bureaucratic mentality requires a reassessment of the leadership core of the civil service with the drive and determination to make things happen in terms of dedication to values and personal accountability that ensure that things are not only done but they are done right. Phillip Asiodu expressed the hope that the formulation and implementation of government policies by the civil service in Nigeria would then move from the point of potentiality to that of reality defined by a unique synergy of ideas and will between the administrative and political leadership. We saw a unique example of this during the first republic between Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Simeon Adebo and the excellent performance of the western region civil service. The national project requires a replication of such a partnership. And the envisioned new super permanent secretaries and core of expert advisers and technocrats in government deserve a place in Nigeria’s administrative history essentially because they brought home the possibility of overcoming national problems even in the face of daunting difficulties. Dr. Olaopa, Federal Permanent Secretary, Abuja. tolaopa2003@yahoo.com


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

SPECIAL REPORT Prohibitive Cost Of Tertiary Education: Ekiti State’s Case In Ekiti State, the administration of tuition fees is causing more problems than fees charged by the government writes MUYIWA ADEYEMI (Head, South West Bureau). HE issue of payment of tuition in tertiary T institutions in South West states of Nigeria is as controversial as the difference between expectation and reality. Indeed, the expectation of many from the geographical zone is shaped by the free education policy of the late Premier of the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, which allowed many to have access to western education in the first republic. Until then, education was an exclusive preserve of the rich, the emergence of Awolowo as the head of government changed all that, and since then, his free education policy at all levels has become one of the major yardsticks for assessing governments in the zone. However, while education was free at all level in the First Republic, that cannot be said at the emergence of many state universities in the Second Republic, before the collapse of that republic on December 31, 1983. The then Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), led by Awolowo, had begun to establish universities in some of the states it controlled — the then Bendel State University now Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Ogun State University now Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Obafemi Awolowo University, Ado Ekiti that was later changed to Ondo State University, before it became University of Ado Ekiti (UNAD) and now bearing Ekiti State University (EKSU). It was also at that period that the Lagos State University (LASU) was established by Chief Lateef Jakande. Though at the creation of these universities, their founding fathers provided free education at primary and secondary school levels, they did not extend it to these tertiary institutions. Fees, however, were still at the reach of poor parents whose children desired education. Professor Wale Are Olaitan, a pioneer student of OOU, in fact, the best graduating student, and until recently, Vice Chancellor (VC) of the school, recalled that as a student, he paid school fees and other levies charged by the institution. But quickly added that the fees were reasonable and affordable. In the same vein, Mr. Sina Kawonise, who gained admission to OOU in 1984, said there was no time state universities in the South West were free of tuition. The fees paid at that time did not brew any controversy because it was not exorbitant. Kawonise, a former Commissioner of Information and Strategy in Ogun State, told The Guardian, “I did remember that we paid school fees then, whereas our colleagues in Federal universities were only paying N90 for bed space and our school was non residential. Apart from school fees, we also paid some levies. I am talking of 1984, and Chief Awolowo died in 1987. I don’t think there was anytime state universities were free, but the fees then were affordable.” A top government official in Ekiti State, who pleaded anonymity, also recalled that as a student of that state university, the students were always eager to pay their school fees because it was affordable, even when some of them had to engage in menial jobs in order to save money for their tuition. According to him, “at that time, we had only three federal universities in the region — University of Lagos, University of Ibadan and the one at Ife — and these universities could not cope with millions of our youths leaving secondary schools every year, so, parents never complained about tuition in the state universities.” He said that since payment of school fees was not new to these state institutions, the challenge had always been what was appropriate that would be acceptable to the society. Unlike what obtains in Lagos and Ogun states, where school fees in tertiary institution have become a subject of concern, the situation in Ekiti and Osun is much different. In fact, both states had in the last two and half years of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) government, reviewed downwards, school fees paid by the students of their tertiary institutions. In November 2009 under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government,

EKSU gate

• Laments Poor Administration Of School authorities of EKSU announced a 400 per cent hike in school fees for new students, which the then ViceChancellor of the institution, Prof Dipo Kolawole, said the increment was the only option left for the university to survive. With the new fee regime, students in Arts and Social Science paid N90,000, Law, Management, Engineering would pay N120,000, while Medical students were required to pay N200,000, against the sum of N19,500 and N21,500 hitherto paid by the students under the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD). These fees did not include levies charged by various departments and organs of the university. The students demonstrated against the astronomical increase and called for the sack of the then governor of the state, Chief Segun Oni, whose election was still being challenged in the Appeal Court. That increment did not only make that government unpopular, but the students also went violent when the then Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice- Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin, visited the school on August 23, 2010. Petinrin was at the school to deliver a lecture, but the students transferred their aggression to the top military brass because Oni, who was the visitor to the institution, accompanied him to deliver the lecture. But as the controversy on the new fees regime was going on, the students’ joy knew no bounds when the Appeal Court in Ilorin sacked Oni and declared Dr Kayode Fayemi as the real winner of 2007 governorship election and the rerun held in 2009. Fayemi, who had promised the students that he would look at their plight while in trenches, did not disappoint them as he categorically assured them during his swearing in ceremony on October 16, 2010 that he would reduce the schools fees of the state owned tertiary institutions. And true to his words, he slashed the school fees to the flat rate of N50,000. Some of the students who were hitherto groaning under the burden of paying as high as N200,000 did not only heave a sigh of relief, but also commended the government for listening to their demands. The students’ union of the school issued a statement and commended the state government for acceding to their demands. Few months after the government downwardly reviewed the school fees that the public was inundated with calls for the sack of their principal officers. The school authority, while trying to block some of the loopholes some unscrupulous staff and students were exploring to divert fees and levies meant for the school to their private purse, had in the recent times taken some decisions that had pitched it against the students. Until now, the institution has a reputation of operating a very mundane accounting system that allowed students to graduate without paying school fees. In fact, reports say that students owe the school over N2 billion, while some of those indebted to the school were said to have graduated and had even collected their certificates. But with the cut in fees, the authority seems not to have any other choice than to block all the leakages and ensure students pay their school fees as and when due. While trying to ensure this, the school authority introduce new fees that combined all the levies with the school fees and instructed students to pay before they could sit for the examination. The students that staged a peaceful demonstration

against the authority vehemently opposed this policy. The examination was disrupted and the school was shut down for about three weeks. According to one of the students, who simply identified himself as Ayo, “we resisted that policy because that will make us to cough out N85,000 at one time. Though the school fees is N50, 000 but there are other levies like, Library fee, medical fee, etc that summed up to N35,000 depending on your faculty and department, some pay more than that.” He said these levies are not new, but students used to pay them at their convenience since “you cannot complete your registration within a week, so you can pay library fee this week and pay for medical next week.” While the school authority and the students were still exchanging hot words at the commencement of the new session, the school authority also, last month, introduced another harsh policy of no fees, no lecture and prevented students that had not paid their tuition, after five weeks of commencement of this academic year, from receiving lectures. The students also staged another peaceful protest against this policy and shut the gates to the school. In fact, the Vice Chancellor of the school, Prof Patrick Aina, was said to have been whisked out of the campus in the school ambulance to escape the wrath of students. The school authority had to temporarily relocate its operations to its Guest House outside the campus and announced a mid-semester break for the students “to enable them have time to pay up the tuition.” The university later announced that its gates would not be opened to the students until at least 80 per cent of them had paid up. The development, was no doubt, an embarrassment to the government and Fayemi had to advise the school authority to look into the possibility of allowing students to pay school fees instalmentally and that has doused the tension in the school.  While the crisis over administration of tuition fees lingers, the school authority held a Stakeholders’ Forum where parents, alumni of the school and management brainstorm on how to tackle the problem of the attitude of students to the payment of the fees. The VC told the gathering that the university needed to look inwards to meet its financial commitments. In his words: “The most credible source of generating fund is through tuition, which at the moment stands at N50,000 flat rate.” According to Aina, who reeled out the approved tuition and service charges for undergraduates to the stakeholder, tuition is N50,000 while other charges included payment for health services, registration, ICT, laboratory, field trip, identity cards, among others. He described the fees as moderate and considerate particularly when compared with what obtained in other sister universities like Lagos State University, Osun State University and Olabisi Onabanjo University. Aina, who said the students were deliberately refusing to pay approved fees, said “they would rather deploy their fees already collected from

their parents to other uses like purchase of state of the art gadgets, phones and other mundane activities that are not beneficial to them as students. “It can be understandable when students or their parents are genuinely indigent, but experience over time has shown that our students prefer other luxuries and fantasies to fulfilling their modest financial obligation to the university” The vice chancellor appealed to the stakeholders: “Our students must be encouraged to change their orientation. If we can change the culture of destruction of university property by students at the slightest provocation, we can also change their hedonistic, acquisitive and materialistic belief that personal and immediate enjoyment come before their search for knowledge and academic fulfilment”. However, while some participants at the Stakeholders’ Forum appealed to the university authorities to consider payment by the students instalmentally in view of the financial state of many parents, others disagreed, saying prompt payment was crucial to the actualization of the attainment of a worldclass institution. In response to the statement by the VC that the university added N145 million monthly to the state government subvention to pay workers’ salaries, the stakeholders urged Ekiti State Government to increase monthly subvention to the university to be able to pick workers’ wage bills. The stakeholders said that the hydra-headed problems bedevilling the institution could only be solved if government’s subvention to the university could pay workers’ salaries, so that other Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) could be expended on infrastructures and thus reduce pressure on students. Among resolutions at the Forum were: • Parents should ensure prompt payment of their wards’ tuition fees; that regular reports of students should be forwarded to their parents at the appropriate time and that the management should devise ways of bridging information gap between it and other critical stakeholders for people to create interest in the university. •  The university must encourage e-learning, e-result and e-payment, so as to boost the University ICT platform and reduce administration lax being experienced in some sections. • The school should ensure that all students were issued identity cards for the purpose of identification, just as the parents were told to appeal to their wards to always embrace dialogue in every situation rather than protest or confrontation. • More philanthropists like the late Chief Lawrence Omolayo, who donated the University multi-million naira Administration Block, should be encouraged to put up structures and facilities in the university. But some of the students who spoke to The Guardian still complained of the plethora of levies imposed by some departments and high handedness of the school authority, which they argued was not in tandem with the policy of the state government that prides itself as “friends of the students.”


THe gUArdiAn, Sunday June 30, 2013

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Second niger Bridge

neWSFeATUre

The Niger Bridge at the mercy of heavy traffic... recently

Second niger Bridge, eastern gateway, Waiting For its reality By Chijioke Iremeka

FTer what seemed like eternity, the Federal A government recently awarded for immediate construction, the Second niger Bridge to Julius Berger under the design, Finance, Build, operate and Transfer model. Just like the existing bridge, the Second niger Bridge (SnB) will connect Asaba in delta State to onitsha in Anambra State. it was learnt that the project would be in five phases forming ring roads in Asaba and onitsha, when completed. That is, there will be two bridges at the final stage of the project, and onitsha as well as Asaba will be in the middle of the ring-roads that would run round both cities. going by the project’s map made available to The Guardian at the Federal Ministry of Works, Awka in Anambra State, one of the bridges will take traffic from Asaba Airport road to onitsha-owerri road in Anambra, while the other carries traffic from onitsha-owerri through Anambra-east, with onitsha in the middle, to Asaba Airport road, which forms a complete ring-road. it was, however learnt that the contract awarded by the Fg is the first phase of the project. This first phase includes building the second niger Bridge that would take traffic away from Asaba to onitsha-owerri road, while the second phase (Phase 2a and 2b) will run concurrently. They involve construction of two roads, one from Asaba Airport to meet the second niger Bridge at the Asaba end of the bridge and the other will be at onitsha-owerri end, towards Anambra east. The third phase of the project, would be the extension of the road from onitsha to Anambra east, towards river niger, while the Phase 4 would be construction of another road from Asaba Airport, which runs behind Asaba town to meet phase three of the project at the opposite sides of the niger, having Asaba town in the circle. The last stage involves building of another bridge, possibly the Third niger Bridge, to link phase three at Anambra east and phase four from Asaba, where Asaba town, would be at the centre of both roads.

•  Julius Berger Takes Hydrologic Studies, Sensitises Communities Ahead Ground Breaking However, the government is embarking on phase one for now, the construction of the bypass and tollgate of the Second niger Bridge. it was gathered that the project was advertised for expression of interest, where five concessionaires bid for it, but Julius Berger won after a painstaking procurement process, which lasted about 13 months. Sequel to this, the consortium has begun hydrological and topographical surveys, and of course, a geological survey as a prelude to ground breaking ceremony, which ushers in the actual construction work. it was also gathered that the firm has started visiting, sensitising the communities that would be affected by the construction work before moving to site. it was also gathered that the bridge builder has gone to the nigerian inland Waterways Authority (niWA) to obtain water readings. A source at niWA, said that before any hydraulic structure is constructed across the water, the builder has to take readings from niWA to ensure that water does not overflow the structure. The readings undertook by Julius Berger, according to the resident engineer, onitsha river Port complex, engr. Aguda, include knowing the highest water level during high tides, the height and depth of the structure, sea traffic survey, as well as other information needed to take off. it was also gathered that there was input from the government as its transaction adviser had

completed a detailed traffic survey on the project. According to the Minister of Works, Mr. Mike onolememen, the project is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) concept. “The PPP transaction will cover a period of 25 years for Julius Berger AiMS consortium. it’s not like a normal contract that the government is funding.” The Minister noted that the consortium would raise the fund for the project and later collect toll upon completion, while the government would take a marginal percentage of the project to show commitment. “Africa infrastructure investment Managers (AiMS) are world leaders in infrastructure financing and they are in partnership with one of the biggest infrastructure financier in the world.” The construction of onitsha Second niger Bridge, which will be two kilometres away from the existing one, will be a bypass that would take vehicles off onitsha town, thereby reducing the traffic logjam experienced in the city and on the existing bridge.  Those, who do not have any business going to onitsha town, would have to use the bridge, while those traveling to enugu and onitsha will engage the existing niger Bridge. This would be the first tolled Federal government bridge in the country.

The construction of Onitsha Second Niger Bridge, which will be two kilometres away from the existing one, will be a bypass that would take vehicles off Onitsha town, thereby reducing the traffic logjam experienced in the city and on the existing bridge. 

According to daniel olisa iweze of department of History, Bayero University, Kano, in a paper titled, “The niger Bridge: A Strategic cross road in the nigerian Transportation System,” with the advent of colonialism, the British government used river niger in the movement of personnel and troops to ensure effective control of the conquered territories.” With the attainment of independence in 1960, the nigerian government enunciated various development plans meant to place the country on a transition for sustainable development. in such regard, a huge sectoral allocation was given to the transport sector,” he added. The first niger Bridge linking onitsha with Asaba was built, based on the First national development Plan of 1962 to 1968. Since then, it has remained a vital strategic highway in the nation`s road transport network, linking the east with the West and other parts of the country. The bridge also helps to integrate and stimulate economic activities of Asaba and onitsha as well as other communities in the area. The niger Bridge was designed by the netherlands engineering consultants of the Hague, Holland (nedeco), which carried out an investigation on the practicability of constructing a bridge across the river niger from Asaba to onitsha in the 1950s. it was however built by dumez construction company in 1965 at the cost of £6.75 million (n10 million) and since then, there has not been much attention given to the bridge in terms of maintenance, except few years ago when after much noise about the probable collapse of the bridge it was repaired, with its rusty bolts and nuts replaced with new ones. At its completion then, the bridge comprised eight by four hundred and twenty feet (8 x420 ft.) designed carriageway of 36 feet centre truss and consisted of pedestrian at both sides of the carriageway. The former Prime Minister, late Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, commissioned and opened it for traffic in december 1965.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

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HEALTH Nutraceuticals: Enhancing Health, Opening New Product Lines By Gbenga Akinfenwa

EGULAR consumption of nutraceuticals, foods or food ingredient that provides health benefit beyond the traditional nutrients it contains has been identified as essential and innovative tools for combating diseases and creating jobs by opening up new products. This was revealed by Prof. Francis Owolabi Shode of University of KwaZulu-Natal, Zulu land, South Africa at the Second distinguished Guest Speakers Lecture Series of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) tagged: “Nutraceutical: Promoting Innovations For Natural Products Utilisation For Food and Non-Food Uses In Nigeria,” held at the institute last Thursday.

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Greek physician, Hippocrates of who said “Let sess the political consciousness and willingness food be thy medicine and medicine be thy of the political elite of the country to take the food” but despite his advice, humanity suffered country to the next level of economic growth,” a great loss of people, especially sailors during he said. 14th century to early part of 18th century, due to Earlier in her welcome address, the Directorscurvy, a disease caused by the deficiency of General of FIIRO, Dr. (Mrs.) Gloria Elemo said nuvitamin C, a “nutraceutical” substance traceuticals is a big business in the world today, common in citrus fruits, saying it was not until which Nigeria must tap into urgently and take 1932 that “ascorbic acid” was proved to be the it as a very serious business. “This is one of the reasons why the Institute is substance in foods that prevent scurvy. “The most critical areas in the quest for better focusing this year’s distinguished speaker’s lecNigeria, in my opinion, are food security, edu- ture on the theme, because of the attendant ecocation, disease control and eradication, and en- nomic and health benefits. The health benefits vironmental protection. One major source of of nutraceuticals cannot be ignored in Nigeria concern to the Federal Government of Nigeria of today, where medical doctors and pharmais the persistent decline of national forest at an cists can no longer beat their chests on the effialarming rate of about 3.5 per cent per annum. cacy of prescribed drugs due to activities of some unscrupulous pharmaceutical merchants,” she This is very serious. “Nigeria is endowed with great diversity of said. plant species. There are over 4,600 plant Elemo assured that the solution to combat the species in Nigeria of which 205 are reported to increasing cost of drugs, which are beyond the be endemic. There are 39 endemic species in reach of the masses or average Nigerians, is to the north, 38 in the west and center, and 128 in embrace nutraceuticals. Coordinated by Mr. Dele Oyeku, Deputy Director, the seminar is the east of the country. In the context of building innovative R & D aimed at fast-tracking product innovation and and commercialisation know-how in Nigeria engendering good health. Nwagwu further stated that Guinness Nige- as well as technological upgrade of Nigeria, “From today, the Federal Institute of Industrial ria would like to see the Eye Centre in LUTH as there is need to carry out three things: (i) re- Research Oshodi will take it as a major responsia centre of Excellence in Africa and this they view how the emerging economies (China, bility to promote and create large scale awarewould ensure by partnering with the HospiIndia, Brazil, and South Africa) are developing ness for nutraceuticals in active collaboration tal to make it happen. their innovative and technological upgrade, (ii) with other stakeholders to stimulate research While recalling that Guinness Nigeria Plc es- review the progress made so far in the imple- and development as well as business in the area,” tablished the Eye Hospital in 1962 and has mentation of Agenda 21 in Nigeria, and (iii) as- Elemo stated. since maintained the center, she added that the brewing business was committed to partnering the hospital management to make the center a leading eye care services hospital in Africa. Earlier in her welcome remarks, Mrs. Folasade Akinsola, Head of Ophthalmology Department, Guinness Eye Centre, LUTH, on behalf of the Management and Staff of the Hospital, described the donation as a welcome development and thanked Guinness Nigeria Plc for the donation as well as the continued support for the hospital since inception. The Guinness Eye Centre Lagos, located within the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), was opened in 1962 and has since then successfully delivered eye care services to numerous Nigerians. The Guinness Eye Centre, Onitsha was established in 1991 and operates under the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital (NAUTH). “The two hospitals President, HEIT Solutions, Dr Lawal Bakare (left), Category Manager, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Oiza Gyan and Brand Manager, Close Up, Dexter cater to the ophthalmological needs of about Adeola, during the press briefing onteeth brushing challenge held in Lagos 300,000 people yearly.” PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU

Shode, who defined nutraceuticals as a natural bioactive chemical compound that promotes health, disease-preventing or medicinal properties said the global issue of food security agenda has revived man’s attention to plants as source of food products for affordable and good health. The don, who stated that the term, nutraceuticals was coined by Dr. Stephen DeFelice from two words namely “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical”, in 1989, emphasised that “nutraceuticals” and nutraceutical chemistry are essential and innovative tools for combating diseases and promoting sustainable economic growth, not only in Nigeria but globally. He noted that nutrition and good health were brought into focus several centuries ago by a great

Guinness Nigeria Donates To Eye Centre G

By Oluwakemi Ajani

UINNESS Nigeria Plc last Friday donated a modern Mindray Anesthesia Machine to the Eye Hospital located inside the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Lagos to assist with the diagnosis and treatment of eye related ailments. The donation came a fortnight after similar equipment was donated to the Guinness Eye Hospital in Onitsha, Anambra State. The two eye care centres also function as teaching hospitals providing postgraduate residents in training, providing specialist lectures to medical undergraduates, ophthalmic and refraction nurses as well as community health workers. The gesture according to Mrs. Adrianne Nwagwu, Head, Sustainability and Responsibility, Guinness Nigeria Plc, was in line with the corporate philosophy of the leading producers of alcoholic beverage to positively impact the communities in which it operates. Speaking before the formal handover of the equipment, Nwagwu noted that Guinness Nigeria Plc has a reputation of being a responsible organisation with a corporate philosophy of impacting on its areas of operations. We make sure we come up with ways of giving back to the community through various ways and this we have done by donating the equipment to improve the healthcare of patients especially in the area of eye care.

Can Medicine Play God? bubonic plague gave way to SARS, tuberculosis to AIDS, and even some of the old archived disHE human being is basically the same eases are resurging. today, as in the days of yore, and throughMedicine would attribute certain diseases out the ages, with essentially an unchanged such as malaria and sickle cell anemia to a parphysiological and psychological make up. And ticular race, gout and diabetes to a particular there have been remarkable strides in medilifestyle, and hypertension and arthritis to cine, commendable advances in pharmaceutinumber of years. In fact, from the lofty height cals and innovative skills in surgery, all of which of diagnoses, medicine would forecast how continue to be used to doctor the human body. long an individual has to live. The interesting, But is there a lessening of sickness and disease and thought-provoking fact is that, very often, as a result? The answer is no. the outcome of such diagnoses have been deCertainly many ailments that were prevalent fied, with patients outliving the dire predicin the past have been wiped out, but in their tions. This shows just how impossible it is for place are newer, often more virulent ones, eianyone or anything, even medicine, to sucther attributed to lifestyle, medical side effects cessfully attempt at playing God. or resistance to drugs. Pestilence that scourged Yet, despite the obvious fact that more mediwhole areas in the past, and which modern cine has not translated to fewer disease, there medicine insists occurred due to the crudity of is hope for the human race. In scriptural available medical knowledge then, continues to times, contagion that threatened to wipe out plague the present. The highly contagious entire regions was halted and reversed by the

By Moji Solanke

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Word of God alone through the spiritual understanding of a seer or a prophet. Medical diagnoses of terminal diseases, an incurable issue of blood, leprosy, paralysis, blindness and so on were healed. There is a documented instance where an entire nation walked in the wilderness for forty years, and not one out of the over six hundred thousand citizens was feeble, ill or weary. There is a system of spiritual healing, discovered in 1866 by Mary Baker Eddy, which today is repeating similar types of healings. It is a system that depends wholly on God, and follows the example of the healing work of Jesus Christ. It has been subjected to the broadest tests, based on the rules written out in Eddy’s book, Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, and it has not been found wanting. It can be learnt and practiced by anyone. In the textbook, Eddy writes from personal experience, ‘The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an

absolute faith that all things are possible to God, — a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love.’ Every right thinking person must salute the noble profession of medicine, which continues to seek ways and means to make and keep human beings healthy, and reduce the incidence of disease. However, it is becoming more and more imperative to realise (as the best medical practitioners would freely admit), that spirituality, tried and tested over the years, and now reduced to a system that can be learnt by all, has a vital contribution to make in healing mankind. This system of spiritual healing is available to all, and it proves practically that God is able to reduce, and even eradicate the scourge of disease, regardless of the guise in which it presents; and maintain man in good health.

m_asolanke@hotmail.com

Health And Your Mind By Babatunde Ayo-Vaughan

T is taken for granted by so many that when you mention the kingdom of heaven, it suggests a place outside this material world. They have evidences even from personalities like Jesus to buttress the belief such as ‘ye shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the son of man’ (John 1:51), ‘when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months (Luke 4:25) and ‘gone into the heaven on the right hand of God’ (1 Peter 3:22). But what apparently almost the same number of people have refused to give equally serious attention to is the fact that ‘heaven’ in the real context of its meaning is much more expansive and more embracing in its meaning than just representing an abode outside the material. You may need to have this truth in view to be able to make sense of the so many other ways that Jesus and many of the other leaders of thought made reference to heaven. It may make a concrete sense to you what Jesus was trying to say when He said that ‘you should seek first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness and everything and more you need will be added to you’. This statement is made in respect of our mundane needs, and if He says something to the effect that there is a way that the heaven can affect our mundane prospects, it certainly means that the

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Mind And The Kingdom Of Heaven (6) heaven is not something we must wait for to acquire when we die and the way He went about telling us to bring this heaven to affect our mundane needs does not suggests a method of religious ceremonies and rituals. He said that birds of the air feed without toiling and according to Jesus, Solomon in all his glory was not as colourful as them; suggesting how much God was looking after their needs. We have never read it anywhere that these creatures have a system of worship by which they worship and pray to God. Human beings have a variety of ways of worshipping and praying to God and yet going by Jesus observation, they are the most poverty stricken among all the creatures of God. They are the most distressed. What Jesus said after noticing these contradictions in human life was that. If God could take care of the aforementioned lower creatures than man, then how much more will He be more than willing to take care of human needs. He noted that this is not so because man is of little faith. He thereafter went on to say to man that ‘you seek first the kingdom of heaven and His

righteousness and everything and more that you need will be added unto you’. This statement gives us a powerful hint to suggest that the lower creatures apparently are not suffering the way human beings are suffering because they have a pattern of operation that connects them perpetually to the blessings of heaven. This pattern of operation might be rooted in some kind of faith that may intelligently offer itself for a scientific explanation. Then you will get to appreciate why the concept of heaven cannot be limited to an idea that suggests a celestial abode somewhere. You will get to appreciate why I have said that ‘heaven’ is best conceived as ‘the store house of intelligence’ finally, you will get to appreciate why heaven indeed must be a more expansive and all embracing concept of all that is good when you agree with the statement in the bible that it is in God that we live, move and have our being (Acts 17:28). The issue of faith is very important in this and in wanting to be clear about this, the notion of mind functions comes into it. babatund_2@yahoo.com


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday June 30, 2013

ODD FILE

Dubai Wedding And 2015 Drumbeats By Temi Maja

HERE seems to be no end to the tales about the recent wedding between Tosin Omokore and his heartthrob, Faizah Musa, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The wedding held some three weeks ago was attended by whois-who in Nigeria: serving governors, past governors and top government functionaries, politicians and captains of industry. Dubai became a Mecca of sorts to prominent Nigerians attracted to the event by the stature of the two families. Expectedly, stories about the wedding made a buzz in the social media — some spiced up and some made derogatory for various reasons. But some political analysts are beginning to look at it from different perspectives, while others are reading between the lines. “Why not?” asked a politician who attended the event with his family. “2015 is around the corner and no event of such magnitude is wasted. Now, there must be a political mileage in all big events.” The politician, who spoke to some journalists about the event, said he looked around and marveled at the calibre of people at the event and the ability of the organisers to pull that feat. “If you have that kind of crowd, you don’t waste it,” he said.  Another invitee to the event, who also shared his observation, said he was initially confused over the introduction of political dimensions to a purely social gathering. He said in most cases, such issues come up at the side meetings of major events, but after a careful analysis of what happened at the wedding in Dubai, he could not but agree with people who were discussing in whispers that the organisers of the event were “working for a boss somewhere.” “And if it were so, I think they did a good job,” he said. It is the prayer of all parents to live long enough and to have the financial wherewithal to organise the wedding of their children, and to have relations, friends, colleagues and business partners felicitate with them. The Dubai wedding passed as a good example. But after the buzz in the social media, people are now asking: Was the event a deft political move by some “Jonathan Boys” who operate quietly and never heard of? Was it a move to win over more converts for brand Jonathan and pave the ground for his 2015 ambition at that high octave event? Just check the assemblage at the event held at the JW Marriot Hotel, Dubai. Governors in attendance included the Akwa Ibom State helmsman, Chief Godswill Akpabio, who came with his wife and Kogi State Governor, Idris Wada. Akpabio is the Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum and a known loyalist of President Jonathan. The same can also be said of the Kogi governor, who pitched his tent with the other pro-Jonathan governors in their support for Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. Also at the event was former governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, another ally of the president, and other Jonathan loyalist. Among the senators, mostly from the PDP, who graced the occasion were Senate spokesman, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Smart Adeyemi, Margaret Okadigbo, Zainab Kure, Boluwaji Kunlere, Anthony Adeniyi, Clever Ikisikpo, Aisha Jummai Alhassan, Esther Nenadi Usman, Olubunmi Adetunmbi, Clever Marcus Ikisikpo and a former member of the upper chamber, Senator Joseph Akaagerger. PDP Senator Smart Adeyemi even tried to turn the wedding into a political gathering of sort with his remarks, during which he openly canvassed support for President Jonathan and urged the Action Congress of Nigeria National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to join forces with fellow democrats, having distinguished himself as democrat, instead pitching his tent with people who are dictator-turned politicians.  The Chairman of Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Adeyemi, spoke at length on the issue: “I admire Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I looked at his accomplishments in politics and his political antecedents and I say that this man should not just be Asiwaju of Lagos but Asiwaju of the entire Kaaro o ojiire”. “I want to assure you, Asiwaju, that there is a President in Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, who has fought more battles than any other Nigerian leader in the name of terrorism. “In 2012, the budget for security was N900 billion; that money is enough to dualise all major roads in Nigeria. It is enough to equip our universities. If that money had entered some African countries, it would cripple the economy, but it was committed to security because of terrorism. “Goodluck Jonathan can be likened to a pilot who took off and suddenly entered into turbulence. With patience and perseverance, he weathered the storm. Today, he has reached the cruising level and he is cruising towards 2015. I believe you should be with this president as a democrat and not with a dictator.” The hall went quiet initially, but soon erupted in huge ovation for the Kogi Senator. It was not clear how Tinubu took the comments because with the nature of wedding ceremonies, there was no opportunity for him to respond, even if he desired to do so. Tinubu later left the venue for other engagements. But many people at the wedding were wondering whether it was another campaign rally for President Jonathan and why Senator Adeyemi suddenly began using the wedding to stump for Jonathan. Was it pre-planned or did he just seize the moment — the large assemblage — to canvas support for the President? Some analysts are beginning to ask whether the attention on

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“2015 is around the corner and no event of such magnitude is wasted. Now, there must be a political mileage in all big events.”

Wada

Jumai

Senator Tinubu at the wedding was not an attempt by the “Jonathan Boys” to bridge the growing gap between the PDP and the political interests of people in the South-West? The analysts who are also linking the dots say although the celebrant is a quiet person, his political stature and loyalty to the PDP is not doubtful. The same can be said of the more visible Senator Adeyemi, who is also close to the celebrant. Then, there was Governor Akpabio, a visible Jonathan loyalist. Although he was not said to have commented on the issue, a politician at the event said, the Governor’s body language was not one of disapproval of Senator Adeyemi. The Senator has declined comments on the issue. But whatever the motive behind his comments was, the moment was seen by some invitees as an auspicious one. Besides the heavy Senate representation, the crème de la crème of Lagos was also represented. Apart from Tinubu, there were Oba of

Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, a number of red cap chiefs, among others. From the banking and business sectors were chairmen and managing directors of banks and other companies. There was also a long list of top civil servants including permanent secretaries, ambassadors, members of the diplomatic community and players in the oil and gas industry as well as oil service companies. As the various political engines steam up for 2015, and after memories of the joy of the wedding have waned in the minds of many people who attended the wedding, they are not likely to forget the political undertones of the surprise the “Jonathan Boys” sprang in Dubai. Called the “Dubai template” by some politicians, the Dubai wedding is one that is increasingly engaging the attention of political strategists across the political parties.

THE CZAR OF REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA ASOGWA IKEJE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ENUGU STATE, HOUSING DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION and negatively. In his words: “I grew up in a communal set up which typifies the Igbo society, but I was also lucky to attend a unity school where I got to learn about the culture of people who are not Igbo. Today, there are better road network, better communication system, better transportation system, but the communal living which made us our brother’s keeper has been destroyed. It is more of individualism now and this is destroying our cultural heritage”.

IS determination to succeed, creativH ity in overcoming obstacles, desire to always provide quality and affordable shelter for the people of Enugu State, and his dedication to the pursuit of common good have made his life an inspirational success. Asogwa Ikeje’s contributions and achievements as the Managing Director of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation are testaments to how hardwork, experience and patriotic commitment can bring private sector efficiency into a state-owned institution. Any encounter with this outstanding public administrator will not be complete without him discussing the provision of shelter for the populace. Asked what fuelled his passion for real estate, he said: “I discovered that I have flair for development of landed properties which is an important ingredient of socio-economic development, and this propelled me to dedicate myself to this. After the completion of my youth service, I worked in some firms, but the most challenging and productive of all this was when I worked as the General Manager and later Executive Director of Shelter Consults Limited. This opened my eyes to the challenges many people are facing and the experience I got there has been helping me as the CEO of this corporation”. Disciplined, yet loving and accommodating, Asogwa had his primary and secondary school education in Port Harcourt after which he proceeded to the Anambra State University where he graduated with a degree in Political Science. Completing his national youth service in 1991, he worked as Sales Representative, Human Resources Executive and Corporate Affairs Manager in different companies at different times before he joined the Shelter Concepts Limited as the General Manager. He was later promoted to the position of Executive Director due to his hardwork

and resourcefulness. On what inspired him to join the public sector, the outstanding achiever explained thus: “I have always had the passion to serve because I believe that there is the need for me to be an active participant in the rebuilding of Enugu State. I was a gubernatorial aspirant under the platform of PDP in Enugu State in 2006, and when Governor Sullivan Chime was elected in 2007, I was made a member of the Transition Committee and was also part of the State Economic Team. I was later appointed as the Managing Director of the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, so my coming into politics was a conscious decision I made for common good”. Though Asogwa loved the society he grew up in, he opined that modernization has brought in significant changes which have affected the people both positively

Explaining how he has been able to tackle challenges and take the stateowned corporation to enviable height, the Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Administrators and recipient of the Award of Excellence from the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers said: When I came in, I met a civil service mentality in which attitude to work was very poor. So I had to inject doses of stringent measures in order to this. I thank God that the staff keyed into this, which is why the commitment level of the staff here is higher than what we have in the civil service. “Another challenge had to do with the increasing cost of materials needed for building of houses. Our people want quality at a good price. Over time we have been able to put a structure in place to achieve this. Since the inception of this administration, the state government has completed about 740 housing units and these are spread across different income brackets at different locations in Enugu State. Today, this corporation has provided houses for high, middle and low income earners. In fact, we have been adjudged to have the best sales prices nationwide and we are not relenting on our effort. Today our supply has even exceeded our demand”.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

SPECIAL REPORT ON IGBOS OF DISTINCTION

NIGERIAN CAN STILL BE THE ENVY OF OTHER NATIONS OF THE WORLD CHIEF DR. DVC OBI, CHAIRMAN, DVC GROUP OF COMPANIES E is a worthy ambassador of Igbo nationaliH ty who has international reputation and an uncommon passion for national development which has continued to manifest through his knack for industrialization of Nigeria. The truth is that Chief Dr. David Valentine Chukwudi Obi, Chairman, DVC Group has through hardwork, rare patriotic zeal and a passion to achieve results become another definition of excellence in Nigeria. As many people are wont to say of him, Dr. Obi’s academic qualification and professional competence have opened doors of opportunity for him, but what have kept these doors open is his honesty and diligence.. Born and raised in the then Eastern Region of Nigeria where he had his primary and secondary school education, he had a brief stint with the Nigerian Broadcasting Service before he travelled to Germany where he bagged his Bachelor of Science, Masters and Doctorate degrees in Chemistry before heading back home to contribute his quota to nation-building. “I had my degrees in Chemistry in Germany and it was while I was doing my Ph.D that a German company that had office in Nigeria offered me employment as a Manager in Nigeria. I could had stayed in Europe to make money for myself, but I accepted the offer given to me because I wanted to come back to Nigeria where my service and expertise can be beneficial to my people. Besides, I wanted to prove to the Germans that a Nigerian can do better than the white man . I thank God I was able to prove this within a very short time”, he recalled. Asked how DVC Limited came to be, the Chairman, Motor Vehicles and Miscellaneous Assembly Sectoral Group and Member of the Council of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria replied thus: “Mercedes Benz came to Nigeria to seek for component manufacturers and someone who knew me introduced me to their representative and I helped them to get credible suppliers for what they needed.. Consequently, they decided to reward me by introducing me to a chemical producing company as their partner in Nigeria to p r o d u c e sealants for the auto industry. This made me to resign from the German firm to start my own business. At a time, I became the sole manufacturer of sealants in Nigeria,, but the inconsistency of government policies gradually led to the decline of this business as the automobile business died in Nigeria and my business was negatively affected”. A very resilient man, Dr. Obi did not waste time brooding about this, he quickly changed to another line of business. This time, it was the plastic business with the incorporation of DVC Plastics Limited. Explaining what has taken him this far, the astute industrialist said: “I was raised to always believe in myself and I also believe that nobody can develop our nation for us if we all fail to do anything. The cost of production in Nigeria is not encouraging to manufacturers, but those of us who are truly concerned about creating value have been

resilient. I am always happy whenever I see the number of people that are being employed through my initiative and efforts. DVC Plastics Limited is not just concerned about profit making, it set out to create value and help in national development and this is what has been driving me despite the destructive economic policies of the government”. Well travelled and exposed, the Chairman, Association of Plastic Manufacturers in Nigeria, APMIN, believes that Nigeria has what it takes to compete with any nation. According to him, government must invest more in education and build the nation’s infrastructure in order to make Nigeria a nation every Nigerian can be proud of. Hear him: “Lack of sound policies by the government and the decline in the standard of education in Nigeria are what have transformed many Igbo youths into traders. These youths are industrious and willing to work to earn a living, but the supporting infrastructure is still largely lacking and some of them do not even have the knowledge and skill to make them survive as small scale industrialists, that is why trading has taken over industrialization in the south east states. It pains that our national economic policies kill industrialization but nurture importation and encourage trading”. Asked, what he cherished most about his growing up years, the chieftaincy title holder from Nnewi reminisced thus: “I was lucky to be part of an Igbo generation that were taught about our culture. Before oil was discovered, the Igbos have often excelled in their endeavours, and before the civil war, there was value for hardwork and healthy rivalry among different Igbo communities. I lived in a society where the youths respected authority, there was mutual trust and there was love, but the misplacement of values has now made our society to worship people’s money other than their character. Despite the challenges involved in n a t i o n building, Chief Dr. DVC Obi still believes in the survival of Nigeria. “Tribalism, nepotism and policy inconsistency have brought us to where we are now, but I believe that with unity of purpose, patriotism and adherence to rule of law, Nigeria can still be the envy of other nations of the world. United States, Germany, Japan and even China all went through their crisis period, but they were able to come out of it because of their good leaders. We have resources, what we lack is proper management and rule of law”. A man who believes in youth empowerment, he advised the youths thus: “They should not involve themselves in vices, they must equip themselves with skills and education and a honest character that can build enduring relationships for them. Rome was not built in a day, so they should not be in a hurry to acquire material wealth”.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

33

SPECIAL REPORT ON IGBOS OF DISTINCTION (PART 1)

MY VISION IS TO MAKE IMO STATE UNIVERSITY PRODUCTS BETTER IN CHARACTER AND LEARNING E is one of the prominent Igbos who H surely cannot be counted among the financially wealthy, but nobody can deny

have started making enquiry on how they can be of help so as to make this centre achieve its mandates. One of the Archbishops in one of the orthodox churches in Owerri has started what is called the “Odenigbo”, whereby eminent scholars of Igbo extraction are called upon to address certain aspects of Igbo culture and this must be done in Igbo language”.

the fact that Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie, the Acting Vice Chancellor, Imo State University, IMSU and the immediate past President, Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, is one of the few exemplary Nigerians who have dedicated their lives to being change agents. A detribalized Nigerian who has been able to make his name a signature of activism, Professor Awuzie is synonymous with positive struggle for the betterment of university education in Nigeria.

Known more in Nigeria for his outstanding performance as the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities between 2008 and 2012, there is no gain saying that the eminent scholar’s experience as the President of ASUU, IMSU Chapter and later as the National Financial Secretary of ASUU really helped in shaping him for the position of the body’s National Presidency. Despite the enormous challenges he faced during his tenure as the ASUU President, the resourceful bridgebuilder recorded noticeable achievements.

But what the first Nigerian Professor of Landscape Architecture has become is never a surprise to those who know about his pedigree, his disciplined character and his transparent lifestyle. Born 60 years ago, he attended Bishop Shanahan College, Orlu and College of Immaculate Conception, Enugu for his secondary and higher school respectively. The outbreak of the civil war affected him just like any other Igbo in the eastern region but after the war, intelligent Ukachukwu proceeded to the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus on scholarship where he later graduated with a degree in Architecture. He also attended the University of Massachusetts, USA for his Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture.

Professor Awuzie-led ASUU successfully made government to institute the Needs Assessment Committee which comprehensively assessed all public universities in Nigeria and produced a document on how to restore and revitalize the university system in the country. His administration also constructed a new multi-million naira national secretariat for ASUU. His negotiating skills was also put to use in resolving disputes between university managements and some ASUU members. Thus, when he was appointed as the Acting Vice Chancellor of Imo State University in 2012, even his worst enemies agreed that he was the right person for the revitalization of this state-owned university.

Asked what has been propelling him to render service to the nation, the foundation scholar of University of Nigeria and recipient of University of Massachusetts scholarship replied thus: “For as long as there are problems, there will always be a need for practical solution. I don’t believe in mere talking alone, I always try to be an agent of change by walking the talk whenever I am opportuned. And my philosophy in life is that all good deeds can only be rewarded by God while I know that the Nigerian society always shows appreciation for this; that is why I have always tried my best to be of service to God and humanity”. Starting his career in the private sector, Professor Awuzie’s passion and love for the academia made him to join the service of Imo State University in 1985 and he became the first Nigerian Professor of Landscape Architecture eleven years later. Giving a reason for the decline in the zeal for knowledge acquisition and hardwork among many Igbo youths, especially the males, the Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Architects and Member, International Federation of Landscape Architects revealed that the Nigeria Civil War can be blamed for this. In his words: “The Biafran War had a lot of negative impact on the Igbos. Prior to the outbreak of this war there was zeal for the acquisition of western education; then the Eastern Region was trying to catch up with the Western Region where Awolowo had already laid a solid foundation through his free education policy. It also destroyed the Igbos’ passion for industry and honest labour. Before the war, Igbo communities valued wealth, but they believed wealth must be pursued honestly. In fact, it was only when a man acquired wealth through hardwork and honest endeavour that his people accorded him any respect, but when the war came and Igbos were impoverished, it affected their mindset and placement of value. This brought a shift from academic excellence and industry to personal, family and community survival, thus most Igbos concerned themselves with the end and not the means. So people were no longer questioning the source of any wealth. But the greatest blow to our academic development was the take over of mission schools by the

PROFESSOR UKACHUKWU AWUZIE ACTING VICE CHANCELLOR, IMO STATE UNIVERSITY government. This killed healthy competi- universities and polytechnics. tion among schools and further destroyed Despite being an accomplished academic, their moral fabrics. the professor has always been proud to pro“These problems created a wide gap mote the tradition of his forefathers. His between our academic and moral needs as perfect command of Igbo language puts no well as our academic output. However, the one in doubt about his pride in his heritage. visionary governor of Imo State, Owelle Concerned about the steady decline in the Rochas Anayo Okorocha, the Grand writing and speaking of the Igbo language, Commander of Free Education, has decided especially among the youths, the Knight of to put a stop to the noticeable drop-out of St. Mulumba attributed this to the imbibeyouths from school and the moral deca- ment of foreign cultures by Igbos. In his dence this has caused by making education words: “It is a pity that many Ibo parents are free at all levels. Indeed, this is one of the car- not encouraging their children to speak dinals of his administration’s Restoration their language. Some even believe that Agenda. Just as Late Chief Awolowo saw the speaking Igbo language will make their chilneed and pursued it then, Governor dren to be inferior. But studies have shown Okorocha is also doing so in order to restore that children who are very fluent in their the confidence of our youths and restore our mother tongue understand and speak English better than those who are not. moral values”, he stated. An ardent scholar who has continually demonstrated extra-ordinary wisdom in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Prof Awuzie has excelled in the various positions of authority and responsibility that he occupied prior to his appointment as the Acting Vice Chancellor of the Imo State University. He was the National Chairman, Association of Architectural Educators in Nigeria from 2007 to 2012, he had also served twice as the Dean, College of Engineering and Environmental Studies, IMSU just as he has also been External Examiner to many

“Another factor that affected the writing and speaking of Igbo language is the cultural diversity of the Nigerian society which has resulted in the adoption of English as our lingua-franca. This was done in order to make us communicate easily among ourselves. I believe there is need to keep our Igbo language alive because it is part of our culture, that is why Imo State University put in place a Centre for Igbo Studies and we also have Igbo language as one of the courses in the Faculty of Arts. Our traditional rulers are also concerned and some of them

Explaining his vision for the University, the erudite scholar said: “This university was established in 1981 and I have been here for over 28 years during which I have worked as Head of Department, Dean of Faculty and member of many committees. I know what the problems are and I am happy to be here at this period when we have a state governor that values education, but building the IMSU of our dream is what all the stakeholders must come together to achieve. “First, we need to maintain discipline and build a good relationship between all stakeholders of this university. As at today, IMSU is one of the state universities of choice in Nigeria and the free education policy of Governor Okorocha has made the demand to increase. In view of this, we have plans to increase the physical infrastructure base of this institution and recruit more qualified staff so as to achieve a proper staff-student ratio. Also, now that the state government has made IMSU a residential institution, we have plans to collaborate with the private sector so as to put in place affordable hostels for our students. We will also create quality scholars by training and retraining our personnel in universities here and abroad. Apart from these, the creation of a more conducive academic environment for teaching and learning is very important to us, so we have put in place power generating sets to address the power challenge on the campus. I believe in the right quality and quantity of staff, adequate physical infrastructure, a cordial relationship between all the stakeholders and a strict adherence to discipline. The products of this university can become better in character and learning, and this is what I want to achieve”.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

34

LAFETE

When Nollywood, Ghollywood met on film business THREE-DAY meeting between the National A Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) of Nigeria and the Ghana Cinematograph Exhibition Board of Control (GCEBC) on film regulation alliance held recently, with both countries signing a communique that is expected to guide their bilateral relationship in future business dispensation. After a preliminary meeting with the Ghanaian Deputy Minister of Information, Murtala Mohammed, where the mission of the Nigerian delegate was defined, there appeared to be a common understanding on the need to strengthen the enabling laws, as a way of preventing dumping of films by one country on the other.  The meeting arose from incidences of pornographic movies, voodoo contents and other perceived illicit themes considered detrimental to the image of the country of production. With the objectives clearly spelt out, the door was opened for the Censors Board’s Acting Director General, Madam Patricia Bala, Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs, Yunusa Abdullahi Tanko, Zonal Director, South West, Edward Edion and senior actor, Segun Arinze, to meet with the filmmakers and marketers on the second day. The Press Hall of the Ministry of Information, located at Adabraka, Accra was full to capacity. The huge media presence gave credence to the import of the event that had the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), AIT, Voice of Nigeria (VON) and a life broadcast by the Ghana Television (GTV) among other local media. The event provided a platform for the stakeholders and other publics to air their views on the films being produced by both countries, adding up to the agenda for the agencies to deal with. And in view of the different government policies, the strengths and limitations of both regulatory agencies were considered and agreed should be complimentary as partners in progress.  Some of the officers from the Ghanaian authorities included Mr. Ben Imoro, Assistant Director, Ministry of Information and Mr. Ken Addy, member of Ghana Cinematograph Exhibition Board of Control.  The gathering averred that film is a powerful medium of communication and behavioral change, and that practitioners must look beyond commercial gains alone by helping also to transmit some of the African cultures that may appeal to the outside world.  Participants decry the proliferation of contents on voodoo and sex, agreeing that issues of morality is a universal problem and both countries appeared embarrassed by the development. They are worried that, through some film messages, wrong signals and perceptions are impacted on the public. They reasoned that a situation whereby every old woman is portrayed as a witch, and every rich man is thought to have engaged in some money ritual is not only telling the young ones that they may not make riches through hard-work, but also makes everyone suspicious of the other person. Thus, filmmakers were charged on the need to try and strike a balance in the areas of perception when producing their movies.  Madam Bala expressed worries on how some films get to the market without going through the proper channels. The said in Nigeria, it is expected for anyone intending to distribute movies to get a license which the Board provides.  “If a Ghanaian wants to be a distributor, they are allowed to float a company, get a license and distribute.” She said although marketers who mostly fund movie productions, may require that they inject indecent scenes in their films as a catch for the market, it is important for them not to compromise professionalism and civic responsibility. She condemn the use of indecent languages, drawing inferences from the old culture of story telling whereby parents chose their words right, and yet communicate their messages effectively. “What signals are we sending to the future generation by using vulgar languages. We should look at what is positive and emulate it and not what is negative.  When you are doing your movies to send to Nigeria, be conscious of such Indecencies. You may also need to moderate the use of some of the shots,” the NFVCB boss stated. Mallam Tanko, emphasized the need also strike a balance Between creativity, financial lure and sense of responsibility. He argued that it is needless to shy away from voodoo, which is a part of the reality of our existence as Africans, but that it must be presented in a

Mallam Tanko, Mr Edion, Segun Arinze, Ms. Bala, Murtala Mohammed and Alh. Sani Zamfara creative and responsible manner. Using the Hollywood Harry Porter series as an example, Tanko said no subject is bad on its own, but much is expected from the mode of presentation.  “Every subject is good, even juju, it is the treatment that matters. Harry Porter is juju, well packaged. Whatever is African must be seen as African. There are hunted homes in Europe, and we are afraid of expressing ourselves. Let’s not condemn our films, let’s just look at better ways of telling them. If however we are tired of juju, the market will determine how it fizzles out. It’s a passing phase,” he noted. But Mr. Samuel Odoi Mensah, President of Ghana Actors’ Guild is worried that voodoo films appear to be easily accepted as against films with hard liquor. He said due to the dearth of cinemas, CDs and DVDs go straight to the market and kids can just pick them up and watch. He noted that the churches have taken over the cinemas, such that censorship becomes almost impossible.  He suggested that films that carry indecent contents should be banned out-rightly instead of asking the producers to expunge some scenes. He said until the board starts to bite, the people would keep doing the wrong thing.  As expected of a town hall meeting, opinions vary from one person to another, and so some filmmakers insist that they are inspired to produce romantic movies because sex subjects sells and as producers, they desire to recoup their investment. They believe that censorship is killing creativity, and that rather than ban films. It is the duty of censorship board to advise producers to do sex films in a way that sends positive messages.  Actor Segun Arinze appeared concerned about local children’s content. “We have lost values for our children.” He said, recalling the old television days as a child. He told the gathering that there is a conscious in South Africa in recent times whereby children are taught in the local languages. The issues also dwelt on the post modern world, and a contributor thought that the gathering may just be pretending to be solving the problem by hiding certain contents from children. He said it would be more dangerous if the kids get to see the contents elsewhere. Another participant is of the opinion that Africa is losing its identity through imported tele-novellas.  Adding his thought on the issue, Edion expressed that the municipal laws of every country must be respected. He advised that any Nigerian film that is found in Ghana without due censorship must be taken off, while the promoters are arrested. He said that the roles of the Censors Board in Nigeria is complimented by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission which is responsible for the regulation of television contents, in terms of the percentage of local contents, the belt hour for foreign films among other mandates.

Dorien’s Yoruba in Dutch flavour ORN into a Christian family in The B Netherlands, little Dorien Oluwakemi Jacob at the tender age of six began to take

discovered that Dorien sings in Yoruba, she became the darling of all. She began to get invitations to perform for mixed audiclassical flute tuition, a skill that opened up ences of white and blacks in churches and way for her to be part of her church junior different events, including birthday parchoir up to her late teens. ties and wedding ceremonies. Mastering the wind instrument, Dorien on Fully integrated into the Yoruba culture, her own began to practise how to play the her husband took her music to another guitar and soon master the act. level by teaching her the Yoruba folk The Netherlands-trained nurse later moved songs. to the UK in 2003 to live out her passion, For her impressive performance, minisbut getting there, she met Abiodun Jacob, a tering in words and songs, Pastor Tola Nigerian talented musician and composer. Odutola invited Dorien to United States of Sharing common interest — music — their the America, where she also thrilled the relationship soon grew to the point they Americans and swelled her fan base. The tied the nuptial knot in 2005; and a union American experience opened up the floodthat has since produced Oluwamodupe and gate of events for her. Bolaji. Though a minister in Redeemed Aside from playing musical instruments Christian Church Of God (RCCG), this and singing, Dorien loves learning other Netherlander married to a Nigerian has people’s language and culture. Little wonperformed in different RCCG Parishes and der, she sings in Yoruba. other Christian denominations including As gold fish has no hiding place, when C&S, CAC and the Celestial Church of Nigerians in the UK, especially Christians across America and Europe.

Dorien with a drummer


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

35

MOVIEDOM

BY SHAIBU HUSSEINI

shaibu70@yahoo.com

Around and about Nollywood... Telly4 Africa celebrates Zeb Ejiro on E-Stars TV

hair and welcoming smiles.

Entries for Abuja International Film Festival opens

OR his immense contributions to the growth of Nollywood, one of its leading figures, Zeb Ejiro, will be the focus in the third quarter of Telly4 Africa. Viewers will have oppoturnity to see the great works of Ejiro, and also, hear from him his sojourn in Nollywood in a celebratory broadcast on E-Stars TV’s channel 122 on StarTimes digital TV platform. Also, Telly4 Africa has set aside this quarter, beginning from tomorrow till September 27, to celebrate and recognise Nigerian movies by showcasing the works of Ola Balogun, Eddie Ugbomah, Adamu Halilu, Tunde Kelani, Tade Ogidan, Amaka Igwe, Ken Saro Wiwa and others. Interestingly too, actors/actresses such as Richard Mofe-Damijo, Zulu Adigwe, Ola Omonitan and Olu and Joke Jacobs, Omotola Jolade-Ekehinde, Genevive Nnaji and several others will be prominently featured. Telly4 Africa, which has secured the broadcast right to transmit Ejiro’s works, said it’s embarking on this laudable initiative based on the love and passion for Nollywood. Ejiro has produced and directed a number of blockbusters, soap operas and series. Some of his cherished works include Goodbye Tomorrow, Mortal Inheritance, Domitilla, Sakobi, Conflicting Shadow, Intimate Strangers, Fatal Desire, Gentle Solution, Amadioha, Maniac, Faces of Evil and more. Ejiro, a former president of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), also produced, Ripples, one of the longest running soap operas ever in Nigeria. Other soaps from the award-winning stable of the revered filmmaker are Fortunes, Broad Street and Candle Light. Ejiro, a frontline member of several Nollywood guilds and other professional bodies, will soon premiere his current soap, Classique. With over 100 movies to his credit in a successful career that has spanned over two decades, Ejiro truly deserves all the accoEjiro lades and encomiums coming from Telly4 Africa. The CEO/MD of Telly4africa, Mr. Bayo Adebiyi, on why they are honouring Ejiro, said, “Celebrating our African and Nollywood icons are part of our DNA, we have in the past celebrated stars such as Tunde Kelani , Tade Ogidan and Amaka Igwe. In July 2010, Telly4 Africa launched two platforms- Entertainment Stars Television (E-Stars TV) and Real Stars Television on the StarTimes Digital Television Platform.

F

HE organisers of the yearly Abuja T International Film Festival, which is in its 10th edition, have announced call for entries for the 2013 edition of the award. The 10th Abuja International Film Festival is scheduled for the September 24 to 27, at the Silverbird Cinemas Abuja, Nigeria. The festival according to the manager, Ebiere AJibola- Bodude, will screen over 60 indigenous and foreign movies in the following genres: Short, Feature, Animation, Documentary and Experimental. However she stated that all entries must have been produced within the past 24 months. She also stated that the festival would give out awards in the Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, Most Outstanding Male Act, Most Outstanding Female Act and the Golden Jury Award. However, the organisers insist that all entries should be submitted in DVD FORMAT while deadline for submission of entries is July 31. Information on the festival can be sourced from www.abujafilmfestng.org. LIFF goes to school, introduces Reelteens Film Festival RAMA is a very effective means of checkD ing moral degeneration in our society by stimulating moral regeneration. In that process, it can be used to fight corruption. This is the reason why other schools should emulate the worthy example of Peak Lane College in staging plays like The Incorruptible Judge. These were the words of CEO LIFF Festivals Group Madu C. Chikwendu at the premises of Peak Lane College Lagos recently. Mr. Chikwendu led a delegation of Nollywood filmmakers as special guest at the staging of the play ahead of the Reelteens Film Festival holding in September in Lagos. Proprietress of the school, Mrs. Ify Nwachukwu, thanked Chikwendu for the encouragement and assured that the school was seriously preparing for the festival. The delegation also had Harris Chuma, Ogene Igbo 1, President Igbo Film Forum among other top filmmakers. Project Director Reelteens Film Festival, Mrs. Daisy Madu-Chikwendu, also had encouraging words for the school and students. According to her: “Drama is not merely for entertainment. It also develops the mind and injects a kind of humanism that is difficult to find in any other discipline. The level of talent the children have displayed is a pleasant surprise and I can see that Nollywood will not lack a supply of extremely talented artistes for years to come.” Reelteens Film Festival, the latest addition to the LIFF Festivals Group, is a spinoff from the Children Film Forum launched in 2005 at the African Video Expo (precursor to LIFF). Over 50 schools in Lagos and Ogun area will participate in the festival. Each school will present a short film under the guidance of experienced industry professionals. Prizes will be awarded by a jury made of industry professionals.

Launched: Screen Naija, One Village, One Cinema Project HE formal launch of the Screen Naija One T Village, One Cinema Project sponsored by the Bank of Industry held recently at the popular Freedom Park, in Broad Street. There was plenty music to listen and dance to and fans got the chance to catch up with some of their favourite celebrities, who showed up for the special outdoor cinema premiere of Project Happiness, held as part of the Screen Naija, One Village, One Cinema Project. The event attracted Dame Taiwo Ajai-Lycett and accomplished veteran actor, musician and orator, Jimi Solanke, rocked the event with their impromptu short performance of anecdotes. The fast rising young rapper, Aloysius Onyejegbu, aka “2MS” of La’Champu Records, and his buddy, Tony Godson also thrilled the audience. Prince Tonye Princewill was represented by popular documentary photographer and journalist Kunle Ogunfuyi, who gave a summary of Princewill’s philanthropy and sponsorship of popular Nigerian movies including Nnenda, Kajola and the new movie 76, which center on coup of 1976 that resulted in the assassination of General Murtala Ramat Muhammed. The Founder/CEO of Screen Naija One Village, One Cinema, Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, who is the Executive Director of Screen Naija One Village, One Cinema Project made a brief speech on the nationwide project aimed at taking cinemas to urban and rural communities in all the local councils of Nigeria. Project Happiness, a 2011 documentary film created, narrated, and produced by Randy Taran and directed by John Sorenson follows a senior high school class

wapTV set for double talent hunt ALE Adenuga Productions is set to W organise a unique talent hunt contest, called Nnenna & Friends and wapTV Talent

Solanke and Lycett from Mount Madonna School near Watsonville, California, on a journey to discover the true nature of human happiness. Joining them on this quest are students from the Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala, India, and students from the Dominion Heritage Academy in Jos, Nigeria. These students discuss among themselves with several notable individu-

als one central question: “What brings lasting happiness?” During the filming, the students involved conducted interviews with scientists, celebrities, and world political and spiritual leaders including Richard Gere, Dr. Richard Davidson, and Adam Yauch. The Face of Screen Naija, Magdalene Masha was the belle of the event with her natural afro

Hunt for kids and adults in four specific categories namely Singing, Dancing, Playing Musical Instruments and Stand-up Comedy. This Talent Hunt will give participants the much-needed opportunity to win up to N200,000 cash prize, get discovered and earn nationwide exposure all while displaying their special talent(s) to the whole world . The talent hunt is for kids between ages 6 and 15 takes place by 8am on Saturday, July 20, while the wapTV talent hunts for everyone between ages 16 and 30 comes up by 10am on Saturday, July 27. The venue for both events is D’Pencils located at on Joy Avenue, Ajao Estate. Participation is free and the events would be fully recorded and aired on wapTV on Channel 116 of StarTimes.


36

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

All That Jazz

BY BENSON IDONIJE benidoni@yahoo.com

The Incomparable Booker Ervin

Ebonylife TV launches today in grand style By Greory Austin Nwakunor FTER months of planning, EbonyLife TV, Africa’s first Global Black A Entertainment network, Channel 165 on DStv, is now set for launch today, ending anxious anticipation.

Booker Ervin IG. Full. Open. Heavy. Loud. There B are other descriptions for the saxophone sound of Booker Ervin. These just happen to be a few that I think are particularly appropriate. ‘Loud’ in this context connotes a basically honest projection of his emotions, without any special regard for vibratos, gimmicks or hat tricks. That coupled with his appreciation for the ‘big’, ‘full’ sound his instrument is capable of producing makes him seem ‘loud’. The important thing however is that the sum total of all these attributes represents Booker’s self expression, a precious possession previously demonstrated by Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Sonny Rollins, Gene Ammons, Ike Quebeck who are some of Booker’s influences. The remarkable thing however, is that Booker went further to infuse his own individuality into the whole development. In all honesty, of all the jazz men who visited Nigeria under the auspices of the American State Department programme in those memorable days of the 50s and 60s, saxophonist Booker Ervin stands out significantly – for his intriguingly impressive style. Pity, this cultural programme has been halted but while it lasted, it gave some of us the opportunity to meet the musicians face to face, interact with them and watch them in actual performance — Cozy Cole, Herbie Mann, Randy Weston, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Pharaoh Sanders, Joe Williams, Clark Terry, Booker Ervin – all of them. my discussion with Booker Fin ROM after his first concert performance Lagos, he was convinced that I genuinely dug his saxophone and that I was a jazz devotee. As compensation, he gave me The In Between, an album he just recorded in quintet setting before he left New York for the African tour. The album has been an important part of my collection ever since. Incidentally, he is at his best here, even more inspired than the live performance, the reason being that he came to Nigeria with a selected group

with which he rehearsed only for the purpose of the tour whereas The In Between album was recorded with his regular quintet back home. This situation gave him the opportunity to create and explore all the possibilities that he could not try out with the selected group. Besides, he composed all the six songs in the Blue Note album, a development that further bolsters his confidence and familiarity with the music in terms of melodic exploration and harmonic progressions. The selected group played mainly standards by George Gershwin, Thelonious Monk, Cole Porter among others. Booker Ervin’s saxophone sound is big, aggressive and full but he was a soft-spoken individual; there is a kind of contradiction between his “horn sound” and his “voice sound.” Actually these two don’t necessarily have to be similar, but there is nothing contradictory about his music, which is as clear as the colours of a rainbow and just as bright! Booker Ervin is capable of being very blue; the way he caresses notes on a single thread of sound. The way he bends and twists them and makes them fit. To experience his playing on certain ballads is to experience a love affair in its romantic elements. As exemplified by The Muse, one of his ballad treatments on the album, Booker mixes moods very well. He wrote and recorded a tune shortly after the death of President Kennedy that he called A Day To Mourn. In it, he captures and unites joy and sadness perfectly. Clarity is one of Bookers attributes. His lines are always spoken in an uncluttered, orderly fashion. It would appear as though there is little, if any, room for excess notes in the construction of his ideas. Booker thrives on tempo even operating more comfortably at up- tempos than medium and slow. A second horn in Booker’s instrumental line – up is always sure to bring wonderful results as has happened here in this album, with the addition of trumpeter Richard

Williams, a musician who was often found in and around big bands in those days because he wanted to keep himself busy all the time. Not only has he shared solo concessions beautifully with Booker in almost all the tunes, Williams has strengthened the ensemble sound especially at the frontline, harmonizing with brilliance while also demonstrating a tonal conception etched in the Clifford Brown- Lee Morgan tradition. The Muse offers a perfect example of this man’s capabilities as a soloist, moving from one chorus to another, sounding lyrical and bluesy even as he takes his time to select notes and phrases that are evocative and inspiring. Another star of the show is drummer Lenny Mc Brown who enjoys playing the instrument. Beaming with smiles as he plays, he cuts the figure of Art Blakey even though his drumming is light yet technical. May be “progressive” is a better word to describe his percussive approach. Pianist Bobby Few Jr. and bass player, Cevera Jefferies Jr., complete the rhythm section of piano, bass and drums. The two complement the efforts of McBrown in this department. The bass line is definitive and distinctive in all the tunes as it charts the course for the chord sequences to progress. A high sense of rhythm is demonstrated with a modern approach that reminds you of Ray Brown and Paul Chambers. Bobby Few Jr. swings on piano even as he lays the chords for everyone to travel along the tram lines of varying progressions, helping to establish the various moods that the songs assume – The In Between, the title theme of the album itself, The Muse, Mour, Sweet Pea, Largo, and Tyra – all compositions crafted by Booker Ervin. ORN in 1930, Booker Ervin died in B 1970, at the time that he was beginning to enjoy widespread acclaim. He was not an avant gardist but he was one of the few saxophone players who used the influence of Charlie Parker as stepping stone, a means to an end instead of an end in itself.

In a statement, the channel said the launch is beginning of a new and enthralling dawn in the viewing experience of millions of people in over 44 African countries. The channel’s launch, clearly a first-of-its-kind and an industry’s tour de force, is a Black Tie event holding at the luxurious Eko Hotel & Suites, Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. The event will be graced by the distinguished presence of some of the most influential African dignitaries including presidents, governors, ministers, technocrats, luminaries and captains of industries; as well as media, fashion, music, film and entertainment moguls. The Chairman of the occasion is President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The Keynoter of the day is Mr. Steve Forbes, highly rated Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media, world renowned establishment, which has become an icon of distinction across the world for recognizing worthy business decision-makers, investors and progressive individuals making real impact around the world by stimulating business growth, spearheading innovation, creating employment and influencing great change in the national or global economy. The event, by modest standards, is a compelling celebration of the very Best of Africa. Loaded with many glittering highlights among which include a celebration of the most scintillating medley of the best music, fashion and film from the past 50 years; Gold Carpet, with ample opportunity to be seen in the grandest of styles; sterling performances by accomplished artistes. A major feature of the day, and probably, the icing on the cake, is the EbonyLife TV Awards. For the first time ever, important personalities, who have and continue to have significant influence on the media, entertainment, business, political and economic landscapes of the African continent, and whose profiles have come through months of intense research and a thorough verification exercise by Forbes, will be honoured and celebrated in a magnificent atmosphere that will no doubt go into history as one of the biggest and most prestigious events in Africa in 2013. Mr. Steve Forbes will present the awards. The event will of course feature sneak peeks into the TV programming, which viewers of Channel 165 on Premium, Compact and Compact Plus packages in over 44 African countries will start to enjoy as the Channel launches via the DStv platform. Speaking on the launch, a gleeful and fulfilled Mo Abudu, Chairman & CEO, EbonyLife TV, has this to say, “My delight comes from finally creating a channel that appeals to Africa’s most important demographic, there seems to be little or no content speaking to this key demographic and secondly I am delighted, that we have finally created a channel which can sit shoulder to shoulder with any international brand, quality wise.“ Unique programming is at the very heart of the TV’s vision, which is “to be the preferred global network for premium African entertainment”. This vision is the major driving force and impetus for the continuous creation and production of the Channel’s over 700 hours of premium content that cuts across drama, comedy, reality, lifestyle, talk, magazine, feature film and factual, all promising to showcase the best of the African continent for a Global Black audience, with utmost originality, passion and inspiration. Adding to the festivities is MultiChoice Africa CEO, Nico Meyer. While congratulating everyone who made the launch possible, said: “As a proudly African company, today marks an important milestone for our business. As long-standing advocates of this continent and its potential, the launch of Ebony Life TV is once again a reinforcement of the need to celebrate cultural expression. “MultiChoice Africa recognises that Africa is the sum of its parts and forms part of a global village of people with diverse backgrounds and culture. The launch of this channel is a celebration of the upwardly mobile, global black African with programming that honours black cultural identity, the successes and achievements of black people in the continent, the diaspora and the rest of the global village. “We recognise that if we are to cater for the needs of the different demographic market segments, variety on our DStv channels will bring authentic and meaningful engagement with our subscribers.” For Pamela Ofoegbu, Director of Reality Programming and Acting Head of Programmes, it is an honour and privilege to be part of the dynamic team.  “The opportunity to create indigenous African brands is an inspiration that will resound across our continent and internationally.” Quinty Pillay, Director, Scripted programming, EbonyLife TV, believes “the launch of EbonyLife TV is a dream come true for me and I feel extremely blessed to be a part of creating great, inspiring content with an African soul that showcases the best of Africa for a global audience,” she said. While reminiscing on the journey so far, Sandra Amadio, Director of Entertainment Programming, said, “to think the idea for the TV channel started with a single thought... and today we find ourselves at the doorway of a new dawn. The time to showcase the other Africa’ has come and I am both humbled and in awe of the possibilities. In my heart I have always believed that Africa is the future.” The channel launches with an even greater promise for especially leading and growing indigenous African and international brands. Its goal is to help deliver the message of these brands to that most important demographic on the continent that boasts over 1 billion consumers. It will help brands engage and connect with their most important focal market, like never before. Its key demographic target is the African youth aged 18 to 34, and through its partnership with Globecast - the leading global provider of content management and worldwide transmission services for professional broadcast delivery, providing technical backbone and driving content distribution on Android, Tablets, Mobile and Web EbonyLife TV is set to enable brands connect passionately with these key drivers of arguably the most vital segment of any economy.


TheGuardian

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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

IbruCentre ‘Unity Can Only Be Achieved If We Thank And Praise God’ Who is Emmanuel Ehimika? am a Nigerian; a native of Okpuje, Owan West Local Council of Edo State. I studied Economics at the University of Benin, and graduated in 1981. I am married and have four children. How did you come about the name The Jesus Dream (TJD)? The greatest desire of a man becomes his lifetime dream. Every man has a desire, which many a time is spoken out, when the individual wants to die. Jesus spoke about unity over and over in John 17:11-23. The coming TJD event aims at expressing the manifestation of the oneness of the Body of Christ through thanksgiving and praise. When will the event hold? Today (Sunday, June 30), Christians across the globe will unite to thank and praise God for reconciling mankind to Himself. It will start at 8pm, Nigerian time. Nations across the globe are expected to correlate their time with the Nigerian time for this purpose. Why thanksgiving and praise and not seminars or prayers? Since God reconciled the world to Himself (Rom 5:11) through Christ (Eph 2:13), man, in unison, has not been able to return to Him to say ‘Thank You, Father.’ So, this is the first time Christians across the globe will do it. If there was no reconciliation, there would be no forgiveness of sins, salvation, healing and others. If we organise seminars, the various speakers will use the avenue to defend their denominational doctrines, which will further divide the Body of Christ. The first manifestation of unity in the early Christians was that they all declared the wonders of God in one accord (Acts 2:11). Unity can only be achieved if we thank and praise God. God inhabits in the atmosphere of thanksgiving and praise (Ps 22:3); that’s what He permits in Heaven (Rev. 5:11-13). Praise is the fruit of our lips, but ‘food’ to God. So, every June 30, from 8-9pm Nigerian time, Christians all over the world will gather for one hour to thank and praise God (Heb 13:15, Hosea 14:2). It’s a special assembly. What should we expect at the event? The Bible declares that God inhabits the praises of His people. Unexpected miracles will happen because God made a commitment to command His blessings where there is unity (Ps. 133). How could one participate? You can download the prayer points from the website www.thejesusdream.org and pray at home; that is if your pastor is not organising it in your church. You can also organise it in your street, estate or in any open space or community ground. In essence you can pray anywhere you are at the time. For instance, I have seen handbills of churches advertising TJD. The Word of Life Church, Lagos I learnt printed about 5000 copies and is advertising the prayer points. They visited most churches in Victoria Island, Lagos and gave out the handbills apart from inviting people to come and experience TJD in their church at 8, Moloney Street, Obalende, Lagos. I’m excited because while on callin radio programme, people ask for centres where they could observe the event. This is going on all over the world. How is TJD God’s house? The Bible admonishes us to gather ourselves like living stones (1 Peter 2:5) and with this we become a spiritual house for God’s spirit to dwell in (Eph 2:22). God does not live in our brick buildings (cathedral) anymore. As we come together worldwide the building rises into a Holy temple in the Lord (Eph. 2:21). The more people you draft into the programme, the higher the building; that’s why you need to give a monthly radio seed for us to keep mobilising people worldwide. Anyone, who has built the physical church and turned his or her back on sowing into TJD, has not yet built God a house. The spiritual house is the final house that was why God loved David. He desired to build for God what God wanted at that time (Ps. 132:13-14) – a dwelling in Zion. Impact of the programme on Nigeria There has been so many bad things spoken about the country, but we believe that as this programme builds up, it will swallow every bad impression about Nigeria. In due time, people around the world will honour Jesus more because of Nigeria and this will turn this country around. Let’s lift up Jesus and not men; you will see a great change. As a prophet is not honoured in his own town, are you honoured in Nigeria over this vision? Bishop David Oyedepo was the first minister to encourage me in 2010, when the event first took place and recently, on June 14, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, CAN President, threw his weight behind it, instructing that all Christians should participate and encourage it as a good event from Nigeria to

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our churches because there is no unity. Even within the same denomination there is in-house fighting. How is this praise experience different from the ones in the local churches? We all belong to an Assembly; but this is The Assembly (Ps 35:18). So, when you praise God in your church, it’s in an Assembly, but now we will do it in the great Assembly, involving all who believe in Jesus as Lord. So, when you say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ the Bible records that the Holy Spirit made you say it (1 Cor 12:3). So, if the Holy Spirit fills a man to say what God wants who am I to condemn him because he or she does not worship God my own way. So, this gathering is going to be the largest Christian congregation in the world. That’s why no pastor should deter his people from participating or else they will grieve the Holy Spirit. Was there any prophecy concerning what is happening today? I knew about it 15 years ago, though I have been on this Unity road for 24 years. Then, I told members of my ministry that I am going to impact on the world, but I did not know how. My children said they pitied me because I couldn’t even impact on people in the street at that time. Yet, I was bold enough to say what the Lord told me. About 10 years ago, a man was ushered into my office, he told me I have a world project, but before I could get myself together to attend to him, he vanished. It was an angelic visitation. November 2009, Pastor Sunday Adelaja, Pastor of the largest church in Europe, wrote: ‘Emmanuel Ehimika… Inthe world. With time my people will understand that I was credible motivational gifts and abilities to heal and mend sent and will gladly support the programme. the Body of Christ … as God has used me to impact on peoImportance of unity ple throughout the world, so, is he going to use Brother God’s blessings will always be in our midst, when we live in Emmanuel as a jewel for the world;” I had not met him at unity; we don’t have to beg for them. The bones in the valley that time. (Ezekiel 37) were all dry while they were alone, but when they Challenges came together through Ezekiel’s prophecy, God sent breath The greatest challenge has been finance, but we are scalinto them and they became a strong army. No single denom- ing over it as people have started to key into it. I was sent to ination is the army of the Lord. We all, as we fit into our the pastors, but many of them were not interested in the places, become the army of the Lord. Likewise, before Elijah programme. I thought as some pastors collect about four called down fire, he first brought the 12 stones representing different offerings in a single service, they would give just the 12 tribes of Israel together. We do not really see fire in one offering to this ministry in a month, but 99 per cent asked me to go and meet God who sent me for fund. Any dull moment I remember, I was once totally discouraged and decided to divert my attention from the vision. Just then my phone rang, someone at the other end said hold on, and the next voice I heard was that of Prophet S.K. Abiara. I have never met him before. He said, ‘God said He was happy with what He is using me to do.’ He spoke for over 20 minutes praying and prophesying for me; that, on its own, urged me on. After TJD 2013 what next? The church is very busy with 40, 70 … days fasting and prayer. It’s okay, but the Lord who took my ministry from nothing to world level has told me to declare 40 days fasting and prayer tagged, ‘Just Believe.’ I know people will laugh at it, as they did when I told them of the world vision, but if you act based on the Word you will laugh last. The brochure for the 40-day fasting and praying is being prepared; but it is meant for our partners. It’s a revelational pack. Also after the 2013 edition, we believe for those who will partner with us every month with any financial seed of their choice to start off a radio ministry towards 2014 TJD. How did you take this vision from scratch without a mentor? God did not allow me to have a mentor, because of the nature of my assignment. I started off in the Scripture Union in 1972, so, I am conservatively experienced. God has passed me through hell’s kitchen, had I a ‘spiritual mentor’ his enemies will be my enemies; and then, I won’t be able to preach unity. It’s a delicate ministry. Paul didn’t visit the early pillars of the church when he newly began his race. It was after he had been formed and could not be influenced that he began to mix with those who were leaders before him. There were times I cried and needed a ‘father figure,’ yet God said ‘stay there.’ Once, I was ill and wanted a ‘big’ minister to pray for me, but God sent a young unknown man in Benin to pray for me at midnight. God said to Emmanuel, when Paul was blind, I did not call for the big ministers like Peter to pray for him to restore his sight and for him to have direction for ministry. I used Ananias — an unknown man — to heal and direct him. Ananias means grace and Paul was to preach grace, so, Ananias was more qualified to impact on him. This is why some of us put our faith in titles and end up as disaster, but God’s choice for our salvation is through ordinary men or women near us.

Emmanuel Oje Ehimika, popularly known as Preacherman, is the President of Fruits Integrated, an all-encompassing network of ministries with Headquarters in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. Aside from being the initiator of The Jesus Dream (TJD), an outfit that connects Christians across the globe to live for God, Preacherman publishes Ministers Alive Magazine as a way of fostering unity among ministers of God. Another sister publication of his, Strategic Mothers Magazine enlightens women on prayer, family and child’s upbringing. In this interview with CHRIS IREKAMBA and BABATUNDE OSO, Preacherman spoke on TJD among other issues.

Prayer Points On Page 40


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IBRUCENTRE God Has Liberated The Community Through This Ministry, Says Nwankwo Prophet Samuel Donald Nwankwo is the founder of Daylight Dominion Ministry, Isheri Osun, Lagos. A native of Ezza North Local Council of Ebonyi State, Nwankwo speaks with CHRIS IREKAMBA about his birth, the impact of his church on the community and why corruption is not Nigeria’s major problem and other issues. Excerpts: What is the significance of your anniversary? AYLIGHT Dominion Ministry came into existence in June 2011. And we are celebrating today, because God has used us to impact on our immediate community. When we came here, Christians were not doing well, there were a lot of things they did not understand, and not long after, God used us to change the community. What exactly has your church done to help its immediate community? First, the traditionalists and members of other religions have realised that we are real. There is also this true love that is flowing from the mission to everybody in the community. Spiritually, the community has become liberated from negative forces tormenting it, aside from making Christians and nonbelievers to co-exist in peace. How did you come into prophetic ministry? I was born a prophet. According to my parents, they were having female children until they came in contact with a prophet, who told them they will have a male child and he would be a prophet. Because of the prophecy, when I was born, my parents made sure that I was trained in a godly way. At seven, I was attached to pastors to prepare me for the call. Most people realise they have the call in their adulthood, but mine is different. Many things, including seeing vision and receiving revelations happened around me, but I never knew what those things meant; in fact, I thought they were for everybody until I grew up and found that they were special gifts from God. For instance, I will have a strong feeling that somebody would come and when I mention the name, before you know it, the person would show up. I will just say something and immediately they happen. I started ministering on the altar at the age of 12. Is your church Orthodox or Pentecostal? I am neither Pentecostal nor Orthodox, I am a Christian and that is the point. Pentecostal is a name formed by people; Pentecost was something that happened in the Bible. There is nothing like Orthodox or Pentecostal, people just grouped themselves that way. Did Jesus give anybody Pentecostal or Orthodox? Now, you can see a reverend father speaking in tongue, laying hands and delivering people such never happened before in Catholic. In Pentecostal, you could see Pastors blessing people with water, which is common with the Catholic Church. So, the whole world has turned into one. There is nothing like Pentecostal or Orthodox, we are same now. The generation that will come after us may behave the way we do or deviate from it. Jesus and Moses are not same. God’s word never change, but His method of dealing with men changes every four years. How? Even those that call themselves Pentecostals will become outdated in the next your years if they do not update themselves because knowledge increases everyday. The things we do or wear, often times, change; the only thing that cannot change is righteousness. God’s method of dealing with men changes every four years. For example, we have a holy man of God, Pastor W.F. Kumuyi, I have attended his church, he preaches good news about Christ; he is a man that cannot compromise, but there was a time the issue of television came up and suddenly they liberalise the idea. Members of the church, now, have television in their houses, which they were not doing before. When they were not watching television, they thought they were worshiping God. Since you are not Orthodox or Pentecostal, what are you and what do you preach? Our church is an ecumenical centre. We preach about the second coming of Christ and how to succeed here and still make heaven. We also teach our members about nature and the need to appreciate everything that God has made and never to call them evil. Talking about Pentecostal, the Bible says in Matthew 5:8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.’ On the Day of Judgment there will be no signboard for Pentecostal or Orthodox. We have two ways — the righteous and unrighteous. Heaven is not divided, though we have gentiles and Israel, gentiles are those who do not know God before like Africans, but now have accepted God. So, the word Pentecostal is a forgery, I think it was a celebration done in Israel some-

that killing is bad and has a way of backfiring. What would you say about Jonathan administration? He has tried to maintain peace and his Christian faith, but in the system leadership does not permit one man’s decision. He may have many good things in mind, but what about those around him. Aso Rock itself needs deliverance because those who are supposed to pray there are busy sharing money. It is as if in Nigeria, when someone becomes a ‘big pastor’ his eyes go off from the deep things of God. Instead of adhering to their call, they begin to celebrate their greatness. That is why Nigeria is suffering, today. We have enough resources — human, mineral as well as spiritual empowerment — to solve our problems. We don’t need any external body to support us, what we need is sanitisation in the leadership. Sanitisation in what sense? They need to do something drastic about our educational system. What we have as education now is fake; students have been brainwashed with lies that once they come out of school, they would get automatic employment. Job creation is one of the things that those in power should begin to teach Nigerians. Corruption is not Nigeria’s major problem. What then is the major problem? It’s impatience. We don’t make provision for the future, I mean, proper planning for the next 50 years. Everybody is busy looking for something that will satisfy him or her now; not minding the future. We need to make people know what life entails. That is not how Nigeria will change. Don’t think it is corruption that is affecting everybody, my father did not tell me that government will help me. Jonathan should put in motion plans that will make the problem we are currently facing never to resurface in the next 10 years. Our leaders are not sincere, when they come into power, the first thing they do is to look for what they can grab. Government should also repeal some of the laws that do not allow people to progress. Government should be responsive and make out time to supervise the contracts they award. If you give out billions of Naira for road repairs or the construction of new ones, you should be able to supervise them whether the roads are done properly or not. Nigeria can do better than China if we are serious and encourage our people to grow those things we import. There is corruption in Nigeria because our system lacks the expected standard. There was corruption in Israel in the time of Solomon, but there was much prosperity, which made corruption never to be noticed. Even during the time of Jesus Christ there was corruption among the disciples. There is corruption in the United States of America and other countries across the globe, yet they are making headways; so, anybody who says corruption is the cause of Nigeria’s problem is just talking.

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Aso Rock itself needs deliverance because those who are supposed to pray there are busy sharing money. It is as if in Nigeria, when someone becomes a ‘big pastor’ his eyes go off from the deep things of God. Instead of adhering to their call, they begin to celebrate their greatness.

time ago, only that the children of God decided to stay away. The Pentecostals did not receive the Holy Spirit, the people who received it were those who ran away from celebrating Pentecost. So, they ran to the Upper Room and began to pray instead of celebrating Pentecost. His Catholic affiliation I have been in Catholic. I was a member of Divine Mercy Group; I worked with Charismatic, but always in Divine Mercy praying. I see church as a place where God is, people understand Catholic differently from what I see Catholic to be. They build the church in the name of God, so, when you come in, you do what you like, but I went there to see the Holy Spirit. Daylight Dominion Ministry is not a church per se, it’s Christ at work. I am coming out to tell Christians to be one again. What was your reason for leaving the Catholic Church? I didn’t break out from anywhere, when I wanted to marry, I had to stop praying and after my marriage people were still coming to my house for prayers. If you really want to display what you have inside the church, it would lead to a fight, because the programme of the church does not have a place for someone who is not a priest. I am a prophet and you cannot tell me to do what God did not tell me to do. I am a very straightforward person; I don’t do what God did not tell me to do because it’s the tradition of the church, we don’t believe in those traditions. If I have Holy Spirit automatically, I don’t need to be reciting prayers or listen to someone tell me to say A or B. But if you are led by the Holy Spirit, according to Rom 8:14, He will teach you, and not man telling you, to pray A and B. Would you advice Christians to go into politics, if yes why? My answer is yes. From the foundation, Daniel, Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego made the government of Nebuchadnezzar effective. If a Christian refuses to be in a system, you will suffer because the Bible says ‘when the righteous is in authority people will rejoice and when the wicked is in authority there will be problem in the system.’ So, no matter who is the ruler, we know that the manifestation of problem is as a result of wickedness in the system. And manifestation of goodness, happiness, peace in the system is as a result of a wise man on the seat. Israel was fighting almost every year, but when Solomon emerged, there was peace. The Bible says because God has given him wisdom. So, we need Christians to go there and make a difference. Menace of Boko Haram insurgency and the killing Christians in the North It’s the misunderstanding of the Quran that has resulted to the killing and insurgency; if the people should go back and read their Quran very well, they will know that Islam is a religion of peace. The moon never hurts anyone, so, it’s the misunderstanding that is the problem. In Christianity, we also have people, only that they are not violent, but they are terrible, they teach things that are contrary. I think it’s not all Muslims that are violent, it’s a group of people that do that, for example, we have some churches, their prayer everyday is ‘die, die.’ Anyone who is spiritual, even if you are not a Christian, you will know

Group Tasks Govt On Good Governance By Bisi Alabi Williams HE National President of Young Muslims International has called on Nigerians to eschew violence and bitterness. Dawodu, who was speaking at the just concluded three-Day prayer programme of the association held at the Ansar-UdDeen High School, Liberty Road, Oke-Ado, Ibadan, Oyo State enjoined Nigerians to follow the true examples of Prophet Muhammad, who on attainment of power in Mecca did not take revenge on his tormentors. He called on the three levels of government to protect the people and their property by refraining from double standards in the administration of justice across. “Those, who are truly guilty of perpetuating violence and those aiding them must be brought to book regardless of who they are and the cause they claim to be pursuing. Nigerians should also adopt a better attitude to good neighbourliness as wonderfully demonstrated by Prophet Muhammad.” According to Dawodu, all Nigerians, irrespective of religion should bow at the threshold of God for His intervention in the affairs of the nation, apart from embracing the virtues of humility, patience, perseverance and decorum in their interactions with the government and among themselves. He called on leaders to realise that governance is a collection of contractual agreements and covenants, adding that they should always respect agreements entered into with the people. On justice and equity, he said for the country to achieve a just and egalitarian society, all Nigerians must be treated equally as a way of life.

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CHOPIN Launches Organ, Music Quarterly Publication Sunday 7 N evening of Organ Variations and Improvisations of A hymns and classicals and launching of its first Organ and Music Quarterly publication in Nigeria, titled, “Organ and Music Magazine” organised by the Church Organ Projects in Nigeria (CHOPIN), holds on Sunday, July 7, 2013 at Tinubu Methodist Church, Lagos from 3pm to 6pm. The magazine, according to the CEO of Chopin and Publisher of Organ and Music Magazine, Lanre Delano is fashioned after the famous Church Music Quarterly (CMQ) and produced in England by the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM). Organists such as veteran James Adekunle, Organist and Choirmaster of Holy Trinity Ebute-Ero, Kayode Oni (FTCL) of Hoares Memorial Methodist Church and Prof A.0 Vidal will all perform at the event. Reception follows thereafter at the Church Crypt.


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IBRUCeNTRe

Sunday School Destiny Destroyers (2) Memory Verse: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall dwell in His Holy Place? He that has clean hands, a pure heart; who has not lifted his soul to vanity nor sworn deceitfully. Psalm 24: 3-4 Bible passage: 2 Timothy 3: 1-7

Introduction S we continue our study, we pray God will reveal our divine assignments to us. Amen. Outlines: • Sin stinks and sinks • Prayer power• Pride destroys Sin stinks and sinks: A man living in sin cannot fulfill his destiny or enjoy God’s blessing. Sin is iniquitous and will

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...With Pastor Enoch Adeboye

enslave and destroy. I John 3: 4; Romans 6: 16-18; Romans 6: 23. Unconfessed sin and an unrepentant sinner provoke God’s anger. I Kings 16: 2; Psalm 7: 11. Obedience is one of the keys to fulfillment of destiny. Joshua 1: 8. The destiny of Samson was ruined by the sin of serial disobedience. Judges 16: 6-18. Prayer power: Many Christians do not pray enough. We should pray without ceasing. Jesus enjoined us to pray. Luke 18:1. Intercession has its place, but your prayer life cannot be outsourced. Jesus prayed intensely throughout his lifetime. There was no gap for the enemy to exploit.

Luke 22: 41-44, 6: 12-13; Matt. 26: 38-42; John 6: 15. Pride destroys: Pride is over inflated self-worth; a feeling of being better than others. God resists the proud, but favours the humble. Rom. 9: 15-16; Psalms 138: 6, James 4: 6. Pride is a sin and it leads to loss of opportunities. Dan 4: 2833, Pro. 21: 4, 16: 18; 2 Chron. 26: 16; Prov. 29: 23. Conclusion Determine to obey God and you will fulfill your pre-ordained life goal. Help others identify and realise God’s beautiful plan for their lives by leading them to Christ. He, who wins a soul is wise. Be wise!

War Against Occultism, Witchcraft And False Religion (7) By Gabriel Agbo ivination D PLeASe, we have said so much on this subject that this column cannot take. So, I suggest you quickly get our bestselling books Power of Midnight Prayer and breaking Generational Curses, to learn more. Another act of occultism that goes contrary to the word of God is divination. And this includes: mediums, fortune telling, horoscope, psychic and others. Any person getting information from these sources is communicating with demon. Yes, some-

times they can see through the spirit and give you correct information. But they are still not from God, but from Satan. The possessed girl in Act 16:16-22, through the power of the demons said accurately who Paul and his company were. But Paul later identified the demon and promptly cast it out. This is one of the spirits that rule the false places of worship today. When they tell you everything about your life, you will be amazed and get hooked. The game is, once they tell you anything and you believe it or become afraid, then it will happen as they said. But if

The Amazing Power Of Praise By S.K. Abiara eT me start by saying the Ltremendous. gains in praising God is Because when a man, woman or group of people praise the Almighty, the result cannot be nothing than awesome. What then is praise? Praise is honour, commendation, extolment, eulogizing, exaltation, paying tribute or worship. Any of these act listed is commanded throughout the Bible, especially as the object of praise is God, himself. His holy name, power, wonders, loving-kindness and works have to be acknowledged by all the works of his hand. The Psalmist says, “I will praise you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. I will bless you everyday, and I will praise you forever. Great is the Lord!

He is most worthy of praise… Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy of your righteousness,” Ps.145:1-7. “Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name”... “Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord! Praise him, you who serve the Lord, you who serve in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God,” Ps. 30:4; 135:1-2. Another group of people commanded to sing the praise of the Most High are children, the angels, all nations, everything that has breath and all creation. “Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done this wondrous thing. Shout O earth! Break forth into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel.” (Is. 44:23).

By Ernest Onuoha Ne of the weapons the devil is fiercely O fighting the Church is homosexuality. Whatever it is, homosexuality is an aberration, a negation of God’s principles and standards and therefore should not be practiced by the people of God. Those who are involved are sincerely sick and depraved. In fact, they need help because such practice comes from the pit of hell. The word homosexual is a Greek and Latin hybrid. Its first element is derived from the Greek word homos meaning ‘same,’ but it is not related to the Latin word Homo, ‘man’, as in Homo Sapiens. It connotes sexual acts and affections between members of the same sex. Homosexuality is the sexual attraction between persons of the same gender. It refers to ‘an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience romantic attractions primarily or exclusively to people of the same sex. It also refers to an individual’s sense of personal and social identity based on those behaviours, expressing them among people that share similar behaviours. The most common terms for homosexuals are lesbian for females and gay for males.

Have you ever wondered why we must praise God always? There are 10 different reasons given in the Bible for this. For instance, He is to be praised for his greatness. His splendour, majesty, glory, holiness, love and faithfulness; his acts of power, marvelous deeds, glorious grace, salvation and his mighty deliverance in lives,Ps.145:3; 96:4-6; 66:1-2; 99:3; 57:9-10; 89:1-2;

150:2; 111:1-10; 40:1-3. For these reasons you can see that we need to live a life of praise to God alone. So, how are we supposed to praise the Lord? The acceptable ways of praising God is outlined in the Bible and they are dancing and singing spiritual songs in Psalms, hymns and those songs inspired by the Holy Spirit.  “Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God! How delightful and how right!” Ps. 147:1. The singing becomes more melodious when it is accompanied by musical instruments. There is more to the amazing power of praise. God bless. Prophet Abiara, General Evangelist, Christ Apostolic Church (CAC).

skabiaraofciem@yahoo.co.uk

you reject and rebuke them, you will be free from their hook. The occult groups will always want to tell you about the future and other secrets to hook you. But this is just Satan’s way of countering the work of the Holy Spirit and the true prophetic gifts of God. Be careful! Sorcery This involves magic, spells, incantations, charms, amulets and others. All these and more are used to manipulate people, and also turn them away from putting their faith in God. We saw the examples of sorcerers in the New Testament — Simon and elymas. “Afterward they preached from town to town across the entire island until they reached Pathos, where they met a Jewish sorcerer, a false prophet named Bar Jesus. He had attached himself to the governor, Sergio’s Paulus, a man of considerable insight and understanding. The governor invited Barnabas and Saul to visit him, for he wanted to hear the word of God. But elymas, the sorcerer (as his name means in Greek), interfered and urged the governor to pay no attention to what Saul and Barnabas said. He was trying to turn the governor away from the Christian faith.” Act 13: 6 – 8; Act 8: 9 - 11. These clearly show the operation of sorcery, and that is what the devil wants to achieve with occultism; to divert people’s attention from God and to dominate them. Secrecy Another feature of the occult world is secrecy. They always have something to hide or keep away from the public. There is also always something to keep from the fresh initiates. The dark kingdom thrives in secrets and deceits. The occult world will always reserve certain information for certain levels in the group, and they will make sure that you get to a ‘point of no return’ before knowing them. And when you make any attempt to withdraw, they use fear of harm, destruction or even death to threaten you. But when you are serving the true God, through His Son Jesus Christ, you have nothing to fear or hide. The initiation into Christianity is clean and open. It involves no rituals. It is just accepting Jesus as your Lord and saviour. Any worship that involves secrecy and sacrifices cannot be the worship of the true God. Rev. Agbo is of the Assemblies of God gabrielagbo@yahoo.com

From The Rector Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor

Homosexuality And Its effect On The Church (1) Though, gay is also used to refer generally to both male and female homosexuals. However, since the end of the 19th century, there has been a global movement towards increased visibility, recognition and legal rights for homosexual people, including the rights to marriage and civil unions, adoption and parenting, employment, military service, equal access to healthcare and the introduction of anti-bullying legislation to protect gay minors. Homosexuality still thrives in various spheres of life today in the homes and communities like in the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, Gen. 19. It is even carried out in our schools — primary, secondary and tertiary.

Many—school mother/school father, church members, seminaries, convents and the ordained ministry serve as avenues to recruit people. Bishop Gene Robinson of the Diocese of New Hampshire in 2003 openly confessed gay and this divided the Anglican Communion till today. Hence, we have GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) for those, who do not accept this aberration as it negates Biblical principles. Homosexuality is a sin and the Bible according to St Paul I Cor. 6:9-10 and Rev. 21:8, says, whoever indulges in it will not inherit the kingdom of God. In the beginning, God made them male and female, Gen. 1v27 and we could see the reac-

tion of Adam when he woke up and saw the woman God made by his side: ‘And the man said, This is now the bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man,’ Gen. 2:23. This is how God intended it to be for procreation and for sanctity in life. It is unfortunate that some people have rejected the truth of the gospel and are now preaching their ‘own gospel.’

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


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The GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

IBRUCeNTRe Cleric Advises Govt Against Amnesty For Boko Haram

Springs Of Wisdom By PASTOR W.F KUMUYI

By Omiko Awa

Faith That Conquers

POSTLe Kingsley Innocent, the senior pastor of Bible BeA lieving Mission Incorporated (a.k.a God of Talk And Do), Aba, Abia State, has expressed displeasure at the way people of other religions, especially Christians are treated in the Northern part of the country. Speaking to The Guardian Innocent said, “it does not speak well of the image of the country for Christians from the Southern part of the country to leave the North, as this would create the impression that Nigeria is a divided country to the international community, adding that the North should understand this and imbibe the culture of peaceful co-existence of people of diverse culture and creed. “It is bad and ungodly for anybody, including Christians to be killed in the North. It is an act of wickedness and human degradation. God is against it and I will never encourage the shedding of blood. I will not encourage war because asking Christians to fight back will lead to war. I will only tell those behind the act to know that God is not pleased with them and that, they will soon incur the wrath of God.” Describing the killing as barbaric, the cleric explained that: “In the Bible, people who revolted against God’s children did not escape punishment, adding that the situation will not be different in Nigeria’s situation.” Reacting to the proposed amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect, Innocent said, “it is unfair to Christians who have lost their loved ones during the crises. Members of the religious sect should not be given amnesty when victims of their barbaric acts have not been catered for. There were too many churches burnt and many people rendered homeless. If victims of these crises get nothing from gov-

SUALLY, God does not expect too much from men. he looks out U for things we often ignore: the little things we do, and how and why we do them. he is easily pleased when he finds faithfulness in

Innocent

ernment and amnesty is given to Boko Haram sect members, it then means that government is insensitive to the plights of the victims.” Pastor Innocent called on Christians to be united, saying that Christians look physically united, but in the actual sense divided. “I want Christians in this nation to have one language, work in unity and eschew individual or group interest.”

The Jesus Dream Thanksgiving And Praise Points 8:00 – 9:00pm June 30, 2013 eLCOMe To Thanksgiving At The Father’s Gates (enter his Gates With Thanksgiving (Ps 100:4a)) •Father, thank You for giving us the seed of Your Word (John 17:8); the Word of Your grace (Acts 20:32) with which we have come to offer to You the fruit of our lips. (heb 13:15, hosea 14:2) •Father, thank You for demonstrating Your love towards us (Rom 5:8) by sending Your Son in whom dwells all Your fullness (Col 1:19) and making peace through his blood shed on the cross; even while we were yet enemies. (Rom 5:10) •Father, thank You for not counting our sins against us but reconciling us to Yourself through the blood of Jesus Christ and even trusting us with Your ministry of reconciliation. (2 Cor 5:1819) •Father, thank You for Your great and immeasureable love for us that made us sit together with Jesus Christ in heavenly places (eph 2:6), thus making us to fellowship with Your Son (1 Cor 1:9) • Father, thank You for the abundant provision of grace – (Rom 5:17) received from the fullness of Jesus’ grace – John 1:16 by which we are enriched in every way (1 Cor 1:5) and for the gift of righteousness – Rom 5:17 through which we reign in life by Jesus Christ. • Father, we thank You joyfully for qualifying us through Jesus Christ to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light – Col 1:12 • Father, thank You for the presence of the holy Spirit in our lives, forever guiding us into all truth (John 14:17) and revealing the deep things in your heart to us. Now let us step further into his Courts armed with PRAISe WeLCOMe TO PRAISe AT The FATheR’S COURTS God created us to proclaim his praises – Isa 43:21. Therefore, as we stay our minds on him and declare his glory among the nations (1 Chro 16:24), he will dwell in our midst (Ps 22:3) and we will experience perfect peace (Isa 26:3) as he promised. • You may want to clap – Ps 47:1; dance – Ps 47:1; Shout – ezra 3:11; lift up your hands – Ps 134:2; bow down – Ps 95: 6 or kneel down – Ps 95:6; Bring out the best instruments to praise him – Ps 150

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Glory! We are there, at the feet of him who is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and also our God and Father (John 20:17). The holy One who is All-powerful, All-knowing and the ever-Present God. The Alpha and Omega who is the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9). The All-Sufficient One who is everything to everyone – healer to the sick, resurrection to the dead. The only one who purposes, and no one can thwart (Isaiah 14:27). Who among the gods is like You, o Lord, majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders (exodus 15:11) • Praise him for his mighty acts — You turned the Red sea into dry land for your children to walk through (Ps 66:5-6) …on and on. •Praise him for his great arm of deliverance – By the mystery of the cross at Calvary, You turned the wisdom of the princes of this world into foolishness and translated us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. (Col 1:13) …on and on. •Praise him for his perfect relationship with us – Great is your love towards us (Ps 63:3) and your faithfulness endures forever (Ps 117:1-2). Though Mercy is your Being, Your love allows Your Mercy to flow lavishly (eph. 2:4) towards us. We praise You for inhabiting our praises (Ps 22:3). …on and on. •Praise him for his creation – Father You are worthy of our praise for you created our inner being. You knit us together in our mothers’ wombs. We praise You for we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:13-14). You created the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. (Jer. 32:17) •Praise him who is the just Judge of all the earth; Father You deserve our praise for You will not slay the righteous with the wicked (Gen. 18:25) because Your Righteousness and You love justice. •Praise him for his Word – Father, we praise you for Your Word is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens (Ps 119:89). By your Word, all things hold together. Father, to you, the only wise God, be glory forever through Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Spirit Of Truth And error By Patrick Esho

heRe are so many things that must be cancelled in our T life, home, marriage, business, ministry, nation and the world at large. They must be cancelled because they are not from or of God and their presence around us will derail us from fulfilling God’s purpose. The spirit of error is the spirit of Satan. It is the spirit with which he gains entrance into us. If Satan succeeds in getting us into error, then he has overcome us. The spirit of error is the door through which Satan enters a man. Genesis 3:1. The spirit of error weakens the believer’s foundation. If the foundation is destroyed, what can the righteous do? Psalm 11:3. It is the mother of all other evil and wicked spirits, such as the spirit of confusion, fear, doubt and unbelief, lying and deceit, pride and others. We must replace this spirit with the spirit of truth. 2 Timothy 1:7, Matthew 8:15-17. We must cancel the spirit of infirmity, the spirit of sickness and the spirit of disease and replace them with the spirit of wellness and strength, Matt. 8: 15-17; Matt. 9:12; Phil 4:13. how do we cancel these terrible and wicked spirits and replace them with the good ones? Unknown to us, this was why Jesus came, to help us cancel them. Jesus knew, on our

own, we cannot cancel them. Apostle Paul in Romans 7:14-23 made us to know that these spirits make us do what we do not want to do. Spirit of error is associated sick and needs. And this was why Jesus came to the world. he came to replace the spirit of error with the Spirit of Truth, 1 John 4: 6 “But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, “they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick,” Matt. 9:12. Jesus came as a physician to help us to cancel all these evil and wicked spirits, so that, we can do that, which we ought to do and no longer to be under the control of the devil. Beloved, it is our responsibility to replace the spirit of error with the Spirit of Truth, so that, it may be well with us. Isaiah 3:19 says: “Say ye to the righteous, it shall be well with him, for they shall eat the fruit of their doing.” The spirit of error is the spirit of disobedience while the Spirit of Truth is the Spirit of Obedience. No spirit operating in error can confess that Jesus has come in the flesh. But the flesh can confess so and yet remain in error, 1 John 4: 1-6. Patrick Esho, Senior/Presiding Pastor Rabboni Ministry International Inc. rabboni.ministry@ymail.com

the small or big things we do. This is the common thread that runs through the lives of people that pleased God in the Bible — the heroes of faith. Though drawn from varied backgrounds, they displayed uncommon characteristics of child-like trust and confidence in God. And they accomplished much in God’s reckoning. One of them, Abel, for instance, had faith that conquered sin. he received pardon and witness that he was righteous before God. Another man, enoch, conquered death because of his faith. he was translated into the presence of God without tasting death. Noah, on the other hand, conquered unbelief and worldly cynicism; hence he escaped the judgment of God on the antediluvian world. Years later, Abraham’s faith enabled him to conquer human reasoning, and he passed the greatest test that ever came to any man. The faith of Sarah, his wife too, conquered bodily weakness, and in old age, she received strength to conceive. The faith of her son, Isaac, overcame parental partiality and led him to submit totally to God’s plan and will. The faith of Jacob conquered human preference and tradition as he began to act under divine guidance alone. One of his sons, Joseph by faith, conquered the attachment to the world that power and fame bring, because his sight was set on the Promised Land. At a time when it was a high risk to make a family, the parents of Moses conquered the fear of a cruel edict from Pharaoh, and preserved the future deliverer for Israel. Moses himself by faith, conquered egypt, its pleasures and privileges, and conquered Pharaoh and his magicians. This level of faith is great and surmounts any hurdle. Though Moses was picked and nurtured by Pharaoh’s daughter, he never forgot his roots. At the age of 40, he decided to visit his people, the children of Israel, and there ran into a fight between an egyptian and an Israelite. he promptly sprung to the defense of the Israelite, killed the egyptian and hurriedly buried him in the desert sand. The following day, while attempting to settle a quarrel between two Israelites, the offending party accused him of attempting to kill him just as he did to the egyptian. he was shocked that his action had become public knowledge and fearing the repercussion, he fled to Midian. It was while he was there, 40 years later, that God asked him to go back to egypt to free the Israelites from Pharaoh’s slavery. he was initially reluctant to heed the call, until God promised to send him a companion in the person of his brother, Aaron. With diverse signs and wonders, many of which could not be replicated by egypt’s magicians. Pharaoh was first furious over what he saw as Moses’ intransigence. Later, he sought without success to strike a bargain with him. When a man is full of faith, he can withstand any adversary. Faith conquers fear and where faith is dominant, fear is dormant. Fear is a potent tool the devil uses to paralyze men from doing God’s will. Fear makes a person tremble before a fellow mortal. On the other hand, faith emboldens and enables you to stand firm, in spite of the frowns or smiles of men. Three things effectively stand out about the faith of Moses. Firstly, he did not fear man. While he saw Pharaoh as a human king, subservient to the Lord, he saw himself as a man full of power and authority from the Almighty God. Secondly, he was not afraid of the greatest of men. At the time, Pharaoh was the greatest of men, being the king of the mighty egyptian empire. But Moses was not afraid of him. If you have faith in God you will not be afraid of men, no matter how highly-placed they may be. Moses was truly a man of faith. his faith held firm when he and the Israelites arrived at the bank of the Red Sea and had no idea how to cross to the other side. Your present situation may appear bleak, but the Lord is around the corner with a surprise package for you. If you will act in faith like Moses and the children of Israel, you will very shortly, sing a victory song on the other side of your Red Sea. References: Hebrews 11:24, 27; Acts 7:26-28; Proverbs 19:12; 16:14; Zechariah 2:8,9; Exodus 14:14 and Jeremiah 32:17.

Bible Society To honours Ade Ojo, Udofia, Yahaya, Others  he Bible Society of Nigeria will on July 4, honour Sir Michael T Ade Ojo, Chairman, elizade Group; Most Rev. emmanuel Udofia, Primate of The African Church; and Rt. Rev. Timothy Yahaya, Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Taraba State Chapter.  The award, which holds at the Shell hall, MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos is part of events to mark the ninth yearly luncheon of Special Members Forum of The Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN). With the theme, Individual Accountability in Service, the event will serve as avenue to discuss how Bible work has progressed in the country, raise funds to support same and as well honour those who have been supporting the spread of the Bible. Guests expected include the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire as special guest of honour; the former head of State and patron of BSN, General Yakubu Gowon as Father of the Day; Rev. Wilson Badejo, former general overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church, Nigeria, chairman; and Mr. Gbile Akanni of The Living Seed, Gboko, Benue State as guest speaker. The BSN is a not-for-profit making interdenominational Christian organisation that translates the Bible into local languages, publishes, distributes and raises funds for the Bible work. So far, it has complete Bible in 20 Nigerian languages, the New Testament in 60 local languages and one book or another in 98 languages. The organisation also gives Bibles free to old peoples’ homes and orphanages, the visually impaired, prisoners and others.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

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IBRUCENTRE

A Worthwhile Sacrifice (1) By Seyi Ogunorunyinka OR every thanksgiving, somebody has to first make a sacriFaction; fice. In life, we pay attention more to the reaction than the forgetting that the action comes before the reaction. When a person pinches another person, people are usually not aware, but depending on pains that have been inflicted, the recipient may react in a more dramatic manner that usually draws attention. We thank the Lord for the gift of salvation every time, but one thing we fail to remember is the worthwhile sacrifice that was paid for. Somebody had first sacrificed something that was precious to Him and that is why, today, we can say, ‘Thank You, Lord for the gift of salvation.” God had to sacrifice Jesus for us to live. John 3:16, says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 10:11, says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” If Christ had not given His life for us and made the worthwhile sacrifice, our lives would have been worthless. As we celebrate a particular success story (anniversary of a Ministry), we should remember that certain people sacrificed their time, money and energy. They could have used their money for something else but they chose to use it for the things of God. Of what benefit to Jesus was the sacrifice that He made for us? After everything, He was given a throne next to the King of Kings. While He was going through the pains of the sacrifice,

His eyes were not on the pains, but on where He would end up. Also, John 14:6, says, “…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is because Jesus made the worthwhile sacrifice. He gained honour through it. Look at what the Bible says in Philippians 2:5-11, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness… every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Jesus sacrificed His position in heaven to save mankind from its sins. He knew the implication of the task that He agreed to accomplish yet He went ahead with this onerous task of dying for our sins. Romans 5:6-11. It is a rare type of love that God demonstrated to us through Christ. Jesus Himself described it in John 10:12 as “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus had a unique position in heaven, which He relinquished to come to the world to perform the work of redemption. He was one with God. This position He referred to in John 17:5 when He declared that “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” Pastor Seyi Ogunorunyinka, General Overseer The Promisedland Restoration Ministries, Surulere, Lagos. pastorseyiogunorunyinka@gmail.com

Brother Michael Akudolu (right); his wife, Okwuoma (left); and the officiating priest, Rev. Fr. Mary Benjamin Odo, during Akudolu’s investiture as Second Degree Knight of the Order of Knights of St. Mulumba, St. Mary’s Sub-council, Onitsha.

Abraham’s Obedience, Faith And Magnanimity of the mountains of which I shall tell you...” Once again, Abraham “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to obeyed, though the Lord provided an alternative ram in Isaac’s receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going,” He- stead. Abraham showed his magnanimity in his relationship with his brews 11:8. nephew, Lot. “Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also N our age, there is a strong tendency for one who is not imbed- had flocks and herds and tents… So Abram said to Lot, ‘Let’s not have ded in God to seek material wealth at all cost, and with little or any quarrelling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part no regard for others. As a result, cheating, backbiting and corruption have unfortunately become a way of life for many. But company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, those, who indulge in all these soon forget that every selfish act I’ll go to the left,” Genesis 13: 5-9. Abraham, though he is the older family member and would does have its painful reward. These we can find in the story of have the right to the best land, lets Lot have his choice to avoid Abraham and his nephew Lot. strife. God has promised Abraham land and he is trusting God Adherents of Christianity and Islam alike, readily find a rallying point in the man Abraham, who is rightly described as our to provide for him. Lot was greedy. He chose the whole plain of Jordan, which was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like Father in faith. They believe that Abraham was more than a mere mortal. He was a hero, an extraordinary man, who out of the land of Egypt, toward Zoar and set out toward the east. The faith and regard for the Almighty, went beyond the acceptable two men parted company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his norm by agreeing to sacrifice his only son. tents near Sodom. Gen. 13:10-12). Lot was attracted by the well-waAbraham, descended by 10 generations from Noah, was born between 2000 and 1850 BC, in southern Mesopotamia, near the tered land, but ignored the moral character of the inhabitants. Euphrates River. He was a man of obedience and strong passion On the other hand, Abraham was a man of strong faith, he believed in the Lord. His faith was so strong that he never wavered for God. This was evident in his relationship with the divine. Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country to the in the Lord’s promises. Genesis 13:14-17. There is a strong disparity between Abraham and his nephew land that I will show you ... I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse, and by you all families of the earth shall Lot. While Lot walked by faith, Lot walked by sight. Abraham was bless themselves.” Genesis12: 2-3. So, Abram departed, as the Lord generous and magnanimous while Lot was greedy and worldly. had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was Abraham looked up to God to provide always for his needs while Lot represented vain men who decided to depend on the 75 years old when he departed out of Haran. temporary wealth of the world. As we learnt later, Lot paid Whenever God called upon him, Abraham was quick to redearly for his decision to settle by the plain in Sodom. He lost his spond. In Genesis 22:1-5, we see God again testing Abraham’s faith: “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and wife and all his material possession while Abraham was blessed go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there a burnt offering on one beyond his wildest imagination.

By Gabriel Osu

I

Living Waters By Pastor Lazarus Muoka

The Right Attitude, When Persecuted ELOVED, no matter how well we live, how much we give B or how much evil we are exposed to in the world, as long as we are sincerely following Jesus Christ we will surely suffer persecution. The Scripture says, “but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified”. 1Pt 4: 13- 14. If any man suffers as a Christian, he should not be worried or ashamed because it is expected of him to suffer persecution. He should regard it as his identification with Christ. He should not be ashamed to be called a Christian or to be identified with the Saviour whom he professes to love. He should not be ashamed of the society or to be a member of a true Christian fellowship or, even, preach the gospel. Christians should know that a believer is called to suffer, just like Christ. You may be reviled and despised because your are Christian; rejoice because you have been identified with the Lord. We may feel the suffering, but grace abounds, because we have a Saviour who has overcome the world. How we react to the unjust reveals the glory of Christ, who lives in us. Let the righteous continue to be righteous. In the face of unjust treatment, we should remain in the righteousness of Christ. We must be righteous when others are unrighteous. We should always let our light shine. In the face of unholy acts, heresy and blasphemous deeds around us; we are to remain holy, separate and sanctified.  As we all know that fire is used to purify gold and to bring it to an acceptable standard. In the other hand, when God wants to refine us, He uses fiery trials to bring us to His acceptable standard. Whenever you see someone whose life reflects the life of Christ, you are sure that you are seeing somebody who has gone through persecution. Nothing brings wholesomeness to character and commitment to the heart like adversity. Are you facing some challenges in your life now? Are you been accused, reviled, disparaged or scorned for preaching to people? Are you thinking that God has abandoned and allowed your enemies to say and do all manner of evil things against you? Rejoice, for God knows everything about you. He is refining you to His acceptable standard. Do not be disheartened for the hand of God is on the thermostat of your life, monitoring the temperature required to burn away the things that hinder His purpose in your life. He will finish the work soon and you will come out stronger in patience, prayer, faith and lots of other character.

RCCG Plans For Laos, Honduras HE Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Lagos T Province One, has concluded plans to reach out to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, a Southeast Asian nation of about seven million people with the gospel. The church also intends to consolidate on its presence in Honduras where it planted four churches in the last seven months. As part of plans, the church will meet today to share its vision for Laos and Honduras with a select audience of entrepreneurs, professionals and ministers of the gospel at the Elion House Hotel in Dolphin Estate Extension, Ikoyi, Lagos. In a statement in Lagos, the Assistant Pastor in-charge and Missions Director of Lagos Province One, Pastor Samuel Olabode Olaniyan, said the scheme was in fulfilment of the directive of the RCCG’s General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, who ordered the provinces to cover all the nations that were yet to be reached by the church. The province responded by starting a church in Honduras, a Central American country with an estimated population of eight million people late last year. That effort has since given birth to four parishes. Laos, as the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is also called, is the latest of the Province’s moves to meet the church’s missions’ target. The country is being given priority because only about two percent of the population are Christians. With the addition of Honduras and other nations, recently, covered by Lagos Province One and other provinces, the RCCG is now present in about 160 countries with the hope of covering the rest of the world within a short time.


TheGuardian

42 Sunday, June 30, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Business

By Geoff Iyatse, Chijoke Nelson, Ikechukwu Onyewuchi and Kayla Grage Nothing in the template that announced Lagos as pilot sample of the cashless policy revealed what informed the choice. But considering the technological literacy of residents of the country’s financial hub, the thought of Lagos did not come strange. Yet, the choice did throw up germane questions when weighed against the wisdom of sample drawing. Sample makes sense when the remaining variables identify with it, on average. Otherwise, it is faulty sampling. Lagos stands out in Nigeria. Barely can any state contest with it in terms of advancement in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which drives cashless transaction. Hence, issues were raised on why the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) handpicked Lagos to test-run the novel scheme. Could an idea that succeed in an extremely literate Lagos, in Nigerian context, succeed in disparately unequally fortunate states? Supposing the Lagos scheme achieved success, does it, in any manner, testify that it will succeed in other states? Yet, just as the kicks-off second-phase implementation tomorrow in Anambra, Abia, Ogun, Kano, Rivers states and the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos manages to wobble arround with the policy believed to have been imposed on Nigerians, in the first place. Cash transfer, supposedly, is a critical supportbase of the policy. But this, perhaps, suffers the greatest hitch in recent years. First, the ICT infrastructure of banks that supports seamless transfer is still very weak. Down time has become an everyday challenge, obstructing quick transmission of cash to recipients’ accounts. Here is a relevant instance: an account holder of a old generation bank, Braimoh, had a transaction with a client that involved a fee of N850,000. It was an urgent job. Hence, he either picked cash payment or source money elsewhere to execute the project pending when a cheque would be cleared. Meanwhile, it was against the corporate management style of the client, a Lagos-based packaging company, to pay in cash. It chose to do instant transfer from its new generation bank’s account. The company paid the stipulated fee and wired the money on a particular Monday morning as the service was very crucial and needed to be executed by Wednesday of the same week. Behold, the money remain on floating status for the whole of that week while the parties kept angling on what could have gone missing. Sorting codes were exchanged among parties involved; account officers of the two banks knew no peace. But the transaction remained inconclusive until it was too late to execute the purpose for which the money was released. Daily, banking halls are inundated with complaints about fund transfer applications not cleared in time. While bank officers simply implore complainants to bear with “server” challenge, irritated customers do not see why they

Cashless Nigeria: Lagosians Still Contend With should be the ones to suffer poor infrastructure ultilised by banks. They would do the transactions using other means if it is just to avoid the with transfer service. The cost of transaction has always been an issue. Some banks still charge for intra-bank transfer. A certain bank was still recently charging N150 per in-house transaction. The attention banks give to transfer desk also raises question about their commitment to improving that aspect of banking. A single staff that may spend average of 30 minutes to finish a transaction could attend to ten customers, in some cases. That is if the network does not run into trouble halfway. And customers do not see any reason they should pay for a transaction that does not improve the quality of life they live. Findings, thus, shows that much of the volume of cash handled through transfer are for corporate organisations. Individuals, a much as they can, shun transfer for the hassle faced in the process. And the culture, perhaps, is growing. The Automated Teller Machine (ATM) offers wide-range services, including transfer. But nine out of every10 customers who spoke in Lagos last week said they have never done a transfer through the medium. Many of them said they never made attempt while some said efforts in that direction were never successful. Surprisingly, a scanty number admitted they have used the machines to pay bills or top up telephone and paid pay-television charges. What most people do on the ATM is the traditional cash withdrawal, which merely slightly decongests banking halls rather than advancing the real objective of cashless policy — reducing cost of cash management. Of course, there is attitude dimension to the low transfer patronage. At a branch of a leading bank on Airport Road, Lagos, last two weeks, a car dealer accepted to turn down a deal for want of physical cash. The buyer was to pay over the sum of N1.8 million but was shocked to realise he would pay reasonably high for above-

the-limit charges if he withdrew cash. The teller suggested a transfer could materialise in cash by evening of the same day. The buyer said he wanted cash. Not even the assurance by the attendant that he should see her the following day if his account was not credited the same day could change his mind. The buyer was left with no option but to withdraw cash, and pay the penalty “because I need the car.” However, a fund transfer officer at an Oshodi branch of a regional bank, said transation has been less stressful since the inception of the cashless policy, noting that complaints about network challenges are not peculiar to Nigeria. “There are a lot of people moving money here and there with the aid of money transfer service. The system has been smooth. As for the network issue, we should know that there is no perfect system in the world. The issue we have been having are not too threatening. Sometimes, they are things we can’t avoid. When I try and it does not go through, I quit the system and try again. It works perfectly. There is no issue on inter-bank transfer. I do, at least, 10 transfers a day and it has been pretty smooth. “Before now, we have been doing transfer, but not on the same platform. What we used before was not crediting the receiver instantly. The receiver would have to wait for a day. But this system is much faster; it is seamless. The response and perception have been encouraging. CBN has stipulated cash withdrawal limits of N3 million for corporate organisations and N500,000 for individuals, yet people want to buy cars and other items, which requires higher value. They easily make transfer to the other person’s account to ease the process. When customers come to withdraw above the limit, we advise them to pick up the slip and do a transfer instead. “A lot of our customers are quite responsive except for the retail traders who withdraw small amount, say 50,000 to 200,000. But some customers really make use of and appreciate the

platform. “If you walked into banking halls those days, you would see long queues… But that era has gone. Sometimes we urge our customers to use the transfer service instead of waiting on the queue for their turn. We ask them how much they want to withdraw and advise they use transfer instead of going through the stress associated with withdrawal and later depositing into another account. We even encourage them to make use of the ATM…We are not even allowed to withdraw across the counter. I go out to use the ATM machine. And you can also do transfer through the ATM.” The banker noted that the major challenge facing the system is illiteracy. He said people are not well informed to know how to use money transfer. He said: “We don’t have many literate here. If you go to our branches in Ikeja and Victoria Island there is difference because the number of literate people in those areas is high. People in Oshodi are mostly market men and women” He noted that corporate customers embrace transfer payment option more than individuals. Findings revealed that some customers, indeed, are eager to use cashless platforms such as recently reinvigorated point of sales (PoS). But some retailers are rather indifferent to the full utilisation of the smart machines Two retailers at The Arena (the Nigeria Army Shopping Arena) in Oshodi said the PoS machines they use are unreliable and that they sometimes debit customers while they are not credited, thus slowing down their businesses. They said they decided to revert to cash payments because of the growing challenges. Another retailer in the market, Mrs Florence, MD of Estee Apparel, said her experience with PoS has been great. Though, she said she only support cash aspect of the business with two PoS. “When there is no network, I use the other one,” she disclosed, displaying the two devices with the logos of two different banks. “It is for efficiency and effective payment, because there might not be network when a customer wants to make payment,” she said about the gadgets. Mrs Ifueko Osagiede, a retailer in the modern market has a similar story, although with a little twist. She said she also has two of the machines, issued for free by two banks, adding that she procured two for better service. She said: “I was using the one issued by Diamond Bank Plc before it was complicated, it was connecting but lost it. It works like an ATM machine; it requires stable network to work effectively. “The bank recently issued another one to me. The new one is quite user-friendly. It is effective; that of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc is also effective. “I had an experience with Guaranty Trust Bank. After a transaction, they didn’t credit me after the stipulated 48 hours. When they eventually did credit me, I saw just N98 credited to my account. I had to report the issue to the Bank. The customer paid 15,000 to me later when I told her I didn’t get the money. They later credited me with the remaining 14, 902, which means the customer had now paid twice for the item she bought. I called her for the excess. That’s not the only case I’ve had. At times, I would wait for my cash for more than 48 hours. They would not pay me so I will just exercise patience and wait till they do.” At SLOT, a major information technology store and repairs service provider, the story is not different. Its Sales Floor Manager, Mr Daniel Olise, who oversees transactions, including PoS terminal, stated that the store has had its fair share of challenges using the payment platform. He said although they have been using the terminals before the official policy was launched, the major issues they have faced are those of extra and transaction charges. He said: “The POS has a software version, which most people don’t usually understand. There are different cards like Master card, Verve and Visa. So the terminals may accept Master but not Visa card or Verve. Some may collect Verve but not Master Card while others may take all cards. We even have diamond card, international card, credit card and debit card. Customers are reluctant to use POS for some reasons like extra charges.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 45


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

BUSINESS

NIMASA Vs NLNG: As The ‘War’ Over Levies Continues…

By Geoff Iyatse ETWEEN the Nigerian Maritime B Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited (NLNG), it is about who throws the next dice. What started like a little dispute between the two institutions of equal substance has assumed a major conflict that could inflict severe damage on the economy if allowed to continue. The crisis over alleged refusal to pay statutory charges and levies deepened a week ago as NIMASA served detention notice to vessels belonging to/chartered by NLNG. While NLNG Niger described the action as violation of a court order, NIMASA said it was unware of any injunction and that it was enforcing extant laws, which empowers it to collect charges from maritime operators. A statement by the Deputy Director, Public Affairs, NIMASA, Isichei Osamgbi, read: “The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has today in its enforcement of Nigerian laws, served detention notices/orders on vessels belonging to/chartered by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited (NLNG). “This course of action was forced on NIMASA by the NLNG’s subsequent refusal or/and failure to abide by the outcome of the negotiated settlement arrived at through the mediation process it willingly instigated and subscribed to after reaching agreement with NIMASA on its outstanding debt and paying $20m out of it and its continued flagrant disregard for Nigerian laws. “Contrary to NLNG’s position, NIMASA is not aware of any court order against it or any suit brought by NLNG against NIMASA. “By its action, the NLNG has trivialised the mediation process and the position of the Federal Government of Nigeria whose Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation owns and holds 49 per cent of the shares in NLNG and which endorsed the agreement reached that NLNG should pay its taxes/levies and observe all its obligations under the laws of Nigeria in which it is operating.” Spokesman of NLNG, Kudo Eresia-Eke, had described the action as a flagrant disregard for court order while disclosing NIMASA’s restriction of LNG Enugu, LNG Oyo and LNG Imo, were from leaving the company’s loading bay. “The potential implications of this current action by NIMASA on Nigeria LNG operations are enormous and would impact negatively on its international customers,” she said. NLNG said it paid about N3.2 billion in outstanding levies to NIMASA “under protest” and filed a suit on June 18 against the agency to seek judicial interpretation on the legality of the levies.

On May 18, NLNG was directed to pay outstanding levies to NIMASA after an arbitration panel ruled that the liquefied gas giant was not exempted from the levies due to NIMASA. The presidency and the Ministry of Transportation, at different stages, had waded into the feud that dates back to the days of Dr. Ade Dosunmu. After a long-drawn negotiating process, the duo agreed to the payment of an estimated sum of about N26.8billion, out of the N32.8 billion NIMASA had estimated the arrears owed by NLNG from the period of the presumed expiration of the waivers granted the company by the Federal Government at inception. Dosunmu had moved to mine the obviously huge funding option via a letter dated August 20, 2007 and addressed to then Minister of Transportation (Water). The former NIMASA boss had informed the minister of the agency’s readiness to commence the collection of the three per cent “statutory levy on the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited sale/commercial shipment of its gas and other hydrocation products. “At the inception of the NLNG project in 1988/89, the Minister may wish to recall that in recognition of its magnitude and in consideration of the huge investment to be made by the foreign joint venture partners, the Federal Government granted a package of incentives and tax relief through the NLNG (Fiscal incentives, guarantees and assurances) Decree No. 39 of 1990… “On duration or period of the relief granted section 2 provides: Notwithstanding the provisions of section 10 of the industrial (Income Tax Relief) Act 1971, the tax relief period of the company shall commence on the production day of the company and shall continue for a period of 10 years. Dosunmu explained that under the repealed National Shipping Policy Act 1987, attempts by the legacy National Maritime Authority (NMA) to collect the three per cent statutory levy in the early 1990’s made the NLNG Limited to compel the Federal Government to extend the incentives and relief to include exemption from the payment of the agency three per cent levy. According to him, this was done through the NLNG fiscal incentives guarantees and assurances Amendment Decree No. 113 of 1993. Dosunmu insisted that the period of incentives and tax relief granted the NLNG had since

elapsed, which makes it one of the agency’s sources of funding under section 17 of NIMASA Act 2007.” The NIMASA boss had written previously: “Following the expiration of the incentives and the relief period, the agency is notifying the Minister that there is need to put the necessary logistics in place for the collection of our statutory three per cent levy on NLNG/BGT gas sale as it is done to all other commercial shipments in or out of Nigeria.” A report said a reply from the ministry endorsed by Dr. Aliyu Jimada and dated September 26, 2007, said: “I have been directed to refer to your letter Ref. No. NIWA.1937/DG/FMOT/C.63 dated August 20, 2007 and to convey the Minister’s approval for you to commence action for the collection of the three percent statutory levy on the NLNG commercial shipments. You are, however, to engage outside consultants in the collection of this levy through due process and to forward your recommendation for approval. Yet, another letter was issued to the NIMASA DG from the Minister of Water Transportation On March 3, 2008. Signed by Mrs. P.G. Bajoga, the letter stated: “I am directed to refer to a letter addressed to the Chairman, President Committee on Grant of Waivers and Tax Exemptions, Abuja dated 5th of November 2007… a copy of which was forwarded to Minister of Transportation (Water) and to inform you that the Minister … is in support for your request to demand for the statutory three per cent levy from NLNG as empowered in your Act”. Dosunmu was said to have also on September 21, 2007, written NLNG Managing on the matter. He explained in the letter that the waivers the company enjoyed had elapsed and that the agency had been cleared by the Government to commence the collection of the said the statutory levies. “The management of the Agency will appreciate a meeting with the management of NLNG with a view to sorting out the modalities for the commencement of the discharge of this statutory responsibility. On April 21, 2008, Dosunmu wrote a remainder letter. He wrote subsequently detailing the transaction data of NLNG. A response from the NLNG Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Chima Obineche, on July 24, 2008, argued that the com-

A response from the NLNG Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Chima Obineche, on July 24, 2008, argued that the company had not achieved the threshold upon which it the government said its tax holiday would elapse

pany had not achieved the threshold upon which it the government said its tax holiday would elapse. “The foregoing notwithstanding, we respond to each of your specific requests as follows: Commencement date of production Trains one and two – September 15, 1999, Train three – November 28, 2002, Train four and five – November 2005 (note that Train five start-up was actually achieved in February 2006),” the NLNG boss noted. She also insisted that the date of first shipment was October 9, 1999 for Train one and two, December 17, 2002 for Train three, January for Train four and five, noting that “NLNG maintains an integrated operation” while vessels are nominated and scheduled on the basis of “availability and other necessary considerations… “It might interest you to know that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) the only body or institution in Nigeria statutorily charged with the determination, assessment, computation and collection of corporate income tax from entities subject to Federal Government taxation, recently advised from the results of their computation that the $3/mmbtu threshold as far back as 2003 and re-affirms our painstaking explanation … that that the assertion was totally incorrect… As you may be aware, the next calculation date falls due on October 9, 2008 and we now request with this confirmation from FIRS that we be allowed to continue our business without further issues being raised on this matter through your persistent demands for payments not due to you.” In another letter, the company noted: “Nigeria LNG Limited’s business (including its shipments) cannot be subjected to the provisions of the NIMASA Act, such law not being of general application to all companies incorporated in Nigeria, especially as much as it relates to the payment of the three per cent levy.” Many expected Dosunmu’s successor, Temi Omatseye, to pick the gauntlet but for whatever reason he was rather quiet on the matter for the two years he was in charge of the volatile maritime sector. As the battle of wits between NIMASA and NLNG continues, the former, in a recent advertorial, claimed that as a self-finding body, the action of the gas company is incapacitating its operations, arguing that the blatant refusal to honour its liability is instigating non-compliance from other operators. Apart from paying the charges nine after the grace was said to have expired, NIMASA accused NLNG of rejecting demands that vessels used by its subsidiary, contractors and customers pay the stipulated two per cent cabotage of the contract sum.


44

The GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

BUSINeSS

Shareholders See hope In Oando’s Conoco Fields Acquisition, Profit Growth S Oando Plc prepares for its Annual General A Meeting (AGM) scheduled for early next month, President of the Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Shehu Mallam Mikali, at the weekend, expressed confidence in the future of indigenous oil production and marketing firm, saying its plan to acquire ConocoPhillips’ Nigerian assets is an indication that “the management is thinking.” Conoco’s fields were producing some 43,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) and have proven reserves of 213 million barrels of oil equivalent Mikali, in a text message to The Guardian, said the steps being taken by both the Management and the Board of Oando are an “eye opener in letting local players in oil field know that there are greater prospects in the business and that an indigenous company can perform better. “Now, with the declared (2012) financial results, investors now have more courage to shore more interest in the company by increasing their styakes in both onshore and offshore business,” Mikali said. After a long wait, Oando recently announced

experts Converge On Sustainability Management

FY’12 audited results with reported ePS at N4.74 missing management’s guidance of N5.16 by 8 percent. The N675 billion revenue for the period beat management’s guidance of N638 billion, a six percent positive variance. Revenue growth, according to the report, was supported by higher PMS prices (following January 2012 price hike), commissioning of east horizon Gas Company (ehGC) pipeline and the addition of swamp rig, Passion. Despite the large contribution to revenues from low margin PMS, group gross margin improved 60 bps to 12.1 percent (FY11: 11.5 percent) due to high margin contribution from ehGC and Passion, our view. Nonetheless, a 108 percent rise in interest expense to N12.8 billion, occasioned by increased borrowing, including $432 million to fund the ConocoPhillips (COP) deal and what is expected would be higher depreciation cost as a result of the commissioning of Passion, ehGC, tapered net profit to N10.8 billion. Mr. Wale Tinubu, the chief executive of Oando Plc,” recently allayed fears that Oando was struggling to raise finance for the $1.79 billion (1.17 billion pounds) for the acquisition of the Conoco fields in Nigeria.

“We’re confident in our ability to raise finance,” Tinubu said. “Because we have a diverse group, we’ve been able to raise equity from our shareholders and extract value from parts of our business to reinvest in the upstream.” Late last year, the CeO told Reuters, an international News Agency, that Oando was close to securing the funds to buy Conoco oil/gas fields, having held a successful Rights Issue, which, according to the oil firm, was 101.05 percent

subscribed. having already raised the additional equity with the rights issue, he said his firm had also agreed in principle to the necessary debt. According to him, the deal will, in reality, cost Oando only around $1.5 billion, not the $1.79 billion headline figure. It is believed that a net positive cash flow from the oil firm’s $200-$300 billion assets account for the discrepancy. Tinubu also told Reuters that, of the $1.5 billion cost, about $725 million would come from debt. “The debt is already arranged,” he said.

UK Partners Marginal Field Operators By Tunde Akinola he United Kingdom Trade and Investment T (UKTI) Department of the British high Commission on behalf of energy Institute (eI), UK, has started activities aimed at fostering ties with Nigerian indigenous companies in the oil and gas sector. Addressing journalist in Lagos Thursday, at the first Marginal Field Forum for the Marginal Field Operators Group (MFOG), the

British Deputy high Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Peter Carter said the UKTI department was established to help UK-based companies succeed in a increasingly global economy and has been working to grow British businesses in the country. “Their services are tailored to the needs of individual businesses to maximise their international success by providing them with knowledge, advice and practical support,” he said.

he CSR Centre of etisalat Nigeria, in partnerT ship with the Lagos Business School (LBS) of the Pan Atlantic University, at the weekend, converged stakeholders in the sustainability business to the   2013 edition of the International Sustainability Conference with theme, ‘Sustainability Management in Growing Emerging Markets.’ The conference was held at the honeywell Group Auditorium of the Pan Atlantic University, Lekki. The Conference which was a gathering of CeOs and top executives of the business community and Non Governmental Organisations responsible for CSR/Sustainability provided an avenue to discuss ways organisations could strengthen their sustainability efforts, ensure that they are cost-effectively mitigating unintended environmental impacts and position their organisations for future sustainability. Chief executive Officer, etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Steven evans, said the objective of the conference is to engage, inform and proffer business solutions that are both innovative and sustainable. In addition, he said, the conference will help organizations on how best to structure their business models as well as products, technologies and processes in a way that will lead to long-term profitability and competitive advantage that simultaneously addresses economic, Ashish Thakkar, President Mara Group (left); Ini Onuk, Lead Consultant, Thistle Praxis; and Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State at the AR-CSR CEO Roundtable Conference held in Tinapa…recently. social and environmental objectives.

Improved Security Will Boost Air Travel In Kano, Says FAAN By Chika Goodluck-Ogazi

experimental Marketing Summit holds In Lagos By Ikechukwu Onyewuchi

T will be a gathering of markethe cause for low air passenger traffic at the T airports, aside the poor infrastructural facili- Iing gurus and up-starts as eXP ties, which is being tackled by the ongoing presents African experimental remodeling and commissioning of airports, has been attributed to the prevailing security problem, especially in the northern part of Nigeria. Reacting to a newspaper report, Spokesman, of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Dati Yakubu, said some airports like Kano has been experiencing security, which has been responsible for its poor air traffic record. he explained that, when strong security is restored, the airport would begin to witness an increased passenger movement that would boost its utilization. According to him, Kano airport has been and will continue to be one of the major airports in Nigeria, adding that, it was because of the importance attached to the airport that, FAAN embarked on rebuilding the domestic terminal, which was commissioned in early 2011. Dati stressed that, when the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah visited the airport, she was shocked at the decrepit state of the international terminal, which was why, she immediately embarked on its remodelling.

Marketing Summit, 2013, at The Civic Centre, on July 12, to horn marketing skills in the African continent, using live experiences. Other legs of the summit will be held in Nairobi, Kenya and Johannesburg, South Africa. The summit, to be moderated by the editor of event Marketer Magazine, Dan hanover, is Africa’s only one-day seminar focused on experimental marketing trends and case studies that convert customers and drive sales. Participants will be exposed to more than 100 case studies; top experimental marketing trendsactivation, sponsorship and digital; latest best practices for leveraging experimental marketing; video tours of events in action; and some of the world’s leading

experts. Speakers at the event include, Chief Marketing Officer at Airtel Nigeria, Olu Akanmu; Kim Skildum-Reid, a corporate sponsorship consultant, trainer and author; amongst others. Olu, to speak as the local in-country CeO/ Marketing Director at the event in Lagos, has diverse experience at senior levels in consumer goods, manufacturing, health care, social development, telecommunications and financial services. he will also be bringing in his wide experience in leading teams to build commercial insights for product innovation and commercializing those innovations to sustainable product and market businesses. Kim, who will be speaking at the Lagos and Nairobi legs of the event, is renowned for her inspired and practical approach in the world of corporate sponsorship. having put 28 years to master the trade, she is

credited with defining and setting the best practice benchmark for the sponsorship industry. She provides content and commentary to business and industry media around the world, including harvard Business Review, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Marketing News (US) and a host of others. The initiator of the seminar, Dan hanover, runs a network of experiential marketing content in the

world. Since launching a flagship magazine and companion event Marketing Summit conference in 2002, he has launched event Design magazine for creative directors and fabricators, Best events magazine for special event and meeting planners, as well as eXPO magazine for trade show organizers and the event Marketing Institute, an online think-tank providing research and tools for marketers.

Coca-Cola Launches Campaign On Positive Attitude OCA-COLA Nigeria Limited has C launched a new campaign to inspire youths to show kindness to others to make the world a better place. The campaigned titled Crazy for Good encourages random act of kindness. Brand Manager, Coca-Cola

Nigeria, Olufemi Ashipa, said: “The future belongs to youths and it is important they cultivate culture of thoughtfulness and kindness to create a better world. No act of strong wave affecting the lives of many.”


45

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

BUSINESS Why Shell, LIMGE Partnership On New Fire Station Is Strategic, By Taiwo From tackling and eradicating area boys to clearing the traffic congestion at Apongbon, The Lagos Island Millennium Group on the Environment (LIMGE) has moved on to build, with Financial support from Shell, a purpose built, brand new and fully equipped Fire station in the heart of Lagos Island. In this interview with IKECHUKWU ONYEWUCHI, President of LIMGE, Chief TAIWO TAIWO, talks about the decline of Lagos Island and how a group of concerned Lagosians helped push back the rot. Excerpts. AN you talk about the decline of the Central C Business District? The CBD is a perfect example of a perfect storm and

kind of environment. The first high rise was built in 1960. There are a lot of things that will go with high rises; you need to have a lift, you need to have the right infrastructure in place. You have to answer key questions; how do you evacuate them in case of fire because in one building you can have up to five hundred people. You have the ACs, you have the iron and all that. All those are potential fire hazards, so what is your back up, what is there to help all these people. In the 70s, there was a lot of fire starting from the NITEL fire and, one by one, all the high rises were getting burnt and it wasn’t long after we moved into this building that the MD of NELCON called a meeting of all the high rises owners, because it dawned on him suddenly: ‘what happens if there is a fire here?’ and he was on the eighteenth floor. So, we formed a group and I was part of that group. We needed to protect ourselves and help ourselves in case of fire so it was like a neighborhood support system and then there was nothing like areas boys. What happened? Why wasn’t that first group effective? Now, these kinds of initiatives take time. LIMGE is 13 years old and it has taken us many years to get the desired impact. It’s not something you do and expect to get the result in six months and I think it was the MD of NELCON who initiated the first intervention and we formed ourselves into a group but within six months he was retired and that did a lot of damage in terms of continuity but it was actually registered and was called Association of Building Owners of Lagos Island (ABOLI). So, what happened next? Now, Lagos Island got worse and worse and then the area boys became another issue. I don’t know how we allowed it but I keep saying we were busy reading newspapers at the back of our cars. There was fire at Investment House, which was

owned by WEMABOD/Oduduwa Group and imagine they had already lost Cocoa House and this was another fire and this time around the areas boys had become another issue. The fire in Investment House started in an office because at Investment House they had offices and then residents in another section of the building and they had managed to contain it until the area boys came and set the building on fire because they wanted to steal. So, we formed ourselves into a committee, but the committee went beyond our terms of reference. Now this is another thing I have learnt from pressure groups; you must learn to be content with small victories. It will encourage your group to go further. So, that committee went far and we were not many, and they wanted to build a fire station and they asked us to pay five hundred thousand naira each and that was half a million dollars then. Many of us felt that it was too much. People said “If I am going to pay five hundred thousand naira, I will rather invest it in my building.’ Now, Mr. Akanbi was retired and then WEMABOD became discouraged and generally, areas boys took over Lagos Island, law abiding people moved out and thugs moved in. My enough is enough moment was when one day I was going coming to the office and I saw a refuse dump by the road side and by the end of the week it had become a heap and by the time we knew it, it was like a mountain and I couldn’t pass that road again. So, I thought to myself, what if someone was coming to my office and he or she passes that road and sees the mountain of refuse that person will say you people are not serious and sooner than we knew it they brought pigs there and later we saw cows. It was very serious then because people were dying of cholera and all this inspite of the fact that it was an offence for you to spit in Lagos Island. What did you do at this point? We wrote to the Lagos state government and it was Marwa who was the governor then. We wrote

the consequences of people not getting themselves involved in their community. Lagos Island was undoubtedly the Central Business District of Nigeria and I remember when we were building this structure over 30 years ago, if you wanted to do any business you could live anywhere and operate from here. You could just walk by the Central Bank and you will meet and connect with the businesses. It was like Wall Street and there is actually no equivalent of it now. I remember there were restaurants, and people would mingle. You could see the Executive Directors of Central Bank going for lunch. I remember there were lots of restaurants then. As things got bad, I would sit and ask myself how did we allow the quiet nature of Lagos Island go away just like that without us stopping it? I guess we were busy reading newspapers at the back of our cars so we didn’t open our eyes to see. Undoubtedly, there was neglect from government of basic infrastructure and that is one lesson learnt; you have to keep upgrading your infrastructure. Lagos Island had a lot of sophisticated infrastructure because it was done by the British people. We had no problem with water; we had electricity before the city of London. The city of Lagos had electricity when London was still having gas lamps. Now that’s just the plain fact. So, how did we allow the decline without saying, ‘stop!’ A lot of things went wrong and I think it’s our leadership and the business community because we often think:   ‘I am too busy with my work’ and ‘it doesn’t concern me. So you think it was a failure of the elite? Basically, we don’t look around at the problems in our community until it comes to our doorsteps. Now, look at kidnapping; it started in the Niger delta and until we started seeing it in Lagos we did not start asking ‘how did this happen?’ So it’s a function of us always saying  ‘it doesn’t concern us’ and by the time we finished this building we realized there were issues; high rises are very sophisticated buildings and you need to have a lot of infrastructure in place before you can put up a high rise. This is why I tell people, if you want to put up a 90storey building, please don’t try it, I beg of you Lanre Ogunlesi, Member, LIMGE board, Chike Onyejekwe, MD SNEPCo, Chief Taiwo Taiwo, President LIMGE, and Olusegun because you need to have a level of infrastructure in Okebiorun, Comptroller-General, Federal Fire Service, all flanked by fully kitted fire men at the Soft Launch of the new Ajele place before putting that kind of high-rise in this Federal Fire Station, Lagos…recently.

Lagosians Still Contend With ‘Old’ Challenges

anybody should charge customers for using the service. We don’t charge; if others do so, it is their business,” she noted. The CBN had earlier said the cost for use of PoS would not be borne by customers but the service providers, which would pay 1.25 per cent of the transaction fee. It said the fee would be distributed to different parties that play different roles in ensuring that the sysCONTINUED FROM PAGE 42 tem works effectively. The fees, according to a statement by the “Sometimes when using the PoS, it shows transaction decline on apex bank, would enable parties recover the costs, support maintenance and connectivity among others. our terminal. The bank sends a text message stating that the Nigerians may have questioned why they should pay more than account has been debited. But SLOT’s account won’t be credited. the face value of their transactions because they choose to pay elecPoS is a sensitive device, and as it tells you that the transaction is tronically. Still, there are deeper issues that might have taken the declined, the bank would make a mistake and notify a customer shine from the system originally designed to make transaction through text message that their account has been debited. more convenient and reduce the cost of cash management. “But a user should know that the bank would not make a misMobile banking is another support tool created to support the take. So, it is better to wait for about 24 hours, and then the electronic payment. There was excitement when one of the first tier reverse would be done.” banks launched its product that was expected to drive the financial He advised that anybody using the PoS should be properly inclusion campaign vigorously. About a year after the product contrained on network and error codes. sidered to create a life of its own as a quasi bank, not much success “Sometimes some error codes like issuer and Interswitch error, not enough balance, inactive transaction, incorrect pins and oth- has been recorded. “Patronage is still very low,” noted a success. ers are likely to come up. So the handler should be trained so he or At some branches, attendant are completely ignorant about processes involved in the mobile account opening, as that was inishe can explain to the customer the challenges.” Another salesperson at the Army Shopping Complex, who inden- tially designed to be the practice. The agents, which the bank planned to roll out, have not come on board. Unlike other mobile tified herself as Shehu, said he charged N200 per transaction banking, non-account holders were expected to open and run because “my money will not be complete if I don’t do that.” He said he was billed for each transaction completed using the e-pay- account on the platform; they could send and receive money. Also, non-subscribers would receive cash transfer on their mobile line ment platform; hence, “I collect the money from customers.” after which they would cash the value at an agent who would earn But a user at an Oando petrol station at the Ketu axis of Lagos, a commission. But the impressive dream started and ended on who said the low attention given the electronic payment means should not bother anybody because it is “a matter of choice”, said papers. CBN seemed to have contracted itself on cashless drive when it she does not charge customers who decide to use it. “I don’t think

to him that if he doesn’t take care of this that we won’t pay another local government tax and after a while they realized that these people are not going away so we have to address them. Union Bank had just built a 34 storey building and meat sellers were selling meat in front of their building and when they went to report it to the local government they said they should put dogs in front of their buildings. And if you wanted to buy roast fish the headquarters was bookshop mart. Anyway, we started this effective pressure group but as we were pressurizing government we realized we also had to do something and that has also been the principle of LIMGE; pressurize government but also show leadership and public spiritedness. That’s what we have done over time and the first case we resolved was in Apongbon, we could not move because of the traffic congestion even though we had bus stops for people to pick passengers and for people to stand. So, that was the first chaos we resolved and then we tackled the menace that was the Marina. We funded traffic lights. Not many people realize that Union bank has been sweeping the Marina for the past fourteen years. How did you get involved with the Fire station? There was a time that I was the only person in this building, no one on my left and no one on my right. Everyone had gotten up and moved to VI but I said if you leave Lagos Island because of area boys and fire the same problems will follow you to VI. So, we decided to tackle the fire issue which was also an integral part of our agenda right from the get go and so we had workshop and we visited a station and what we saw shocked us and we thought to ourselves, how do we expect people living and working  like this to help put off our fire. We were shocked that they were very intelligent; had been trained in America, Australia and they were smart engineers. So, the first thing we did was put up a borehole for them. It was facilitated by Union Bank and that was in 2003. A week later there was a fire in another WEMABOD building and because we had a borehole there they were able to put out the fire and the Chairman of Oduduwa group came to say ‘Look, I don’t know how to thank you because this would have been the fourth building.’ So, after we had done this workshop, which we called VISION 2007, we handed the documents to all the state governments especially Lagos state and we give credit to Governor Tinubu.  I have to applaud him because he saw the things we had put together and he went about doing things to the letter and helped bring back Lagos Island. This turn around could not have happened with the private sector alone without the government because this is the headquarters where everybody is doing business. I mean this is Lagos.

called for the withdrawal of off-site ATM points. The double-standard directive led to reduction of the number of ATMs deployed. It also impacted negatively on customers’ confidence in going for shopping with just a card in the wallets. That is just an aspect of the challenge with ATMs. The assumption that more sophistication in the use of PoS will automatically solve the prevailing challenges is as accurate as the efficiency of ATM technology. Today, the efficiency of ATM, the most popular, cashless support infrastructure, dims by the day. Maybe, the banks were had better reason to load currencyspilling machines with cash when the inter-bank N100 charge was in force. Not many of the issuers still fill the vaunt religiously. Besides, there are challenges ranging inoperative issuer to wrong debit, problem that takes some banks a week to fix irrespective of CBN’s order that such problem should be fixed within 72 hours, still persist. And as customers move from one ATM point to another without success, they keep evaluating their stance on continued reliance on the option. Interestingly, Country General Manager, IMB West Africa, Taiwo Otiti, said this the network challenge suffered by ATM would continue for as long as power supply remains epileptic. Titi, whose employer serve 70 per cent information technology needs of Nigerian banks, said because over 80 per cent of PoS run on telecommunications services, any congestion on cell sites affect them. The congestion, he said, is majorly caused by indiscriminate service rerouting as a result of power outage that grounds some cell sites. “Once there is a delay for a long period, transaction will be rejected. ATM is slightly different from PoS. You put cash in ATM; if there is no cash or experts who will quickly fix faults when service is not available, there will be problem,” he noted.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

BUSINESSAGRO

Nigeria Targets Million-Ton Annual Fish Output From Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia has IeastNDICATION emerged  that the southstates of Nigeria have embraced Catfish farming with the determination to make significant production input to the targeted one million metric tons annual national output in five years time. This development became public, when Abia state, the fourth  in the zone to have its Catfish Farmers Association  ( CAFAN ) formally inaugurated  by the National President, Mr. Tayo Akingbolagun in Umuahia, saying that the south east zone has great potential to make success of fish farming. CAFAN has been inaugurated in almost all the southeast states and Delta, whose representatives including those of Akwa Ibom attended the Abia state inauguration. Akingbolagun said that  Catfish farming will

create over 500,000 jobs with substantial number in the south east, when  this annual national target of one million metric tons of Catfish becomes realised by 2018. He said that actualising this target was hinged on the federal government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda that set into motion an articulated Aquaculture Value Chain Development programme and its involvement in a five-year aquaculture development plan in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which will be private sector driven. Akingbolagun said that Nigeria’s potential for aquaculture is about four million metric tons annually with consumption estimate of 2.66 million tons adding that about 1.44 million tons of fish amounting  to N100 billion annually are imported against the total nation’s production figure of

Mr. Karl Arnold, Vice President, Insta-Pro International, International Headquarters, Iowa, USA, (Left) and his team at a seminar on extrusion technology and the applications in feed and food in Lagos last week.

I 780,000 metric tons.

According to him, Nigeria has a coastline of about 853 kilometers with suitable enormous water resources favoring aquaculture and available aquaculture production area of 1.7 million hectares. He therefore urged south

FIIRO, Agbekoya Collaborate On Technology Transfer For Food Processing By Gbenga Akinfenwa HE Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), a foremost research institute has embarked on collaboration with Agbekoya Farmers’ Association, in a bid to provide enough food for the nation. During its courtesy visit to FIIRO on last week, the Project Manager of the Association, Tayo Taiwo disclosed that the essence of the visit was to seek collaboration with the institute on technologies useful for processing of food to avoid wastage.

T

He noted that the association has under-estimated FIIRO’s ability to produce high quality technology needed for processing of food and has been thinking of importing the machines until the visit. “Our next step now is to present our proposal to FIIRO and sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on technology transfer, training and other areas that can be beneficial to us,” he said. He noted that the Association has broken cultural barriers in the country and has spread its tentacles to 32 states of the federation, adding that it has taken steps to see that agriculture is no more seen

as an occupation but a profession. In her speech, the Director General, Dr (Mrs.) Gloria Elemo, who showed the readiness of the institute to partner with the farmers, informed them to write a proposal, stating clearly their demands. She noted that the institute has already established two Cassava Processing plants in Yewa and Ota, Ogun State to produce high quality Cassava needed for the Nigerian populace. Elemo disclosed that the processing plants, due to be commissioned in August, would be opened to core stakeholders in the agricultural sector.

easterners to engage in aquaculture saying  “ the challenges in the fisheries sub sector should be seen as untapped opportunities waiting to be explored.” The state  resident Federal Director of Agriculture, Ebere Oziri, who said that

about $500 million  was expended in importing fish annually into the country, will be channeled to other sectors when the national target is achieved. He said the inauguration of fish farming in the zone will help the fish farmers to form

a common front through which they will  attract government assistance. “It is when they come together that the cost of fish feeds will be reduced hence government has been willing to subsidise fish feeds in order to ultimately.

Right Activists Support Small Scale Farmers, Condemn Land-grabbing By Wole Oyebade O address the problem of T food waste and shortage in the country, right activists have called on government at all levels to support small scale farmers to their maximum potential. The activists, under the aegis of Environmental Right Action (ERA), noted that the farmers represent about 70 per cent of the population and have the capacity to feed growing population and be gainfully employed. The advocacy group, who spoke at an event in Lagos to commemorate this year’s World Environment Day (WED) also condemned the spate of land-grabbing by some state governments in collusion with corporations, which meant the forceful appropriation of farmlands belonging to small-holders farmers and transferring same to large scale farmers in the name of foreign investment. Executive Director ERA, Dr.

Godwin Ojo said government’s policy to promote large scale agribusiness and attendant land-grabbing are doing more harm to the objective of tackling food crisis than helping it. For instance, he noted that the promotion of large scale banana farming in Rivers State had further created friction between the people and government, even as forest encroachment has returned to Edo State. “We are now told that people are unable to access land until they have paid between N10,000 and N20,000 in many state because of landgrabbing. In those days, only a break of cola nut would allow you access to land. Everything is now monetised, much to the discouragement of small scale farming,” he said. Ojo added that the World Environment Day, chosen by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Food and

Agricultural Organisation (FA0), avails the opportunity to call on the government to empower rural farmers and reduce food deficits in Nigeria. According to him, “these barely disguised land-grabbing schemes should cease and lands acquired from small-holder farmers in this process should be returned to them. “There is also the urgent need to fix the deplorable road networks that seriously affect transportation of food from areas of surplus to areas of deficits. ERA and Friend of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN) calls on the tiers of government and businesses to invest on a post harvest food preservation enterprise as a viable way to preserving foods produced in Nigeria.” The theme for this year’s World Environment Day celebrations is Think.Eat.Save, being an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages all to reduce their foodprint.

Abuja FADAMA III Projects Disburses N425m To Farmers From Terhemba Daka, Abuja S parts of its activities designed to enhance A food security in the nation’s capital, authorities of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) FADAMA III said it has disbursed the sum of N425,384,244.40 to FADAMA Community Associations and FADAMA Users Groups. The money, according the authorities is meant for the implementation of the communities and groups’ identified and chosen for the projects. The Secretary, FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Ovaldi Madayi who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday during the visit of FCT Minister of State, Olajumoke Akinjide to FADAMA projects located in the Kwali area Council stated that the project had trained a total of 715 and 811 group members under its

capacity building and advisory services. She disclosed that 314 groups had accessed assorted agricultural inputs such as seeds, seedlings, fingerlings among others under the input support component. The Secretary disclosed that the investments have yielded 30.06 tons of fish from 25,000 fingerlings, 35 tons of poultry produced from 16,000 day-old chicks, 39.60 tons of beef produced from 132 cows, 19.95 tons of mutton produced from 570 sheep/goats as well as 104 metric tons of grains. FCT Minister of State, Olajumoke Akinjide, whose office superintends over agriculture and rural development in the FCT said that the administration was poised to ensure that the rural population in the territory is empowered so as to arrest the incidence of rural-urban migration.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

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Birthdays AKUNYILI, Prof. Dora Nkem (OFR), pharmacologist, administrator, renowned pharmacist, former university teacher and former DirectorGeneral of National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), will be 59 on Sunday, July 14, 2013. She was born in Makurdi, Benue State on July 14, 1954 and started her education career by passing the First School Leaving Certificate in 1966, and the West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1973, which earned her the Eastern Nigerian Government Post Primary Scholarship and the Federal Government of Nigeria Undergraduate Scholarship respectively. She got her B.Pharm (Hons) in 1978 and Ph.D in 1985, both at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). She was promoted to the rank of a Professor in October 2000 by the same University. She started her working career as a Hospital Pharmacist at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu in 1978. Between 1992 and 1994, she served as member of Anam-

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

bra State’s Hospital Management Board and State’s Advisory Council for Women Commission, and was appointed Supervisory Councilor for Agriculture in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, from 1994-00, and later Minister for Information. She contested for the post of a Senate in the April 2011 general election in Anambra State, which she lost. She has received over 260 awards and recognition locally and internationally. She was conferred with the National Order of the Federal Republic- OFR in 2002. OTUNYO, Engr. (Dr.) Amaziah Walter, university lecturer and hotel proprietor will be 59 on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Born on July 3, 1954, he attended St. Peter Clavers College Aghalokpe, St. Georges Grammar School, Obionoma and Edo College, Benin City. He had his B.sc (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nigeria (1973-78); M.Sc Civil/Structural Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA (1982); Ph.D. Geotechnical Engineering from the Rivers State University of Sci-

Akunyili

Ohaju-Obodo

ence & Technology, Port Harcourt (1993). He worked as a Trainee Maintenance Engineer in Bendel Brewery Ltd., Benin City (1979-81). He was a pipe restraint design engineer in Bechtel Power Corporation, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA (1981-82). He was at various times an oil and gas engineer, project engineer and major project manager in Shell Petroleum Development Company (Nig) Ltd., (1984-04). He is the owner of AMANDA Hotels Ltd in Port Harcourt. He was employed as a senior Lecturer in the Department of Civil/Environmental Engineering, University of Port Harcourt, (2007-01); member of the an-

cient Order of the Knight of St. John International, (KSJI). Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. OHAJU- OBODO, John Oghenevwirhe, professor of medicine and pharmacology, Provost, College of Health Sciences, Delta State University, Abraka, Consultant Physician/Clinical Pharmacologist, Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara and current Secretary, National Association of Colleges of Medicine will be 52 on Thursday July 4, 2013. Born at Ugbomro, Effurun in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State, he attended Ughworume Primary School, Ug-

bomro, Urhobo College, Effurun and the University of Benin, Benin City. He had his Postgraduate and Specialist trainings at the University of Lagos, the National Postgraduate and the West African College of Physicians in addition to attending several courses locally and abroad. He has at various times served as External Examiner, Assessor, Consultant, Team Leader and Resource Person to a number of Governmental and Non-Governmental Agencies, both locally and in-

ternationally. He is currently the South-South Coordinator of the International Network on Rational Use of Drugs (INRUD) and a member of the National Drug Formulary and Essential Drugs List Committee. He is a recipient of several awards and an ordained minister of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Compiled by Gbenga Akinfenwa gbengaherkin@yahoo.com

Events • The 2013 Convention of the Council of Foursquare Men (CFM) will come up from Wednesday July 10 to Friday July 12, 2013 at the Foursquare City, Ajebo, Ogun State. The theme is “Empowered By Grace“ (Genesis 41: 38-43, 1 Cor. 15: 9-10). It will feature Salvation, Healing & many more. Ministering are Rev. Felix Meduoye, General Overseer, Rev. Ikechukwu Ugbaja, National Secretary, Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria, Pastor Sam Tukura, Founder and General Overseer, Global Fire Centre, Nigeria and other anointed men of God. • The Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM), Lagos State Branch holds its 11th Annual State conference at Equity Resort, Ijebu Ode from Tuesday, July 2 to Thursday, July 4, 2013. The theme for for the conference is “ Human Capacity Development Ethics: Tool for Competitive National Advantage”. Speaking at the pre-conference briefing, the Chairman of the branch, Adedeji Omotayo, said the conference is open to all human resources practitioners and line managers.

Mr. Philip Orodeji, President, Council of Foursquare Men (left), Reverend Emmanuel Adedapo, Zonal Superintendent and Rev. Veronica Oguntoyinbo during the Fathers’ Day celebration at the Foursquare Gospel Church Zonal headquarters, Ejigbo, Lagos. PHOTO: AKINLOLU OLUWAMUYIWA Founder, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Plc, Otunba (Dr.) Michael Olasubomi Balogun (left), the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr.) Sikiru Adetona and the Ebumawe of Agoye Iwoye, Oba Abdulrasak Adenugba, during the presentation of Otunba Balogun as the Head of Fusengbuwa Ruling House of Ijebu to the Awujale at Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State... at the weekend.

Deacon Mike Egbayelo, National Coordinator, Publicity and Mobilisation, Council of Foursquare Men (CFM)(left), Akin Omolere, Chairman, Convention Planning Committee, Revd. Akin Akeju, District Overseer, Alaka District, Deacon Churchill Peters-Ayerume, National President, Chuks Anitche, National Secretary, and Deacon Sam Ojukwu, Regional Vice President, Lagos at a press conference in Lagos.

President Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, (PSN) Olumide Akintayo (left), President Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, Bala Kaoje, President Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors, Emeka Eleh and President Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Kabir Mohammed during the Board meeting of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria at Pharm House, Anthony Village, Lagos.

Youth Community Leader, SOS Children’s Village; Mr. Alex Ndupuechi (left), Social Worker, Dr Bolanle Nassar; Managing Director, Fouani Nigeria Limited, Mohammed Fouani and General Manager, Home Appliances Division, LG Electronics West Africa Operations, Hyunwoo Jung, during  the LG Electronics’ CSR visit/donation to the Village in Isolo, Lagos.

Director, Euro-China Centre for Leadership and Responsibility (ECCLAR), Professor Mike Thompson (left) Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Steven Evans and Dean, Lagos Business School (LBS), Dr. Enase Okonedo, at this year’s International Sustainability Conference themed ‘Sustainability Management in Growing Emerging Markets’, held at the LBS, Pan-Atlantic University... on Thursday PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

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COVER By Gregory-Page Nwakunor HE time was 7.37 pm. The moon had moved T slowly across the blue sky and everywhere was now dark and silent. Lanre Odejayi stood up from the couch, which had turned his favourite bed, to take in fresh air. He was loosely clothed. He wore a T-shirt and brief. A soft, cool wind whispered its way across his living room when he opened the window shutters. Lanre walked to the kitchen, following every corner with his eyes. He’d woken from his drinking stupor, hoping to find food somewhere, but there was none. He picked up the bottle of Alommo bitters from the kitchen table and poured himself a drink. He sat again. He was still ruminating over what he heard in the palace, saying that everybody should buckle up in terms of revenue generation, when two hangers-on like him joined. They were all ready for The Guardian’s questions on the role of traditional rulers in the community. “No matter what people say, traditional rulers are very important in a democracy,” Odejayi says. “Do you know our king is the saviour of many people like me without jobs? I had no job and he provided me with this. Yet some people say they are not relevant. What other relevance do they need? Kings everywhere are giving jobs to young and able men, which government cannot do.” Since he lost his job, he had become a heavy drinker — an addict of the local concoction called Paraga. He would wake up in the morning in the guise of going to work, only to spend time at a drinking shack. Every night, he always stayed awake, drinking and disturbing the neighbourhood. He drank every aphrodisiac available — Osomo, Ashietu Alommo. And whenever he was filled with alcohol, he turned his wife to his sparing partner. The redeeming feature of Lanre’s life is that he works as one of a king’s hireling. There are many of them, who have been given lifeline by a popular Oba in a local council in mainland Lagos. However, they are just thugs used by the Oba to collect illegal tolls. Lanre was one of those he used at a popular wooden bridge constructed on a canal to link his community and another. “Do you know how many of us are dependent on him?” queries one of the men with Odejayi, as they drink from the bottle of Osomo that one of them brought. In this mainland community that makes up Lagos Central Senatorial District, the king’s reputation is one of the most battered. Nobody regards or speaks well of him in the entire community. In fact, since the 90s when he ascended the throne of his ancestors, so to say, there have been little or minimal investment in his community. “For over 15 years that he has been on the throne, we have been in his grips and that of his thugs,” says Onyeka Chikwenye, a student of City Polytechnic. “If it were possible, we would have de-stool him, he is not fit to be our king.” Chikwendu continues, “this Oba is not the one in that shoe. Many kings in Nigeria are like that. They have turned thin ‘gods’ and have even forgotten that they are supposed to be custodians of a people’s culture. Many of them are ‘cash-and-carry’ element, who are ready to sell titles to thieves and money launderers. In fact, some traditional rulers have been known to be fraudsters.” In the minds of average Nigerians, traditional rulers evoke a lot of stereotypes: wealthy, greedy and lustful grandstanders, who, in the guise of culture and tradition, have continued to assuage the sensibilities of everybody with their ‘chicanery of barbarity’. According to Elisha Osunkunle, a University of Lagos-trained historian, “traditional rulers since the era of military dictatorship have become like government of politicians: fraud. They are now more than deceptive and pathological liars. Remember what they did during the era of Khalifa, the late General SaniAbacha.” For many others, traditional rulers are the bastions of hope for the common man. They say traditional rulers are closest to the grassroots, and thus, they know what people feel. To this school of thought, you cannot have a new constitution without ascribing a role to these custodians of a people’s culture. And considering that politics, from experience, is a process where principles are not commonplace, but selfish compromises are what you see, traditional rulers are the only

Why The Kings Are Kicking

well rewarded (a monthly salary of 5 per cent of the allocation of their local government, in addition to other perks depending on their class, not to mention gifts from subjects). It is against this backdrop that there have been series of agitation that traditional rulers They were responsible for tasks such as be given constitutional roles at the end of this maintenance of roads, supply of man-power constitution review process. for the kingdom’s army, the up keep of the But the questions, like Uche Nworah, in his, royal capital and collection of taxes and trib- The Role of Traditional Rulers in an Emerging utes. Democratic Nigeria, did ask are: What should be Traditional rulers performed, among oththe role of traditional rulers in a democratic ers, the role of making or contributing to tradition as that of Nigeria? Should such roles law making and judgment, adjudication in and the additional ‘powers’ be specifically disputes in their communities. They also assigned and allocated by the constitution? maintain peace, order and security. Should traditional rulers continue to derive Everything began to change when Britain their ‘powers’ and roles from their people ruled its colonies with the use of local chiefs members of their community and all those or other approved intermediaries and tradi- within their spheres of influence? Assuming tional laws and customs with British officials the traditional rulers are assigned specific roles merely supervising the administration. in the constitution, how would that affect the Indirect rule recognised the status of tradipresent three-tier government structure? tional rulers who served as its priest. Would that mean creating a fourth tier? What Chieftaincy institution were maintained and about functionality, responsibility and fundused by the colonialists for their own intering? est. In Iboland, where there were no paraThose in support of greater roles for traditionmount rulers, chiefs by warrant were al rulers in the constitution have highlighted installed. daunting reasons as essential for the developWith the local government reforms of 1976 ment of the polity. These traditional activists — the creation of a uniform local governare of the opinion that since they are very close ment system — the role and status of tradito the grassroots, they could play a vital role in tional rulers, however, has been considerspeeding up development, and ensuring peace ably downgraded, leaving them as just custo- and security in their domains. dians of cultures, and for which they were CONTINUED ON PAGE 51

Roles For Traditional Rulers: people that can stand for the poor. Some observers of event argue that the political landscape has never been comfortable, and that politicians are always involved in doublespeak, with interest only where their bread is buttered, as a result, “it is traditional rulers that can be for the masses. Therefore, a role should be created for them in the constitution,” says Odejayi. The history of traditional rulers seeking a role in the constitution deserves its own treatment. Before the coming of the Europeans, societies in Africa had various ways of administering their people. Each lingual or ethnic group had its own peculiarities. The institutions of authority had full executive, legislative and judicial powers. The political institutions of the pre-colonial societies included the paramount chiefs, the council of elders, age grade and religious organisations. Chiefs were custodians of the land, which they held in trust for their people. They served as a link between that rural people and the government. They assisted the government in political education and socialisation of the rural people. They acted as the custodians of the traditional religion, arts and culture of the people.


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COVER

‘Traditional Rulers Are Not Part Of The Social Contract In A Presidential System’ Dr. Akpo Mudiaga Odje, constitutional lawyer, human rights activist and facilitator of the Niger Delta Democratic Union, told HENDRIX OLIOMOGBE that giving roles to traditional rulers would inevitably lead to power struggle. The National Assembly is in the process of amending the Constitution, and traditional have clamoured to be included in it; do you think they deserve to be given some role? OOKING at it from the constitutional perspecLthetive, I believe that if the tradition and culture of people led to the evolution of our traditional rulers, then they should at best be retained in that sphere of culture and tradition. It will cause conflict in the system and lead to persistent struggle for power. Constitutions are usually the documents that regulate the state, the individual, the citizens and elected government officials. If you look at it critically, the Constitution is a basic document that regulates the conduct and relationship between the citizenry and elected officials. If we agree to that, which I think is largely true, then the traditional rulers who are not necessarily elected might not really find the jurisprudential platform to find their powers being put in the document that is the highest form of document in the land. It is not in our best interest that the role traditional rulers be put in the Constitution. What are the roles, if any that you want to ascribe to them in the Constitution? Don’t you think that will further violate the role and power of the state Houses of Assembly, Local Government and even the Federal Government?   Are you creating another establishment? Is it another institution within the three tiers of government?  We should put sentiments aside, we respect our royal fathers but it is an evolution of the tradition and culture of the people and should remain where they are. A specific law can be made to enhance their power but the Constitution shall remain supreme over that. I don’t think they should really have a Constitutional role. There is separation of powers among the legislative, judiciary and executive arms and I think we should leave like that. How do you reconcile the fact members of the judiciary are not elected, but they have a role in the Constitution? The judiciary is an arm of government. It is an

instrument recognised by the Constitution for interpreting the Constitution. It is the most relevant and significant of the three arms of government. Words are statutes are dead until they are given life by the courts. The right of freedom of expression for example was not tested in the Constitution. The judiciary cannot be equated by any stretch of imagination with traditional institution. It has a role and is recognised as one of the three arms of government. The Americans were colonised by the British, but they had what was called backward integration from the British government. Everything that the British do, they reversed it. They have their own legal system, where lawyers do not put on wig and gown, and don’t have Queen’s Counsel. The Americans don’t have a monarchy. They said it is a classless society where everybody is supposed to be equal. They believe that kingship breeds a society that has class and inequality. In Britain, where they still have these things, the Constitution was unwritten until they joined the European Union (EU). The monarchy flows up from the natural culture and tradition of the people, which is called Common Law of England. It is not written. It is like our customary law. There is no need to write the culture and tradition of the people in the highest document of the land. It can only be done by a subsidiary legislation that is of a lesser value and force than the Constitution. The Constitution is a very important, significant and germane document to regulate those who elect and those who are elected. The structure of the government is not necessarily the improvisation or importation of a cultural aberration in that document. In a democracy, we are supposed to be all equal, but the structure of traditional institution presupposes that we are not equal. It means that some are higher than the others and that is why the Americans jettisoned it, as they believe that they are all equal. If we go ahead to include traditional system in our constitution, we are going to find ourselves in a constitutional conundrum, because the constitution recognises only three tiers of government. You mean traditional rulers will not fit into the three-tier arrangement? They can’t fit into the executive and legislative realms, as they are elected and also the judiciary, where there are lawyers. The document is essentially between the citizens and those who govern them and I don’t think traditional rulers come in here; it is a division of power between the Local

“Here, we are practising an American model and you want to fuse it with the British model? The two cannot work. We have an American presidential constitution, which rejects the British system and now we want to incorporate that rejected British model into it? The two cannot work together. There will be confusion. As longer as we have the American system we cannot incorporate traditional rulers into it. Bringing in traditional rulers into a social contract between the people and their elected representatives is a recipe for disaster”

Odje

Government, State and the Federal Government and those who elect. The Constitution regulates the affairs of people. How do we now bring traditional rulers to play a role in that document; as what? They don’t have a role to play except to protect our tradition and culture. What are they actually supposed to do that is so important that they have to be written in the Constitution? I wish to be educated and enlightened of my ignorance by those who have a better opinion than I do. What if they come in as advisory body?     What will they advise on? Whoever they advise, is he bound to take their advice? If they are not bound to do that, why waste our time? Why don’t we tell the National Assembly to make laws to incorporate traditional institution, giving them specific functions? The State Houses of Assembly can even make laws for them. But there were Houses of Chiefs in the First Republic House of Chiefs were constituted by colonial administrators because what they met on ground were chiefs. There were Emirs in the North and Chiefs in the South, which were incorporated by the British because they wanted to get to their people on the ground. It was expedient at that time but now the purpose of colonialism and neo-colonialism is now dead; what purpose

will that serve; are we going back to colonialism? There was feudalism in the North and the House of Chiefs in the South West to enable the British to achieve their purpose. Back then, we did not have the intellectual capability and manpower that we have today. The British used the traditional rulers to satisfy their interests, but that does not mean that they should have a Constitutional role after 50 years of Independence. If the traditional institution need be recognised, the National Assembly can make a law conferring on them the guardian of our custom and tradition, but incorporating them in the Constitution should be out of it. Traditional rulers are first among equal, but the Constitution says we are all equal. So, how do you reconcile it? Members of the House of Lords in England are also not elected; how do you reconcile that? The House of Lords is not democratic, but don’t forget that the British Constitution is unwritten. Here we are practising an American model and you want to fuse it with the British model? The two cannot work. We have an American presidential constitution, which rejects the British system and now we want to incorporate that rejected British model into it? The two cannot work together. There will be confusion. As longer as we have the American system we cannot incorporate traditional rulers into it. Bringing in traditional rulers into a social contract between the people and their elected representatives is a recipe for disaster. We do have a traditional and cultural social contract with them, which can be regulated by law and not the Constitution. There are the Local Councils and Ministries of Local Government Affairs, which handle the affairs of traditional rulers but if you now incorporate them into the Constitution, how are you going to regulate them? It will knock on so many things. The governor gives them staff of offices, but once they are incorporated, they will give themselves staffs of office. These are the issues. Which arms

They Have No Business In Politics – OSUJI promoter, the supervisor, and custodian of peoples’ tradition, culture, norms and behaviour.  To my greatest chagrin, within the last two years, what started as a minor palace gossip and rumour, began to have octopus wings and all that, they began to demand for constitutional roles. If we had stayed with the Independent constitution with which we had independence in 1960 up till today, nobody will be talking about constitutional roles for traditional rulers because it had become a permanent feature by then. But when you come to the nitty-gritty of it, a traditional ruler in my own thinking must remain a traditional ruler. For him to be given all the respect, all the adoration, all the honour, for him to have royalty, he should defend the royalty, he should remain a traditional ruler. What is your opinion on the demand for consti- Traditional rulers, today, have been reduced to tutional roles by traditional rulers? the level of political lieutenants in Imo State. It E have to look at the issue from a dispasis no longer what it used to be. They have lost a sionate perspective. In the first place, who is lot of integrity, a lot of royalty, a lot of respect a traditional ruler? In one of my books, because of their involvement in functional poli“Foundation of Igbo Tradition and culture”, I tics. Much as I do not want to blame them dealt extensively with what constitutes a tradibecause they found themselves in a situation tional ruler, how is he appointed and what are where they could not do otherwise, I do know his roles? I did say that a traditional ruler is a tit- that most of them are men of integrity. Because ular president of a town development union. I of government influence, they have become so described the town development union gullible to the whims and caprices of politiPresident as the political prime minister, politi- cians. They behave unruly and worse than cal head of a community. A traditional ruler by politicians; imagine people who are behaving his name and implication is supposed to be the

Dr. Chuks Osuji, former director of defunct Mass Mobilization Social Reconstruction and Economic Reliance (MAMSER) in Imo and old Anambra states and now executive director, Opinion Research and Communication told CHARLES OGUGBUAJA that the traditional institution should be allowed to remain in the communities, where it belongs.

W

like this when you have not given them constitutional roles, what if you give them constitutional roles, tomorrow, they will demand that one of them should be appointed deputy governor without going for any election. So I strongly support the idea that they should remain traditional rulers so that they continue to play their traditional roles. It is because they have gradually gone out of that barometer of traditionalism and culturalism that they started losing respect. My advise is that they should go back peacefully, bring their people together. I don’t support giving them constitutional roles in the constitution. If they are given constitutional role, that will herald total collapse of our traditional institution. In their various autonomous communities, are you satisfied with their duties to their subjects now? Before now, traditional rulers were doing very well as custodians of tradition and culture. But now, every day, traditional rulers are summoned to Owerri for one thing or the other; now we hear they have established a traditional parliament, where everything is done in Igbo. They are now too many involvement in political administration. These are not the function of traditional rulers. These are functions of local government chairmen, council staff. What are they supposed to do; they are not doing it because involvement in politics and government activities do not give them opportunity to take care of their community members. A traditional ruler is supposed to

invite his people every morning and get involved in development activities; if there are land disputes, cases of abuse of custom petty disputes, they are supposed to look into them. In fact, a serious traditional ruler should have a lot of jobs to do in the community, not coming to Owerri, to ask for political assignments. It does not give them opportunity to do the things they are supposed to be doing; that is, taking care of their community and making sure there is law and tranquility. The present administration in Imo wants to ban or dissolve town development unions. It is not possible. That advice was misplaced. What is town development union? It is synonymous with the town itself. A traditional ruler has been given assignment to go and inspect a project. That is not his job. It is the town development union that will do that. The traditional ruler is to help decide what the people want; we want electricity; we want to clear this road. He makes proposition, then the town development union discusses it with his people at town development parliament. They contribute money, levy. If anybody fails to pay they report him to the traditional ruler, who will admonish him. The reason there is upheaval in the communities is because of involvement of traditional rulers in politics. Everybody wants to be Eze. People of questionable characters want to be Eze. Do you think when you make them Eze the questionability of their character will be devoiced from


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COVER CONTINUED FROM PAGE 49 They note that many of them, such as Sultan of Sokoto, the Emir of Gwandu, the Etsu Nupe and the Emir of Zuru were Generals in the Nigerian Army; The Oba of Lagos was a Police AIG just as the Gbong Gwom Jos was a Customs Boss; The Emir of Kazaure has a Ph.D in Law, just as the Asagba of Asaba, Igwe of Oko and Obi of Ogwashi Uku are professors and many others were in the public service, diplomacy and private entrepreneurship, which made them relevant for national development. In addition, they are clamouring for National Council for Traditional Rulers, a sort of reincarnation of the Houses of Chiefs of the First Republic that will also have an advisory capacity to the Federal Government. But the fear for some political analysis is that such resurrection wouldn’t work considering that it will amount to “duplication of efforts, which might result in conflicts of interests at the local level. It will add to already overburdened bureaucracy. Admittedly, traditional rulers are very close to the grassroots, but so also are local governments. We cannot have

By Kamal Tayo Oropo EFORE independence, the British system of B colonial administration employed indirect rule, especially in the northern part of the country. The system allowed for the use of local chiefs or other approved intermediaries and :cials merely supervising the administration. Indirect rule used the existing traditional system of administration and it recognised the status of traditional rulers who served as the link of indirect rule. This period witnessed growth and transformation of the traditional system of administration. This change was necessitated by the desire to realise the objectives of colonialism, which where to put colonies under tight control, for the prime reason of exploitation of natural resources to meet the industrial needs of the colonialists. Before the advent of colonial rule, traditional rulers were the political, cultural, economic, social administrators and in some cases spiritual leaders of the various domains. The colonialists perfected their exploitation through the use of traditional rulers. Elsewhere, chieftaincy institution were maintained and used for colonial interests. The British instituted Native Courts and installed chiefs by warrant to manage them. Warrant chiefs had little legitimacy beyond the fact that they were installed by the Colonial state. Nevertheless, they had power and used it for their own gain. Their main source of power was the control of Native Courts and labours. In spite of their subordination to the British, the powers of traditional rulers were not significantly eroded, rather, they were strengthened. The Emir for example, exercised stronger participatory roles in administration. This was because more powers of coercion were accorded to the Native Courts and the British treated Emirs with caution and respect. The rulers also exercised executive powers as sole Native Authorities, which determined the pace and direction of local administration according to British guidance and needs. Instructively, traditional rulers during this period were co-opted to perform roles that were in many cases completely opposed to the wishes and aspiration of the their people. It is arguable, that today’s political class must have borrowed heavily from that style. The role and status of traditional rulers after independence varied with different administrations. But by and large, many believe they have remained largely agents for the perpetuation of domination by the ruling class. Evidently, traditional rulers are custodians of the land, which they supposedly hold in trust for the people. They serve as a link between the rural people and the government. They assist the government in political education and socialisation of the rural people. They act as the custodians of the traditional religion, arts and culture of the people. They, more often than not, define the customs and try to preserve it. In view of the political administration, as well as the 1976 political reforms, traditional

Wanted: Administrative Roles For Traditional Rulers two bodies performing parallel roles, as it would be should the traditional rulers be given constitutional roles. This is because the traditional ruler would have to have a cabinet (composed of his chiefs or district heads) since he alone cannot fulfill that role. There would also be a budget and other costs, all adding to our already high cost of governance,” as Nworah puts it. To them, these are clearly defined roles that do not need constitutional clause to empower them. Some political observers are of the opinion that constitutionally assigned roles will

require funding by way of paying salaries, allowances to traditional rulers, their aides, furnishing their palaces, offices, cars etc. This may further put a strain on local, state and federal government purses. There is also an argument that what ever the traditional system may be asked to do by the constitution could be better done by the constituted local government authorities, who were created primarily to bring government closer to the people. Another big threat is that the influence of traditional rulers differs from place to place. While some traditional rulers have titles that

precede the coming of the British, some are the creation of colonialists and hence, do not exert as much influence. Another fear, possibly, the biggest, is that by giving traditional rulers constitutional roles, it will allow them to be able to sue and be sued. Traditional rulers tied up in litigation does more harm than good to the peace and development they are trying to bring if they are given constitutional roles. There’s also the argument that giving them constitutional roles is likely to drag them into partisan politics. Remember the First Republic and deposition of kings by the premiers for holding differing views. And who wants that? But really, what do these traditional rulers want that they lack now? “Their roles are clearly defined, though, not written down in the constitution and they include preservations of the people’s cultural heritage, using their influence to ensure that there is peace in their domain and also, providing voice of reason and wisdom in times of trouble.

Traditional Rulers:

Role Before, After Independence rulers have also been given limited authority to settle minor disputes. They try to make peace within the community and with neighbouring communities. To some extent they also act as instrument of state (government) control at the local level. Traditional rulers are responsible for nation building tasks. For instance in Imo State they have been charged charge to participate actively in the supervision of development projects in their respective domains. But some citizens think there is political motive behind that and they fear the traditional institution is being distracted. Canvassing the need for traditional rulers to be involved in the supervision of govern-

ment projects in their domains and classifying them as the chief security officers of their communities, the Imo State government is of the opinion that some contractors had abandoned projects in some local communities after collecting mobilisation fees. The thinking is that traditional rulers if active in the supervision of projects in their domains, could alert government on the activities of fraudulent contractors. In the socio-cultural aspect, traditional rulers are seen as the patrons of the creative and expressive arts of their people, taking active steps to encourage the work of talented traditional carvers, sculptors, potters and so on. Also, traditional rulers perform amongst

others the role of settling disputes in their communities. They also maintain peace, order and security. As the country fell victim to a series of military coups and the consequent haphazard authoritarianism, the prestige of the unelected traditional institution grew remarkably. The traditional institution gave military dictatorship a kind of legitimacy in exchange for prestige. That may have been informed by the need for self-preservation, not as an endorsement for military rule. Today, the traditional system has perfected the art of survival, they know how to run with the hare and hunt with the deer. They are working closely with the political class and they want more.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

POLITICS

ConsTITUTIon aMenDMenT: By alabi Williams NLESS something drastic is U done to rescue State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) from imminent abolishment, recommendations by the committees in charge of constitution amendment in the National Assembly seem to favour the scrapping of states electoral commissions from the country’s electoral system. Based on reports collated at public sessions, the committees of both houses have indicated that SIECs are unpopular; therefore they are likely go. State governors, who are the main beneficiaries of the shady activities of SIECs, seem not to have time to engage the issue, as they are more engrossed in their governors’ forum palaver. They may also have smartly resolved to lie in wait for the amendment process, which would not be completed until it is brought for state assemblies to ratify as stipulated in the amendment procedure. Since state legislatures are more in the pockets of governors, that recommendation could be made to fall flat on its face. All the same, stakeholders in the civil society feel strongly that the way local governments elections are managed do not avail the system the relevant democratic basis it needs to grow. It has been observed that having a good electoral system at the grassroots could flag off the process of good governance. This idea prompted a study on the operations and prac-

tices of SIECs in five states – Bauchi, Edo, Imo, Kaduna, Lagos and Plateau - by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), with assistance from OSIWA. The study, according Jibrin Ibrahim, executive director of CDD explored useful insights into local government administration and made recommendations on how to strengthen SIECs within the confines of true federalism. The study showed that SIECs in the six states had similar challenges with funding and low capacity. It was revealed that state governments fund SIECs not from a first line charge, but from routine appropriations, which is often not enough and also erodes the independence of the electoral bodies. In terms of appointments, state governments are fully in charge and sometimes, those appointed are often accused by opposition politicians as being card-carrying members of ruling parties. Actual capacity to deliver on election is always a problem because SIECs do not have enough staff and logistics to conduct peaceful and credible elections. More worrying is the absence of integrity in the process. Ruling parties win more than 95 percent of council elections and when results are challenged at the tribunals, judgment is always in favour of ruling parties. This is the ridiculous state in which SIECs operate and when the question of their abolishment was posed to citizens at the House public sessions, 261voted for an amendment of Section 197 (1) in

Baroness Valerie amos is the under secretary-General for Humanitarian affairs and emergency relief Coordinator for the United nations. she was most recently the United Kingdom’s High Commissioner to australia and has more than 25 years of experience as cabinet minister with responsibility for international development.  she was in Bayelsa state recently to assess the devastating effect of the last flood disaster and to assess the state preparedness for the raining season. WILLIe eTIM reports.

order to abolish SIECs, so that INEC will now conduct council elections. Only 95 voted for their retention. In order not to throw away the baby and the bath water, in order for INEC not to be saddled with council elections, which could amount to robbing peter (states) to pay Paul (federal) and making the federal system more complicated, the CDD study reached these conclusions: For there to be transparent and credible elections at the council level, laws governing the establishment of SIECs are to be reviewed, to unfetter them from state control. That means state control must be drastically reduced or eliminated completely. That means institutional independence. SIECs should also be financially independent. The study recommends direct funding through a separate budgetary allocation drawn from the consolidated revenue funds of states, like INEC. Also, the mode of appointment of SIECs officials has to change. The current method, where the governor is the sole appointee lacks transparency. An independent process is recommended. Still on appointments, the study advocate use of competent and professional staff and not just cronies of the governor. There should be public participation in appointment of SIECs staff. The overbearing influence of ruling parties was also decried, while capacity of staff should be improved upon regularly.

Governments Should Make Welfare, Infrastructure Priority – Baroness Amos

hat is the United Nations doing to help W the governments mitigate effects of flood? MY agency does not do any of those major engineering projects. What we do is help states and countries to identify what needs to be done and help them identify those that can do the work. We work in three different kinds of areas. One in countries with a lot of conflict, like the work we are doing in Syria with our partners at getting supplies to people who need it in the midst of fighting. We also work in countries, communities and states that are faced with major natural disasters and we try to work with them to get the early warnings needed, so that they can move people away from the disaster areas and move people to safe places. And we also work with countries where you see the impact of major flooding every two or three years or in places that suffer from food shortages due to drought and we try to identify with the authorities to make the people more resilient, because we know that such things will happen. It always helps to know what can be done when it happens and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. And some of it will come in infrastructural projects, we don’t have the money to resolve that, but

amos there are agencies such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank and some major donors to that assist to solve such problems. Such avenues would be made known to states and linked to assess such help. Bayelsa seems to be the lowest point in Nigeria and the most devastated by the last

flood. What are those things you think can be offered as practical assistance to the state? I have talk to the Governor about the extent to which we can help to support and strengthen the disaster management capacity in the state itself. So, we offer technical expertise that can help to identify areas we can help the state to support the development of the disaster management capacity. We can also identify where supplies can be bought more cheaply, so that they can be stored. So that when such disaster happens again, the response will be faster and fewer people would live in a terrible condition for the length of time, while the state tries to source these materials. Is there technical expertise we can bring to help with issues like how you manage people’s responses. How do you manage the camps? How do you identify, in advance, where people might go should a situation like last year happen? So, it is basically in the area of expertise that we can help. You have talked about collaboration, in what other areas do you think your agency can help at a time the state is looking for alternative revenue away from oil and gas. How do you assist states to diversify? Of course, my agency’s responsibility is humanitarian affairs. But what I have said to the Governor is that I would be pleased to identify areas he and other businessmen in the Bayelsa Development Corporation should go and get the kind of expertise needed for such diversification.

After a tour of the devastated areas of Bayelsa and the clips of the colossal damage done to the state during the last flood. How would you compare Impact of flood in Bayelsa and other areas? I think it is very hard to make comparison. But it is important you put the people at the centre of this and assist any person that suffered from the kind of flood disaster that happened in Bayelsa.When I started the job, there was a major flood in Pakistan. And on my first day, I went to Pakistan I saw people’s lives devastated by flood in the country. So we have to do this on a country, state and community basis in specifics. Any kind of flood has a major effect on families, communities and destroys people’s livelihood. The possibilities of their livelihood in the future are destroyed. We have to try to prevent this if we can. We should be able to know where people build their homes and standards set for homes to withstand flooding. I saw a bridge in Bayelsa devastated by the flood. How can we make the standard of public infrastructures strong enough to withstand such flooding? None of it is easy, but it is about raising the awareness of the communities and states. We should mobilise community rulers and chiefs on a large-scale enterprise. There are always lessons to be learnt. And the Governor himself and the Flood Management committee have been looking at areas that can be strengthened. There is no time and the rains are getting closer. The state is already identifying areas where people can be moved to in case it gets bad. And one of the major actions is to have a safe place you can move people to. If you move them into schools, then the people won’t get educated. Floods always have all kinds of knock-on effect. But there are some good plan this year and it should role out quickly in case the worst happen. And I hope the worst would not happen.


TheGuardian

Sunday, June 30, 2013 53

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion Corruption As Nigeria’s Lingua Franca By Tunji Lardner ARLEZ-VOUS corruption? Corruption is Nigeria’s lingua franca, understood by all and spoken with varying degrees of fluency by a large percentage of the population. It is the transactional language of engagement in nearly every encounter and interaction among Nigerians and has evolved to become the normative syntax of our society, modulating everything from our private thoughts and personal behaviour to the theory and practice of our public policies. To freely borrow a model from the study of linguistics, in our lingua franca, there is a ‘surface structure,’ in which conversations are held in seemingly benign and passive voices, while their true meaning might lie in the ‘deep structure,’ of a very active and persistent voice demanding the ‘what’s in it for me’ pay off, for every exchange. I see not a few of you reading this nodding your heads in agreement, yes, our linguistic facility with this language is world famous. So the question is; do you speak corruption? As a Nigerian... of course, you do! However, to immediately blunt the selfrighteous huff of those who might equate familiarity and facility with this language as being a dark insinuation about their moral perversions, I hasten to say that speaking the language does not necessarily meant that you are ‘corrupt.’ Such is the intimacy between language and actions that we seem confounded about how to ‘fight corruption’ ‘that cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabric of the nation,’ as that colourful Nigerian trope frequently and loudly declares in an ineffectual fit of mock outrage. Even when well intended, it is difficult to get a firm purchase on corruption to wrestle it as it were to the ground because it is at once a familiar and rather large opponent. It is familiar to us through ‘language’ and by ordinary reckoning, way too large for us,

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individually as ‘ordinary’ Nigerians to be able to do anything about it, hence the familiar hand wringing ‘what can we do’ refrain when challenged to do something about this corrosive and destructive phenomena. It is clear that there has never been any real political will from the ruling elite over the last six decades to seriously address the issue of systemic corruption, and given the predatory and venal mindset of the ruling class, why should they? And there seems to be no public will either, corruption is our dirty little secret, we rationalise and allow ourselves the rewards of petty misdemeanours and the sometimes-grand felonies, and then publicly decry the consequences of what we have collectively wrought over the last six decades. In the evolution of the corrupt state that is Nigeria today, we have over time developed a whole new socio-linguistic system to help us link the surface and deep structures of grammar and meaning, to the point where conversations are automatically parsed, decoded and translated into the appropriate corruption lexicon. Like most mature languages, Nigeria’s lingua franca has also evolved its own meta-linguistic mode of communication that does not require the spoken word to convey meaning and intent. Observe, for instance, the street-level exchange of petty corruption between the Danfo minibus driver and the armed policeman at the checkpoint, or the ‘your boys are here/loyal sir’ salute as you pull up to the makeshift checkpoint with the nozzle of an AK47 within spitting distance of your head; in the former hardly a word is exchanged before the deft transaction is done and in the latter, the pledge of fealty is a veiled threat that you must ‘roger’ us, or else. At the other end of the scale, observe also the theatrics of grand corruption in the body language and bombastic announcements of the esteemed members of the Federal Executive Council on local television after each Wednesday’s contract awarding session. Their jocularity and back slapping camaraderie,

against the backdrop of the growing list of existential threats facing Nigeria, sends the clear and unmistakable message that ‘we really don’t give a damn,’ in the unspoken way most Nigerians understand. By way of further understanding, it is necessary at this point to step away from the subtleties of language to take a harder more clinical look at systemic corruption in Nigeria. Corruption is a complex social, political, and economic phenomenon. It is widespread in Nigeria, like in other developing countries, because conditions are ripe for it. The motivation in the first instance to earn income is extremely strong and is exacerbated by wide spread poverty, predatory kinship structures, weak legal systems, the absence of the rule of law, low and declining civil service salaries, burgeoning youth unemployment and permanent uncertainty about the future, especially a violent chaotic democratic future. When considered within the context of the body politic-the people of a nation or the nation itself- corruption is situated and in Nigeria’s case fully embedded in the governance and leadership structure of the land, over time and without any particular reference to respective military regimes or political parties. It is in a word systemic, as in that there is an operational consensus that keeps the system lubricated and functioning. Let’s attempt some definitions to further clarify this. Governance — The manner in which the state acquires and exercises its authority to provide public goods and services, and in tandem, government policy is simply what a government chooses to do or not do in the provision or non-provision of the said public goods and services. In good governments with good governance processes there is usually a clear organizational design and operational efficiency geared toward the delivery of public goods and services for all citizens. The signs of poor governance are all too familiar to Nigerians, a lack of transparency, weak public voices, poor accountability, wide

discretionary and monopolistic powers, unbridled impunity, all capped by gross inefficiency. Some elements of administrative corruption include the practice of making private benefits (bribes) to public officials in connection with the implementation of government policies and regulations. The widespread and culturally endorsed practice of nepotism and patronage as in favouritism shown to narrowly targeted ethnic or social interest groups by those in power, for example granting favours giving contracts, making appointments in favour of political support. All these systemic malpractices can be defined as State capture, which is when as in the case of Nigeria a small cabal of military, political, business and civil service elite have seized the levers of state and seek to perpetuate themselves by making laws, regulations and policies that further entrench their public and private sector interests. Sounds familiar? Corruption-Within the context of Nigeria is simply the use of public office for private gain. In Nigeria’s well oiled graft machine the ruling elite have created and nurtured a transactional system in which they have nationalized all the risks associated with managing (mismanaging?) public funds and the common wealth and fully privatised the profits. In short their brand of capitalism and enterprise is simply to collect rent on all national assets and processes, not produce anything or render social services, live like mandarins and then leave ‘ordinary’ Nigerians holding the volatile can of risks. In summation, corruption is the outcome of weak and bad governance and poor delivery of public goods and services is one major outcome of bad governance. Corruption is the analogue to governance, precisely good governance. Now with this understanding how do you rate your fluency in our lingua franca? To seek more understanding on corruption, please visit www.antigraft.org Comments can be sent to: me.tlardner@gmail.com

New Standards For Igbo Leaders By Tochukwu Ezukanma  T is leadership that defines a nation. Essentially, it builds or destroys a nation. General Charles de Gaulle relevantly stated that, “nothing great can be done without great (leaders)”. In other words, national greatness can only result from great leadership, and corollary, national decline is an inescapable consequence of despicable leadership. And Thomas Carlyle made a similar point, “the history of nations is but the biographies of …leaders.” So, the history of the Igbo nation is an anthology of the biographies of Igbo leaders. The earlier Igbo power elite were exceptionally gifted and farsighted. They adroitly managed the problems and prospects of the Igbo nation. The then dazzling Igbo successes in all facets of the Nigerian society were testaments to their superb leadership. The subsequent drop in the quality of Igbo leadership, following the 1966 coup, inevitably resulted in the decline of the Igbo nation. Of these post-1966 coup Igbo leaders, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu did the most extensive and profound damage to the Igbo nation. Among other things, he brought a new paradigm to Igbo leadership. He taught Igbo leaders that it is okay to lead your people into trouble, and then, abandon them and run away, which is perfidy. And that a leader can justifiably be poised to cash in on power and glory, if the “toil, sweat, tears and blood” of his people yields victory but also be positioned to cut and run, if they end up in defeat, which is opportunism. His examples sowed the seeds for a culture of perfidy and opportunism within the ranks of the Igbo leader. Man is a fleshy lump that will finally be consigned under six feet of earth where it inevitably crumbles to dust. Unless attended by purpose, life is an empty shell. It is purpose (which is naturally associated with duty) that makes life meaningful. A German adage says that, “the greatest glory is in doing your duty”. And the ultimate duty is in the service of humanity. There can be no commitment to serve humanity

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without the willingness to sacrifice self-interests, comfort and ambitions to the common good. I have always been enthralled by acts of selflessness where the individual gives it all, including his life, for the betterment of others. The obsession to cling on to life is all normal. But to lay it down for a cause, if necessary, is most glorious. As I think of sacrifice, I remember a French lieutenant, during the 1st World War, who commanded a company of soldiers ordered to attack a German redoubt. As they ran towards the German position, they came under heavy German machine gun fire. At a point, he ordered his men to take cover. Still standing, and giving orders to them, he was struck by machine gun fire. He fell, and his men panicked, “the lieutenant is dead”, “the lieutenant is dead”. He raised his head and managed to raise himself to his knees, and evidently, with his last breathe, screamed, “Yes, the lieutenant is dead, but hold firm! Advance!” He fell and died. And, as I reflect on selflessness, I remember Martin Luther King Jr. He was a 26-year-old pastor when the course of his life was redirected by the needs of his people. He employed his elaborate erudition and his abilities to write with power and speak with passion to lead his people out of the fetters of racism. He knew that his death was certain in that struggle to emancipate Black Americans from the shackles of racial injustice. In his last speech, he talked about, “Like anybody, I would like to live a long time, longevity has its place.  But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will…And He has allowed me to go up to the mountain, and I have looked over and I have seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land”. The next day, he laid in the pool of his own blood; his thirty eight year old life squelched out by an assassin’s bullet. The valedictory statements of the two men conveyed the

same attitude. The lieutenant’s exhortation to his men, “hold firm, advance” and King’s   “I may not get there with you but … we as a people will get to the Promise Land” reveal a willing to selflessly fight for a cause, even with the certainty that they were not to partake in the magnificent outcomes of the struggle. Is that attitude not in stark contrast with the mindset of the generality of the present day Igbo leaders? Most Igbo leaders are selfish; they seek personal gains and immediate gratifications. They acknowledge and respect no other interest but theirs. They expect their “leadership” positions to yield them immediate benefits: prestige, wealth, titles, glory, etc.  And the thought that to lead their people demands personal sacrifices is alien and inconceivable to them. As such, craven toadies and relentless opportunists parade themselves as Igbo leaders.  We need to winnow these men; sorting out the few that are answering an inner urge to serve humanity from the spineless, dishonourable lot mired in this tradition of perfidy and opportunism. To do this requires a paradigm shift - new set of standards - for Igbo leaders. The Igbo nation should demand that their leaders live up to the examples of the French lieutenant and Martin Luther King Jr. Anyone aspiring to lead the Igbo must have distinguished himself in courage, selflessness and the preparedness to subordinate all: interests, ambitions, and even life, to the Igbo nation. For what is at stake in leadership is not the leader’s interests and personal survival but life or death, happiness or tragedy, progress or retrogression, etc for millions - an entire nation. After all, the individual life is but a moment inexorably sandwiched between birth and death. On the other hand, the life of the Igbo nation is eternal. Therefore, every Igbo, especially, those in leadership positions must be prepared to die for the Igbo nation. Any Igbo leader not ready to lay down his life for the Igbo nation, and therefore, can cut and run for his own life is not a leader but a despicable, perfidious opportunist.    • Ezukanma writes from Lagos.


TheGuardian

54 | Sunday, June 30, 2013

Opinion Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Why Nigerians Travel To India By Ojay Odifeh

HE Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, recently expressed concern about Nigerians who travel abroad for medical treatment and procedures that are readily available in Nigeria. I can understand if he is referring to those who go America and Europe for treatment under the slightest excuse and for normal checkup that can be done in our hospitals and laboratories. Those are moneybags, but for other average Nigerians like me, who travel to places like India, it is just a matter of life and death. My trip to India was not first choice; my initial choice was to get treated here. So I started my sojourn here. At my first port of call, a government hospital, I was told that to see a doctor, I must come before 7am because that is when they stop accepting patients for the day. I got there at 6:15 am. I got number 12 tag. The man attending to patients appeared strict and would not favour anybody. By 8am, doctors and nurses started trickling in. I was happy and thought that I will be out by 11am. By 11am, the only achievement was my vitals being taken and guess what, the scale was faulty and my weight could not be taken. I did not see any of the four consultants attending to patients till 2pm even though I was number 12 on the list. Why? Because while the man registering patients was strict, people (friends, relatives and acquaintances of the doctors, nurses and other hospital staff) were passing through the back to see the consultants, so that even people who came through the back door at 1pm were attended to before me who was there at 6:15am. When the doctor was to attend to me, there was no minimum privacy even though he shared the consulting room with a female doctor. I stripped naked in that state (does a sick person have much option?) with the consulting room door closed but not locked. The female doctor who had no business with my case joined her male colleague. A female nurse whose assistance was not needed strolled in and also joined them. The male doctor did all the examination without an input from the female doctor and nurse. As far as I was concerned, they were just interested in seeing my nakedness, but why? They had wedding rings on, so they see this thing every day. As I was still contemplating whether I was in the right place, a medical personnel there who was privy to the information in my file called me aside and told me that he had similar health challenges and wait for the bombshell: he travelled to India for treatment. I never did the recommended tests neither did I go back there. But as a patriotic Nigerian, I was still determined to get treated here so I shifted to a private hospital. The cost of registration was N5, 000, while consultation was between N10, 000 and N30, 000 per doctor depending on experience and specialisation. And if you see the same doctor more than twice you pay additional N6, 000 for consultation per subsequent visit. I have to

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JAW JAW By Didi Onu

Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu

confess that I was impressed with their competence; I knew they could handle my case, but their bill was very high. At this time I had contacted some hospitals in India, including the one the medical personnel at the government hospital recommended to me. When I compared the costs, it was much cheaper going to India including flight tickets (economy) and accommodation. So to India I went. The moment I landed, I knew India will not be too different from Nigeria. The magnificent, spick and span Dubai Airport became a distant memory, even though I left there about four hours earlier. Airport formalities were swift, though and I did not see officials demanding or collecting bribes or holding any traveller hostage. Outside the airport was rowdy like Lagos International Airport with people everywhere. The roads were both smooth and rough, but no potholes. The roads are nothing like the paved streets of Europe and America with sparkling walkways, but no open drains like ours (By the way where did we get that from). Even small allies and narrow roads are tarred. Road users are reckless and unruly but no altercations and fighting. They do not even swear at each other. They just move on. Road accidents are rare. Okada and keke Marwa (they call it auto) are the same everywhere- reckless and insensitive to the rights of other road users. Auto drivers are also auto cheats if you are unfamiliar with the routes and the fairs. Sorry for the digression, by the time I got to the hospital, registration was 250 rupees (N750 approximately), consultation

was 500 rupees (N1, 500) no matter the calibre of the specialist and the number of times you are seeing him (compare it with ours). My treatment went well and my organs (Sorry I cannot go into the details about the nature of the ailment) are now in tiptop shape once more and I have since been back hale and hearty. Like every Nigerian who cares about this country, I did not just go for treatment and come back. I spent time observing and learning about the Indian society because their problems and struggles are not different from ours; it is the degree that varies. Their politicians squabble more than ours; while we have issues with allocation of oil blocks, theirs is coal blocks allocation scandals. Even with their good health facilities some of their politicians prefer to go to America and Europe with taxpayers’ money for medical treatment. I can go on and on with the comparism, but the bottom line is, even with their myriad of problems India is on the ascendancy and will be one of the top five economies in no distant future. The lesson I learnt is that even with our problems, we can also be on the ascendancy. We must however tackle our insecurity and scary corruption (there is also widespread corruption there, but nothing near ours) headlong. Back to the health sector, the India medical tourism and revolution are private sector driven. Government only provided the enabling environment. The two government hospitals I saw there were not looking good from outside. I just wondered what the inside will look like. So, here government needs to create an enabling environment and stop wasting its time setting up or trying to set up world-class hospitals. Our governments over time have proved to be very poor managers of businesses. The hospitals will not be different. Second, we need security. I found India to be a very peaceful and secure place, even with the cases of rape and occasional rebel attacks and sectarian violence in some parts. While there were cases of thieves targeting old people living alone in Mumbai and problem of urban slums side by side with palatial mansions and glittering offices, the place is safe. Government needs to make Nigeria safer to start a medical revolution. A lot of the doctors I came across in India used to practice in Canada, America and Europe before coming home to develop their health sector. Will insecurity allow our doctors who are some of the best scattered all over the world to come home? Another thing I noticed was the large number of patients in these private hospitals. The hospital teems with people, rich and poor, like it is a government hospital. I asked how the poor among them (some of the patients have poverty written on them from the crown of their heads to the sole of their feet) were able to afford private Medicare in private hospitals. I was told in confidence that they do give such locals concessions. More over one hospital came up with an ingenious scheme where the rich in the community came together to

form a club where they pool resources together to support the critically ill who are too poor to afford the necessary medical procedure. We must find a way to bring quality healthcare to the poor in our society. A lot of private hospitals in India have come up with ingenious ways to achieve this. They had the will and the way naturally came along. In India, I found out that even though they are very interested in our money, there is this overwhelming desire to render quality service. I find the average Nigerian doctor to be greedy and infected with this our mindless and primitive desire to accumulate wealth. I am not saying doctors should not be rich or live good lives, but you if want to be a Dangote (stupendously rich) please quit medical practice and go into other businesses. Medical practice beyond being a business is about humanity and sometimes-selfless service to humanity. If you take away the latter two, you take away the soul of medical practice. That is partly what the Hippocratic Oath that doctors take is all about. I know they do have a lot of constraints and challenges including fraudulent and ungrateful patients, but they must practice their medicine according to their oath. One reason our private hospitals give for high charges are our poor infrastructure, especially electricity. My trip to India put a lie to this argument. In India, even though power supply is better than ours, it is not guaranteed 24/7. There is no serious business organisation I saw in India without standby generators. In the hospital where I was, they took light everyday day throughout my admission, the same thing with the hotel I stayed, sometimes for hours and guess what? Diesel costs about N290 per litre there, almost twice what it costs here. Access to cheap funds is another area government needs to look into. You cannot have a viable private sector driven quality medical sector with the crazy rates our banks charge. I came across a document where one Indian hospital was trying to increase their success rate with cancer treatment from 40 per cent to 60 per cent. To achieve the target, they planned to invest equivalent of N80b! The money was to be sourced both internally and through borrowing. With our interest rate, such a venture is not possible here. Access to cheap funds is critical. Finally, I think our medical professionals need to improve their standard of care. For a sick person care is as important as the treatment. The standard of care I experienced in India is much higher than what I have seen anywhere here and these doctors and nurses are normal people like our health professionals. Some of the nurses cannot even speak English. Sometimes the hospital makes extra efforts to allocate nurses who speak English to English-speaking international patients. •Odifeh writes from Lagos.


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POLITICS

OGUN: Politicians Realign Ahead 2015 Labour Party Becomes Toast Of Many Stranded Politicians

Obasanjo By Charles Coffie Gyamfi is still two years away, but in Ogun State 2very015 the political temperature has already gone high. In fact, dress rehearsals for 2015 began last year and what is remarkable in this trend is the possibility of changes in tactics. In the past the battle used to be a two-horse race, always between the Alliance for Democracy (AD) now Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The AD ruled the state under chief Segun Osoba, between 1999 and 2003, but the PDP took over government after the 2003 elections and stayed put for eight years, during which the ACN tried to regain itself. Now the ACN is in charge under governor Ibikunle Amosun in 2011 elections. But there are clear indications that the story could be different in 2015, barring unforeseen circumstances, as the emerging All Progressives Congress (APC), PDP and an invigorated Labour Party (LP) might fight the battle. Until recently, the LP in the State merely existed on paper; but the party may have inadvertently benefited from the protracted crisis within the PDP. In the countdown to the 2011 elections, a faction of PDP supporters went to form the People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN). They have now joined the LP since they were unable to reconcile with their old party. Also, some aggrieved ACN members, who are not well accommodated in the Amosun government, have also reportedly joined the LP. The former deputy speaker of the State House of Assembly, Remmy Hassan and Adijat Oladapo-Olaleye are some ACN faithful that have decamped to the Labour Party. Apart from the former PPN members, The Guardian investigations revealed that members that belonged to Martins Kuye and former President Olusegun Obasanjo factions of the PDP have also moved to the LP. The Obasanjo, Kuye, Daniel and Buruji Kashamu factions, for over a year battled one another over control of the Party’s structure. But the Kashamu faction eventually won, based on a High Court ruling. The Guardian gathered that all efforts by the party leadership at the national level, including the Presidency to get all the factions to work together after the court ruling did not yield positive result. It was learnt that though it was his directive that all PPN members should defect to the LP, former governor Daniel has chosen to stay put in PDP for now. A source within the PDP confided in The Guardian that it was at Daniel’s Sagamu residence that it was resolved that all the three factions (excluding Kashamu’s) should come together and move to the LP

Daniel instead of moving separately and aimlessly. While speculation is rife that those factions of PDP have merged with the LP, Labour’s Secretary, Oginni Olaposi Sunday disagrees. He said, “We have not merged with any party. What we are doing is to form an alliance with anyone who joins us. This is because we don’t want anybody to hijack our party.” Despite Oginni’s assertion, he confirmed that so far, three governorship aspirants of the PDP in 2011 are among those who have defected to Labour. They are; Gbenga Nasir Isiaka, Sina Kawonise and Abiodun I. Akinlade. Incidentally, all three are referred to in Ogun political circles as OGD (Daniel) boys. Some people have interpreted this as an indication that there is confusion in Daniel’s camp. But one of Daniel’s loyalists disagrees. He said, far from being confused, what the leader told them was that whoever wanted to contest is free to express his or her intention, but at the appropriate time, things will sort themselves out. State of the Parties AFTER 2011, the PDP has been seriously weakened by protracted internal crisis and is now a shadow of itself, even though they have been making fruitless efforts at reconciliation. The ACN, apart from forming government controls the House of Assembly with majority of members and also boasts of over 90 percent of the 236 councilors. All the 20 local council chairmanship seats were won by the ACN. Speaking to journalists recently, Amosun insisted that, “the PDP in Ogun State is dead and buried.” Adegbenga Kaka, an ACN senator re-echoed it recently. Oginni, LP Secretary also told The Guardian that, “PDP is completely dead in Ogun State and waiting for embalmment.” But a PDP chieftain, Elder Joju Fadairo sharply disagrees. He said; “We are still as strong as before. We are not dead. One thing they (those who believe the party is dead) have forgotten is that the PDP is not just a party, it is an entity and what constitute PDP are human beings and we are still alive, very sound and hearty, so we are not dead. We are moving, we are consolidating and we are harmonising.” Fadairo, former PDP state chairman continued: “I am telling you categorically that PDP is still very much in existence in Ogun State. Obasanjo has no faction whatsoever, and I am saying that authoritatively, if you say that we had four factions before, well to some extent it might be true, but where I belonged to, we were the mainstream.” He gave a hint that the crisis in the PDP might not have finally ended when he said, “I know Kuye, Daniel all of us are together. Yes, the party’s national leadership is supporting the Kashamu faction because of a court judgment, but there are still some court cases that are

Amosun still pending. I can tell you there are still some cases that are pending even in the Appeal Court, which might upturn that. “So we are resolving our issues and I am sure, come 2015 we will bounce back. When you are trying to resolve issues you must ensure that it doesn’t raise its head again, you must find a permanent solution and that is what we are trying to do. We have to disagree to agree and that is what is happening, we are resolving our issues, it is better late than never. Asked if he was sure if the PDP or any other party in can defeat the ACN in the 2015 elections, Fadairo said; “because Amosun is in the opposition, there are certain things I will not want to say but as a journalist go to town and ask the people, I am not supposed to judge Amosun because it is not yet campaign time, the people, the electorate are the ones to judge him. So go around and feel their pulse, have their comments then you will know the way he (Amosun) has been rated. I am not saying he is not doing well but if you quantify what we (PDP) did in two years and what he (Amosun) has done in two years, you will know who performed better.” On the part of the ACN, despite it’s great electoral fortunes, there is a crack within its fold. There is simmering power tussle between loyalists of Amosun and those of chief Osoba, over the control of the party structure. This has divided the party. Besides, Osoba supporters are accusing Amosun of being bias in the appointment of political office holders, an allegation, which the Amosun camp has denied. Again, they are alleging that Amosun has refused to “empower” them (giving them enough spoils of office). Apparently for political reasons, Oginni declined to mention ACN members who have so far decamped apart from Remmy Hassan and Adijat Oladapo-Olaleye. Investigations revealed that their move might not be unconnected with their ambition to contest the House of Representatives election in 2015. They believe that it would be easier for them to achieve that on the platform of LP. Adijat told The Guardian that she was still a member of the ACN, but would not rule out the possibility of leaving the party for another when the need arises. She said: “I am still a member of the ACN as at now. I still pay my party dues and my constituency Secretariat still flies ACN flag as at today. But I don’t know what will happen tomorrow.” Adijat represents Ifo II Federal constituency and is one of the outspoken legislators in the House. Hear her: ”If I am to leave for any other party, I am bold enough to make it public at the floor of the House which party I am leaving for, but as at today I am still an ACN member and that is not to say anything cannot hap-

pen.” According to her, since she began her political career some years back, she had belonged to the United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Alliance for Democracy (AD), which transformed to the ACN; saying it was not usual for a politician to change parties, but emphasised that anytime she saw the need to do so for whatever reason, she would make it public. On allegation that she joined LP to enable her realise her House of Representatives ambition, she simply said; “there is nothing wrong with anyone aspiring for higher position. Besides, I have the requirement, but right now, it is too early to deny or confirm. What is important now is for me to fulfill the mandate my people have given me.” But despite her denial, some Daniel loyalists confirmed that Adijat and Hassan have held series of meetings with Daniel and Kuye’s PDP factions, during which agreement was reached that all of them should move to LP as a group and not as individuals. The leadership of LP, the party that is beneficiary of the crises in other parties was full of gratitude to God for “becoming the beautiful bride that everybody is wooing.” Oginni said; “I want to be sincere here that there is no politician in Ogun State today, that is not looking in the direction of Labour because the other parties are having one problem or other. The ACN government is performing below average; that is the belief of so many people, including ACN faithful. So most of them are now looking for a party that will rescue them.” Apart from the PDP, ACN and PPN, other decampees to Labour include those from CPC (now APC) and even the National Conscience Party (NCP). According to Oginni, the party is into rigorous recruitment of people that have never even been in one political party or the other. This drive is due to the fact that the percentage of voters is less than 40 percent of registered voters. Meaning that in any election there are still over 65 percent of people that are outside, waiting to be captured. That is what Labour is doing, according to the state Secretary. “What we are talking about is a Movement, a party that belongs to market women, okada riders, vulcanizers, even jobless people,” he said. Asked if Hassan and Adijat are among ACN members who defected to Labour, he simply said; “Let me tell you, those are even smaller names, you will still hear bigger, bigger names. Labour party is not so desperate, what we are doing is trying to bring everybody on board. I want to tell you that nearly every notable politician in Ogun State wants to come to Labour, but let me tell you that big CONTINUED ON PAGE 56


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

POLITICS From Leo Sobechi, Abakaliki EAR of the opposition and adherence to the rule of law could be pushed forward as the major consideration for the recent mass weeding of mis-elected members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). But there are more reasons to believe that consciousness of the critical vigilance of the soon to be registered All Progressives Congress (APC), more than respect for the rule of law actually moved PDP to respond positively to the flag of infringement raised by the Independent national Electoral Commission (INEC), against mode of selection of those NWC members. It could now be cited as part of the benefits of bi-partisan politics, that the behemoth PDP should eat the humble pie, come down from it’s high horse to admit what is actually a stamp of its standard of exclusion of certain members from positions of authority. Many observers of Nigeria’s democratic progression have argued that the greatest mistake of the nation’s return to the path of democratic system of government is the fact of former President Olusegun Obasanjo being at the helms of affairs in that transition. Incidentally nothing more than the high turnover of national chairmen of the party and the infamous membership revalidation exercise, exemplified Obasanjo’s jackboot mentality in the leadership of PDP. It is not for want of better adjective that most of his lieutenants allude to the garrison epithet to describe the command structure in PDP. However, in no other geopolitical zone of the country as the Southeast did the evil seed of garrison politics find great adherence. Analysts posit that the PDP exclusion paradigm represented in aversion to free, fair and credible access to elective positions should be blamed for the plethora of political lilliputians that represent the zone on the national turf, in especially the National Assembly and PDP NWC. In an interview with The Guardian, former pioneer state chairman of All People’s Party (APP) Mr. Bonaventure Maduafokwa, disclosed that the caliber of political leaders in the Southeast could be explained by the tradition of writing election results without the actual voting and collation of votes. “We find this practice more defined in Anambra State where some individuals have been empowered financially and otherwise by those who are working at cross purposes with the interest of Ndigbo. During elections you see them with a convoy of security personnel with which they hijack the logistics and infrastructure of election, only to withdraw to a big mansion to write the results of an election that did not hold. How can you get the right leaders through that kind of practice?” he agonised. A proper analysis of the political environment in the Southeast reveals that what Maduafokwa was saying obtains in other states of the zone. At the build-up to the 2003 general election, PDP was factionalised in Enugu State, before the faction loyal to Senator Jim Nwobodo moved into the United Nigeria Democratic Party (UNDP). The bitter struggle between Jim’s faction and that of the then incumbent Governor Chimaroke Nnamani was a stepping-stone to the orgy of violence that characterized political activism in those days. In Ebonyi, the details of what has become the historic Abuja Group versus Home Front contest between then Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim and Governor Sam Egwu, is so gory that merits recapitulation. In the end, the faction of PDP led by Dr. Lawrence Nwuruku veered into the APP, to contest the governorship against Egwu. The case of Abia State was a rehash of Rambo style theatrics. Most of the men of Timber and Calibre that found themselves in the PDP after the controversial election of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu

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Muo Aroh

Metu

How PDP’s Politics Of Exclusion Shortchanged Southeast in 1999 did not believe that that small boy could outwit and outsmart them in the battle for the soul of PDP in 2003. Perhaps, remembrance of that epic battle informed the recent agitation by members of the party against Kalu’s re-entry into PDP. Chief Ikechi Emenike, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and others are living witnesses to what Abia politics was then, against the background of PDP’s exclusion antics. But if the case of Abia was a local affair, the Anambra episode was of national and bizarre dimension. Somehow, the former state chairman of Nigeria Bar Association, (NBA) Mr. Barnabas Igwe and his wife were butchered to make it easier for some persons. The trouble over the control of Anambra State raged to the extent that President Obasanjo was procured to try to resolve the impasse. Some actually blamed him for being behind the wrangling, which the acclaimed godfather, Chris Uba, was said to be at the centre. Even in spite of Obasanjo’s intervention and promise of ambassadorial appointment for Mbadinuju, the governor moved over to the Alliance for Democracy (AD), in a feeble attempt to test his popularity against the PDP machinery. That Mbadinuju was denied a second term ticket despite the party’s blanket endorsement of all its serving governors for automatic ticket continued to haunt the party in Anambra State. Such was the trend that during the zonal congress of the party in Enugu the following year, the situation at Okpara Square simulated Lebanon, as violence was unleashed on former Anambra State governor, Dr. Chris Ngige. Some of those accompanying him to the ven-

ue of the botched congress had their clothes thorn, in addition to various degrees of wounds on their body. For the zonal working committee, the Nze Ozioma Chukwu-led administration gave way to Olisa Metuh in a very dubious affirmation system. Okey Ezenwa, who was touted as the popular candidate to clinch the election was flabbergasted by the adoption of Metuh and his team, without as much as an election or semblance of it. The exercise was replicated in 2008. But the outcome of 2012 zonal congress of PDP in the Southeast showed the party’s culture of exclusion in great comical and mercantilist relief. Adopting a phony zoning format, positions were allocated to persons and in the end a list was adopted as unopposed victorious candidates for various posts. Nonetheless, it was at the national convention that the drama played out. Most of those who were screened and cleared for the election were sidelined in the guise that winners had been returned unopposed. Some of those who printed posters canvassing votes were left wondering what stamp of democracy the party was practicing. For instance, Barrister Okey Muo Aroh and Dr. (Mrs.) Caro Nwosu, who were looking forward to clean contest for the post of Publicity Secretary, were arm-twisted to step down. The electoral contest for the position of deputy national Secretary expected between former Ebonyi State Chairman of the party, chief Joe Obinna Ogba and Mr. Onwe Solomon Onwe, ended in an anticlimax. It took the intervention of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, to

convince Ogba not to upset the apple cart of closet endorsement of some aspirants by governors of the zone. In an interview with The Guardian, Dr. (Mrs.) Caro Nwosu, expressed the hope that the induced resignation of the beneficiaries of the doubtful imposition would pave the way for actual election. She said it was those who benefitted from undemocratic processes that fail to reflect the yearnings of the masses or the party faithful in the performance of their office. She disclosed how one of the candidates that stepped down from the NWC secured board appointments for his girlfriends and siblings at the detriment of “party men and women that suffered for the party.” Publicity Secretary of Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, extolled the benefits of bi-partisan scenario in the polity, saying that Nigeria was on the verge of entering into that glorious era by the merger of parties under the APC. “The bi-partisan stage is where no political party would afford to behave with impunity; Nigeria is entering into that stage with the emergence of APC. This development confers confidence in the electoral process because the parties know that it is no longer possible to win with more than 52 percent of the votes. Thus, when you cannot predict the outcome of the election, you are forced to behave responsibly,” he explained. If what happened at the PDP NWC reflects the bipartisan thinking, then PDP’s transformation have begun and Southeast would be in for certain electoral upheavals that could pander to the whims of the masses.          

OGUN: Labour Party Now Toast Of Many Stranded Politicians CONTINUED FROM PAGE 55 names don’t win election in Ogun. This is a state where a serving Speaker of the Federal Republic of Nigeria lost an election in a local government and that is a signal. A Speaker in Nigeria, without being immodest is greater than three African Presidents put together, the enormous power, resources in the hand of the Speaker of this country and this man from Ogun

State was unable to win just a local government election, that is to tell you how sophisticated Ogun State electorate are. Also, former President, Olusegun Obasanjo lost his ward. This is also a state where a serving Senator, the daughter of former President lost gallantly; that is to tell you that if you are asking for big names, Labour Party is not going for big names to win election this time around, these big names can come, they are welcome, but we are not

going to build our castle on ashes; we won’t build our castle on air, we are going to build on very solid ground, democratic principles and culture of making people the cornerstone of progovernance.” good ducing On speculation that Otunba Daniel had bought into Labour with huge sums, Oginni said; “That is just the imagination of a mind that is beclouded and doesn’t really know what it takes to be a governor for good eight years. Daniel happens to be a major

stakeholder in Ogun State politics, take it or leave it, but I want to tell you that Daniel, like every notable politician in Ogun State is talking with LP, not because he really wants to take over or because he wants to dump Jonathan and come to Labour party, no, but we have the mandate to talk, dialogue with anybody, even if the incumbent Governor wants to dialogue with us, we will dialogue with him. We will tell him our limitation, expectations, possibilities and what

we can offer. Nobody has ever sold Labour party to anybody, but we can say that Otunba Gbenga Daniel, whether we like it or not is still relevant in Ogun State politics.” On what 2015 is going to look like Oginni said; “2015 is in the hands of God, but heaven helps those who help themselves. My first prediction is that Labour party in Ogun State is taking over the Governor’s Office come 2015.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

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FOREIGNNEWS

Eight Soldiers Killed By Roadside Bomb THAILAND IGHT soldiers have been killed E by a roadside bomb in Thailand’s restive south, police say, in one of the deadliest attacks on the security forces in recent years. The “powerful” bomb targeted military vehicles in Krong Pinang district of Yala province, police said. More than 5,000 people have been killed since a separatist insurgency reignited in the Muslim-majority region in 2004. Near-daily attacks are continuing despite government talks with rebels. “It was a very powerful bomb

that completely destroyed the truck,” police spokesman Colonel Pramote Promin told AFP news agency. “Ten soldiers were in the truck. Eight died and two were wounded,” he said, adding that two villagers had also been injured. It is the single deadliest attack on Thai security forces in several years. The attacks in the south continue despite pledges by the government and negotiators for Muslim separatists to try to curb violence over the Ramadan period, beginning next month, in talks earlier in June. Thailand is a Buddhist-majority country, but Muslims are the majority in the three southern provinces

Washington Warns Against Egypt Travel After Deadly Clashes HE US has warned Americans not UNITED STATES T to travel to Egypt and has told non-emergency diplomatic staff to leave, as clashes continue in the country. The state department also urged US nationals in Egypt “to remain alert”. The warning came as at least three people –– including a US citizen –– died in clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi. Tensions have been rising ahead of a mass rally planned by the opposition on Sunday to demand Mr Morsi steps down. His supporters are stressing what they see as Morsi’s “legitimacy”, rejecting the opposition’s demand. Sunday is the first anniversary of the president’s inauguration. Speaking during an official visit to

South Africa, US President Barack Obama said the US was “looking with concern” at the situation in Egypt. He said the US’s “immediate concern” was with securing its embassies and consulates, and their staff. “We support peaceful protests and peaceful methods of bringing about change in Egypt,” Obama said, but he added that every party had to “denounce violence”. Earlier, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Egyptians to respect “universal principles of peaceful dialogue” amid growing concern over the tension between Morsi’s supporters and his opponents.

Obama Hails Mandela Inspiration SOUTH AFRICA S President Barack Obama has U praised Nelson Mandela as “an inspiration to the world” while visiting South Africa. The US leader, who was speaking in Pretoria after talks with President Jacob Zuma, does not intend to visit the 94-year-old, who has been critically ill for nearly a week. But he met the Mandela family in private and spoke by telephone to his wife, Graca Machel. Riot police clashed with antiObama protesters in Soweto. The American leader was in Soweto to deliver a speech to young African leaders at the University of

Johannesburg. According to Mr Zuma, Mr Mandela remains “stable but critical”, and he added that he had “every hope that he will be out of hospital soon”. However, South Africa’s last apartheid president and the man jointly awarded the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize with Mr Mandela, FW de Klerk, is to cut short a visit to Europe due to Mr Mandela’s poor health, his foundation said in a statement. In Pretoria, Obama said Mandela’s example of “the power of principle, of people standing up for what’s right continues to shine as a beacon”.

PRESIDENT BARAK OBAMA’S AFRICA VISIT

Obama Yet To Impress Africa Like Predecessors

of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat. Muslim militants, who are fighting for greater autonomy, are believed to carry out the gun and bomb attacks against security forces and citizens perceived to be government allies or collaborators in the area.

Assad Forces Strike Homs SYRIA YRIAN war planes and ground Sdistricts forces have struck at rebel-held of the city of Homs, say

activists. Aircraft, tanks and mortar units attacked districts including Khalidiya and Jouret al-Shiya, they said. Saturday was “one of the most violent days that Homs has witnessed since the beginning of the revolution,” an activist told AP news agency. The tide of Syria’s civil war has been turning against anti-government rebels in recent week, say correspondents. Building on their recapture earlier this month of the strategic town of Qusair - near Homs and the Lebanon border - the forces of President Bashar al-Assad have taken villages nearby and launched fresh offensives on Homs, an important centre of rebel resistance. However, in recent days rebels are also reported to have made gains in fighting in the southern city of Deraa.

British Climber Dies In Alps AUSTRIA USSIAN Foreign Minister Sergei 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 exercise. 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.

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US first lady Michelle Obama participates in a discussion with students… yesterday at the Sci-Bono Discovery Center in Johannesburg.

PHOTO: AFP

By Kamal Tayo Oropo (With Agency Reports) RESIDENT Barack Obama is receiving the embrace you might expect for a long-lost son on his return to his father’s home continent, even as he has yet to leave a lasting policy legacy for Africa on the scale of his two predecessors. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush passed innovative Africa initiatives while in the White House and passionately continue their development work in the region in their presidential afterlife. Obama’s efforts here have not been so ambitious, despite his personal ties to the continent. One potentially memorable aspect of this trip –– a meeting with former South African president and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela –– remained in doubt. Mandela is hospitalised in Johannesburg in critical condition. Obama arrived in South Africa on Friday after visiting Senegal. Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Obama said it was uncertain whether he would get an opportunity to see the 94-year-old Mandela, a personal hero to the president. “I don’t need a photo-op, and the last thing I want to do is to be in any way obtrusive at a time when the family is concerned about Nelson Mandela’s condition,” he said. In French-speaking Senegal, Africa’s westernmost country, spirited crowds greeted Obama on his visit, with revelers frequently breaking into song and dance at the sight of the first African-American president. However thrilled they were to see him, many said they wish his visits weren’t so rare. “Two visits in five years, it’s not enough,” said Faye Mbissine, a 30-yearold nanny who took an early morning bus to come see Obama on Thursday outside the presidential palace. “We hope that he can come more.” Manougou Nbodj, a 21-year-old student, said he hopes Obama will bring American resources like jobs and health care. “If Obama can work with (President) Macky Sall the way that George Bush worked with Africa before him, then we will be happy,” he said. One of Bush’s chief foreign policy successes was his aid to Africa, including AIDS relief credited with saving millions of lives and grants to reward developing countries for good governance. Bush followed on momentum on African policy that began under Clinton, who allowed several dozen sub-Saharan countries to export to the U.S. duty-free. Obama has continued the Bush and Clinton programs during tough economic times. But his signature Africa policy thus far has been food security, through less prominent programs designed to address hunger with policy reforms and private investment in agriculture. On Friday, Obama toured displays in small thatched booths at his hotel grounds on a bluff overlooking the ocean, meeting with farmers and entrepreneurs who are using new methods and technologies to advance the cause of food security. “This is a moral imperative,” he said. “I believe that Africa is rising and it wants to partner with us not to be dependent but to be self-sufficient. Former deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Witney Schneidman, said Obama’s efforts are not like Bush’s AIDS initiative “where you put people on a medicine to save their lives – very, extremely important. This is more of a structural change, and I think that’s going to take time.”

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NDER Clinton and Bush “you had this major funding, major attenU tion, major initiatives going to Africa, and then President Obama came in, and there was a sense of stall, in a way,” said Jennifer Cooke, director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She said that’s understandable as he grappled with wars and an economic crisis, and she gave Obama credit for working diplomatically with African governments in his first term. But, she said, “they weren’t big, splashy initiatives that got peoples’ attention either in Africa or here at home, and no big money and no big ideas that really helped define what Obama was about in Africa.” That’s a disappointment to those who were expecting more from the first African-American president, especially after his speech during a brief stopover in Ghana his first summer in office, in which he spoke personally of his father’s life in Kenya and declared “a new moment of great promise” in Africa. “I have the blood of Africa within me,” Obama said. Schneidman argued that Obama’s personal connection may also have been an impediment to deeper engagement in his first term. “The whole birther movement here in the U.S. that was sort of questioning his place of birth to begin with ... I think it was a real constraint on dealing with Africa,” Schneidman said. Mwangi Kimenyi, a Kenyan who directs the Brookings Institutions’ Africa Growth Initiative, said Obama may be a victim of misplaced skyhigh expectations on the continent when he was first elected. “Africans still consider Clinton their president,” Kimenyi said. “If you go to Africa and mention Clinton – I mean, he is a hero, even today. I don’t think President Obama is going to approach the level of President Clinton at all, in terms of respect, in terms of what they feel, and it’s partly because, as one whose family is from Africa, the expectations were rather high.” “There is not that feeling that, you know, we have our son there,” Kimenyi said. “There’s probably more reference of a prodigal son than a, you know, son.” Clinton first drew extensive attention to Africa in 1998 when he made the longest trip ever by a U.S. president, with stops in six countries that had never before been visited by any occupant of the Oval Office. Bush’s trip this week is his third in 19 months to promote his Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partnership to combat breast and cervical cancer in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. On this visit, he and his wife, Laura, plan to help renovate a cervical cancer screening and treatment clinic in Zambia before heading to Tanzania for the African First Ladies Summit advocating investment in programs for women and girls. “Frankly, Africa is a place that we had not yet been able to devote significant presidential time and attention to,” Obama foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes said. “And there’s nothing that can make an impact more in terms of our foreign policy and our economic and security interests than the president of the United States coming and demonstrating the importance of our commitment to this region.”


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

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INTERNATIONAL POLITICS By Dr. Okpo Ojah IGERIA’S role in shaping the birth and conN tinued existence and growth of African Union (AU) can best be appreciated in her active participation in the evolution of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) from the 1960s. And that is based on the historical fact that the Charter of the OAU which was signed by 32 independent African countries in Addis Ababa on May 25, 1963, was based largely the Lagos Charter. The Lagos, Charter was drawn up by Nigerian officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the cabinet office and the Federal Ministry of Justice, and was promulgated in January 1962. Indeed, it was the Lagos Charter that achieved the consensus between the perceived radicalism of the Casablanca Group of some African countries and the functional pragmatism of the Monrovia Group of other African countries. Ultimately, the Charter served as a bridge between those African countries that wanted continental Government immediately and those who were convinced that African unity should be built on solid foundation of practical cooperation. To that extent, Nigeria, through her initiative in drawing up the Lagos Charter can unarguably be said to be the brain-child of the Organization of African Unity which twelve years ago metamorphosized into African Union. Yet the decision to establish African Union (AU) was part of package of decisions taken by OAU Heads of State in Sirte, Libya, at the 4th extraordinary session of the African Continental Assembly from 8th to 9th September, 1999. But Nigeria’s role in shaping the African Union like she did in the case of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) some 36 years ago, started on April 26, 2001 when she became the 36th OAU member state to deposit with the Secretary-General of the Union her instrument of ratification of the Constitutive Act of the African Union. Nigeria’s gesture in that regard resulted in the achievement of the two-thirds, ratification required for the coming into force of the Constitutive Act. As a consequence, and in accordance with Article 28 of the Constitutive Act, the SecretaryGeneral of OAU announced in Abuja on 27th April 2001 that the African Union took effect on 26th April 2001, that is 30 days after Nigeria deposited the instrument of ratification. The event, in the context of Nigeria’s role in shaping the African Union, was significant in many perspectives. First, it took place in Abuja in the presence of several Heads of State and Government as well as representatives of over forty African countries who were gathered there to attend the Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and other related infectious diseases. Against such a backdrop, Nigeria was the only country whose instrument of ratification was accepted by the OAU Secretary-General in the presence of such a distinguished gathering of African Leaders. Secondly, it was on record and remarkable that Nigeria’s instrument of ratification brought the African Union into being, a fitting tribute to Nigeria for the role she played in generating the brand of Union envisaged in the Constitutive Act. It is also deserving tribute to Nigeria as noted earlier for the role she played in the early sixties

Nigeria’s Role In Shaping The Organisation Of African Unity And The African Union

in bringing about the birth of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and in sustaining the organization until twelve years ago when the current African Union came into existence. And of a group of six African experts with various solid backgrounds appointed by the OAU Secretary-General to advise him on how to implement the Sirte Declaration, and in particular to produce a draft Constitutive Act for the African Union, Nigeria’s Professor Adele Jinadu was a member Indeed, through the evolutionary process of the African Union, from Sirte One through Adisa Abudba, Lome and Sirte Two, Nigeria, perhaps more than any other African country, played a key role in the effort to establish the African Union. Such a role has been consistent with Nigeria’s traditional Afrocentric policy. In this regard, Nigeria was deeply involved in all the discussions that took place, and was a member of an inner circle of countries that included South Africa, Mali, Algeria, Libya and Lesotha. Nigeria was the Council Chairman, which rescued the meetings, from collapse, first in Tripoli and later in Lome, where the Constitutive Act was ultimately adopted. Therefore at the expert or official level, Nigeria’s voice in shaping the establishment and growth of the African Union as she did under OAU was

clear, consistent and unequivocal. Such a posture assisted many African countries and beyond to see clearly what was at stake and persuaded most to support a balanced position in the formation of the African Union. At the level of the Ministers in the context of the Union’s formation, Nigeria’s voice was no less clear or determinant. On occasion, it was only Nigeria along with South African and very often Algeria that ensured that Africa was not saddled with a Union we knew would not work. In fact, the voice of Nigeria was listened and very often carried the day in the context of the transiting the OAO to the African Union. For example, in Tripoli on May 30 to June 1, 2000, when proceedings were almost deadlocked, Nigeria’s Foreign Minister was quick to strongly state the firm position in favour of the establishment of a dynamic African Union. According to him, “Nigeria favours the establishment of a strong African Union, one, which would replace, over a period of time, existing continental institutions – the OAU and AEC. This needs not be a replica of the United States of America, given the realities in our continent and the political experiences of our nation states. But, it should be of such character, content and form which does justice to the cherished vision of the founding fathers of our continent”. Such an objective and enduring stand by

Nigeria suddenly persuaded the minds of pessimists and cynics who now saw the immediate need for the establishment of the African Union. Yet it would be recalled that in the evolutionary process of the African Union, former President Obasanjo was said to have hand-written the first draft of the Heads of State Decision in Sirte Two and passed it on to Nigeria’s representatives at the Draft Committee, foreshadowing the birth of the African Union. He was given the honour to present the Decision to his colleagues. In general, Nigeria’s role in shaping African Union from its birth till date is definitely in accord with the country’s foreign policy goals, which ascribe a primacy of place to Africa. As a matter of fact, the full-scale support for the African Union is a constitutional obligation, especially as Nigerian Constitution of 1999 stipulates that the country’s foreign policy shall, inter alia, promote African integration and support African Unity. To that extent, Nigeria must continue to play its strategic role which implies a wider sociological consideration in the context of sustaining the growth and functional relevance of the African Union by mobilizing African peoples to give the Union the needed strength, character, purpose, focus and direction. Ojah is a Media Consultant

OYATERU: Sustainable Land Management Will Reduce Ambassador Akin Oyateru is the Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Kenya. He is also the Permanent Representative to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Human Settlements (UN-HABITAT). He is on the Presidential Team set up by the Federal Government to visit South Africa and Kenya to acquire best practices on how to develop tourism in Nigeria. He shared his vast and in-depth knowledge on Tourism with Journalists who were on familiarisation trip to Wild Life Spots in Kenya. ISAAC TAIWO was there. Developing Tourism IRST and foremost tourism has to be seen as a “project” that would boost the economy of a nation and also contribute to the improvement of life of those residing in the environment. At times, wild life is located among the natives as we have it among the Masais in Mara, Kenya, which later metamorphosed into tourist attraction. We have to see the emerging tourists attraction as a project, which would lead to integration of both the natives and the wild life with economic, and business oriented focus. Departure or shift from this main focus right from the on-set, to

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me, could translate into decrease tourism and decrease in number of visitors. It should be done in such a way that employing some of them as life rangers and factor guards also benefits the natives. This would then be seen as providing and generating economic income for the local economy, which makes the natives see it as their own project and they would then protect it as something seen to be assisting the community. So you have this sort of collaboration between human and the habitat and if you like, call it harmonious co-existence between both animal and man. In between that you have to factor other eco-

nomic activity of man, which is farming. In most countries or areas, one of the big problems they have is this unusual friction that exists between the pastoralists and the farmers. When this happens, the next step is to embark on sustainable land management, how to manage between animals, human need as far as settlement is concerned. You think of farming and grazing at the same time. If you have wild life, you have to ensure you have enough land for wild life grazing and also enough land for domesticated animals. If you like ‘cattle’ as well as enough land for farming crops, you have to strike a balance between what you need and that of the local community, which in actual fact should be a bottom up approach and not a top down. Most of the time, the people who are best to manage the environment are the local communities who have been living there for hundreds of years. So, these are the kind of things you need to balance. Water Management One other thing about sustainable conservation is the issue of good water management.

Sometimes, you have drought. There is need to have a sort of national policy on national drought programme. You do not need to wait for drought to come before you react to it, more so now that science is progressive. You can make forecast for the next five years. So, you need to have interface between science and policy. If they tell you that you are going to have shortage of rain, may be in the next six months, you must know first of all, how much water you have, both surface and underground water, particularly, underground water. So you do not allow for indiscriminate sinking of boreholes. Then you have to manage your rivers and surface water properly so that if they are dammed, you know how much water is being released for both crops and animals, which leads to soil management. When I am talking about soil management, you may think this has to do only with farming, No! Most of the big farms we have are not for cannibals. For example, if elephant grazes on a particular land, it eats thorns for food, so does buffalo or rhino and when they cannot get enough to eat, they go to the farms, which


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 30, 2013

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS By Kamal Tayo Oropo N what many thought would end up as Idetermination another exercise in futility, a group of selffreedom fighter may have blazed the trail in making the British and other colonialists and/or their representatives admit to crimes committed against humanity. Call them Mau Mau, a nickname Kenya Land and Freedom Army (KLFA) or Uma Uma, which means ‘get out get out’ in Kikuyu, the outcome of their stunning legal battle against the United Kingdom, for the systemic violence committed during the group’s struggle for self-determination, is unprecedented. Indeed, apart from Germany, which was made to pay for Holocaust crimes committed against the Jews, the world has hardly witnessed any foreign power found guilty of misdeeds against the locals. On Thursday, June 6, 2013, nearly 200 elderly Kikuyu people traveled from their rural homesteads and sat before the British high commissioner in Nairobi. Over half a century had passed since many were last in front of a British official. It was a different era then in Kenya. The Mau Mau war was raging, and Britain was implementing coercive policies that left indelible scars on the bodies and minds of countless men and women suspected of subversive activities. In the 1950s they experienced events in colonial detention camps that few imagined possible. On this historic day they gathered to witness another unimaginable

Mau Mau Victory: Old Empires Shiver thing: the much-delayed colonial gesture at reconciliation. The High Commissioner read extracts from William Hague’s earlier statement in parliament. Hague acknowledged for the first time that the elderly Kikuyu and other Kenyans had been subjected to torture and other horrific abuses during the Mau Mau insurgency. On behalf of the British government he expressed “sincere regret” that these abuses had taken place, announced payments of £2,600 to each of 5,200 vetted claimants, and urged that the process of healing for both nations begin. The faces of the elderly camp survivors betrayed the day’s historical significance. Tears rolled down faces lined from years of internalised pain and bitterness. Many sat motionless as the High Commissioner read the statement. Others let out audible gasps, and cries of joy. Some burst into songs. Yet, the Mau Mau victory is not only theirs as Britain’s acknowledgement of colonial era torture may have opened as many intended doors. Kenya was not alone. British colonial repression was systematised and honed in many parts of Africa and several other parts of

the world including Palestine, Malaya, Cyprus, Aden, Northern Ireland and elsewhere, British coercive counter-insurgency tactics evolved, as did brutal interrogation techniques. The Mau Mau detention camps were but one site in a broader policy of endof-empire incarceration, torture and coverup. In the wake of its announcement, Britain now faces potential claims from across its former empire. From a historical perspective, the government has every reason to be concerned about its legacy. There is unequivocal evidence of colonial brutalities in many former colonies. Whether there is enough for successful legal claims is another matter altogether. Britain is, however, not alone. Alleged atrocities of Portugal, the first and the last colonial power to leave Africa, are legendary. The Portuguese misdeeds are rivaled only by those of France, particularly in Algeria and Conakry (Guinea), Belgium in Congo and Germany in Namibia. Dutch and Italian atrocities are not exempted. Caroline Elkins, a professor at Harvard University, in her book titled, Britain’s Gulag:

Tension Between Farmers And Pastoralists can lead to reaction on the side of farmers. This is the reason looking well into land management is vital, which should be done in such a way that it can well sustain the animals. Care should also be taken such that rivers are not unnecessarily directed to water certain planes where these animals graze and later go there drinking. It should be done in such a discreet method. Like in Kenya here, there are lots of antelopes, Zebras, impalas and wild beasts, which graze. You may think that it is not something important but when one is actually involved with wild life conservation, these are the essential things to do, so you must know how to manage. National policy on tourism, essentially, is such that brings all these factors together into a very comprehensive, coherent and feasible policy that is easy to understand and implement, devoid of complexity. One other thing that Kenya does very well apart from the above is that most of their tourism is eco-tourism and that is why we are talking about sustainable land management,

which can carry on for a long time. Hospitality Then we come to the other area that is well related to tourism, which is hospitality sector. You need to have a proper hospitality industry policy because both of them work side by side and you must be able to integrate them. Hospitality industry is such that when tourists come, they must have reasonable, affordable and good hotels both for accommodation and for food. Therefore, you must ensure that how you source for these materials must be in sequential form and that they correlate together. Definitely, hotels that are sourcing for food from outside would not be sustainable because essential part of every successful hospital industry is food security. Food Security Most of these people who come from abroad do not want to eat the food they eat at home. They want local and variety of food and this is where again, you involve the local community. You can make local community a very successful part of tourism sector policy.

Oyateru

The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya, reveals that the British detained not 80,000 Kikuyu, as the official histories maintain, but almost the entire population of one and a half million people, in camps and fortified villages. There, thousands were beaten to death or died from malnutrition, typhoid, tuberculosis and dysentery. In some camps almost all the children died. Interrogation under torture was widespread. Many of the men were anally raped, using knives, broken bottles, rifle barrels, snakes and scorpions. A favourite technique, alluded to by Elkins in the book, which won her a Pulitzer award, was to hold a man upside down, his head in a bucket of water, while sand was rammed into his rectum with a stick. Women were gang-raped by the guards. People were mauled by dogs and electrocuted. The British devised a special tool, which they used for first crushing and then ripping off testicles. They used pliers to mutilate women’s breasts. They cut off inmates’ ears and fingers and gouged out their eyes. They dragged people behind Land Rovers until their bodies disintegrated. Men were rolled up in barbed wire and kicked around the compound. History was on trial, as it would be in other cases. As such, the level of historical reconstruction needed was extraordinary, as was the volume of evidence for a successful claim. The case was one that clearly rose and fell on highly detailed levels of historical knowledge and evidence. The Kikuyu had a team of three historical experts –– Elkins, David Anderson and Huw Bennett. Together, they brought decades of revisionist research to the case, and with it a full range of knowledge necessary for a successful claim. They also claim that, “outside Kenya, no other field has the depth or breadth of revisionist scholarship documenting British colonial violence at the end of empire. In part, this is due to the fact that British colonial authorities destroyed evidence at the time of decolonisation, or withheld other boxes of files for years. Regardless, without revisionist work, other potential cases will be at a disadvantage.” From a historian’s perspective, two other factors were also at play. First, the discovery of the Hanslope files, which added layers of additional evidence crucial to the success of the Mau Mau claims. Some 8,800 files from 36 other colonies were discovered alongside the Kenya documents. However, none of these files, or at least those that the British government has now released to the National Archives, provides the kind of evidence contained in the Kenya documents. Secondly, the claimants and their historical experts were guided by the sharp legal minds and experience of Leigh Day and the Kenya Human Rights Commission. In effect, this was an exercise where expert, revisionist scholarship and human rights law came together with great effect – another first for the former British empire. However, the British government may have played its hand as best it could, and with an eye to other cases; that it dragged out proceedings for years so future claimants are now deceased; that its release of potential evidence files at Hanslope has been less than transparent, despite public claims to the contrary. Moreover, the high court’s rulings over the past four years have tipped its hand to other potential cases. The chances of descendants of victims filing successful claims are now seemingly slim, and the watermark for overcoming the statute of limitations appears exceedingly high, as is the amount of historical evidence and expert forensic analysis. None of these factors bodes well for other potential claims. Ultimately, the Mau Mau case is as symbolic as it is instructive. Regardless of future claims, former colonialists can no longer hide behind the rhetoric of unequivocal imperial success. Instead, British liberalism in the empire –– with its alleged spread of civilisation, progress, liberty and rule of law justifying any coercive actions –– has been irreversibly exposed. Instead of being one-offs, Britain’s colonial violence was as systematised as its efforts at cover-up. The British validation of the Mau Mau claims – and its first form of an apology for modern empire – offers its citizens an opportunity to understand more fully the unholy relationship between liberalism and imperialism, and the impacts not only on the elderly Kikuyu, but on themselves.


TheGuardian

60 | Sunday, June 30, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Sports Nigeria’s Medals Hope In Russia...

Their Aspirations,

By Gowon Akpodonor

S

O much has changed since the famous Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow hosted the 1980 Olympic Games, which was boycotted by several major athletics nations, including the United States, West Germany and Kenya, due to global politics of that era. Nigeria was one of the countries that competed at that venue 33 years ago, four years after boycotting the Montreal ’76 Olympics. However, the country’s participation in Moscow ’80 was without a medal. Those were the days of athlete-turned broadcaster, Hammed Adio, Peter Okodogbe, Yusuf Ali, Sunday Uti, Hope Ezeigbo, Felix Imadiyi, Dele Udo and Christopher Ossai (boxing). The football team to Moscow ’80 was a crack squad with the likes of Best Ogedegbe, David Adiele, Sylvanus Okpala, Leotis Boateng, Tunde Bamidele, Okey Isima, Aloysius Atuegbu, Henry Nwosu, Felix Owolabi, Mudashiru Lawal, Adokie Amiesimaka, Emmanuel Osigwe and Kadiri Ikhana. There was no medal of any colour from the 50 Nigerian competitors. The stage is getting set for another big sports festival at the Luzhniki Stadium and focus is on Team Nigeria once again. The IAAF World Athletics Championships, Moscow 2013, will run from August 10-18 and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) says it has a crack team good enough to put smile on the faces of sportsloving Nigerians. Nineteen athletes are on AFN’s list for the Moscow carnival. Nigeria has not won a gold medal in the IAAF World Championship since the maiden edition in 1983. The country’s best performance was three silver and three bronze medals, a record seen as ‘very poor’ compared to Kenya’s 38 gold, 33 silver and 29 bronze medals in the same championship. Other African countries have recorded great results as well. Ethiopia (19 gold, 16 silver, 19 bronze), South Africa (7gold, 6 silver, 3bronze), Morocco (10 gold, 11 silver, 6 bronze), Algeria (6 gold and 3 silver), Zambia (1 gold 2 silver), Senegal (1 gold one bronze), Somalia (one gold one bronze) and Botswana (1 gold medal). The last time Nigeria made it to the podium was in Seville, Spain in 1999. In that competition, hurdler Gloria Alozie grabbed a silver medal and sprinter Francis Obikwelu got a bronze for the country. The duo has since deserted Nigeria and taken Spanish and Portuguese citizenship respectively. That was 13 years ago. This time around, the AFN is hoping to break the jinx by winning an appreciable number of medals in Moscow. Long before the Cross River/All Nigeria Open Championship, which was concluded recently in Calabar, the AFN Okagbare had put in place standard for the senior athletes to meet as qualification mark for the World Championships. The male sprinters were required to have run a time of 10.6 seconds, while the female were given a standard of 11.85 seconds. “We came up with that idea of setting standard for our athletes ahead the World Championship because we don’t want any athlete to raise our hopes unnecessarily and then dash it when we expect something great at the world stage. I am glad some of our Regina George

athletes are living up to expectations,” AFN president Solomon Ogba told The Guardian in Calabar. Perhaps, one area where the AFN is hoping to make a mark and break the 13-year old jinx in Moscow is through female competitors. Since the beginning of this year’s athletics season, the women have given athletics faithful a ray of hope that something good could come Nigeria’s way at the world championship, a position some of them were able to maintain at the just concluded Cross River/All Nigerian Open Championship in Calabar. Topping AFN’s list of 19 athletes for  the championship are sprinters Blessing Okagbare and OghoOghene Egwero. While Okagbare won three gold medals available in the women’s 100m, 200m and the long jump in Calabar, Egwero dusted all contenders to pick the men’s 100m title. At the moment, Okagbare is rated world number one in the women’s 200m. She posted the best women’s 200m time this season, when she ran 22.31 seconds during a meet at Mount San Antonio College campus, east of Los Angeles earlier in the year. In the build up to London 2012 Olympics, Okagbare ran a new 22.63 seconds personal best in the 200m at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League in Eugene, Oregon, USA, a performance that placed her fifth on the Nigerian all-time list, behind Mary Onyali (22.07), Falilat Ogunkoya (22.22), Fatimah Yusuf (22.28) and Mercy Nku (22.53).

The 22.31 seconds she ran in Los Angeles earlier this year has raised the hope of Nigerians of a medal when hostilities begin in Moscow. The Sapele-born athlete is rated third best long jumper in the world at the moment. She is also the world number three in the 100m following a ban on Jamaican speed star, Veronica Campbell-Brown who was axed for taking a banned substance, Lasix, which also goes by the name Furosemide. Okagbare retained her 100m title in Calabar last week by strolling from the starting block to the finish line and some keen observers believe that she could match both Shelly-Ann FraserPryce of Jamaica and Carmelita Jeter of USA for the gold in Moscow, if she has the best of preparation for the games. Fraser-Pryce and Jeter are currently the best sprinters in the world. Before Campbell-Brown was banned for drugs, the Jamaican was the third World best in 100m, ahead of Okagbare. But with the Jamaican in the cooler and out of the Moscow championship, the onus is on Okagbare to either take her chances or blow it. Apart from Okagbare, officials of the AFN are banking on female stars like Adejoke Odunmosu and Regina George to do the country proud in Russia. While Odunmosu made the A standard in 400 meters hurdles for the world championship, George also made the A standard in the 400 meters dash. The nation’s hope is also in the women’s 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams. In the 4x100m, those picked by the AFN for the Moscow event are Okagbare, Gloria Asumnu, Peace Uko and Stephanie Kalu, while Regina George, Omolara Omotosho, Patience Okon, Josephine Ehige and Bukola Agbokunlogo are the hope in the 4x400m relay. Perhaps, the country’s hope in the men’s event is sprinter Ogho-Oghene Egwero, who won the 100m title in Calabar. But some athletics faithful are of the view that unless Egwero repeats what he did at the Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA Grand Prix/Relays


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Their Challenges in Warri and the All Nigeria Open in Calabar, he may end up in the second round when hostilities begin in Russia. That is if Egwero does not fiddle away even in the first round when lined up with world best sprinters. African champion in the men’s triple jump, London-based Tosin Oke won in Calabar but could not make the qualification mark for the world championship. Oke and other athletes like Doreen Amata (high jump), Ugonna Ndu (100m hurdles), Selim Nurudeen (110m hurdles), Abiola Onakoya and the men’s 4x100m’s relay team have been given three weeks grace to qualify for their individual and team events or forget the ticket to Moscow. Oke won the triple jump title at the last Africa Championship in Porto Novo, but many are of the view that he holds no medal hope for the country in Russia, even if he qualifies, unless the unexpected happens. At the famous Luzhniki Stadium in 1980, the Nigerian Olympic team failed to get a medal. Hammed Adio ran 10.67second to qualify for

Our biggest problem now is funding from the Federal Government. As we speak, the AFN is yet to get a kobo from the NSC to prepare our athletes for the Games. Though the sports minister is trying his best. Our foreign-based athletes have coaches, managers and nutritionists, whom they must pay from time to time. For these managers to get money, they register our athletes in all manner of competitions. And by so doing, the athletes get burnt out before a major championship. the quarterfinal in the 100m, but could not go beyond that point. His 21.79 seconds race in the 200m event could not also take him beyond the heat. Peter Okodogbe ran 10. 34 sec in the quarterfinal to make the semi in the 100m, but fid-

Adejoke Odunmosu

Ogho-Oghene Egwero

Gloria Asumnu

dled when it mattered most. The men’s 4x400m team was eliminated during the heat, just as long jumper Yusuf Ali’s leap of 7.43m could not take him anywhere near the medal zone. In boxing, Christopher Ossai was beaten by his opponent from the then East Germany in the first round of the men’s lightweight 60kg. The football team with sharp shooting Atuegbu, Henry Nwosu, Muda Lawal and Felix Owolabi lost 1-3 to Kuwait, drew 1-1 with Czechoslovakia and fell 0-1 to Columbia to wave bye-bye to the games. Team Nigeria is returning to the same Luzhniki Stadium this August with the hope of erasing the sad memory of 1980. However, some top officials of the AFN are of the view that the nation might shoot itself on the foot despite the potentials available, unless it follows the right path of preparation. A majority of the foreign-based athletes that will fly the nation’s flag in Moscow are expected to participate in the World University Games holding from July 6-17 in Russian city

of Kazan, and the AFN is considering opening a three-week camp within the region. “We all know that Russia will be very cold during the IAAF World Championship and for our athletes to acclimatize well ahead of the games, we need at least a three week camping in Russia or nearby country,” the AFN official told The Guardian during the week. “Our biggest problem now is funding from the Federal Government. As we speak, the AFN is yet to get a kobo from the NSC to prepare our athletes for the Games. Though the sports minister is trying his best. Our foreign-based athletes have coaches, managers and nutritionists, whom they must pay from time to time. For these managers to get money, they register our athletes in all manner of competitions. And by so doing, the athletes get burnt out before a major championship. To prevent that, Nigeria has to act fast by moving the athletes into camp for proper monitoring. We still have to give the top athletes money to settle their managers or else, they will milk our athletes dry before the World Championship “An athlete like Blessing Okagbare for instance, has what it takes to give us a gold medal in Russia. But her manager over there in USA may decide not to release her early because he wants Blessing to run in some athletics meets to raise money. You can understand the point I am trying to make. “When Okagbare said in Calabar that Nigeria should not expect anything from her, some of us understood the point she was trying to make. It was just that Blessing did not apply wisdom and was not tactful enough. The Federal Government just has to do something. This is our best moment to achieve something great in the IAAF World Championship. I believe Nigeria has a good team, but the government has to act fast,” the AFN official added. Okagbare remains the country’s biggest hope for medal in the Moscow 2013 Games. Her outburst in Calabar last week that the country had not supported her financially since becoming an elite athlete may not have gone done well with officials of the NSC. But the athlete reinstated during the week that the support she had received in her sporting career came from the government and people of Delta State, particularly Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan. “We have the potential to do well but we need more in terms of planning and support from the Federal Government.  Without people like Governor Uduaghan, the AFN President, Chief Ogba and Amaju Pinnick, it is possible that one would have dropped out of track and field long ago. “When I dedicate anything I win to Dr. Uduaghan, I know why I do so. Here’s a governor who takes interest in your training, nutrition, coaching and general welfare. And it is not me alone. He does that to some athletes too. “He is the pillar of our sports in Nigeria now. He has given me training grants and has been good to sports generally and I wish others could emulate him for Nigeria to become world-beaters. “When I qualified for the 100m final in London, everybody banked on me to win a medal. It didn’t happen and many people saw me as a failure. But the Governor of Delta State did not see me as one. He called me to encourage me and told me that I was one of the best in the world. He has been very fatherly to me. He is a great mentor and motivator and I want to repeat here that my prayer is to put a smile on his face some day with a medal,” Okagbare said. Last year in Porto Novo, Benin Republic, Nigerian athletes broke a 14-year-old jinx by emerging champions at the Africa Athletics Championship. President of AFN Solomon Ogba and Technical Director, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama are optimistic that another jinx will be broken in Moscow this August. To Nesiama, the country’s athletics is on the right path and his vision Rio 2016 Olympics is heading to success. The very first IAAF World Championships was held in 1983, having been agreed in 1978 at the IAAF Congress in Puerto Rico. In far back 1913, the IAAF decided that the Olympic Games would serve as the World Championships for athletics. This was considered suitable for over 50 years until in the late 1960s the desire of many IAAF members to have their own World Championships began to grow. In 1976 at the IAAF Council Meeting in Puerto Rico, an Athletics World Championships separate from the Olympic Games was approved. The inaugural competition took place at the Helsinki


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I Will Convince Cavani to Stay At napoli, Says Maggio paulinho Certain About napoli.” the 26-year-old Cavani’s current napoli deal is due to expire in the summer of 2017. at napoli for another season Cavani recently voiced his amid strong interest from Chelsea, Manchester City and dismay with napoli boss Aurelio De laurentiis’ latest Real Madrid. comments about his future the Uruguay international recently voiced his frustration and demanded showdown with napoli’s €63 million ask- talks with the flamboyant ing price following Aurelio De club president. laurentiis’ comments that interested clubs will have to meet his buy-out clause and demanded face-to-face talks with the club president once he returns from his holiday after the Confederations Cup. nevertheless, Maggio is refusing to give up on the prolific attacker and wants Cavani to stay put. “We have not spoken to each other recently. there has simply not been any time. But we will have a calm and relaxed talk about his situation,” Maggio told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I don’t know yet when we will meet, but we have always had a good relationship. I will try to convince him to stay put. It’s then up to him to make a decision, but I obviously want him to stay at Cavani hRIStIAn Maggio is hopeC ful of convincing teammate edinson Cavani to stay

De laurentiis jokingly said that he “would smash Cavani’s head in “if he had not made a decision about his future yet when he returns to the club on July 20, but the 26-year-old is not amused with the Partenopei chief’s remarks. “the quotes by the president were heavy and very strong. I don’t like it. I want to talk to

him face to face,” Cavani told reporters. De laurentiis stated last week that a transfer is by no means a certainty, however, as he believes City will have to sell players first before they could afford Cavani’s price, while he stated Chelsea have yet to make a formal offer.

ing-price if they are to complete a deal for Robinho this summer. the 29-year-old, who spent three years with Peixe prior to joining Real Madrid in 2005, is said to be keen on a move away from San Siro in

the coming months after having found himself on the fringes of Massimiliano Allegri’s plans for much of last season, and his former club have long been desperate to have him back. however, the Rossoneri are understood to be holding out for at least €9 million for the forward, while

AUlInhO is currently p playing a starring role for his country, heading in the winning goal against Uruguay to help Brazil reach the final of the World Cup warm-up event. While he is focused on today’s clash with Spain at the Maracana, paulinho is almost certain to leave Corinthians this summer and Spurs would be his preferred destination. the 24-year-old said earlier in the week that the north london club had tabled a bid for him, and admitted White hart lane is a desired option as he would relish working with boss Andre

Villas-Boas and the influential Gareth Bale. “It is important for the team and for the Brazilian fans that at the moment all my focus is on winning the Confederations Cup,” he said in the Daily Mirror. “But after the tournament is finished I hope it is a deal that can get finalised quickly. to play in england for a great team like tottenham is a dream. What I respect about tottenham is the ambition they have shown. this summer there has been interest in their coach and their best player - and they have been clear they are both not going anywhere.”

Carrick targets positive preseason AnCheSteR United M midfielder, Michael Carrick, is eying a produc-

Milan Must Shift Ground Over Roinho, Says Santos official AntOS vice-president SMilan Odilio Rodrigues says AC must lower their ask-

Spurs Switch

Santos are believed to be reluctant to table an offer of more than €6 million, and Rodrigues has appealed for a compromise. “We have spoken to people who represent Robinho and Milan, and the quoted figures are very high,” he told Globoesporte.com. “We spoke on the phone

and we are still waiting to hear confirmation on those figures,” he added. Robinho previously retutned to Santos in 2010, spending six months on loan from Manchester City, during which time he helped the club to Copa do Brasil and Campeonato paulista titles.

tive preseason ahead of the Red Devils’ 2013-14 title defense. the 31-year-old believes building up fitness and staying injury free is “vital” to ensuring the squad hit the ground running in August. “A good preseason gives you that base you need to keep going throughout the season,” Carrick told the club’s official website. “If you miss preseason, you have to play catch up. every player is different - some can come back [from the summer break] and get straight back into it but others take a bit more time.

“I think it’s a vital part of the year, so it’s important to get through preseason and steer clear of injuries and be ready for the games at the start of the campaign.” the Old trafford outfit travels to Asia as part of its preparations, and Carrick is blown away by the support for United in the region. “It’s crazy. One of the reasons I enjoy going there is just to see the reaction of the fans,” Carrick continued. “It can take you back a little bit sometimes – even though they live a long way from Manchester the reaction the people give us is amazing.”


TheGuardian

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Spain’s players take part in a training session at the Joao Havelange Stadium in Rio de Janeiro yesterday ahead of today’s clash against Confederation Cup host, Brazil at the Maracana Stadium.

Confederation Cup

Neymar poised To Depart On A High O disrespect intended to N Italy, but brazil needed to play Spain in the final of the 2013 Confederations Cup. With the famed Maracanã Stadium recently refurbished—rain or shine—rio de Janeiro will sizzle today. brazil has only played once in the new Maracanã, and that match was a fabulously festive and extravagantly entertaining 2-2 draw against england.  Today will be brazil’s last competitive fixture prior to the World Cup, and the atmosphere promises to exude energy and excitement that extends around the world. back in 1950, brazil’s last home World Cup final was played at Maracanã. Ultimately, brazil drew Uruguay in the final match of the final group stage. The winner of that match would win the 1950 World Cup. A huge crowd piled into Maracanã to witness Uruguay defeat brazil 2-1 in one of the most shocking results in World Cup history. On the 13th of July in 1950, brazil

As Brazil Takes On Spain In Final thrashed Spain 6-1 at the Maracanã Stadium in a World Cup final of sorts. To provide some relief to the Spaniards, Sweden was smashed 7-1 in brazil’s first final of that World Cup—also played in brazil’s most famous stadium.  Nearly 63 years later, the same stadium will once against host brazil and Spain in a final. After the update, Maracanã now holds 73,000 people. regardless of who wins today, this tournament has served its purpose for the host nation and its Spanish guests. For the brazilians, the championship provided an opportunity to test the squad in a competitive tournament under the pressures of playing at home. It confirmed the stardom of  Neymar, the arrival of paulinho, the tactics of luiz Felipe Scolari, and the brazilian fans’ passion for the

sport. More than anything else, the Confederations Cup provided this team and country with confidence for the 2014 main event. On the pitch, brazil converted the critics. For the Spaniards, a win today would reaffirm Spain as the best international side in the

world and the outright 2014 World Cup favorite. The Spanish superstars also should have learnt to keep all valuables locked in a safe and avoid partying until after the tournament has concluded. Today’s game will be Neymar’s final match before moving on to barcelona in

Spain. He could probably take a flight back with the Spanish team since the majority of players he will face today play for barça. Ahead of the final, Neymar’s national farewell tour has celebrated wins in brasilia, Forteleza, Salvador, and belo Horizonte. Today, Neymar says one final goodbye in rio de Janeiro, the site of next year’s final. What will he do

Okani Dreams FIFA Under 20 Trophy OAlkeeper Samuel Okani G has declared that Nigeria is capable of winning the Under 20 World Cup in Turkey after they reached the round of 16. The 19-year-old enyimba goalkeeper was excited to have kept a clean sheet against korea republic in a last group match on Thursday. “After winning today (Thursday), we could be contenders for the trophy,” said Okani. “I’m really happy we’ve made the next round, and I

kept a second clean sheet in a row.” He appeared bewildered by the attention focused on him, remaining true to his innate modesty and even appearing a little timid. He had no reason to be, because although he is the shortest goalkeeper at the tournament, he has laid down impressive credentials so far. “I’ve always played in goal, and right from the start I only ever wanted to play between the sticks, even as a little boy,”

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

he told FIFA.com. He is motivated by the desire to emulate his biggest idol. “I’m amazed by Iker Casillas,” he admitted. Obuh regards Okani as one of the cornerstones of his team, the kind of player he rates as irreplaceable. “Chukwunenye is a terrific lad and he was top class again today (Thursday),” the Nigerian coach said to FIFA.com, “My players look up to him.” The 53-year-old almost certainly didn’t realise the delicious irony in his choice of phrase. “What makes him special is his extraordinary leaping ability, and his skill and composure with the ball at his feet.”`

PHOTO: AFP

Another Casualty At Wimbledon, As Dutchman Sijsling retires IMbleDON claimed W another casualty yesterday when Dutchman Igor Sijsling retired from his third round match with Croatia’s Ivan Dodig, the 13th singles retirement/walkover of the tournament. equaling an open era Wimbledon record for dropouts, which was set in 2008, Sijsling was 6-0 6-1 1-0 down when he called a halt for a reason yet to be specified. The grass court grand slam had already seen several high-profile pull-outs in the first week, including Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and men’s sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Many players blamed the slick turf for the medical mayhem. Dodig has now won two of his three matches in this tournament by retirement, having also profited in his first round clash with Germany’s philip kohlschreiber. The world number 49 next meets Spain’s fourth seed David Ferrer or Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov in the last 16. Meanwhile, laura robson produced a stunning fightback to beat Marina erakovic and become the first british woman to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon since 1998. The british number one was three points from a straightsets defeat on Court Two, but recovered to win 1-6 7-5 6-3. robson, 19, will face estonia’s former quarter-finalist kaia kanepi in Monday’s fourth round, which will also see Andy Murray play Mikhail Youzhny.


Sun 30 June 2013